18 February 2023  
USN the Wells Brothers' Battleship Index 

The Tillman Battleships

The Web's first page on the Maximum Battleships

Version 3.1
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[Abstract | Introduction | Senator Tillman | Maximum Battleships | Construction and Modification | Tillman Battlecruisers? | Version History | Footnotes | References]

0. Abstract

This page examines a series of World War I era design studies for extremely large battleships, known as the Tillman Battleships. These studies were prepared in late 1916 and early 1917 at the request of Senator Benjamin R. Tillman. The United States never had any serious intention of building a "Tillman" battleship. The US Navy was not interested in the designs at all, and only drew them up to appease Sen. Tillman.

While these studies are just a curiosity to most historians, they are irresistible to battleship fans and wargamers, as they are among the most spectacular battleship designs ever produced by the United States, or any other nation for that matter. These designs can be the used for entertaining wargame scenarios or alternate history speculation. This page also provides some speculation about battlecruisers that might have been developed in parallel. 

1. Introduction

We first learned of the Tillman battleships back in the 1970s, when Stefan Terzibaschitsch's book on US battleships was published. In his notes on the South Dakota (BB-49) class, he mentioned an 80,000 ton preliminary design with fifteen 18 inch guns and a speed of 35 (sic) knots. [1] As you might imagine, this piqued our curiosity, but Terzibaschitsch provided no additional details.

Terzibaschitsch apparently took his data from Sigfried Breyer's book "Battleships and Battlecruisers: 1905-1970", which has a similarly brief mention of these ships, with the same error in the speed figure. [2]

In 1975, Ensign Alan D. Zimm wrote "Build the Limit", an extensive article about these ships for the journal "Warship International", but it apparently only reached a limited audience. Indeed, we didn't get a copy until 2019.

The publication of Friedman's "US Battleships: An Illustrated Design History" in 1985 made the details of the Tillman battleships available to the general public. [3]

A wargaming friend asked us a number of questions about these spectacular designs. He was looking for a spectacular American battleship design for a wargame. He imagined a "no Washington Treaty" scenario, and was looking for very large American battleships to counter the Japanese "13" class. Our discussions lead to the writing of this page.

The intended audience for this page is battleship fans, wargamers, and alternate historians. We thus assume that the readers will have a certain level of knowledge about naval history, American battleships, and the Washington Treaty of 1922.

Since the Tillman battleships were never built, nor even seriously considered, our page contains considerable speculation about what they might have been like. We have tried to label our speculations as such.

One potentially confusing matter in this page is our reference to the South Dakota (BB-49) class battleships. These six battleships were begun in the early 1920s, but were never completed. They should not be confused with the World War II-era South Dakota (BB-57) class, of which four were completed.

We extend greetings to readers who were redirected here from Wikipedia. It's nice to know that they are finally acknowledging us after all these years.

2. Senator Benjamin R. Tillman

Benjamin R. Tillman (D-SC) lived from 1847 to 1918, and was a US Senator from 1895 until his death. Tillman apparently had a fairly "colorful" career. His colleagues nicknamed him "Pitchfork Ben" for his populist ways. This nickname may come from a speech he gave where he threatened to poke US President Grover Cleveland (a fellow Democrat!) in the belly with a pitchfork. Evidently, he was not a particularly pleasant person. He was censured by the Senate in 1902 for assaulting another senator on the Senate floor!

Tillman was a member of the Senate's Committee on Naval Affairs in the World War I era. Apparently, he grew tired of the Navy requesting ever larger battleships every year. He was also annoyed by the Navy's habit of building battleships that were significantly larger than Congress authorized.  He therefore requested the navy to design "maximum battleships", i.e. the largest battleships that the Navy could practically use.

Nobody is quite sure of what Tillman's motivations were for requesting these ships. There are two schools of thought on what Tillman was thinking:

3. Maximum Battleships

On July 16, 1912, Sen. Tillman introduced resolution S.361, which ordered the Senate's Committee on Naval Afairs to investigate a "maximum battleship" . The Navy did a number of design studies in 1912-1913, perhaps culminating in the 47,000 ton Fast Battleship of 26 April 1913. The Pennsylvania (BB-38) class were influenced by these design studies, however the Pennsylvania was smaller than the corresponding Tillman ship, and was essentially an enlargement of the preceding Nevada (BB-36) class.

