for Fun Miscellaneous
Tanks Trains Contact Me
TUSCALOOSA / CA-37
Notes: The NEW ORLEANS class link the WICHITA and the wartime American cruisers with their lightly-protected predecessors. By the late 1920's, there was growing apprehension concerning the light protection of the large cruisers under construction. However, the Bureau of Construction and Repair maintained that a 10,000-ton ship of high speed, armed with 8" guns, could not be well protected. Not until the NORTHAMPTON class were completed did it become obvious that the U. S. "treaty cruisers" were about 1,000 tons below the treaty limit. In 1929, the U. S. Navy began a program of 15 additional heavy and light cruisers. This program was interrupted by a combination of the London Treaty of 1930 and the Great Depression of 1929. But in 1929, the General Board approved a design very similar to the NORTHAMPTON class. This was not to be. There was considerable pressure within the Navy for a better-protected cruiser, and eventually the Bureau of Construction and Repair had to admit that by making some modifications, a better-protected ship might be achieved. In fact, it proved possible to replace the lightly-armored gunhouses of the NORTHAMPTON class with a true turret, for a great advance in protection.
Wartime modifications were relatively minor, with the main focus being the augmentation of the anti-aircraft battery (and subsequently, the need to reduce topweight). The bridgework was reduced, the armored conning tower was eliminated, and an open bridge was fitted. One crane was removed, and later, one of the two catapults. By the end of the war, the surviving members of the class had 24 - 40mm AA guns in six quad mounts; NEW ORLEANS also had 28 - 20mm AA guns (in 14 twin mounts).
TUSCALOOSA was commissioned in August, 1934, and following a shakedown cruise to Argentina and Uruguay, she was assigned to the U. S. Pacific Fleet. Returning to the Atlantic in 1939, TUSCALOOSA carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a cruise off the eastern coasts of the United States and Canada in August. When World War II broke out in Europe on 1 September 1939, TUSCALOOSA took part in the "neutrality patrols" to enforce U. S. neutrality. In February, 1940, TUSCALOOSA again carried President Roosevelt on a cruise to the west coast of South America; and in December, she once again carried the President -- this time to the West Indies. Following America's entry into the war, TUSCALOOSA worked with the British Home Fleet in the waters between Iceland and northern Russia. In November, 1942, TUSCALOOSA took part in "Operation Torch", the invasion of Morocco. She spent 1943 and the first part of 1944 on convoy, patrol and training duties. In June, 1944, TUSCALOOSA took part in the invasion of Normandy, and bombarded German positions there and at Cherbourg. In August, 1944, TUSCALOOSA also took part in the invasion of Southern France. Following her transfer to the Pacific, TUSCALOOSA took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima in February, 1945, and in operations at Okinawa in March-June, 1945. Following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, TUSCALOOSA covered occupation efforts along the Korean and Chinese coasts -- work that lasted into November, 1945. After taking part in "Operation Magic Carpet" bringing American troops home, TUSCALOOSA sailed in early February, 1946 for the Panama Canal and then on to Philadelphia. There, TUSCALOOSA was placed in reserve on 13 February 1946. Following 13 years in the "Mothball Navy", TUSCALOOSA was sold for scrapping in June, 1959, and was broken up at Baltimore.