Florida Class Dreadnought, USS Florida (BB-30) - First of Many Innovations

Should this be added?
  • Yes
  • No

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  • 1911-1916
  • 1916-1924
  • 1925-1931
  • I said no

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USS Florida shown in her Modernized configuration.
TL;DR
Bigger, Heavier, better armed and armoured Delaware Class (Full Specifications near Bottom of page.)

Background

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USS Florida shown being followed by USS North Dakota and USS Delaware in rough seas. Crica Early 1920s.

The USS Florida (BB-30) is the first of the Florida class dreadnoughts. The Florida Class dreadnoughts were built as one of 10 classes of battleships built between 1906 and 1919 with a total of 22 ships made. The Florida class is most similar to the previous Delaware class battleships and were considered to be improvements over them. These ships were larger, uparmoured, and more heavily armed. These ships also received a much longer service history as well as improvements made over the years.

History

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USS Florida shown in 1911-1916 configuration


USS Florida shown in 1916-20 configuration

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USS Florida shown in 1925-31 configuration

USS Florida (BB-30) was laid down March of 1909 and Launched May of 1910 after her sister ship Utah. Florida was commissioned into military service September of 1911 and began service. Her first deployment was at the 1914 United States Occupation of Veracruz where Florida and her sister ship Utah were both the first battleships to arrive to assist. After that Florida went on to serve in WW1 where she escorted convoys to Norway in the North Sea. After the war Florida was moved to peacetime service and in 1925, she was heavily modernized. The modernization included a full internal rebuild with new oil burning boilers, new turbines, new internal armour layout, torpedo blisters and additional Anti-Air guns. In 1930 the London Naval Treaty was passed and both Florida and her sistership Utah were taken out of service. Florida was demilitarized, sold, and broken up for scrap in 1931.

Weapons

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One of Floridas 12inch gun turrets with a patrol balloon in the background.


Floridas 5inch guns firing during a night Torpedo Defense practice.

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3inch AA gun mounted on searchlight tower.

The USS Florida was equipped with 10 12 inch/45 calibre main guns housed in 5 centerline turrets throughout her entire service history. Florida was also equipped with the 5 inch/51 calibre guns in casemate and standalone mounts. From 1911 to 1920 Florida had 16 5in guns, in 1920 two were removed from the bow mountings and after the 1925 modernization 2 more were removed and 4 were moved up a deck. 2 3 inch/50 calibre cannons were installed on top the search light mast in 1916. This would later be expanded to 8 3inch guns after the 1925 modernization, the same as the Wyoming Class at the time. Torpedo tubes were also included at launch, however removed as a part of the 1925 modernization.

Armour

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The Florida Class overall is very similar to the Delaware Class in both general looks and armour layout. I will be using the Delaware Class (Delaware and North Dakota) as comparison, as the Florida Class (Florida and Utah) is very similar to both and is easier to visualize that way. The biggest technological difference between the Delaware Class and the Florida Class in terms of armour is the new type of steel introduced, called S.T.S or Special Treatment Steel. This new armour steel would become the basis for general purpose armour in every battleship onward. The Delaware Class used Nickel Steel for all of its deck and non-main belt/barbette armour, while the Florida Class used both Nickel Steel and S.T.S together. For main armour, the Delaware and Florida Class shared the exact same layout overall. Barbette, Turret, and main belts are the same thickness with identical thinning out gradients. The main differences between the two is with the upper casemate armour and the conning tower. The Florida Class features a 6 1/2 inch (165.1mm) upper casemate armour belt as opposed to the 5 inch (127mm) upper casemate of the Delaware class. The Florida Class also has an 11 1/2 inch (292.1mm) conning tower compared to the slightly thicker 12 inch (304.8mm) conning tower on the Delaware Class. Another difference between the Delaware and Florida Class would come with the internal rebuild from the 1925 modernization, which introduced another deck of sandwiched steel deck armour. This new deck armour section was placed as the floor of the 2nd deck and featured from 2 to 4 layers of steel. These layers comprised of S.T.S, Nickel, and Mild steel. This was also paired with the original 3rd Deck floor armour that was present from launch and was also reworked during the 1925 rebuild. Another addition made during the 1925 rebuild was a new armour plating (38.1mm S.T.S) around the boiler casing (rooms surrounding the smoke funnels inside the ship) on the 2nd deck, as well as increased deck protection within these rooms. Inside the uptakes was a new armoured bar system as a way to armour even inside the smoke funnels where the deck and funnel meet. The Florida Class was also the first to receive torpedo blisters as a part of the 1925 modernization. The space inside the blister is mostly taken up by void and fuel oil compartments.