On June 21, 1916, Sen. Tillman read his 1912 resolution again, and also extensively quoted from an article by Commander William A. Moffett. Once again, he requested a "maximum battleship" study. The US Navy's bureau of Construction and Repair produced a series of interesting design studies, detailed below. Once again, the design studies influenced the design of a succeeding class, the South Dakota (BB-49) class, however once again, the South Dakotas would have been significantly smaller than the ships envisioned in the Tillman design studies, and were in some ways just an enlargement of the previous Colorado (BB-45) class.

Moffett's article, "Build the Limit", is quite significant, as it lays out the arguments in favor of a "maximum battleship" far better than Sen. Tillman ever did. It is not clear to us exactly when it was written, but it was excerpted in the August 1916 issue of "Sea Power" magazine. Obviously, Sen. Tillman knew about the article in June 1916. Moffett proposed a ship of 60,000 tons with ten 18" guns in five twin turrets, which was capable of a speed of 35 knots. The turret arrangement would have been similar to that on the Florida (BB-30) class. Note that Moffett did not include any specification on armor.

The practical limits on the size of a US Navy battleship were dictated by the dimensions of the locks of the Panama Canal. The locks measure 1000 feet by 110 feet, and so the practical size limit for the ship was 975 feet (297.2 meters) in length, 108 feet (32.9 meters) in beam, and 38 feet (11.6 meters) in draught. Harbor depths further constrained draught to 32.75 feet (10 meters).

The US Navy was not particularly interested in building these "maximum battleships", however after Sen. Tillman requested the designs, the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair dutifully did the design studies. They produced a series of four designs late in 1916. The designer was the experienced Assistant Naval Constructor Capt. Lewis B. McBride, [4] who had been working on the South Dakota (BB-49) design.

After the first four design studies were complete, Design 4 was chosen for further development. Three additional studies, Design IV-1, IV-2, and IV-3 were prepared. At the request of Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels, these designs used 18" guns instead of the 16"/50 used in the earlier studies. [5]

Note that design IV-3 was only a "computational" design, there was no separate drawing for it. [6] Despite this, we can make a reasonably good educated guess about what she might have looked like. We speculate that she would have looked much like Design 4, but with quadruple 18" turrets instead of sextuple 16" turrets.

The Navy decided that design IV-2 was the most practical, (or perhaps the least impractical) and this was the design that was ultimately presented to Congress early in 1917. [7] We tend to agree with the Navy's assessment. Design IV-2 should therefore be considered the definitive Tillman battleship design.

3.1 Tillman Battleship Design Studies: Technical Specifications

Design Tillman Battleships South Dakota (BB-49) class (For comparison) 
#1 #2 #3 #4  IV-1  IV-2  IV-3 
Date 13 Dec 1916 13 Dec 1916 13 Dec 1916 29 Dec 1916 30 Jan 1917 8 Jul 1918
Displacement, in tons 70,000 70,000 63,500 80,000 80,000 43,200
Waterline Length, in feet (meters) 975 (297.2) 660 (201.2)
Overall Length, in feet (meters) 998 (304.3) 684 (208.5)
Beam, in feet (meters) 108 (32.9) 106 (32.3)
Draught, in feet (meters) 32.75 (10.0) 32.75 (10.0) 
Max. Speed, in knots 26.5  26.5 30 25.2 25.2 23.5
Max. Power, in EHP (SHP) 65,000 EHP (130,000 SHP) 65,000 EHP (130,000 SHP) 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 60,000 SHP
Number of Boilers 18 24 12
Main Battery Twelve 16"/50 in four 3-gun turrets Twenty-four 16"/50 in four 6-gun turrets twelve 16"/50 in four 3-gun turrets Twenty-four 16"/50 in four 6-gun turrets Thirteen 18"/50 in five 2-gun turrets and one 3-gun turret Fifteen 18"/50 in five 3-gun turrets Sixteen 18"/50 in four 4-gun turrets Twelve 16"/50 in four 3-gun turrets 
Belt Armor 18"/9" 13"/7" 13"/7" 18"/9" 16"/8"  13.5"/8"
Barbette Armor 17"/5" 12.5"/4" 12.5"/4" 17"/5" 15"/5" 15"/5" 13.5"/4.5"
Turret Armor 20"/14"/6"10" 18"/10"/5"/9" 18"/10"/5"/9" 20"/14"/6"/10" 21"/12"/8"/14"  21"/12"/8"/10"  18"/10"/6"/9"
Deck Armor 5" 3" 3" 5" 5"  5"/1.75"
Images Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here No drawing available Click Here
Notes  In some ways, this is a greatly enlarged South Dakota (BB-49) class battleship. While the South Dakota design was not finalized until 1918, design work was well under way at this point. Similar to design #1, but trades off some armor for increased armament. (BuOrd considered 13.5" to be the practical limit for armor plate thickness.)  Design 3 was a "fast battleship". At the time, the General Board was not particularly interested in fast battleship designs. Adding 10,000 tons to the displacement allowed the armor of Design #1 to be combined with the main battery of Design #2.  Had these ships actually been built, the guns probably would have been 18"/48 Mk1   

