USS Arkansas (BM-7)

The second USS Arkansas, was a single-turreted "New Navy" monitor and one of the last monitors built for the United States Navy. Arkansas was ordered on 4 May 1898 and awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company on 11 October 1899.[1] She was laid down just over a month later on 14 November 1899. Arkansas was launched almost a year later on 10 November 1900, sponsored by Mary L. Macon;[2] but not commissioned for another two years, on 28 October 1902,[3] with Commander Charles E. Vreeland in command.[2]

This last class of monitors had been designed and built because of public demand for coastal defense before the Spanish–American War. By the time they were built and commissioned their purpose had passed. They didn't fit into the Navy's new purpose and so they bounced around from different assignments to another. Arkansas and her sisters were refitted as submarine tenders in 1913 because of their low freeboards.[4]

Uss Arkansas BM7
USS Arkansas (M-7), fitting out at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., 1 July 1902. Her armament is completely installed and the ship is only four months away from commissioning. The ship in the background is the battleship Missouri.
United States
  • Arkansas (1899–1909)
  • Ozark (1909–1922)
Ordered: 4 May 1898
Awarded: 11 October 1899
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Cost: $1,110,025 (hull and machinery)
Laid down: 14 November 1899
Launched: 10 November 1900
Sponsored by: Mary L. Macon
Acquired: 8 September 1902
Commissioned: 28 October 1902
Decommissioned: 20 August 1919
Renamed: Ozark, 2 March 1909
Honors and
Mexican Service Medal
Fate: sold, 26 January 1922
General characteristics
Type: Arkansas-class monitor
  • 3,225 long tons (3,277 t) (standard)
  • 3,356 long tons (3,410 t) (full load)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (mean)
Installed power:
  • 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph) (design)
  • 12.03 kn (22.28 km/h; 13.84 mph) (on trial)
Complement: 13 officers 209 men


The Arkansas-class monitors had been designed to combine a heavy striking power with easy concealment and negligible target area. They had a displacement of 3,225 long tons (3,277 t; 3,612 short tons), measured 255 feetinch (77.75 m) in overall length, with a beam of 50 feet 1 inch (15.27 m) and a draft of 12 feet 6 inches (3.81 m). She was manned by a total crew of 13 officers and 209 men.[5]

Arkansas was powered by two vertical triple expansion engines driving two screw propellers with steam generated by four Thornycroft boilers.CITEREFShips'_Data1914 The engines in Arkansas were designed to produce 2,400 indicated horsepower (1,800 kW) with a top speed of 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph), however, on sea trials she was only able to produce 1,739 ihp (1,297 kW) with a top speed of 12.03 kn (22.28 km/h; 13.84 mph).CITEREFShips'_Data1914 Arkansas was designed to provide a range of 2,360 nautical miles (4,370 km; 2,720 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph).[5]

The ship was armed with a main battery of two 12-inch (305 mm)/40 caliber guns, either Mark 3 or Mark 4, in a Mark 4 turret.[6][7][5] The secondary battery consisted of four 4-inch (100 mm)/50 caliber Mark 7 guns[8] along with three 6-pounder 57 mm (2.2 in) guns. The main belt armor was 11 in (280 mm) in the middle tapering to 5 in (130 mm) at the ends. The gun turrets were between 10 and 9 in (250 and 230 mm), with 11 to 9 in (280 to 230 mm) barbettes. Arkansas also had a 1.5 in (38 mm) deck.[5]

Service history

After shakedown, Arkansas' first duty was with the US Naval Academy in 1902 as an instruction and cruise ship for midshipmen. She was then assigned to the Coast Squadron, North Atlantic Fleet, and cruised off the east coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the West Indies from 1903 to 1906. In 1906 she was once again assigned to the Naval Academy for instructional purposes until 1909.[2]

Ozark (M-7) in October, 1915, Pensacola, Florida.jpeg
Ozark (M-7) in October 1915, Pensacola, Florida.

Renamed Ozark, 2 March 1909, so her name could be used for the new USS Arkansas. She was assigned to the District of Columbia Naval Militia from 26 June 1910 to 6 March 1913, when she was recalled to the Norfolk Naval Yard to begin refitting, later that month, as a submarine tender. Ozark began her new duties as a tender on 12 July. In April 1914, Ozark participated in the United States occupation of Mexico, during the "Tampico Affair", which later made her sailors eligible for the Mexican Service Medal. On 13 October 1915, she arrived in New London, Connecticut, where the Navy established their first submarine base.[2]

World War I

Ozark was ordered to SubDiv 6, Atlantic Fleet, 6 April 1917 and soon proceeded back to Tampico, Mexico where she cruised off the coast protecting American and Allied shipping interests. She sailed for New Orleans, 18 December 1918, after which she cruised off Key West, Central America and the Panama Canal Zone.[2]

Post War

She returned to Hampton Roads 23 June 1919 and then on to Philadelphia, on 20 August, where she was decommissioned. When the US Navy went to two letter designators in 1920 she was redesignated BM-7 on 17 July. Ozark was sold, 26 January 1922 for scrapping.[2][9]


  1. ^ Ships' Data 1914, pp. 52–53.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ford 2008.
  3. ^ Ships' Data 1914.
  4. ^ Friedman 1985, pp. 409, 411.
  5. ^ a b c d Friedman 1985, p. 452.
  6. ^ Friedman 2011.
  7. ^ DiGiulian & 12"/40 2015.
  8. ^ DiGiulian & 4"/50 2015.
  9. ^ Yarnall 2016.



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