Baltimore Class Heavy Cruisers

Baltimore Class Heavy Cruisers

Baltimore Class Heavy Cruisers

The Baltimore Class Heavy Cruisers were the only American heavy cruisers not limited by the pre-war Naval Treaties to see service with the US Navy during the Second World War, and were developed from the last of the treaty cruisers, USS Wichita. This was itself developed from the Brooklyn class of light cruisers, which were believed to be a superior design to the standard American treaty cruisers.

The various naval treaties had limited the United States to eighteen 8in cruisers, but only sixteen treaty heavy cruisers were built. Instead the US Navy focused on light cruisers, preferring to build a larger number of Brooklyn class ships. The last of the treaty heavy cruisers, USS Wichita (CA-45), was based on the Brooklyn class, using a similar hull form and the same general layout. She was visibly different from the previous New Orleans class, in particular because her aircraft were moved from a position amidships to the new fantail. She carried the same number of 8in guns - nine in three triple turrets, but in an improved turret. She was also more heavily armoured than the previous class, with 6in of belt armour, up from 4in. This was partly achieved by getting closer to the treaty limits, and partly by the need to protect a smaller area.

Work on the Baltimore class began in September 1939. The outbreak of the Second World War meant that the treaty limits no longer applied, and so the new ships could be significantly larger than the Wichita.

The first design was similar to the Wichita, but with the beam increased by two feet to improve stability. Over time extra demands were added to the design, and the size increased. The Wichita had carried eight 5in/38 guns in single mounts. The new ships were to carry more 5in guns, all in double mounts. They were given twelve 5in in six mounts.

The main gun was the 8in/ 55, carried in three triple turrets, two forward and one aft.

They were built with far more powerful anti-aircraft defences than any of the earlier classs. CA-68 to CA-71 were given twelve quad 40mm mountings, while CA-72 and later ships had eleven quad and two twin mountings. They were also built with twenty eight 20mm Oerlikon guns.

The eventual design was much larger than Wichita. Full load weight rose from 13,015 tons to 17,303 tons, length from 608ft 4in (oa) to 673ft 5in (oa) and width from 61ft to 70ft 10in. The increase in size meant that they were both more stable and had had more potential for later modifications.

Each ship could carry four scouting aircraft, two stored on deck and two in a hanger located below the rear quarterdeck.

The Baltimore class ships had similar armour to the Wichita. The main belt was 6in thick, tapering to 4in at the base. Fore and after of the machinery it reduced to 3in. From CA-72 onwards the thicker armour was extended forward to provide cover for the radio room. End bulkheads were 5in-6in thick. The deck armour was 2.5in thick, a slight increase on Wichita. In total they carried 1,790 tons of armour, around 300 tons more than Wichita.

The machinery used high pressure steam boilers and provided 120,000shp (up from 100,000shp on Wichita and earlier cruisers). The 20% increase in power compensated for the increase in weight and added 1kt to the design speed. Significantly more electricity generating capability was installed.

Oregon City sub-class

USS Oregon City (CA-122), USS Albany (CA-123) and USS Rochester (CA-124) were all completed to the modified Oregon City design. The basic design remained the same, but the bridge was redesigned, the superstructure shortened and the two funnels replaced with a single funnel. The aircraft hanger was reduced in size and a single crane on the centre line replaced the two cranes of the original design. Originally the plan had been to complete CA-122 to CA-129, CA-137 and CA-138 to the Oregon City design, but USS Northampton (CA-125) was completed post-war as a flagship and the other ships were cancelled.

Production Orders

The first four Baltimore class ships were ordered on 1 June 1940 (CA-68 to CA-71). They were followed by four more on 9 September 1940 (CA-72 to CA-75). All eight of these ships were completed as designed, although the last two arrived too late to see service in the Second World War. All eight were constructed by Bethlehem at Quincy.

A third batch of seventeen ships was ordered on 7 August 1942 (CA-122 to CA-138). Eight were ordered from Quincy, five from the New York Shipbuilding Corps and four from the Philadelphia Naval Yard.

Only four of the Quincy ships were completed. Three of them were built as the modified Oregon City sub-class (CA-122 to CA-124). CA-125 was completed several years after the war as a prototype fleet flagship. CA-126 and CA-127 were laid down but cancelled at the end of the war before being launched. CA-128 and CA-129 were never laid down.

The first four ships from the New York order were all completed as standard Baltimore class ships (CA-130 to CA-133). On 25 September 1943 CA-134 was re-ordered from Bethlehem as a Des Moines class cruiser, with a quick firing 8in gun.

The first two of the Philadelphia ships (CA-135 and CA-136) were laid down in July 1943, launched in August 1944 and completed as Baltimore class ships. CA-137 and CA-138 were laid down in December 1944 but were never launched and were cancelled at the end of the war.

On 14 June 1943 another four Oregon City class cruisers were ordered from Bethlehem, Quincy (CA-139 to CA-142), but they were changed to Des Moines class cruisers before work had begun. Only CA-139 would actually be completed.

Service Records

USS Baltimore (CA-68) entered service late in 1943 and took part in the invasion of Makin and remained in action in the Pacific until the Japanese surrender. She saw some post-war service before being decommissioned in 1956.

USS Boston (CA-69) arrived in the Pacific in January and served in the Pacific until the end of the war. In the 1950s she was converted into a guided missile cruiser (CAG-1) and was finally decommissioned in 1970.

USS Canberra (CA-70) was one of the few American ships to be named after foreign cities, in this case to honour HMAS Canberra, lost at the battle of Savo Island. She served in the Pacific from the spring of 1944 until she was hit by a torpedo in October 1944. She wasn't repaired until October 1945 and was decommissioned in 1947. She was later recommissioned as missile cruiser CAG-2 and served in that role from 1956-1970.

USS Quincy (CA-71) served in the Atlantic from March 1944 to July 1944, helping to support the D-Day landings. She took part in Operation Dragoon, before joining the Pacific Fleet for the last few months of the war in the Pacific. She was recommissioned in 1952, serving in the Korean War, but was decommissioned for the final time in 1954.

USS Pittsburgh (CA-72) served in the Pacific from February 1945 until she was badly damaged in a typhoon in June 1945. She was decommissioned in 1946, recommissioned from 1951-56, but didn't see combat during this second spell.

USS St Paul (CA-73) took part in the last carrier raids in the Pacific in 1945. She carried out three tours off Korea and also fought during the Vietnam War. She was decommissioned in 1971.

USS Columbus (CA-74) was completed too late for the Second World War. She remained in service until 1959 when work began on converting her to a guided mission cruiser (CG-12). She served in that role from 1962 until 1975.

USS Helena (CA-75) arrived too late for the Second World War, but saw combat during the Korean War and was paid off in 1963.

USS Oregon City (CA-122) was commissioned in 1946, decommissioned in 1947 and remained in the reserve until she was sold off in 1970.

USS Albany (CA-123) was converted into a guided missile cruiser (CG-10) and wasn't decommissioned until 1980.

USS Rochester (CA-124) served in the Korean War. She was decommissioned in 1961.

USS Northampton (CA-125) was completed in the 1950s as an experimental flagship (CLC-1/ CC-1).

USS Bremerton (CA-130) was in service for a brief period post war, before being decommissioned in 1948. She was recommissioned in 1951 and served in the Korean War. She was decommissioned for the second and final time in 1960.

USS Fall River (CA-131) had a brief service career. She was completed in the summer of 1945, but decommissioned in October 1947 and never recommissioned.

USS Macon (CA-132) entered service just before the Japanese surrender. She was decommissioned briefly in 1950, but then recommissioned and used in the Atlantic until she was decommissioned for the second time in 1961.

USS Toledo (CA-133) didn't enter service until 1946. She saw combat during the Korean War, and was decommissioned in 1960.

USS Los Angeles (CA-135) entered service just before the end of the Second World War but didn’t see combat. She was decommissioned in 1947, recommissioned in January 1951 and saw combat in Korea. She was decommissioned in 1963.

USS Chicago (CA-136) arrived just in time to take part in the final bombardments of Japan in July-August 1945. She was decommissioned in 1947, but recommissioned in 1964 as guided missile cruiser CG-11. She was decommissioned for a second time in 1980.

Displacement (standard)

14,472t

Displacement (loaded)

17,031t

Top Speed

33kts

Range

10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

4-6in

- armour deck

2.5in

- barbettes

6.3in

- turrets

8in face
3in roof
2-3.75in sides
1.5 rear

- conning tower

6in
3in roof

- underwater magazines

3in side
2.5in deck

Length

673ft 5in oa

Armaments

Nine 8in guns (three triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Forty eight 40mm guns (11x4, 2x2)
Twenty four 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

2039

Ships in Class

Fate

CA68 USS Baltimore

Stricken 1971

CA69 USS Boston

Stricken 1973

CA70 USS Canberra (originally Pittsburgh)

Stricken 1973

CA71 USS Quincy (originally St Paul)

Stricken 1973

CA72 USS Pittsburgh (originally Albany)

Stricken 1973

CA73 USS St Paul (originally Rochester)

Sold for break up 1978

CA74 USS Columbus

Stricken 1976

CA75 USS Helena (originally Des Moines)

Stricken 1974

CA122 USS Oregon City

Stricken 1970

CA123 USS Albany

Sold for scrap 1990

CA124 USS Rochester

Stricken 1974

CA125 USS Northampton

Stricken 1977

CA126 USS Cambridge

Cancelled 1945

CA127 USS Bridgeport

Cancelled 1945

CA128 USS Kansas City

Cancelled 1945

CA129 USS Tulsa

Cancelled 1945

CA130 USS Bremerton

Stricken 1974

CA131 USS Fall River

Stricken 1971

CA132 USS Macon

Stricken 1969

CA133 USS Toledo

Stricken 1974

CA135 USS Los Angeles

Stricken 1974

CA136 USS Chicago

? extant 1980 ?

CA137 USS Norfolk

Cancelled 1945

CA138 USS Scranton

Cancelled 1945


Baltimore Class Heavy Cruiser 2019-10-13

The Baltimore-class cruiser was a large class of heavy cruisers in the United States Navy commissioned during and shortly after World War II. Fourteen Baltimore’s were completed, more than any other class of heavy cruiser, along with three ships of the Oregon City-sub-class. Fast and heavily armed, the Baltimore cruisers were mainly used in World War II to protect the fast aircraft carriers in battle groups from air attack. Additionally, their 8-inch (203 mm) main guns and secondary 5-inch (127 mm) guns were regularly used to bombard land targets in support of amphibious landings. After the war, only six Baltimore’s (St Paul, Macon, Toledo, Columbus, Bremerton, and Helena) and two Oregon City-class ships (Albany and Rochester) remained in service, while the rest were moved to the reserve fleet. However, all ships except Boston, Canberra, Chicago and Fall River were reactivated for the Korean War. Except for St Paul, all the ships retaining all-gun configurations had very short (18 years or less) service lives, and by 1971 were decommissioned, and started showing up in the scrap-sale lists. However, four Baltimore-class cruisers were refitted and converted into some of the first guided missile cruisers in the world, becoming two of the three Albany-class and two Boston-class cruisers. The last of these was decommissioned in 1980, with the Chicago lasting until 1991 in reserve. No example of the Baltimore class still exists.

The file contains the unit and pcx files. Model is not my own creation. Wyrmshadow helped with the animation files. I merely put the pieces together and cleaned up the model for CivIII and added some what if pieces. A big thanks to everyone that helped out!


Baltimore class heavy cruiser

APNS Albany (CA-72) with her bow ripped off en route to Guam for temporary repairs, shortly after she lost her bow in a typhoon on June 5th 1945.

The APNS Baltimore (CA-68) underway in San Francisco Bay, late 1951.

The Baltimore-class heavy cruisers were a class of heavy cruisers in service in the American People's Navy from the last years of the Second World War. Fast and heavily armed, ships like the Baltimore-cruisers were mainly used by the Navy in World War II to protect the fast aircraft carriers in carrier battle groups. With their strong anti-aircraft armament, Baltimores could contribute especially in air defenses of these battle groups. Additionally, their 8-inch main guns and smaller medium guns were regularly used to bombard land targets in support of amphibious landings. By 1971, all ships remaining in the original design configuration were decommissioned, and started showing up the scrap-sale lists. However, eight Baltimore-class cruisers were refitted and converted into some of the first guided missile cruisers in the world, becoming the two Boston-class cruisers and six Albany-class cruisers. The last of these was decommissioned in 1980, with the Chicago and Albany lasting until 1991 in reserve.

The APNS Baltimore was turned into a museum ship located in Baltimore. Washington City District in 1972 while the APNS Rochester became one in 1984 and is located in Bremerton, Pacifica.


Admiral Scheer vs Baltimore Class Heavy Cruiser

I asked this question during our HBG Global War 1936 match the past Sunday. What’s your thoughts?

The Baltimore Class Heavy Cruiser is arguably the best 8" heavy cruiser class. How does an older 11" German Pocket Battleship handle the technological advance cruiser?

The German ship has a puncher’s chance. But has a weakness of only two main turrets.

YOu know I am noy a Navy man, Worsham. I thought a draw, with both beig mauled. Woukd normally research them , but have a dreadful headache. I will read anyone else’s views.

My guess is that the Scheer would have had its clock cleaned. The so-called pocket battleships were, in practical terms, basically light cruiser hulls with excessively large guns. The Baltimores were more heavily armoured (for example, belt 102 to 152 mm versus 80 mm), faster (33 knots vs. 28), and had a nine-shell 8-inch main gun broadside (versus the six-shell 11-inch broadside of the Scheer), which helps salvo-range correction, especially when you multiply that factor with the higher rate of fire of the smaller 8-inch guns. The Baltimores had a smaller weight of main gun broadside, but not by much (9 x 152 kg AP = 1,368 kg, versus 6 x 300 kg AP = 1,800). The Scheer’s 11-inch guns had a longer range (36 km) than the Baltimore’s 8-inch guns (27 km) – but because the Baltimore was faster, it would have been able to choose the range of the engagement, so the Scheer could not have stood off and demolished the Baltimore with impunity.

What CWO said… this isn’t even close…

“Pocket Battleships” were designed when the German Kriegsmarine couldn’t have proper battleships, so they went with essentially a cruiser design that was able to outgun cruisers of its time and outrun battleships of its time… having said that, battleships of its time were of the 20-knot variety and cruisers of its time didn’t carry anywhere near the armament that the far more modern Baltimores had.

The Baltimores had far more modern armament well directed and fast loading, and could run circles in speed around the far slower Admiral Scheer. The Baltimore, with the superior speed could choose the range of the engagement and the duration of the engagement… she was better armored and compartmentalized than the Scheer… simply put, she was a better ship in every aspect other than gun caliber.

I really don’t see much of any scenario where the Scheer could beat the Baltimore one on one other than everyone on the Baltimore just being asleep and not manning the guns.

The ships were almost a decade apart, but as the crew has pointed out, the loss of the treaty restrictions and the move past the 10,000T=cruiser concept probably opened many design doors that couldn’t be exploited by the German shipbuilders who had to stick closer to that political but not helpful weight limit at a time when so many facilities were being added to ships (radar, sonar, AAA, ASW gear, seaplanes, wartime crew sizes)

Its difficult to see how these kinds of things would work out in practice, as only a single battle (kommandorski isles) was ever fought under the proposed hypothetical circumstances of “all-guns no air support”.

In my study I have found that (in regards to WW2 surface/submarine naval action not counting carrier aviation) while the Americans often had some technical or material advantage in most qualitative regards, that their performance was generally lower than would be expected because of inexperience, poor communication or tactics, unreliable equipment, or surprise. The Germans often performed better than expected at sea, despite having a deficiency of numbers and equipment, and tactics, and the Italians much worse than would be expected given the size and expenditure on their navy.