3.2 Propulsion

In all cases, the Tillman battleships would have used turbo electric machinery similar to that used on the New Mexico (BB-40), Tennessee (BB-43), and Colorado (BB-45) classes. The powerful 180,000 SHP machinery specified in Tillman designs 3, 4, IV-1, IV,2 and IV-3 would have been extremely similar to that on the Lexington-class battlecruisers. Turbo electric machinery was fairly heavy compared to the geared steam turbines used by other navies in this era, however it had a few advantages:

3.3 Main Armament

Two different sized guns were considered for these studies: a 16"/50 and an 18"/50. Neither of these guns ever entered service with the US Navy. We have a pretty good idea of what these guns might have been like because such guns were designed in this era, and a 16"/50 was actually built in this era. (The excellent US Navy 16"/50 Mk 7 guns used on the Iowa Class are a much later design, and are outside the scope of this exercise!)

3.4 Design Notes

The Tillman battleships designs were different from their real-world contemporaries in more than just their size. There were a few things about their design that are worth noting.

3.4.1 Flush Deck

Unlike preceding classes, the Tillman battleships would have had an unbroken flush main deck. Most American battleships in this era had a long forecastle deck.

3.4.2 Hull-Mounted Casemate Guns

The Tillman battleship designs all show five secondary casemate guns mounted aft in the hull. This is something of a reversion to earlier ideas. American battleships abandoned hull-mounted casemate guns after the New Mexico (BB-40) class. The hull-mounted casemate guns had proven too "wet", i.e. they got very wet in bad weather, rendering the them inoperable. The New Mexico and earlier classes were actually modified to remove their hull mounted casemate guns.

Perhaps with their huge size and flush decks, the Tillman battleships might have had enough freeboard astern to keep the casemates dry. The casemates would have been one level higher than they had been on earlier American battleships.

Another interesting reversion is the single centerline secondary gun at the tip of the stern. This had been used previously in the Nevada (BB-36) class, but it was subsequently abandoned in the Pennsylvania (BB-38) class. Like all other hull mounted casemates, the Nevada's centerline casemates were removed during refits.

4. Fate of the Tillman Designs and Their Legacy

We don't know exactly what happened after Design IV-2 was presented to Congress early in 1917. Evidently, Senator Tillman was appeased, and no further work was done on these designs. Senator Tillman died on 3 July 1918, and to a certain extent, whatever plans he had for these designs died with him. So, we can say that the Tillman Battleships successfully completed the mission they were designed for. They got Senator Tillman to shut up!

Commander Moffett lost interest in big-gun capital ships some time after World War I, and became the first head of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics in 1921. He was eventually promoted to Rear Admiral, but was killed in the crash of the dirigible USS Akron on 4 April 1933.

Secretary Daniels wrote to the President of the Senate on 14 February 1917 informing him that "the General Board recommends that no ships of this type be laid down. " [14] The Navy proceeded with the South Dakota (BB-49) class, as they had intended all along. While all of the South Dakotas began construction, they were all canceled under the terms of the Washington Treaty of 1922.

Still, the design studies didn't go away completely.

The Tillman design studies influenced the South Dakota (BB-49) design.

The South Dakota class inherited some features from the later Tillman designs, for example the 6" secondary battery. The main armament of the South Dakotas would have closely resembled that proposed for Design #1 and Design #3. The South Dakota class would have had only 13.5 inch belt armor, but that was the most that the Navy's Bureau of Ordinance (BuOrd) thought was practical anyway. At the time the BuOrd suspected armor plates thicker than 13.5" would be metallurgically inferior, and would not be proportionally better than the then standard 13.5" armor plate. The South Dakota's speed would have been only 23.5 knots, but that still would have made them the fastest American battleships to date. Finally, their displacement grew from 41,000 tons to 43,200 tons during the design phase.

