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The FReeper Foxhole Studies USS Alaska CB-1
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Posted on 09/09/2006 4:52:42 PM PDT by alfa6


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Grant them a safe and swift return...

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for all those serving their country at this time.

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The USS Alaska CB-1

The six Alaska class "large cruisers" were ordered in September 1940 under the massive 70% Expansion ("Two Ocean Navy") building program. The Navy had been considering since 1938 building ships of this entirely new type, intermediate in size between battleships and heavy cruisers. The new ships were to carry out what were then the two primary missions of heavy cruisers: protecting carrier strike groups against enemy cruisers and aircraft and operating independenly against enemy surface forces. Their extra size and larger guns would enhance their value in both these missions and would also provide insurance against reports that Japan was building "super cruisers" more powerful than U.S. heavy cruisers. In fact, Japan developed plans for two such ships in 1941--partly as a response to the Alaskas--but never placed orders for their construction.

As built, the Alaskas were much closer to cruisers in design than to battleships or battlecruisers. They lacked the multiple layers of compartmentation and special armor along the sides below the waterline that protected battleships against torpedos and underwater hits by gunfire. Other typical cruiser features in their design were the provision of aircraft hangars and the single large rudder. Unlike other U.S. cruisers of the day, the hangars and catapults were located amidships, and the single rudder made them difficult to maneuver. On the other hand, the Alaskas' side armor covered more of the hull than was standard in contemporary U.S. cruisers.

Wartime conditions ultimately reduced the Alaska class to two ships. Construction of CB-3 through CB-6--along with the five Montana (BB-67) class battleships--was suspended in May 1942 to free up steel and other resources for more urgently needed escorts and landing craft. A year later, CB-4 through CB-6 were definitively cancelled. Hawaii (CB-3), however, was restored to the building program. Launched and partially fitted out, her construction was suspended and she was considered for conversion to a missile ship or command ship, but she was scrapped, still incomplete, in 1959.

After more normal construction periods, Alaska (CB-1) and Guam (CB-2) both arrived in the Pacific theater ready for action in early 1945. There they carried out both of their designed missions--carrier protection and surface strike--although their chances of encountering their primary intended opponents, Japanese heavy cruisers, had long since disappeared. Both returned to the U.S. soon after the war's end and, not finding a place in the postwar active fleet, remained in reserve until scrapped in 1960-61.

Design Specifications for the Alaska Class Cruisers displacement. 27,000tons; length. 806'6"; beam. 91'1"; draft. 27'1" (mean)
speed. 31.4 Kts; complement. 2,251;
Armor: 9" belt, 12 4/5" turrets, 1 2/5" + 4" + 5/8" decks
armament. 9 12", 12 5", 56 40 mm, 34 20 mm; aircraft. 4
Machinery: 150,000 SHP; G.E. geared turbines, 4 screws.

The Alaska class consisted of six ships, of which three were never begun:

# Alaska (CB-1), built at Camden, New Jersey. Keel laid in December 1941; launched in August 1943; commissioned in June 1944. # Guam (CB-2), built at Camden, New Jersey. Keel laid in February 1942; launched in November 1943; commissioned in September 1944. # Hawaii (CB-3), built at Camden, New Jersey. Construction suspended between May 1942 and May 1943. Keel laid in December 1943; launched in November 1945; never completed. # Philippines (CB-4), ordered at Camden, New Jersey. Never begun, suspended in May 1942 and cancelled in June 1943. # Puerto Rico (CB-5), ordered at Camden, New Jersey. Never begun, suspended in May 1942 and cancelled in June 1943. # Samoa (CB-6), ordered at Camden, New Jersey. Never begun, suspended in May 1942 and cancelled in June 1943.

The Navy's third Alaska (CB-1 )-the first of a class of "large cruisers" designed as a compromise to achieve a fast cruiser with a heavy main battery was laid down on 17 December 1941 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Launched on 15 August 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ernest Gruening, wife of the Honorable Ernest Gruening, Governor of Alaska, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 June 1944, Capt. Peter K. Fischler in command.

Following post-commissioning fitting out at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Alaska stood down the Delaware River on 6 August 1944, bound for Hampton Roads, escorted by Simpson (DD-221) and Broome (DD-210). She then conducted an intensive shakedown, first in Chesapeake Bay and then in the Gulf of Paria, off Trinidad, British West Indies, escorted by Bainbridge (DD-246) and Decatur (DD-341). Steaming via Annapolis, Md., and Norfolk, Alaska returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where the large cruiser underwent changes and alterations to her fire control suite: the fitting of four Mk. 57 directors for her five-inch battery.

