Nearly three years ago, in the early days of this site, I noted the effort to bring the heavy cruiser USS Des Moines (CA-134) to Milwaukee as a museum. Sadly, the effort failed.
Last Monday, the old ship was towed out of Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on her last voyage. It’s a trip to the breakers in Texas. I had thought maybe I might be able to check her out when I go to Texas in October, but the scrapyard is just on this side of the Mexican border in Brownsville (better to use immigrant labor) and I won’t be making it that far south.
The Des Moines’ rapid-fire 8″ guns could still be useful, I think, but the cost of renovating the ship would be prohibitive (if even possible). Some have suggested that maybe the Des Moines would be a cheaper, more-realistic alternative to reactivating a battleship.
Maybe the turrets (three triples) could be used on inexpensive shore bombardment monitors? I’ve long thought that something along those lines might be handy, especially if you give them a turret up front and a MRLS in the rear. Though the lower range of the 8″ guns would make the ship far more vulnerable to shore missiles than a battleship with 16″ guns would have been.
Many more pics at ussdesmoines.com.
UPDATE: Here’s an overhead shot of the Des Moines in Philly from Google Maps. Across the way from Des Moines is the USS Inchon (LPH 12, MCS 12 at the end), which was sunk in late 2004.