Navy WWI Battleship USS Texas Is Making a Comeback Like No Other

Published: 6 February 2024

By Maya Carlin
via the Center for the National Interest website

Battleships USS Texas U.S. Navy

Battleships USS Texas in drydock. Following more than three decades in service, USS Texas decommissioned in 1948. For all these years, the warship has remained in the Houston Ship Channel - notably the same location where Texian troops surprised and defeated the Mexican army in 1836.

Navy Battleship USS Texas is getting a big update: Over a century ago, the U.S. Navy launched its USS Texas battleship.

The formidable New York-class vessel would go on to serve in the Mexican waters following the “Tampico Incident” and later operate in the North Sea during the First World War. The historic battleship is once again on the move, this time to undergo a series of necessary repairs required to keep the boat afloat for future viewings.

In 2023, Battleship Texas Foundation, a state-appointed organization tasked with maintaining USS Texas, announced that the battleship will head to a new home after spending more than seven decades positioned across from the San Jacinto Monument in La Porte.

The construction of the USS Texas was initially approved by Congress in 1910.

Manufacturer Newport News Shipbuilding submitted a nearly $6 million bid to build the battleship, which was ultimately approved the same year. By 1911, Texas’s keel was laid down in Virginia and she commissioned a few years later.

The battleship’s main battery consisted of ten 14-inch 45-caliber Mark 1 guns, which were capable of firing 1,400 point armor-piercing shells at a range of 13 miles. USS Texas was also fitted with four 21-inch torpedo tubes for the Bliss-Leavitt Mark 8 torpedo. A few years after USS Texas’s maiden voyage, she would become one of the first U.S. battleships to feature anti-aircraft guns and radar.

Operational history:

When Mexican federal troops detained an American gunboat at Tampico in 1914, then-president Woodrow Wilson ordered USS Texas, along with other ships, to sail to Mexican waters in response.

The incident was quickly resolved, however, Wilson would later command forces to seize a customs house off the Mexican coast in retaliation. During WWI, Texas’s service was limited, consisting of convoy missiles and blockade duty alone. The mighty battleship did fire her guns at one point at a suspected submarine, although the presence of an enemy sub was never confirmed.

Following WWI, Texas achieved another feat. In 1919, she became the first American battleship to launch an aircraft. Around this time, the battleship underwent a significant overhaul, resulting in 6 new Bureau Express oil-fired boilers and anti-torpedo bulges.

Read the entire article on the National Interest website.
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