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Omaha Class Cruisers

Omaha Class Cruisers


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Omaha Class Cruisers

The Omaha class cruisers were the only American cruisers to be ordered during the First World War, although they weren't completed until the early 1920s. Although they were somewhat outdated even when they were completed they remained in service into the Second World War, where they were used in the south Pacific, the Aleutians and the Atlantic.

The US Navy had stopped building cruisers ten years before work began on the Omaha class, but there were some clear links to the earlier designs. The previous Chester or Salem class of 1905 were flush decked four funnelled cruisers, with very little superstructure, and a clear resemblance to the famous flush-decked destroyers. The big different was size - the Chester class ships had a displacement of 3,750t, were 423ft 2in long and 47ft 1in wide. The Omaha class cruisers were twice as heavy, at, 7,050t normal displacement, and were 555ft long and 55ft 5in wide, so were much more substantial vessels.

The US Navy had spent most of the intervening decade arguing about the type of cruisers they needed, producing a wide range of designs from very light scout cruisers up to massive battlecruisers. The Omaha class cruisers were ordered as part of the 1916 naval programme, which also included a large number of destroyers and fast cruisers.

The Omaha class ships were originally designed to carry ten 6in guns in a rather unusual configuration. Two were to be carried in the waist and the remaining eight in individual casemates. These were to be carried on either side of the fore and aft superstructures, with two levels of casemates in each position. The aim was to maximise forward and aft firepower, with four guns being able to fire directly ahead or behind the ship. Originally five guns could fire on the broadside, but this was reduced to four when the waist guns were deleted early in the design process. The casemated guns also had a limited arc of fire, so targets that weren't directly ahead or behind the ships could only be hit by two. They were designed on the assumption that cruisers would either be chasing weaker enemies or being chased by stronger foes, and so would need to concentrate their firepower fore and aft. Spotting was to be performed by aircraft, and they were designed to use a fixed catapult on the quarterdeck, but they were built with trainable catapults in the waist.

This layout soon came in for criticism. After the American entry into the First World War the US Navy worked alongside the Royal Navy. Most contemporary British cruisers had more powerful broadsides, and turret mounted guns fore and aft, with a wider arc of fire than the casemated guns of the Omaha class. To compensate the Omahas were given two twin 6in gun mounts, carried fore and aft. This meant that they could fire six guns at targets directly ahead or behind, four at targets off to one side (two in casemates and two in the mounting), or a broadside of eight guns. Even this design wasn't without its flaws - the lower pair of rear casemates turned out to be too close to the water, and were thus very wet in action and by the start of the Second World War they had been removed from the surviving ships. The next American cruisers, the Pensacola class, carried their guns in superfiring turrets on the centre line, a much more flexible layout.

The number of torpedo tubes was also increased. Originally they had been designed with twin banks of 21in tubes. They were built with the twin bank and with two triple banks of torpedo tubes. In service the twin tubes were removed, so by the Second World War they had six 21in torpedo tubes in two triple banks. The secondary armament was also changed, generally by removing guns to save weight. They caught also lay mines.

Visually the Omaha class cruisers greatly resembled the flush-deck destroyers, with four funnels, a small rear superstructure and larger forward superstructure. Their machinery used the unit system, with twelve boilers in four boiler rooms, two forward and two aft. The turbine rooms were between the fore and aft boiler rooms.

The boilers and turbines installed varied depending on the builders. Production was split between three builders - Todd of Seattle, Cramp of Philadelphia and Bethlehem of Quincy.

CL-4 to CL-6 were built by Todd. They used Yarrow boilers and Westinghouse turbines, and shorter range cruising turbines.

CL-7 and CL-8 were built by Bethlehem, and used Yarrow boilers, Curtis turbines and shorter range cruising turbines.

CL-9 to CL-13 were built by Cramp. They had White-Forster boilers, Parsons turbines and longer range cruising turbines.

For their size the Omaha ships were given powerful engines, which gave them a top speed of 34-35kts. They were designed to have an endurance of 10,000nm at 10kts, but rarely managed to achieve this.

Service Records

Omaha (CL-4) served in the Atlantic for most of her career, taking part in the Neutrality Patrol before the American entry into the war and the campaign against Axis blockade runners afterwards. She also supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France.

