Brooklyn class cruiser

Brooklyn class cruiser

The "Brooklyn" class cruisers were seven light cruisers of the United States Navy which served during World War II. Armed with 5 (three forward, two aft) triple turret mounted 6 inch guns, they were all commissioned during 1937 and 1938 in the time between the start of the war in Asia and before the outbreak of war in Europe.


The "Brooklyn"s arose from the London Naval Treaty of 1930, which suspended the construction of heavy cruisers, ie, ships carrying guns between 6.1 inches and 8 inches. The U.S. didn't favour this outcome, being of the opinion that the heavier gunned ships more suited its Pacific needs. Design started in 1930, the first four of the class were ordered in 1933 and a further three in 1934. Basic criteria had been that speed and range should match heavy cruisers and, when the Japanese Mogami class cruisers appeared, carrying fifteen six-inch main guns, the new U.S. ships would match their weaponry. Various combinations of armour and power plants were tried in the efforts to stay below the Treaty 10,000 ton limit.

The six-inch guns were of a new design, the Mk 16 which could fire a 130-pound shell up to 26,100 yards (nearly 23,900 metres). The intention to mount 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns was frustrated and the requirement was not fully met until 1943: interim solutions had to be accepted.

From 1942, the bridge structure was lowered and radar was fitted. Increased anti-aircraft weaponry was specified (four quadruple plus four twin 40 millimetre mountings) but not met. In practice there were varied mixes of 20mm and 40mm mountings, twenty-eight 40mm (4x4, 6x2} and twenty 20mm (10x2) being the most common.

The two ships of the "St. Louis" class were modified "Brooklyns" (exploiting new boiler design, redesigned armor, and secondary armament placed to four twinned mounts), while the USS "Wichita" was a heavy cruiser version (as permitted by the London Treaty). The two wartime cruiser classes, the "Baltimores" and "Clevelands" were based on the "St. Louis" class and the "Wichita", respectively, and thus the vast majority of cruisers built by the United States during World War II are derived from the "Brooklyn" design. [cite book
last = Whitley
first = M J
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia
publisher = Arms and Armour Press
date= 1995
location = London
pages = pp.248-249
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-85409-225-1

War service

Although several were damaged during the war, all of the cruisers survived but were decommissioned by 3 February 1947. The "Nashville" was hit by a kamikaze attack on 13 December 1944 off Mindoro which killed or wounded 310 crewmen. The "Honolulu" was torpedoed at the Battle of Kolombangara as was her near-sister ship "St. Louis". After being repaired in the United States, "Honolulu" returned to service only to be torpedoed by a Japanese aircraft on 20 October 1944 during the invasion of Leyte. The "St. Louis" was hit by a kamikaze attack on 27 December 1944, also while covering the Leyte Gulf operations. The "Boise" was severely damaged by a shell in her forward turret magazine during the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11 October 1942, suffering many casualties but luckily the shell did not explode. Finally, off Salerno, Italy, the "Savannah" was hit by a German FX1400 radio guided bomb which penetrated her aft most turret and blew out the bottom of the ship. Skillful damage control by her crew saved her from sinking. While under repair in the United States, "Savannah" was rebuilt with a bulged hull that increased her beam by nearly 8 feet and her 5 inch guns were reinstalled as four twins.

Post war

Although two of the class were scrapped, the rest were subsequently sold to South American countries: "Brooklyn" and "Nashville" to Chile, "Philadelphia" to Brazil and "Boise" and "Phoenix" to Argentina. The "Phoenix", renamed as ARA "General Belgrano" was sunk by HMS "Conqueror" during the Falklands War.

"Brooklyn" class ships

*USS Brooklyn (CL-40)
*USS Philadelphia (CL-41)
*USS Savannah (CL-42)
*USS Nashville (CL-43)
*USS Phoenix (CL-46)
*USS Boise (CL-47)
*USS Honolulu (CL-48)


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