Alaska departed Philadelphia on 12 November 1944 for the Caribbean, in company with Thomas E. Fraser (DM-24), and after two weeks of standardization trials out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sailed for the Pacific on 2 December. She completed her transit of the Panama Canal on 4 December, and reached San Diego on the 12th. Thereafter, the new large cruiser trained m shore bombardment and anti-aircraft firing off San Diego before an availability at Hunter's Point, near San Francisco.

On 8 January 1945, Alaska sailed for Hawaii, and reached Pearl Harbor on the 13th, where, on the 27th, Capt. Kenneth M. Noble relieved Capt. Fischler, who had achieved flag rank. Over the ensuing days, Alaska conducted further training before getting underway as a unit of Task Group (TG) 12.2, weighing anchor for the western Pacific on 29 January. She reached Uhthi, the fleet anchorage in the Caroline Islands on 6 February, and there joined TG 58.5, a task group in the famed Task Force (TF) 58, the fast carrier task force.

Alaska sailed for the Japanese home islands as part uf TG 58.5 on 10 February 1945, assigned the mission of screening the aircraft carriers Saratoga (CV-3) and Enterprise (CV-6) as they carried out night air strikes against Tokyo and its airfields. During the voyage, all hands on board Alaska speculated about what lay ahead almost three-quarters of the men had never seen action before and sought out the veterans in their midst "for counsel and advice."

Sensing the air of expectation on board his ship Capt. Noble spoke to the crew over the public address system and reassured them of his confidence in them. In doing so, he used an analogy familiar to most Americans: "We are a member of a large task force which is going to pitch directly over the home plate of the enemy, " he said, "It is our particular job to back up the pitchers."

Backing up the "pitchers" proved comparatively easy. TF 58 cloaked by bad weather, approached the Japanese homeland from east of the Marianas. Using radio deception and deploying submarines, lona-range patrol aircraft from Fleet Air Wing 1 and Army Air Force Boeing B-29 "Superfortresses" as scouts ahead of the advancing task force, the Americans neared their objective undetected. The first major carrier strike against the heart of the Japanese Empire, a year after the successful raids on Truk, covered the developing Iwo Jima landings and proved good practice for future operations against Okinawa. The low ceiling prevented Japanese retaliation, thus giving Alaska no opportunity to put into practice her rigorous antiaircraft training as she guarded the carriers. Assigned to TG 58.4 soon thereafter, Alaska supported the Iwo Jima operations, and, as before, no enemy aircraft came near the carrier formation to which the large cruiser was attached. For nineteen days she screened the carriers before retiring to Ulithi to take on stores and carry out minor repairs.

With the decision reached to occupy Okinawa, in the Nansei Shoto chain, in early April of 1945, invasion planners proceeded on the assumption that the Japanese would resist with maximum available naval and air strength. To destroy as many planes as possible—and thus diminish the possibility of American naval forces coming under air attack from Japanese planes—the fast carrier task force was hurled against the enemy's homeland again: to strike airfields on Kyushu, Shikoku, and western Honshu.

Alaska, still with TG 58.4—formed around the fleet carriers Yorktoum (CV-10), Intrepid (CV-11), Independence (CVL-22) and Langley (CVL-27 - again drew the duty of protecting the valuable flattops. Her principal mission then, as it had been before, was defense of the task group against enemy air or surface attacks.

Its battle plan outlined in detail, TF 58 cruised northwesterly from the Carolines, following the departure from Ulithi on 14 March. Refueling at sea on the 16th, this mighty force reached a point southeast of Kyushu early on the 18th. On that day, the planes from TG 58.4 swept over Japenese airfields at Usa, Oita and Saeki, joining those from three other task groups, TG 58.1 TG 58.2, and TG 58.3 in claiming 107 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground and a further 77 (of 142) engaged over the target area.

Alaska tasted action for the first time as the Japanese retaliated with air strikes of their own. Task Force 58's radars provided "Iittle if any warning" of the approach of enemy planes, due to the weather conditions encountered. All too often, the first indication of the enemy's presence was a visual sighting. Alaska spotted a "Frances" at 0810 and commenced fire. She registered hits almost immediately but the suicider maintained its course— toward the stern of the nearby Intrepid. Less than a half-mile from his quarry, however, the "Frances" exploded into fragments with a direct hit from Alaska's guns.