Milwaukee (CL-5) was in the Pacific from 1928-1940, then moved to the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic. After the American entry into the war she served in the Caribbean and briefly in the Pacific, before returning to the Atlantic from 1942-44. In 1944 she was given to the Soviet Union where she served as the Murmanskuntil 1949.

Cincinnati (CL-6) served in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Asiatic Fleets between the wars, but from 1941-45 served in the Atlantic. Like the Omaha she took part in Operation Dragoon.

Raleigh (CL-7) served in the Atlantic and Pacific before the war. She was based at Pearl Harbor from 1938 and was hit by Japanese torpedoes during the attack on Pearl Harbor of 7 December 1941. After her repairs she served in the Aleutians and the North Pacific.

Detroit (CL-8) was at Pearl Harbor. She served in the Pacific for the rest of the war, operating in areas as far apart as the Aleutians and the South East Pacific.

Richmond (CL-9) served as flagship of the Scouting Force, then the Light Cruiser Division. She then served on the China Station (1927), the US East Coast (1934-37) and in the Pacific (1937-1940). She then joined the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic. After the US entry into the war she escorted convoys in the Pacific (1941-43) then moved to the North Pacific, where she fought in the Aleutians campaign.

Concord (CL-10) served in the Atlantic from 1925-31, then with the Scouting Force and the Battle Force. After the American entry into the war she served on convoy escort duty in the south-east Pacific, then in the Aleutians from April 1944 onwards.

Trenton (CL-11) served in the South Pacific from 1942-44 then in the Aleutians, where she remained for the rest of the war.

Marblehead (CL-12) was in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked and was involved in the disastrous campaign in the Dutch East Indies. She was badly damaged by Japanese bombs but reached Ceylon. After being repaired she served in the Atlantic, then supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France.

Memphis (CL-13) initially served in the Atlantic, but was also deployed in Europe and Australasia. She was based in the Pacific from 1928 and in Alaska from 1939-41. She then became part of the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic before spending most of the Second World War in the South Atlantic. During 1945 she was the flagship, Commander USN Forces in Europe, based in the Mediterranean.

Displacement (standard)

7,050t

Displacement (loaded)

9,508t

Top Speed

34kts

Range

10,000nm at 10kts (design)
8,460nm at 10kts (actual)

Armour – deck

1.5in

- belt

3in

Length

555ft 6in

Width

55ft 5in

Armaments (as built)

Twelve 6in/53 guns
Two 3in/50 AA guns
Ten 21in torpedo tubes (two triple and two double mountings)

Crew complement

459

Ships in Class

Fate

CL-4 Omaha

Stricken 1945

CL-5 Milwaukee

To USSR 1944

CL-6 Cincinnati

Sold 1946

CL-7 Raleigh

Sold 1946

CL-8 Detroit

Sold 1946

CL-9 Richmond

Stricken 1946

CL-10 Concord

Sold 1947

CL-11 Trenton

Sold 1947

CL-12 Marblehead

Stricken 1945

CL-13 Memphis

Stricken 1946


U.S. Navy Plan Gold: Alternatives to Omaha By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D. January 2018

With Europe engulfed in war, in the fall of 1915 the U.S. Navy&rsquos General Board sat down to plan a huge build-up of the American battle fleet. A five-year plan, later shortened to three (funded in the 1917 through 1919 fiscal years), was to give the United States a fleet at least on par with that of Great Britain, one able to take on the winner of the European war on an equal footing. With Japan also seen as a looming threat, a major construction program was seen as vital to protect American interests.


Don&rsquot worry. Plan Gold has these, too: An early American battle cruiser concept.


The bizarre forward armament of the Omaha-class USS Memphis.

The Board demanded an emphasis on end-on fire, a concept abandoned by foreign navies a decade earlier. Scouts, the Americans believed, would rarely fight in line-ahead formation but instead would be advancing toward or fleeing from the enemy. And so the designers adopted a very retrograde &ldquocitadel&rdquo arrangement, with a turret for two guns forward, and two pairs of six-inch guns mounted behind it in casemates, one pair over the other. An identical arrangement faced aft. Theoretically this gave the ship a forward- or aft-firing battery of six guns, but in practice American crews found the lower guns so wet in any sort of sea that they became unusable.


