USS New York (ACR-2) explained

USS New York (ACR-2) was a United States Navy armored cruiser. The fourth Navy ship to be named in honor of the state of New York, she was later renamed Saratoga and then Rochester (CA-2).

Authorized by Congress in 1888, she was laid down on 19 September 1890 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, launched on 2 December 1891, sponsored by Miss Helen Page, and commissioned at Philadelphia on 1 August 1893, Captain John Philip in command.

Design

USS New York was a fast armored cruiser with a powerful armament, but the belt armor was thin compared to the first generation of older, slow armored cruisers, which tended to have a thick but narrow-coverage (waterline) belt. The thin side armor was comparable to that of the groundbreaking French armored cruiser, but the French ship's armor covered a much greater area of the hull.[1] [2] New York had a greater number of heavy guns than the French cruiser. The hull protection of both ships was superior to their main rival, the British Blake class, which were the largest cruisers at the time but had no side armor.[3] The British had switched from building armored cruisers to favor very large, 1st class protected cruisers, and stuck with this policy until after the Diadem class.

Service history

USS New York (ACR-2)

Assigned to the South Atlantic Squadron, New York departed New York Harbor on 27 December 1893 for Rio de Janeiro, arriving Taipu Beach in January 1894, she remained there until heading home on 23 March, via Nicaragua and the West Indies. Transferred to the North Atlantic Squadron in August, the cruiser returned to West Indian waters for winter exercises and was commended for her aid during a fire that threatened to destroy Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Returning to New York, the cruiser joined the European Squadron in 1895, and steamed to Kiel, where she represented the United States at the opening of the Kiel Canal. Rejoining the North Atlantic Squadron, New York operated off Fort Monroe, Charleston, and New York through 1897.

New York departed Fort Monroe on 17 January 1898 for Key West. After the declaration of the Spanish-American War in April, she steamed to Cuba and bombarded the defenses at Matanzas before joining other American ships at San Juan in May, seeking the Spanish squadron. Not finding them, they bombarded El Morro Castle at San Juan (12 May) before withdrawing. New York then became flagship of Admiral William T. Sampson's squadron, as the American commander planned the campaign against Santiago. The Battle of Santiago de Cuba on 3 July resulted in complete destruction of the Spanish fleet.

The cruiser sailed for New York on 14 August to receive a warrior's welcome. The next year, she cruised with various State naval units to Cuba, Bermuda, Honduras, and Venezuela, and conducted summer tactical operations off New England. On 17 October 1899, she departed New York for Central and South American trouble areas.

New York was transferred to the Asiatic Fleet in 1901, sailing via Gibraltar, Port Said, and Singapore to Cavite, where she became flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. She steamed to Yokohama in July for the unveiling of the memorial to the Perry expedition. In October, New York visited Samar and other Philippine islands as part of the campaign against insurgents. On 13 March 1902, she got underway for Hong Kong and other Chinese ports. In September, she visited Vladivostok, Russia, then stopped at Korea before returning to San Francisco in November. In 1903, New York transferred to the Pacific Squadron and cruised with it to Ampala, Honduras in February to protect American interests during turbulence there. Steaming via Magdalena Bay, the cruiser returned to San Francisco, for a reception for President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1904, New York joined squadron cruises off Panama and Peru, then reported to Puget Sound in June where she became flagship of the Pacific Squadron. In September, she enforced the President's neutrality order during the Russo-Japanese War. New York was at Valparaíso, Chile from 21 December 1904-4 January 1905, then sailed to Boston and decommissioned on 31 March for modernization.

Recommissioning on 15 May 1909, New York departed Boston on 25 June for Algiers and Naples, where she joined the Armored Cruiser Squadron on 10 July and sailed with it for home on the 23rd. Operating out of Atlantic and gulf ports for the next year, she went into fleet reserve on 31 December.

In full commission again on 1 April 1910, New York steamed via Gibraltar, Port Said, and Singapore to join the Asiatic Fleet at Manila on 6 August. While stationed in Asiatic waters, she cruised among the Philippine Islands, and ports in China and Japan.

She was renamed Saratoga on 16 February 1911, to make the name "New York" available for the battleship .

USS Saratoga (ACR-2)

The cruiser spent the next five years in the Far East. Steaming to Bremerton, Washington on 6 February 1916, Saratoga went into reduced commission with the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

As the U.S. drew closer to participation in World War I, Saratoga commissioned in full on 23 April 1917, and joined the Pacific Patrol Force on 7 June. In September, Saratoga steamed to Mexico to counter enemy activity in the troubled country. At Ensenada, Saratoga intercepted and helped to capture a merchantman transporting 32 German agents and several Americans seeking to avoid the draft law.

