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Surface Combat Records of the Atlanta class

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The Atlanta's one of my keepers in the game, with IFHE it is really fun and can rack up lots of damage in a good battle. However, when it comes to actual history, how did the Atlantas actually perform in surface combat? Theoretically, 12 small caliber guns with a rapid rate of fire could still put out a lot of hurt. Were the Atlanta class designed with any surface combat roles in mind, or were they purely intended to be AA cruisers? 

   For example, at the Battle off Savo Island, how much damage did Atlanta do to Akatsuki and Hiei, and other ships?

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Not much. The Atlanta was a poorly designed, top heavy ship class and it suffered in actual combat.

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8 minutes ago, KingCakeBaby said:

Not much. The Atlanta was a poorly designed, top heavy ship class and it suffered in actual combat.

Poorly designed? It worked as an anti-aircraft cruiser well. The ships lost were mainly due to torpedo hits which could doom much larger ships. The Oakland and Juneau (II) sub-classes class did make improvements to stability too.

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50 minutes ago, Lampshade_M1A2 said:

It worked as an anti-aircraft cruiser well. The ships lost were mainly due to torpedo hits which could doom much larger ships.

Not to mention The ATL suffered a friendly fire accident too.

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12 minutes ago, Grand_Viceroy_Zhou_Ziyu said:

How much damage did she do to enemy ships at Guadalcanal?

Very little. Overall, the ships were a failure.

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The one surface battle the Atlanta and Juneau were in was a poor situation to judge their surface combat capability: a panicked, mismatched night battle where the Atlanta was mission-killed by friendly fire.  And even then, they managed a solid showing of shooting up the Japanese destroyers, with Atlanta contributing to the sinking of Akatsuki.  Atlanta had to be scuttled after taking 8-inch shell hits and a Japanese torpedo, and Juneau was also sunk by Japanese torpedoes.  These causes for their loss are no different from what caused the loss of heavy cruisers like Astoria or Northampton.  Considering the Japanese navy's heavy use of destroyers throughout the war, the Atlanta-class cruisers would have performed just fine in further surface engagements.

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Overall I would say Atlanta’s record almost exactly matches what you’d expect from this game: she served as an excellent anti-air screen (that was her primary job), she devastated the Akatsuki when the latter tripped over her at close range, and she got devastated in turn by a heavy cruiser (San Francisco) that knocked her out of action with one salvo midway through the fight. 

Uncommonly for this game, I’d say that studying Atlanta’s real world history is a good way to learn to play it well in-game. 

Edited by Eugenie_101

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the Atlantas were technically giant Destroyers. They were intended to be Destroyer Flotilla flagships. They didn't really have the firepower or armor of true cruisers. As has been said, they made better anti-aircraft cruisers.

 

As was said, both took part in the Night action off Guadalcanal.  Atlanta did help to sink a DD, but she was pretty much taken out by the Japanese torp and the salvo from San Francisco. She was eventually scuttled at Guadalcanal.

Juneau took a torp that may have broken her keel, but she was still able to get under way with the rest of the fleet. It was while with the retiring fleet, an IJN sub spotted them and fired off torpedos. It was this fatal torp hit that detonated Juneau and sent her down.

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People are awfully hard on the Atlantas based on a single battle.  No cruisers took long lance hits well, and both Atlanta and Juneau ate them.  Atlanta also got pasted by 8-inch from the original team killer, San Francisco (got kicked out of CV screens because her gunnery was so bad, pulled some blue on blue at Cape Esperance too).  They never got any opportunities to change the perception about their capabilities.  If Savo Island was the only fight the New Orleans class ever got into, people would have to say that the NOLAs were a failure too.  Both ships survived their long lance hits and had to be finished off later.  Had Atlanta's crew been able to get power going again for the pumps, she'd have survived.  Juneau DID survive the battle, and got picked off by a submarine, along with her records from the engagement.  We'll never know how she really did in the battle itself.  I think it's safe to say that with those records and the ships surviving, our perceptions would be different.

