The heavy cruisers that saw service in the US Navy fell into two clear categories - the inter-war treaty cruisers, limited by the terms of a series of naval treaties, and the wartime unrestricted cruisers. This volume in the New Vanguard series looks at the five series of 'treaty cruisers', which were limited to a 10,000ton displacement and 8in guns.
Most of the cruisers included in this volume were closely related to each other, with each new design evolving from the last. This makes it possible to provide a decent account of the technical development of these ships in the relatively limited space of a New Vanguard volume. Space has also been saved by ignoring their peacetime careers, normally a round of exercises and diplomatic missions. This means that there is enough space to give decent coverage of their wartime careers, where the 'treaty cruisers' were extensively involved (mainly in the Pacific). The book covers eighteen ships in five classes, but the space is well used and as a result it feels like there is plenty of material here.
The book is well illustrated, with a good selection of wartime photographs and modern illustrations. Each class gets at least one plan - the Pensacola, Northampton and Portland classes each get three - generally two side and one top view, showing the original layout and the later modified designs with wartime additions and modifications, reduced to two for the New Orleans class and one for the Wichita. There is also a good labelled illustration of the San Francisco, showing the location of the many important parts of the ship. These plans help demonstrate how significant the many changes could be, with large parts of the superstructure rebuild, masts moved or eliminated and of course vast amounts of electronic equipment added.
Naval Strategy and the Role of the Heavy Cruiser
USN Heavy Cruiser Design and the Naval Treaties
USN Heavy Cruiser Weapons
USN Heavy Cruiser Radar
New Orleans Class
Analysis and Conclusion
Author: Mark Stille