To further show the armour layout of this ship I have created a 3D model using the blueprints from 1929

NOTE: This model is not 100% accurate and should not be taken as fact, I tried my best to my very limited 3D modeling and blueprint reading abilities. I know this model is not accurate but is close enough to give a general idea. There are many things not modeled such as the Double Bottom Hull Deck, fuel, ammunition elevators, and so much more.


2nd Deck, Main belts, and most of the barbettes. S.T.S is Special Treatment Steel, N.S is Nickel Steel, and M.S is Mild Steel. Deck thicknesses are in correct order of steel layers.


3rd Deck armour, lowest armoured deck on the ship.


Barbette armour without belts.

Specifications

1911-24

Displacement: 21,825t normal: 23,0033t full load

Dimensions: 510ft wl, 521ft 6in x 88ft 2 5/8th in x 28ft 6in

155.44m, 158.95m x 26.88m x 8.68m

Machinery: 4-shaft Parsons turbines, 12 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 28,0000shp@330RPM ~ 20.75kts/38.42kph/23.8mph

Armour: Belts 11in-9in (279.4mm-228.6mm), lower casemate 10in-8in (254mm-203.2mm), upper casemate 6 1/2in (165.1mm), barbettes 10in-4in (254mm-101.6mm), turret faces 12in (304.8mm), CT 11 1/2in (292.1mm), decks 1.5-2in (38.1-50.8mm).

Armament: 10-12in (305mm)/45cal (5x2), 16(1911 to 20) 14(1920 to 24)-5in(127mm)/51cal, (1916 to 24 2-3in/50cal(76.2mm)), Torpedo Tube sub (beam)

Complement: 801

1926-31

Displacement: 24,740t

Dimensions: 510ft wl, 521ft 6in x 106 3/4th in x 28ft 6in

155.44m, 158.95m x 32.32m x 8.68m

Machinery: 4-shaft Curtis turbines, 4 White-Forster Express boilers, 44,[email protected] ~ 22.24kts/41.18kph/25.59mph

Armour: Belts 11in-9in (279.4mm-228.6mm), lower casemate 10in-8in (254mm-203.2mm), upper casemate 6 1/2in (165.1mm), barbettes 10in-4in (254mm-101.6mm), turret faces 12in (304.8mm), CT 11 1/2in (292.1mm), decks 1.25-5.05in (31.75 -128.27mm).

Armament: 10-12in (305mm)/45cal (5x2), 12-5in(127mm)/51cal, 8-3in/50cal(76.2mm)

Complement: 1088

Sources and Blueprints

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Main Sources
Booklet of General Plans USS Florida 1923- National Archives
Booklet of General Plans USS Florida 1929- Obtained from the National Archives



Welcome to the internet post modernization Florida documents! again…

Secondary Sources
Conway’s All the Worlds Fighting Ships 1906-1921 pgs. 113-114 (mostly disproven with new evidence, but used for partial filler in 1911-24 specifications.)
USS Florida (BB-30) - Wikipedia
Navsource.org USS Florida Archive

This suggestion was previously made on the old forums by me, I have simply updated it and posted it here to the new forums.