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Ships of the
United States Navy
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Ships grouped by type

This list of cruisers of the United States Navy includes all ships that were ever called "cruiser", either publicly or in internal documentation.

Nomenclature

Comprehension of the history of cruisers as shown in these lists requires some understanding of the unique role (sharing both independent and combined fleet operations) that cruisers were expected to support in the U.S. fleet, and of the consequent influence this role had on design. In one example, the Navy's Bureau of Ships issued a memorandum in 1947 listing the ways in which cruiser hulls differed from destroyer hulls, including details such as double hull construction, electrical generation and distribution, water mains for firefighting, fuel lines and tankage, and fresh water distillation.[1]

CGN-9 Long Beach, commissioned in 1961, was the last U.S. cruiser built on a true cruiser hull. All subsequent cruisers, including nuclear powered cruisers, were based on the less expensive and less capable destroyer hulls - the one attempt since Long Beach to revert to the advantages of a "cruiser hull" design was the canceled CSGN nuclear strike cruiser (the CSGN proposal mentioned the greater powerplant survivability from the separation of the two nuclear reactors in a cruiser hull over the adjacent reactors in a destroyer hull).[2]

The sole example of a destroyer built on a cruiser hull was the experimental DL-1 Norfolk, which was originally classed as a hunter-killer cruiser (CLK-1).[3]

Overview of hull classifications

Main article: Hull classification symbol

Since the cruiser nomenclature predates the hull numbering system, and there were several confusing renumberings and renamings,[4] there are multiple entries on these lists referring to the same physical ship. Combat history summaries (wars and battle stars[5]) are listed only for the specific hull classification and number; for example, the World War II battle stars for a heavy cruiser (CA) and the Vietnam War battle stars for the same ship after its conversion to a guided missile cruiser (CG) are listed separately in each ship type list.

Hull reclassifications and skipped hull numbers

CA-1, CA-6 and CA-10 were never used, as ACR-1 Maine, ACR-6 California/San Diego and ACR-10 Tennessee/Memphis were lost prior to the 1920 redesignation, and their sisters' original hull numbers were carried over. CA-20 through CA-23 were skipped with the merger of the CA and CL sequences, which allowed the reclassification of the Washington Treaty CLs as CAs without re-numbering.

Heavy cruisers CA-149 and CA-151 to CA-153, light cruisers CL-154 to CL-159, hunter-killer cruiser CLK-2, and nuclear guided missile cruiser CGN-42 were canceled before being named.

Guided missile cruisers CG-1 through 8 and CG-10 through 12 were converted from World War II cruisers. CAG-1 USS Boston and CAG-2 USS Canberra retained most of their original gun armament and were later returned to their gun cruiser designations CA-69 and CA-70. CGN-9, Long Beach, originally held the last designation in the heavy-light cruiser sequence, CLGN-160.

CG-15 was skipped so the Leahy-class guided missile frigates (CG-16 class) could be redesignated without renumbering. The other missing numbers in the guided-missile cruiser series, 43–46, were not used so that DDG-47 Ticonderoga and DDG-48 Yorktown could be similarly redesignated. (It has been argued in some sources[who?] that the DDG-993 Kidd-class guided missile destroyers, which were essentially identically armed to the Virginia-class cruisers, should have been redesignated CG-43 through −46.)

Before 30 June 1975, CG-16 USS Leahy through CGN-38 USS Virginia were designated DLG or DLGN (Destroyer Leader, Guided Missile (Nuclear powered)). They were redesignated cruisers in the 1975 ship reclassification. CGN-39 USS Texas and CGN-40 USS Mississippi were laid down as DLGNs but redesignated CGN before commissioning. CG-47 Ticonderoga and CG-48 Yorktown were ordered as guided missile destroyers (DDG) but were redesignated to guided missile cruisers (CG) before any ship was laid down. CGN-41 Arkansas and CG-49 through 73 were ordered, laid down and delivered as guided missile cruisers, although as Virginia or Ticonderoga-class ships they had not been designed as cruisers.

