Cruisers are one of the most interesting and diverse class of ships in World of Warships. They are universal in their characteristics and are able to adapt to any battle conditions. Cruisers are able to act in close formations, covering his team from the aviation attacks, or operate behind the enemy team, or rush into swift flanking raids, all with equal success.
As in other countries, American naval engineers and designers were creating their warships in accordance with professed military doctrine which was popular during those years. For example, during the interwar period, the United States naval command virtually stopped using torpedo cruisers, leaving torpedoes to destroyers, carrier-based aircraft and submarines. At the same time, at the beginning of the Second World War, they received modernised weapons for air defense, thereby favorably standing out against the Japanese cruisers. In World of Warships this will be one of the distinguishing features of U.S. cruisers branch.
Political decisions and international treaties were having a strong impact on the shipbuilding programs of leading marine nations during those years. After the Washington Agreement in 1922, project cruisers of USA, UK, Japan, France and Italy were limited in displacement and in other characteristics. Eight years later, the London Naval Treaty, also limited the number of ships in each class. Japanese shipbuilders, for example, were trying hard to bypass this limitation by maximizing the individual power of each ship – Imperial Navy cruisers carried on board powerful torpedo batteries and other original design solutions.
One of the important features of U.S. shipbuilding during that time was that it was quite modest in its number of small cruisers, ranging in size from 4 to 6 tons, in comparison to other naval countries. Geographically, the United States were virtually isolated by two oceans from their potential enemies – for example, Japan and the UK which both could constitute a threat. For combat operations, Japanese and British cruisers needed a large action radius and high autonomy. Also, the larger the ship was, the easier it is to provide this. In addition, one of the traditional cruiser duties was the protection of shipping, which required a lot of small ships. Unlike, for example, the UK, this problem was not so acute for the USA, which is why they preferred to create more powerful and heavy vehicles, although in smaller numbers.
Tier II – Chester
“Chester” is a scout cruiser, built in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. The main objective of this type of ships was scouting, which influenced its design – lightly armoured, but relatively high speed.
Tier III – St.Louis
“St. Louis” considerably surpasses “Chester” in terms of firepower, carrying on board 14 six inch guns. Large displacement and good armour allow it to survive longer under enemy fire, but it has low speed.
Tier IV – Phoenix
“Phoenix” is the first “paper ship” of the U.S. cruisers branch, based on scout project in 1917. Lack of durability and tenacity is compensated by the cruising speed of 35 knots, excellent for its time, which allows you to keep up, even with the destroyers, and rapidly change location. Although the project was never implemented, it became the basis for the next ship – cruiser “Omaha.”
Tier V – Omaha
Compared with its predecessor, “Omaha” has a larger displacement, which makes her a little more robust and strong in-game. The ship will be a pioneer in several aspects: for the first time a player will see gun turrets and the catapult used to launch scout-planes on deck. Like its predecessor, “Omaha” carried torpedoes, which would be a serious problem to contend with in close combat.
Tier VI – Cleveland
“Cleveland” is the most prolific type of cruisers in naval history. All guns are concentrated in four towers which allow concentrated fire on one side of the target ship. An important feature of this cruiser is its air defense guns, powerful for its tier, which turn “Cleveland” into a destroyer of enemy aircraft.
Tier VII – Pensacola
This is the first heavy U.S. cruiser with all the attendant advantages and disadvantages. It was built during the Washington Agreement, and in order to fit into the set displacement, designers had to neglect armouring in favour of armament and speed. In the game, as in reality, it has a rather high displacement for its speed – 32 knots and increased caliber guns when compared to the “Cleveland.”
Tier VIII- New Orleans
Despite all the limitations of the Washington Agreement, project cruiser “New Orleans” managed to combine a powerful artillery armament and good body protection. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the air defense – because of the overflow, ship designers were not able to place sufficient anti-aircraft guns. As a result, the power of its air defense has not changed much compared to the “Pensacola”.
Tier IX– Baltimore
The conditions of the Washington Agreement were no longer in force with the beginning of the Second World War. Cruisers were no longer limited in displacement, which allowed an increase to their armour and air defense in the project “Baltimore.” It was a logical development of the cruiser “New Orleans” based on the principle “bigger, faster, and stronger.”
Tier X – Des Moines
One of the most significant problems of cruiser “Baltimore”, and of all the heavy cruisers in general, was a relatively low rate of fire. American naval designers began creating new naval guns, which soon turned into the draft heavy cruiser, “Des Moines”. The rate of fire of eight-inch guns almost doubly excels all the guns of its predecessors and its strong air defense makes it a deadly threat to enemy air groups.
German translation is available here [prepared by XP1500Monster WoWs Alpha Tester]