Why they were thought overloaded: USS Milwaukee takes water during a storm off Hong Kong, 1929.

Another Omaha variant was proposed very early in the design stages. The battle cruiser designs grew out of a requirement to back scouting forces with heavy firepower where British battle cruisers were enlarged armored cruisers and German ones actually fast battleships, American battle cruisers would have been massively overgrown scout cruisers, with little to no armor. Most of the American &ldquobattle scout&rdquo proposals were large ships, growing in size over several years from 10,000-ton vessels with 6-inch guns through 25,000-ton ships with 10-inch guns (seen in U.S. Navy Plan Red) to 43,500-ton monsters with 16-inch guns.

But in February 1916, the General Board requested a design for an Omaha (then still known as the &ldquo1917 Scout&rdquo) mounting two 14-inch guns in single turrets. The Bureau of Construction and Repair duly submitted a sketch, noted as Design 160. Proposals for cruiser-sized hulls with battleship-sized weapons would continue for the next two decades, but the Navy&rsquos engineers rightly noted some severe problems with the approach. A battleship&rsquos armored turret is mounted atop a heavy, armored barbette that sinks down into the bowels of the ship, structurally resting on the keel. While the armor protects the magazines and turntables, it also adds greatly to the ship&rsquos structural integrity. The Omaha with heavy guns would lack this, and its lightly-built hull would be gravely stressed by the blast effect of firing its big guns. With only two barrels, the ship&rsquos rate of fire would be abysmally low and it could easily be overwhelmed by an opponent armed with lighter but more faster-firing guns. Such a ship could be built, but the engineers considered it a bad idea and eventually the Board concurred. Design 160 was tabled.

Game designers, of course, are not constrained by the same bounds of reality as the Navy&rsquos General Board. U.S. Navy Plan Gold includes both of these cruiser alternatives. They&rsquore listed with CS (scout cruiser) hull numbers, to avoid re-using numbers in the American cruiser numbering sequence, or assigning ridiculously high hull numbers.

Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and award-winning journalist, he has published over 100 books, games and articles on historical subjects. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold.


Optimal Configuration

Upgrades

  • Slot 1: Main Armaments Modification 1 ( ) keeps the guns active and firing.
  • Slot 2: Engine Room Protection ( ) keeps the engines and steering working.
  • Slot 3: Aiming Systems Modification 1 ( ) improves accuracy and generates more main battery hits.

Commander Skills

+15% main battery traverse speed .

-10% cooldown time of Main Battery Reload Booster, Torpedo Reload Booster, Spotting Aircraft, Catapult Fighter, and Defensive AA Fire .

-50% time to switch loaded shell type .

Receive a warning of a salvo fired at your ship from more than 4.5km .

The ship remains able to move and maneuver - slowly - while the engine or steering gears are incapacitated .

+1% chance of main and secondary HE shells causing a fire .

-10% torpedo tubes reload time .

+10% action time of Hydroacoustic Search, Surveillance Radar, Smoke Generator, & Engine Boost .

The detection indicator will show the number of enemies targeting you with main battery .

In the priority AA sector:
+25% continuous damage.
+1 flak burst per salvo .

+10% HE and SAP shell damage.

+15% ship detectability guns 149mm and up .

-0.2% reload time of all armaments per 1% HP lost

+0.2% AA continuous damage per 1% HP lost .

+5% damage for AP shells 190mm and larger .

+1 charge to all consumables .

-10% reload time of secondary batteries

If enemy ship is spotted within detectability range, -8% reload time of main battery .

If there are more visible enemies than allies within the ship's base main caliber firing range:

+8% ship speed
-10% main battery dispersion .

Shows the direction to the nearest enemy ship.

The enemy is alerted that a bearing has been taken. .

+25% armor penetration of HE shells

Base fire chance reduced by half .

-10% detectability range of the ship .

Consumables

Omaha equips the following

Camouflage

Type 1, 2, or 5 camouflage can be equipped for credits Types 2 or 5 are recommended at a minimum to reduce the accuracy of incoming shells.

Signals

+5% continuous AA damage at all ranges.

+5% damage from flak bursts.

+5% to secondary battery maximum firing range.

-5% to maximum dispersion of secondary battery shells.

-5% to secondary battery loading time.

+1% chance for HE bombs and shells with a caliber above 160mm causing a fire.

