On March 6, 1898 the newest armored cruiser of the United States Navy was far from the United States coast, being off another continent. "The same day Mr. Long had wired the U.S.S. Brooklyn, then in Venezuelan waters: ‘The situation is getting worse. Proceed without delay to Hampton Roads." (The Martial Spirit, A Study of Our War with Spain, by Walter Millis, at page 117) This marked the first order that would start a chain events that would make USS Brooklyn ACR-3 famous in United States naval history.

In the 1880s the United States Congress started to become aware that her fleet was hopelessly inadequate to provide more than an obsolete collection of barely floating targets for almost all European navies and also some South American navies as well. The rag-tag assortment of wooden cruisers and moth-eaten civil war monitors could easily be swept aside by any competent naval force.

Since the American Civil War the warship building infrastructure of the United States had atrophied even faster than the civil war relics had rusted. When the elected representatives of the United States woke up to discover that they had no navy to speak of, they also belatedly discovered that the country lacked the requisite industry to build and equip a modern navy. Their answer was to seek warships and designs from established warship design and construction firms overseas. USS Maine (ACR-1) was based upon the design of a Brazilian ironclad. USS Texas was a British design. The first cruisers were also mostly British designs. In the 1890s France and Russia were the leading naval powers after Great Britain. Both of their navies relied upon French design theories. The United States Navy decided to incorporate those theories into one of its newest designs, the armored cruiser Brooklyn (ACR-3). 

USS New York was the first true armored cruiser for the United States, as the Maine had been rerated as a second class battleship. This elegant cruiser had three funnels of moderate height had a broadside of five eight-inch guns, mounted in twin gun turrets fore and aft and single open mounts on port and starboard amidships. The hull was slab-sided with a slight tumblehome. The slab-sided design was more in keeping with British design theories but with her heavy military masts and main armament positions amidships, New York did show significant traits of French design theory.

The next armored cruiser design for the USN marked the acceptance of French design theories, hook, line and sinker. With Brooklyn the full French influence was abundantly seen. First and foremost was the extreme tumblehome of the hull. If any American warship deserved to be called "She", it was the Brooklyn. With her graceful curves tapering inward and the curvature of the sponsons for the amidships gun turrets, Brooklyn displayed feminine grace and charm next to slab-sided designs. Her extreme ram bow, very high freeboard, and almost equally dramatic curving stern, all were French warship characteristics. Almost everything was curved rather than angular, accentuating the alluring, almost feminine design.

Brooklyn was the first ship of the New Navy that used exclusively American components for the hull and all major components. It had taken almost ten years for the American warship building infrastructure to be re-established after decades of neglect. She was heavily armed for her size. Because of the extreme tumblehome, the amidships turrets resting on sponsons could theoretically fire bow on and stern on, giving six guns that could be trained in almost any direction. The Brooklyn also had a very high freeboard and the turrets were mounted higher than contemporary designs. This allowed the guns to be fought in almost any weather condition. Another striking feature of the cruiser was the three thin, extraordinarily tall stacks. More than 100 feet high, these were higher than any others in the USN. The height of the stacks allowed for greater forced draught and a correspondingly higher speed from the machine plant. Although Brooklyn had the same horsepower as New York, she was faster than her half-sister due to the hull form and increased draught given by the higher funnels. 


Plan & Profile
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Built at Cramp Yards in Philadelphia, Brooklyn was launched in October 1895. She was rated as an armored cruiser because she was given a three-inch belt of armor in addition to the armored deck that was found in "Protected Cruiser" designs. Brooklyn also employed electric drive for the turrets for the first time. The forward and starboard amidships turrets were driven by electricity and the stern and port amidships turrets driven by steam. Electric drive proved clearly superior and utilized thereafter.

Commissioned in December 1896, after trials and shakedown, her first official duty was to represent the United States for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. She was in Venezuelan waters as the war clouds darkened. Upon returning to the United States from Venezuela, she became part of the North Atlantic Squadron. Brooklyn became the flagship for Commodore Schley’s "Flying Squadron" on March 28, 1898. The initial mission of the Flying Squadron was to respond to any threats upon the merchant fleet or East coast ports by Spanish raiders or cruiser squadrons.

