USS Spokane (CL-120)

USS Spokane (CL-120) was an Atlanta class light cruiser that arrived too late for service in the Second World War and was decommissioned just before the outbreak of the Korean War. In 1966 she was selected for conversion into an experimental ship, but the work was never finished.

The Spokane was launched on 22 September 1945 and commissioned on 17 May 1946, impressively quick work for peace time. Her shakedown cruiser took her to Cuba, before she was allocated to the 2nd Fleet, serving in Europe.

USS Spokane (CL-120) being commissioned, 17 May 1946
USS Spokane (CL-120)
being commissioned,
17 May 1946

She departed for Plymouth on 7 October and she spent the next few months operating from Britain. During this period she visited Scotland, Ireland, Norway and Denmark. This first tour ended on 27 January 1947 when she departed for the United States.

She returned to the 2nd Fleet towards the end of 1947, reaching Plymouth on 16 November. She was allocated to Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, but her first duty was to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. During this tour she visited Germany and the Netherlands, before on 1 March 1948 departing to the US. She reached Norfolk on 11 March, where on 18 March she was redesignated as CLAA-120.

Her final overseas tour took her to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She departed from New York along with the carrier Philippine Sea (CV-47) and Manchester (CL-83) on 4 January 1949, for a short tour. During her time in the Mediterranean she took part in war games, and hosted King Paul and Queen Fredrika of Greece. She returned to the US in May 1949.

During the summer of 1949 the Spokane was used as a training ship for the Naval Reserves of the 4th Naval District. She was decommissioned and placed in the reserve on 27 February 1950.

On 1 April 1966 she was reclassified as AC-191, with the intention of using her as an experimental ship. This work was never completed, and she was struck off on 15 April 1972. She was sold for scrap in 1973. 

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



8,500 nm @ 15kts

Armour – belt


 - bulkheads


 - armour deck


 - gunhouses


 - deck over underwater magazines



541ft 6in oa


Twelve 5in/ 38 guns (six two-gun turrets)
Twenty eight 40mm guns (four quad and six twin positions) as built
Twenty 20mm guns (all singles)
Eight 21in torpedo tubes

Modified to:
Thirty six 40mm guns (six quad and six twin)
Twenty four 20mm guns (twenty single and two twin positions) later changed to sixteen 20mm guns in eight twin mountings
Torpedo tubes removed

Crew complement


Laid down

15 November 1944


22 September 1945


17 May 1946


15 April 1972

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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 August 2015), USS Spokane (CL-120) ,

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