+0.5% chance for bombs and smaller shells causing a fire.

+5% to the risk of your ship's magazine detonating. [1]

+15% chance of causing flooding.

+5% to the risk of your ship's magazine detonating. [1]

+1% chance for HE bombs and shells with a caliber above 160mm causing a fire.

+0.5% chance for bombs and smaller shells causing a fire.

+4% chance of torpedoes causing flooding.

-20% to damage received when ramming the enemy.

+50% to damage dealt when ramming the enemy.

-5% reload time on all consumables.

+5% to the ship's maximum speed.

+20% to the amount of HP recovered when Repair Party () is used.

-100% to the risk of magazine detonation. [1]

+20% credits earned for the battle.

-10% to the cost of the ship's post-battle service.

+50% XP earned for the battle.

+50% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+300% Free XP  earned for the battle.

+50% credits earned for the battle.

+100% XP earned for the battle.

+100% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+333% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+777% Free XP earned for the battle.

+50% XP earned for the battle.

+150% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+250% Free XP earned for the battle.

+75% XP earned for the battle.

+30% credits earned for the battle.

+50% XP earned for the battle.

+100% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+200% Free XP earned for the battle.

+20% credits earned for the battle.

+50% XP earned for the battle.

+150% Commander XP earned for the battle.

+25% credits earned for the battle.

Note: Use of the Juliet Charlie signal makes detonation impossible.


Omaha Class Cruisers - History

Midway Deluxe Edition:
The American 8-Inch Cruiser
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
May 2021

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 casts a long shadow over subsequent military history, as ship design, naval construction and power politics would all be greatly influenced by the modern world&rsquos first arms control agreement. For ship designers, a new type of warship emerged: the &ldquoheavy&rdquo cruiser, displacing 10,000 tons and armed with eight-inch guns.

Negotiators didn&rsquot arrive at those figures randomly: They represented a new type of &ldquofighting scout&rdquo the U.S. Navy had in the advanced design stages and had hoped to build to support their new Omaha-class light scouts. American representatives guided discussions to the limits they wanted, and won acceptance of the new type of ship. But it was a design based not so much on American needs as on a series of misunderstandings &mdash the building blocks of history.

Though very satisfied with the Omaha design (a satisfaction that would fade with the passage of time, as those cruisers&rsquo outdated gunnery layout and wetness became apparent), the Navy&rsquos General Board became obsessed with the British Hawkins-class cruisers that appeared in 1919.

American naval planning in the years during and immediately after the First World War divided its focus between two potential foes. Operational planning concerned itself almost exclusively with a potential war with Japan, a series of plans known collectively as Plan Orange. The engineers and constructors, however, had their eye across the Atlantic. In part this was due to the influence of the circle around Chief of Naval Operations William Shepherd Benson, who saw Britain as a potential enemy, leading to a series of war plans known as Plan Red. Others, influenced by the era&rsquos racist undertones, acknowledged that the Japanese were formidable fighters but believed them dependent on their British allies for technical advancements. Exceeding British capabilities therefore meant exceeding those of Japan as well. That view conveniently excused the failings of American naval intelligence &mdash it was much easier to obtain details of British ship design than to penetrate Japan&rsquos very good security, not to mention the equally daunting language and cultural barriers.


An American obsession: the British cruiser Hawkins. Note the deeply recessed gun positions.

The British designers proposed arming the new ship with a dozen six-inch guns, but the admirals wanted a bigger gun. The Germans might be using a 6.7-inch (170mm) gun, they feared. The new British cruiser had to have greater shell weight and range than the German 5.9-inch or 6.7-inch guns, and the Admiralty insisted on the 7.5-inch gun as used in the Devonshire-class armored cruisers at the turn of the century.


Every ship needs a mascot. 1920s hot chick Ethyl Merman presents Pensacola&rsquos crew with a goat.

The Royal Navy found the ships disappointing, using them only in secondary theaters during World War II even while older, smaller cruisers of the C- and D-classes saw action in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The U.S. Navy, unaware of the flaws that made the big cruisers expensive white elephants the day they were launched, found them extremely intimidating. Paper exercises showed that a Hawkins could destroy an Omaha without suffering a scratch. A reply was necessary.


The 1921 scout eventually grew into the Pensacola-class heavy cruiser.