As with tanks, the Americans did not have spectacular ships, guns, crews, torpedoes, but rather the benefit of having well-designed, average and reliable equipment in adequate quantity and available in abundance at critical times and places. The opposite is true of the Axis while their systems were stronger in design and performance, (and their preparations for night fighting and innovations of oxygen powered torpedoes, guided missiles/torpedoes etc.) they suffered from over complexity, poor general strategy (fleet submarines, solo raiding by unsupported warships even after PoW/Repulse were easily sunk), weak logistical support and coordination, and substituting novel design and variety for numbers.

So, its a great question as posed, without a date or any help, it may have been a closer match than stated above the American ship is clearly a more robust, general design, a bigger, newer ship (and probably with a much better radar), even with those advantages, many US/UK ships with similar advantages were utterly mauled, and not just by submarines, mines, guided bombs, human torpedoes, air attacks, but also in face-to-face battles against similar ships. This has a lot to do with the specific situations (savo island, the bismark chase) but not really luck, more Axis moxy.

Couple of lucky hits, and the “better ship” can have an ammo explosion or lose its steam. And under the scenario of no-air no-helpers, 1v1, some luck or moxy might win the day, given the disparity in the attributes of each ship.

A fascinating discussion!

The ships were almost a decade apart, but as the crew has pointed out, the loss of the treaty restrictions and the move past the 10,000T=cruiser concept probably opened many design doors that couldn’t be exploited by the German shipbuilders who had to stick closer to that political but not helpful weight limit at a time when so many facilities were being added to ships (radar, sonar, AAA, ASW gear, seaplanes, wartime crew sizes)

Its difficult to see how these kinds of things would work out in practice, as only a single battle (kommandorski isles) was ever fought under the proposed hypothetical circumstances of “all-guns no air support”.

In my study I have found that (in regards to WW2 surface/submarine naval action not counting carrier aviation) while the Americans often had some technical or material advantage in most qualitative regards, that their performance was generally lower than would be expected because of inexperience, poor communication or tactics, unreliable equipment, or surprise. The Germans often performed better than expected at sea, despite having a deficiency of numbers and equipment, and tactics, and the Italians much worse than would be expected given the size and expenditure on their navy.

As with tanks, the Americans did not have spectacular ships, guns, crews, torpedoes, but rather the benefit of having well-designed, average and reliable equipment in adequate quantity and available in abundance at critical times and places. The opposite is true of the Axis while their systems were stronger in design and performance, (and their preparations for night fighting and innovations of oxygen powered torpedoes, guided missiles/torpedoes etc.) they suffered from over complexity, poor general strategy (fleet submarines, solo raiding by unsupported warships even after PoW/Repulse were easily sunk), weak logistical support and coordination, and substituting novel design and variety for numbers.

So, its a great question as posed, without a date or any help, it may have been a closer match than stated above the American ship is clearly a more robust, general design, a bigger, newer ship (and probably with a much better radar), even with those advantages, many US/UK ships with similar advantages were utterly mauled, and not just by submarines, mines, guided bombs, human torpedoes, air attacks, but also in face-to-face battles against similar ships. This has a lot to do with the specific situations (savo island, the bismark chase) but not really luck, more Axis moxy.

Couple of lucky hits, and the “better ship” can have an ammo explosion or lose its steam. And under the scenario of no-air no-helpers, 1v1, some luck or moxy might win the day, given the disparity in the attributes of each ship.

Have a great weekend!

A fascinating discussion!

The ships were almost a decade apart, but as the crew has pointed out, the loss of the treaty restrictions and the move past the 10,000T=cruiser concept probably opened many design doors that couldn’t be exploited by the German shipbuilders who had to stick closer to that political but not helpful weight limit at a time when so many facilities were being added to ships (radar, sonar, AAA, ASW gear, seaplanes, wartime crew sizes)

Its difficult to see how these kinds of things would work out in practice, as only a single battle (kommandorski isles) was ever fought under the proposed hypothetical circumstances of “all-guns no air support”.

In my study I have found that (in regards to WW2 surface/submarine naval action not counting carrier aviation) while the Americans often had some technical or material advantage in most qualitative regards, that their performance was generally lower than would be expected because of inexperience, poor communication or tactics, unreliable equipment, or surprise. The Germans often performed better than expected at sea, despite having a deficiency of numbers and equipment, and tactics, and the Italians much worse than would be expected given the size and expenditure on their navy.

As with tanks, the Americans did not have spectacular ships, guns, crews, torpedoes, but rather the benefit of having well-designed, average and reliable equipment in adequate quantity and available in abundance at critical times and places. The opposite is true of the Axis while their systems were stronger in design and performance, (and their preparations for night fighting and innovations of oxygen powered torpedoes, guided missiles/torpedoes etc.) they suffered from over complexity, poor general strategy (fleet submarines, solo raiding by unsupported warships even after PoW/Repulse were easily sunk), weak logistical support and coordination, and substituting novel design and variety for numbers.

So, its a great question as posed, without a date or any help, it may have been a closer match than stated above the American ship is clearly a more robust, general design, a bigger, newer ship (and probably with a much better radar), even with those advantages, many US/UK ships with similar advantages were utterly mauled, and not just by submarines, mines, guided bombs, human torpedoes, air attacks, but also in face-to-face battles against similar ships. This has a lot to do with the specific situations (savo island, the bismark chase) but not really luck, more Axis moxy.

Couple of lucky hits, and the “better ship” can have an ammo explosion or lose its steam. And under the scenario of no-air no-helpers, 1v1, some luck or moxy might win the day, given the disparity in the attributes of each ship.

Have a great weekend!

I’d like to expand on what you’ve written. The Axis logistics were greatly inferior to those of the Allies but that was largely by necessity. Germany had almost no natural resources except for coal. Coal was useful for powering trains, but a train could not get supplies all the way to soldiers at the front. That was especially true in a dynamic campaign, when the front would tend to shift far more rapidly than new rail could be built. Good logistics required large quantities of military trucks and these in turn required large amounts of petroleum. (Without which they would be useless.) Had Germany been able to secure the Caucasus oilfields, and had Japan been able to better exploit the oil in the Dutch East Indies (without interference from American subs), the Axis would have had the oil required for good logistics.

As for tanks: during the Versailles Treaty Germany was not allowed to build tanks. Upon ridding itself of that treaty, it began designing tanks. But its future enemies had had an enormous head start. The Soviet Union had done an outstanding job with tank design. Its tanks were mobile–far more mobile than France’s, for example. Soviet tanks were less complex and easier to manufacture than Germany’s. They had sloping armor. And in 1941 or 1942, a Soviet T-34 or KV-1 could outperform any German tank in a one-on-one battle. During the 1940s the Soviets had far and away the world’s best tank designs.

For Germany, catching up to that represented a two part process. The first step was to redress the individual inferiority of German tanks. This was accomplished with the Panther and Tiger tank designs. In particular, the King Tiger was an absolute monster, and was individually far superior to almost any Allied tank it might encounter. But Tiger tanks were expensive: several times as expensive as Panzer IVs. Even Panthers were more complex and difficult to manufacture than T-34s. The proposed solution was the E-Series of tanks. “Compared to these earlier designs however, the amount of drilling and machining involved in producing these Standardpanzer was reduced drastically, which would have made them quicker, easier and cheaper to produce, as would the proposed conical spring system, replacing their predecessors’ torsion bar system which required a special steel alloy.” Not only would the E-Series have made German tanks much less expensive to produce, it would also have resulted in a modest improvement to individual performance. The heart of Germany’s tank strength would have consisted of E-50s and E-75s both of which would have had the same gun as the King Tiger. (As well as optical rangefinders to improve long range accuracy, and infrared sighting equipment to improve night vision.) However, the war ended before development work on the E-Series had been finalized. Had the Germans and Soviets reached a temporary peace in late 1941, and resumed the conflict in 1946, Germany would by then have surpassed the Soviet Union to become the world leader in tank designs.

I assumed the Baltimore’s advanced radar fire-control system would allow it to pulverize the Scheer, even if the Scheer was in firing range.

