Des Moines-class cruiser
USS Des Moines (CA-134)
|Name:||Des Moines-class cruiser|
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Preceded by:||Oregon City class|
|Length:||716 ft 6 in (218.39 m)|
|Beam:||76 ft 6 in (23.32 m)|
|Draft:||22 ft (6.7 m)|
|Speed:||33 kn (61 km/h)|
|Complement:||1,799 officers and enlisted|
The Des Moines-class cruisers were a trio of U.S. Navy heavy cruisers, commissioned in 1948–1949. They were the last of the all-gun heavy cruisers, exceeded in size in the American navy only by the Alaska-class cruisers that straddled the line between heavy cruiser and battlecruiser. Two were decommissioned by 1961, but one, Newport News (CA-148), served until 1975. Salem (CA-139) is a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts; the other two ships were scrapped.
Derived from the Baltimore-class heavy cruisers, they were larger, had an improved machinery layout, and carried a new design of auto-loading, rapid-fire 8"/55 gun (the Mk16). The improved Mk16 guns of the main battery were the first auto-loading 8" guns fielded by the US Navy, and allowed a much higher rate of fire than earlier designs, capable of sustaining seven shots per minute per barrel, or about twice what previous heavy cruisers could. The auto-loading mechanism could function at any elevation, giving even these large-caliber guns some anti-aircraft ability. While the secondary battery of six twin 5"/38 Mk12 DP guns was essentially unchanged from the preceding Oregon City and Baltimore-class cruisers, the Des Moines class carried a stronger battery of small-caliber anti-aircraft guns, including 12 twin 3-inch/50 Mk27 and later Mk33 guns, that were considered superior to the earlier ships' quad-mounted 40mm Bofors against then current airborne threats.
Twelve ships of the class were programmed, but only three ships were completed: Des Moines (CA-134), Salem (CA-139), and Newport News (CA-148), with the USS Dallas (CA-140) canceled when she was approximately 28 percent complete. The first two were decommissioned in 1961 and 1959, respectively, but Newport News remained in commission until 1975, serving for a long period (1962–1968) as United States Second Fleet flagship, and then providing gunfire support off Vietnam 1969–1973. She had the distinction of being the last active all-gun cruiser (serving 25.5 years continuously) and the first completely air-conditioned surface ship in the U.S. Navy. Salem is a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts. Newport News was scrapped in 1993, and Des Moines was scrapped in 2006–2007. Dallas (CA-140) and eight other ships (CA-141 through CA-143 and CA-149 through CA-153) were canceled at the end of World War II.
Ships in class
|Ship name||Hull No.||Builder||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Decommissioned||Fate|
|Des Moines||CA-134||Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts||28 May 1945||27 September 1946||16 November 1948||6 July 1961||Struck 9 July 1991, scrapped 2007|
|Salem||CA-139||4 July 1945||25 March 1947||14 May 1949||30 January 1959||Struck 12 July 1991, museum ship at Quincy, Massachusetts|
|Dallas||CA-140||15 October 1945||N/A||Cancelled 6 June 1946|
|N/A||CA-141||N/A||Cancelled 7 January 1946|
|CA-142||Cancelled 12 August 1945|
|Newport News||CA-148||Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia||1 October 1945||6 March 1948||29 January 1949||27 June 1975||Struck 31 July 1978, Sold for scrap, 25 February 1993|
|N/A||CA-149||N/A||Cancelled 12 August 1945|
|Dallas||CA-150||New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey|
- Andrew Toppan (2000-04-24). "US Cruisers List: US Light/Heavy/AntiAircraft Cruisers, Part 2". Haze Gray & Underway.
- "CA-134 Des Moines – Ship Listing". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "CA-134 Des Moines Class". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "CA-134 Des Moines – Program". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "CA-134 Des Moines Specifications". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
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