Today we'll talk about record holders from American shipyards. In fact, it was a feat of labor: to rivet in the literal sense of the word such a crowd of light cruisers that could actually perforate any battleship to death, be it Yamato at least three times.
27 ships built out of 52 planned are powerful. Seven ships were completed as light aircraft carriers.
They were just unique ships. The Clevelands had such a huge number of shortcomings that everyone was sick of them: sailors, officers and even admirals. The cruiser project was created in a hurry, stupidly, without understanding why such a ship is needed at all, but ...
But the Clevelands fought the entire Second World War, but how! Not a single cruiser was lost, and we will talk about the earned "stars" at the end.
And in the beginning, as always, we will have a small historical an excursion in which we ... that's right, let's remember with bad words the Washington Treaty, which quantitatively limited the construction of battleships, aircraft carriers and cruisers.
But not all of them. As you know, cruisers with a displacement of up to 10 tons were not covered by this agreement, which made it very easy for shipbuilders to make a profit. The cruisers were quickly divided into light and heavy, and since the treaty did not apply to light actions, they could be stamped without restrictions at all.
Of course, not every country can do such a thing, but the United States did it. And a new round of the arms race began, called "the construction of contract cruisers."
Truly, man is a strange creature. Agree on restrictions so as not to go down the drain in the arms race, and immediately start building at a triple pace what was not included in the treaties.
In 1938, the United States began work on the compromise cruiser project. The compromise was, of course, between armor and weapons. The Americans wanted something like this: a cruiser with a displacement of 8 tons, armed with 000 or 8 9-mm guns. It was planned to build about twenty such ships.
The appetite came with eating and defeated the project with 10 guns in five twin turrets. A sort of American "Mogami", yes. Anti-aircraft armament was planned from 20 28-mm machine guns. Plus, the cruiser was supposed to have a catapult, one or two aircraft, and at least two three-tube vehicles. And armor.
But the armor didn't fit. Absolutely. And then the war began. As always, unexpected. And the ship's development program was found unsatisfactory. But while the United States was quietly hanging out in neutral status, it was possible to try to change something. Therefore, they did not develop a new ship, but took the Brooklyn-class cruiser project, specifically the Helena cruiser, as a basis.
"Brooklyn" was not without its flaws, but what the American shipbuilders bungled, in general, does not fit well into the head. In 1940, the first two ships were laid down, improvements were made in the course of the play, when the ships were already on the stocks.
The most interesting thing is that no one drove the Americans anywhere. They simply could not foresee Pearl Harbor, but apparently they guessed that Japan could arrange a surprise. Well, there is no more justification for such a race and so many ships.
But this: a total of 52 ships were ordered. So even the destroyers were not built up to this point. But a little later, the US Department of Defense slowed down a bit.
A total of 27 Cleveland-class cruisers were built.
Another 9 ships were completed as aircraft carriers of the "Independence" class
The cruiser Galveston was completed after the war and 5 more of the 27 built were converted into missile cruisers.
Two ships were completed as the Fargo class.
And the construction of 14 ships was canceled.
But it's still a record. Nobody has ever built so many. Yes, the thought creeps in about the fact that the quantity compensated for the quality, but with so many cruisers it was possible to do a lot of work. And so, in fact, it happened.
Structurally, for some reason, it was believed that the Clevelands had stability problems. There is no evidence, just a common opinion of some "experts". In fact, when the ammunition and gasoline exploded on the Princeton aircraft carrier (made from a cruiser), the Birmingham, which was trying to extinguish the fire and was standing nearby, was severely damaged, 229 crew members were killed, 400 were injured of various degrees, a shock wave was comparable to the waves from nuclear explosions a little later. But Birmingham did not capsize.
Cruiser Santa Fe during Hurricane Cobra
Unlike the Helena, the Clevelands had a triple bottom instead of a double bottom for mine protection. Added anti-aircraft weapons, without which, as it turned out, you can live, but not for long. The booking and stability were improved, for which the side was obstructed.
In general, as the ships were built, the type design underwent changes, most of which were designed to lower a rather high center of gravity and improve stability. The anti-aircraft armament dropped lower and lower, the rangefinders on the towers were removed, the catapults were removed. Now two towers had one rangefinder on towers # 2 and # 3, which gave the distances for a group of towers on the bow or stern. A controversial maneuver, to be honest.
