Last of the gun cruisers

USS Des Moines Historic Naval Ship Project

A group in Milwaukee, WI, is trying to put the USS Des Moines, a World War II-era heavy cruiser, on permanent display as part of Milwaukee County’s Veterans Park. The great thing about the Des Moines is, although she wasn’t launched until after the end of the war, she remains as she was at that time. The other surviving heavy cruisers of that era underwent major refits as missile cruisers.

According to National Park Service

The design of the Des Moines class was influenced by the need to build a heavy cruiser with rapid firing 8″ guns that could engage and successfully sink Japanese cruisers. In repeated actions, during the early part of the war, American cruisers had found it almost impossible to hit fast Japanese ships in night actions. The navy designed USS Des Moines to solve this problem by providing her with rapid firing 8″ guns that would easily outrange Japanese cruisers that mounted 6″ rapid fire guns. The Des Moines class was also provided with extensive batteries of antiaircraft guns to provide protection for Essex class aircraft carriers then roaming the Pacific. Des Moines class cruisers were the last class of heavy cruisers designed by the United States during World War II and represent the culmination of wartime cruiser design.

I hope they get it. I know how much me and my kids enjoyed visiting the USS Texas in Texas last spring. If you ever get a chance to check out one of these ships, especially if you’ve got kids, do it. You won’t be disappointed. (via Sgt Stryker)


  1. It’s not true that Des Moines is the last of the alla-gun cruisers. What about USS Salem (CA-139, a museum/memorial in Quincy, Mass?