CUS Pennsylvania (BB-1917 (1938-mod))


Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list:


The CUA Navy was made privy to the finalised designs of the Queen Elizabeth and Resolution class battleships in early 1913. These 15" gunned ships had bigger guns than the current 14" designs of the CUA and what was under construction. The CUA decided that they would need to reply to these vessels but increase their gun size from the current 14" to 16" weapons.

The Pennsylvania class were the CUA equivalents to the Queen Elizabeth type. At 671 feet they were 30 feet bigger than the QE's and this was accounted for in the bigger guns and larger propulsion system. The CUA survivability doctrine extended to these ships which were to act as the initial fire support vessels to the scouting cruisers of the Boston and Washington classes. This required the ships to have a speed of 25 knots which for their size required a 90,000shp propulsion system. The 6" casemate guns were moved from the main gundeck into the superstructure in double storey mountings which allowed them to be used in all weathers.

The four ships of the class survived WW1 without damage and had proved the concept of the 'Fast' battleship was the way of the future for the CUA rather than the battlecruiser types being built by other navies. By 1935 the ships were showing their age and plans were drawn up for their refurbishment which was begun with the completion of the first Columbia class ships. A complete rebuild of the superstructure to allow for the fitting of the dual purpose guns in turrets. Eventually twin 40mm replaced the quad 1.1" and 20mm sprouted from all sorts of nooks and crannies. These ships came out of their refits in superb condition and were as good as any ship of the GALT built 35,000 ton types.


Displacement 34,700 tons std 39,900 tons full load
Length 671 ft
Breadth 104 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines 90,000shp (100,000 refit)
Speed 25 knots (26 knots after rebuilding)
Range 10,000 miles at 12 knots
Armour 13" Belt, 14/11/9" Turrets, 3.5" Deck (5.5" deck)
Armament As Completed

8 x 16" (4x2)

12 x 6" (12x1)

18 x 3" (18x1)

10 x 0.5" mg (10x1)

After rebuild (1938-43)

8 x 16" (4x2)

16 x 4.5" (8x2)

28 x 40mm (2x4 10x2)

26 x 20mm (26x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 2100
Notes CUS Pennsylvania




Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list: