OVERSEAS, THE CONCEPT OF 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.
But from among “Pacific” any significant damage avoided only “Phoenix”, involved in many operations. The rest of the “Brookline” ‘ve had my share of enemy munitions, including “Nashville”, this translated into a much more dangerous theatre shortly after the outbreak of hostilities. He’s got a few scars: the most serious, from getting the aircraft bombers during the landing in the Philippines, which on Board were injured over 400 people. Its sister ship the “boys” during the battle of Cape Esperance took a rare hit: Japanese 8-inch shell ducked under his skinny belt and exploded in front of the cellar of the main fire. Even the relatively stable American gunpowder could not be ignited. Huge flames engulfed the pitch and out of the tower. But precious seconds at the same time managed to win: the fire did not have time to become completely uncontrollable and inevitable explosion. There was happiness, but misfortune helped: the water is under considerable pressure gushed through the hole and extinguished the flames a lot faster than it would have done any system emergency irrigation. The cruiser killed more than a hundred people, all were in the cellar and the tower, but he survived. How survived “Honolulu” affected by 610-mm Japanese “long lance” with a large charge strong explosives, or “St. Louis”, and received a bomb hit, and “took” the plane with the pilot bomber. The least lucky, “Helena”, began military career with the damage from the first day of the war when attacking pearl Harbor and torpedoed in the battle in the Kula Gulf from three deadly 610 mm “fish”. This cruiser was the only one of the series, who died in the war. But the rest of the badly mutilated, “cripple” is not only repaired and put into operation. They waited a long career, not only in its fleet.
Signed in 1936 Second London naval Treaty “on the limitation of naval armaments” became, albeit unwittingly, the cause of the world’s largest series of cruisers, although at first glance, really diminished the ability of the class.
Now the displacement of a light cruiser could not exceed 8 thousand tons; the limitation of calibre of 152 mm artillery was no longer meaningful, because to squeeze something more formidable in such a small enclosure is still not possible. Two years after signing the agreement, in 1938, the Secretary of state for the Navy (marine Minister) signed the budget for 1940, which included two cruisers of the “new limit” of 8000 tons, representing a stripped-down “Brooklyn”, which treboradice towers gave way to two-gun. Had to abandon 127-millimetrovogo, restricting only five four 28 mm slots. In the air the war has prompted U.S. congressmen to fully indulge their admirals who wanted to get at least two dozen new cruisers. Prior to the approval of the final draft was quite a bit of time when war with Hitler really broke out. All contractual limitations of peacetime suddenly lost its meaning.
190. Light cruiser “Brooklyn” (USA, 1939)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Philadelphia. The standard displacement of 9700 tons, full 12 700 tons, the maximum length 185,42 m, width 18,82 m, draught 7,24 m. Capacity chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 100 000 HP, speed 33 knots. Booking: 127 — 51 mm, deck 51 mm, turrets 165 — 32 mm, barbettes 152 mm, combat tower 127 mm Armament: fifteen 152/47-mm guns, eight 127/25 mm anti-aircraft guns (the last two 127/38-mm), eight 12.7 mm machine guns, 4 seaplane. Only in the years 1936-1938 built 9 units: “Brooklyn”, “Philadelphia”, “Savannah”, “Nashville”, “Phoenix”, “Boise”, “Honolulu”, “Saint Louis” and “Helena”. During the war there are twenty four 40 mm anti-aircraft gun “Bofors” and eighteen 20-mm “erricone”. “Helena” was sunk in July 1943 To 1951 “Brooklyn” and “Nashville” sold to Chile, “Philadelphia” and “St. Louis” — Brazil, “Phoenix” and “boys” — Argentina. “Savannah” and “Honolulu” scrapped in 1959
191. Light cruiser Cleveland (USA, 1942)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in new York. 11 standard displacement of 150 tons 13 900 tons, the maximum length is 185,95 m, width 20,22 m, draft 7,42 m Power chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 100 000 HP, speed 32 knots. Booking: 127 — 51 mm, deck 51 mm, turrets 165 — 32 mm, barbettes 152 mm, combat tower 127 mm Armament: fifteen 152/47-mm guns, twelve 127/38-mm universal guns twenty four 40 mm and ten 20-mm guns, 4 seaplane. Just 1942-1946 years built 29 units. On the scrapping of the put: in the years 1959-1961 12 units in 1969—1, in 1970-1971 5, 1973 — 1, and the rest in 1977-1978, except “little Rock”, preserved as Museum ships.
