USS Cincinnati (CL-6)

USS Cincinnati (CL-6) was an Omaha class light cruiser that spent most of the Second World War serving in the South Atlantic but that also took part in the invasion of the south of France. She received one battle star for her wartime service.

The Cincinnati was the third and final member of the Omaha class to be built at Seattle, and was constructed rather faster than the first two ships in the class. She was laid down on 15 May 1920 and launched one year later, on 23 May 1921 - both Omaha and Milwaukee took two years to reach the same stage. She was commissioned on 1 January 1924 and her shakedown cruise took her to South America.

USS Cincinnati (CL-6) at New York, 22 March 1944
USS Cincinnati (CL-6)
at New York,
22 March 1944

Her first assignment was to CruDiv 2 in the Scouting Fleet, based in the Atlantic. She served with this fleet from June 1924 until February 1927, although she did take part in fleet manoeuvres in the Pacific in 1925.

In 1927 she joined CruDiv 3 in the Asiatic Fleet. She was based at Shanghai from her arrival in the Pacific until October 1927, Manila from October 1927 to February 1927 then Shanghai from February-April 1928. Her trip back from the Pacific to the US East coast took from April to July 1928 and took her to Hawaii and Nicaragua.

Side view of USS Cincinnati (CL-6)
Side view of USS Cincinnati (CL-6)

She served in the Atlantic from July 1928 until early in 1932 when she joined the Battle Force (effectively the Pacific Fleet), once again with CruDiv 3. She returned to the Atlantic during 1934 for a Presidential Review of the fleet, and then spent 1935-1938 on summer training cruisers for naval reservists on the west coast. In 1939-40 she was back with the Atlantic fleet, before returning to the Pacific in April 1940. She was based at Pearl Harbor and used for transport duties to the American bases at Guam and on the Philippines.

In March 1941, as the US Navy became increasingly involved in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Cincinnati was transferred back to CruDiv 2 and took part in the Neutrality Patrol in the western Atlantic. After the American entry into the war she was assigned to TF41, based at Recife, and was used on convoy escort duties and patrols in the South Atlantic. On 21 November 1942 the Cincinnati, Milwaukee (CL-5) and Somers (DD-381) found a German blockade runner, the SS Annaliese Essberger. Her crew scuttled the blockade runner when the Somers attempted to intercept her.

At the start of 1944 the Cincinnati underwent an overhaul at New York. Between March and July 1944 she escorted three troop convoys from New York to Belfast as part of the US build-up before D-Day.

On 28 July she departed from Norfolk for the Mediterranean to support Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France. She was used to patrol the Western Mediterranean to guard the left flank of the Allied fleets operating off the French coast. She returned to New York on 9 September.

After this the Cincinnati returned to Recife, where she joined the 4th Fleet on 17 November. She spent the rest of the war patrolling the South Atlantic.

None of the Omaha class ships had long post-war careers. The Cincinnati carried out two midshipman training cruises in the summer of 19145, but was decommissioned on 1 November 1945 and scrapped on 27 February 1946.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



10,000nm at 10kts (design)
8,460nm at 10kts (actual)

Armour – deck


 - belt



555ft 6in


55ft 5in

Armaments (as built)

Twelve 6in/53 guns
Two 3in/50 AA guns
Ten 21in torpedo tubes (two triple and two double mountings)

Crew complement


Laid down

15 May 1920


23 May 1921


1 January 1924



US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille. Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 January 2013), USS Cincinnati CL-6 ,

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