In the second series of 9 ships, the bulkhead system in the hold was revised, which increased survivability. In addition, various ports and openings in the sides were eliminated. It was necessary to introduce forced ventilation and artificial lighting of living quarters, but this gave additional advantages to survivability.
In general, all this had a positive effect on the ability of the Clevelands to survive in battle. For of the 27 ships not one was lost during the war. Even the Houston, which received two torpedoes and received what is said to be 6 tons of water. It is unlikely that that many, but two torpedoes are serious anyway.
The Clevelands' defense was based on an armored belt 127 mm thick and 121 meters long. The belt covered the engine room and the artillery cellar.
The rest of the hull had a modest 38 mm booking.
Armored deck. Thickness 50 mm.
Conning tower. 165 mm at the front, 127 mm at the sides and 76 mm roof.
Towers. Forehead - 165 mm, on the sides and top 76 mm.
The nasal ammunition magazines were additionally covered with 52-mm armor. The aft cellars had additional protection from internal bulkheads with a thickness of 76 to 127 mm.
In general, the Clevelands' reservations resembled the Brooklyn reservation system.
Four twin General Electric turbines with a total capacity of 100 HP powered by four Babcock & Wilcox boilers. The maximum speed was 000 knots. At a cruising speed of 32,5 knots, the cruising range was about 15 miles.
The innovation was that the boilers were not located in one or two boiler rooms, but were separated by turbine compartments. This significantly reduced the possibility, in the event of a torpedo or large-caliber projectile hit, to deprive the ship of its course.
In addition, the Clevelands were equipped with 2 x 250 kW diesel generators and two emergency 60 kW independent diesel generators.
The main caliber is 12 152 mm guns. They were located in four three-gun towers in pairs, linearly elevated on the bow and stern.
The maximum elevation angle of the guns was 60 degrees. In a three-gun turret, loading was only possible at angles up to 20 degrees. So aiming at high elevation angles significantly reduced the rate of fire of the guns. The fact that the guns were semi-automatic somewhat offset this disadvantage and ensured a rate of fire of 8-10 rounds per minute.
The maximum firing range was 24 km.
The auxiliary caliber consisted of twelve 127 mm universal guns, located in the center of the ship in two-gun turrets. The location of the turrets was very well chosen and the guns could conduct dense anti-aircraft fire in all directions.
Initially, short-range anti-aircraft weapons were supposed to be from Browning's large-caliber 12,7-mm machine guns. But the complete uselessness of such weapons quickly became visible and they began to revise it urgently.
There was an option to install a "Chicago piano", 28-mm four-barreled submachine guns. They could be installed without fear of deteriorating stability, but the reliability and combat qualities of the machines left much to be desired.
Instead of 28-mm assault rifles, it was decided to install quad Bofors with a 40-mm caliber. Alas. The 28-mm unit weighed 6 tons, and the quad Bofors - 11 tons. Nobody wanted to reduce the luxurious battery of 127-mm guns. Therefore, instead of quad 40-mm anti-aircraft guns, they decided to install paired ones.
The cruisers of the first series (except for "Cleveland") had two quadruple and two twin 40s machine guns. The Cleveland had only twin superstructure units. During the modernization of 1942, each cruiser received two more paired assault rifles at the stern, behind the catapult. In May 1944, the cruisers received two more quad mounts and two "twin".
As a result, the final armament of the Clevelands consisted of 4 quad and 6 twin 40-mm installations.
Additionally, the cruisers were armed with 20-mm Oerlikon assault rifles. They were installed wherever possible, and on average the ships carried 30 barrels in single and twin installations. Since these installations were not very effective, they began to be sacrificed when installing 40-mm Bofors.
The ships had Mark 34 fire control systems with Mark 8 radar and Mark 37 with Mark 4 radar. In general, radar equipment on ships was installed completely haphazardly, based on what was available. The following radar modifications could be installed on the Clevelands:
- SK / SK-2 - was able to detect an approaching bomber at an altitude of 3000 m at a distance of 185 km;
- SC-2 and SG - complemented the SK type radar. They also provided detection of ships and ground targets within a radius of 27-40 km;
- SP and SR-3 appeared after the war and were able to detect targets at a distance of up to 180 km.