"On May 13, Commodore Winfield Scott Schley took his ‘Quaker-hued’ flagship Brooklyn out of Hampton Roads, followed by the battleships Massachusetts and Texas, and the supporting vessels of the Flying Squadron. They were stripped for action-there was not even a band on the flagship, though the mess stewards of the mandolin and guitar club played catchy tunes while the officers dined. Afterward, they saved scraps for the ship’s mascot, a goat names Old Billy." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 249) With the advent of war with Spain, the Flying Squadron was sent to the south coast of Cuba on May 18 to blockade the port of Cienfuegos. The overall commander, Rear Admiral Sampson, although not having been yet confirmed in that grade by the Senate and still being paid in the grade of Captain, sent Schley with the Brooklyn, Texas, Massachusetts and Iowa on that mission.

It is ironic that Brooklyn could have been lost in the same manner that probably destroyed the Maine. At Key West on May 16, the Brooklyn suffered a fire in a coal bunker next to a magazine. "The ammunition was quickly run out of the magazine on dollies and steam was spewed into the bunker to extinguish the fire." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 249


Quarter Views & Hull Detail
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Schley’s Wrong Moves
At first Schley thought the Spanish Squadron was in Cienfuegos since smoke was observed over the harbor and it was thought that mastheads of warships could be made out. After a few days, Schley learned from Cuban insurrectionists the Spanish Squadron was not there and Schley made for Santiago. On May 26 the "Flying Squadron" arrived off of Santiago. Although the Spanish Squadron was already in the port Schley did not believe they were there. He did not approach any closer than 15 miles. That evening Schley ordered his squadron to steam to Key West for coal. Captain Evans of the Iowa was furious, as he wanted to close with Santiago. However the American Squadron steamed unwittingly away from their quarry. The Spanish officers were totally perplexed. On the morning of the 27th, 40 miles from Santiago, Schley changed his mind and retraced his steps to Santiago. The squadron was back to 10 miles from Santiago by the night of the 28th and the next morning, when they closed within 5 miles of the port, it was finally discovered that the Spanish Cruiser Squadron was indeed there.

The "Flying Squadron" was ordered to rejoin Admiral Sampson’s main force, or rather Sampson with the Atlantic Squadron joined Schley with the Flying Squadron off of the port of Santiago. When Admiral Cervera’s small Spanish cruiser squadron was blockaded at Santiago, Cuba, Brooklyn was there.

Cervera’s Decision
Admiral Cervera, commander of the Spanish cruiser squadron, knew that he was hopelessly outgunned. He had no chance of beating the heavy USN forces arrayed against him. However, his ships had speed and he thought that he could outrun most of the US ships, especially the slow battleships. As he looked at the Admiral Sampson’s disposition of the heavy US ships, he noticed that they were concentrated to the east. It appeared the blockade was designed to most of all prevent eastward flight to Havana or San Juan, Puerto Rico. One major combatant was stationed to the west, barring flight in that direction, the USS Brooklyn. This was the one American ship that worried him. 





 

 

Brooklyn Vital Statistics

Dimensions: Length- 400 feet 6 inches; Beam- 64 feet 8 inches; Draught- 24 feet: Displacement: 9,215 tons Complement: 46 officers, 470 enlisted

Armament: Eight 8-Inch/35; Twelve 5-Inch/40; Twelve 6-pounders; Four 1-pounders; Four Gatlings; Four 18-Inch Torpedo Tubes
Armor: Belt- 3 Inches; Turrets- 5 1/2 Inches

Machinery: Four vertical triple expansion engines, twin screw; 18,769 ihp; Maximum Speed- 21.91 knots

 

In conference the day before the escape attempt, Cervera arranged his plans to prevent the Brooklyn from stopping his escape. "The Brooklyn was considered the swiftest ship in the American squadron. At a captain’s meeting the day before Cervera had ordered that the Infanta Maria Teresa would lead the charge out of the channel and try to ram Schley’s cruiser." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 332)

On the morning of July 3, 1898 Cervera again confirmed the orders for the Infanta Maria Teresa. "Go for the Brooklyn, Cervera ordered. Concas adjusted the helm. The fast cruiser in than she had been at dawn, but still well outside the blockading arc. They might be able to ram her, allowing the ships behind to pass inside and escape to the west." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at pages 337-338) At 0:930 Infanta Maria Teresa was the first of the Spanish cruisers to boil out of the harbor of Santiago. She was resplendent in her black and yellow paint scheme, shining brass and flying a huge silk scarlet and yellow, Spanish battle flag. True to orders, she made for the Brooklyn.

