When the USS Texas that was commissioned in 1895, was renamed the San Marcos in 1911 and decommissioned, the name went to a new battleship then building at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Virginia. The USS Texas, BB-35 was launched on May 18, 1912 and commissioned on March 12, 1914. The new USS Texas was a mighty successor to the old Texas. When she entered service she carried the mightiest firepower of any battleship in the world. Here are some of her statistics:
|Dimensions - Length overall - 573
feet beam - 95.25 feet in 1914, increased to 106 feet by 1945 displacement
(tons) standard in 1914 - 27,000, full load in 1914 - 28,400 displacement
in 1945 standard - 30,350, full load in 1945 - 34,000
Armor (inches)- main belt - 10 to 12; turrets - 4 to 9, turret
Propulsion in 1914 was coal fired triple expansion Propulsion in 1945 was oil fired speed was 21 knots in 1914 and 20.5 knots in 1945
She was decommissioned in 1948; disposition - War Memorial at San Jacinto Park, Texas to present day
In her long years, the Texas has seen an amazing span of history. In 1918, she sailed with the British Grand Fleet based at Scampa Flow where she formed part of the sixth Battle Squadron, which was made of up US battleships. In her only World War I battle encounter, the Texas evaded a torpedo attack by a German U-boat. The Texas escorted the German High Seas Fleet to the Firth of Forth for their surrender and internment. In 1919, the first successful flight of an aircraft from the decks of a battleship occurred when a Sopwith Camel was flown off the Texas.
Between wars, she served as the flagship of the commander -in chief of the United States Fleet, Admiral C.F. Hughes. The Texas would serve as a flagship a number of times in her proud history and even today she is the flagship of the Texas Navy. In 1925 the Texas underwent extensive modernization and overhaul. Her appearance was changed from the double cage masts to a tripod arrangement with a Pearl Harbor style fighting top on the foremast. She was changed over from coal to oil fuel at this time.
In 1939 she received the first commercial radar aboard a U.S. Navy ship. World War II would see her serving with the Atlantic Fleet first in the Neutrality Patrol off the East Coast of the United States. In 1940, she began Atlantic convoy support. In June of 1941, she evaded a torpedo attack by the German U-boat U-203. On December 7, 1941 she was anchored at Casco Bay, Cuba.
In 1942 the Texas was sent to Hvalford, Iceland to participate in countering the threat posed by the modern German battleship Tirpitz. Much of her career in 1942 was spent in convoy duty in the Atlantic. In November of 1942 the Texas began what would prove to be her most significant contribution to the war effort, Shore bombardment off Morocco in support of Allied troop landings there. In World War II, the Texas was extensively refit and modernized. Her decks would bristle with anti aircraft guns. 1943 was spent in more convoy duty in the Atlantic.
On June 6,1944, the Texas was the flagship of the Allied Bombardment Force. She was stationed off Omaha Beach where her ten fourteen inch guns signaled the greatest amphibious invasion of history. After a brief break from her fire support duties to replenish ammunition and supplies, the Texas was back at it on June 25th, off the coast of Cherbourg firing at targets on shore when she was tagged by two German 280 mm hits. One of the two shells exploded causing the only war related casualty in the shipís history, the helmsman. Thirteen others were wounded. The other German shell was a dud and can be seen on board the ship today.
On November 10, 1944, the Texas left Casco Bay , Cuba in company with the USS Missouri and the USS Arkansas for the Pacific. There, her guns would fire in support of landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the Okinawa campaign she would shoot down an attacking Kamikaze.
Today the USS Texas BB-35 is the only dreadnought battleship left in the world. Her five main gun turrets are still there now as she overlooks the hallowed fields of the San Jacinto Battlefield where Texas independence was won. Now her mission is one of memory and honor, for the old lady is home to stay in the state whose name she carried so proudly. (History from Warship Pictorial # 4, USS Texas BB-35, Steve Wiper Editor/ Research, Layout/ Illustrations T. A. Flowers, published by Classic Warships Publishing and from American Battleships by Max R. Newhart, published by Pictorial Histories Publishing Co.)
The Iron Shipwright 1:350 scale kit of the Texas is a BIG piece of resin. The kit depicts the Texas as she appeared in 1944 when she fired, and was fired at in support of the Allied invasions. While most of the kit is resin, ISW has included white metal main gun barrels with blast bags molded on them. The kit also has resin barrels if one chooses to use them. ISW has included many individually cast parts, which make up the various levels of the superstructure in addition to the usual cast in elements of superstructure for which ISW is known. The turrets are especially nice. The five-inch guns are resin and as is usual, ISW includes several spares. The kit includes four sheets of brass photo-etch for railings, catapults, and cranes, etc. The larger number of very small 20mm guns are amazing. The hull is very finely cast and is a beautiful piece of work. The bilge keels did not survive the casting molds and will have to be replaced by styrene strip. The instructions are the kitís weakest link. The instructions are ok as far as they go, but the model builder would be very wise to get a copy of the Classic Warships Warship Pictorial #4, The USS Texas BB-35 by Steve Wiper, as a resource in building this kit. The beautiful color fold out renderings of the Texas and the many photos and drawings will be a much needed resource for this project. This kit of the BB-35 as she appeared in 1944 and the ISW kit of the 1898 USS Texas would make an interesting display together.