USS Hawaii (CB-3)

USS Hawaii (CB-3) was the third and final member of the Alaska class cruisers to be launched, but it was never completed and was finally sold for scrap in 1959.

USS Hawaii (CB-3) being launched, 3 November 1945
USS Hawaii (CB-3)
being launched,
3 November 1945

Six Alaska class ships were ordered in September 1940 and the first two were laid down in December 1941 and February 1942. Work on the other four was suspended on 20 May 1942 because of a steel shortage. Work on the Hawaii resumed after the suspension was lifted on 23 May 1943, but the other three ships in the class were cancelled on 24 June 1943.

The Hawaii was finally launched on 3 November 1945, by which time there was no need for any more cruisers. Work continued at a slow pace, and by September 1947 she was 84% complete.

Two possible uses were suggested for the Hawaii during her lifetime. The first was to turn her into the US Navy's first guided missile cruiser, armed with the US Navy's version of the German V-2 rocket. This plan failed to get past Congress.

On 9 October 1952 she was redesignated as large command ship 1 (CBC-1). She would have operated alongside the Baltimore class cruiser USS Northampton, which was completed as CLC-1 (light command ship 1), and served as a flagship in the 1950s and as a floating Presidential command post in the 1960s. This plan was also rejected, and she reverted to the CB-3 designation in October 1954. She was finally struck off the Navy List on 9 June 1958 and sold for scrap in 1959.

Superstructure and Bridge of USS Hawaii (CB-3)
Superstructure and Bridge of USS Hawaii (CB-3)

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



12,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt


 - armour deck

1.4in weather deck
0.625in splinter deck

 - barbettes


 - turrets

12.8in face
5in roof
5.25-6in side
5.25in rear

 - conning tower

5in roof


808ft 6in


Nine 12in/50 guns (three triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Fifty six 40mm guns (14 four gun positions)
Thirty four 20mm guns

Crew complement


Laid down

20 December 1943


3 November 1945




9 June 1958

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 August 2015), USS Hawaii (CB-3) ,

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