Battleships of the 20th century

American Battleships

USS Oregon BB-03

bb03

USS Oregon


Name

Three ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Oregon, in honor of the 33rd state.

  • The first Oregon was a brig purchased in 1841 to support the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

  • A never-launched monitor previously named Quinsigamond and Hercules was also called Oregon before she was broken up in the ways.

  • The third Oregon (BB-3) was a battleship that saw action in the Spanish-American War.

  • One ship of the Confederate States Navy also bore the name Oregon: see CSS Oregon.

Hull #

BB03

Built

Ordered: 30 June 1890

Laid down:19 November 1891

Launched: 26 October 1893

Commissioned

15 July 1896

Sister Ships

Indiana (BB-1)

Massachusetts (BB-2)

Oregon (BB-3)

History Highlight

Leaving drydock on 16 February 1898, she received news that Maine had blown up in Havana harbor the previous day. As tensions with Spain grew, on 9 March Oregon arrived in San Francisco and loaded ammunition. Three days later she was ordered on what was to become one of the most historic voyages ever undertaken by a Navy ship.

Oregon departed San Francisco on 19 March for Callao, Peru, the first coaling stop on her trip around South America to the East Coast for action in the impending war with Spain. Arriving at Callao 4 April and departing several days later, she bypassed the coaling station at Valparaíso, Chile on the orders of her commanding officer, Captain Charles E. Clark, and continued on through the Straits of Magellan. On 16 April Oregon entered the Straits and ran into a terrific gale which obscured the perilously close rocky coastline. For a time she was in great danger, but just after dark she let go her anchors on a rocky shelf fringed by islets and reefs, and safely weathered the night. Before dawn on the 17th, the gale moderated and Oregon proceeded around Cape Forward to Punta Arenas, where she was joined by gunboat Marietta, also sailing to the East Coast.

Both ships coaled and departed on 21 April for Rio de Janeiro, keeping their guns manned all the while for a Spanish torpedo boat rumored to be in the area. Head seas and winds delayed them, and they did not reach Rio until 30 April. There Oregon received news of the declaration of war against Spain, and on 4 May she left on the next leg of her remarkable journey. By chance on 14 May, just north of the equator, Oregon encountered Joshua Slocum in his little vessel Spray nearing the end of his famous solo circumnavigation. With a brief stop in Bahia, Brazil, Oregon arrived at Barbados for coal on 18 May, and, on the 24th, anchored off Jupiter Inlet, Florida, reporting ready for battle. Altogether, Oregon had sailed over 14,000 miles since leaving San Francisco 66 days earlier.

With the adoption of ship classification symbols on 17 July 1920, Oregon was redesignated BB-3.

Decommissioned

4 October 1919

Final Disposition

She was towed to Kalama, Washington, the following March for dismantling. However, when progress reached the main deck and after the ship's interior had been cleared out, the Navy requested that the scrapping process be halted, since the need for scrap was not critical. The Navy, embarrassed by public criticism of the events, reinstated the vessel, using it as a munitions barge during the Battle of Guam.

The hulk of the old battleship remained at Guam for several years. During a typhoon on 14 November and 15 November 1948, she broke her moorings and drifted to sea. Finally, on 8 December, the old warrior was located by search planes some 500 miles south east of Guam and towed back. She was sold for $208,000 on 15 March 1956 to the Massey Supply Corporation, resold to the Iwai Sanggo Company, and finally towed to Kawasaki, Japan, and scrapped.

Her mast survives as a memorial located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, in Portland, Oregon. On 4 July 1976, a time capsule was sealed in the base of the memorial. The time capsule is scheduled to be opened 5 July 2076.

Oregon's two funnels were preserved at a separate location, in Libery Ship Park.

Related Info

General characteristics

Displacement:

10,288 tons / 11,688 tons full load

Length:

351 ft overall, 348 ft waterline

Beam:

69 ft

Draft:

24 ft mean, 27 ft max

Speed:

16 knots

Complement:

737 officers and men

Armament:

4 × 13 in (330 mm) guns

8 × 8 in (203 mm) guns

4 × 6 in (152 mm) guns

20 × 6 pounders

6 × 1 pounders

6 × 18 in (457 mm) surface torpedo tubes

Source: Wikipedia

Related Links

USS Oregon - Wikipedia

USS Oregon By Patrick McSherry

 NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive BB-3 USS OREGON

A Chronicle of the Battleship Oregon

The California Military Museum

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Photos

USS Oregon 1898

USS Oregon (BB-3)


BB-3, 1941

Ship's appearance as a museum/historical center in Portland, Oregon. Photo dated from 1941-1942.


BB-3

The mast of USS Oregon (BB-3) at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon.


BB-3

One of the most renowned ships of the American Navy is the mighty Battleship Oregon. Her famous run from San Francisco around Cape Horn to take part in the Battle of Santiago has never been equalled by any battleship in the world's history. After she won fame in the destruction of Cervera's fleet she was ordered to Manila by Admiral Dewey "for political reasons" and remained there throughout the Philippine War hurling her 13-inch shells into the Insurgent ranks when occasion required.