Alaska file photo [2548]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassAlaska-class Large Cruiser
Hull NumberCB-1
BuilderNew York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ
Laid Down17 Dec 1941
Launched15 Aug 1943
Commissioned17 Jun 1944
Decommissioned17 Feb 1947
Displacement29,799 tons standard; 34,253 tons full
Length807 feet
Beam91 feet
Draft27 feet
MachineryEight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, four General Electric steam turbines
Bunkerageoil 3619 tons
Power Output150,000 shaft horsepower
Speed31 knots
Range12000nm at 15knots
Armament9x305mm, 12x127mm, 56x40mm, 34x20mm
Armor127-229mm belt, 102mm deck, 279-330mm barbettes, 127-325mm turrets


ww2dbaseAlaska 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.

ww2dbaseOn 13 Jan 1945, Alaska arrived at Pearl Harbor, where Captain Kenneth H. 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.

ww2dbaseThe 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.

ww2dbaseIn 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.

ww2dbaseAfter 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.

ww2dbaseAlaska 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.

ww2dbaseAfter 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.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2007

Large Cruiser Alaska (CB-1) Interactive Map


Launching of large cruiser Alaska, Camden, New Jersey, United States, 15 Aug 1943Alaska off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 30 Jul 1944, photo 1 of 2Alaska off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 30 Jul 1944, photo 2 of 2Alaska during shakedown, off the US east coast, Aug 1944
See all 28 photographs of Large Cruiser Alaska (CB-1)

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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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
11 Dec 2006 11:53:53 AM

That is a big promotion for a little ship! If I am not mistaken, that is a Fletcher-class DD in the foreground and not the Alaska!
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
11 Dec 2006 12:11:30 PM

Thank you, Anonymous, the error with the photograph has been corrected.
3. Paul says:
30 Apr 2007 03:08:56 AM

The Alaska class were not battlecruisers. They were classified as CBs (large cruisers) by the USN, and were an outgrowth of cruiser design. They were larger and more powerfully armed than typical heavy cruisers because they were built without the restraints of the various naval treaties of the 20s and 30s.
4. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
30 Apr 2007 05:07:44 PM

Classification of Alaska has been corrected. Thanks!
5. Ned Barnett says:
2 Jan 2009 06:57:44 PM

They were built as battle cruisers, but the name was changed after battle cruisers proved (again) how vulnerable they were when operating with or instead of real battleships. The name change didn't change the design intent, but as beautiful as these ships were (and IMO they are some of the most beautiful and symetrical ships in the USN - ever), they proved about as useful as tits on a boar, except as AA cover for fast carriers (yeah, they could do shore bombardment, but the old battleships had bigger guns and were better at it).
6. TIM says:
18 Oct 2009 06:45:57 PM

7. Anonymous says:
1 Feb 2010 09:50:34 PM

The Alaska design process started in 1938 with specifications similar to the German pocket battleships. The term "cruiser-killer" was used through out the design phases. If you accept the the term battle cruiser to mean a ship armed as a contemporary battleship with cruiser speed and protection, they don't meet the criteria. No contemporary battleships were armed with 12" main guns.
8. Wm L Rhoades says:
10 May 2010 04:20:05 AM

You may use my information if so desired. For those, like myself, whom 'loved the design of both the CB-1 USS Alaska/and CB-2 USS Guam, and would appreciate a 'ton of more shots' of both are some awesome 'references'. Go to site labeled as When you arrive to the battleships section and then the cruiser section.
Go to USS Washington to post WWII, looking at when it was in Bayonne, New Jersey. One picture is from dockside, near fantail of North Carolina looking forward, you can see the 'masts and superstructure of the Alaska/Guam' moored ahead. The next shot is taken from (of all places)the upper STACK Area of one of the Alaska/Guam ships aft...seeing part of the fantail and aft of the CBs' and both the No Caro/Wash. Then the pictures lower are of CB-1 Alaska/BB-56, USS Wash...pre-and during early stages of both being scrapped in Newark, New Jersey, on June '61.
Then go over to to cruisers and CB-1 ALASKA. You'll see a TON of pictures just now submitted by a former crewman. You'll see the ALASKA working up, on-loading ammunition in its' camouflage early on, then pre-launch pics of: 04020129 and other shots...04020144,04020145, 0402019, 04020144, 04020145, 04020139, 04020141, 04020142, LOADING she is docked aside. There are pics of Alaska escorting USS Intrepid, and Enterprise...many pics...have fun.
9. Anonymous says:
20 May 2012 06:06:34 PM

my dad was on the uss alaska im so proud of him
10. Anonymous says:
15 Dec 2012 08:38:56 AM

Disagree, on the battle cruiser designation.
CB is her hull designation by USN standards.

