USA (1942-46) –
USS Cleveland, Columbia, Montpelier, Denver, Amsterdam, Santa Fe, Tallahassee, Birmingham, Mobile, Vincennes, Pasadena, Springfield, Topeka, New Haven, Huntington, Dayton, Wilmington, Biloxi, Houston, Providence, Manchester, Buffalo, Fargo, Vicksburg, Duluth, Newark, Miami, Astoria, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Galveston, Youngstown, Buffalo, Newark, Amsterdam, Portsmouth, Wilkes-Barre, Atlanta, Dayton
The WW2 standard USN light cruisers
USS Denver Underway, circa December 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
The Cleveland-class cruisers form the series of buildings of this most prolific tonnage ever. With 29 units completed on 52 pins, 13 cancellations and 10 converted into fast aircraft carriers (USS Independance class), it was the new standard of “light” cruisers, in fact only in contrast with the Baltimore, as their tonnage was 12,000 tonnes empty and 14,000 full load, above Washington limits (10,000 tonnes for heavy cruisers).
Among these units, two will be completed on a different design, the USS Fargo and the USS Huntington. It was in 1942 to give them a better arch for their AA pieces by adopting a single fireplace and a superstructure reviewed and simplified.
The attempt to respect the treaty soon fell out of favor at the outbreak of the war, and to save time, the Clevelands were chosen for mass production. However, their limited size and the hunting of excess weight made their protection insufficient. The original project, defined in 1939, was to include 5 double turrets of the new semi-automated 152 mm, but the development time meant that we relied on the proven triple-trike of the Booklyn class.
The Clevelands were more Brooklyn than USS Wichita, which had inspired the Baltimore. As expected, they had a little more machine space and the integral power supply made obsolete portholes, source of waterways, which were removed. Their AA artillery differed between units, it was 28 x 40 mm and 21 x 20 mm for both Fargo.
The Clevelands were started between 1 July 1940 and 20 February 1944 and launched between 1 November 1941 and 22 March 1945. Some were completed too late to participate in the war: the USS Manchester, Galveston, Fargo and Huntington, who did not have the opportunity to assert the relevance of their changes in operations.
After the conflict, this force was of course largely involved in the Korean War, and some were later converted into hybrid missile launchers. Some were dropped from the lists after 1960, and others survived until 1970-78. The USS Little Rock is one of those. It has been preserved and is currently visitable.
USS Birmingham in 1944, soon after the battle of Leyte where she was badly damaged by the explosion of the carrier St Lo
Displacement: 11,744 t. standard -14 130 t. Full Load
Dimensions: 185.9 m long, 20.22 m wide, 7.47 m draft
Machinery: 4 propellers, 4 GE turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 100,000 hp.
Top speed: 32.5 knots
Armor: Belt 127, turrets 165, bridges 51, inner casemate 127-152 mm
Armament: 12 guns of 152 (5 × 3), 12 of 127 (6 × 2), 28 guns of 40 (4 × 4, 2 × 2), 10 of 20 mm AA, 4 aircraft