Four Oakland (CL-95) class light cruisers were ordered in the pre-war naval buildup as a repeat of the Atlanta (CL-51) class with superstructure modifications. The two dual 5-inch turrets abreast the superstructure were not included in this design, leaving a main armament of six twin 5-inch turrets rather than eight. During the war, the torpedo tubes were ordered removed but were actually only removed from Oakland (CL-95) and Tucson (CL-98).
All four ships were assigned to Bethlehem Shipbuilding, San Francisco. CL-95 and 96 were laid down July-Aug 1941 and joined the fleet mid-to-late 1943. CL-97 and 98 were laid down in late 1942 and commissioned 1944-45. All were decommissioned 1946-49 and scrapped in the 1960s.
The 51- and 95-class anti-aircraft cruisers, which came to be known as the "early" and "late" Atlanta class, respectively, in addition to the fine wartime records, did much to influence tactical thinking and warship design following the end of World War II. An additional class of three five-inch gunned anti-aircraft cruisers were built with the center turret of each superimposed three-turret group lowered a deck to further improve weight distribution and allow larger masthead radar arrays. Two large light cruisers, Worcester and Roanoke were built on heavy cruiser sized hulls, and used six twin six-inch turrets in a anti-aircraft cruiser arrangement.
However, in the early 1950's the advances in aviation technology eliminated the necessity of the mission for which anti-aircraft cruisers had been designed destroy aircraft by means of gunfire simply because with the advent of jet propulsion and resultant increases in aircraft speed and maneuverability it was no longer possible to keep solutions on the fire control equipment and effectively transmit them to a gun battery to obtain hits. Thus the advances in technology of the the weapon which had created the need for the gunned anti-aircraft cruiser also led to its demise.
But at this point the lessons learned in the application of the San Diego to command work during the final stages of the war, led to further development of a the air aircraft cruiser type ship for a different primary mission.
The concept of a modern, small, light cruiser with advanced communications, versatile multi-purpose main battery, high speed, and good sea keeping characteristics, to act as flagship of an escort group, caught on and resulted directly in the construction of the Norfolk (DL-1), which in terms of layout was very nearly an Atlanta class anit-aircraft cruiser being built on a nearly identical hull with a similar machinery layout. The knuckled bow and transom stern also caught on and thus today, over forty years after the design of the original Atlanta class was developed, the influence of this excellent design on tactics and naval architecture can still be seen in the modern destroyer leaders.
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