Haze Gray Mystery Picture #159 Answer


Can You Identify These Ships?

This is the Russian battleship Retvizan at New York Navy Yard in October 1901. The submarine in the foreground is USS Holland (SS 1).

At first glance, this view appears to be a familiar one - a US Navy predreadnought battleship entering drydock at New York Navy Yard. On closer examination, several features - including the details of the bridge and conning tower - indicate this is not a US battleship at all. Retvizan was, in fact, one of the few export battleships built in the US. She was designed at built by Cramps shipyard, based on the design of an earlier Russian battleship. The resulting ship was considered the best Russian battleship of the era. Her resemblance to a US battleship is not coincidental - immediately after designing Retvizan, Cramp designed the second battleship USS Maine (BB 10), based on his experience with the Russian ship.

Retvizan had an interesting and unusual career. Initially based in western Russia, she soon sailed to Port Arthur, where was torpedoed in a Japanese attack on the night of 8-9 February 1904. After becoming trapped in the harbor entrance, she was raised, repaired, and then again damaged by Japanese guns surrounding the port. Without time for repairs she sailed for Vladivostok, and became involved in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, suffering more damage and once again returning to Port Arthur. Late in 1904 Japanese guns around the port demolished and sank the remaining Russian squadron, including Retvizan. The Japanese took posession of the ship when Port Arthur surrendered on 2 January 1905.

Although Retvizan was badly damaged, she was considered worthy of salvage. She was afloat by September 1905, and in 1908 she entered Japanese service as Hizen. During WWI she was sent across the Pacific to guard against Admiral Graf Spee's squadron of raiding cruisers, but never met this enemy. She also spent a short period at Honolulu, guarding the German cruiser Geier. The end of the war brought the end of the predreadnought battleships, and Hizen was disarmed in 1922, stricken in 1923, and sunk as a target in 1924.

The presence of the pioneering submarine Holland (SS 1) in this photo is surprising, because she was never based at New York. It seems likely she was making a port call during the difficult and dangerous open-ocean transit between Annapolis, her normal base, and Newport, RI, where she operated from June to October, 1901.

Correct answers were received from: Mike Potter, Kelly Jernigan, Brian Greenall, Howard J Koch, Dave Becker, Paul Silverstone, Ben Rockey-Harris, Yves Grangeon, Dave Cooper, Serge Maliar, James Corley, Randall Melton, Jim Bocock, Helmut Heisler, Thomas J Morris, Joe Donahoe, Tony Lovell, Grant Volle, Denis Zhukov, Peter VanMaasdam, James T. Flynn, Jr., Dave Cassell, Derek Strahan, William F. Fessenden, Ric Pelvin, Michael Miller, www.DutchSubmarines.com, John W. Littrell, Bjoern Rehnfeldt, José Rafael Bello Ruiz, Dave Mimms, Bill Rhodes, Andrew Rochester, Dave Summerscales, Neil Corbett, Oren Williams, Garth Kidman, Dennis O. Curtis Sr., David Retzki, Edwin Miarowski, Rusty Bloxom, Chris Galm, Barry Gerrard, Dan Rasey, Bruce Paterson, Scott Betterton, Sam Betterton, Tom Stoodley, Axel Reif, Murat Albayrakoglu, Scott Rector, Douglas Marsh, Ben Hardaway, Ulrich Klein, Tobias Wichert, Steve Langevin, James Wade, Bill Vickrey, Johhnie B. Klein, Willie Curtis, Steve Wojciak, Seant, Frank M Smith, Brian Viglietti, Patricio Meezs R., James E. Watson, Ned Pike, Donald Ensign, Edward Renouard, Mike Penny, Michael Doukas, Dave Nilsen, David Wadsworth, Chris Hoehn, John Askeland, Jason A. Britton, Kenji Nozaki, tu_sean, William Novobilsky, Mauro Rossini, Miha Steinbücher, David Derkits, Hush Koike, Robert English, Ed Thompson, Jeff Noakes, Lai-shun Poon, Steve Carlson, Richard Lee Wong, Fred Sleeper, Rich Christie, Ronald C. Ehlert, Jocelyn Larue, Chris Vallery, Joe Zieba, Russ Frevele, Jeff Hardy, Chris Woodyard, Dietrich Mittag, Jeff Arban, Adam Smigielski, Jouko K. Lehmusto, Roger Britton, Walt Fee, Ian Evans, Jim Hohenwarter, Ed Young, Terry Wright, Mike Sawyer, Jack Ray, Robert P. Sables, Kevin Conard, Alex Zhurbal, Pavel Khozhainov, Don Rodeniser, Tim Poe, ETC(SS) Brian Hegemeyer, Matthias Busch, Werner L. Stunkel, Mike Baker, MIke McCullough, Debbie Lindquist, Arthur M. Feldstein, Ed Schweikart, Philip Hungate, Terry Lom, Dave Burhenn, Rich Austin, Michael Flora, Bob Morris, Mark Tierney.

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