USS Norfolk (DDL-1947)


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The end of World War Two found the United States Navy with many ships under construction but some distance from being completed. Four such hulls belonged to the Atlanta Class AA cruisers. The four ships had a redesign that kept them as AA ships but went some way to alleviating the problems the Atlanta's had been plagued with. The six twin 5"/38cal turrets were replaced with four twin 3"/70cal dual purpose guns. A large saving in weight.

These four ships forever after blurred the lines between the size of what would be 'cruisers' and what would be 'destroyers'. Armed with 3"/70cal guns they could not really be classed as cruisers, so they were designated as Destroyer Leaders (DDL).

For such a big ship, the armament seemed modest. The four twin 3", two Weapon A depth charge mortars and four sets of Mk32 SVTT torpedoes. It was the sensor suites that made those weapons so dangerous. The most advanced sonar available enhanced the weapon A's accuracy.

The Norfolk class were used as trials ships and had many different weapons fitted then removed.

Displacement 6,250 tons standard, 8,000 tons full load
Length 540 ft
Breadth 53 ft
Draught 18 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, steam turbines, 80,000 shp
Speed 34 knots
Range 8000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 2.5" side, 1.5" deck
Armament As completed
8 x 3"/70cal (4x2)
2 x Weapon A (2x1)
Torpedoes 8 x Mk32 SVTT (4x2)
Complement 540

As can be seen in the above photo, the Weapon A depth charge mortars are paired and look a lot smaller than the ones in the drawing which are off the US parts sheet.

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