CSS Cuba (BC-1916)


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The Confederate States Navy had been reviewing the usefulness of large cruisers / battlecruisers. The Japanese use of cruisers at Tsushima showed what could be done when used as scouting forces. The battlecruisers of the Invincible and Indomitable from the Royal Navy and the Von Der Tann and Moltke from the Germans also gave the CSN a lot to ponder. The CSN thought that the German types would probably beat their British opponents. The USN attache to Britain was made aware of the Lion / Tiger / Kongo class battlecruisers. It was the Japanese class that finally pushed the CSN to finally take the step of ordering a pair of 'Large Scouting Cruisers' with guns bigger than 12 inch. The ships were based on the previous Puerto Rico class ships with more than 100 feet of extra length, the armament increased to 8 x 14" guns with a speed of 28 knots. The CSN viewed its new 14" gun as superior to the UK 13.5" and Japanese 14", so that having a similar armament still gave them an advantage on a very similar sized ship.

The CSS Cuba class was very similar in the dimensions when compared to the British/German and Japanese equivalents. Where it differed was like the German Derfflinger class ships it had reasonable armour but with the larger British sized guns. These ships were viewed under construction by the British Naval attache and led to the Renown class battlecruisers. Both ships went to Britain with other units of the CSN in 1917 and were viewed very favourably by the Royal Navy observers that were stationed on these ships while they were serving with the Battlecruiser Force based at Rosyth.

With the advent of the aircraft carrier these ships were the only capital ships that could try to keep with the Wake Island class CV's. Both ships were taken in hand for rebuilding on completion of the two New Mexico class battleships. The rebuilding was to upgrade the deck armour, propulsion system, secondary/minor armaments and fix the bow problems. The New Mexico class superstructure was to be copied so that the ships would look as much the same as possible to make identification difficuilt. The new propulsion system allowed a 2 knot increase in speed and the reduction from 2 to 1 funnel.

Displacement 31,500 tons std 38,800 tons full load
Length 700.5 ft orig  (721.5 ft as rebuilt)
Breadth 92.5 ft
Draught 30.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 80,500shp orig

4 shaft steam turbines 115,000shp as rebuilt

Speed 28 knots orig (30 knots as rebuilt)
Range 8000 miles at 15 knots (3,250 nm at 26 knots)
Armour 10" side, 3" deck, 11/9/7" turrets  (10"/5"/11-9-7")
Armament 8 x 14" (4x2)

12 x 6" (12x1)

16 x 3" AA (16x1)


8 x 14" (4x2)

16 x 5.1" (8x2)

44 x 40mm (8x4 6x2)

4 x 20mm (4x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1400
Notes CSS Cuba BC-3

CSS Guatemala BC-4


3" AA guns produced in WW1 for air defence.


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