Command Problems
Admiral Sampson aboard New York had departed from the fleet so the Admiral could attend a conference with the US Army commander, putting Commodore Schley in defacto command. As the ship’s crew prepared for inspection at 9:30 AM, the Spanish squadron sortied out of the harbor. Admiral Sampson had basically ignored Schley in their joint blockade and there had been little for Schley to do in the tedious weeks of watching the harbor. "The commodore’s first thought was to clarify his command responsibilities-with Sampson conning the fleet, and Cook commanding the Brooklyn, Schley had actually exercised little authority during the long days of the blockade. Graham heard him hail the bridge: ‘Can you see the flagship?’ ‘No sir. The New York is out of sight,’ a quartermaster answered. ‘Then its our fight,’ Schley announced. Lieutenant Hodgson called out, ‘Commodore, they are coming right at us!’ ‘Well,’ Schley replied, ‘go right for them!’ The Brooklyn charged in accelerating." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 340


Hull Detail
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"Aboard the Brooklyn, Commodore Schley had stationed himself on a wooden platform next to the conning tower, from which he could both view the battle and communicate with the bridge. At this moment his attention was not directed at the Spanish ships but to the east. ‘Can you see the flagship?’ he called to Lieutenant Hodgson. ‘No, sir. The New York is ought of sight.’ Schley flashed a smile of satisfaction. He was not fond of Admiral Sampson, and the Admiral had picked the wrong moment to leave the blockade. Commodore Schley considered himself, as senior officer, now to be in command of the combined squadron in what was clearly to be the decisive battle of the Spanish War. ‘Commodore,’ Hodgson yelled, ‘they are coming right at us!’ ‘Go right for them!’ Schley answered." (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898, by G.J.A. O’Toole, at page 331)

Infanta Maria Teresa Attempts to Ram Brooklyn
The Brooklyn charged the Spanish cruisers, unaware of Cervera’s orders for Infanta Maria Teresa to ram the Brooklyn. "As the Maria Teresa passed Diamond Bank at nine thirty-five, Victor Concas put her bow directly at the Brooklyn." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 340)

"As soon as the Teresa went out,’ Cervera recalled, ‘she opened fire on the nearest hostile ship, but shaping her course straight for the Brooklyn, which was to the southwest, for it was of the utmost importance to us to place this ship in a condition where she would not be able to make use of her superior speed. The rest of our ships engaged in battle with the other hostile ships, which came at once from the different points where they were stationed." (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898, by G.J.A. O’Toole, at page 330)

The Loop
As the ships neared, the next maneuver of Brooklyn would forever mar the record of the battle and create controversy for years to come. Brooklyn turned to the starboard, to the east away from the battle, rather than to port to fall alongside the westward bound Spanish squadron. "The Brooklyn and the Maria Teresa charged towards each other, headed almost bow to bow, at a combined speed of almost 20 knots. Schley realized that in a few moments they would be within the thousand-yard range of the Spanish Bustamente torpedoes; the Maria Teresa seemed intent upon ramming. Cook observed that they would soon pass into the zone of crossfire between the American and Spanish ships. Yes, Schley acknowledged." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 342


Hull Detail
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"Our joyously converging ships were already in danger from each other’s cross-fire; while the Brooklyn, charging up in a north-easterly direction, found herself almost head on to the Teresa, and the closest of all our vessels to the Spanish fleet. The Teresa swung to ram, but then fell off and broke westward with her consorts. The Brooklyn might have turned with them, but it would have brought her still closer alongside. Instead her helm was suddenly put hard to port; she swung in a wide circle to starboard away from the enemy and toward the east and south, finally coming around until she was on a parallel course with the Spaniards, but considerably farther out. To Admiral Sampson, a distant spectator, and to later critics, this seemed to be running away from the enemy; it had the disadvantage also of losing time and involving the Brooklyn with our fleet." (The Martial Spirit, A Study of Our War with Spain, by Walter Millis, at page 306)

In the initial confusion Brooklyn almost rammed the second class battleship USS Texas and oncoming Iowa also had to make a quick change of direction to avoid collision with the rapidly maneuvering and slowing Texas. As Captain Jack Phillips of the Texas turned his battleship towards the harbor entrance, he saw the Brooklyn. "Through heavy smoke he glimpsed the Brooklyn off his port quarter. She ‘was plowing up the water at a great rate in a course almost due north, direct for the oncoming Spanish ships, and nearly a mile from the Texas." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 342

