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In the spring of 1917, when the United States entered the First World War, the need for more sailors and marines became paramount. In order to spark interest among young men and convince them to volunteer for the war, the US Navy decided to erect a huge wooden replica of a battleship in Union Square, in the heart of New York City.

Called USS Recruit —since its purpose was recruitment— the wooden battleship mockup measured over 200 feet long and had a width of 40 feet. It carried two cage masts, a conning tower and a dummy smokestack. It was also equipped with six wooden replicas of 14-inch guns in three twin turrets, ten wooden five-inch anti-torpedo boat guns and two replica one-pound saluting guns, matching the configuration of battleships of the time.

uss-recruit-union-square-1

Photo credit: Library of Congress

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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