USS Kearsarge (BB-5)

Kearsarge in 1899. Her forward 8" stacked turret can be seen clearly, though the 13" turret is masked by fittings. Photo in the collection of the National Archives at College Park.

Laid Down

USS Kearsarge (BB-5) was the lead ship of a class of battleships built for the US Navy. Commissioned in February, 1900, Kearsarge became flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron, and spent much of her time showing the flag in Europe. Kearsarge suffered an accidental powder ignition in 1906, but was not heavily damaged. She was part of the Great White Fleet's world tour in 1907-09, and was one of the ships that made the full voyage. She decommissioned for modernization shortly after their return, and rejoined the fleet in 1911 with new masts and boilers, and an updated secondary armament. Kearsarge served as a training ship until 1920, when she was decommissioned, converted to a craneship, and redesignated first IX-16, then AB-1. Kearsarge raised the submarine Squalis in 1939, and was renamed Crane Ship 1 in 1941. She continued serving until 1955, when she was sold for scrap.

Bonus Photos

Kearsarge after conversion to a crane ship. Note the blisters added to her side for stability. US Navy photo.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Early in her career, Kearsarge was a bit of a royalty magnet. She was visited by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, the future King George V of England, King Carlos I of Portugal, King George I of Greece and his son and daughter-in-law.