During the Washington talks, the U.S. representatives steered the final cruiser limits toward this design. Displacement was rounded down to 10,000 tons, but otherwise the 1921 Scout became the so-called Treaty Cruiser. The U.S. Navy modified the design somewhat, sacrificing protection and a little speed to add two more eight-inch gun barrels, and the 1921 Scout became the Pensacola class light cruiser, re-designated as heavy cruisers in 1931.

Both Pensacola and her sister Salt Lake City, the famed Swayback Maru, appear in Second World War at Sea: Midway Deluxe Edition.

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Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and NASA Journalist in Space finalist, he has published countless books, games and articles on historical subjects. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold. Leopold likes catching lightning bugs.

Want to keep Daily Content free of third-party ads? You can send us some love (and cash) through this link right here. You don&rsquot have to, but Leopold would like it if you did.

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Omaha Class Cruisers - History

The cruiser is, per definition, the smallest ocean-going warship capable of independent operations, meaning operations in which the cruiser is the largest capital ship. This definition, though not made by me, is one I thoroughly agree with.The design of a cruiser is as old as the maritime history itself but in earlier times, as in the Napoleonic area, virtually all ships that could sail the oceans in navies were cruisers. Their endurance, only limited by the amount of fresh water and food they could take, allowed sloops, frigates, and men-of-war to cruise the seven seas for quite a long time.

This paragraph adds in another important feature of most cruisers, that of their high endurance.
The problem to build a real cruiser first came up with the ability to make ships from whole steel and steam engines, the latter seriously reducing any such driven ships' endurance.
Along with the design of new battleships, or ships-of-the-line, thus came the construction of two types of cruisers: armoured cruisers, which were intended to serve in "real" fleet actions, meaning battles, and light cruisers, that, with their lighter armament and armor could carry more coal and thus go further.

It was Admiral Lord Fisher of Dreadnought fame that ended the career of the armoured cruiser with his battlecruisers. Sharing an equal armor basis, the battlecruisers were faster and better armed than any contemporary armoured cruiser.

  1. 10.000 tons was to be the maximum displacement of ANY cruiser, Light or Heavy
  2. 203mm was to be the maximum caliber for Heavy Cruisers
  3. 155mm was to be the maximum caliber for Light Cruisers

The United States had, as its only modern cruiser class, the light cruisers of the Omaha class. These were still highly influenced by the old style of casemates. They carried four guns 155mm in two twin turrets, one each for and aft, and added to that six 155mm in casemates, four firing forward, two aft. Build to operate as the "eyes" of th fleet, they were fast, and had two catapults for seaplanes.

There was a long period of nothing after these ships were build.
The first of the "Treaty-Cruisers" appeared in 1930. USS Pensacola and sister Salt Lake City were the most powerful cruisers of their time. They carried with them ten 203mm guns in two triple and two twin turrets, placed in a superfiring fore-and-aft scheme, which was unique as the heavier triple mounts were superfiring.

Though they carried torpedos when commisioned, these were removed before the war.
Following this class of ships was the Northampton class, setting the trend for all following Heavy Cruisers. Deleting one 203mm gun, they held nine 203mm guns in three triple turrets, one aft and two superfiring forward. These ships also carried torpedos until 1935, as did the Pensacolas, when they were removed and the 127mm armament was doubled from four to eight.

The successor of this class was the Portland class, of two ships, which was commisioned in 1933. It was three meters longer and had slightly heavier armor, finally using the 10000 tons limit fully. The same armament characteristics applied.

Both Portlands were fitted as flagships, and Indianapolis frequently carried VIPs.
These flagship fittings were extremely important later, as the follow-on class, the New Orleans retained no single ton of space to fit flagstaff compartments. These ships were quite useful, using, again, every ton.

As the first class of Light Cruisers build in the United States with turret-only main armament, the Brooklyn class had a rather unusual appearance for a US cruiser. Probably triggered by both the Japanese Mogami , from which the main armament was gleaned, and the Takao class, which helped with the turret arrangement, these ships carried fifteen 155mm in five triple turrets, two each superfiring fore and aft and a third forward, between the bridge and the superfiring gun turret, facing aft.

Two of these St. Louis and Helena carried their secondary armament, eight 127mm guns in four enclosed twin turrets, two on each side. The other ships carried them in open mounts until a late-war refit.

