USS Duluth (CL-87)

USS Duluth (CL-87) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that joined the Pacific fleet in the spring of 1945 but was damaged in a typhoon and only entered combat in the last few weeks of the Second World War.

The Duluth was launched on 13 January 1944 and commissioned on 18 September. After her shakedown cruise she served as a training cruiser based at Newport, Rhode Island, from 14 December 1944 to 2 March 1945. She finally set sail for the Pacific on 7 April 1945 and on 27 May joined the 5th Fleet's fast carrier force. On 5 June the fleet was hit by a typhoon and the Duluth suffered serious bow damage. She had to return to Guam for repairs, and didn’t rejoin TF 38 until 21 July (the 5th Fleet have swapped to its alternative identify as the 3rd Fleet in the interval).

USS Duluth (CL-87) off Norfolk, 11 December 1944
USS Duluth (CL-87)
off Norfolk, 11 December 1944

The Duluth formed part of the cruiser screen for the carrier force during the last few weeks of the war, when the carriers were engaged in a series of attacks on the Japanese home islands. The Duluth was awarded two Battle Stars for her brief combat career.

From 24 August to 16 September 1945 she formed part of Task Force 38, which was providing air cover and a radar picket to protect transport aircraft flying into Japan, to protect against any possible attack by Japanese die-hards.

On 1 October the Duluth sailed for the US, arriving in time to take part in the Navy Day celebrations at Seattle. After the war she served in the Far East from 3 January-27 September 1946, was posted at Pearl Harbor from 24 February and visited Australia, Truk, Guam and Manila on a cruise that lasted from May to July 1947. From 22 September 1947 to 19 May 1948 she was on patrol duty off the Chinese coast (during the Chinese civil war). She carried out a training cruise in 1948 and cold-weather operations early in 1949, before being placed into the reserve on 25 June 1949. She was finally sold for scrap in 1960.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



11,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt


 - armour deck


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - turrets

6.5in face
3in top
3in side
1.5in rear

 - conning tower

2.25in roof


610ft 1in oa


Twelve 6in/47 guns (four triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Twenty eight 40mm guns (4x4, 6x2)
Ten 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement



Newport News

Laid down

November 1942


13 January 1944


18 September 1944

Broken up


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 (14 November 2013), USS Duluth (CL-87),

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