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There is no question that the community wants to see the USS Alaska. Hopefully, WG will bring it out soon. I want to take some time on the history of the USS Alaska because owning a famous ship is great, but knowing the history behind the ship makes owning the ship even better.

USS Alaska in the Philadelphia Navy Yard - 1944

At first look, Alaska looks like a battleship and a cruiser put together, and in a way it is. The United States planned several of these ships in the form of the Alaska large cruisers. Eventually, only two were made, Alaska and Guam. This was due to the large amount of materials, specifically steel, that was needed to build these ships. Why do they need large amounts of steel you might ask? It is as long as a battleship(807 feet), but her bow is as thin as cruiser. Her armor is not as strong as a battleship but nonetheless, her armor strong and is made up of 127-330 mm protection. USS Alaska was launched in 1943 and commissioned in June 1944. She was ready for battle in 1944 and traveled to the Pacific coast for training. She was commanded by Captain Kenneth H. Noble, who was promoted as rear admiral. In 1945, USS Alaska sailed to Pearl Harbor and started her first mission.

USS Alaska seen from USS Enterprise  USS Saratoga

Her first mission was dangerous. It was to escort the carriers Enterprise and Saratoga on nightly bombing missions on Tokyo and Iwo Jima. Her next mission landed her near the Japanese mainland and escorted Carriers Langley, Yorktown, Intrepid, and Independence. In this mission, the convoy got attacked by Japanese aircraft and Alaska participated in the anti-aircraft raid that downed 10 planes. Alaska got credit of shooting down 2 aircraft and was blamed on accidentally engaging in friendly fire at an allied plane. The very next day, Alaska participated in a rescue mission with several other cruisers and destroyers to rescue the carrier Franklin. She defended Franklin against the last of the Japanese aircraft that were trying to attack the retreating ships.

 

Later in 1945, she made several bombings on Okino Daito Shima and made several scouting cruises near Okinawa and the East China Sea. While in the East China Sea, she conducted anti-shipping raids on the Japanese with her sister ship, USS Guam. After the war ended in Japan, Alaska remained in the vicinity of Japan and eventually contributed to the invasion of that country as well as China and Korea. She finally came home on December 1945 with commemorative acknowledgments with her support in the Pacific. In 1947, USS Alaska became decommissioned and was sent to reserve in  Bayonne, New Jersey. Sadly, She was sold to a scrapping yard on June 1960. 

Alaska_class__full.thumb.jpg.fa9924feaeec3a94f36f39de583b44f9.jpg

What would it have been like to step into this cruiser that had 9 305 mm guns? Unfortunately, we will never know. Hopefully, WarGaming will faithfully reproduce this ship for us to experience the awe that it gave many people when it was active during WW2.

 

Sources: navalwarfare.blogspot.com

                 ww2db.com

 

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1 hour ago, Leopard_IX said:

This was due to the large amount of materials, specifically steel, that was needed to build these ships. Why do they need large amounts of steel you might ask? It is as long as a battleship(807 feet), but her bow is as thin as cruiser.

Hah!  Comrade, glorious Soviet battleships cruisers such like Moskva, Stalingrad, and Kronshtadt laugh at your capitalist pig weak armor!  We put 50mm of armor on Moskva bow to repel your so-called "Freedom Shells".  And if you change your bow armor, we will put 100mm on our glorious stronk ships!  Why?  Because Stalin say we can!

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While this would be a great addition to the USN line, it's the RN cruiser line that is hurting for premiums right now, they have zero, zilch, nada...#freeBelfast

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2 minutes ago, Ace_04 said:

Hah!  Comrade, glorious Soviet battleships cruisers such like Moskva, Stalingrad, and Kronshtadt laugh at your capitalist pig weak armor!  We put 50mm of armor on Moskva bow to repel your so-called "Freedom Shells".  And if you change your bow armor, we will put 100mm on our glorious stronk ships!  Why?  Because Stalin say we can!

But Comrade, our glorious battleships cruisers don't even need armor when the hand of Stalin himself guides them!  The Glorious hand of Stalin shall push all capitalist shells around our battleships cruisers and will guide our shells into the citadel of those capitalist pigs!

