USS Vicksburg (CL-86)

USS Vicksburg (CL-86) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that was used as a training ship during 1944 before joining the Pacific Fleet in 1945 in time to take part in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the attacks on the Japanese Home Islands. Vicksburg received two battle stars for her World War II service.

The Vicksburg was laid down on 26 October 1942, at which point she was known as the Cheyenne. Her name was changed one month later to replace the original Vicksburg (CL-81), which had been renamed USS Houston to commemorate the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), which had been sunk on 1 March 1942 during the battle of the Java Sea. The name Cheyenne was reused for the Cleveland class light cruiser CL-117, but this ship was never launched and was cancelled in 1945.

USS Vicksburg (CL-86) off US East Coast, 17 October 1944
USS Vicksburg (CL-86) off
US East Coast, 17 October 1944

The Vicksburg was launched on 14 December 1943 and commissioned on 12 June 1944. Her shakedown period was over by the start of September, and she was then used for a number of trials, starting with radar spotting exercises, standardization trials and naval radiation lab tests. From 5 October to 15 December she was used as a pre-commissioning training vessel for the crews of larger warships.

The Vicksburg finally moved to the Pacific in January 1945, reaching Pearl Harbor on 17 January. She moved further west on 5 February and reached the battle fleet at Saipan on 13 February.

On 14 February the Vicksburg joined TG 52.19, part of the fire support force that was assembled to support the invasion of Iwo Jima. She took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima, and then stayed off-shore until 5 March when she moved to the fleet base at Ulithi to replenish her supplies.

On 14 March she put to see as part of TG 58.1, where she served as part of the cruiser screen for the fast carrier task groups that were at the heart of the US fleet in the Pacific. The Vicksburg was soon heavily engaged - on 18 March a Japanese aerial torpedo only missed by 35 yards during a day of heavy air attacks on the fleet, which was then engaged in a raid on the Japanese Home Islands.

During the invasion of Okinawa the Vicksburg was detached from the fast carrier force and instead allocated to the shore bombardment force. In one six hour period she fired 2,300 rounds of 6in and 5in shells.  

In June the Vicksburg helped support a minesweeping operation in the China Sea. She was then moved to the Philippines, where she remained for the rest of the war.  After the Japanese surrender she formed part of TG 38.2 which protected the approaches to Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender ceremony on 2 September. Three days later she moved into Tokyo Bay, where she became the flagship of Crusier Division 10.

From Tokyo the Vicksburg moved to Okinawa, where she collected 2,200 passengers who were on their way back to the United States. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 October and left five days later heading for the US West Coast. On her arrival she took part in a series of reviews and celebrations, starting with a fleet review in San Francisco Bay on 15 October, then Navy Day observances at Monterey Bay on 27 October and Armistice Day services at Portland, Oregan.

Early in 1946 the Vicksburg underwent a modernization at San Francisco, and became the flagship of Vice Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, commander of the Third Fleet. This would be short-lived, and on 30 June 1947 she was decommissioned. She remained in the reserve until 1962 when she was struck off the Navy List. She wsa sold for scrap in 1964.

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

26 October 1942


14 December 1943


12 June 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 (8 November 2013), USS Vicksburg (CL-86),

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