"A puff of wind momentarily cleared away the pall of smoke before the onrushing Texas. Philip gasped. ‘There, bearing towards us and across our bows, turning on her port helm, with big waves curling over her bows and great clouds of black smoke pouring from her funnels, was the Brooklyn…so near that it took our breath away." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 343)

"The Maria Teresa had come out of the harbor, run due south until she cleared the shoals, then turned toward the Brooklyn, which was some three miles to the southwest…At 10:05 AM the Maria Teresa and the Brooklyn had closed to within six hundred yards of each other, when the Brooklyn began to veer to starboard. Most of the other American ships were, at this moment turning to port, i.e., from a northerly heading – toward the harbor – to a westerly heading – the direction in which the Spanish squadron was turning to flee along the coast. The Brooklyn’s maneuver brought it across the path of the battleship Texas, which was immediately to her east, steaming west in hot pursuit of the enemy. To avoid a collision, the Texas was forced to stop her engines and come to a halt. The Brooklyn continued to turn to port until she had made nearly a full circle, then headed west, parallel to the course of the Spanish ships. The turn confused both Spanish and American onlookers…Schley would angrily deny ‘the silly twaddle that, in turning outward for tactical advantage, [the Brooklyn] separated herself to any appreciable extent from the battle line.’ The reason for the maneuver, he explained, was to avoid being rammed by one of the first two Spanish ships." (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898, by G.J.A. O’Toole, at page 332


Smaller Resin Parts - A Barbette, Aft Superstructure Deck & Pilot House
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The maneuver of the Brooklyn confused friend and foe alike. "Concas was astonished by the Brooklyn’s turn to starboard – ‘it would seem more reasonable for it to have [been] made to port.’ As Brooklyn sped away from Maria Teresa and past the oncoming Vizcaya, she spoke her port battery of 8-inch guns. The ships came so close that Schley could see sailors on the Vizcaya – ‘I observed daylight between their legs as they ran." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 342)

Watching from the New York Chappie Goode saw the Brooklyn. "Suddenly, he saw a gray form break through the American line heading to the south; he thought that it must be a Spanish ship escaping – then the three towering, hundred-foot, black-capped stacks of the Brooklyn showed clearly on the horizon. She appeared disabled. A man beside him shouted, ‘The Brooklyn’s gone!’ Goode’s hopes fell; only the Brooklyn could keep up with the Spanish cruisers. ‘What can be the matter?’ Sampson exclaimed. But as they watched apprehensively, the Brooklyn veered west and again pursued the fleeing Spanish. On the New York cheers of relief split the sky." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 344)

Brooklyn made an almost full circle and was picking up speed in her westward rush after the Spanish ships. However, she had lost distance and significantly slowed the pursuit of the American battleships. When she came out of her loop, she was third in line behind Iowa and Texas. "Whatever Schley’s motive for turning away from the Spanish line and across the bows of the three battleships turning westward, two near-collisions resulted and the American pursuit was slowed. French Chadwick estimated the Texas lost three miles in the chase. Schley, too, lost vital ground." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 345


Smaller Resin Parts - Pilot House & 8-Inch Turrets
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The Westward Chase
By the time Brooklyn had come out of the loop and was steaming west, she had indeed lost ground but Infanta Maria Teresa and Almirante Oquendo shortly beached themselves as burning wrecks. Brooklyn was hampered in that her two forward engines were uncoupled at the time in order to allow for economical cruising. The ship did not have the time to stop to recouple these engines, so she was relegated to half power and 16 knots during the engagement, which still made her one of the fastest ships in the engagement. It would take 20 minutes to stop, couple the forward engines, and then resume the chase and that was 20 minutes Schley did not want to loose. Sampson’s flagship, the armored cruiser New York had the same mechanical arrangement and she too had her forward engines uncoupled. Admiral Cervera’s greatest fear was the speed of the US armored cruisers and therefore it is very ironic that both of them were limited to half power. Even at half power, Brooklyn was still fast enough to overtake the Texas, Iowa and draw even with the second Spanish ship in line, the Vizcaya.

