Heavy Cruiser: - United States (Europe 1940)

Heavy Cruiser: - United States (Europe 1940)

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Part Number:EU40_USCRU


Portland Class Heavy Cruiser

Ship/ Class

Length

Beam

Disp.

Main Arm.

Speed

#

Date

Portland Class CA

610’

66’

9,950 t

9x8” (3x3)

33

2

1933

 

Portland Class Cruiser

 

ID: Plastic cruiser gaming piece: Portland class cruiser from the game Axis & Allies Europe 40 & Pacific 40.

 

The Story of the Portland Class:  Despite being small class of only 2, the Portland class was still rather typical of the American “treaty cruisers.”  The first such class, the 2-ship lightly-armored Pensacola class, had come in significantly under the projected weight, and so the next class, the 6-ship Northamptons, were built with this in mind were better armored in comparison.  The Portland class was virtually identical in external appearance to the Northamptons with yet a little more armor and more AA guns, and the 7-ship Astoria/ New Orleans class was also fairly similar.  After experimenting with an unusual 10-gun arrangement on the Pensacolas (with two triple turrets super-firing over two dual turrets), the US Navy would settle on what was to become their standard layout of 9 guns in 3 triple turrets, two forward and one aft.  (This would go on to become the standard US gun layout not only in heavy cruisers, but also in its next 3 generations of battleships, once the Washington-Treaty-imposed “building holiday” on battleships was ended.)  Like the British, the US took its treaty obligations seriously, and this prevented the 18 US “treaty cruisers” from being fully “balanced” designs.  Given the limitations the designers labored under, the US heavy cruisers were probably about as good as they could have been, and as they learned from the mistakes of each class, each one got a little better than the last.  Nevertheless, it proved impossible to build a truly “balanced” design (one with an armor belt able to resist its own guns at expected combat ranges) with the parameters of 10,000 tons and 8” guns.  (Not that this was so surprising; when the battleship-building “holiday” expired, US and British designers found it similarly difficult to build a truly balanced battleship design within the treaty limits of 35,000 tons and 16” guns either.)  Being as a result somewhat “over-gunned & under-armored” as all truly compliant “treaty cruisers” were, sent into all sorts of dangerous spots where the heavier-armored battleships were either too valuable to risk or too fuel-thirsty to supply, the US pre-war heavy cruiser designs sufferend heavy losses in the war.  In doing so, though their brave crews and captains ultimately contributed disproportionately to the winning of that war.

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as a cruiser unit.  Other US warships of interest may be: Iowa class battleship, & Wasp class aircraft carrier.

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