Canberra (Baltimore-class) file photo [8183]

Canberra (Baltimore-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassBaltimore-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderBethlehem Fore River Shipyard
Laid Down3 Sep 1941
Launched19 Apr 1943
Commissioned14 Oct 1943
Decommissioned7 Mar 1947
Displacement13,600 tons standard
Length673 feet
Beam71 feet
Draft26 feet
MachineryGeneral Electric geared turbines with four screws
Power Output120,000 shaft horsepower
Speed33 knots
Armament9x203mm guns, 12x127mm guns, 48x40mm guns, 24x20mm guns
Armor6in belt, 8in turrets, 2.5in deck, 6.5in conning tower
Recommissioned as Boston-class cruiser15 Jun 1956
Final Decommission2 Feb 1970


ww2dbaseUSS Canberra was named after the Australian ship that sank at the Battle of Savo Island; in appreciation, the Australian government named the next Tribal-class destroyer HMAS Bataan in honor of the battle in the Philippine Islands. USS Canberra's first major action was the Battle of the Philippine Sea in Jun 1944. In Oct 1944, US Navy aircraft attacked Taiwan in preparation for the Philippine Islands invasion; on 13 Oct, the Japanese launched a counter-attack against American Fast Carrier Task Force, and Canberra was severely damaged by a torpedo.

ww2dbaseAfter WW2, Canberra was decommissioned on 7 Mar 1947 and placed in the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, United States. On 4 Jan 1952, she was redesigned as a guided missile heavy cruiser; the conversion work took place at Camden, New Jersey, United States between 30 May 1952 and 1 Jun 1956. Upon completion of the conversation, she was re-classified as a Boston-class cruiser. Between 3 Mar and 24 Oct 1960, she sailed around the world to demonstrate her missile capabilities to American allies. In 1962, she participated in the actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the Vietnam War, she was deployed five times between 1965 and 1969, lending her guns to support ground troops. On 6 Apr 1967, Canberra's sailor Doug Hegdahl was blown overboard by one of the 127-millimeter guns and was captured by the North Vietnamese; Hegdahl survived the ordeal, and became a witness to North Vietnamese atrocities. She returned from Vietnam on 19 Jan 1969 and was decommissioned in early 1970.

ww2dbaseCanberra was sold to National Metal on 31 Jul 1980 and scrapped in California, United States. Her bell was presented to Australian Prime Minister John Howard by US President George W. Bush on 10 Sep 2001 to commemorate 50 years of the ANZUS treaty; it is now located at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2009

Heavy Cruiser Canberra (Baltimore-class) Interactive Map


Canberra sliding down the ways, Bethlehem Steel Company Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, 19 Apr 1943Launching of Canberra, Bethlehem Steel Company Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, 19 Apr 1943Canberra underway, Boston harbor, Massachusetts, United States, 14 Oct 1943, photo 1 of 4Canberra underway, Boston harbor, Massachusetts, United States, 14 Oct 1943, photo 2 of 4
See all 41 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Canberra (Baltimore-class)

Canberra (Baltimore-class) Operational Timeline

14 Oct 1943 Canberra (Baltimore-class) was commissioned into service.
7 Mar 1947 Canberra (Baltimore-class) was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Derrick Baragwanath says:
30 Sep 2020 10:16:31 PM

The Canberra naming had some very interesting subtext. In 1942 Australia was in crisis. As a British dominion many Australians felt deserted by the mother country and were terrified at the prospect of a Japanese invasion. At the same time most Australians looked to the US as a suitable security replacement for the UK. Both countries shared a common heritage and language. George Orwell, in his novel '1984' spoke off a union of sovereign states called Oceania, embracing the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Many Australians felt attracted to such an idea. Naming an American ship after an Australian city rather than an American city was most likely an opening feeler in that direction. The talk at the time was that the six Australian states would become six extra American states. The movement while having strong grass roots support never really gained critical mass.

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More on Canberra (Baltimore-class)
Event(s) Participated:
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign

Heavy Cruiser Canberra (Baltimore-class) Photo Gallery
Canberra sliding down the ways, Bethlehem Steel Company Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, 19 Apr 1943
See all 41 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Canberra (Baltimore-class)

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