Des Moines-class cruiser

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USS Des Moines CA-134.jpg
USS Des Moines (CA-134)
Class overview
Name: Des Moines-class cruiser
Operators: Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States Navy
Preceded by: Oregon City class
Succeeded by: None
In commission: 1948–75
Planned: 12
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 9[1][2]
Retired: 3
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Type: Heavy cruiser
  • 17,255 long tons (17,532 t) (standard)
  • 20,933 long tons (21,269 t) (full load)
Length: 716 ft 6 in (218.39 m)
Beam: 76 ft 6 in (23.32 m)
Draft: 22 ft (6.7 m)
  • 4 shafts
  • General Electric turbines
  • 4 boilers
  • 120,000 shp (89,000 kW)
Speed: 33 kn (61 km/h)
  • 10,500 nmi at 15 knots
  • 19,400 km at 28 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).[3][4][5] 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.[4][6] The auto-loading mechanism could function at any elevation, giving even these large-caliber guns some anti-aircraft ability.[4] 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.[4]


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.[2][4]

Ships in class[edit]

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
N/A CA-151


  1. ^ Andrew Toppan (2000-04-24). "US Cruisers List: US Light/Heavy/AntiAircraft Cruisers, Part 2". Haze Gray & Underway. 
  2. ^ a b "CA-134 Des Moines – Ship Listing". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  3. ^ "CA-134 Des Moines Class". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "CA-134 Des Moines – Program". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  5. ^ "CA-134 Des Moines Specifications". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]