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Thread: Omaha Class Cruisers in WWI

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    Omaha Class Cruisers in Pacific Theatre WWII

    Somehow I find them the most interesting cruisers in WWII. I was wondering, if the USN had suffered more serious losses of cruisers in the Solomons, that they would have been seriously deployed in the Solomons, instead of the North Pacific and South Atlantic.

    I always found the documentation that some of the class were deployed to the SE Pacific to be odd.
    Last edited by Archdude; 04 Jul 11, at 06:04. Reason: Clarify conflict

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    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
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    Just curious, Archduke ... they were pretty old-fashioned four stack things ... what's their appeal to you?
    Last edited by clackers; 13 Jul 11, at 17:30.

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    Agreed they would easily stand out looking like the oldtime "cement factories" and obviously were not laid out engineering wise for the coarse of what would have been modern naval warfare during WWII. Fast, yes (35 knts) but unsuitably armored and gunned for what was probably needed in that theater considering the bombings and torpedoing that many ships endured in the South Pacific. Bombs were getting larger, torpedos with bigger charges and their accurate deliverly by fast moving aircraft more previlent. Being able to refuel them constantly (older powerplants guzzling fuel and less effecient) as well may have also been a factor in why many more were not used.

    IMO, impressive speed though out of these older ships for a new age or what would have been a newer age of sea warfare in WWII.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 18 Jul 11, at 17:06.
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    They were an interesting chapter in the development of the cruiser - culminating in designs like the Des Moines CA and even the much later Tico's and Kirov's.

    Not to say they were a good design - but certainly an important step. They were treaty cruisers and had many flaws - but taught the USN a lot of lessons.
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    Where any of these considered for transfer to any other country except for the USSR?

    Also, does anyone know what ships were in the US South East Pacific Fleet during WWII? I believe some of the Omahas were flagships for it/

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    Marblehead was active in the Java Sea area at the beginning. She made it out after receiving a couple bomb hits. Detroit and Raleigh were at Pearl at the start.

    Oddly enough, they were probably the first ships to get the 40mm guns when they became available.

    They weren't treaty cruisers, as they were designed before the treaty came into effect. The effect of the treaty was a bunch of 10,000 ton cruisers, and these fell far short, displacement-wise. They were meant for scouting, though aircraft wound up taking this job. They probably would have served as destroyer leaders.

    Yes, I have a soft spot for them, too.

    Ed-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zad Fnark View Post
    Oddly enough, they were probably the first ships to get the 40mm guns when they became available.
    I wonder if that was to "wring them out" in fleet operating conditions before sending them out to the front line ships...maybe the Navy not wanting a repeating of the 1.1" teething problems.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zad Fnark View Post
    Yes, I have a soft spot for them, too.
    Ditto
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    This has been an interesting thread... Been reading up on various cruiser classes and it seems that overall the US had the best designs in the heavy cruiser class, even for treaty cruisers. When stacking the Wichita class against their contemporary rivals I think it goes Wichita, Admiral Hipper, Mogami, Zara, Algerie and York classes. The Wichita gives up torpedoes and weight but has a better secondary armament and superior range to the European cruisers. The Japanese cruisers proved to be rather brittle for all their speed and firepower.

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    In reading some books on the D-Day invasion, I noticed there were no usn light cruisers assigned to bombardment duties on June 6; however, it seems 3 of the Omaha class were used in August 1944 for the invasion of Southern France. With more USN light cruisers being built than heavy cruisers, I thought no American light cruisers at Normandy being odd.

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    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archdude View Post
    In reading some books on the D-Day invasion, I noticed there were no usn light cruisers assigned to bombardment duties on June 6; however, it seems 3 of the Omaha class were used in August 1944 for the invasion of Southern France. With more USN light cruisers being built than heavy cruisers, I thought no American light cruisers at Normandy being odd.
    I would surmise that between the US and British navies there were enough BBs and CAs to do the long range 'heavy' shelling and more than enough 5 inch armed DDs and DEs plus specialist bombardment vessels to do the close in work. Why use 6 inch guns for shore bombardment when you have lots of 8 inch and above available and numerous 5 inch as well. Plus by then a CLs range and speed would have made it much more valuable as a convoy escort and as a gunnery and AA platform escorting and defending carrier groups than as a land bombardment platform.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    I would surmise that between the US and British navies there were enough BBs and CAs to do the long range 'heavy' shelling and more than enough 5 inch armed DDs and DEs plus specialist bombardment vessels to do the close in work. Why use 6 inch guns for shore bombardment when you have lots of 8 inch and above available and numerous 5 inch as well. Plus by then a CLs range and speed would have made it much more valuable as a convoy escort and as a gunnery and AA platform escorting and defending carrier groups than as a land bombardment platform.
    Thanks for the input. I just thought it interesting that the world's largest navy, with more light cruisers in the inventory than heavy cruisers, would have had some at Normandy. Even the Royal Navy had some of their older light cruisers there!

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    From the Wiki:

    "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."

    There were already ample vessels, they thought, assigned to the Eastern & Western Naval Task Forces.

    Also close quarters were not the best place for the Omahas.
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