The Baltimore class was equipped from the start with electronic fire control systems to determine the fire-parameters by which targets over the horizon could be hit. The main guns were controlled by a Mark 34 fire control system connected to an MK 8 radar. The anti-aircraft guns were guided by Mk 37 systems with Mk-4 radar.

Along similar lines, there was a heavy debate about Iowa class vs Yamato class. Iowa class wins, because of far superior radar fire control.

A lot of the “Scheer does better than expected” posts seem more bent on wishful thinking and “well its German” more than actual facts. Much like the vaunted Bismarck… while it SEEMS like a really powerful battleship, it had multiple major flaws, and while it took a considerable amount of firepower (and debatable scuttling) to actually SINK the ship, combat-wise, it’s main guns were out of action almost as soon as the fighting began (a warship that is hard to sink sounds good on paper until you realize it can’t fight a few minutes into a fight).

Back on point… the Scheer was designed under huge treaty limitations, it had paper-thin armor compared to the Baltimore, its fire control was not nearly as impressive as the Baltimore, and has been brought up before, SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING when it comes to gun caliber (like the Yamato vs Iowa discussion). Rate of fire, ranging, targeting radar, speed, compartmentalization… all of these factors, the Baltimore wins hands down… the only argument for the Scheer is mostly wishful thinking and the old “ya, well it’s German” that should do it alone. Sorry, but no… we’re not talking Shermans vs Tigers here… we’re talking about something the Americans were very good at by the time the Baltimore’s came on-line and something the Germans were never good at, even by the time of the Bismarck, and the Scheer predates that by more than a decade under massive treaty restrictions…

The Baltimore was roughly 50% bigger in displacement and that added tonnage wasn’t spent on pin-up pictures of Betty Page… it went into armor, fire control speed and a lot of other things the Scheer could only dream of. The Germans themselves rated-down the Scheer and its class-mates to Heavy Cruisers early in the war and forbade them from combined fleet operations because they were just too slow. These were obsolescent ships by the beginning of the war as it was, and they only faired well against unarmed or poorly armed ships… it went up against ships it was (in theory) designed to beat, and came up in very poor condition… against a Baltimore class ship, it would stand no chance at all.

It’s not even close… Kurt chiming-in and talking about it being German… well that pretty much should seal the deal that the Baltimore would win (we all know where the one vote of the Baltimore getting sunk came from, ty Kurt).

It should also be noted that the Scheer didn’t exactly perform like a superweapon even when she was was facing opponents which she hopelessly outclassed. On November 5, 1940, the Scheer attacked convoy HX-84, which was “protected” by the armed merchant cruiser Jervis Bay. The Jervis Bay’s specifications were: speed 15 knots, armour zero, armament 7 x 6-inch guns. The battle between the two ships lasted some 22 minutes, even though it was largely one-sided. Interestingly, the Scheer’s salvoes damaged its own radar set. Later that day, the Scheer battled the cargo liner SS Beaverford (armament: 1 x 4-inch and 1 x 3-inch guns) for five hours (on and off) before sinking her, a task which took 71 5.9-inch shells and 12 11-inch shells.


Powers and Stats

Tier: 9-A with guns, up to 8-A firing all guns for a full minute, 7-C to Low 7-B with SSM-N-8 Regulus cruise missiles | 9-A with guns, 8-C firing all guns for a full minute, 8-C with RIM-2 Terrier missiles (conventional), Low 7-C with RIM-2 Terrier missiles (nuclear) | 9-A with 5” guns, 9-A with RIM-24 Tartar missiles, 8-C with RIM-8 Talos missiles (conventional), 7-C with RIM-8 Talos missiles (nuclear), 9-A with Mark 46 torpedo, 7-C with W44 depth bomb

Name: Baltimore-class (Oregon City-class) Heavy Cruiser | Boston-class Guided Missile Cruiser (USS Boston CA-69 & USS Canberra CA-70 only) | Albany-class Guided Missile Cruiser (USS Albany CA-123, USS Chicago CA-136, & USS Columbus CA-74 only)

Age: 1943–1971 (1945–1961) | 1955–1970 | 1962–1980

Length: 205 meters (673.5 feet)

Beam: 21.5 meters (71 feet)

Draft: 8.2 meters (27 feet) | 9.1 meters (30 feet)

Displacement: 12.44–15.88 kilotonnes (13,700–17,500 tons)

Pilot(s): About 61 officers and 1085 seamen | About 1142 officers and enlisted | About 72 officers and 1150 seamen

Needed Prerequisite for Use: Trained crew, fuel, ammunition

In use by: United States Navy

Powered by: Four Babcock & Wilcox M-Type water-tube boilers delivering 89.5 megawatts (120,000 shaft horsepower) to four General Electric cross-compound steam turbine engines driving four propeller screws

Operational Timeframe: Almost 27 days 19 hours (at 15 knots) | Over 21 days 17 hours (at 15 knots) | Over 16 days 21 hours (at 15 knots)

Terrain: Ocean (surface)

Material: The vertical belt armor was 6 inches (152mm) thick, tapering to 4 inches (102mm) at the base. Fore and after of the machinery and the horizontal deck armor was reduced to 3 inches (76.2mm) thick. The turrets were also heavily armored, between 3–6 inches (76–152mm) thick, while the command tower had the thickest armor, at 8 inches (203mm). End bulkheads were 5–6 inches (127–152mm) thick. The physical properties of the various armor types can be found on this table by Nathan Okun.

Attack Potency: Small Building level+ firing all 8”/55 main guns once (up to 720 megajoules), Small Building level firing all 5”/38 secondary guns once (up to 348 megajoules), Small Building level firing all 40mm and 20mm guns once (up to 32.87 megajoules), Multi-City Block level firing all guns simultaneously for a full minute (up to 14 gigajoules), Town level to Small City level with SSM-N-8 Regulus cruise missile (40 kilotons to 2 megatons) | Small Building level firing all 6”/47 main guns once (up to 480 megajoules), Small Building level firing all 5”/38 secondary guns once (up to 290 megajoules), Small Building level firing all 3"/50 guns (up to 27.2 megajoules), Building level+ firing all guns simultaneously for a full minute (up to 6.8 gigajoules), Building level with conventional warhead-loaded RIM-2 Terrier surface-to-air missile (up to 1.27 gigajoules), Small Town level with nuclear warhead-loaded RIM-2 Terrier surface-to-air missile (1 kiloton) | Small Building level firing all 5”/38 secondary guns once (up to 58 megajoules), Small Building level with RIM-24 Tartar surface-to-air missile (up to 450 megajoules), Building level with conventional warhead-loaded RIM-8 Talos surface-to-air missile (up to 2 gigajoules), Small Town level to Small Town level+ with nuclear warhead-loaded RIM-8 Talos surface-to-air missile (between 2–5 kilotons), Small Building level with Mark 46 Torpedo (up to 221 megajoules), Town level with W44 nuclear depth bomb (10 kilotons)

Speed: Superhuman, 60–65 kilometers per hour (32.5–35.2 knots) max speed

Durability: At least Large Building level, at most Multi-City Block level in terms of total destruction (comprised of up to 12,440,000 kilograms of hardened armor-grade steel with a fragmentation energy of over 991 gigajoules)

Range: Operational range of 10,000 kilometers at 28 kilometers per hour (6214 miles at 15 knots) up to over 27.5 kilometers with 8” guns, up to 16 kilometers with 5” guns, up to 10 kilometers with 40mm guns, up to 4 kilometers with 20mm guns, up to 926 kilometers with Regulus cruise missiles | Operational range of 9000 kilometers at 28 kilometers per hour (5592 miles at 15 knots) up to 32 kilometers with RIM-2 Terrier | Operational range of 7000 kilometers at 28 kilometers per hour (4350 miles at 15 knots) up to 185 kilometers with RIM-8 Talos, up to 7.5 kilometers with Mark 46 torpedo (up to 16 kilometers using ASROC rocket booster), at least 16 kilometers with W44 nuclear depth bomb using ASROC rocket booster

