Omaha-class cruiser

The Omaha-class cruisers were a class of light cruisers built for the United States Navy. The oldest class of cruiser still in service with the Navy at the outbreak of World War II, the Omaha class was an immediate post-World War I design.

USS Milwaukee (CL-5) off New York City, circa in August 1943 (19-N-51513)
USS Milwaukee (CL-5), an Omaha-class cruiser.
Class overview
Name: Omaha class

 United States Navy

 Soviet Navy (Loaned USS Milwaukee)
Preceded by: Chester class
Succeeded by: Brooklyn class
In commission: 1923–1949
Planned: 10
Completed: 10
Scrapped: 10
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
Displacement: 7,050 long tons (7,163 t)
Length: 556 ft 6 in (169.62 m)
Beam: 55 ft 4 in (16.87 m)
Draft: 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 35 kn (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Endurance: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 29 officers 429 enlisted (peace time)
Aircraft carried: 2 × floatplanes
Aviation facilities: 2 × Midships catapults


Omaha class cruiser drawing
1942 ship recognition chart for the Omaha class

Maneuvers conducted in January 1915 made it clear that the US Atlantic Fleet lacked the fast cruisers necessary to provide information on the enemy's position and to deny the enemy information of the fleet's own position and to screen friendly forces. Built to scout for a fleet of battleships, the Omaha class featured high speed (35 kn (65 km/h; 40 mph)) for cooperation with destroyers, and 6-inch (152 mm) guns to fend off any destroyers the enemy might send against them. Displacing 7,050 long tons (7,160 t), they were just over 555 ft (169 m) long.[1]

The Omaha class was designed specifically in response to the British Centaur subclass of the C-class cruiser. Although from a modern viewpoint, a conflict between the US and Great Britain seems implausible, US Navy planners during this time and up to the mid-1930s considered Britain to be a formidable rival for power in the Atlantic, and the possibility of armed conflict between the two countries plausible enough to merit appropriate planning measures.

The Omaha class mounted four smokestacks, a look remarkably similar to the Clemson-class destroyers (a camouflage scheme was devised to enhance the resemblance). Their armament showed the slow change from casemate-mounted weapons to turret-mounted guns. They carried twelve 6-inch/53 caliber guns, of which four were mounted in two twin turrets, one fore and one aft, and the remaining eight in casemates; four on each side. Launched in 1920, Omaha (designated C-4 and later CL-4) had a displacement of 7,050 long tons. The cruisers emerged with a distinctly old-fashioned appearance owing to their World War I-type stacked twin casemate-mount cannons and were among the last broadside cruisers designed anywhere.[2]

Additional torpedo tubes and hydrophone installation was ordered. As a result of the design changes placed on the ship mid-construction, the vessel that entered the water in 1920, was a badly overloaded design that, even at the beginning, had been rather tight. The ships were insufficiently insulated, too hot in the tropics and too cold in the north. Sacrifices in weight savings in the name of increased speed led to severe compromise in the habitability of the ship. While described as a good ship in a seaway, the low freeboard led to frequent water ingestion over the bow and in the torpedo compartments and lower aft casements. The lightly built hulls leaked, so that sustained high-speed steaming contaminated the oil tanks with sea water.[3]

These drawbacks notwithstanding, the US Navy took some pride in the Omaha class. They featured improved compartmentalization; propulsion machinery was laid out on the unit system, with alternating groups of boiler rooms and engine rooms, to prevent immobilization by a single torpedo hit. Magazines were the first to be placed on centerline, below the waterline. A serious flaw in these ships' subdivision was the complete lack of watertight bulkheads anywhere above the main deck or aft on the main deck.[4]

Originally designed to serve as a scout, they served throughout the interwar period as leaders of fleet flotillas, helping them resist enemy destroyer attack. Tactical scouting became the province of cruiser aircraft, and the distant scouting role was taken over by the new heavy cruisers spawned by the Washington Naval Treaty. Thus, the Omaha class never performed their designed function. They were relegated to the fleet-screening role, where their high speed and great volume of fire were most appreciated.[5]

Due to the large topweight lasting on these ships, compounded by the high-mounted catapults, the Navy removed the two lower aft firing casemate-mounted 6-inch guns in 1939, fairing over the casemates port and starboard.[6]

These were the oldest class of cruisers still in service with the Navy in 1941. All were modified during the war with additional 20mm and 40mm anti aircraft guns and radar.

Both Detroit and Raleigh were at Pearl Harbor during the attack, with Raleigh being torpedoed. Detroit, along with St. Louis and Phoenix were the only large ships to get out of the harbor during the attack.

The ships of the Omaha class spent most of the war deployed to secondary theaters and in less vital tasks than those assigned to more recently built cruisers. The Omaha class were sent in places where their significant armament might be useful if called upon, but where their age and limited abilities were less likely to be tested. These secondary destinations included patrols off the East and West coasts of South America, convoy escort in the South Pacific far from the front lines of battle, patrols and shore bombardment along the distant and frigid Aleutians and Kuril Islands chains, and bombardment duty in the invasion of Southern France when naval resistance was expected to be minimal. The most significant action that any of the ships of the class saw during the war was Marblehead's participation in early war actions around the Dutch East Indies (most notably, the Battle of Makassar Strait), and Richmond's engagement in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.

None of the ships were wartime losses. Raleigh's torpedo damage at Pearl Harbor and Marblehead's damage at Makassar Strait were the only significant wartime combat damage suffered by the class.

The ships of the class were considered obsolete as the war ended, and were decommissioned and scrapped within seven months of the surrender of Japan (with the exception of Milwaukee, which had been loaned to the Soviet Navy, and was scrapped when returned to US Navy control in 1949).

Ships of the class

The following ships of the class were constructed.[7]

Ship Name Hull No. Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate
Omaha CL-4 Todd Dry Dock & Construction Co., Tacoma, Washington 6 December 1918 14 December 1920 24 February 1923 1 November 1945 Struck 28 November 1945; Scrapped February 1946
Milwaukee CL-5 13 December 1918 24 March 1922 20 June 1923 16 March 1949 Struck 18 March 1949; Sold for scrap, 10 December 1949
Cincinnati CL-6 15 May 1920 23 May 1921 1 January 1924 1 November 1945 Scrapped February 1946
Raleigh CL-7 Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts 16 August 1920 25 October 1922 6 February 1924 2 November 1945 Struck 28 November 1945; Scrapped, February 1946
Detroit CL-8 10 November 1920 29 June 1922 31 July 1923 11 January 1946 Struck 21 January 1946; Scrapped, February 1946
Richmond CL-9 William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia 16 February 1920 29 September 1921 2 July 1923 21 December 1945 Struck 21 January 1946; Sold for scrap, 18 December 1946
Concord CL-10 29 March 1920 15 December 1921 3 November 1923 12 December 1945 Struck 8 January 1946; Sold for scrap, 21 January 1947
Trenton CL-11 18 August 1920 16 April 1923 19 April 1924 20 December 1945 Struck 21 January 1946; Sold for scrap, 29 December 1946
Marblehead CL-12 4 August 1920 9 October 1923 8 September 1924 1 November 1945 Struck 28 November 1945; Sold for scrap 27 February 1946
Memphis CL-13 14 October 1920 17 April 1924 4 February 1925 17 December 1945 Struck 8 January 1946; Sold for scrap, 18 December 1947

Omaha alternatives

The U.S. Navy was not entirely pleased with the Omaha class, so a new design was drawn up that was derived from it. This new class replaced the 6-inch guns with four turrets (2 forward, 2 aft) each with two 6-inch guns.

Two other Omaha versions were also designed. The first, intended to function as a monitor, had two 14-inch guns in 2 single turrets, while the other design had four 8-inch guns in two twin turrets. The second design eventually evolved into the Pensacola-class cruiser.

Appearances in Media

The Omaha-class appears in the multiplayer game World of Warships as a playable ship, preceded by the fictitious Phoenix class based on the earlier, turretless design plans. Players have access to Omaha, Marblehead and also Murmansk (Milwaukee during the period of loan to the Soviet Navy.)

The Omaha-class cruiser "USS Trenton" (CL-11) appears in the multiplayer game War Thunder as the light cruiser of the American Fleet tech tree. The vessel can be unlocked by regular research and is currently the only US Navy cruiser in War Thunder. For a cruiser, she feels heavy and not very maneauverable. Though she packs a lot of firepower, and is currently considered as the most powerful cruiser in the game, regarding total armament capabilities. For both Naval Arcade- and Naval Realistic Battles, USS Trenton sits at Tier IV, Battle Rating 5.0 which is currently the highest naval Battle Rating, with all nations' cruisers qualifying with Tier IV BR 5.0.


  1. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.78
  2. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.80
  3. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.80
  4. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.77
  5. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.81
  6. ^ US Cruisers: An illustrated design history pg.81
  7. ^ "U.S. Navy Cruisers 1940-1945". Retrieved 18 September 2011.

External links

Antony Preston

Antony Preston (26 February 1938 – 25 December 2004) was an English naval historian and editor, specialising in the area of 19th and 20th-century naval history and warship design.

Brooklyn-class cruiser

The Brooklyn-class cruisers were seven light cruisers of the United States Navy that served during World War II. Armed with five (three forward, two aft) triple turrets mounting 6-inch (150 mm) guns, they and their two near sisters of the St. Louis class mounted more heavy-caliber guns than any other US cruisers. The Brooklyns were all commissioned during 1937 and 1938, in the time between the start of the war in Asia and before the outbreak of war in Europe. They served extensively in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters during World War II. Though some were heavily damaged, all survived the war. All were decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and five were transferred in 1951, to South American navies, where they served for many more years. One of these, ARA General Belgrano, formerly USS Phoenix (CL-46), was sunk during the Falklands War in 1982.The Brooklyn-class ships were a strong influence on US cruiser design. Nearly all subsequent US cruisers, heavy and light, were directly or indirectly based on them. Notable among these are the Cleveland-class light cruiser and Baltimore-class heavy cruiser of World War II.

Light cruiser

A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck. Prior to this smaller cruisers had been of the protected cruiser model, possessing armored decks only. While lighter and smaller than other contemporary ships they were still true cruisers, retaining the extended radius of action and self-sufficiency to act independently across the world. Through their history they served in a variety of roles, primarily as convoy escorts and destroyer command ships, but also as scouts and fleet support vessels for battle fleets.

List of broadsides of major World War II ships

The list of broadsides of major World War II ships is a comparative listing ranking the main armament broadside weight of major vessels in service during World War II. Listed are the broadside in pounds and kilograms (for a single main battery salvo), as well as the range to which it can be fired in yards and kilometres and the maximum rate of fire in salvos per minute. However, the list does not account for the variances in fire control, which by the end of the war was firmly in the Allies' favor with advances in radar technology.

Items are listed in order of broadside weight.

List of cruisers of the United States Navy

This list of cruisers of the United States Navy includes all ships that were ever called "cruiser". Since the nomenclature predates the hull numbering system, and there were several confusing renumberings and renamings, there are multiple entries referring to the same physical ship.

A "*" following the entry indicates a ship that was canceled before completion. Ships in bold saw combat service. A "†" indicates a ship lost to enemy action.

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 sunk 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 CL's as CA's without re-numbering.

Heavy cruisers CA-149 and CA-151 to CA-153, and light cruisers CL-154 to CL-159 were canceled before being named.

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 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.)

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. 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-9 Long Beach, CGN-41 Arkansas and CG-49 through 73 were ordered, laid down and delivered as guided missile cruisers. Long Beach was the only cruiser since World War II built on a true "cruiser hull", and for over ten years was the only new-build guided missile cruiser in the fleet.

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. 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.See also List of light cruisers of the United States.

List of ship launches in 1920

The list of ship launches in 1920 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1920.

List of ship launches in 1921

The list of ship launches in 1921 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1921.

List of ship launches in 1922

The list of ship launches in 1922 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1922.

List of ship launches in 1923

The list of ship launches in 1923 includes a chronological list of ships launched in 1923.

List of ship launches in 1924

The list of ship launches in 1924 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1924.

Milwaukee Deep

Milwaukee Deep, also known as The Milwaukee Depth, (19°35′N 66°30′W) is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the Puerto Rico Trench. It has a maximum depth of at least 27,493 feet (8,380 m). It is just 76.0 miles (122.3 km) north of the coast of Puerto Rico at Punto Palmas Altas in Manatí.This ocean floor feature is named for the USS Milwaukee (CL-5), a U.S. Navy Omaha class cruiser, which discovered the Milwaukee Deep on February 14, 1939 with a reading of 28,680 feet (8,740 m).On August 19, 1952, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife vessel Theodore N. Gill obtained a reading of 28,560 feet (8,710 m) at (19°36′N 68°19′W), virtually identical with the Milwaukee's reading.

The United States Citizen Victor Vescovo dived to the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench on 19th of December 2018. He reached a depth of 8376m with the deep diving submersible Limiting Factor.The existence of deep water to the Atlantic Ocean side of the Caribbean has been known for more than a century. One of the area's earliest soundings was obtained June 12, 1852 by Lt. S. P. Lee, U.S. Navy brig Dolphin, with a reading of 22,950 feet (7,000 m) at (26°32′N 60°06′W).

Soviet cruiser Murmansk

At least two cruisers of the Soviet Navy have borne the name Murmansk, after the city and naval base of Murmansk:

Soviet cruiser Murmansk (1944) was the former USS Milwaukee, an Omaha-class cruiser transferred to the USSR in 1944 and decommissioned in 1949.

Soviet cruiser Murmansk (1955) was a Sverdlov-class cruiser launched in 1955. She was decommissioned in 1989 and sold for scrapping in 1994, but was wrecked while being towed to the breakers.

USS Milwaukee

Five ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Milwaukee for the city in Wisconsin.

USS Milwaukee (1864), was a monitor, launched in 1864 and sunk by enemy action in 1865.

USS Milwaukee (C-21) was a St. Louis-class cruiser, commissioned in 1906, wrecked attempting to salvage USS H-3 and decommissioned in 1917.

USS Milwaukee (CL-5), was an Omaha-class cruiser, commissioned in 1923, transferred to the Soviet Navy as Murmansk, returned and scrapped in 1949.

USS Milwaukee (AOR-2), was a Wichita-class replenishment oiler, commissioned in 1969 and decommissioned in 1994.

USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship, first announced in 2011. It was commissioned in November 2015 in Milwaukee.

World War II ship camouflage measures of the United States Navy

In 1935, the United States Navy Naval Research Laboratory began studies and tests on low visibility ship camouflage. Research continued through World War II to (1) reduce visibility by painting vertical surfaces to harmonize with the horizon and horizontal surfaces to blend with the sea, or (2) confuse identity and course by painting obtrusive patterns on vertical surfaces. Some camouflage methods served both purposes. American captains were permitted less freedom of interpretation with these schemes (other than Measure 12 Modified) than their British Commonwealth counterparts applied to Admiralty camouflage schemes.

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