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Columbia-class cruiser
USS Columbia in Guantanamo Bay.jpg
USS Columbia (C-12)
Class overview
Name: Columbia class cruiser
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Olympia-class cruiser
Succeeded by: Denver-class cruiser
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Protected Cruiser
Displacement: 7,375 long tons (7,493 t)
Length: 412 ft (126 m)
Beam: 58 ft 2.25 in (17.74 m)
Draft: 22 ft 6.5 in (6.87 m)
Propulsion: Vertical triple-expansion engines
3 screws
18,509 hp (13,802 kW)
Speed: 22.8 knots (42.2 km/h)
Complement: 30 Officers
447 Enlisted
Armament: One 8 inch breechloading gun
Two 6 inch breechloading guns
Eight 4 inch rapid Fire guns
Twelve 6-pounder rapid fire guns
Two one-pounder rapid fire guns
Two Colt revolving guns
One field piece (for landing parties)
Four torpedo tubes
Armor: Protective deck
4 inches (100 mm) (slopes)
2.5 inches (64 mm) (flats)

The Columbia class cruisers were a group of two protected cruisers constructed in 1890 and 1891 and used by the United States Navy.

Class history

The Columbia class cruisers were designed for the purpose of commerce destruction. They were lightly armored and lightly gunned ships that were built for the speed needed to overtake and destroy the merchant vessels of the day as commerce raiders. However, the light armament and armor left these ships outclassed by ordinary similar sized protected cruisers that they may encounter. Also, the engines were expensive to operate and at full power the ships' range was greatly decreased. Due to their design, this type of ship was criticized as being not much better than an armed merchant cruiser. During the Spanish-American War, for example, the Columbia was used primarily as a troop transport. This type of large (but under-armed) specialized commerce raider was built by several other countries. The German cruiser SMS Kaiserin Augusta also had a triple-screw design and was nearly as long as the American Columbia-class ships. The French copied the Columbia class concept with two large protected cruisers, the Guichen (1897) and Chateaurenault (1898) before switching to building only armored cruisers for the commerce-raiding role such as the Dupleix-class cruiser of 1900. Later, Russia acquired a series of oversized protected cruisers such as the Aurora class, Askold, Varyag and Bogatyr class up until the Russo-Japanese War (1905) although these were given a relatively stronger armament for their size. The British were the most probable target of most of these ships, and invested in various cruiser designs as a counter to the perceived threat.

Ships in class

External links

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