Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Pre-Dreadnought Photos: Part 12

An American flavour, now, to the latest instalment of Pre-dred pics, in this case colourised Postcard views of various U.S. Navy vessels from around the turn of the century.
The colourisation means that you shouldn't take the colour schemes as Gospel, but nevertheless, I think some clear and interesting images.

(Remember, they are all clickable for a zoomed, Macro view.)

Above we have a stern view of the Armoured Cruiser Brooklyn, tied up at New York, and showing lines that are very reminiscent of the Varyag, built in the U.S. for the RJW-era Russian Navy.
A veteran of both Santiago Bay and the Boxer Rebellion deployment, she was re-commissioned during the First World War in order to add to the American naval presence in the North Atlantic.

Next up, we have a view of the Armoured Cruiser USS Pennsylvania, launched in 1903 from the Cramp's yard, she was renamed the Pittsburgh in 1912, and soldiered on until 1931:

Moving on, we have the Armoured Cruiser the Colorado, of the same class, which was also renamed during her career, this time as the Pueblo; there's a good summary of her life at the battleships-cruisers website:

Another view of the Brooklyn here, this time from the bows, with another Cruiser in the background; these cards are from The Illustrated Postal Card Company of New York, circa 1910:

Moving up a class, we have the Battleship USS Kearsage next, which having been launched in 1898, apparently survived all the way until 1955, albeit in the guise of a Floating Crane ship!
Nice view of the turret-upon-turret design here - can't imaging what it was like for the gun crew in the primary when those secondaries gave fire just above....

Moving on, we have a view of the Armoured Cruiser USS Washington, launched 1905, part of the Tennessee class of improved vessels:

Now a representation of the Battleship Vermont of 1905; there's a nice web page concerning her weapons complement that can be seen here:

Next up, we have another veteran of the Span-Am War, and at least at the time of writing, the last surviving of her type - the Cruiser USS Olympia - hopefully she can be retained as a floating Museum, rather than be scuttled after all these years......what a waste!

The authoritative record of why she deserves her reputation can be found here at the Span-Am War website:

Next we have the Bainbridge Class Destroyer, the USS Decatur; there's a good Wiki page with all her info here:

Surprisingly, for a small vessel that had cruised extensively in the Far East and Philippines, she was transferred to the rough waters of the Atlantic for convoy duty at the tail end of 1918:

Finally, we have a nice colourised depiction of that strangest of weapon-platform craft, namely the Dynamite gun armed USS Vesuvius (aptly named....):

There is an explanatory entry at the excellent Span-Am War site as below:

The 15" weapons fired an explosive charge through an 'explosion' of compressed air; propelling the mixture of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine out to a range of one and a half miles!
At least that was the theory......

Certainly a unique vessel - it's a shame, but I don't think any 1/3000th manufacturer makes a model of one. :-)


  1. Thanks once again for the photos and information, sir.

    -- Jeff

  2. Hi Jeff, always a pleasure - I've just signed up to follow 'Jeff's Navy' - so hope to see more of the same there! :-)

  3. If I'm not mistaken, the Vesuvius was not the only ship of its type - or the Vesuvius may have a stranger history than that article would have it. The Brazilian cruiser Nictheroy was bought in 1893 from the U.S. by Brazilian President Floriano Peixoto to fight in an American-manned mercenary squadron against the Brazilian Navy, which had revolted.

    The cruiser also had a dynamite gun and had general lines very similar to those of the Vesuvius, as pictured above.

    As a measure of good-will and thanks, the Nictheroy was given back to the U.S. in April 1898 as an escort for the Battleship Oregon, on its way up the coast after running the Straits of Magellan.

    The Nictheroy was renamed but unfortunately I can't find the issue of Military History Quarterly which told this story. It was eventually left behind as it couldn't keep up with the Oregon.

  4. Hi Thaddeus, what an absolutely fascinating piece of information - quite an intriguing story - definitely warrants some extra research- would also make an interesting addition to my whole Pacific War / Ironclads / Nemo / Aquanef ideas - a Brazilian Mercenary Navy with nitroglycerine guns!

  5. A bit of quick googlesing has turned up the following:


    According to the article, the Nictheroy was commissioned into the US Navy as an auxiliary cruiser, the Buffalo - unfortunately minus the dynamite gun...

    A Way Kewl story, anyway.....as the kids say....

  6. Fantastic update, been a lurking follower of this blog for some time. Really love that view of the Brooklyn, she has absolutely gorgeous lines.

  7. Hi Sos,

    Great stuff as ever - the more obscure the better I say! Can you email me on roguejedi@btinternet.com as I may have something you might be interested in? (he laughs maniacally....)

    All the best,


  8. thanks for the comments Guys, and welcome Haarken - always good to get feedback from a visitor - I'm reciprocating by following your Martians and Machine Guns Blog - brilliant stuff - looking forward to seeing it develop.

    @ DC (Ogre), mail on it's way.....