Soon thereafter, Alaska received word of the proximity of "friendlies" in the vicinity. At 0822 a single-engined plane approached the large cruiser "in a threatening fashion" from ahead m a shallow dive. Alaska opened fire promptly and scored hits. Unfortunately, almost simultaneously her fire eontrolmen were receiving word that the plane was, indeed, a friendly F6F"Hellcat." Fortunately, the pilot was uninjured and ditched his crippled plane, another ship in the disposition picked him up.

For the balance of the day, the suicide attacks continued. The vigilant combat air patrol (CAP), however, downed a dozen planes over the task force while strips' gunfire accounted for almost two dozen more. Alaska added a second enemy bomber to her "bag" when she splashed a "Judy" at about 1315.

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1 posted on 09/09/2006 4:52:44 PM PDT by alfa6
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To: alfa6
The next morning, the 19th, photo reconnaissance having disclosed the presence of a large number of major Japanese fleet units in the Inland Sea, TF 58 launched planes to go after them. TG 58.4's aircraft took on targets of opportunity at Kobe; others at Kure and Hiroshima. Extremely heavy and accurate enemy antiaircraft fire, however, rendered the attacks only moderately successful for TF 58's aviators.

Shortly after the first strikes had been launched, however, the Japanese struck back, hitting TG 58.2, some 20 miles to the northward of the other groups in TF 58. At about 0708, Franklin (CV-13) reeled under the impact of two bomb hits, Wasp (C V-18) too, fell victim to Japanese bombs. On board Alaska, those in a position to watch the developing battle noted a flash, followed by a slowly rising column of smoke. "All who saw it knew that a carrier had been hit," the cruiser's historian records, "and soon the radio brought confirmation that the Franklin had been the victim .... "

The thin cloud layer having rendered radar Iargely useless Japanese planes attacked all task groups. During the afternoon TF 58 retired slowly to the southwestward, covering the crippled Franklin and simultaneously launching fighter sweeps against airfields on Kyushu in order to disorganize any attempted strikes against it. To further protect Franklin, a salvage unit Task Unit (TU) 58.2.9, was formed.

Composed of Alaska, her sister ship Guam (CB-2), the heavy cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-72), the light cruiser Santa Fe (CL 60) and three destroyer divisions, TU 58.2.9 drew the duty of screening the damaged "Big Ben," as Franklin had been affectionately nicknamed by her crew. Ordered to make its best speed toward Guam, TU 58.2.9 set out in that direction, covered by TU 58.2.0 four aircraft carriers and the remaining heavy units originally assigned to TG 58.2 at the outset.

The initial part of the voyage proved uneventful, and not until the afternoon did Japanese aircraft appear. Several bogies (unidentified aircraft) showed up on the radar screens, investigation revealed most to be Navy PB4Y patrol bombers failing to show IFF (identification, friend or foe). Two of three CAP divisions sent out to challenge a bogey identified it as a PB4Y; unfortunately, because the friendly character of one bogey was established, the interception of a second bogey at about the same time failed to materialize. Only poor marksmanship on the part of the "Judy" pilot saved Franklin from another bomb hit. Alaska added to the hail of gunfire put up on the "Judy" but it sped away, unscathed. The final salvo from Alaska's mount 51 caused flash burns on men manning a 40-millimeter mount nearby—the only casualties suffered by the large cruiser. Later that day Alaska received on board 15 men from Franklin for medical treatment.

The following morning, Alaska assumed fighter director duty and controlled three divisions of fighters from Hancock (CV-19). While these divisions remained on station pending the arrival of their relief, Alaska's SK radar picked up a bogey, 35 miles away at 1143. The large cruiser vectored the CAP fighters to the scene, and at 1148, heard the "tallyho" indicating that the CAP had spotted the bogey. At 1149, the fighters splashed a "Nick" 19 miles away.

On 22 March, Alaska's part in the escort of the damaged Franklin was complete, and she rejoined TG 58.4, fueling that same day from Chicopee (AO-34). At 2342 one of the destroyers in the screen, Haggard (DD-555), reported d "skunk" (submarine contact) 25,000 yards distant. She and Uhlmann (DD-687) were detached to investigate, and early the next morning, Haggard rammed and sank a Japanese submarine (perhaps I-370, which had departed the Bungo Channel on 21 February 1945 for Iwo Jima as part of a special kaiten-carrying attack unit), suffering enough damage herself in the encounter to be ordered back to base in company with Uhlmann.