In late 1920 and early 1921, the Navy's General Board met to define the characteristics of the battleship class that would follow the South Dakota. The Washington Treaty ended the program before detailed designs were developed, but the alternatives considered were all substantially larger than the South Dakota.

In late 1934, the Navy's Preliminary Design department produced two designs for maximum battleships. In both cases length was 975 ft, and beam was 107 ft. The 25 knot design displaced 66,000 "standard" tons at a draught of 33.5 ft; the 30 knot design displaced 72,500 "standard" tons at a draught of 37 ft. The 72,500 ton ship's dimensions were the largest that could fit through the Panama Canal locks. Main armament was eight 20" guns in four twin turrets. These designs were prepared mainly to study possible responses to a potential Japanese breakout from the Washington and London treaties (which did in fact happen), but the Navy never seriously considered building these ships. [15]

Also, every few years, when new battleship designs were being presented to Congress, some Congressional staffer would dig up the old Tillman design studies and suggest that the new design was not the best it could be. Apparently this happened as late as 1940!

5. Speculation: Construction & Modification of the Tillman Battleships

The US never had any serious intention of building a "Tillman" battleship. As stated above, the Navy was unenthusiastic about these designs. Any information that we provide about construction and modification of these ships is therefore pure speculation. We will assume that design IV-2 would have been adopted, unless otherwise noted.

5.1 Construction

5.1.1 Construction Time

Based on construction times for contemporary American battleships, we speculate that these ships would have taken at least four years each to build. The Tennessee and Colorado classes (much smaller than the Tillman battleships) took 3-4 years to build. Also, the Iowa (BB-61) class (still significantly smaller than the Tillman battleships) took about 3 years each during wartime. The Forrestal (CV-59) class carriers, which were similar in size to the Tillman battleships, took 3-4 years each during peacetime.

Since the initial design study was not completed until early 1917, we specualte that no Tillman battleship could possibly have been completed before 1921. Even then, it would have been quite a rush! In reality, two ships of the Colorado class were not completed until 1923, so it's likely that no Tillman battleship could have been completed until after that.

This, of course imagines a world with no Washington Treaty.

5.1.2 Cost

Cost was estimated at $50 million per ship [16] - a staggering sum at the time. This was more than three times the cost of a Colorado class battleship, and half of the entire 1916 naval construction budget!

5.1.3 Numbers

Had the Tillman battleships been built, it is likely that there would have been five of them. We have three reasons for believing this:

  1. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels stated that it would not be worth building any less than five. [17]
  2. Prior to the South Dakota (BB-49) class the Navy typically built groups of 4 to 5 battleships with very similar characteristics. (2 Nevada + 2 Pennsylvania; 3 New Mexico + 2 Tennessee; and 4 Colorado, with one discarded under the Washington Treaty.)
  3. The USN eventually started construction of six South Dakota (BB-49) class battleships. We assume that the Navy would have had to build fewer Tillman battleships than South Dakota battleships due to their cost.
Had the Tillman battleships actually been built, they almost certainly would have been built instead of, rather than in addition to, the South Dakota (BB-49) class. The Tillman design studies were among the ancestors of the South Dakotas, so if Tillman battleships had been built there would have been no need for the smaller, less powerful South Dakota (BB-49) class.

5.1.4 Names & Hull Numbers

In both his 1912 and 1916 speeches, Sen. Tillman proposed the name Terror for this ship. While this name did have some history in the USN, (there was a monitor by that name 1874-1906) it falls uncomfortably on our 21st century ears. Also, only one American battleship was ever given a non-state name, (USS Kearsage, Battleship #5) so it would be outside of the usual naming convention.

Since in reality, six South Dakota battleships were begun, it might be reasonable for a wargamer or alternate history writer to re-use the most of the names and hull numbers of the South Dakota class for the Tillman battleships. Shipyard assignments might also have been similar.