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6 minutes ago, Ace_04 said:

Hah!  Comrade, glorious Soviet battleships cruisers such like Moskva, Stalingrad, and Kronshtadt laugh at your capitalist pig weak armor!  We put 50mm of armor on Moskva bow to repel your so-called "Freedom Shells".  And if you change your bow armor, we will put 100mm on our glorious stronk ships!  Why?  Because Stalin say we can!

Dont't you worry, Russian ships have their downsides as well.:cap_rambo:

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5 minutes ago, Leopard_IX said:

Dont't you worry, Russian ships have their downsides as well.:cap_rambo:

I know.  I just find Soviet humor posts funny.

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5 minutes ago, Hanger_18 said:

230*

 

In some parts of the ship, it is 330 mm thick.

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27 minutes ago, Bonfor said:

While this would be a great addition to the USN line, it's the RN cruiser line that is hurting for premiums right now, they have zero, zilch, nada...#freeBelfast

Nah, leave Belfast where she is.  She's too broken in her current state/tier.

On the other hand, I would love to see a Royal Navy heavy cruiser premium at some point to use as a trainer for the inevitable sub-line split.

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2 minutes ago, Leopard_IX said:

In some parts of the ship, it is 330 mm thick.

foreward bulkhead?

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2 minutes ago, Hanger_18 said:

foreward bulkhead?

The barbettes are 279-330 mm thick.

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28 minutes ago, Leopard_IX said:

The barbettes are 279-330 mm thick.

oh i didnt even consider those.

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If they would have kept them in storage I bet he Reagan administration would have reactivated them instead of or with the Iowa class battleships. I think they would have been a lot more economical to run with far less crew required to operate them.

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5 minutes ago, Belthorian said:

If they would have kept them in storage I bet he Reagan administration would have reactivated them instead of or with the Iowa class battleships. I think they would have been a lot more economical to run with far less crew required to operate them.

From Wikipedia.org: "In 1958, the Bureau of Ships prepared two feasibility studies to see if Alaska and Guam were suitable to be converted to guided missile cruisers. The first study involved removing all of the guns in favor of four different missile systems. At $160 million this was seen as too costly, so a second study was conducted. This study left the forward batteries—the two 12-inch triple turrets and three of the 5-inch dual turrets—in place and added a reduced version of the first plan for the aft. This would have cost $82 million, and was still seen as too cost-prohibitive.[10] As a result, the conversion proposal was abandoned and the ship was instead stricken from the naval registry on 1 June 1960. On 30 June she was sold to the Lipsett Division of Luria Brothers to be broken up for scrap.[7]"

 

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Thanks for the info, enjoyed the read

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Ah Alaska.

Costs about 75% as much as an Iowa, with far less utility.

Beloved for it's weirdness and allure, yet having served one of the shortest services of any non-destroyed Capital-ish ship.

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29 minutes ago, Bonfor said:

From Wikipedia.org: "In 1958, the Bureau of Ships prepared two feasibility studies to see if Alaska and Guam were suitable to be converted to guided missile cruisers. The first study involved removing all of the guns in favor of four different missile systems. At $160 million this was seen as too costly, so a second study was conducted. This study left the forward batteries—the two 12-inch triple turrets and three of the 5-inch dual turrets—in place and added a reduced version of the first plan for the aft. This would have cost $82 million, and was still seen as too cost-prohibitive.[10] As a result, the conversion proposal was abandoned and the ship was instead stricken from the naval registry on 1 June 1960. On 30 June she was sold to the Lipsett Division of Luria Brothers to be broken up for scrap.[7]"

 

True but they spent over 500 million on each Iowa class battleship in the 80's. For the amount of money they spent on them they could have built a brand new Oliver Hazard class frigate. I don't think it would have cost as much to modernize the Alaska's into Iowa like configurations. The day to day cost to run the ships would have been significantly less than an Iowa class as well.

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That's the issue: The cost to run the Alaskas was way too close to how much it'd cost to run one of the NCs they retained or the Iowas. It wasn't worth it for the marginal savings. Also, 1958 dollars v 1980 dollars and the increase in cost of 1980s weapons and upgrades is quite different.

