USS Astoria (CL-90)

USS Astoria (CL-90) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that fought in the Pacific from December 1944 to the end of the war, fighting off the Philippines, Okinawa and supporting attacks on the Japanese Home Islands. Astoria  earned five battle stars during World War II.

She was laid down as the Wilkes-Barre on 6 September 1941, but she was later renamed Astoria to commemorate the heavy cruiser USS Astoria (CA-34), which had been sunk at the battle of Savo Island (9 August 1942). She was launched on 6 April 1943 by Mrs Robert Lucs, wife of the editor of the Astorian-Budget, the main local paper in Astoria. The Astoria was commissioned on 17 May 1944 and completed her shakedown cruise over the summer of 1944. On 19 September she left Philadelphia at the start of her journey to the Pacific.

USS Astoria (CL-90) at Mare Island, 21 October 1944
USS Astoria (CL-90)
at Mare Island,
21 October 1944

The Astoria reached the fleet anchorage at Ulithi on 25 November 1944, where she was allocated to Task Group 38.2 of the Fast Carrier Task Force. Her main role was to form part of the anti-aircraft screen that protected the fast carriers during their raids.

Her first mission was to protect the carriers during the invasion of Mindoro in mid December 1944. During this operation the fleet was caught by a typhoon that sank three destroyers.

Between 6 and 9 January 1945 the fleet supported the landings at Luzon. On 9 January it moved into the South China Sea and began a series of raids on southern China, French Indochina and Formosa. Once again the Astoria formed part of the anti-aircraft screen for the carriers.

In February the carriers, now part of TF 58, sailed for their first attack on Tokyo, which lasted from 16-17 February. Chi Chi Jima in the Bonin Islands was attacked on 18 February before the fleet moved to Iwo Jima to support the invasion. On 21-22 February the Astoria spent 26 hours providing fire support for the troops fighting on Iwo Jima. This was followed by another raid on Tokyo, before she returned to Ulithi for a brief break.

Her next combat cruise was the 80-day long mission to support the invasion of Okinawa. She sailed on 14 March as part of TF 58 and supported the carriers while they carried out a mix of attacks on Okinawa and longer range raids against Kyushu, Skikoku and Honshu. The Astoria claimed 11 victories over attacking Japanese aircraft during this period.

The Astoria's final war cruise began on 1 July. This time the Japanese Home Islands were the target. For most of this period she provided anti-aircraft cover for the carriers, but on 17-18 July and 24-25 July she took part in anti-shipping sweeps off the coast of Honshu (without success).

USS Astoria (CL-90), Mare Island, 1944

After the Japanese surrender the Astoria remained on duty off the Japanese coast until 3 September when she was withdrawn to the United States. Most of 1946 was spent operating off the US west coast, before she returned to the Central Pacific in October-November 1946. She returned to the US in February-March 1948. One final Far East tour followed between October 1948 and February 1949. On 1 July 1949 the Astoria was placed out of commission and joined the reserve fleet. She wasn't struck from the navy list until November 1969, and two years later she was sold for scrap.

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




Laid down

6 September 1941


6 March 1943


17 May 1944


1 November 1969

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 (18 November 2013), USS Astoria (CL-90),

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