ClassPennant NumberShip NameKeel LaidShipyard
South DakotaBB-49South Dakota15 Mar 1920New York Navy Yard
BB-50Indiana1 Nov 1920New York Navy Yard
BB-51Montana1 Sep 1920Mare Island
BB-52North Carolina12 Jan 1920Norfolk Navy Yard
BB-53Iowa17 May 1920Newport News
BB-54Massachusetts4 Apr 1921Fore River

All of the names planned for the South Dakota (BB-49) class were re-used on later battleships. Wargamers might find more practical to re-use pre-dreadnought names that were not re-used later. America's pre-dreadnought era battleships were retired after World War I, and most were scrapped shortly thereafter. Their names would have been available for re-use on Tillman battleships. Reusing pre-dreadnought names would allow the wargamer to design scenarios involving both Tillman battleships and later battleships without name duplication. We suggest such names as Virginia, Nebraska, Georgia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Kansas, and Minnesota.

5.2 Modification

Obviously, since the Tillman battleships were not built, no modifications were done on them. If we are to speculate about them though, we could imagine that over time, they would have been modified in a similar manner to other contemporary American battleships. The Colorado (BB-45) class, which would have immediately preceded the Tillmans, is probably the best model to use as a basis for speculation.

The Colorados received relatively few modifications until the 1940s. They were the newest battleships in the US Navy in the 1920s, and thus required little modification. Money was short in the 1930s due to the Great Depression, and so even if major modifications had been needed, they would not have been made.

It is likely that the Tillman battleships would have received similarly few modifications through the 1920s and 1930s. We speculate that the following modifications would have been made:

One Colorado class battleship, the USS West Virginia (BB-48), was extensively damaged at Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941. She was extensively reconstructed with large hull bulges, a modern dual purpose secondary battery similar to that on the North Carolina (BB-55) and later classes, a modern superstructure, (once again, similar to those on the newer battleships) and modern electronics. Both Tennessee (BB-43) class battleships were reconstructed in this manner as well. If a Tillman battleship had been similarly damaged in the 1940s, one could imagine that she might have been similarly reconstructed, and emerged as a very formidable warship.

6. Speculation: A Tillman Battlecruiser?

The Tillman design studies from the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair did not include battlecruisers, although they did include a 30 knot fast battleship (Design #3).

Moffett's original article, on the other hand, showed a design for a 60,000 ton ship with ten 18-inch guns, 250,000 SHP, and a maximum speed of 35 knots. As noted above, he did not specify how much armor his ship would have. Such a fast ship would almost certainly be classified as a battlecruiser

Many nations, including the United States, were designing battlecruisers in this era to compliment their battleship fleets. The American battlecruiser design contemporary to the South Dakota (BB-49) class was the Lexington (CC-1) class. This lead to some speculation on our part on what a "Tillman Battlecruiser" might have looked like.

Unlike Great Britain and Germany, the United States, by and large, did not design battlecruisers. The Lexington (CC-1) class was the United States' first foray into this realm. The Lexingtons were intended to be used as scouts rather than as members of the battle fleet. They were thus designed to be more like cruisers than like battleships, and would not have been particularly well armored. The General Board, which had great influence over ship design, wanted very fast scouts, and thought that armor protection was not terribly useful for these ships. They thought that scouts would not fight against ships armed with more than six inch guns. The General Board actually rejected numerous designs with better armor than the Lexington class.

The Lexingtons were designed independently of the South Dakota class battleships, however they would have had eight of the same powerful 16"/50 Mk 2 guns that would have been used on the South Dakotas. They also would have used the same type of 6" secondary guns.

6.1 Speculation #1: Battlecruiser based on Tillman Design #3

Had Tillman design IV-2 been built, it is imaginable that someone might have considered a complimentary "maximum battlecruiser". Given the Panama Canal limitations, it is likely that the same 975 x 108 x 32 dimensions might have been used. This would make a hull form similar to Tillman Design #3 seem like a possibility.

6.1.1 18 inch guns?

Several American designs in this era substituted twin 18 inch turrets for 16 inch triple turrets. Apparently this twin 18 inch turret would have had a similar weight and barbette size to the triple 16 inch turret. Certainly Moffett's battlecruiser called for twin 18 inch turrets. Thus, if we are to imagine a world with battleships built according to Tillman design IV-2, there would have been little need for the 16"/50 Mk 2. One might, therefore, imagine a version of Tillman design #3 with eight 18 inch guns. This is, of course, pure speculation.

