Admirals of the United States of America long resisted the emergence in its fleet of light cruisers, preferring the beloved “Washington” class. End to the resistance put by the London naval Treaty, limitirovanie not only limit the size of ships of different classes, but the total capacity allocated for each class. Although the Americans became happy owners of the largest quotas for heavy cruisers — 18 units, but almost all of it was already selected. There was nothing left to do but go to build a less ambitious units, weapons which could not exceed the caliber of 155 mm.
Unloved child is rarely well-kept, at least, until they show some exceptional qualities. So initially happened with the American light cruisers. No admirals or naval theorists, nor the designers did not understand what they really want to create. The first set of projects of the six pieces was a colorful mixture, starting from the ridiculous to the kind of monster with 15 six-inch guns, of which 12 were located in chetyrehjadernyj towers, and the remaining three in treboradice, to a very modest 6000-ton ship with only six such guns. Has created a bond between them except that the speed of 32,5 knot, considered optimal for work with the fleet.
The first surprise — “what we did is going to generate?” — followed by a long and laborious work on fitting requirements and their embodiment in metal. Pretty quickly we managed to agree on the fact that a light cruiser should be a solid ship, able to fight with their heavy counterparts, and have greater cruising range. All this assumed, of course, the upper limit displacement — of the notorious “Washington” 10 thousand tons. In the end, the designers, who had a long margin, almost three years, thinking and refining, created a very reasonable and balanced project outwardly somewhat resembling the British “city”: housing with a forecastle and a pair of chimneys, 12 guns in four 3-gun turrets, decent armor belt. So would the Americans and got very close to the former metropolis type, if not the Japanese “Mogami”. Their fifteen 155-mm guns made a strong impression on the admirals, and on the nearly finished “Brooklyn” began to find a place to fifth tower GK.
Curiously, as American designers struggled with two opposing ideas: how to make your cruiser as strong and yet as “easy”. Had to make a number of tweaks. Some of them were ever carried out in the usual manner: a lot of money. So, a flush-deck hull “Brooklyn” made of special steel, very strong and light but very expensive. Clearly, this was available only to the rich “uncle Sam”. But other features of savings could not buy even this way without risk to sink the boat immediately after the descent. In particular, to facilitate high towers they had to do a little, and the guns set very close to each other. The installation suffered from a large variation in the volley, but their specifications look great, for which he received the nickname “six-inch guns”. Indeed, overseas engineers have achieved a high degree of mechanization, and theoretically “newbies” could produce up to 140 rounds per minute with a total weight of about 7 tons, did “Brooklyn” is a very dangerous opponent for any vehicle at short and medium distances, up to heavy cruisers. Including to the Japanese “Mogami”, guns which could not boast of such a “machine gun” rate of fire.
Defense looked less impressive because it is simply not remaining reserves. Nevertheless, we managed to cover the mechanisms 127-mm zone (albeit narrow and autonieuws down for the same reason of saving weight), and the cellar of ammunition — very narrow and thin (51 mm) cover fore hull and armored “box” in the rear. In General, the cruiser was a very rational: it was a place of almost everything, even naval aviation a solid number — four seaplanes and two catapults. (It is worth noting that “hiding” the aircraft in the hangar in the stern, under the upper deck — beautiful in appearance and convenient for the routine service, but problematic from the point of view of their use in battle.)
In General, the Americans managed to solve his hard problem. Very heavily armed, well protected and fairly fast (on the cruiser exceeded 33 knots), a new ship had a standard displacement limit is even less — about 9800 tons of heavy weapons and equipment, located high above the waterline, impact on stability, and such a great price saved tons had to fill in the most primitive way — by the holds the ballast.
The naval Ministry USA are not stingy and in quick succession immediately ordered 7 new units, eliminating a huge gap, in fact, missing class. However, by doing a single stroke was all spent reserve allocated to the London agreement is now in class light cruisers. Remained mezeumny tonnage of 17 600 tons, which can not fit another pair of ships. Designers once again went on the familiar circle: first create a bunch of projects of various size, up to 5000 tons, but in the end just removed one tower. Nice ship, almost full analogue of the British “towns”, but here before the Americans finally realized that their Japanese rivals for a long time and carefully blow them with the real size of their ships. So in the end I decided to ignore the “beyond” and the last 2 units, “Saint Louis” and “Helena” were almost a complete repetition of the previous one, even with successive improvements. Thus, the mechanisms instead of 6 compartments occupied now 8, and the boilers and turbine again lined up in “trains,” reducing vulnerability in combat. Significantly increased anti-aircraft armament: instead of the 25-caliber 127-mm “stubby” in single installations appeared paired universal gun with a long barrel in 38 caliber, one of the most famous naval guns of the 2nd world war. In the end, instead of saving displacement only grew and for the first time the Americans have exceeded five hundred Washington a limit. However, it was put into operation, they are already in 1939, when the malfunction is almost completely scattered to the agreement no one was interested.
A new cruiser was very popular in soon the outbreak of world war II. In the beginning they were distributed almost equally between the two oceans — 4 was based in the Atlantic and 5 in the Pacific. No wonder the Atlantic, “Brooklyn”, “Philadelphia” and “Savannah” experienced combat relatively safely. The most affected “Savannah” affected German planning bomb FX-1400 in the landing at Salerno. As a result of falling this heavy “shell” stuffed with explosives, are quite capable to sink the battleship, the cruiser killed nearly 200 people, but the cruiser was able to save. The rest of “the Atlantic”, there were some minor injuries or have been avoiding them, although quite actively participated in artillery duels with German shore batteries.