Over the next few days, the air strikes against Okinawa continued, setting the stage for the landing set to commence on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945. Alaska continued to provide support for the carriers launching the strikes until detached on 27 March to carry out a shore bombardment against Minami Daito Shima, a tiny island 160 miles east of Okinawa. The task unit TU 58.4.9, consisted of Alaska, Guam, San Diego (CL 53), Flint (CL-97), and Destroyer Squadron 47.

Ordered to carry out the shoot en route to a fueling area Alaska and Guam and their screen steamed west of the island on north/south courses between 2245 on 27 March and 0030 on the 28th. Alaska's main battery hurled 45 high-capacity rounds shoreward, while her five-inch battery added 352 rounds of antiaircraft common. No answering fire came from the beach, and Alaska's observers noted "satisfactory fires" on the island.

Rejoining TG 58.4 at the fueling rendezvous, Alaska transferred the Franklin wounded to Tomahawk (AO 88) while she took on fuel from the fleet oiler. She then resumed her screenine of the fast carriers as they carried out operations in support of the build-up and landing on Okinawa, on the alert to repel aircraft attacks. The landings went off as scheduled on 1 April, and her operations over ensuing days supported the troops. On 7 April, Japanese surface units moving through the East China Sea toward Okinawa to disrupt the landings ran afoul of a massive air strike from Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher's fast carrier task force which sank the giant battleship Yamato, one cruiser and four destroyers.

Operating off Okinawa and Kyushu, Alaska lent the protection of her guns to the fast carriers in the task group which sent daily sweeps of "Hellcats" and "Corsairs" over enemy airfields, shore installations and shipping. On the evening of ll April, Alaska chalked up an assist in shooting down a Japanese plane shot down one, unassisted, and claimed what might have been a piloted rocket bomb "bake" on the night of 11-12 April.

Four days later, on the 16th, Alaska's gunfire splashed what were probably a "Judy" and two "Zekes,' and the ship claimed assists in downing three additional enemy aircraft. That same day, however an enemy aircraft managed to get through Alaska's barrage to crash Intrepid. That night, though, the cruiser's gunfire proved instrumental in driving off a single snooper attempting to close the formation. On the night of 21-22 April, the cruiser again used her heavy antiaircraft battery to drive off single planes attempting to attack the task group. On the night of 29-30 April, toward the end of the ship's time at sea with the fast carriers for that stretch, Alaska twice drove off attacking groups of Japanese planes.

Alaska anchored back at Ulithi on 14 May, bringing to a close a cruise of almost two months' duration. Ten days later, after rest and refreshment, the ship sailed—now part of the 3d Fleet— and with TG 38.4. Newcomers to the formation included the battleship lowa (BB - 1) and the carrier Ticonderoga (CV-14). Over the next two weeks, Alaska again screened a portion of the fast carrier task force, and conducted her second shore bombardment when, on 9 June, she and her sister ship Guam shelled the Japanese-held Okino Daito Shima, just south of Minami Daito Shima which had been visited by the two cruisers in late March, and known to have enemy radar sites located there.

Subsequently, the task group sailed southwesterly for San Pedro Bay, Leyte, reaching its destination on the afternoon of 13 June 1945. A month in Leyte Gulf then ensued—a period of "rest, refreshment, and maintenance"—before Alaska sailed again on 13 July, this time as part of the newly formed TF 95. Reaching Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on the 16th, TF 95 fueled there and then sailed the following day, bound for the coast of China and a foray into the East China Sea, long a hunting ground for American planes and submarines but not entered by an American surface force since before Pearl Harbor.

Although planners for the sweep had anticipated resistance none materialized, Alaska, Guam, and their consorts ranged the area at will, encountering only Chinese fishing junks. Enemy aircraft venturing out to attack the task force several times fell to CAP fighters. Operating out of Buckner Bay, Alaska participated in three sweeps into these waters, and all could see how effective the blockade of Japan had become, no Japanese ships were sighted during the course of the operation. Commented Guam's commanding officer, Capt. Leland P. Lovette: "We went prepared to tangle with a hornet's nest and wound up in a field of pansies—but we've proved a point and the East China Sea is ours to do with as we please."