The Navy has 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers (CG-52 through CG-73) in active service, as of the end of 2015. With the cancellation of the CG(X) program in 2010, the Navy currently has no cruiser replacement program planned.[6] The Navy is looking to the AEGIS-equipped Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to increasingly fill the role of the cruiser in the protection of the carrier strike group, as it could be well into the 2030s before any possible cruiser replacement program is up and running.[6]

Lists by type

Cruisers without hull designations

The first three modern cruisers in the Navy, the Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago, were most successful as technology demonstrators that stimulated the U.S. industrial base, with features such as steel hulls and electricity generation. The last two protected cruisers which initially served without hull classification numbers, the New Orleans and Albany, were purchased from a British builder during mobilization for the 1898 Spanish–American War.[7]

USS Atlanta, the US Navy's first cruiser
USS Atlanta, the US Navy's first cruiser

Armed merchant cruisers

Further information: Armed merchantman § Armed merchant cruisers

Beginning in 1891 Congress subsidized a number of fast ocean liners with plans to requisition them in wartime. St. Louis, St. Paul, Harvard, and Yale were the largest and were chartered by the Navy for the Spanish–American War, and seven others were purchased in 1898.[8]

German war prize

Armored cruisers

Further information: Armored cruiser

Officially these ships were e.g., "Armored Cruiser No. 1". Unofficially, top naval officers initially referred to these ships as battleships because they cost almost as much, shared many features with them, and were intended to accompany them in fleet actions; they took care to ensure that Congress never heard their opinion. The 1905 Russo-Japanese War showed armored cruisers did not perform as well as either battleships or as other cruiser types. As battleship technology advanced they were judged obsolete for their original role about the time the last U.S. armored cruiser was commissioned (this advance in part led to the development of battlecruisers as a replacement), and so they were retained for other cruiser roles despite their deficiencies. During 1912–1920 the U.S. armored cruisers had their names changed from states to cities within those states to free up the names for battleships.[9]

USS Maine (ACR-1)
USS Maine (ACR-1)

Protected and Peace cruisers

Further information: Protected cruiser and Unprotected cruiser

In the pre-1920 period abbreviations were informal and not standardized; officially these ships were, e.g., "Cruiser No. 1". Only the Montgomery class were unprotected cruisers, all the rest were protected cruisers. The Navy often referred to unprotected cruisers and obsolete protected cruisers (and some large gunboats without cruiser features) as peace cruisers due to their use in major policing and diplomatic roles.[10]

USS Newark (C-1)
USS Newark (C-1)
USS Erie (PG-50)
USS Erie (PG-50)

While classified as patrol gunboats by the Navy and as sloops by the London Naval Treaty, the 2,000 ton displacement Erie-class gunboats were designed to fulfill the role of peace cruisers in Asia and the Caribbean as detailed in internal Navy documents.[11]

Scout cruisers

Further information: Scout cruiser

The use of fast armed merchant cruisers in the Spanish–American War and the fleet exercises of 1902-03 convinced the Navy that it needed fast scout cruisers. The Chester class was built in part to test high speed propulsion plants. The Omaha class would become the oldest U.S. cruisers to serve in World War II. Officially these ships were, e.g., "Scout Cruiser No. 1", and sometimes abbreviated SC or SCR; on 8 August 1921 all would be reclassed as light cruisers.[12]

USS Chester (CS-1)
USS Chester (CS-1)

Battlecruisers

Further information: Battlecruiser and List of battlecruisers of the United States

The United States laid down its only six battlecruisers as part of the 1917 construction program; in accordance with the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty four were scrapped incomplete and two converted during construction into the Lexington-class aircraft carriers.[13]

1922 artist impression of the design of the Lexington class battlecruisers
1922 artist impression of the design of the Lexington class battlecruisers

Heavy and light cruisers

Further information: Heavy cruiser and Light cruiser

USS Brooklyn (CA-3)
USS Brooklyn (CA-3)

On 17 July 1920, all First and Second Class Cruisers (armored and protected cruisers) still in service were reclassified as Armored Cruisers (CA).

In the 1920 hull designation system, of the Third Class Cruisers the fast Scout Cruisers became Light Cruisers (CL), and the slower New Orleans and Denver-class "peace cruisers" were reclassified as Patrol Gunboats (PG).

On 8 August 1921 the system was revised; the surviving protected cruisers (except for the "semi-armored" St Louis class) and the peace cruiser/patrol gunboats were all grouped with the scout cruisers as Light Cruisers (CL).

