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Armored cruiser

The armored cruiser was a naval cruiser protected by armor on the sides as well as the decks and gun positions.

The development of the explosive shell gun[?] in the mid-1800s made the use of armor inevitable, despite its cost and weight, and armored cruisers began to appear in all navies.

(whose was first?)

Armored cruisers were the chief combatants in two naval battles: the Battle of Ulsan[?] in the Russo-Japanese War, and the Battle of Coronel in World War I, and played important supporting roles in other battles of the period.

Armored cruisers in the US Navy

The first armored cruiser of the United States Navy was the USS Maine, whose explosion in 1898 triggered the Spanish-American War. Launched in 1889, she had 7-12 inches of armor around the sides ("belt armor"), and 1-4 inches on the decks. She was redesignated as a "second class battleship" in 1894, an awkward compromise reflecting slowness compared to other cruisers, and weakness versus the first-line battleships of the time.

The New York (Armored Cruiser No. 2), launched in 1895, was less weighty than the Maine, with 3 inches of belt armor, and 3-6 inches of deck armor. Brooklyn (Armored Cruiser No. 3) was an improved version of the New York design.

Shortly after the Spanish-American War, the Navy built six Pennsylvania-class[?] armored cruisers, almost immediately followed by five of the Tennessee class[?].

On 17 July 1920, all existing US armored cruisers were merged with protected cruisers in a single class "cruiser" with hull classification symbol "CA" (not to be confused with the later use of the "CA" for heavy cruisers), bringing to an end the use of the term in the US.

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