2 posted on 09/09/2006 4:53:46 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6
Buckner Bay proved to offer more excitement than the sweeps. Even the war's waning days possessed elements of danger, on 12 August a Japanese torpedo plane scored a hit on the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38), near Alaska's anchorage. Over the days that ensued, nightly sorties to avoid last-ditch suiciders took place. When the war did finally end in mid-August, the ship went wild with joy, as Alaska's chronicler wrote: "We knew that we would be going home far sooner than any of us had ever expected when we first set out the preceding January for the combat area."

There was, however, still work to be done. On 30 August Alaska sailed from Okinawa as part of the 7th Fleet's occupation forces, and after taking part in a "show of force" in the fellow Sea and Gulf of Chihli, reached Jinsen (later Inchon), Korea, on 8 September 1945. Alaska supported the landing of Army occupation troops at Jinsen, and remained at that port until 26 September, on which date she sailed for Tsingtao, China, making port the following day. She shifted to an anchorage outside the harbor entrance on 11 October to support the 6th Marine Division landings to occupy the key North China seaport, and ultimately remained at Tsmgtao until 13 November, when she got underway to return to Jinsen, there to embark returning Army soldiers homeward-bound as part of Operation "Magic Carpet." Sailing for the United States on 14 November, Alaska stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor before proceeding on to San Francisco.

Steaming thence to the Panama Canal, and completing her transit of the isthmian waterway on 13 December 1945, Alaska proceeded to the Boston Naval Shipyard arriving on 18 December. There she underwent an availability preparing her for inactivation. Departing Boston on 1 Feburary 1946 for her assigned permanent berthing area at Bayonne, N.J., Alaska arrived there the following day. Placed in inactive status, 'in commission in reserve" at Bayonne, on 13 August 1946, Alaska was ultimately placed out of commission, in reserve, on 17 February 1947.

The large cruiser never returned to active duty. Her name struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1960, the ship was sold on 30 June 1960 to the Lipsett Division of Luria Brothers of New York City, to be broken up for scrap.

Alaska (CB-1) was awarded three battle stars for her World War II service.

FReeper Foxhole Armed Services Links

3 posted on 09/09/2006 4:56:08 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6
Awesome pictures. I had family on the Missouri.
4 posted on 09/09/2006 4:57:02 PM PDT by Vision (God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline 2Timothy1)
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To: Allen H; Colonial Warrior; texianyankee; vox_PL; Bigturbowski; ruoflaw; Bombardier; Steelerfan; ...

Showcasing America's finest, and those who betray them!

Please click on the banner above and check out this newly created (and still under construction) website created by FReeper Coop!

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

Thanks to quietolong for providing this link.

We here at Blue Stars For A Safe Return are working hard to honor all of our military, past and present, and their families. Inlcuding the veterans, and POW/MIA's. I feel that not enough is done to recognize the past efforts of the veterans, and remember those who have never been found.

I realized that our Veterans have no "official" seal, so we created one as part of that recognition. To see what it looks like and the Star that we have dedicated to you, the Veteran, please check out our site.

Veterans Wall of Honor

Blue Stars for a Safe Return


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5 posted on 09/09/2006 5:01:22 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Professional Engineer; Peanut Gallery; Samwise; Wneighbor; ...


6 posted on 09/09/2006 5:04:53 PM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: alfa6

Great post..Thanks.

7 posted on 09/09/2006 5:06:14 PM PDT by KDD (A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.)
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To: alfa6; All
It's been a while but here is a new Freeprer Foxhole thread

A personal note if I may, this thread is dedicated to the memory of my good friends dad Homer Freeman. Mr Freeman passed away a little over a year ago, he was a crewman on the USS Alaska and was very proud of his service during WW-II. Homer was a man who had seen a lot of adversity in his life but he was upbeat and jovial right up to the end. I am sorry that it took me this long to get this posted but I am pretty sure Homer would have gotten a kick out of it regardless.

The education sources for info on the USS Alaska CB-1


(More USN Pics)

(CB-1 History)


alfa6 ;>}

8 posted on 09/09/2006 5:11:26 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: bentfeather
Yep u'r first

Well it's been a busy day, Had to split about half a cord of fire wood with my Mk1 Mod0 firewood splitter. Post the Sortie and a Foxhole thread. And eat a Fried Chicken dinner

I think I will go soak in a hot tub and take it easy for the rest of the evening.


alfa6 ;>}

9 posted on 09/09/2006 5:18:07 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6; Zoomie
thanks, glad to see the foxhole is back.

zoomie, you may want to join their ping list to these threads, they are very informative.
10 posted on 09/09/2006 5:21:14 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, geese, algae)
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To: alfa6

LOL have a good soak and say hello to Mrs. alfa please.

