St. Louis-class cruiser (1938)

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USS St. Louis (CL-49) off San Pedro, California (USA), on 5 October 1944 (19-N-72219).jpg
USS St. Louis (CL-49)
Class overview
Name: St. Louis class
Preceded by: Brooklyn class
Succeeded by:
Completed: 2
Lost: 1
Retired: 1
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
  • 10,000 long-tons (standard)
  • 13,327 long-tons(Full)
Length: 608.3 ft (185.4 m)
Beam: 61.7 ft (18.8 m)
Draft: 19.8 ft (6.0 m)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Complement: 888
Aircraft carried: 4 Curtiss SOC Seagulls
Aviation facilities: 2 aft catapults

The St. Louis-class cruisers were a pair of light cruisers that served in the United States Navy during World War II.


The St. Louis class was a slight modification of the seven-ship Brooklyn class that immediately preceded them, incorporating new higher pressure boilers and a new boiler arrangement, with machinery on the "unit system": alternating boiler and engine rooms to prevent a ship from being immobilized by a single unlucky hit. Additionally, AA armament was improved. They were the first US cruisers to be armed with twin five-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber guns. They could be distinguished visually from the Brooklyns by the placement of the after deckhouse, immediately abaft the second funnel, and by the twin 5-inch mounts.

Both ships were commissioned in 1939, and were active in the Pacific in World War II. Helena was sunk in 1943 during the Battle of Kula Gulf. The remains of the ship were discovered below the surface of New Georgia Sound by Paul Allen's research ship Petrel in April 2018. St. Louis was seriously damaged twice, but survived the war and was transferred to the Brazilian Navy in 1951, where she served until 1976.

St. Louis-class ships[edit]

Ship name Hull No. Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate
St. Louis CL-49 Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company 10 December 1936 15 April 1938 19 May 1939 20 June 1946 Transferred to Brazilian Navy as Tamandare, 29 January 1951
Helena CL-50 Brooklyn Navy Yard 9 December 1936 27 August 1938 18 September 1939 N/A Torpedoed and sunk, 6 July 1943

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