CUS Salt Lake City (CA-1929)


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Following on from the Detroit class scout cruisers, the Salt Lake Citys were the first CUS ships built under the new Geneva Arms Limitation Treaty limits of 10,000 tons and 8" guns. These were to have been a class of 8 ships but after only the first pair were being built the next six were built to a different design. The ships were a quirky design, they were to have been eight gun ships, the same as the Detroits, but introduce a new gun type the 8"/55cal. The Admiralty however wanted these ships to outgun their potential enemies and asked for twelve 8" which was tried in the design work but was just not possible on the 10,000 tons. The design was recast with ten guns and the Admiralty accepted that level of armament, but the tradeoff was a thin and short strake of armour over the engineering spaces and only thin boxes over the magazines. The quirk was that it was the upper B and X mountings that were the triples rather than the lower mountings. In the end this was a compromise that did not work. The twins were slowed to the rate of fire of the triples and the narrow sleeve arrangment of the guns was poor. The ships were a disappointment in service and led to a complete rethink of the heavy cruiser concept which showed in the later Wichita class.

The secondary dual purpose armament also showed an amount of dithering as the designs showed 3 different marks of 5", then 3" AA as used in the later WW1 ships, before finally settling on the 4"/50cal guns on first low angle mounts before being refurbished during the 1930's on AA mounts. Four sets of quad 40mm had space found for them while 20mm guns sprouted in odd places to complete the gun armament. The biggest advantage these ships had over the Detroit type as scout cruisers was the fitting of aircraft handling facilities. The use of aircraft enhanced the over the horizon vision that was the scout cruisers job. It was not till the late 1930's that enough aircraft carriers were at hand to provide this service and till then the cruisers and battleships fitted with aircraft handled the scouting role.


Displacement 10,200 tons std 12,300 tons full load
Length 600 ft
Breadth 65 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines 107,000shp
Speed 33 knots
Range 10,000 miles at 15 knots
Armour 2.5" box over magazines, 4" Belt, 2 1/2 Turrets, 1" Deck
Armament 10 x 8" (2x2 2x3)

8 x 4" (8x1)

16 x 40mm (4x4)

26 x 20mm (26x1)

Aircraft 3
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1200
Notes CUS Detroit


An interesting photo that shows not only the quirky 8" turrets, but also how the 3 ships (Northampton extra) differ in their refit stage from the differing radar outfits carried by 1943.


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