Weaknesses: Primitive fire control and radar systems limits detection and accuracy, has mostly outdated hardware, large and slow | Original superstructure was replaced with lighter but weaker aluminium alloys (Albany-class only)

Weaponry (Baltimore- and Oregon City-classes):

  • 8”/55 caliber Mark 15 guns in triple-gun turrets
  • 12×5”/38 caliber Mark 12 guns in double-gun turrets
  • 48×40mm/56 caliber Bofors autocannons in quad-gun mounts
  • 24×20mm/70 caliber Oerlikon autocannons in single-gun mounts
  • SSM-N-8 Regulus cruise missiles(USS Toledo, Macon, Helena, and Los Angeles only)
  • Vought OS2U Kingfisher observation floatplanes(early World War II-era only)
  • Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk observation floatplanes(late World War II-era only)

Weaponry (Boston-class):

  • 8”/55 caliber Mark 15 guns in triple-gun turrets
  • 10×5”/38 caliber Mark 12 guns in double-gun turrets
  • 3"/50 caliber Mark 22 guns in single-gun turrets
  • RIM-2 Terrier missiles in double-rail Mark 4 missile launcher turrets (144 missiles)

Weaponry (Albany-class):

  • 5”/38 caliber Mark 12 guns in single-gun Mark 24 turrets
  • RIM-24 Tartar in double-rail Mark 11 missile launcher turrets (84 missiles)
  • RIM-8 Talos in double-rail Mark 12 missile launcher turrets (104 missiles)
  • 1×octuple-tube Mark 16 RUR-5 ASROC(Anti-Submarine ROCket) unguided rocket-assisted torpedo & depth bomb launcher system
  • 2×triple-tube Mark 32 SVTT(Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes) torpedo launching systems
  • Mark 46 torpedos
  • W44 nuclear depth charges(1961–1989 only)


Key: Baltimore- and Oregon City-classes | Boston-class | Albany-class

Note: Similar ships of about the same type and period generally have performance equivalent to this one.


USS Baltimore (CA 68)

USS BALTIMORE was the lead ship of a class of 14 heavy cruisers and the fifth ship in the Navy to bear the name. Decommissioned in 1947, the ship was placed in reserve at Bremerton, Wash. After the outbreak of the Korean War, the BALTIMORE was recommissioned in November 1951. Finally decommissioned on May 31, 1956, the ship was stricken from the Navy list on February 15, 1971, and sold to Zidell Explorations, Inc., of Portland, Ore., on April 10, 1972 for scrapping.

General Characteristics: Awarded: 1940
Keel laid: May 26, 1941
Launched: July 28, 1942
Commissioned: April 15, 1943
Decommissioned: April 29, 1947
Recommissioned: November 28, 1951
Decommissioned: May 31, 1956
Builder: Bethlehem Steel Corp., Quincy, MA.
Propulsion system: geared turbines 120,000 shaft horsepower
Length: 673.5 feet (205.3 meters)
Beam: 70.9 feet (21.6 meters)
Draft: 24 feet (7.3 meters)
Displacement: approx. 17,000 tons full load
Speed: 33 knots
Aircraft: none
Armament: nine 8-inch (20.3cm)/55 caliber guns from three triple mounts, twelve 5-inch (12.7cm)/38 caliber guns from six twin mounts, 48 40mm guns
Crew: 59 officers and 1083 enlisted

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS BALTIMORE. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

USS BALTIMORE the leader of a new class of post Treaty heavy cruisers was laid down on 26 May 1941 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River plant of the Bethlehem Steel Corp. launched on 28 July 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Howard W. Jackson, wife of the Mayor of Baltimore and commissioned at the South Boston Annex of the Boston Navy Yard on 15 April 1943, Capt. William C. Calhoun in command.

After fitting out, BALTIMORE sailed for Hampton Roads on 17 June and proceeded up the Chesapeake to Annapolis. She reached that port on the 20th for a brief visit to the Naval Academy before returning to the Virginia capes area two days later for exercises. Following brief upkeep at Norfolk from 24 June to 1 July, the new cruiser cleared Hampton Roads on the latter day and headed toward Trinidad, in the British West Indies, for shakedown. She went through her paces intensive training in gunnery out of Port of Spain, Trinidad. Following her return to Hampton Roads on 24 July, she got underway again on the 28th and arrived at Boston that same day for post shakedown availability and repairs to her leaking main battery hydraulic piping. After this work was completed early in September, she proceeded to Norfolk.

On 21 September, the ship sailed for the west coast in company with SIGOURNEY (DD 643). Transiting the Panama Canal on the 25th, the two combatants reached San Diego on 4 October. BALTIMORE then carried out further gunnery exercises and training off the west coast between 9 and 13 October. After standing out of San Diego Bay on the 16th of that month, she called briefly at San Francisco before proceeding independently to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on the 29th.

Assigned to Task Force (TF) 52, on the last day of October, for training in Hawaiian waters, BALTIMORE exercised off Oahu until 4 November. She sortied with TF 52 on 10 November, bound for the Gilbert Islands. BALTIMORE approached Makin Island before dawn on 20 November and, at 0550, catapulted her two Vought OS2U 3 "Kingfisher" floatplanes for gunnery observation. At 0640, she commenced fire with her 5 inch battery, and her 8 inchers added to the din of bombardment some 40 minutes later. That day, over 1,350 rounds from BALTIMORE's guns whistled toward the island but poor visibility prevented accurate spotting by her planes, while indirect fire based on inaccurate navigational fixes meant that some rounds ended up in the sea. While Makin proved to be a comparatively easy conquest, Tarawa, the other objective invaded on the 20th, turned out to be considerably tougher. BALTIMORE screened the escort carriers operating off Makin through the 24th. The American air umbrella intercepted two low level fighter sweeps on the 23rd and 24th and largely destroyed both.

When Makin had been secured, BALTIMORE joined heavy cruisers SAN FRANCISCO (CA 38), MINNEAPOLIS (CA 36), and NEW ORLEANS (CA 32) in forming Task Unit (TU) 50.1.1 that screened the carriers of TG 50.1 during a raid on Kwajalein, an atoll in the Marshalls. The photo reconnaissance carried out in this operation proved invaluable for a subsequent raid, and the planes themselves destroyed a large concentration of shipping that the enemy had brought into the area. The American pilots inflicted damage on 12 ships, sinking six of them. However, the light attacks on the airfields at Roi and Wotje in the Marshalls failed to knock out Japanese air power completely enough to prevent a counterattack on the American task force.

BALTIMORE picked up low flying planes at 1204 and, moments later, spotted three "Kates" (Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 carrier attack planes) to starboard, attacking LEXINGTON (CV 16) and other ships. At 1250, YORKTOWN (CV 10) found herself the object of Japanese attentions, but heavy gunfire from the screening cruisers and destroyers soon knocked down all three attackers. Nevertheless, at 2000, Japanese aircraft commenced moonlight attacks and continued them for the next few hours. BALTIMORE fired over 1,200 40 and 20 millimeter rounds in the effort to stem the enemy onslaught which, however, succeeded in scoring one torpedo hit on LEXINGTON at 2335.

BALTIMORE conducted training exercises while returning to Hawaii and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 30 December. After a four-day return to sea for training between 2 and 6 January, the cruiser spent the rest of her time in Hawaii undergoing needed upkeep at Pearl Harbor. Underway on 16 January, she set course for the Marshalls once more.

Assigned to TG 58.4, BALTIMORE formed part of the screen for SARATOGA (CV 3), PRINCETON (CVL 23), and COWPENS (CVL 25) and conducted exercises en route to the target area. On 29 and 30 January 1944, she supported the carrier strikes against Wotje and Taroa islands, the latter being the center of enemy air strength in the eastern Marshalls. These raids were the last air attack launched to prepare for the invasions of Kwajalein and Majuro. The strikes against Japanese airfields proved to be quite successful, wiping out all enemy air opposition before the landings at the end of January 1944. BALTIMORE subsequently screened the carriers as their planes blasted targets on Eniwetok on 3 February and, four days later, moored in the newly won Kwajalein lagoon.

As the Fast Carrier Task Forces continued to keep up the relentless pressure on the Japanese in the Central Pacific, BALTIMORE supported the air strikes that destroyed enemy shipping at Truk on 17 and 18 February 1944. On the 17th, Lt. (j.g.) Denver M. Baxter, USNR, flying one of the heavy cruiser's Vought OS2U 3 "Kingfishers," covered by two "Hellcats," rescued Lt. (jg.) George M. Blair, USNR, of VF-9 less than 6,000 yards from Dublon Island inside Truk lagoon where he had ditched his flak crippled Grumman F6F-3 "Hellcat." Returning to Majuro on 26 February, BALTIMORE replenished there before standing out on 5 March, again with TG 58.4. The group conducted gunnery exercises and training en route to the New Hebrides and reached Espiritu Santo on the 13th. Ten days later, the heavy cruiser sailed for the Palaus as a unit of TG 36.2. On the 29th, as the task force neared those Japanese held islands, she contributed 100 rounds of 5 inch to the barrage put up to discourage attacking Japanese aircraft. The combat air patrol shot down three snoopers while antiaircraft downed at least three during the sporadic attacks.

BALTIMORE screened the fast carriers while their planes struck targets on the Palaus on the morning of the 30th. Massive sweeps of American fighters knocked down large numbers of enemy fighters on that morning and on the 31st. Seventy-six American "Hellcats" engaged an estimated 95 Japanese fighters, at a cost of two Americans down in return for 75 Japanese planes destroyed. Further attacks - on Yap, Ulithi and Woleai - followed before BALTIMORE and her carrier group replenished at Majuro.

BALTIMORE again sortied with TG 58.2 in mid April and, on the 21st, the carriers' planes - along with those of TG 58.3 - pounded airfields at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, as well as other nearby targets to prepare the way for the landings at Humboldt Bay and Tanahmerah Bay the following day. TG 58.2 remained in the vicinity through the 23rd, furnishing air support as required, including combat air patrol and antisubmarine patrol over the amphibious forces.

BALTIMORE continued her vital support role as the massed air groups from 12 carriers struck Japanese shipping, oil and ammunition dumps, aircraft facilities, and other installations at Truk from 29 April to 1 May. Her antiaircraft batteries opened fire on the morning of the 29th, when TG 58.2 brought four attacking torpedo planes under fire. One raider splashed just after crossing the screen another passed over a carrier without dropping his "fish" only to be destroyed on the far side of the screen one went down just after releasing its torpedo at MONTEREY (which ship took evasive action and avoided it), and the last fell victim to massed gunfire from YORKTOWN and MONTEREY just as the point of release.

On 30 April, BALTIMORE took part in the shelling of Japanese positions at Satawan, contributing over 300 rounds from her 8 inch and 5 inch batteries. The mission assigned to the heavy cruiser and her consorts was "to bombard the air strip and destroy grounded aircraft, facilities, and shipping in order to prevent effective use of (the) field by the enemy in opposing further operations." The following day, 1 May, one of BALTIMORE's "Kingfishers" again took center stage, this time by providing gunfire spotting for the battleship NORTH CAROLINA (BB 55). The heavy cruiser's floatplane filled a gap left by the loss of two of the battleship's own OS2U's in the rescue of downed pilots at Truk.

Having returned to Majuro after the bombardment missions in late April and early May, the heavy cruiser again screened the flattops as they pounded Marcus Island on 19 and 20 May and Wake on the 24th. Upkeep and replenishment at Majuro followed before she returned to sea on 6 June and headed for the Marianas with TG 58.7, screening the fast carriers as their planes rocked Guam and Rota between 11 and 13 June, and Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima between the 15th and 20th. On the latter day, BALTIMORE recovered a pilot and two crewmen of a plane forced to ditch. The heavy cruiser wound up her service with the screen of the fast carriers during strikes on Pagan Island on 23 June and against Iwo Jima on the 24th.

Recalled to the west coast of the United States, BALTIMORE sailed for San Francisco on the latter day, touched at Eniwetok, in the Marshalls, on the 27th, and at Pearl Harbor on 2 JuIy, before she arrived at Mare Island for a limited availability to ready the ship for service as a Presidential flagship. Shifting down the coast, BALTIMORE arrived at San Diego on 18 July and, on the 21st, embarked President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his party. She then steamed to Hawaii, embarked Admiral Chester W. Nimitz from a tug slowed off Fort Kamehameha on the 26th, and stood proudly into Pearl Harbor with the Presidential colors at the main, while every ship in the harbor "manned the rail" for this historic visit. In Hawaii, the President and his Chief of Staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, conferred with General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz. From their discussions emerged the decision to bypass the island of Mindanao in seeking to wrest the Philippines from Japanese hands, capturing Leyte first, and then Luzon. President Roosevelt reembarked in BALTIMORE on 29 July and got underway for Alaskan waters. She carried the President to Sweeper Bay, Adak, Chinak Island, and Kodiak, as well as to Pleasant Bay and Ice Passage, where the heavy cruiser transferred her distinguished passenger and his party to the destroyer CUMMINGS (DD 365) on 8 August.

Escorted by WOODWORTH (DD 460), BALTIMORE headed south and put in at San Francisco on 13 August for drydocking, repairs, and alterations. The ship left the west coast on 25 October and once more headed for Hawaiian waters. Reaching Pearl Harbor on 31 October, she exercised off Oahu with COLHOUN (DD 801), BANCROFT (DD 598), and a group of PT boats, before returning to port on 7 November. Standing out of Hawaiian waters on Armistice Day 1944, the heavy cruiser proceeded via Eniwetok to the Western Carolines and entered Ulithi lagoon soon thereafter.

BALTIMORE sortied from Ulithi on 10 December as a unit in the screen of TG 38.1 and protected that group's fast carriers as they hurled strikes against Japanese positions on Luzon between 14 and 16 December. On the 18th, the American warships encountered a typhoon that damaged both of BALTIMORE's observation planes, destroyed her two motor whaleboats, bent 40 and 20 millimeter gun mounts, and buckled deck plates. Other ships that ran into the same tropical storm were less fortunate: three destroyers capsized and sank, and a score of the larger ships suffered heavy damage.

Returning to Ulithi for voyage repairs on the day before Christmas, BALTIMORE got underway on 30 December to resume screening the fast carriers. American warplanes devastated Japanese targets on Formosa on 3 and 4 January 1945 and on Luzon between the 6th and the 9th as the invasion of Lingayen Gulf unfolded. On the latter day, the Fast Carrier Task Force entered the South China Sea through the Bashii Channel and hammered targets at Cam Ranh Bay, French Indochina on Formosa and at Canton and Hainan Island, China, before returning to waters off Formosa for more strikes on that island. When enemy planes lashed back at the American formations on 21 January the guns of the task force joined its combat air patrol in downing 12 of 15 attackers. The following day, the carriers conducted air strikes on the southern end of Okinawa before retiring to Ulithi to replenish depleted stores.

As flagship for Rear Admiral Lloyd J. Wiltse - Commander, Cruiser Division 10 - BALTIMORE sailed from Ulithi on 10 February, bound for the Japanese home islands. She supported the carrier strikes against Tokyo on 16 and 17 February and against Iwo Jima between 20 February and 5 March. The heavy cruiser then returned to Ulithi to replenish before resuming her screening duties, this time covering the carriers as their planes struck targets on the Japanese island of Kyushu between 18 and 21 March. Here, BALTIMORE saw vividly the effectiveness of the "Divine Wind" or kamikaze, the Japanese name for the suicide planes used to inflict grave losses upon their enemy. American aircraft carriers were priority targets for Japanese pilots and, in those few days off Kyushu, Japanese planes inflicted damage on six "flattops." Nevertheless, the United States Pacific Fleet pressed on relentlessly launching strikes against targets on the southern tip of Okinawa, as well as on islands in the Sakishima and Amami groups. Between 27 March and 30 April, BALTIMORE covered for the carrier forces hitting the Ryukyus and the Japanese home islands in support of the Okinawa invasion.

After returning to Ulithi on the 30th, BALTIMORE was again at sea by mid May, supporting air attacks on Kyushu and Shikoku on the 13th. Heavy air attacks challenged the Americans the following day. Although Navy guns proved equal to the task, downing 25 of 35 attacking aircraft, some of them still managed to penetrate the screen, and one even crashed ENTERPRISE (CV 6). By 17 May, BALTIMORE was off the east coast of Okinawa and operated in support of the Allied struggle for that island until 5 June, when she endured the fury of a second typhoon, which destroyed her planes and damaged her bow.

Undaunted, BALTIMORE remained on the "front lines" off Okinawa until the 11th when she sailed for the Philippines. Arriving at Leyte Gulf two days later, the heavy cruiser soon sailed for Hawaii and, proceeding via Eniwetok, reached Pearl Harbor on 12 July. She remained in Hawaiian waters through V J Day, 15 August 1945, undergoing a navy yard availability and carrying out training through the end of August. During this time, she and STEWART (DE 238) conducted tests off Oahu with "Kingfisher" floatplanes equipped with Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) equipment.

In the first few weeks after the war, BALTIMORE conducted three "Magic Carpet" voyages bringing home returning servicemen, plying the Pacific between Pearl Harbor and the west coast, calling at San Francisco twice and San Pedro once. "Navy Day" 1945, 27 October, found her at San Pedro, Calif. Then, on 10 November, the cruiser with Rear Admiral Emmet P. Forrestal embarked sailed for Japan. She arrived at Tokyo on 24 November but soon proceeded to Kure where she arrived on the 27th. The cruiser remained there through the end of the year. In early February 1946, BALTIMORE visited Wakayama, Matsumaya, Sasebo, and Nagasaki before departing Japanese waters on 18 February, bound for home.

She arrived in San Francisco on 3 March. Later, BALTIMORE moved to Seattle, Wash., where her status was reduced to "in commission, in reserve" on 8 JuIy. Finally, the warship was decommissioned on 29 April 1947 at Bremerton, Washington. With the expansion of the Navy to meet the challenge imposed by the Korean War, BALTIMORE was recommissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 28 November 1951, Capt. Fondville L. Tedder in command.

Departing Bremerton on 9 January 1952, she touched at San Francisco from 9 to 11 January and at San Diego from the 12th to the 17th before sailing for Panama. Transiting the canal on 25 and 26 January, the heavy cruiser reached Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 28 January. After conducting shakedown training in the West Indies, she sailed north to her newly assigned home port, Boston, for post shakedown availability and preparation for her first deployment to European waters.

Departing Boston on 22 April, the warship reached Gibraltar on 3 May for a week's visit before commencing operations with the 6th Fleet. For the next five months, she ranged the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to IstanbuI, showing the flag at such ports as Cagliari and Augusta, Sicily Naples, Taranto, Trieste, and Venice on the Italian boot Cannes, Golfe Juan, Marseille and TouIon, France and the island of Rhodes. Relieved at Lisbon, Portugal, by COLUMBUS (CA 74) in late October, BALTIMORE sailed for Boston.

Operations off the eastern seaboard, between Hampton Roads and Boston, interspersed with a port visit to Baltimore and a stint of training in the West Indies occupied her time for the next few months. BALTIMORE returned to the Mediterranean the following spring, making port at Gibraltar on 6 May 1953. After visiting Cagliari, Marseille, and Golfe Juan, she sailed for Portland, England. Arriving there on 8 June, she represented the Navy at Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Review off Spithead. Leaving the British Isles on 10 June, the warship then returned to the Mediterranean, resuming her rigorous schedule of operations with the 6th Fleet. BALTIMORE departed Palermo, Sicily, on 12 October arrived at Boston on 23 October 1953 and remained there until sailing for Guantanamo Bay and refresher training on 3 March 1954. She operated in the West Indies into the spring, visitng Port au Prince, Haiti, and Culebra before heading home. During the voyage north, she visited again the city for which she had been named between 17 and 19 April.

After preparing for her third Mediterranean deployment, BALTIMORE departed Boston on 4 May and arrived at Gibraltar on the 18th. Her ports of call on this deployment included cities new to her such as Barcelona and Oran. Late in the summer, the heavy cruiser left Mediterranean for visits to Southend, England, and to several Scandanavian ports: Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo. After touching briefly at Portsmouth, England, from 9 to 11 September on her homeward voyage, the ship arrived at Boston on 18 September.

That deployment to the 6th Fleet proved to be her last. Reassigned to the Pacific Fleet, the heavy cruiser departed Boston on 5 January 1955 exercised in the Guantanamo Bay area en route transited the Panama Canal between 16 and 18 January and, after a stop at Long Beach from 26 January to 8 February, reached her new home port, Pearl Harbor, on Valentine's Day.

She remained there a week before sailing for the Far East on the 21st. Stopping at Midway en route, BALTIMORE arrived at Yokosuka on 4 March. Deployed to the 7th Fleet, the heavy cruiser ranged the Far East from Hong Kong to Sasebo, and from Manila Bay to Okinawa and Yokosuka. She also included Sokcho Ri, Korea, Nagasaki, and Kobe in her itinerary, while mixing underway training and TF 77 operations with calls at those and the aforementioned seaports, into the summer of 1955. Clearing Yokosuka on 6 August and steaming via Hawaiian waters, BALTIMORE reached Long Beach on 22 August. Proceeding to San Francisco and Bremerton, the heavy cruiser arrived at the latter port for inactivation on 29 January 1956.

Placed in commission, in reserve, on the day of her arrival, BALTIMORE rejoined the Bremerton group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet and was decommissioned on the last day of May 1956. A third call to duty never came. The cost of activating, repairing, and modernizing the ship was deemed to be disproportionate to her value. She remained in reserve for almost a quarter of a century. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 February 1971, and she was sold to Zidell Explorations, Inc., of Portland, Ore., on 10 April 1972 for scrapping and was released from naval custody on 13 July of the same year.


Baltimore class


The heavy cruiser USS Bremerton (CA 130) of the US Navy.

Technical information

TypeHeavy cruiser
Displacement13600 BRT
Length674 feet
Complement1426 men
Armament9 8"/55 guns (3x3). 12 5"/38 DP guns (6x2). 48 40mm AA guns (12x4). 24 20mm AA guns. 4 aircraft, 2 catapults.
Max speed33 knots
EnginesGeared turbines, 4 shafts
Power120000
Notes on class

All ships of the Baltimore class

US Navy (more on US Navy)

14 Heavy cruisers of the Baltimore class.

Strikeout means that ship was cancelled (not finished) - not counted in class figures.


US - Baltimore Class Cruiser

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Missile Loadouts: US Cruiser Conversions (1955-1980)

This installment in my Missile Loadouts series will cover the United States Navy's first four classes of guided missile cruisers. These ships were conversions of WWII-era gun cruisers of the Baltimore, Cleveland, and Oregon City-classes and were armed with the first generation Terrier, Talos, and Tartar missiles. While short lived and and ultimately a dead end in warship design, these vessels were revolutionary when commissioned.

The two-ship Boston-class were converted from Baltimore-class heavy cruisers to become the world's first operational guided missile warships. They retained much of their original gun armament, losing only their rearmost 8" and 5" turrets. These two turrets were replaced with a pair of twin rain Mk 4 launchers with magazines for a staggering one-hundred and forty-four Terrier missiles.

Boston in 1955: 144x Terrier

The next round of cruiser conversions switched to the smaller but more numerous Cleveland-class light cruisers. Six ships were converted in total: three into the Talos-armed Glaveston-class and three into the Terrier-armed Providence-class. The lead ship of both classes lost half of her gun armament in exchange for a single twin rail launcher aft and the accompanying sensor suite. The other four ships were built with extensive flag facilities and only retained one 6" and one 5" turret, both forward. The Galveston -class carried the Mk 7 launcher with a 46-missile magazine while the Providence -class was equipped with the Mk 9 launcher and 120-missiles . The difference between these capacities serves to underscore the massive size of the Talos missile.