192. Light cruiser Fargo (USA, 1945)
Was built by firm “new York Shipbuilding” in Camden. 11 standard displacement of 150 tons 13 900 tons, the maximum length is 185,95 m, width 20,22 m, draft 7,42 m Power chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 100 000 HP, speed 32 knots. Booking: 127 — 51 mm, deck 51 mm, turrets 165 — 32 mm, barbettes 152 mm, combat tower 127 mm Armament: fifteen 152/47-mm guns, twelve 127/38-mm universal guns twenty four 40 mm and ten 20-mm guns, 4 seaplane. Just in 1945-1946 built 2 units, “Fargo” and “Huntington”, 9 ordered, the rest broken on the stocks. “Huntington” is excluded from the lists in 1961, “Fargo” — in 1970.

Here the naval Ministry did not make a blunder: not too strong and successful project dramatically slowed down. Needed to create something more powerful, but very fast. The decision came as proven by that time the last of the “Brooklyn”, “St. Louis”, which showed itself from the best side. The project has undergone quite a few changes. First of all, refused the “extra spokes in the chariot” — the notorious fifth tower. It was replaced by a pair of 127-mm twin installations located in the diametrical plane. As a result, the power of fire at surface targets only slightly affected, if affected at all, and air is significantly increased. Now at any course angle of the aircraft met at least 6 guns, but for the most part, their number increased to 8. Good positions were taken and the fire control system universalos MK-37. But by that time it was well known that air defense of ships is only as effective as management system. Here the Americans all was in order from the beginning. But the machines had some problems. Initially limited to heavy machine guns, but the results of the first battles in Europe showed that they are almost useless against dive-bombers and torpedo bombers. Then came on the scene all the same 28-mm chetyrehstolpnyj — “Chicago piano”. The installation looked promising, but weighed quite a lot in order to badly affect the stability. Had to plan the stowage in the holds additional ballast, although the width of the body “Cleveland” and so increased by almost half a meter compared to the “brooklynati”. But disappoint the machines themselves: they were unreliable and suffered from numerous “children’s diseases”. Very successfully turned up a replacement in the face of the license of the 40-mm “Bo-Firsov”, more long-range, equally rapid, and also quite reliable. They added also “imported” 20 mm “erlikon”, the main advantage of which was that the light installation did not require actuators, and “stick” them in almost any convenient location.
“Cleveland” before the entry into operation managed to get 4 four-barrel and double-barreled “Bofors”, and the later units got six dvuhstvolkami. The number of “Arlekino” ranged from 13 to two dozen. Of course, such measures did new cruiser is very powerful adversaries for aviation, but they hadn’t been quite simply the weight of the project. In addition, the requirement as soon as possible to introduce them in the system played a cruel joke with the engineers. Originally it was planned to complete most of the upper superstructures, bridges and light bulkheads from aluminum alloy. However, the “winged” metal was required primarily for aviation and became scarce even for the rampant developing American industry. Duralumin was replaced by a shipbuilding steel, adding to the increased due to light flak “top weight” to a threat to the stability limit.
Almost completely avoided changes to the booking. The belt is a little shorter, a small “castle” carried out in the protection of the towers of the main caliber, just Tolstov the sides and the roof due to the frontal plate. However, it was originally intended to introduce the new cruisers are the latest fashion innovation in the form of inclined belt located inside the hull like on the American battleships of the type “South Dakota” and “Iowa”, but the lack of time to “implant” forced to abandon specific solutions. Probably for the best. It is not known how many would have been delayed commissioning of the ships, which had already been made a serious bet.
The initial order seemed very modest, it consisted of the same two units. However, within six months to “train” hitched long composition — 26 buildings. Finally the dam burst with the US entry into the war After the attack on pearl Harbor, it became clear that a long and very difficult road to victory, where you will need ships of all classes. And better — as much as possible. As a result, orders were given to 52 (!) unit type “Cleveland” is the designation received “posledovatelna” cruiser named head.
However, even the biggest dreamers among the admirals, it soon became clear that there is a clear overkill. After the outbreak of hostilities Japan virtually ceased shipbuilding in a new class of cruisers, and the German Navy quite successfully curtailed by the British. Five dozen ships against the strength of a dozen outdated or weak opponents of the same class became unnecessary overkill, because it hindered the construction of a necessary escort forces and aircraft carriers. But their case was very useful. In early 1942 it became clear that aircraft carriers became the most important component in the war in the Pacific, as well as the fact that even the first ordered will arrive is still not very soon. As a surprise came the decision to convert 9 “Cleveland” in light aircraft carriers, which allowed to strengthen the aircraft carrier fleet in the shortest possible time.