In November, she transited the Panama Canal, joining the Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet at Hampton Roads. Here, she was renamed Rochester on 1 December 1917, to free the name "Saratoga" for the new battlecruiser (eventually the aircraft carrier CV-3).

USS Rochester (CA-2)

After escorting a convoy to France, Rochester commenced target and defense instruction of armed guard crews, in Chesapeake Bay. In March 1918, she resumed escorting convoys and continued the duty through the end of the war, with Alfred Walton Hinds in command. On her third trip, with convoy HM-58, a U-boat torpedoed the British steamer Atlantian on 9 June. Rochester sped to her aid, but Atlantian sank within five minutes. Other ships closed in, but the submarine was not seen again.

After the Armistice, Rochester served as a transport bringing troops home. In May 1919, she served as flagship of the destroyer squadron guarding the transatlantic flight of the Navy's Curtiss NC seaplanes. In the early 1920s, she operated along the east coast.

Early in 1923, Rochester got underway for Guantanamo Bay to begin another period of service off the coasts of Central and South America.

In the summer of 1925, Rochester carried General John J. Pershing and other members of his commission to Arica, Chile to arbitrate the Tacna-Arica dispute and remained there for the rest of the year. In September 1926, she helped bring peace to turbulent Nicaragua and from time to time returned there in the late 1920s.

After a quiet 1927, Rochester relieved the gunboat at Corinto in 1928 as Expeditionary Forces directed efforts against bandits in the area. Disturbances boiled over in Haiti in 1929, and opposition to the government was strong; inasmuch as American lives were endangered, Rochester transported the 1st Marine Brigade to Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien. In 1930, Rochester transported the five-man commission sent to investigate the situation. In March, she returned to the area to embark marines and transported them to the United States. She aided Continental Oil tanker H. W. Bruce, damaged in a collision on 24 May.

In 1931, an earthquake rocked Nicaragua. Rochester was the first relief ship to arrive on the scene and ferried refugees from the area. Bandits took advantage of the chaotic conditions and Rochester steamed to the area to counter their activities.

Rochester departed Balboa on 25 February 1932 for service in the Pacific Fleet. She arrived Shanghai on 27 April, to join the fleet in the Yangtze River in June and remained there until steaming to Cavite, to decommission on 29 April 1933. She would remain moored at the Olongapo Shipyard at Subic Bay for the next eight years. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 October 1938, and she was scuttled in December 1941 to prevent her capture by the Japanese.

Dive site New York

Since being scuttled, New York has been transformed into an artificial reef. The growth of the tourism industry has expanded and Subic Bay has become an upcoming dive vacation location. New York has become one of the most dived ship wrecks in Asia, given her somewhat shallow depth (59-), ease of access, and proximity to other wrecks and activities. The wreck can be dived by most divers.

Basic divers - A beginner dive site. The site allows the diver to have a nice look at an historical wreck. Within the range, they can examine the barrel of an 8inches gun at about 59feet and then they can continue the dive at the 46- depth to explore the marine growth. The 361feet length gives plenty of area to observe as corals, sponges and fish life have had over 60 years to convert it into home. Scorpionfish are common around this wreck and divers are reminded that contact with these fish is dangerous.

USS Rochester was scuttled with a small charge that blew a hole in her bottom in 1941. This resulted in minimal damage and left the wreck relatively intact. However, on 11 July 1967 to 20 July 1967 Harbor Clearance Team four and Yard Light Lift Craft Two attached to Harbor Clearance Unit One conducted demolition the US Navy decided to try and flatten the wreck. Large charges were used on the central hull and these resulted in extensive damage lowered the wreck enabling deep draft tankers to approach and moor to the POL buoy planned for Subic Bay [at the same time Navy divers helped to clear more than 650 wrecks from Manila bay].

Experienced/advanced divers - More advanced divers can explore the propeller, conning tower and deck areas. The mess deck has an interesting swim of 197feet with portholes above allowing light, but no exit.

Wreck divers - There are some other areas for the experienced wreck diver. The boiler room can be explored on a single tank.

Advanced wreck divers - Those who can dive beyond recreational limits can access the engine room and machinery spaces. These are in excellent condition, with huge pipes, machinery and valve wheels. Penetration is generally made on twin tanks, with reel and advanced wreck diver training. Both engine room entrances are posted with notices warning of the dangers to the untrained.

Bibliography

External links

Notes and References

  1. Conway's 1860 - 1905, p.147, p.303
  2. Jane's 1905 - 1906, p.119, p.161
  3. Conway's 1860 - 1905, p.66