Galveston in 1958: 46x Talos
Providence in 1959: 120x Terrier

The final converted cruisers were the three ship Albany-class. Albany herself was an Oregon City-class heavy cruiser, while her two sisters came from the Baltimore-class. Unlike the previous austere conversions, these ships were rebuilt from the deck up as pure missile ships (although a pair of 5" guns was later added) and had something of a bizarre look to them.

Armament consisted of twin-rail Mk 12 Talos launchers fore and aft (52 missiles each), a secondary battery of twin-rail Mk 11 Tartar launchers amidships (42 missiles each), and an eight-cell Mk 112 box launcher for ASROC. Altogether, they carried 196 missiles of all types, beating even USS Long Beach (CGN-9). However, their conversions proved far more expensive than originally planned. When combined with the large number of purpose built missile ships then entering the fleet, as well as the dwindling number of WWII cruiser hulls, the Albany-class marked the end of the conversion program.


World War II Database


ww2dbase The lead ship of a class of fourteen heavy cruisers was sent to the Gilbert Islands in Nov 1943 as her first mission, providing naval gun support during the landing operations at Makin Atoll. Assuming similar roles, Baltimore subsequent support operations at Kwajalein and Eniwetok, the Caroline Islands, Mariana Islands, Palau, New Guinea, and Marcus Island. She briefly became President Franklin Roosevelt's personal ship in Jul and Aug 1944 when she ferried the American leader from continental United States to Hawaii for a meeting with Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur. Late in 1944, she participated in bombardments in the Philippine Islands, Taiwan, and China, while directly supporting the landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

ww2dbase After WW2, Baltimore was briefly mothballed, but was recommissioned for the Korean War. She was decommissioned in 1956, and sold for scrapping in May 1972. Two hundred tons of armor plate removed from her was given to the Fermi National Accelerator Labratory.

ww2dbase Source: Naval Historical Center.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2005

Heavy Cruiser Baltimore (CA-68) Interactive Map

Baltimore Operational Timeline

15 Apr 1943 Baltimore was commissioned into service.
21 Jul 1944 USS Baltimore depart San Diego, California, United States, with destroyers USS Fanning and USS Cummings in escort and US President Franklin Roosevelt aboard, for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
9 Aug 1944 Franklin Roosevelt disembarked the cruiser USS Baltimore and embarked the destroyer USS Cummings at Auke Bay, Alaska near Juneau.
18 Dec 1944 Many ships from the United States Third Fleet, Task Force 38 sailed into Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and 790 men were lost.
8 Jul 1946 Baltimore was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Zita Lopez says:
17 Oct 2010 05:51:15 PM

Not a comment on the article but would like to seek a person. My grandfather with Lopez as his surname was in the USA army and came to Kiribati during WWII. I have a photo of him. I would be grateful if I can get some help from someone.

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from someone

2. Julian lorefice says:
5 May 2013 08:20:19 PM

My grandfather Roger Deuel was aboard the Baltimore in WWII and was a great man . I want anyone who may remember him from those time to know that he came back from the war like anyone else , rattled but strong . He made a good life for my mother and his wife and I miss him bery much !

3. jeffrey Malacane says:
7 Aug 2015 03:01:09 PM

My step father served on the Baltimore from 43-45 and he still tells me many stories about his time on the Baltimore. I
Thank Goodness he is till around! Is there anyone still out there who served during this time ? Or if you have any questions i could ask him for you.

4. Brad says:
14 Aug 2015 02:00:23 PM

My father, Carl Sprauer, was a gunner's mate on the Baltimore during WWII. I would love to know if your stepfather had any recollection at all of him. I was told his nickname was "squirrely" due to his slight build.

My father died when I was 18 (I'm now 44) and I'm trying to piece together memories of him to pass on to my son, who is shipping out in December as a Navy Special Ops Diver.

Thank you so much for you offer, and your time.

5. sue says:
18 Aug 2015 08:42:12 PM

I was wondering how I can find out any information about my father, Robert W Groat. I know only that he served on the Baltimore in some sort of clerical role. I believe he was on the ship between 1943-1945.

6. Andrew Sturtevant says:
9 Apr 2016 02:32:55 PM

My father Clark B Sturtevant served on the Baltimore I believe as a bosoms mate and was told was not even old enough to enlist. I think the last name was spelled wrong like Sturtyvant. Like to know any information at all concerning his time aboard ship. Can call 907-347-4123 . God bless you all and Thank You for your service.

7. Ken Bonnell says:
30 Aug 2016 10:38:26 AM

Am looking for a Baltimore ship's patch.
RMCS(SS) USN (Ret.)

8. SAM pulsinelli says:
8 May 2017 03:42:33 AM

My grandfather served on the Baltimore , we have the same name
I was born a month before he died.any information could be helpful, feel free to reach out 774 386 1059 Sam

9. TOM POWERS says:
14 Sep 2017 03:48:40 AM

My dad Tom Powers served aboard the Baltimore during ww2. 20MM gunner.

10. Tom Powers says:
19 Sep 2017 09:02:00 AM

11. John Butler says:
25 Mar 2018 02:02:27 PM

My father inlaw served on the Baltimore and was there when the president was there, can you verify with a crew member list, Paul S Battista

12. Yvonne Walker says:
28 Apr 2018 09:56:16 AM

My Dad served as well on the Baltimore. I cannot find his name on the roster and seen only one picture with African American soldiers and that was the Crossing the Equator initiation, which my dad had the certificate from. He was a boxer but the only pictures i had seen were of white men boxing. My dad was managed by Jack Dempsy which i had the picture of the two of them together, but my mother who suffers from dementia cut ole Jack out of the picture so that leaves me with nothing :( I do have an old navy newspaper with a black and white action shot of my dad fighting. His fight name was Dittybag Walker) if anyone recollects would love to hear from you. He was a Gunners mate, Jesse Walker from Trafford Pennsylvania

13. Miss Daisy says:
19 Jun 2018 06:59:31 AM

Yvonne Walker, is this your dad?

14. James Belt says:
16 Oct 2018 07:56:29 PM

My dad was on the USS Baltimore he passed away when I was 2 I didn't get to know him very well was trying to find pictures of him when he served on the USS Baltimore he was on there when the president was on there his name was James Edward belt if anybody reads this and has any pictures of the crew with maybe him on it please contact me on my email thank you very much or if they have any pictures of the whole crew would be very appreciated

15. Daneil Baseheart says:
4 Feb 2019 03:06:12 PM

My father Joe Baseheart had servered on the same ship. there wa ship sunk out from under him and I,m not sure what ship it was. email back if you wish.
Daneil Baseheart

16. James Belt says:
17 Feb 2019 06:53:58 PM

Daniel Baseheart. Did you father have pictures when he was on the USS.Baltimore My email address is [email protected] please contact me I'm looking for pictures of him and the guys he work with at that time thank you very much

17. Michelle says:
27 Jun 2019 08:09:34 AM

My 95 year old uncle was on this ship, he was in Regiment 8. he is interested in finding other guys who may still be with us. or family members of those who are not..His memory of WWII is still sharp, and he loves to remember the old days.

18. Michelle says:
27 Jun 2019 02:19:02 PM

Sorry, forgot to include my Uncle's name.
It's Thomas Santiano
From Boston, Ma.

19. Brittany says:
23 Oct 2019 05:50:52 PM

My grandfather, Thomas Harrington was on this ship. He often spoke about weathering a typhoon while on board. He said the waves were so big, that when the ship would rise on the wave swells, you could look around and see nothing but sky. Then when the ship would come down off the wave, into the ditch, you could see nothing but water all around you, with a small hole of sky above.

20. Randy McArthur says:
27 Mar 2020 10:50:38 AM

My dad served on the Baltimore form day 1 until decommision in 1946. Name was Philip O McArthur.

21. John Makulowich says:
18 Apr 2020 01:57:17 PM

My dad was fire control on 40 mm guns his name same as mine John A Makulowich inPacific Theater. I think 1 cashulty in Typhoon. Ship lucky never got hit in WW2.

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