The South Carolina-class battleships

Photograph of the Battleship USS Michigan - NARA - 19-N-13573.jpg

Michigan at a naval review off New York City, October 1912

The South Carolina-class battleshipsSouth Carolina and Michigan (pictured), were built during the first decade of the twentieth century. They were the first American dreadnoughts, far outstripping older battleships that relied on smaller fast-firing guns at close range. The two ships were designed by Rear Admiral Washington L. Capps with a homogeneous battery of superfiring large guns and relatively thick armor, both favored by naval theorists. They were smaller than foreign dreadnoughts because of congressionally mandated limits on displacement (weight), and the inherent design trade-offs between armament, armor, and propulsion left them with a top speed of about 18.5 kn (21 mph; 34 km/h). Both ships were soon surpassed by faster battleships and by ever-larger and stronger super-dreadnoughts, relegating them to serving with older, obsolete battleships during the First World War. Both ships were scrapped after the war with the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty.

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