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USS Iowa (BB-4)

USS Iowa (BB-4)

The battleship Iowa (BB 4) seen here in the port of New York during the Fleet Review in late 1911.

The Iowa (11,528 ts) was launched on March 28th, 1896 by William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding, Philadelphia and commissioned on June 16th, 1897. She was driven by two vertical reciprocating steam engines

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USS Iowa was built at the beginning of a period during which the state-of-the-art in ship design advanced extremely rapidly. Just visible between the two top-masts are the spreaders supporting the radio antenna wires, an advanced innovation in 1911 that hadn't even been invented yet when the ship was built, only 14 years earlier!

The ugly, geodetic 'cage mast' was another recent innovation. It was supposed to be light-weight, yet strong, and enemy shells were supposed to simply pass through without damaging it. The mast was intended to provide a platform on the top to facilitate gunfire control, as well as additional platforms to support powerful searchlights, which were a necessity for fighting at night in the days before the invention of radar.

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United States Navy Ships
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