They were designed as destroyer leaders.  They were absolutely designed for surface combat.  There was just no need for them to serve the role of destroyer leaders, and they were quite valuable in carrier screens as AA ships.

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The AA CL was a ship that was really good at one thing and one thing only and they did that one job exceedingly well and should never have been in the battle line because of that. It didn't help that Callaghan & Scott didn't understand or possibly didn't believe in radar and placed their radar ships at the rear of the column where their radar was almost useless. It also didn't help that the battle was the naval equivalent of a bar room brawl with the lights turned off which the Atlanta was particularly ill suited for.

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I don't see why people are calling the Atlanta a good AA ship- remember that the wing turrets had to be stripped on the later ships due to topweight issues, and that all the post-treaty USN cruisers carried 6 twin 5"/38 mounts. Those ships also carried armor to help resist bomb hits, and much more intermediate and small caliber AA, and had the topweight to mount the large air-search radars. The Atlanta's were ships that got relegated to AA because they were less deficient in that role than any other, not because they were optimal for it.

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They were described as a lightweight ship with a welterweight punch, primarily designed for anti-aircraft duties. 
Two Atlanta's were lost, the Atlanta herself and the Juneau.

Atlanta was abandoned and sunk by her captains orders, and Juneau was decimated by a huge explosion after she was struck by a Japanese torpedo. 

 

As cruisers, the ships were under armed and armoured. This showed during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. As AA ships, they were pretty damn good. 

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Atlanta and Juneau got wrecked by destroyers during the first night battle of Guadalcanal.

 

San Diego meanwhile...

USS San Diego (CL-53) received 18 Battle Stars[4][5] for service in World War II, placing her among the Most decorated US ships of World War II.

Following is a list of the campaigns participated in:

  • Guadalcanal Capture
  • Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid
  • Santa Cruz Islands
  • Guadalcanal (Third Savo)
  • Rennel Island Jan.
  • New Georgia-Rendova-Vaugunu
  • Buka-Bonins Strike
  • Gilbert Islands Occupation
  • Kwajelein-Wotje
  • Truk Attack, February 16–17, 1944
  • Saipan-Pagan Attacks
  • Southern Palau Islands
  • Southern Palau Islands, Philippine Islands Assaults
  • Okinawa Attack
  • Formosa Attacks
  • China Coast Attacks
  • Iwo Jima, Feb. 15 To March 16, 1945
  • Okinawa Assault And Occupation March, 17 To June 11, 1945
  • Philippine Liberation

 

No wonder Juneau and Atlanta are merely blues while San Diego is a gold SSR in Azur Lane.

Edited by KiyoSenkan

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They were build as destroyer leaders. But the USN found out that the 5" they use on the Atlanta makes good AA guns too. That's the reason why they still build the ships after Guadalcanal and used them only for this job.

The Marines at Guadalcanal were happy when, at one ocassion, the Atlanta gave them support because of the sheer number of shells they could put on targets choosen by the forward observers.

Like others said, the damage they did at Guadalcanal to other ships was meager. The Juneau and Atlanta were, together with the Helena a year later, all the CL combat losses of the USN in the Pacific.

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8 hours ago, Lampshade_M1A2 said:

Poorly designed? It worked as an anti-aircraft cruiser well. The ships lost were mainly due to torpedo hits which could doom much larger ships. The Oakland and Juneau (II) sub-classes class did make improvements to stability too.

yea the superfiring guns apparently made the atlanta's unstable and made her seaworthiness in heavy or high speed action questionable .  juneau was much better with the lower deck guns. 

i do see the class in the wows pop up log in screen but dont think its in the game.

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1 hour ago, KiyoSenkan said:

Atlanta and Juneau got wrecked by destroyers during the first night battle of Guadalcanal.

 

San Diego meanwhile...

USS San Diego (CL-53) received 18 Battle Stars[4][5] for service in World War II, placing her among the Most decorated US ships of World War II.