USS Concord (CL-10)
USS Concord (CL-10)

The CA/CL overlap of hull numbers would persist until the last armored cruiser of the original CA series, Seattle, was reclassed as IX-39.

The first cruisers of the Pensacola, Northampton, New Orleans, and Portland classes – which were designed after the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, so quickly that the last design was complete before sea trial of the first were finished – were originally designated Light Cruisers (CL) due to their light protection. In accordance with the 1930 London Naval Treaty, they were reclassified as "Heavy Cruisers" (CA) in 1931 due to their 8-inch (203 mm) guns. Thenceforward new heavy and light cruisers were numbered in a single sequence. These four classes were known as "Treaty cruisers" and were seen even before World War II as deficient by the Navy due to the treaty limitations, but despite their high losses in the early days of the war they performed well.[14]

USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25)
USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25)

The terms of the 1930 London Naval Treaty motivated the signatories to de-emphasize heavy cruiser construction in favor of light cruisers. The resultant nine ship Brooklyn-class of light cruisers had a strong influence on US cruiser design. Nearly all subsequent US cruisers, heavy and light, were directly or indirectly based on them, including the unique heavy cruiser Wichita.[15][16]

USS Brooklyn (CL-40)
USS Brooklyn (CL-40)
USS Wichita (CA-45)
USS Wichita (CA-45)

The 1936 Second London Naval Treaty would also influence the Navy's light cruiser program. It imposed limits that resulted in the smaller displacement Atlanta class with a 5-inch (127 mm) dual purpose rapid fire main gun battery, the first such ship in the Navy. Parallel to the Atlanta design was an abortive attempt to design a super-Atlanta known as the Cruiser-Destroyer, or CLD.[17]

When the United States entered World War II it had three major classes of cruisers under construction: the Atlanta and Cleveland light cruiser classes (with 5-inch and 6-inch main batteries, respectively), and the Baltimore-class of heavy cruisers. These ships would form the bulk of the cruiser war construction effort, with eight Atlanta-class, twenty-seven Cleveland-class, and fourteen Baltimore-class cruisers ultimately completed. Early in the war nine Cleveland hulls would be diverted for conversion into Independence class light aircraft carriers (CVLs). By the end of the war three Cleveland hulls would be canceled, and one incomplete hull would later be converted to a guided missile cruiser.[18]

USS Atlanta (CL-51)
USS Atlanta (CL-51)
USS Cleveland (CL-55)
USS Cleveland (CL-55)
USS Baltimore (CA-68)
USS Baltimore (CA-68)
USS Oakland (CL-95)
USS Oakland (CL-95)

As the Navy gained experience with World War II combat conditions, it was decided that the Atlanta, Cleveland, and Baltimore classes needed improvement. However, major improvements would cause unacceptable delays in the construction programs. A new generation of cruisers with minor improvements would consist of the Juneau and Fargo classes of light cruisers (respectively 5-inch and 6-inch main batteries), and the Oregon City-class of heavy cruisers. Due to the near-total destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the number of the ships of this generation to be completed as gun cruisers would be small: three Juneau-class, two Fargo-class, and three Oregon City-class cruisers. A fourth Oregon City-class cruiser would be completed as a command cruiser. Seventeen hulls from among the three classes were canceled.[19]

USS Huntington (CL-107)
USS Huntington (CL-107)
USS Spokane (CL-120)
USS Spokane (CL-120)
USS Rochester (CA-124)
USS Rochester (CA-124)

The Navy agreed in the waning days of World War II to construct a small number of cruisers for the purpose of operationally testing new gun designs and other major improvements incorporating the lessons learned of World War II combat: the 'CL-154' and Worcester classes of light cruisers (respectively 5-inch and 6-inch main batteries), and the Des Moines-class of heavy cruisers. Initially the Navy wanted at least one squadron of six ships of each class, but in the end only two Worcester-class and three Des Moines-class cruisers would be completed, and the CL-154 class would be cancelled in its entirety. A total of seventeen hulls from among the three planned classes would be canceled.[20]

USS Des Moines (CA-134)
USS Des Moines (CA-134)
USS Worcester (CL-144)
USS Worcester (CL-144)
CL-154 class concept
CL-154 class concept

The last ship to be assigned a hull number in the Heavy and Light Cruiser sequence would be the 1950's era nuclear powered Long Beach, though this ship would be assigned another number and designation before launch.

Large cruisers

The large cruiser design motivation came from the deployment of Germany's so-called pocket battleships in the early 1930s, and from concerns that Japan would follow with similar ships. These large cruisers had design features intermediate between heavy cruisers and battleships, unlike the designs of the earlier battlecruisers which were intended to serve much the same role.[21][22]

German cruiser war prize

Hunter-Killer cruisers

USS Norfolk (ex-CLK-1)
USS Norfolk (ex-CLK-1)

CLK-1 was authorized in 1947 as an anti-submarine hunter killer. She was designed on a light cruiser hull so she could carry a greater variety of detection gear than a destroyer.[23]

Antiaircraft cruisers

USS Juneau (CLAA-119)
USS Juneau (CLAA-119)

On 18 March 1949, the surviving light cruisers of the Atlanta and Juneau classes were redesignated as antiaircraft cruisers (CLAA) without changing their hull numbers; San Diego, San Juan, and Flint were redesignated even though they had been decommissioned and were in reserve. The CL-154 class would also have received this designation had they not been canceled.

Command cruisers

By the end of World War II the Navy had gained favorable experience with dedicated amphibious command ships, and desired similar but faster ships to accompany aircraft carriers for fleet command, which would also relieve overcrowded fleet command facilities on other ships. The result would be the highly capable but expensive command cruisers.[24]

USS Northampton (CLC-1)
USS Northampton (CLC-1)

Guided missile cruisers

With the exception of the purpose-built nuclear powered guided missile cruiser Long Beach, all of the early guided missile cruisers were converted heavy or light cruisers from the World War II era. The early conversions (CAG and CLG) were 'single-enders' which placed the missile facilities aft and conservatively retained their forward main gun batteries; the later conversions (CG) were 'double-enders' which eliminated the main guns. In 1975 the surviving 'single enders' would be reclassified as CG even though they retained their guns.[25]

USS Canberra (CAG-2)
USS Canberra (CAG-2)
USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5)
USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5)
USS Albany (CG-10)
USS Albany (CG-10)

Following the conversion of the Albany class, all guided missile cruisers would be built on 'destroyer hulls'; the pre-1975 ships were originally classified as destroyers (DDG) or as destroyer leaders (DLG) and termed 'frigates' before reclassification as cruisers.[26]

USS Leahy (CG-16)
USS Leahy (CG-16)
USS Sterett (CG-31)
USS Sterett (CG-31)
USS Yorktown (CG-48)
USS Yorktown (CG-48)
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)

Nuclear-powered cruisers

Main article: Nuclear-powered cruisers of the United States Navy

To date all nuclear cruisers have been guided missile cruisers.

USS Long Beach (CGN-9)
USS Long Beach (CGN-9)
USS Virginia (CGN-38)
USS Virginia (CGN-38)

List by name

Names without links were not completed, or completed as aircraft carriers.

List of unnamed ships by hull number

List of canceled conversions

List of skipped hull numbers

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 1-2
  2. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 1-2, 413-425
  3. ^ Friedman, 1982, pp 255-258
  4. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 448-455
  5. ^ "NavSource website"
  6. ^ a b Defense News 2022))
  7. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 18–22, 41–43
  8. ^ Friedman, 1984, p. 41
  9. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 45-46, 50-65
  10. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 23–40, 48–50, 54–56
  11. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp 167, 176-178
  12. ^ Freidman, 1984, pp. 66–84
  13. ^ Freidman, 1984, pp. 85–103
  14. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 104–161
  15. ^ Ewing, 1984, p. 76
  16. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 182-215
  17. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 216–251
  18. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 252–277
  19. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 253, 277–281
  20. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 348-371
  21. ^ Freidman, 1984, pp. 286–309
  22. ^ "Knupp, Navy General Board website"
  23. ^ Friedman, 1982, pp 255–258
  24. ^ Freidman, 1984, pp. 427-445
  25. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 372-419
  26. ^ Friedman, 1982, pp. 300–307, 321–347
  27. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 414, 419-422
  28. ^ Friedman, 1984, pp. 421
  29. ^ Friedman, 1982, pp. 346–347

General and cited sources