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United States

Type: CA
Class: only ship in class (see Notes)
Builder: Philadelphia Navy Yard
Commissioned: February, 1939
Displacement: 10,589 tons

Dimensions: (in feet and inches)

608' 4" x 61' 9" x 23' 9"
Belt: 4" - 6.4"
Deck: 2.25"
Barbettes: 7"
Turrets (face): 8"
Turrets (sides): 3.75"
Turrets (roof): 2.75"
CT: 6"
Machinery: 4-shaft Parsons turbines, 8 Babcock & Wilcox boilers; 100,000shp.  Oil:  1,984 tons.  Range:  10,000nm at 15 knots.
Speed: 33 knots
9 8" / 55 cal. 3x3
8 5" / 38 cal.  8x1
8 0.5" MG 8x1
4 aircraft
Compliment: 929



Sister ships:  none



Notes:  The WICHITA was a "heavy cruiser" version of the BROOKLYN class light cruisers, and was the direct predecessor of the BALTIMORE class.  Under the 1930 London Treaty, the United States was allowed to lay down one heavy cruiser in 1934 and one in 1935.  The WICHITA was the 1935 ship, a new design based on the BROOKLYN class, with the aircraft catapults and hangars aft, allowing the secondary battery to be concentrated amidships.  Improvements were also made to her 8" guns, with a lower muzzle velocity greatly improving the gun life, which had been a considerable problem in the preceding classes of heavy cruisers.  As she neared completion, WICHITA was extremely close to her "treaty weight" of 10,000 tons.  In order to save weight, two of her 5" were not mounted, with only six being fitted.  Their locations were deemed to be quite successful, and their pattern was repeated (with twin mounts) in nearly every subsequent cruiser, including the ALASKA class "battlecruisers".  The Bureau of Ordinance wanted to re-arm WICHITA in the same manner (with twin 5" mounts) during World War II, but this was never carried out.  During World War II, WICHITA's anti-aircraft batteries were augmented by the addition of 24 - 40mm guns (in four quadruple and four twin mounts) and 18 - 20mm guns (in single mounts).


In October, 1939, WICHITA was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet's CruDiv 7.  In December, she was assigned to the Caribbean Patrol, with the heavy cruiser VINCENNES and several destroyers.  In June, 1940, WICHITA made a "show the flag" cruise to South America.  Then in September, she was assigned to Task Force 16, and sailed for Iceland to bolster the Allied presence there.  She made several cruises in support of the Russian convoys to Murmansk (both inbound and outbound).  In September, 1942, WICHITA returned to New York Navy Yard for repairs and refit.  In late October, 1942, WICHITA was assigned to TF 34.1 and the "Operation Torch" landings in North Africa.  On 8 November, WICHITA bombarded Vichy French positions at Point El Hank and Table d'Aukahsa, and fired on French warships in Casablanca harbor -- her main target was the light cruiser PRIMAGUET, which caught fire and was heavily damaged.  In return, she took a single hit from a 7.6" gun; 14 of her crew were wounded (none seriously).  Following this action, WICHITA returned to New York for repairs.  She was then assigned to the Pacific Fleet.  On 29 January 1943, WICHITA was torpedoed by a Japanese "Betty" (Mitsubishi G4M) bomber; fortunately for the WICHITA, the torpedo was a "dud" and did not explode.  In April, 1943, WICHITA was made the flagship of Task Group 16.14, and sailed for the Aleutians.  Following operations there, including bombardments of Japanese positions on Kiska, she returned to Pearl Harbor and was assigned to TF 58.3, screening carriers.  For the remainder of the war, she took part in many operations.  At the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944, the WICHITA and the heavy cruiser NEW ORLEANS caught and sunk the Japanese light carrier CHIYODA, which had been crippled by air strikes and was unable to return to Japan for repairs.  Later that night, WICHITA took part in the sinking of the destroyer HATSUZUKI; return fire from the destroyer scored a minor hit, wounding one sailor.  In November, 1944, WICHITA suffered mechanical failures in two of her shafts, reducing her top speed significantly; she then was sent to California for repairs.  Returning to action in mid-March, 1945, WICHITA took part in the bombardment and invasion of Okinawa.  Following the end of the war, WICHITA served with the Occupation Forces in Japan, then came home to the United States, transporting troops as a part of "Operation Magic Carpet".  She returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard in February, 1946, and was placed in reserve there on 15 July 1946.  WICHITA was decommissioned on 3 February 1947.  She was deleted from the Navy List on 1 March 1959, and sold for breaking up in August, 1959.



hansa_139_wichita_ca_1937_-_201.jpg (28763 bytes) Hansa 139
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neptun_1332_wichita_ca_1940_-_00.jpg (25866 bytes) Neptun 1332
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neptun_1332_wichita_ca_1940_-_05.jpg (22363 bytes) Neptun 1332
superior_a310_wichita_ca_1944_-_01.jpg (18117 bytes) Superior A310