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USS Guam (CB2)

The Alaska-class cruisers were a class of six cruisers ordered prior to World War II for the U.S. Navy. Officially they were classed as "Large Cruisers (CB)", although others regarded them as battlecruisers. Their intermediate status is reflected in the naming of the ships after US territories and insular areas, rather than states (battleships) or cities (cruisers). The idea for a large cruiser class originated in the early 1930s when the Navy sought to counter German Deutschland-class "pocket battleships". Planning of what became the Alaska class began in the later 1930s after the deployment of Germany's Scharnhorst-class battleships and rumors that Japan was constructing a new battlecruiser class. To serve as "cruiser-killers" capable of seeking out and destroying such ships, the Alaska class was given large guns, limited armor protection against 12-inch shells, and machinery capable of speeds of about 31–33 knots (36–38 mph, 58–61 km/h). Of the six planned, two were completed and a third was cancelled during construction. Alaska and Guam (pictured) served for the last year of World War II as bombardment ships and fast carrier escorts, and were decommissioned in 1947. (Full article...)

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