|Ship Class||Alaska-class Large Cruiser|
|Builder||New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ|
|Laid Down||17 Dec 1941|
|Launched||15 Aug 1943|
|Commissioned||17 Jun 1944|
|Decommissioned||17 Feb 1947|
|Displacement||29799 tons standard; 34253 tons full|
|Machinery||Eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, four General Electric steam turbines|
|Bunkerage||oil 3619 tons|
|Power Output||150000 SHP|
|Range||12000nm at 15knots|
|Armament||9x305mm, 12x127mm, 56x40mm, 34x20mm|
|Armor||127-229mm belt, 102mm deck, 279-330mm barbettes, 127-325mm turrets|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Alaska was the lead ship of her class of large cruisers, a classification with few WW2-era peers. It was due to her unusual composition of a body as long as a battleship but yet the beam was as slim as a cruiser, while her displacement was much larger than a typical cruiser while not as heavily armed as a battleship. She was commissioned in 1944 with Captain Peter K. Fischler in command. Her shakedown cruise was conducted in the Chesapeake Bay in the United States and Gulf of Paria off Trinidad. After some time back to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, she left for the Caribbean Sea on 12 Nov 1944. She arrived in San Diego on 12 Dec and trained for shore bombardment and anti-aircraft tactics.
On 13 Jan 1945, Alaska arrived at Pearl Harbor, where Captain Kenneth M. Noble took command from Fischler, who was promoted to the rank of rear admiral. She set sail from Ulithi for the Japanese home islands on 10 Feb 1945, escorting carriers Saratoga and Enterprise as they conducted night bombing missions against Tokyo; on the same tour also covered the landing operations at Iwo Jima.
The next mission took Alaska toward the Japanese home islands again in Mar 1945, covering carriers Yorktown, Intrepid, Independence, and Langley. The task force was attacked by Japanese aircraft, and Alaska participated in the anti-aircraft formation that collectively downed 12 Japanese aircraft; Alaska was given credit for two kills and one friendly-fire (the American pilot survived). On the next day, 19 Mar 1945, Alaska, her sister ship Guam, the heavy cruiser Pittsburgh, the light cruiser Santa Fe, and three destroyer divisions escorted the damaged carrier Franklin back toward the American base at Guam. She defended the few Japanese aircraft that attempted to challenge the withdrawing fleet.
In late Mar 1945, Alaska continued to escort carriers as they launched air strikes against the island of Okinawa. On 27 Mar, large cruisers Alaska and Guam, cruisers San Diego and Flint, and Destroyer Squadron 47 were detached from the task force and was given the mission to bombard the small island of Minami Daito Shimo 257km east of Okinawa. At 0030 on 28 Mar 1945, Alaska fired 45 high-capacity shells from her main battery and 352 shells from her 5-in guns toward the island.
After returning from her bombardment mission, Alaska continued to escort carriers off Okinawa until early May 1945. She anchored at Ulithi on 14 May after a nearly two-month cruise.
Alaska left port as a part of the Third Fleet on 24 May 1945. She bombarded the island of Okino Daito Shima on 9 Jun with her sister ship Guam. She made port call at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippines on 13 Jun. She set sail as part of Task Force 95 on 13 Jul for Okinawa and then the East China Sea. No Japanese ships were sighted during their patrol, a sign of the effectiveness of the blockade on the Japanese home islands.
After the war, Alaska served in China and Korea as a part of the 7th Fleet. She remained in Tsingtao, China until 13 Nov 1945 when she sailed for Jinsen (now Inchon), Korea to bring American servicemen back home. She was inactivated on 13 Aug 1946 and was decommissioned in Feb 1947. She was sold to the Lipsett Division of Luria Brothers of New York City for scrap on 30 Jun 1960.
Large Cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) Interactive Map
USS Alaska Operational Timeline
|17 Dec 1941||The keel of the large cruiser USS Alaska (CB-1) was laid down by New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey, United States.|
|17 Jun 1944||Alaska was commissioned into service.|
|13 Jul 1945||Large cruisers USS Alaska and USS Guam, accompanied by 4 light cruisers and 9 destroyers, sortied from Leyte, Philippine Islands to attack Japanese shipping in the East China Sea.|
|17 Feb 1947||Alaska was decommissioned from service.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945