We have already talked about how the heavy cruiser became a favorite class for American sailors Large 10 000-ton ships could not be better suited for action on the oceans, where distances between bases was a few thousand miles. Therefore, the new Maritime conference assembled in London in 1930, overseas admirals fought for them as hot as in battle. And in the end succeeded: the United States was able finally to overcome the “mistress of the seas”. Even in the same class of ships, but most (as it seemed) interesting. Americans are “knocked out” for himself the right to have 18 heavy cruisers, while the British were allowed no more than 15, and the Japanese only 12. It all looked just fine, but in fact the Treaty of London recorded this at the moment the situation. The United States already had in service or on the stocks of 16 units falling in the “severe” category, and not all of them came out good and strong. The seventeenth was the “Vincennes”, which was built on existing project “new Orleans”. In the end, the further development of class room for maneuver remains very little — only one ship. Then you’d have to wait until your 20-year term will serve the first of the “Washingtonians” and they can be replaced.
It is clear that in this situation, the designers wanted to invest in “last hope” as much as possible. Moreover, by 1934, in the ranks were already cruisers all projects and it was possible to draw some conclusions. After going through the first relief corps, the Americans gradually reached 10 000-tonne limit and now without much compunction moved on. “Astoria” limit exceeded by approximately 140 tons — in fact, in comparison with the tricks that were done in other countries. Why the engineers gave too much, however, advertised the order: a new project can be “heavier” for a couple of hundred tons.
In the same 1934, bookmark SA-44, named “Wichita”. The draft of the new heavy cruisers reworked almost completely. The next increment in weight was only one and a fairly minor difference from its predecessors. The case for “Wichita” took from the laid the year before the large light cruisers “Brooklyn”. Design ideas have come full circle and returned to a flush-deck scheme. However, instead of a rather large bend in “salt lake city” the case had now the high Board along the entire length. This not only ensured uninterrupted fire on the ocean waves from the back of the tower and were given the opportunity to release aircraft from catapults, now installed in the stern. Americans found this solution best since it freed up valuable space in the middle part of the ship, so necessary for the anti-aircraft artillery. At the same time disappeared and the “house”-hangar, occupying a lot of space on the deck in the Central part of the ship. He moved directly to the hull at the stern under the catapult. The cruiser got rid of “the shed”, was corrupting not only the appearance, but also representing a hefty goal that threatened the threat of fires when hit. In the end, the General arrangement has become finished and very rational scheme, which the Americans were actively implemented on all classes of large ships. Perhaps its only drawback was the inability to fire from the rear turret directly aft. The muzzle gases are easily demolished for the Board is directly in the line of fire fragile seaplanes. Therefore, one could either carefully hide them under the deck in the hangar and not to use in battle, or to release at the first sign of the appearance of the enemy, or Dodge in the battle so that the opponent was not in the feed sector.
On the latest “London” the cruiser managed to finally completely solve a long-standing problem of a too close arrangement of the shafts of vospityvat. They were “separated” for quite a distance and placed in separate cradles. However, there is a problem with the size of the Barbet, whose diameter is increased so that they would not fit in the graceful hull lines. Then, the designers contrived and gave the Barbet in the form of an inverted cone, savcheko from tower to cellar.
A major change was subjected to anti-aircraft weapons. Already during the construction of the fleet command was able to “push” the installation of a new 127-mm universal guns with a barrel length of 38 caliber — the famous gun used from the mid 30-ies on all U.S. ships, from carriers to escort of destroyers and support vessels, and played a major role in the war in the Pacific. “The Navy” wanted to have a direct coupled setup, but work on “Wichita” has advanced so much that had to be restricted to single, and some of them had shields. And so to balance weight had to be loaded into the holds of the 200 tons of pig iron as ballast. This absolutely useless burden increased congestion compared to the Washington limit of up to 600 t. However, other articles overload had much more sense. First of all the weight went to another gain of booking. The thickness of the belt was increased to 152 mm 16-mm paneling, Barbet — up to 178 mm, and the frontal plate of the towers right up to 8 inches — 203 mm. Very solid left and the roofs of the towers, covered with 70 mm plate- thickness, worthy of dreadnoughts during the First world war. In the end, “Wichita” stood in honor some of the most protected cruisers of its time. Interesting look and solution to the problem of survivability of mechanical installation. Three boilers branch was located in the front, behind them were two of the turbine, between which was sandwiched a fourth boiler. This “poluchennaya” the scheme was a reasonable compromise between a full alternation of the machinery and boilers and the traditional sequential.
Overall the ship was very successful and was the basis for all subsequent projects of heavy cruisers the United States. However has not managed and without overlays. Failed to “pull” the planned increased cruising range, although achieved 8800 miles at 15 knots course can be considered a good result. But with the low stability of anything reasonable to do about it. As a result, the ship heavily burdened with weapons and equipment placed on high housing, had a lot less reserve for upgrades compared to their predecessors. So, failed to replace single 127-graph paper on paired, and traditional machines are melee — “Bofors and erlikon” — was raised in Wichita with particular caution.