11 posted on 09/09/2006 5:23:41 PM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: alfa6

Good to see FReeper Foxhole. :)

12 posted on 09/09/2006 5:24:09 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: bentfeather

OOPs you were second Vision snuck in ahead of ya :-(

And the Mrs says hello back at ya.

Sorry about that


alfa6 ;>}

13 posted on 09/09/2006 5:25:56 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: demlosers; Coleus

Ya I have been kind of slackin this summer, to many fires not enough irons. Hopefully I will be able to get back on track so that we get a Foxhole every other week or so, if not more often.


alfa6 ;>}

14 posted on 09/09/2006 5:28:02 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6

A beauriful ship!

15 posted on 09/09/2006 5:41:40 PM PDT by aomagrat (rats)
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To: alfa6

beautiful ships. built to counter rumored Japanes super-heavy cruisers, but really on par with German pocket battleships and perhaps they could be considered the last of the battle cruisers.

16 posted on 09/09/2006 5:41:59 PM PDT by SampleMan
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To: alfa6
I love seeing these occasional FOXHOLE threads .... I miss the daily ones, but I can fully understand the time constraints everyone has.

Thanks for the thread. GOOD JOB!

Click on the imageCMHonor to visit the tribute page

"The Era of Osama lasted about an hour, from the time the first plane hit the tower to the moment the General Militia of Flight 93 reported for duty."

17 posted on 09/09/2006 5:47:16 PM PDT by Neil E. Wright (An oath is FOREVER)
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To: SampleMan

I to thought of the German "pocketbattlerships" so I looked up the specs on the Graf Spee.

Graf Spee had 6 x 11" guns; Alaska 9 x 12"
Graf Spee had 8 x 5.9" guns; Alaska 12 X 5" guns
Graf Spee had 6 x 4.1" guns; Alaska nothing comprable

Based on these spec I would have to give the Alaska Class a slight edge based on the Main Gun battery.

The Alaska had about triple the armor of the Graf Spee on the deck and the armor belt and twice the arnor on the turret face. Alaska also has a 6 knot speed advantage over the Graf Spee as well. So in a slugging match the Alaska would have a substantial edge over the Graf Spee, in my opinion

The one advantage that the Graf Spee did have was that it was armed with 8 21" torpedo tubes. However torpedoes don't typically have that much effective range, especially if you are trying to stay out of 12" gun fire.

Regarding a battlecruiser designation I think that the main gun battery of the Alaska Class would fall just short of that catagory as typically a battlecruiser carries battleship guns with out the battleship armor.


alfa6 ;>}

18 posted on 09/09/2006 6:10:57 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: aomagrat

Unfortunately the Alaska class did not handle all that well.

They were equipped with only a single rudder which made them a bit ungainly IIRC

But yes it is a good looking ship with quite a punch


alfa6 ;>}

19 posted on 09/09/2006 6:13:08 PM PDT by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: alfa6
Regarding a battlecruiser designation I think that the main gun battery of the Alaska Class would fall just short of that catagory as typically a battlecruiser carries battleship guns with out the battleship armor.

The Alaska and Guam were indeed superior to the Graf Spee. As for being a battle cruiser, it is arguable if not clear. Your case of the main armament being less than contemporary battleship keels being laid is well taken, but there were still many old battleships then in service with main armament similar to the Alaska's. The desire by some to call them battle cruisers rests on their large (if not 15-16") guns and their fantastic speed. What this analysis leaves out is their excellent armor, which for a 16" gunned BB would have made it a battle cruiser, but for 12" guns made them well balanced.

It is my opinion that their 12 inch guns, comparable armor, and excellent speed made them fast battleships. Remember that it is not just the diameter of the gun, but its caliber. These 12" rifles were superior to most earlier 14" guns in range. Had they appeared in 1914 they would have been the best "heavy battleships" in the world. Coming on the scene toward the end of WWII, they were light fast battleships.

20 posted on 09/09/2006 6:36:57 PM PDT by SampleMan
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