The Protective Deck of the Cruiser
By Patrick McSherry
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This is a rare view of the installation of OLYMPIA's
protective deck during her construction. The angled shape toward the
side of the ship with the flat central portion can be plainly seen.
The only "armor" on the OLYMPIA (in addition to
her turrets and conning tower) is her "protective deck." It is this deck
which is the indicator of her class of ships - "protected cruiser." The
protective deck was a layer of armor, below the level of the torpedo deck,
which was intended to protect the ship's vitals - her engines, boilers,
dynamos and magazines.
The construction of the protective deck is plainly visible from below.
The deck began below the waterline on one side of the ship, angled up to
the level of the torpedo deck floor where it became level and formed
this deck. As it approached the hull on the opposite side, it again
angled down to to below the waterline.
In this image, the protective deck can be seen
overhead. This image was taken at the point that the deck begins to
angle down to below the waterline.
The center, horizontal portion of the deck is two inches thick, and on
the slopes, where the deck proceeds down at an angle toward the outer
hull to a point below the waterline, it is four and three-quarters
inches thick. It is supported by intermediate bulb tee frames following
the contour of the deck transversely through the vessel and spaced at
approximately four foot intervals.
The OLYMPIA is one of only three protected
cruisers in existence today, the others being slightly more modern -
Russia's AURORA and Japan's MIKASA.
Proceed to the Cofferdam and Wing
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