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Des Moines-class cruiser
USS Des Moines CA-134.jpg
USS Des Moines (CA-134)
Class overview
Name: Des Moines-class heavy cruiser
Operators: US flag 48 stars.svg United States Navy
Preceded by: Oregon City class
Succeeded by: None
In commission: 1948–1975
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 9[1][2]
Retired: 3
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Type: Heavy cruiser
Displacement: 17,255 short tons (15,653 t) (standard)
20,934 short tons (18,991 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)
Propulsion: 4 shafts
General Electric turbines
4 boilers
120,000 shp (89,000 kW)
Speed: 33 kn (61 km/h)
Range: 10,500 nmi at 15 knots
19,400 km at 28 km/h
Complement: 1,799 officers and enlisted
Armor: 6 in (150 mm) Belt
8 in (200 mm) Turrets
3 12 in (89 mm) Deck
6 12 in (170 mm) Conning Tower

The Des Moines-class cruisers were a group 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.


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 12 shots per minute per barrel, or about twice that of the Mk12s found on the Baltimore class.[4] 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) cancelled when she was approximately 28 percent complete. The first two were decommissioned in 1959 and 1961, respectively, but Newport News remained in commission until 1975, serving for a long period (1962-1968 as Second Fleet flagship, and then providing gunfire support off Viet Nam 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


External links

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