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USS Alaska (CB-1)

The USS Alaska is the lead ship of an American large cruiser class of warships, developed in the 1930s. Soon, captains in War Thunder can look forward to the arrival of USS Alaska as the first battlecruiser to join the ranks of the U.S. Navy as part of the next major update!

Briefly: A unique American warship design, combining the capabilities of a cruiser with the size and firepower of a battleship.

USS Alaska (CB-1), battlecruiser, USA, Rank V

Features:

  • Powerful 12 inch guns
  • Good mobility
  • Catapult aircraft
  • Superb AA artillery
History

At the start of WWII, American shipbuilders were considering a number of new cruiser designs in an effort to come up with an adequate response. After several design proposals, a scaled-up version of the Baltimore heavy cruisers, fitted with Essex-class machinery and 12’’ guns emerged as the final design. This design then officially received funding in September 1940, with six ships being planned for construction, although only two would actually see completion.

The lead ship of the class, USS Alaska, was laid down in December 1941, launched in August 1943 and officially commissioned intro service in June 1944. After entering service and completing her shakedown cruise, the warship engaged in her first combat action as part of the Battle of Okinawa. There, the ship also claimed its first victories, destroying a number of Japanese aircraft on the ground during shore bombardments as well as shooting down several more in the wake of a Japanese aerial counterattack on the fleet.

Although the Battle of Okinawa represented the most significant operation USS Alaska took part in during WWII, the ship also played a role in several other smaller operations in the final stages of the war as well assisting in the allied occupation of the Korean peninsula in the immediate aftermath of WWII. After arriving back in the U.S. in February 1946, the ship was moved into reserve and subsequently decommissioned the following year after just 32 months of active service.

USS Alaska, along with her only completed sistership USS Guam, were ultimately sold for scrap in the early 1960s.

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In War Thunder, USS Alaska will be the first battlecruiser to join the ranks of the U.S. Navy following the release of the next major update. Reinforcing the top rank of the American bluewater naval tree in the game, USS Alaska offers its aspiring captains an excellent combination of firepower and mobility while boasting stronger protection than regular cruisers. Sounds interesting so far? Then, let’s get into more detail!

Unlike typical cruiser vessels that American captains may have gotten accustomed to so far, USS Alaska doesn’t come fitted with 6’’ or even 8’’ guns, but rather imposing 12’’ (305 mm) cannons - and nine of them in that! USS Alaska has heavier AP rounds (517 kg) than other ships with the same caliber, although the velocity of the round is lower. The HE round is lighter (426 kg) and offers better muzzle velocity of up to 808 m/s.

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However, this isn’t all USS Alaska has to offer - far from it! Apart from the powerful main battery cannons, the warship also comes fitted with six twin 5’’ (127 mm) dual purpose cannons - a weapon which should be well familiar to most captains accustomed to bluewater vessels. The ship’s arsenal is further augmented by a total of 56 40mm Bofors cannons split between 14 quadruple turrets as well as 34 single 20 mm Oerlikon cannons. With such a vast array of secondary weapons, USS Alaska maintains a high degree of versatility, allowing it to both engage in intense gun duels with hostile surface targets or alternatively support their allies with effective anti-air cover.

Fun fact: Being conceived as an ‘in-between’ type of vessel between cruisers and battleships is also reflected in the nomenclature of the Alaska-class as the ships were named after U.S. territories rather than states or cities as is the case with battleships and cruisers, respectively.

While USS Alaska can certainly boast near battleship levels of firepower, the same cannot be said about its protection. Namely, USS Alaska’s belt armor only measures up to 229 mm in thickness while the turret faces feature up to 325 mm of armor plating. While this does provide USS Alaska with effective protection from gun fire up to 11’’ in caliber, it remains rather vulnerable to incoming fire from more heavily armed battleships. Furthermore, comparatively poor dedicated anti-torpedo protection makes USS Alaska extremely susceptible to this weapon type.

On the other hand, USS Alaska’s machinery is capable of generating 153,000 horsepower, thus resulting in a top speed of 33 kts (61 km/h). Therefore, captains can utilize the ship’s superior speed to outrun slower opponents or reposition themselves to a more advantageous combat position. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the ship’s relatively long hull, coupled with a single rudder results in a relatively wide turning circle. As such, captains are best advised to avoid confined fighting grounds and initiate aggressive maneuvers as early as possible.


As its first battlecruiser, USS Alaska is arriving in the top ranks of the American bluewater naval tree as part of the next major update and will soon become available to all captains who fancy taking command of this impressive warship. In the meantime, make sure to stay tuned to the news in order to stay in the loop on all the latest developments surrounding the upcoming update. Until then, calm seas and happy hunting captains!

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