CL-49 St Louis
Basically modified Brooklyn class cruisers. These ships were built under the limitation of the London Naval Treaty of 1930. The St. Louis Class was 608'4" in length with an extreme beam of 61'8". They displaced 10,000 tons standard, 13,500 tons mean war service, with a mean draft of 19'10", and were designed for 33 knots. The peacetime complement was 52 officers and 836 enlisted, but this often rose to over 1000 during the war. Their main armament were 15-6"/47's in 5 triple turrets, 3 forward and 2 aft. They differed from the earlier Brooklyn Class somewhat in the superstructure, but mainly in the secondary armament which in they had 8-5"/38 dual purpose guns in 4 closed twin mounts rather than the open 5"/25's of the earlier class.
The General Board considered building a new class of cruisers with less displacement and armament, but a repeat of the Brooklyn Class was ultimately decided upon. CL 49–50, USS St Louis and USS Helena, were constructed as the final hulls of the Brooklyn Class. The General Board explained their decision to repeat the Brooklyn Class rather than a reduced capability ship as follows:
"Since the question of numbers is necessarily regulated by the total tonnage allowed and since that total tonnage after 1936 is largelyindefinite owing to the uncertainties of the 1935 Conference, the Board considers that for now the properties of the individual ship are of greater importance than the number of ships."
This was a fortunate decision given that the 1935 conference would limit new cruisers to 8,000 tons standard, with no concurrent total tonnage limit.
The St Louis and Helena differed from the Brooklyn Class in a few marked ways. The first seven ships had a highly different superstructure layout. The final two ships received twin mounts for their secondary armament and the later 127mm L/38, while the earlier ships kept their 127mm L/25 in open mounts. They mounted the new 5-in/38 guns, rather than the 5-in/25. They differed in internal machinery arrangement with two separated engine rooms made possible by smaller boilers using higher pressure, higher temperature steam. Because of these modifications, CL 49 & 50 are sometimes referred to as the St Louis Class cruisers. The St Louis was launched April 15th, 1938. She displaced 11,790 long tons full load at a length of 607 feet overall.
St. Louis began her life with 8-.50 caliber machine guns, later was fitted with 1.1's, but these had a terrible problem with jamming. She later carried 4-40mm Bofors in quad mounts, 4-40mm twin mounts and 10-20mm Oerlikon mounts. St. Louis was powered by 8 Babcock and Wilcox Express Boilers. Her main engines were Westinghouse geared turbines producing 100,000 shaft horse power in 4 shafts. The St.Louis was bought post-war by the Brazilian Navy, but the Helena, second of the class was lost in action with the Japanese Navy.
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