USS Wichita the last Treaty Heavy Cruiser build in the United States looked very similiar to the Brooklyns but carried 203mm guns in the usual arrangement, though her turrets were of a later and better design than those mounted in the earlier ships.

Wichita was kind of a connection between Treaty Cruisers and non-Treaty Cruisers.
When in 1936 the London Naval Treaty was concluded, further limitations were laid upon cruiser construction. As heavy (in terms of tonnage, now) cruisers were not allowed to be build (Ed: What were the limits for Heavy and Light Cruisers respectively?), the United States, which saw itself confronted with Japanese destroyers that had larger armament than U.S. destroyers, and the ever increasing danger from planes, decided to build a cruiser-sized ship with dual-purpose weapons.

The Atlanta class carried a powerful AA armament, eight twin 127mm turrets, which were placed in a rather curious fashion, three turrets superfiring fore and aft, plus one each at the ship's sides, firing aft.

These vessels were excellent AA ships, though their usefullness was somehow limited because for it's sixteen guns, it had only two directors.

This class was successful enough to be build again between 1942 and 1946, making up the Oakland class. These vessels were basically Atlantas without the two turrets on the flanks.

The war in Europe had already waged for a year when in 1940 the first class of non treaty-restricted cruisers was laid down. The Cleveland class sacrificed the Brooklyn's C turret, which had a rather limited field of fire anyway, for better protection, range and AA firepower. The reduced weight from the removed turret was thus filled with six 127mm twin turrets for AA protection, the same which gave the Atlanta 's their firepower. The main armament consisted of twelve 155mm guns in four triple turrets, two each superfiring fore and aft. They were not superships, but their good design and the need to have many ships of a somewhat standard design resulted in the construction of 27 of these cruisers, of 39 originally conceived.

To these, one could count the concepted 13 Fargo class ships, not detailed here. They had only one smokestack, but were otherwise the same ships as the Clevelands . Only two were, build and they were only commisioned after the war.

Of the ships that were able to serve in the Pacific War, the next class was the Baltimore class of heavy cruisers, based on the Cleveland design, but eliminating through more proper design the Clevelands disturbing top-heaviness. Their 203mm guns were in the same turret design as those of Wichita. These fine heavy cruisers were a valuable addition to the US Navy's carrier escorts, and some were later given guided missile armament.

The last class of ships I will show here will probably arise some argument. I decided to put the Alaska class here, instead of in the battleships section. Concepted to act as anti-merchant-raider vessels, they featured nine 306mm guns, made especially for them, and mounted in three triple turrets in the usual arrangement. As the Japanese merchant raiders, which to counter they were build, were never build, four of the six scheduled ships of the class were cancelled. The other two, Alaska and Guam, were used as carrier escorts, but served only three years.

U.S. cruisers were not only the prime carrier escorts, but also the largest surface warships that fought frequently in surface engagements. The pre-war Heavy Cruisers formed the core of the U.S. forces that fought in the Guadalcanal campaign, and they took heavy losses during the war.

It was soon found out however that Light Cruisers were the more effective means of destroying destroyers, and thus, U.S. forces relied on them for surface battles. They, as well, took serious losses.
To a large part, these losses were unnecessary, sometimes dumb but they helped create ideas and tactics to defeat the Japanese - and they helped win the war.

After this, I want to clarify my opinion on one point, that of the lacking torpedo armament on US cruisers. Those who have stated that the US cruisers were at a disadvantage without them, and that their removement was a great failure, seem not to understand the situation that the US was to find in battle. The first problem is self-inflicted: US cruisers, relying on their line-of-battle combat tactic, were trained to fight the battle from long-distance. Besides the First Battle of Guadalcanal, there was no situation in which the short-ranged US torpedoes could possibly have inflicted hits.


Marblehead was active in the Java Sea area at the beginning. She made it out after receiving a couple bomb hits. Detroit and Raleigh were at Pearl at the start.

Oddly enough, they were probably the first ships to get the 40mm guns when they became available.

They weren't treaty cruisers, as they were designed before the treaty came into effect. The effect of the treaty was a bunch of 10,000 ton cruisers, and these fell far short, displacement-wise. They were meant for scouting, though aircraft wound up taking this job. They probably would have served as destroyer leaders.

Yes, I have a soft spot for them, too.


Destroyers and frigates

Because of the high cost of cruisers, smaller escort ships have become the backbone of lesser navies in the guided-missile age. The destroyer has completed its transition, begun during World War II, from surface-ship killer to antiaircraft escort. To this duty has been added antisubmarine warfare, the traditional role of the frigate. Often the frigate is distinguished from the destroyer only by its lesser displacement, armament, and speed. Modern destroyers can also serve an important littoral combat function by providing indirect fire support to ground troops. This was the intended role of the USS Zumwalt, a first in its class “stealth” destroyer that was commissioned in 2016. However, the prohibitive cost of the precision munitions for the ship’s massive 155-millimetre (6.1-inch) guns led to it being redesignated as an anti-ship surface-attack platform.

As submarines have become faster, many classes of destroyer and frigate have adopted the helicopter (often housed in a hangar in the after section) as a help in hunting them down. Like cruisers, they bristle with an array of sonar and radar sensors and satellite receivers and are packed with electronic gear for the swift detection and identification of hostile targets and the computation of firing data. Such complex equipment, packed into ships that must also have high speed (30 knots and more), excellent seakeeping ability, and long endurance, means that destroyers and frigates have become larger than their World War II predecessors. Guided-missile destroyers range from 3,500 to 8,000 tons displacement, while frigates range between 1,500 and 4,000 tons.


Kara-class cruisers

Being the Cold War opponent of the United States, the Soviets continued to construct cruisers that could function as antiaircraft, ASW, and as surface combatants to destroy NATO aircraft carriers. Between 1970 and 1978, 10 Kresta II-class cruisers, essentially a variant of the preceding class that emphasized ASW, were completed. Another seven vessels of the Kara-class were completed between 1973 and 1980, also designed primarily for ASW.

The Karas are enlarged gas-turbine powered versions of the Kresta IIs. The extra size has been used to mount two retractable SA-N-4 SAM twin launchers, and the heavy anti-aircraft armament has been increased in calibre. The Karas could be distinguished from the Kresta IIs by their longer hull and the large separate funnel necessitated by the use of gas turbines. Compared with their contemporary American cruisers, the Soviet ships are much more heavily-armed, but the long-range American ships have large and very seaworthy hulls.

The Kara measured 570 feet by 60 feet, displaced 8,200 tons, and could achieve a maximum speed of 34 knots through the use of its gasoline-fueled turbine engines. The Kara and the other ships of the class were the first cruisers in the world to use this type of propulsion. The need for boilers to produce steam is obviated, as engines consume gasoline that was fed directly into the engine. In addition to this propulsion, radar, sonar, and missile systems were much improved. The Kresta II- and Kara-classes owed their existence to the extreme threat that the Soviets attached to Western ballistic missile submarines, which could launch nuclear weapons into the heartland of the Soviet Union. The Kresta II Class, Soviet Designation Project 1134A, Berkut A (golden eagle) were Soviet guided missile cruisers of the Cold War. The ships entered service in the late 1960s and were rapidly decommissioned after the end of the Cold War

Kerch was laid down in the Soviet Union on 30 April 1971, launched on 21 July 1972 and was commissioned in the Soviet Black Sea Fleet on 25 December 1974. The ship was constructed in the 61 Kommunar Shipyard at Nikolayev (Mykolaiv) on the Black Sea. She was in service with the Soviet Fleet until 1991, and then joined its successor, Russian Navy. As of 2011 she is the last active Kara-class cruiser. The ship is slated to remain in service till 2019

Units: Nikolayev, Ochakov, Kerch, Azov, Petropavlovsk, Tashkent, Tallin

Type and Significance: Large Anti-Submarine Ships. These were some of the more successful cruisers of the Soviet Navy.

Dates of Construction: The units were laid down between 1969 and 1976, with the last one being completed in 1980.

Hull Dimensions: 570′ x 60′ x 20′ 4″

Armament: Two SS-N-14 ASW launchers, two SA-N-3 SAM launchers, two SA-N-4 SAM launchers, four 3-inch guns, four 30mm Gatling guns, 10 20.8-inch torpedo tubes, two RBU-6000 ASW systems, two RBU-1000 ASW systems, and one helicopter.


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