CB (Cruiser, Battle)USN Battle cruiser
CA (Cruiser, Armored)USN Heavy cruiser
CL (Cruiser, Light) USN Light cruiser
11. Visitor from another forum says:
14 Oct 2013 02:14:46 AM

to Anonymous

CB was Cruiser Large

CC was Battle cruiser

This can be verified from the USN official historical websites where it is made quite clear the Alaska class were large cruisers not battle cruisers. Seeing as the USN designed, built and operated the Alaska class it would appear they have the last word on this issue: "Though the Alaska class large cruisers (CB-1 through CB-6) of 1941 are actually part of the cruiser design lineage, some sources persist in (mistakenly) referring to them as "battle cruisers"."
12. Anonymous says:
26 Nov 2013 11:33:20 AM

I am a huge fan of these cruisers. Its a shame that they werent bulit when they were needed. The admirals arond Guadalcanal would have sure needed those ships during the the Novmeber battles of 1942. They proved to be excellent warships. A mix of firepower and speed. 12 inch guns and a top speed of i believe to be 32 knots. Someone can correct me on that. These ships were built as cruisers, but had the main battires of small battleships. Sorry I know thats incorrect, but at the time the only main gun on cruisers at the time were 8 inch guns. They were superb ships. They were part of the sea force that was after the IJN Yamato. The force to hit the Yamato, if the air strikes were to fail, was made up of USS Massachusetts,Indiana,New Jersey,South Dakota,Wisconsin, and Missouri. Along with the Alaska and Guam, along with 5 other cruisers. @1 destroyers were to screen the force and do torpedo runs. The Alaska and Guam were the best ships i have ever learned about.
13. Lori says:
2 Jan 2015 12:38:51 AM

I have photos of the USS Alaska as my Father, William C. Henry was a Naval Photographer on board during 1944-1946. I love and miss my dad with all my heart. He was my first love and first and forever hero. If anyone from USS Alaska remembers him I would love to hear from them. Thanks
14. VIC KELLOGG says:
6 Feb 2015 04:50:49 PM

My dad was also on uss alaska Rober L Kellogg
15. Anonymous says:
17 Nov 2015 04:46:43 AM

My Dad just passed away and he left me the original USS Alaska Phone Directory, its pretty neat to see this stuff, also the Blue Book Manual, John Westcott 315-225-4127
16. John Westcott says:
17 Nov 2015 09:24:02 AM

1944 BlueJackets Manual my Dad brought home with him after he served, Inside it has a bunch of names and address of wahat I assume were friends of his that signed the book, Usually in hope of returning and keepoi9ng in touch after the War, Here are a few of the names Please let me know if anyone knows of any of them, My Dad, Carl Westcott , Rome, NY --J Jay Smith, Flaunee SC--Raymond Wesler, Eageville, Penn--SA Papduwoki, Buffalo NY=--Leroy Thomas,NY
17. David Williams says:
24 Dec 2015 06:51:21 PM

I visited my Uncle Brian (John) Kearney today in a New Jersey rest home. He is very proud of his duty on the Alaska. Born in Cleveland he married a New Jersey girl (my aunt) and lives there today.
18. medobson1 says:
6 Jan 2016 10:27:50 AM

The article is incorrect, These ships are Battle Cruisers by configuration as I have previously researched and written on. Frequently military organizations designate a ship a certain class to avoid raising alarms of competing navies. If you research the purpose of these ships, it was to hunt down Potential raiders of the Mogami class cruisers. Their size, armament and speed clearly ID them as Battle Cruisers. Regardless of their internal compartment arrangement / design their armor protection and gun size defined them as battle cruisers. Just as any fast 31Kton thinly armored ship was designated. CA was chosen for political purposes.
19. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
6 Jan 2016 05:54:59 PM

To medobson1:
Thank you for your well intentioned comment but I see this question differently and the Alaska-class will continue to be classified as Large Cruisers on this page. The US Navy rejects the argument that these ships were battlecruisers as do many others. It is true that many authorities also insist these ships are more properly classified as battlecruisers so there is room to see this either way. I have examined the question and all things considered, I feel the large cruiser designation is more appropriate.
20. William A. Brown says:
20 Jan 2016 08:15:30 AM

Alaska-class is a Large Cruiser. Being in the Navy for 6 years we all know the Navy is never wrong. But this time I think they're a little short of being right.
21. Fred Dobles Jr says:
22 Apr 2016 05:56:15 AM

My Dad has been gone for several years now , he served (2nd Division) aboard Alaska CB-1 , it was a magnificent Ship , my Dad served under Captain Noble . I have studied these Class of warship for many years , they were retired too soon and I too would have loved to see Alaska preserved . God Bless all our Sailors and Servicemen and women .
22. ken demers says:
2 Jul 2016 09:37:35 AM

my father was on the u s s alaska and was proud too serve he past away oct of 68
23. Anonymous says:
12 Sep 2016 06:53:48 PM

In actuality the Alaska's well fulfilled their role in the Pacific War, fast, powerful escorts for the Fast Carriers. Early in the War the Kongos figured strongly into the strategic and tactical planning as a real factor because of their speed. The Alaska's were in many respects a similar ship, similar size and armor and a powerful naval weapon with penetrative capabilities and range in a larger class. An Iowa, for all it's grace and power was really overkill for the carrier escort role. As a large, super cruiser they were really an ideal deterrent for Cruiser attack and probably more than equal for the Kongo's.

Though a later iteration than the Scharnhorst and Gniessnau she was certainly a more reliable steamer with a better main weapon, far better AA, more advanced radar and fire control. Though the S&G were more heavily armored they still would not have great tactical immunity from the Alaska's 12" weapon.

Sometime this ship with their single large rudder were described as un manuverable. However this assumption was based mostly on model basin testing. In service the tactical diameter was almost exactly the same as both the Iowa's and the Fletcher DD's and much better than most foreign capital ships.

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Large Cruiser Alaska (CB-1) Photo Gallery
Launching of large cruiser Alaska, Camden, New Jersey, United States, 15 Aug 1943
See all 28 photographs of Large Cruiser Alaska (CB-1)

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