An Iowa has 1800-2700 men compliment, depending on Era. An Alaska had about 2200. That's pretty darn close, when you consider that the clevelands had 1200 and less after their missile conversions.

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The problem with the Alaskas was the ships they were built to fight never materialized. They were built to counter a perceived Japanese superiority in cruiser forces (which they did have in December '41, but by the time Alaska and Guam were commissioned, that threat no longer existed) as well as Japanese and German supercruisers like the B-65 and P-class supercruisers. With these ships never having actually materialized, the Alaska-class was left peerless and, for all intents and purposes, useless. The war left the US as pretty much the only naval superpower left in the world and the Alaskas couldn't do anything that a Baltimore couldn't do for a whole lot less money. 

 

They were beautiful ships, but they just didn't serve a purpose. I'm actually very surprised they were completed as cruisers and didn't get converted to carriers on the slips. 

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12 hours ago, Bonfor said:

While this would be a great addition to the USN line, it's the RN cruiser line that is hurting for premiums right now, they have zero, zilch, nada...#freeBelfast

I'm not happy that WG screwed up Belfast, but that's just the way it is. WG has never liked RN ships and so they stuff them with silly gimmicks like AP only CLs, powerful BB HE, and soon long duration but short ranged hydro for DDs.

8 hours ago, ramp4ge said:

The problem with the Alaskas was the ships they were built to fight never materialized. They were built to counter a perceived Japanese superiority in cruiser forces (which they did have in December '41, but by the time Alaska and Guam were commissioned, that threat no longer existed) as well as Japanese and German supercruisers like the B-65 and P-class supercruisers. With these ships never having actually materialized, the Alaska-class was left peerless and, for all intents and purposes, useless. The war left the US as pretty much the only naval superpower left in the world and the Alaskas couldn't do anything that a Baltimore couldn't do for a whole lot less money. 

 

They were beautiful ships, but they just didn't serve a purpose. I'm actually very surprised they were completed as cruisers and didn't get converted to carriers on the slips. 

This is why I don't see the appeal for Alaska. Almost no combat history whatsoever. Personally I'd prefer a direct replacement for Missouri (assuming it won't be sold again because of its credit gimmick which WG regrets), preferably one of her sister ships like New Jersey or Wisconsin. I guess they just want a cruiser with a different playstyle, but doesn't Kronstadt cover that already?

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The Alaska's were only built because FDR wanted them.  The USN really didn't want the ships as they realized that the threat they were to counter wasn't going to happen.  But, FDR, ex-secretary of the Navy that he was, thought they were a neat idea, so they got built.

Alaska went to the Pacific where she conducted a few shore bombardments, then sailed back to the US to be mothballed until decommissioned and then scrapped as too much cruiser to warrant even a conversion to a missile ship.  The Alaska's were simply very expensive, very large cruisers that should never have existed.

But, they did, and like many white elephants they get wargamer's attention...

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20 hours ago, Leopard_IX said:

Dont't you worry, Russian ships have their downsides as well.:cap_rambo:

I know, these superior Russians ships are just too aspirational! 

These inferior "cruisers" named after a Russian Colony would be perfect for the Proletariat!

1860-russian-america.jpg

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On 7/24/2018 at 11:14 PM, Wolcott said:

I'm not happy that WG screwed up Belfast, but that's just the way it is. WG has never liked RN ships and so they stuff them with silly gimmicks like AP only CLs, powerful BB HE, and soon long duration but short ranged hydro for DDs.

This is why I don't see the appeal for Alaska. Almost no combat history whatsoever. Personally I'd prefer a direct replacement for Missouri (assuming it won't be sold again because of its credit gimmick which WG regrets), preferably one of her sister ships like New Jersey or Wisconsin. I guess they just want a cruiser with a different playstyle, but doesn't Kronstadt cover that already?

Alaska's appeal is probably just their weirdness in terms of the hardware. A very big cruiser with very atypical cruiser guns, that actually got built. The ship sucked in real life performance for it's cost, thus it's rapid retirement... but at least she was fully built and did serve in a war, unlike Kronstadt or Stalingrad or Moskva.

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