Three modified Atlanta (CL-51) / Oakland (CL-95) light cruisers were ordered in 1944 which formed the Juneau (CL-119) class. These light cruisers were ordered by the Navy during the latter part of World War II, at a time when the conflict was marked by highly effective kamikaze and air-launched torpedo attacks on US naval squadrons. These were also referred to as anti-aircraft cruisers since this was the primary role they played during World War II. A modified superstructure led to improved firing arcs for the AA weapons.
The main guns were in six turrets, each mounting two 5-inch "38 caliber" guns with bore length of 190 in. (15.83 ft.), providing antiaircraft defense to 35,000 feet altitude. The medium antiaircraft armament was twenty-eight 40mm Bofors guns - defense to 15,000 feet altitude (with each gun firing 60 two-pound projectiles per minute, the 40mm battery could loft a ton of antiaircraft "flak" into the sky in 35 seconds). The light antiaircraft armament consisted of sixteen 20mm Oerlikon guns for close range defense.
All three were assigned to Federal Shipbuilding, Kearny NJ and were laid down September 1944 to February 1945. Work had begun on all three by February 1945, but they were not completed until 1946. In the meantime, World War II ended on 2 September 1945. Their post-war commissioning foretold a brief career, as the Navy was down-sizing from its war-time strength. By the war's end, the Navy had 72 cruisers. Within a year it had reduced that number to 36, and within five years to just 15. They commissioned in 1946, too late for action during World War II. In 1949 they were reclassified anti-aircraft cruisers (CLAA). CLAA-121 decommissioned in May 1949, followed by CLAA-120 in Feb 1950, and CLAA-119 in July 1956.
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