Vizcaya Attempts to Ram Brooklyn
Captain Eulate of the Vizcaya knew he couldn’t escape Brooklyn. From being well behind the Spanish cruiser because of the loop of Brooklyn, Schley’s flagship had drawn even. What he could do was to do something that would allow the fastest of the Spanish ships and which was still west of Brooklyn, the Colon, to escape. He chose to attempt to ram Brooklyn. For this gallant gesture, Vizcaya would pay a terrible price. On Vizcaya, "Captain Eulate made a final effort to ram the Brooklyn, but it was useless. Then a steam-pipe burst. Then something else happened – they thought that it was one of the forward boilers going up, but it was probably the explosion of one of their own torpedoes, which broke up the whole bow of the ship." (The Martial Spirit, A Study of Our War with Spain, by Walter Millis, at page 310)

"The Vizcaya and Colon continued to run to the west. The Brooklyn was now in the lead of the pursuers and nearly abeam of the Vizcaya. ‘Get in close, Cook, and we’ll fix her,’ Commodore Schley called. Guns blazing, the Brooklyn closed into a range of 950 yards…Shuddering beneath the pounding of the Brooklyn’s batteries, the Vizcaya began to turn to port, her bow swinging toward the American ship. It seemed she was preparing to ram. ‘Just at that moment, an eight-inch shell from [the Brooklyn’s] starboard turret struck her a slanting blow on the bow,…and there was a terrific explosion. Every one of us who were watching knew it was more of an explosion than an eight-inch shell would make and we held our glasses on her to discover her injury. It became apparent, as the smoke cleared, that the shell had undoubtedly exploded a torpedo placed in her tube to fire at us, and that it had blown out a large section of her bow.’ An eight-inch shell struck her next. ‘We could see men’s bodies hurled into the air, and see others dropping over the sides. One end of her bridge tumbled down as though the underpinning was driven out, and then at 11:06 o’clock she turned and ran for shore, hauling down her flag, her deck one mass of flames, and the ammunition, which had been brought up to supply her deck guns, exploding in every direction." (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898, by G.J.A. O’Toole, at page 335-336


Smaller Resin Parts - Other Guns, Stacks, Propulsion Gear, Binnacles & Cranes
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After Vizcaya drove herself aground, that left only Colon of the Spanish cruisers. Colon had been drawing away from the American pursuers, with Brooklyn being the nearest at six miles, and then logistics intervened. Not all coal is the same. For generating high heat and accordingly high steam pressure the harder the coal aboard ship, the better. Just when it looked like the Colon might escape, she ran out of good quality, hard coal. What she had left in her bunkers was soft local coal loaded at Santiago. When the soft coal went into the furnaces of Colon, the generated heat and therefore steam pressure decreased. The propeller shafts made fewer revolutions per minute and her speed fell off significantly. Oregon was on hand to take advantage of the situation. Oregon took a ranging shot at Colon, which fell astern of the cruiser. On her second 13-inch ranging shot, a column of water sprung up in front of Colon’s bow. Colon, a Garibaldi Class armored cruiser, recently purchased by Spain from Italy, never had installed her 10-inch main armament, which was still awaiting her in Genoa. With no main guns to engage Oregon and with the range of her secondary battery being too short to hit Oregon, the captain of the Colon saw that his escape was impossible. Rather than sacrifice his crew in vain, with no hope of successes, he too steered for the shore and beached the cruiser.

During the engagement Brooklyn was struck over 20 times and suffered the only American death, a George Ellis, a Chief Yeoman who was on top of the forward turret taking range. "Plainly distinguishable from the hum and buzz of the Spaniash shells…there came a dull, sickening thud, and the warm blood and brains spattering in our faces and on our clothes gave warning of a fatality….’ A naval officer recorded, ‘His head was severed completely from his body, very much as one might snip off the head of an insect with the finger.’ The head flew overboard; the body, for an instant, remained perfectly erect, the hands still holding the stadimeter, then slowly toppled." ." (A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 346)


Smaller Resin Parts - Boom, Anchors & Ventilator Funnels
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The rest of her career was marked by action and ceremonial duties. In October 1899 she became flagship for the Asiatic Squadron. In this capacity Brooklyn was described as looking like "a fat mother hen and a great flock of tiny chicks" The chicks being the 24 gunboats of the squadron. In 1900 she took part in the Boxer Rebellion in China, when she landed 318 marines in the Chinese port of Taku. In April 1901 she represented the United States at the opening of the first Australian Parliament at Melbourne. In May 1902 she was present at Havana, when governmental control of the island was transferred to the newly formed Cuban Government and in July transported the body of the British Ambassador to the US to Southampton. In May 1904 Brooklyn took part in the Perdicaris Affair, when she was sent to Tangiers, Morocco. (Subject of the Sean Connery movie, "The Wind and the Lion"). In 1905 she steamed to France to bring back the body of the naval hero of the American Revolution, John Paul Jones.

