CUS Providence (CL-1917 (CLA-1937))


Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list:


The Providence class was to be peers of the German and British light cruiser classes that had proved so successful during the first half of WW1. The problem was that the CUA navy had never built small cruisers, and while it had the British designs to work from, it was still new territory for the CUA. The biggest problem the ships had was the choice of the 5"/50cal gun and shield for the main armament. Quite frankly while it may have fired as far as the equivalent 5.9"/6", it lacked the stopping power of those guns. There is a big difference between the 60lb shell of the 5" and the 100-110lb shells of the larger guns.

Despite the lack of gunpower the ships were considered good enough to build ten of them in a hurry between 1917 and 1919. At one stage the designers had thought to add a further 5" mounting either side of the after funnel but the need for AA guns meant that that area was earmarked for the placement of the ships AA battery of single 3" guns. A set of the new 21" triple torpedo tubes abreast the aftermast rounded out a useful if not spectacular armament. If the CUA had been able to source the new 5.5" gun produced by the Coventry Ordnance Works for the Greek cruisers and used on various UK designs (Hood, Furious), this would have solved the main armament problem. A 50,000 shp system powered the ships through to 30-31 knots, which was adequate for their intended roles.

One of the main uses of the Providence classes was as leaders to the four pipers. Along with those ships the Providence class units started being transformed in the mid to late 1930's. In 1936 a refurbishment and rebuilding program was put into place to upgrade the ships into the new Anti-aircraft Cruiser classification. The adoption of the British designed 4.5"/54cal twin turret with 85 degree elevation and power operation made a huge difference to the upgrading of the CUA ships. The Providences were perhaps one of the better conversions with four twin 4.5" turrets giving them an armament as useful for AA duties as for surface targets. The fitting of Asdic and a depth charge armament showed where these ships were most likely to spend the next war, convoy escorts and acting as Escort Leaders. An extra accomodation area was fitted between the funnels for that very purpose.


Displacement 5,300 tons std 6,900 tons full load
Length 452 ft
Breadth 45 ft
Draught 17 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines 50,000shp
Speed 31 knots
Range 8,500 miles at 16 knots (2,400 nm at 28 knots)
Armour 1.5" box over magazines and engine room,  1.5" deck
Armament As Scout Cruiser

7 x 5" (7x1)

6 x 3" AA (8x1)


AS AA Cruiser

8 x 4.5" (4x2)

20 x 40mm (5x4)

16 x 20mm (16x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3)
Complement 415
Notes CUS Providence


3" single AA guns.


Back to Commonwealth Union of America ship list: