The ''Cleveland'' class was a group of light cruisers built for the U.S. Navy during World War II, and were the most numerous class of light cruisers ever built.


The ''Cleveland''-class was a development of the preceding . The ships were designed with the goal of increased cruising range, anti-aircraft armament, torpedo protection, etc., compared with earlier U.S. cruisers. After the London Naval Treaty of 1930 passed, the US Navy took up a renewed interest in the 6" gun armed light cruiser, partially due to the fleet complaining bitterly about the 8" gun's slow rate of fire, at 3 rounds per minute compared to the 10 rounds per minute achieved by 6" guns. At this time, the US Navy began to deploy drones to use as targets for anti-aircraft targets, which could simulate both dive and torpedo bombers. The results were dismaying to the fleet, as the simulations showed that without fire control directors and computers, the ships of the fleet would be almost helpless against the density of aircraft attack they envisioned the future war bringing. The mechanical computers alone could weigh up to 10 tons and had to be housed below decks for both weight and protection measures. As World War II was to prove, the assumptions made pre-war were optimistic. Eventually, every anti-aircraft gun platform above 20mm would end up moving to remote power and aiming with associated fire control and radar. As designed the ''Cleveland'' class was already a tight design but requests to widen the ship were turned down because it would affect production rates. In order to fit the new heavier fire control and radar systems within the allotted tonnage for a cruiser, the No. 3 gun turret was omitted. This also gave room for the enlargement of the bridge spaces to accommodate the new combat information center and the necessary radars, along with enough tonnage to fit an additional pair of 5"/38 twin mounts, which were located fore and aft of the superstructure, granting wider arcs of fire. Despite the loss of three 6-inch guns compared to the proceeding ''Brooklyn'' and ''St. Louis''-class cruisers, the new, more advanced fire control gave the ''Cleveland''-class ships a firepower advantage in practical use. However, the increase of light anti-aircraft artillery made the class top-heavy towards the end of World War II. To compensate for the weight increase, some ships had one catapult removed, along with the rangefinders from the No. 1 turret. The top weight issues would plague the class with every addition of equipment having to be carefully weighed against what would have to be removed. Fighter control radar installation required the removal of 20mm clipping rooms for instance.


Fifty-two ships of this class were originally planned, but nine of them were completed as the light aircraft carriers of the , and two of them were completed to a somewhat different design, with more compact superstructures and just a single stack. These two were called the . Of the 27 ''Cleveland''-class cruisers that were commissioned, one () was completed as a guided missile cruiser and five were later modified as and guided missile cruisers. Two of each of the guided missile cruiser-classes had enlarged superstructures to serve as flagships. Following the naming convention at the time, all the ships completed as cruisers were named for US cities and towns.


The ''Cleveland''-class cruisers served mainly in the Pacific Fleet during World War II, especially in the Fast Carrier Task Force, but some of them served off the coasts of Europe and Africa in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. All of these warships, though worked heavily and damaged in some cases, survived the war. All of this class were initially decommissioned by 1950, except for , which remained in service until 1956, but six were later finished or converted to guided missile cruisers, and these served into the 1970s. The ''Cleveland''s suffered from increasing stability problems as anti-aircraft armament and additional radar was added during the war. None were recommissioned for the Korean War, as they required a crew almost as large as the ships, and those ships were reactivated instead. All non-converted ships were sold off from the reserve fleet for scrapping beginning in 1959. The six that were completed as or converted into guided missile cruisers were reactivated during the 1950s and then served into the 1970s. All, particularly the Talos-armed ships, suffered from greater stability problems than the original design due to the extra radar equipment and top weight. This problem was particularly severe in ''Galveston'', leading to its premature decommissioning in 1970. and had to have a large amount of ballast and internal rearrangement to allow continued service into the 1970s. The last of these missile ships in service, ''Oklahoma City'', was decommissioned in December 1979.

Preserved ships

Only one ''Cleveland''-class ship remains. The , refit in 1960 and re-designated as ''Galveston''-class guided missile light cruiser CLG-4 (later CG-4), is now a museum ship at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, New York, alongside the , and the , .

Ships in class




External links

*ttp://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_cleveland_class_cruisers.html Cleveland Class Light Cruisers {{DEFAULTSORT:Cleveland Class Cruiser Category:Cruiser classes Category:1940s ships