Radars made anti-aircraft fire possible both at night and beyond the line of sight. Small-caliber battery fire was corrected using a Mark-13 radar and a Mark-34 fire control system.
The 127-mm guns were directed with SK radar and corrected with the Mark-37 system.
In the aft part of the ship there were two catapults, from which it was possible to launch aircraft. There was also a crane for lifting aircraft from the water. The hangar below deck housed 4 to 8 seaplanes, usually the Vaught OS2U Kingfisher. "The plane is about nothing."
After the war, they parted with the planes, on those cruisers that did not go for scrapping, the catapult was removed, and in its place a wooden deck for helicopters was usually installed. During the Korean War, the cruisers participating in it carried a Sikorsky N-5 helicopter on board.
And the aircraft hangar was used to store boats and all kinds of useful junk.
The crew of the Cleveland-class cruiser numbered from 1214 to 1475 people. Habitat conditions were considered to be well below average.
Combat use of "Clevelands" - all theaters of military operations of the Second World War. Since there were really a lot of cruisers built, we will restrict ourselves to a brief description of the actions of the ships.
Cleveland... 13 battle stars.
Operation "Torch" as part of the Western Task Force. Then service in the Pacific: campaigns on Guadalcanal, battle at Rennel Island. On March 6, 1943, together with the cruisers Montpellier and Denver, he sank the Japanese destroyers Minegumo and Murasame. Then operations in the Solomon Islands, Maotan Islands, the Philippine Sea. Landing operations in Palawan, Brunei, Minandao, Okinawa.
"Colombia"... 10 battle stars.
The battles at Guadalcanal, Rennel, the landing in New Georgia, Bougainville, together with other cruisers sank the light cruiser Sendai. Solomon Islands, landing at Palau, Philippines. Got hit by a kamikaze, was seriously damaged. After repairs, he took part in the landing at Balikapan and in the battles in Okinawa.
"Montepellier"... 13 battle stars.
Battle of Rennel Island, Solomon Islands, Bismarck Archipelago. The battle in the Gulf of Empress Augusta, then the Maian Islands. Philippine sea. Fights in Saipan, Tinian, Guam. Landings at Mindoro, Lingaen, Palawan, Mindandao, Balikpapan.
Denver... 11 battle stars.
Operation on Colombangra, together with "Cleveland" sank two Japanese destroyers. Landing in New Georgia, shelling of Shortland, battle in Empress Augusta Bay, landing at Bougainville. During the last operation, he received a torpedo and went for repairs. Further operations on Iwo Jima and Palau. Invasion of the Philippines. Participated in the sinking of the destroyer Asagumo. Landings at Mindoro, Lingaen and Palawan. In June 1945, the cruiser took part in operations at Brunei and Balikpapan.
"Santa Fe"... 13 battle stars.
Operations in the Aleutian Islands. The shelling of Tarawa and Wake. Landing on the Gilbert Islands. Raid on Kwajallein. Hit Truk. Operations in Saipan, Tinian, Guam and the Pagan Islands. Attacks by Iwo Jima, Yapa and Ulichi. Raids against the Philippines and Formosa. Iwo Jima and Tokyo attacks. Assistance to the damaged aircraft carrier "Franklin" and the evacuation of its crew.
"Birmingham"... 9 battle stars.
Patrolled the Atlantic until the fall of 1943. Participated in the landing in Sicily. Transferred to the Pacific Ocean. Member of the raid against Tarawa. Solomon islands. Landing at Cape Torokina. Raids on the Mariana Islands, Philippines. Okinawa. On October 24, 1944, he received severe damage from the explosion of the aircraft carrier "Princeton" while providing assistance.
The cruiser killed 229 people and injured 420. Repairs continued until January 1945. After that, the cruiser took part in the landing on Iwo Jima. During the battles for Okinawa on May 4, 1945, the cruiser was damaged again, this time by a kamikaze. Repairs were carried out at Pearl Harbor, and the cruiser returned to service in August.
"Mobile"... 11 battle stars.
