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United States' Alaska Class Battlecruisers

Photos

CB-1 USS Alaska being launched at the New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on August 15, 1943:
CB-1 USS Alaska being launched at the New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on August 15, 1943
US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH-57215

CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-5580

CB-1 USS Alaska on September 11, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska on September 11, 1944
US Navy, NH-97127

CB-1 USS Alaska with the USS Missouri on their shakedown cruise during the summer of 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska with the USS Missouri on their shakedown cruise during the summer of 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-5583

CB-1 USS Alaska off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945 recovering its Curtiss SC-1 floatplane:
CB-1 USS Alaska off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945 recovering its Curtiss SC-1 floatplane
US Navy, 80-G-K-3747

CB-1 USS Alaska in the Pacific in 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska in the Pacific in 1945
US Naval Historical Center, NH-67516
CB-1 USS Alaska at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on July 30, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on July 30, 1944
US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH-57214

CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-5579

CB-1 USS Alaska at Philadelphia Navy Yard on November 12, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska at Philadelphia Navy Yard on November 12, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-57213

CB-1 USS Alaska conducting gunnery practice on February 5, 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska conducting gunnery practice on February 5, 1945
US Navy, 80-G-K-3031

CB-1 USS Alaska's crew passing 40 mm clips off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska's crew passing 40 mm clips off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945
US Navy, 80-G-K-3733

CB-1 USS Alaska near Hampton Roads, Virginia:
CB-1 USS Alaska near Hampton Roads, Virginia
US Naval Historical Center, NH-97268
CB-1 USS Alaska at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on July 30, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on July 30, 1944
US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH-92282

CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska during her shakedown cruise with the USS Missouri in August 1944
US Navy, 80-G-K-5584

CB-1 USS Alaska on November 13, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska on November 13, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-57212

CB-1 USS Alaska off Iwo Jima:
CB-1 USS Alaska off Iwo Jima
US Navy, 80-G-K-3740

CB-1 USS Alaska off the Chinese coast with the USS Guam in August 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska off the Chinese coast with the USS Guam in August 1945
US Naval Historical Center, NH-90742
CB-1 USS Alaska on August 8, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska on August 8, 1944
US Navy, NH-97128

CB-1 USS Alaska in port with the USS Missouri and USS Croatan:
CB-1 USS Alaska in port with the USS Missouri and USS Croatan
US Navy, 80-G-K-190547

CB-1 USS Alaska on November 13, 1944:
CB-1 USS Alaska on November 13, 1944
US Navy, NH-97126

CB-1 USS Alaska with its Curtiss SC-1 floatplane off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska with its Curtiss SC-1 floatplane off Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945
US Navy, 80-G-K-3725

CB-1 USS Alaska's forward superstructure and catapult in 1945:
CB-1 USS Alaska's forward superstructure and catapult in 1945
US Navy, NH-97129
CB-2 USS Guam's commissioning at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam's commissioning at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-970734

CB-2 USS Guam off Trinidad conducting gunnery practice during her shakedown cruise in November 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam off Trinidad conducting gunnery practice during her shakedown cruise in November 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-970736

CB-2 USS Guam's hydraulic panels in 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam's hydraulic panels in 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-970739

CB-2 USS Guam in Jinsen Harbor, Korea on August 8, 1945:
CB-2 USS Guam in Jinsen Harbor, Korea on August 8, 1945
US Naval Historical Center, NH-90741
CB-2 USS Guam's commissioning at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam's commissioning at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-970735

CB-2 USS Guam's diesel engine room in 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam's diesel engine room in 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-970738

CB-2 USS Guam in 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam in 1944
US Navy, NH-97131
CB-2 USS Guam during her shakedown cruise on November 13, 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam during her shakedown cruise on November 13, 1944
US Navy, NH-97132

CB-2 USS Guam's electrical distribution switchboard in 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam's electrical distribution switchboard in 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-90737

CB-2 USS Guam in the Delaware River in January 1945:
CB-2 USS Guam in the Delaware River in January 1945
US Naval Historical Center, NH-92283
CB-2 USS Guam during her shakedown cruise off Trinidad on November 13, 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam during her shakedown cruise off Trinidad on November 13, 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-67519

CB-2 USS Guam conducting gunnery practice in 1944:
CB-2 USS Guam conducting gunnery practice in 1944
US Naval Historical Center, NH-90740

CB-2 USS Guam at Pearl Harbor on February 21, 1945:
CB-2 USS Guam at Pearl Harbor on February 21, 1945
US Navy, NH-97130
CB-3 USS Hawaii's launching on November 3, 1945 at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey:
CB-3 USS Hawaii's launching on November 3, 1945 at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey
US Navy, 80-G-35097

CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947:
CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947
US Naval Historical Center, NH-93586
CB-3 USS Hawaii under construction on March 3, 1946:
CB-3 USS Hawaii under construction on March 3, 1946
US Naval Historical Center, NH-93585
CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947:
CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947
US Naval Historical Center, NH-93587
CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947:
CB-3 USS Hawaii at New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, New Jersey on January 8, 1947
US Naval Historical Center, NH-93588

Design

Also known as large cruisers, the Alaska class ships had a basic cruiser design with a battleship's armament and tower foremast.

The Alaska class cruisers were designed without any treaty restrictions allowing for larger than 8" guns and displacement greater than 10,000 tons. A 12" cruiser project was started by the Bureau of Construction and Repair in 1938.

The cost for construction was around $74,066,000 per ship.

Aircraft

The Alaska class battlecruisers had two catapults for their four aircraft.

Armament

The armament were made up of new 12" L/50 guns that weren't used on any other ships. The initial design of the Alaska class was for two twin turrets and one triple turret. It was decided to have all triple turrets to simplify production.

Ships

CB-1 USS Alaska

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • August 15, 1943: Launched.
  • June 17, 1944: Commissioned.
  • Okinawa.
  • 1945: Pacific Raids.

CB-2 USS Guam

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • November 21, 1943: Launched.
  • September 17, 1944: Commissioned.
  • Okinawa.
  • 1945: Pacific Raids.

CB-3 USS Hawaii

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • March 11, 1945: Launched.
  • November 3, 1945: Launched.
  • February 17, 1947: Suspended with 82.4% completed.

CB-4 USS Philippines

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • June 24, 1943: Cancelled.

CB-5 USS Puerto Rico

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • June 24, 1943: Cancelled.

CB-6 USS Samoa

  • Manufacturer: New York Shipbuilding, G.E.
  • June 24, 1943: Cancelled.

Usage

The USS Alaska and USS Guam did make it to combat.

 

Specifications

  Alaska Class
Crew 1,979, 2,200
Displacement 27,000 tons, 27,500 tons
Displacement - Loaded 32,000 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 808' 6"
Length - Water Line 791'
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam 89' 6", 91'
Draft / Height 31' 6"
Draft / Height - Full Load  
Performance  
Speed 33 knots
Range at 15 knots  
Armament 12" L/50: 9
12" triple turrets: 3
5" twin turrets: 6
5" L/38: 12
Anti-Aircraft 40 mm: 56
20 mm: 34
Aircraft 4
Armor  
Barbettes  
Belt 9"
Bulkheads  
Deck - Main 2"
Deck - Upper 3.5"
Sides 6" - 9"
Turrets 12.75"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
General Electric geared
HP 150,000
Oil  
  USS Alaska
Crew 1,517
Displacement 29,779 tons
Displacement - Loaded 34,253 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 808' 6"
246.43 m
Length - Water Line 791' 6"
241.25 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam 91' 1"
27.76 m
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Full Load 31' 10"
9.7 m
Performance  
Speed 33 knots
Range at 15 knots 12,000 nautical miles
Armament 12" L/50 triple turret: 3
5" L/38 twin turret: 6
Anti-Aircraft 40 mm quad mounts: 14
20 mm: 34
Aircraft  
Armor  
Barbettes 11" - 13"
Belt 5" - 9"
Bulkheads  
Deck - Armor 3.8" - 4"
Sides  
Turret - Face 12.8"
Turret - Rear 5.25"
Turret - Side 5.25" - 6"
Turret - Top 5"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines General Electric
HP 150,000
Oil 3,619 tons

Sources:

  1. US Warships of World War 2, Paul H. Silverstone, 1965
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site