So what you're saying is...Atlanta-class cruisers can have a devastating impact, but they're fragile and have to survive the early game.  Kick me if THAT doesn't sound familiar. 

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7 hours ago, Umikami said:

Very little. Overall, the ships were a failure.

They didn't do very well in surface combat because they're weren't designed for that. As AA defenders, which is what they were designed to do, they were great. Personally, I think it was a bad decision bordering on criminal, to send Atlanta and Juneau into a night surface action.

4 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

It didn't help that Callaghan & Scott didn't understand or possibly didn't believe in radar and placed their radar ships at the rear of the column where their radar was almost useless

Scott did understand the use of radar, he used it to great effect at Cape Esperance. However, at 1st Guadalcanal, Admiral Callaghan was in command. He didn't understand the use of radar and that was the reason why the rival forces were practically on top of each other before the fighting commenced. I recommend "Neptune's Inferno". That book tells a lot about the use, and mis-use, of radar assets during the Guadalcanal night battles.

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4 minutes ago, Eugenie_101 said:

So what you're saying is...Atlanta-class cruisers can have a devastating impact, but they're fragile and have to survive the early game.  Kick me if THAT doesn't sound familiar. 

More like, they have to know their role and stop trying to carry the team. San Diego's battle stars were earned being an AA escort and shooting down planes, not trying to ambush destroyers.

 

Trying to ambush destroyers is what sank Atlanta and Juneau.

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4 minutes ago, ReddNekk said:

They didn't do very well in surface combat because they're weren't designed for that

Exactly, which makes one wonder why Atlanta was on a night patrol mission where no planes were expected when she was sunk.

5 minutes ago, ReddNekk said:

As AA defenders, which is what they were designed to do, they were great.

This is true to a point, but the following classes were much better.

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9 minutes ago, ReddNekk said:

They didn't do very well in surface combat because they're weren't designed for that. As AA defenders, which is what they were designed to do, they were great. Personally, I think it was a bad decision bordering on criminal, to send Atlanta and Juneau into a night surface action.

Scott did understand the use of radar, he used it to great effect at Cape Esperance. However, at 1st Guadalcanal, Admiral Callaghan was in command. He didn't understand the use of radar and that was the reason why the rival forces were practically on top of each other before the fighting commenced. I recommend "Neptune's Inferno". That book tells a lot about the use, and mis-use, of radar assets during the Guadalcanal night battles.

"The Ship That Would Not Die" also talks a little about the horrid placement of the radar ships. I wonder why Scott wasn't able to or wouldn't argue for better placement of the radar assets?

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3 minutes ago, Umikami said:

Exactly, which makes one wonder why Atlanta was on a night patrol mission where no planes were expected when she was sunk.

Because the USN didn't have a doctrine for or conception of the Atlantas as "AA Cruisers." They were designed out of trying to make a smaller, lighter cruiser than the proceeding ones, which originally was spurred by the obsolescence of the Omaha class and desire to have a light cruiser to lead destroyer flotillas. The 6" DP gun was studied initially, but that weapon was slow to materialize and therefore massed 5" was adopted to get both reasonable AA firepower and overall number of guns on a smaller ship.

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39 minutes ago, Umikami said:

Exactly, which makes one wonder why Atlanta was on a night patrol mission where no planes were expected when she was sunk.

The USN didn't had much to choose from at that time. And also: she was one of the few ships with the newest radar. The possible impact would have been high, if all the commanding admirals would have known how to use it for the benefit of the task force.

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1 minute ago, Erebthoron said:

The USN didn't had much to choose from at that time. And also: she was one of the few ships with the newest radar. The possible impact would have been high, if all the commanding admirals would have known how to use it for the benefit of the task force.

She had the newest radar set. Pity the officer in charge didn't trust it and ignored its contacts.

 

Radar had a habit of being unreliable in storm conditions. It got a lot of ghost contacts from high waves.

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