Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 1898 -- The battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in the harbor at Havana, Cuba, killing more than 260 people and precipitating the Spanish-American War.

The explosion -- which to this day is undetermined -- was so powerful that it obliterated the first third of the ship. This is where most of the men were sleeping.

The upper deck of the bow flew into the air, turned over, and landed on the middle third of the ship. This middle section was severely damaged by the blast, its sides almost blowing out and its interior a mass of twisted metal.

The final third of the ship was almost completely intact.

The main mast of the Maine continued to stand upright on the wreck. Today, it is incorporated into a shrine to the dead at the USS Maine Mast Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

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