6.1.2 Faster and lighter?

Given the General Board's preference for fast, lightly protected scouts, one might imagine a variant of design #3 which would have a little less armor and a little more speed. An earlier predecessor to the Lexington design (Design 150, dated 23 September 1915) had envisioned a 218,000 SHP turbo electic powerplant which might have provided the extra speed the General Board wanted. [20] This older powerplant was fairly heavy, at 6970 tons. [21] This compares to the 5338 ton, 180,000 SHP powerplant ultimately adopted in the 1919 Lexington final design. There were substantial improvements in boiler design in this era which might have reduced the size of the 218,000 SHP machinery somewhat by 1918-1919.

In order to make up the 1632 ton difference in the boiler weights, it is possible to consider a thinner armor belt. Reducing the belt to 9.5 inches (a little over 24 cm) and tapering down to 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) at the bottom would probably save enough weight. (assuming steel weighing 490 lbs/cubic foot) While this is substantially less than other battlecruiser designs shown here, it is still thicker than the armor belt ultimately chosen for the Lexington-class, and probably more in keeping with the General Board's scout concept. If lighter machinery could indeed have been built by 1918-1919, some of the belt armor could certainly have been restored.

6.2 Speculation #2: Battlecruiser based on Design C

A more realistic proposal might have been a set of drawings prepared by James Bates of the Bureau of Construction and Repair dated May 16, 1918, known as "Design C". This design bore a significant resemblance to the Tillman design #3. Like Tillman Design #3, Design C would have had twelve 16 inch guns and a top speed of 30 knots. Their three-funneled profiles were also quite similar. (The profile was deceptive, though; Design C actually had 5 funnels!) Both Tillman Design #3 and Design C were flush deck designs. At "only" 54,500 tons, Design C would have been somewhat smaller than Tillman Design #3, Length at the waterline would have been 900 feet, beam would have been 106 feet, and draught would have been 32.25 feet.

Design C also had somewhat less armor than Tillman design #3: 8 to 12 inches on the belt, 12 inches on the barbettes, 16, 9, 6 and 11 inches on the turrets, and 2 to 3 inches on the armored deck.

Design C had at least one unusual charateristic: the placement of the two forward turrets. They were mounted significantly higher than one might have expected. Turret 1 was above the first superstructure level! Turret 2 was superimposed above it, and was thus very high up. This probably would have given the ships a high center of gravity, which could have caused operational problems.

The General Board rejected Design C, and its slightly smaller companion Design D in June 1918, on the grounds that they

"embody radical departures from existing designs and ideas." [22]

The General Board instead adopted Design B, an 850 foot design with eight 16 inch guns, which eventually evolved into the Lexington.

6.2.1 Changes in Profile and Propulsion?

If Design C had been adopted, it is extremely likely that the five funnels would have been reduced to two. Designs B, C, and D all shared the same 180,000 SHP powerplant with seventeen boilers and five funnels. Design B3, dated 14 June 1919, which was, for all intents and purposes the final Lexington design, needed only sixteen boilers and two funnels to produce 180,000 SHP. Had Design C been adopted instead of Design B, we think that the same improved machinery would have been used.

6.2.2 Faster and lighter?

Once again, more speed and less armor might have satisfied the General Board, so one might have to imagine a faster variant of this design with more power and less protection. Like Tillman design #3, one might also imagine a variant with eight 18 inch guns.