This “hunk” was not only cut off from such a solid loaf. Just begun operation on 29 cruisers; the orders and the rest cancelled for various reasons, chief of which was the approaching end of the war. Here, the Americans did the sensible thing, the percentage of time to the matter of light cruisers was much greater than that of their heavy counterparts. 22 units managed to take part in the fighting, although of course in very different degrees.
The first unit took part in many battles in both the main theatres of war. So head to the Hopkins covered the landing of allied forces in North Africa, and then, in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese in the Straits “Iron bottom” of Guadalcanal. In the battle near the island Kolombangara he, along with sistership “Montpellier” and “Denver” in a few minutes blew the fire of his “machine gun” 6 – and 5-Dujmovic Japanese destroyers”, Minegumo and Murasame” without receiving a single scratch. But in the next skirmish in the Gulf of Empress Augusta “Denver” was struck by three 203 mm shells from the Japanese heavy cruisers. Fortunately for the Americans, none of them exploded, leaving only minor damage. All November 1943, became “Denver” unlucky: ten days later, he received a torpedo from the base, “Betty.” To repair the “holes” I had in six months. Another loser among the “Cleveland” was “Birmingham”. In the same November in the area Solomon Islands Japanese aircraft struck at him with a torpedo and two bombs. Renovated in record time, less than 3 months, he was in the battle of Leyte Gulf. The cruiser helped the light aircraft carrier Princeton to cope with the fire when a huge explosion of gasoline showered the squad with many pieces, wounding nearly all who were on the upper deck and damaged the machines and add-ons. After another repair a loser in time for operations against Okinawa. May 4, 1945 in Birmingham crashed into a kamikaze, killing and wounding hundreds of people. Repaired it to the end of hostilities, and as a result, “the sufferer” has received only 9 martial differences — the “stars”, while his more successful colleagues, such as “Cleveland”, “Montpellier” and “Santa Fe” received a whopping 13.
In General, the Americans managed to create a highly damage-resistant ship. An example of this is “Houston” (named after sunk in the Java sea by the Japanese heavy “colleagues”), a rescue which resulted in a large-scale battle of the American cover and attacking Japanese aircraft. Initially, the cruiser received a torpedo with “Betty” — the holes were flooded all compartments of the power plant. The ship completely lost in the course and received 6,5 thousand tons of water. His two days were towed to the accompaniment of the continuous attacks of Japanese aircraft. One of them was a success: the second torpedo hit in the stern. Burned aviation gasoline, the cruiser lost steering control, and its displacement increased to 21 thousand tons! Nevertheless, he safely reached the saving dock and was repaired.
As in the case of heavy “Baltimore”, after the initial project was followed by improved. For “Cleveland” such was the type of “Fargo”, even superficially resembling a military option, “Baltimore”, — “Oregon city”. And there are two chimneys gave way to one wide, the number of steam boilers was reduced to four, and the interior was perekomponovkoy, improving survivability. The main changes are hard to notice at first glance. They included improvement in stability: the towers of the main caliber “descended” down to 30 cm, and a side of 127 mm was removed from the superstructure to the upper deck. Even less noticeable was the decrease in the hangar that could accommodate two aircraft instead of four, This change is quite clear: by the time reconnaissance and corrective aircraft artillery on ships was living his last days, losing its role as the radar and carrier aircraft.
Generally, that is the ill-fated “top” overloading was the main reason for the relatively short life of all the “Cleveland” as in the original version, and improved. At the end of the war with the first even took one of the catapults and the distance from the bottom of the towers, but these measures were a drop in the bucket. Cruisers, of course, not tipping on service, but reserve for upgrades absolutely. In its original form artillery cruisers were not too necessary in the 60-ies, and the output from the Navy of the USSR where most of the newer units put them on the final point. Excluded from the lists of them in two steps. In 1959, to eternal rest went from 7 units, over the next two years — 5. Then I had a break until the end of the 60s, when in 1969 it was the turn of “Astoria”. 5 cruisers went for scrapping in 1970 — 1971, “Galveston” — in 1973, but the rest survived until the late ‘ 70s, although the time has long been mothballed. However, until now, has lived one of “Cleveland” — “little Rock”. In the late 50’s it, like several other units, was rebuilt in URO cruiser. And even for good reason: in the summer of 1968 his rocket was shot down off the coast of Vietnam two jet fighters. After the delisting of the fleet in 1976, the veteran became a Museum two wars; he put on an eternal trick in Buffalo.
An improved version of the last war light cruisers expect the same fate as the advanced heavy. They weren’t ripe, even to the surrender of Japan, he served in the Navy for only 3 — 4 years and went to the reserve, caught indefinite. For “Huntington’s” the story ended in 1961, “Fargo” stood in the form of canned almost 10 years more, but both didn’t have to swim anymore, not that war.

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