By World War One Brooklyn was obsolescent and was sent to the Asiatic Squadron. In October 1917 with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Brooklyn was sent to Vladivostok. The commander of the Asiatic Squadron stated that the crew of his flagship behaved themselves with the utmost decorum but a Soviet historian stated that Brooklyn trained her guns on the city to influence the election campaign for the Constituent Assembly. She was back to Vladivostok in July 1918 as part of the allied interventionist force. Brooklyn was decommissioned in March 1921 and sold for scrap on December 20, 1921.

The controversy between Schley and Sampson continued long past both commander’s deaths. Each commander had ardent partisans that trumpeted their respective cause. The public regarded Schley as the hero of the Battle of Santiago. However, Sampson, bitter with the perception that his chance at glory was unfairly stolen from him, accused Schley of cowardice in steering Brooklyn away from the Spanish line in the famous loop. Schley, not to his credit, claimed that this decision was made by Captain Cook of the Brooklyn. However, Schley added that he would have made the very same decision as made by Cook. It all came to a head in 1899 when author, E.S. Maclay and an ardent partisan of Admiral Sampson, published his third volume of The History of the United States Navy, which was scheduled to be a text book at the Naval Academy. In his history, Maclay used very derogatory terms about Schley, such as "timidity amounting to cowardice’, turned in caitiff flight", "humiliating retreat" and "avoid your enemy for as long as possible and if makes for you, run." In it he accused Schley of base cowardice for turning away from the Spanish. Schley was naturally infuriated and demanded a Court of Inquiry, which convened in 1901. Through back channels President Theodore Roosevelt let it be known to the board that he wished the whole matter to go away quietly. The board, headed by Admiral Dewey, absolved Schley of any inappropriate behavior and the offending textbook was recalled, not to be issued to the young midshipmen of the Academy. (Bulk of the history for Brooklyn is from The Armoured Cruiser USS Brooklyn, Warship 1991 by William C. Emerson, The Martial Spirit, A Study of Our War with Spain, by Walter Millis, at page 310, A Ship to Remember, The Maine and the Spanish-American War by Michael Blow at page 346, The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898, by G.J.A. O’Toole, at page 335-336 and U.S. Armored Cruisers by Ivan Musicant.)


Smaller Resin Parts - Plenty of Two-Piece J Ventilator Funnels
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The YS Master Pieces Brooklyn
Ancient Greece is the birth place of democracy, of the historian with Herodotus, of science, of political science and of a great many more fundamentals of western society. The beauty of classical Greek architecture and sculpture excites admiration 2,500 years later. However, in the field of resin warship models, the classical Greek era is in full bloom today. Yiannis Sagiadinos, the owner of YS Master Pieces has created a classic with his 1:350 scale model of the USS Brooklyn. It nears perfection in the quality of the model’s design, production and detail. It is not really a model but more of an exact miniature in its fineness.

The hull casting to the USS Brooklyn by YS Master Pieces is in a word, fabulous. It is one of the best, if not the best, model warship hulls that I have ever seen. Clearly Mr. Sagiadinos made the master a work of love, for he has crammed extraordinary detail into every inch of this casting. First of all are the curves. There are more curves than found on any actress of the 1950s or 1960s. You really have to look at the hull closely to notice some of the complexity modeled by YSM. As the tumblehome rises from the armored belt it transforms into a complex curve that is slightly convex as it approaches the deck. You really don’t notice at first because the eye is drawn to the magnificent amidships sponsons and numerous curving hull gun positions for the secondary and tertiary guns.

Scrollwork – who doesn’t love scrollwork on the bow of a warship? The Brooklyn had plenty and it is all there with the YSM Brooklyn. It is very intricate and captured to perfection. Each side has eight hull gun positions that feature drop down doors. The YSM Brooklyn captures these positions with the doors in the up position. Each position has multiple numbers of these doors with a clearly defined door, hinges and porthole in the middle. If you want to model the Brooklyn with the doors down, YSM provides optional parts to do so. On the photo-etch fret they provide a great many brass gun doors. Of course you would have to sand the gun position smooth first and if wished to show depth, drill out and square off the position. It gives me the willies just thinking about taking a drill to this beauty but if you want open gun positions, you can do so with the optional brass doors and a little work.