Raid on Marcus, battles on the Gilbert Islands, raid on tarawa. The Solom Islands. Bougainville. Strikes on Kwajallein, Truk, Saipan, Tiniam, Guam, Visayas raids. In the battle at Cape Engshannyo, he finished off the aircraft carrier Chiyoda and sank the destroyer Hatsuzuki. Battles for Okinawa. Raid on Wake.
Vincennes... 6 battle stars.
Laid down as Flint. But it was renamed in honor of the heavy cruiser that died off the island of Savo. Until 1944, he served in a patrol unit in the Caribbean. Transferred to the Pacific Ocean. Participant of raids on the Mariana Islands, battles in the Philippine Sea, strikes on Bonin Island. Attacks by Minandao, Formosa, Leyte. As part of a group of ships, he sank the destroyer Novaki. Strikes against Indochina and Formosa. Raids on Okinawa.
"Pasadena"... 5 battle stars.
Raids against Formosa and Luzon at the end of 1944. In 1945 he operated in the South China Sea and off the coast of Indochina. Aircraft carrier raid against Tokyo, landing on Okinawa.
"Biloxi"... 9 battle stars.
Landing in the Gilbert Islands, strike on Truk, fighting in the Mariana Islands, landing in New Guinea. Participant in battles in the Philippine Sea, landing on Guam. Acted on the islands of Palau, Bonin, Volcano. Battle of Leyte Gulf. Raids to the Japanese Islands. Landing on Iwo Jima, battles for Okinawa. Raid on Wake Island.
"Houston"... 3 battle stars.
Raids to the Mariana Islands, Bonin, Battle of the Philippine Sea. Fights near Okinawa and Formosa in 1944. In these battles, he was hit by a torpedo, then another. The crew miraculously defended the ship, until the end of the war the cruiser was under repair.
Vicksburg... 2 battle stars.
Until the end of 1944, it was used as a training ship. He participated in the landing on Iwo Jima, struck at Kyushu, and acted against Okinawa. Hit Wake.
"Dutul"... 2 battle stars.
The cruiser carried her main service as part of the Atlantic patrols. He got to the Pacific Ocean only at the beginning of 1945 and managed to take part in the most recent strikes against Japan.
Miami... 6 battle stars.
Patrolled the East Coast and only in April 1944 was sent to the Pacific Ocean. Participated in raids to the Mariana Islands and the Volcano group. Strikes against Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Chichijima and Pagan. Raids against Palau, Mindanao and Luzon, Formosa, Okinawa and the Philippines. Landing on Leyte. Raids against Hong Kong and Indochina. The raid on Tokyo. The shelling of Ryukyu. Operation against Okinawa.
Astoria... 5 battle stars.
Landing on Luzon, raids against Formosa and China. Tokyo and Iwo Jima attacks. Operations against the Okinawa.
"Amsterdam"... 1 battle star.
Joined in June 1945 and took part in several operations against Japan.
Wilkes-Barr... 4 battle stars.
Operations against the Philippines and Formosa. Landing troops in Lingaen Bay. Attack on Tokyo and operations against Iwo Jima, Chichijima, Hahajima. Rescued the outfit of the aircraft carrier "Bunker Hill", which was damaged by kamikaze. Raids against Japan.
Atlanta... 2 battle stars.
Recent attacks against Okinawa, the Ryukyu Islands and the Japanese metropolis.
As you can see from this list, "Clevelands" (especially the first series) took the most direct part in the war in the Pacific. And they left a noticeable mark in the battles. Yes, the ships were not masterpieces, the project was very controversial, had a huge number of shortcomings, but all of them, separately or together, were not critical.
A large number of cruisers made it possible to carry out many operations in which the Clevelands simply gnawed at the Japanese defenses on the islands with their guns. The two calibers on board, of course, complicated aiming and adjustment, but they made it possible to work very efficiently in fortified areas with both calibers.
The voiced problems in the stability of ships never once caused the death of the Clevelands during the entire war.
It should be noted that the battles around the islands in the Pacific Ocean did not become a test for the Clevelands. Moreover, sturdy, with a lot of barrels, the cruisers were more than useful in these battles. We can say that they "found a place for themselves", grinding the Japanese garrisons on the islands. Yes, maybe the role of floating batteries was not very nice, but very useful.
Not the best survivability, not the best seaworthiness, not the best anti-aircraft artillery. But these were ships that played a significant role in the defeat of Japan.