The Tillman Battleships pages


Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
14 August 2009
Reaction score
The "maximum battleships," also known as the "Tillman Battleships" were a series of World War I-era design studies for extremely large battleships, prepared in late 1916 and early 1917 to the order of Senator "Pitchfork" Benjamin Tillman of South Dakota. The only limits on the potential size of an American battleship were the dimensions of the locks of the Panama Canal. This makes them among the most spectacular battleship designs ever produced. The locks measure roughly 1000 feet by 110 feet, and so the "maximum battleships" were 975 feet (297 m) long and 108 feet (33 m) in beam. Harbor depths constrained draft to 32.75 feet (10 m). The United States Navy was not interested in the designs at all, and only drew them up to win support from the Committee on Naval Affairs, on which Tillman sat.

The "Tillman Battleships" designs are often confused as possible designs for the canceled South Dakota-class (BB 49) battleship. Wargamers and alternative history afficiados often give "Tillman Battleships" designs South Dakota-class penant numbers.

"The Tillman Battleships" pages at the Welll Brothers' Battleship Index provides extensive information and design drawings of the "maximum battleships":
The idea of Maximum battleships did not die with senator Tillman. During the "Naval Holiday" following the Washington treaty two more designs for maximum battleships were proposed.

The common features were:

length 975 feet
beam 107 feet

main battery: 8 X 20in

Belt 16in
deck 6.5in

One version had 88000shp machinery for 25.3 knots and 66000 tons displacement; the other 220000shp machinery for 30 knots and 72500 tons displacement.

Source: N.Friedman "U.S. battleships: An Illustrated Design History"


Your link above was outdated but I found the new one below:
Now, how many of you have modelled a Tillman? The 1/700 casting by Mike Bartel comes to mind.

Similar threads

Top Bottom