Not only are the gun position doors well defined but if you look closely at the hull, or at most photographs of the original Brooklyn, you’ll notice that the line of portholes closest to the deck are actually a round portholes centered on square doors. YSM has also perfectly captured these features, complete with hinges. If you have to have some open doors on the hull, you might consider opening up a few of these. Their doors swing up, rather than down as in the doors of the gun positions. That is not the end to the fine detail on the hull sides. Each side has shields for two above water torpedo tubes as well as the rounded bow position on the cutwater. Other excellent detail comes from the two vertical runs of foot rungs going up the side of the hull, a couple of square hull panels on each side and a row of very small rectangular plates running the length of the ship, slightly above the waterline. The bilge keels beautifully done, sturdy but sufficiently delicate. That is just a summary of the hull sides detail.


Brass Photo-Etch Fret 1
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The deck area also receives the same, intensive detailing as the hull sides. Of course there is the requisite crisply executed sets of bollards and cleats. The forward capstan captures the convex shape of the original. As far as the multitude of square or rectangular deck fittings, each one as extra-fine detail. Deck hatches show dogs and panels. The two aft skylights have individual windowpanes. There are a number of deck ventilation positions, each of which has delicately scribed louvers and of course there is a small, very finely done winch to the port rear of X barbette. Deck planking is scribed very delicately, so as not to be overdone. The hull casting only requires minimum clean up. There is a very slight seam on the bottom of the hull that requires a bit of touch-up with a sanding pad, plus a little touch up of the bow and stern centerlines. There was no breakage, no voids and no imperfections of any kind. It is one of the cleanest and nicest hulls that I have seen.

Smaller Resin Parts
They may be the smaller parts but they receive the same careful eye towards detail as received by the hull casting. YSM designed the rear of the forecastle as a separate part, rather than cast it as part of the hull. This part also has the conning tower with an unusual shield/entrance to the rear. It also has the A barbette which will also sit atop the forecastle deck on the hull casting. As with the main deck, you get bollards and cleats with base plates but also a highly detailed winch cast into this part. If you look closely at the photographs, you will see one of the very few imperfections in this kit, a small pin-hole void in the corner of one fitting. Any imperfection is almost impossible to find with the YSM Brooklyn. Since this is a separate part, there will be a small seam at the junction of this part with the forecastle of the hull casting that will probably need some touch up.

A second prominent deck is for the aft superstructure through which the mainmast base fits. The big feature on this piece is a large, very intricate winch, which is a different pattern as that found on the forecastle deck. The pilot house/ bridge piece really stands out in the complexity of the scribing used in the part. The pilothouse was made of mahogany panels. All of the paneling lines are captured by YSM, as well as the numerous windowsills. The inclined ladder openings have coamings surrounding each opening. A small amount of clean up is required here as YSM cast vertical supports to this piece in order to prevent the bridge from breaking. It will be a simple matter to remove these supports with a hobby knife. There were a few pin-hole voids in this piece, which are again, easily filled with a small drop of superglue and then sanded.

The 8-Inch gun turrets are spectacular. All you have to do is to examine the photographs to know what I mean. There are two large hatches on each turret roof with hinges but each turret’s three round sighting hoods are the big attraction. Each one features incised vision slits all around the circumference and really commands attention. A small amount of sanding is needed at the rear of each turret where they were attached to a casting vent. Each 8-Inch gun barrel is multi sleeved but has a solid muzzle. You will have to remove some excess resin from the tip but the muzzle area is clearly defined, so you’ll know where to make the cut. You may want to drill out the muzzles if you wish to portray the ship in a ready for action status. The same applies to the secondary and tertiary gun barrels. None of these finely cast resin barrels was warped, which is significant, as these thin parts are very susceptible to warpage.


Brass Photo-Etch Fret 1
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The three narrow prominent stacks also reflect excellence in execution. The steam pipes with their support brackets and the reinforcing bands joining each segment of each funnel are not afterthoughts. These three pieces, which seem so simple, are also extraordinarily well done. The ends of the stacks are hollow. When assembled with their photo-etch grates, they will have a satisfying depth in the final completed model. Underwater gear is also given attention. The rudder has hinges at the attachment points with the hull and the supports are cast as part of the propeller shafts. This is a thoughtful touch, as sometimes you don’t get a perfect alignment when the supports are cast separately.

