USS Portsmouth (CL-102)

USS Portsmouth (CL-102) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that entered service just after the end of the Second World War and briefly served in the Mediterranean before entering the reserve fleet.

The Portsmouth was laid down in June 1943, launched in September 1944 and commissioned on 25 June 1945. By the time she had completed her shakedown cruise and period of working up the war was over. She joined the Composite Task Force of the Atlantic Fleet, a research force that had been formed to find answers to the kamikaze threat (and that later became the Operational Development Force and is now the Operational Test and Evaluation Force).

USS Portsmouth (CL-102) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 July 1945
USS Portsmouth (CL-102)
at Norfolk Navy Yard,
22 July 1945

In May 1946 the Portsmouth began a goodwill cruise to Africa, starting at Capetown and steaming up the west coast until she reached Casablanca. From there she went to Italy before returning to the US.

In November 1946 the Portsmouth left for an official deployment in the Mediterranean. She reached Naples on 7 December, and then sailed into the Adriatic, which at the time was a scene of dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia, especially about the future of Trieste. The Portsmouth was in the Adriatic for two spells, first in January-February 1947 and then in March. In April this spell of operations ended when she sailed for the US.

In November 1947 the Portsmouth sailed for a tour of duty in the Mediterranean. This lasted until the spring of 1948 when she returned to the US for an overhaul that began on 11 March 1948.

After this overhaul the Portsmouth remained on the US east coast, where she was used for Naval Reserve training cruises to the Caribbean. She was decommissioned on 15 June 1949 and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, before being stricken from the navy list in December 1970.

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

28 June 1943


20 September 1944


25 June 1945


1 December 1970

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 (12 December 2013), USS Portsmouth (CL-102) ,

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