The USS MAINE was one of the first United States battleships to be constructed. The vessel's destruction in the Cuba Harbor of Havana was a catalyst in bringing war between the United States and Spain. The loss of the ship was (a) tremendous shock to the United States since it represented virtually the state of the art of naval shipbuilding in the United States, only recently eclipsed by newer vessels. "Remember the Maine" became the battle cry of the United States Military Forces in 1898
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The USS MAINE was the United States' first armored ship to be authorized and the second to be completed. The USS MAINE and the USS TEXAS represented a great step forward in American naval technology.
"The USS INDIANA was one of the newest American battleships in 1898. She took part in the destruction of the Spanish Fleet at the Battle of Santiago off Cuba on July 3, one of the two major naval engagements of the war.
The greatest advantage of this class of battleships was the capacity of the coal bunkers, allowing the ships to cross the ocean without recoaling. They were the first American vessels that combined this capability with heavy armor and armament, a great advantage in times of war.
The armor thickness and size of the main battery exceeded any that on any other ship in the US fleet, including the newer classes of battleships.
One disadvantage of INDIANA and her sisters was a relativly low freeboard, which made the guns difficult to operate in heavy seas.
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The USS IOWA was the very newest American battleship in the Spanish-American War. Like the INDIANA class, IOWA was classified as a "Seagoing Coastline Battleship", but she was a better sea boat than the earlier battleships. She took part in the Battle of Santiago on July 3, 1898.
The major advantage of USS IOWA over the ships of the INDIANA class was the new battleship's higher freeboard, which made the guns easier to work in heavy seas. She was not, however, a full-fledged first class battleship equal to those of Great Britain and other powers. Also, IOWA was of single-screw design and shipped only 12" main guns, both features were a step backwards from the INDIANAs.
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The USS MASSACHUSETTS was one of the newest American battleships in 1898. She was coaling at Guantanamo Bay and missed the Battle of Santiago on July 3.
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The USS TEXAS was the United States' first battleship, being commissioned a month earlier than USS MAINE. USS TEXAS took part in the bombardment of the fortress on Cayo del Tore, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in concert with USS MARBLEHEAD. She also took a very active part in the Battle of Santiago.
USS TEXAS was built from plans developed in England, and did represent a great step forward in American naval defenses. However, when compared to her contemporary, the USS MAINE, she carried less heavy armament, and had a smaller coal bunker capacity. In practice USS TEXAS was apparently slightly faster than the MAINE.
The TEXAS had overhanging sponsons which always placed the colliers, depended on by the Navy to supply coal, in danger of being stove in. Also, on loading of coal and supplies, the ship sank so low in the water that the ship's armor belt was submerged below the water and therefore greatly reduced in effectiveness.
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