6.3 Maximum Battlecruisers: Technical Specifications

Design Speculative Maximum Battlecruisers Lexington (CC-1) class (For comparison)
Moffett's Proposal Tillman Design #3 Design C Design D DRW Speculative #1 DRW Speculative #2 DRW Speculative #3
Date Before August 1916 13 Dec 1916 16 May 1918 8 May 1918 N/A N/A N/A 14 Jun 1919
Displacement, in tons 60,000 63,500 54,500 54,500 63,500 54,500 63,500 43,500 
Waterline Length, in feet (meters) 975 (297.2) 900 (274.3) 860 (262.2) 975 (297.2) 900 (274.3) 975 (297.2) 850 (259.1)
Overall Length, in feet (meters) 995 (303.4) 998 (304.3) 924 (281.7) 884 (269.5) 998 (304.3) 924 (281.7) 998 (304.3) 874 (259.1)
Beam, in feet (meters) 105 (32.0) 108 (32.9) 106 (32.3) 106 (32.3) 108 (32.9) 106 (32.3) 108 (32.9) 101 (30.8)
Draught, in feet (meters) 32 (9.75) 32.75 (10.0) 32.25 (9.85) 32.25 (9.85) 32.75 (10.0) 32.25 (9.85) 32.75 (10.0) 31.0 (9.45.0)
Max. Speed, in knots 35.0 30.0 30.0 29.5 30.0 30.0 30+ 33.25
Max. Power, in EHP (SHP) 250,000 SHP 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 90,000 EHP (180,000 SHP) 180,000 SHP 180,000 SHP 218,000 SHP 180,000 SHP
Number of Boilers 24 17 17 24 17 13? 16
Main Battery Ten 18"/48 in five 2-gun turrets  Twelve 16"/50 in four 3-gun turrets Eight 18"/48 in four 2-gun turrets  Eight 16"/50 in four 2-gun turrets 
Belt Armor unknown 13"/7" 12"/8" 12"/8" 13"/7" 12"/8" 9.5"/3.5" 7"/5"
Barbette Armor 12.5"/4" 12"/4" 12"/4" 12.5"/4" 12"/4" 12.5"/4" 9"/7"/5"
Turret Armor 18"/10"/5"/9" 16"/9"/6/"11" 16"/9"/6/"11" 18"/10"/5"/9" 16"/9"/6/"11" 18"/10"/5"/9" 11"/6"/5"/8"
Deck Armor 3"" 3"/2" 3"/2" 3" 3"/2" 3" 1.75"/1.5"/1.5"
Images   Click Here Click Here Click Here       Click Here
Notes Tillman "Fast Battleship" Design #3, exactly the same as above. Similar to Design C, but slightly shorter and slightly slower. A variation on Tillman Design #3 with 18 inch guns A variation on Design C with 18 inch guns A variation on Tillman Design #3 with more power and 18 inch guns

7. Version History

Version Date Updates
1.0 1 January 2002 Initial Version
2.0 1 March 2014 Minor Corrections
3.0 15 May 2022 Additional information from Zimm article, Congressional Record, Moffett article
3.1 18 February 2023 Minor corrections and additions

8. Footnotes

[1] Terzibaschitsch, pg 110.

[2] Breyer, pg 252.

[3] Friedman Battleships, pg 148-153.

[4] Zimm, pg 33.

[5] Friedman Battleships, pg 153.

[6] Zimm, pg 43.

[7] Friedman Battleships, loc. cit.

[8] Friedman Naval Weapons, pg 21.

[9] Friedman Battleships, pg 166

[10] Friedman Naval Weapons, loc. cit.

[11] Dulin & Garzke, pg 282-283

[12] Poynor, Paragraph 7

[13] Dulin & Garzke, pg 110-111

[14] Zimm, op. cit. pg 58

[15] Friedman Battleships, pg 235.

[16] Friedman Battleships, pg 153.

[17] Friedman Battleships, loc. cit.

[18] Friedman Battleships, pg 179.

[19] Friedman Battleships, pg 166.

[20] Friedman Cruisers, pg 76.

[21] Friedman Cruisers, pg 84.

[22] Friedman Cruisers, pg 98.

9. References

  1. Schlachtschiffe und Schlachtkreuzer 1905-1970 by Sigfried Breyer, 1972, Karl Müller Verlag, ISBN 3-86070-044-8
  2. Battleships: United States Battleships, 1935-1992 by William H. Garzke Jr. and Robert O. Dulin Jr. 1995, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. ISBN 0-87021-718-6
  3. U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD 1985 ISBN 0-87021-715-1
  4. U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, 1984, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. ISBN 0-87021-718-6
  5. US Naval Weapons by Norman Friedman, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. ISBN 0-87021-735-6
  6. Build the Limit by Cdr. William A. Moffett, Sea Power (magazine) August 1916, pgs 13-14
  7. History of the U.S. Navy's Only 18-inch Gun by James C. Poynor, (website )
  8. Battleships of the U.S. Navy in World War II by Stefan Terzibaschitsch, 1976, Bonanza Books, New York NY
  9. Build the Limit: American "Maximum Battleship" Designs of 1916-17 by Ens. Alan D. Zimm, Warship International (journal) Issue 1 1975 pgs 31-59

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