Any warship built in this era would have numerous prominent ventilator funnels. These were absolutely required fittings that were mounted in an effort to cool down the machinery spaces and generally ventilate the ship. These funnels almost always had revolving tops. At sea the J-shaped funnel openings were swung with the openings forward to get maximum cooling and ventilation or in cold environments could be swung to the rear. The ship’s draft while underway would evacuate interior fumes from the ship without forcing very cold air into the interior. At anchor the openings to the funnels would most often be swung to face the wind, so that the prevailing wind provided the interior ventilation. For the first time that I can remember, a model warship manufacturer has provided two-piece ventilator funnels, divided at the juncture of the shaft and revolving cowl. This allows the modeler of the YSM Brooklyn to build the model with these prominent cowlings facing in any direction. This design is another clear indicator of the intense design process and level of detail included by YS Master Pieces.

Brass Photo-Etch Frets
YSM includes two large brass frets with their Brooklyn. Another indicator of 1st class quality with this model is that the frets are enclosed in a envelope especially printed with a profile of the Brooklyn. The envelope protects the brass from damage but the envelope’s printing shows the no-expense-barred quality that goes into every facet of a model from YS Master Pieces. The YSM approach to brass photo-etch is very similar to that used by White Ensign Models. Photo-etch is a very prominent and dominant item in any YSM kit and their Brooklyn is no exception. Another common feature between the two companies is the heavy use of relief etched parts.


Brass Photo-Etch Fret 2
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Fret One has most of the ship specific items. Ship’s boat’s fittings and facilities take up a good percentage of this fret. Most of the ship’s boats were stored on boat skids amidships. YSM provides all of these skids in brass. This allows the use of very fine and thin parts without warping that occur in rein parts of this thinness. There are nine boat thwarts of different sizes, each of which has it’s own set of oars. This fret contains the optional drop down doors of the hull gun positions and also optional clamp down plates found where the eight-inch barrels enter the turrets. You can not help but be impressed with the open wickerwork flooring provided for many of the platforms on this fret. Almost every other part is relief etched. Block and tackle for the boat cranes and boom, small QF guns, boat davits, hatches, boat thwarts, the wicker work platforms, ship’s bell and some of the inclined ladders, all feature relief etching.

Fully two thirds of the second fret is devoted to the various types of railing carried by the Brooklyn. All of this reflects the type of railing used in that day, using high stanchions. This fret also has multi piece accommodation ladders with two wicker platforms and two runs of inclined ladder for each accommodation ladder. It takes more work to assemble than your average brass accommodation ladder but the result is as close to prototype as YSM, or anybody else or that matter, can produce. Another step beyond the ordinary, is the inclusion of canopy frames for each of the three steam launches provided in the kit. You can portray the steam launches with these frames, eight per launch, erected with or without a top canopy. Of course YSM also provides the propellers for the small gems.


Box & Instructions
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Instructions
If you have not seen instructions for a model from YS Master Pieces, you are missing some of these highest quality instructions available in the market. The standard against which I measure instructions, has always been those produced by White Ensign Models. I have always considered WEM instructions the best in the industry. However, YSM instructions are of such superb quality, that I have to say that they are equal to WEM in overall quality, standing atop the pyramid from the others. With YSM the instructions are in a metal ring binder, not stapled, and include plastic document covers. They show step by step the assembly, the assembly of the model in very clear drawings and English text. There are over 30 separate major steps shown in this manner, along with a great number of separate, smaller inset drawings. At the end is a two-page fold out plan and profile, followed by another two-page fold out full color profile, showing the Brooklyn in her white and buff paint scheme. This document displays quality throughout and the production quality is of the 1st order.


Instructions
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Verdict
It is only fitting that Yiannis Sagiadinos signs the cover of each set of instructions. In its way the YS Master Pieces USS Brooklyn is very much like a piece of art rather than a mass-produced object. Every component is of the highest quality. The resin parts, the brass frets, the instructions, everywhere you look each item is of uncompromising quality. In my opinion the YS Master Pieces is one of the best warship models that is readily commercially available in any medium. Commodore Schley would be proud of this model of his flagship at the Battle of Santiago.

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