USS Anchorage (CLA-1946)


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The US Navy had the very big (for their time) Midway class aircraft carriers completing at wars end. A whole new generation of 'automatic' armed ships were also designed and built to escort the new carriers. What were genuine anti-aircraft cruisers when designed were reduced almost immediately to large destroyers. The pace of research and development never slowed. WW2 finished and almost immediately was followed by the cold war between NATO and Eastern Bloc countries. USS Anchorage and its sisters were designed around the new 5"/54 caliber automatic guns. Where the destroyers had single mounts, the Anchorage class would be fitted with four twins.

Along with the new mark of 5" was also six twin mountings of the new automatic 3"/70cal AA weapons. These had been designed to replace the twin and quad 40mm mountings that had been mounted all over the ships of the US Navy 1942-45. It was found that the 40mm (and 20mm) had not performed well against the Japanese Kamikaze units. A better knockdown capability was required, which led to the design and implementation of the 3"/70cal gun. This was a joint venture with the Commonwealth navies and like most new systems of the time were rapidly replaced with something better. These ships were rapidly outdated as missile armaments proliferated through the navies of the world. The torpedo tubes were rapidly replaced with tubes that could be used against both surface and sub-surface enemies. The aft 5" and 3" were eventually replaced with AA and SSM missiles but the ships were considered too small to have much work and resources expended on them when modern ships were rolling out of the shipyards. The four ships of the class were removed from the active list in 1966 and sold overseas.

Displacement 6,000 tons std 7,100 tons full load
Length 500 ft
Breadth 56 ft
Draught 20 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 90,000 shp
Speed 34 knots
Range 8000 miles at 18 knots
Armour 40mm protective plating over machinery and magazines
Armament 8 x 5"/54 (4x2)
12 x3/70" (6x2)
Torpedoes 10 x 24" (2x5)
Complement 340
Notes Anchorage

Below is one of the huge AA cruises of the Worcester class with its six twin auto 6" weapons. This cruiser with 12x6" required the same size hull as an 8" heavy cruiser. Like the Anchorage above, the day of the gun cruiser was almost over. The amount of resources put into these ships would have been better used elsewhere, but these were stepping stones towards the ships of the future. What always surprised me is that the USN spent millions and millions converting Cleveland's and Baltimore's to have missiles, but the Worcester class only lasted 10 years in service, 1948-58, then 10 years in the mothball fleet, sold and scrapped. I have always been surprised that they did not get a missile conversion.

USS Worcester (CL-144) - Wikipedia


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