USS Fresno (CL-121)

USS Fresno (CL-121) was the final member of the Atlanta class of light cruisers and had a short service career that fell between the end of the Second World War and the start of the Korean War.

USS Fresno (CL-121) fitting out at New Jersey, 1946
USS Fresno (CL-121)
fitting out at
New Jersey, 1946

She was launched on 5 March 1946 and commissioned on 27 November 1946. Her shakedown cruise lasted from 13 January to 7 May 1947 and took her to the Caribbean and to Montevideo, Uruguay, where she represented the US during the inauguration of President Tomás Berreta on 1 March 1947 (he died in office on 2 August after only five months in office), and Rio de Janeiro.

On 1 August she departed from Norfolk at the start of her first active tour, serving in northern Europe and the Mediterranean. She returned to the US on 1 December 1947.

Her second and final overseas deployment was to Plymouth, from where she visited Amsterdam, Dublin, Bergen and Copenhagen. This tour lasted from 3 March-19 June 1948.

After her return to the US the Fresno operated off the East Coast for a few months before being decommissioned on 17 May 1949. She was sold for scrap in 1966.

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

12 February 1945


5 March 1946


27 November 1946


1 April 1965

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 Fresno (CL-121) ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies