U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Kansas (BB 21)
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Displacement: 16,000 tons
Speed: 15 knots
Armament: Four 12" guns; eight 8" guns; twelve 3-pounders; two 1-pounders; 2 .30-cal. machine guns; four 21" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The second Kansas (BB-21) was launched by New York Shipbuilding
Corp., Camden, N.J., 12 August 1905; sponsored by Miss Anna
loch, daughter of the Governor of Kansas; and commissioned in
Philadelphia Navy Yard 18 April 1907, Captain Charles B.
Vreeland in command.
The new battleship departed Philadelphia 17 August 1907, for
shakedown training out of Provincetown, Mass., and returned home
for alterations 24 September. She joined the "Great White Fleet"
at Hampton Roads 9 December and passed in review before
President Theodore Roosevelt while getting underway on the first
leg of the fleet's historic world cruise. The American ships
arrived Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, 23 December, and 6 days later
got underway for Rio de Janeiro. From there they sailed south
along the east coast of South America and transited the perilous
Straits of Magellan in open order. Turning north, the fleet
visited Valparaiso, Chile, and Callao Bay, Peru, en route to
Madalena Bay, Mexico, for a month of target practice.
The "Great White Fleet" reached San Diego 14 April 1908, and
moved on to San Francisco 7 May. Exactly two months later the
spotless warships sortied through the Golden Gate and headed for
Honolulu. From Hawaii they set course for Auckland, New Zealand,
to be greeted as heroes upon arrival 9 August. The fleet made
Sydney 20 August and, after enjoying a week of the most warm
and cordial hospitality, sailed to Melbourne where they were
welcomed with equal graciousness and enthusiasm.
Kansas had her last glimpse of Australia 19 September on leaving
Albany for ports in the Philippine Islands, Japan, and Ceylon
before transiting the Suez Canal. She departed Port Said, Egypt,
4 January 1909, for a visit to Villefranche, France, and then
staged with the combined "Great White Fleet" at Gibraltar and
departed for home 6 February. She again passed in review before
President Roosevelt as she entered Hampton Roads 22 February,
ending a widely acclaimed voyage of good will subtly but
effectively demonstrating American strength to the world.
A week later Kansas entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for
overhaul. Repairs completed 17 June 1909, the battleship began a
period of maneuvers, tactical training, and battle practice
which lasted almost until the close of the following year. With
the 2d Battleship Division, she sailed 15 November 1910, for
Europe, visiting Cherbourg, France, and Portland, England,
before returning to Hampton Roads via Cuba and Santo Domingo.
She again departed Hampton Roads 8 May 1911, for Scandinavia,
visiting Copenhagen, Stockholm, Cronstadt, and Keil before
returning to Provincetown, Mass., 13 July. She engaged in fleet
tactics south to the Virginia capes before entering the Norfolk
Navy Yard 3 November for overhaul.
Early in 1912, she began several months of maneuvers out of
Guantanamo Bay and then returned to Hampton Roads to serve as
one of the welcoming units for the German Squadron which visited
there from 28 May to 8 June and New York from 8 to 13 June.
The battleship embarked Naval Academy Midshipmen at Annapolis 21
June 1912 for a summer practice cruise which took her, among
other ports of call along the Atlantic seaboard, to Baltimore
during the Democratic National Convention which nominated
Woodrow Wilson. After debarking her midshipmen at Annapolis 30
August, she sailed from Norfolk 15 November for a training
cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. She returned to Philadelphia 21
December to enter the Navy Yard for overhaul.
Back in top shape 5 May 1913, Kansas operated on the East Coast
until she stood out of Hampton Roads 25 October, bound for
Genoa, Italy. From there she proceeded to Guantanamo Bay en
route to the coast of Mexico to operate off Vera Cruz and
Tampico watching out for American interests in that land then
troubled by revolutionary unrest as rival factions struggled to
attain and hold power. She returned to Norfolk 14 March 1914,
and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul 11 April.
Kansas departed Norfolk 1 July with the body of the Venezuelan
Minister to the United States, arriving La Guaira 14 July. Then
she returned to the Mexican coast to patrol off Tampico and Vera
Cruz supporting the A.E.F. which had landed there. She departed
Vera Cruz 29 October to investigate reports of unstable
conditions at Port au Prince, Haiti, where she arrived 3
November. The battleship stood out of Port au Prince 1 December
and reached Philadelphia a week later. Maneuvers off the East
Coast and out of Guantanamo Bay occupied her until she entered
the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul 30 September 1916.
Kansas was still in that yard 6 April 1917 when the United
States entered World War I. She arrived in York River from
Philadelphia 10 July and became a unit of the 4th Battleship
Division, spending the remainder of the war as an engineering
training ship in Chesapeake Bay, occasionally making escort and
training cruises to New York. After the Armistice, she made five
voyages to Brest, France, to embark and return veterans home.
She was overhauled at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from 29 June
1919 to 17 May 1920. Three days later she arrived at Annapolis
where she embarked midshipmen and sailed 5 June for a practice
cruise to Pacific waters, transiting the Panama Canal to visit
Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Pedro. She departed
the latter port 11 August, transited the canal, and visited
Guantanamo Bay before returning to Annapolis 2 September.
Proceeding to Philadelphia, Kansas became flagship of Rear
Admiral Charles F. Hughes, Commander of Battleship Division 4,
Squadron 2, and future Chief of Naval Operations. She sailed for
Bermuda 27 September and was inspected by the Prince of Wales at
Grassey Bay, Bermuda, 2 October. Two days later she was underway
for the Panama Canal and Samoa. She was at Pago Pago, Samoa, 11
November when Captain Waldo Evans became Governor of American
Samoa. After visiting Hawaiian ports and transiting the Panama
Canal, she cruised in the Caribbean and the Panama Canal before
returning to Philadelphia 7 March 1921.
Kansas embarked midshipmen at Annapolis and sailed 4 June 1921,
with three other battleships bound for Christiana, Norway,
Lisbon, Gibraltar, and Guantanamo Bay. She returned 28 August to
debark her midshipmen before visiting New York from 3 to 19
September. She entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard 20 September
1921 and decommissioned 16 December. Her name was struck from
the Navy List 24 August 1923, and she was sold for scrap in
accordance with the Washington Treaty limiting naval armament.
Updated: 30 July 2009