CONSTRUCTION
of USS Tuscaloosa and USS Wichita

Tuscaloosa (CA-37) had her keel laid down on 3 September 1931 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.  She was part of the New Orleans class of heavy cruisers.  She was launched on 15 November 1933, being sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Lee McCann, wife of Lt. Thomas L. McCann and the niece of the Hon. William B. Oliver, Representative of the 6th District of Alabama.   Tuscaloosa was commissioned on 17 August 1934, with Capt. John N. Ferguson in command.

Wichita (CA-45) had her keel laid down on 28 October 1935 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  Based on the design of the Brooklyn class light cruisers, Wichita's design was the transition to the later heavy cruisers.  She was part of a single-ship class.   She was launched on 16 November 1937, being sponsored by Mrs. William F. Weigester, the daughter of the Honorable W. A. Ayres, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.   Wichita was commissioned on 16 February 1939, with Capt. Thaddeus A. Thomson in command.

The designs of both ships were heavily influenced by the treaty restrictions then in effect. 

Click here to see blueprints that were used in the contruction of Tuscaloosa.

Here is a chart comparing some basic statistics of Tuscaloosa, Wichita and other ships:

World War II Era Heavy CruiserWorld War II Era Heavy Cruiser World War II Era Battleship World War II Era Destroyer Modern Guided Missile Cruiser - AEGIS system
Name TuscaloosaWichita Massachusetts Madison Port Royal
Hull No. CA-37CA-45 BB-59 DD-425 CG-73
Class New OrleansWichita South Dakota Benson Ticonderoga
Year Launched 19331937 1941 1939 1992
Year of Commission 19341939 1942 1940 1994
Displacement 9,950 tons10,000 tons 35,000 tons 1,620 tons 9,695 tons
Length 588' 2"608' 10" 680' 10" 347' 7" 567'
Beam 61' 9" 61' 9" 108' 2" 36' 11" 55'
Draft 19' 5"19' 10" 29' 3" 11' 9" 32.2'
Speed 32.7 knots32.5 knots 27 knots 35 knots 30+ knots  (the Navy does not publish actual speeds)
Crew size
(approx. wartime)
708
(1200)
929
(1300)
1739
(2300)

235
(300)
364
Primary and Secondary Weapons 9 x 8"

8 x 5"
9 x 8"

8 x 5"
9 x 16"

20 x 5"
5 x 5"

5 x 21" torpedo tubes
2 x 5"
Standard Missile
Anti-Submarine Rocket
Tomahawk Cruise Missile
Harpoon Missile
MK-46 Torpedoes
2 x Phalanx Close-in Weapons Systems
Propulsion
(hp = horsepower)
107,000 hp, steam turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts 100,000 hp, geared turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts 130,000 hp, steam turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts 42,800 hp, high pressure super heated boilers, geared turbines with twin screws 86,000 hp, 4 gas turbines, 2 shafts
Aircraft 4 scouting and observation floatplanes, 2 catapults2 scouting and observation floatplanes, 2 catapults 4 scouting and observation floatplanes, 2 catapults 0 2 helicopters

See the Glossary for an explanation of the size measurement terms and a description of the larger warships in WWII.

Additional statistics for Tuscaloosa:

Displacement: 9,950 tons (standard); 12,000+ tons (full)
Fuel:  capacity of 1241-1861 tons of oil
Range:  10,000 nautical miles at 15 knots
Belt Armor:  5"
Deck Armor:  2-1/4"
Conning Tower Armor:  5"
Barbette Armor:  8"


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