U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Iowa (BB 4)
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Displacement: 11,346 tons
Speed: 17 knots
Armament: Four 12" guns; eight 8" guns; six 4" guns; twenty 6-pounders; four 1-pounders; twenty-four 14" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The second Iowa (BB-4) was laid down by William Cramp & Sons,
Philadelphia, 5 August 1893; launched 28 March 1896; sponsored
by Miss M. L. Drake, daughter of the governor of Iowa; and
commissioned 16 June 1897, Captain W. T. Sampson in command.
After shakedown off the Atlantic Coast, Iowa was assigned to the
Atlantic Fleet and was ordered to blockade duty, 28 May 1898,
off Santiago de Cuba. On 3 July 1898, she was the first to sight
the Spanish ships approaching and fired the first shot in the
Battle of Santiago de Cuba. In a 20-minute battle with Spanish
cruisers Maria Teresa (flagship) and Oquendo, her effective fire
set both ships aflame and drove them on the beach. Iowa,
continuing the battle in company with converted yacht Gloucester
sank the Spanish destroyer Pluton and so damaged destroyer Furor
that she ran upon the rocks. Iowa then turned her attention to
the Spanish cruiser Viscaya which she pursued until Viscaya ran
aground. Upon the conclusion of the battle, Iowa received on
board Spanish Admiral Cervera and the officers and crews of the
Viscaya, Furor and Pluton.
After the Battle of Santiago, Iowa left Cuban waters for New
York, arriving 20 August 1898. On 12 October 1898, she departed
for duty in the Pacific, sailed around Cape Horn, and arrived
San Francisco 7 February 1899. The battleship then steamed to
Bremerton, Wash., where she entered drydock 11 June 1899. After
refit, Iowa served in the Pacific Squadron for 2 1/2 years,
conducting training cruises, drills, and target practice. Iowa
left the Pacific early in February 1902 to become flagship of
the South Atlantic Squadron. She sailed for New York 12 February
1903 where she decommissioned 30 June 1903.
Iowa recommissioned 23 December 1903 and joined the North
Atlantic Squadron. She participated in the John Paul Jones
Commemoration ceremonies, 30 June 1905. Iowa remained in the
North Atlantic until she was placed in reserve 6 July 1907. She
decommissioned at Philadelphia 23 July 1908.
Iowa recommissioned 2 May 1910 and served as an at sea training
ship and as a component of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. During
the next four years she made a number of training cruises to
Northern Europe and participated in the Naval Review at
Philadelphia, 10 to 15 October 1912. She decommissioned at
Philadelphia Navy Yard 27 May 1914.
At the outbreak of the first World War, Iowa was placed in
limited commission 23 April 1917. After serving as Receiving
Ship at Philadelphia for 6 months, she was sent to Hampton
Roads, Va., and remained there for the duration of the war,
training men for other ships of the fleet, and doing guard duty
at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. She decommissioned for the
final time 31 March 1919.
On 30 April 1919, Iowa was renamed Coast Battleship No. 4, and
was the first radio controlled target ship to be used in a fleet
exercise. She was sunk 23 March 1923 in Panama Bay by a salvo of
Also see USS Iowa (BB 61)
Updated: 17 May 2000