Warship Pictorial #8
USS Salem CA-139

by Steve Wiper of Classic Warships
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Salem represents the ultimate in World War Two wartime cruiser design. She was a member of the Des Moines Class Heavy Cruiser the last of the all gun cruisers built by for US Navy. Certainly they were the largest, unless you consider the Alaska Class Battle Cruisers. Similar to the Oregon City class these Cruisers were about 4,000 tons heavier. The extra tonnage was to accommodate the extra ammunition that these ships carried.
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below to enlarge
Each of the Salem's 8" main guns could pump out shells at the rate of 20 per minute, making them a formidable opponent. In this book the 8th in the Warship Pictorial series you will find close up photo's of these main guns with a cutaway dimensioned drawing of the inner workings of the turret showing the shell and powder hoists. 
There are many crisp clear photo's of this graceful cruiser throughout the book that trace her career from her commissioning to her dry-docking in winter 1999-2000. Included is a listing of her operational career from the date she was ordered to her dry-docking after becoming the only Heavy Cruiser museum in the United States.
There are several scaled drawings of the various guns and other fittings such as the Mk 37 5" gun director with the Mk 25 fire control radar fitted as shown on the right. In addition to the gun director drawings you also find drawings of:
  • Mk 54 main gun director
  • Twin 5" 38 cal secondary battery
  • 3" 50 cal anti-aircraft battery
  • Mk 56 3' gun director
  • SPS-8A height finding air search radar
  • SPS-12A Air and Surface search radar
  • SG-6 Surface search radar
  • 26' motor whale boat
  • 30' motor launch
  • 28' personnel launch
  • co/2 life raft illustration deployed and in it's container basket 
  • Sikorsky HO3S-1 (H-5) Helicopter
There is a 1/400 scale full color plan and elevation drawing for a centerfold, with a two page follow up plan view showing each deck level separately from the main deck clear up to the SPS-12 radar platform.
The many photo's are well captioned, with the story behind them. Steve points out the details shown in each one, such as the side by side comparison of the Salem and a Baltimore class CA. 
Whether your a historian facinated by ship design or a modeler wanting to build the most accurate ship possible, this book is just what you need. It is obvious that Classic Warships has done their homework, don't let the low $11.95 list price of this book fool you, it is a  very professional work, and you can't go wrong using this book as your reference.

This 8-1/4" x 11" soft book has 58 pages about 55 photo's and 29 drawings. 


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