Warship Pictorial #14
USS Wichita CA-45
by Steve Wiper of Classic Warships
Reviewed by Timothy dike
The USS Wichita was a one of a kind Cruiser that was  essentially a Heavy  Cruiser based on the Brooklyn Class Light  Cruiser design. Lessons learned by this class were applied to the later Baltimore Class Heavy Cruiser. The massive 8 inch main guns were the prototypes for the later cruisers and look a little out of place on the 10,000 ton hull, as you can see by the colorized image on the cover. 
Her hull and superstructure were similar in size and shape to that of the Brooklyn's, with the same high freeboard and the sea plane hanger enclosed in the stern. The Wichita also had a unique secondary armament with a mix of open and closed single 5" 38 cal gun mounts. She had 1.1 inch and 50 cal guns for the light anti aircraft, later trading these for 20 mm and 40 mm guns.
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The Wichita's history is covered in pretty good detail in several pages of text. Of course it's the photo's that really tell the story, from her beginning to her last voyage to the scrapper. There are many excellent photo's of her at various stages of construction, such as the ones on the right that show the construction as it progressed. There are also many photo's of her during in drydock after her shake down and some great ones of the ship in her prewar appearance. prewar views
The number of detail photo's in this book is extraordinary, they show all parts of the ship in great detail. This book is almost a walk around of the ship that documents virtually every part with great photo's. There are details of everything from the original 50 cal gun mounts to the 8" main guns.  closeup details
There are plenty of war time photo's that show the Wichita in company of USS Wasp, USS Washington, and members of the British home fleet. She is shown in her MS-12 modified Camouflage (both sides) during her career in the Atlantic. Her stay in the yard after her grounding is covered as well. Wichita was transferred to the Pacific later and of course you can follow here deployments in the photo's.  early war views in ms 12 mod
There are a number of great photo's of the ship while she was at Puget Sound during her late 43 refit that shows in detail the changes to her radar and anti aircraft suite. Her bridge was reduced at this time also giving her an appearance similar to the later "square bridge" Cleveland Class cruisers. latewar views
A number of drawings are included in this book including:
  • Plan and Elevation with deck levels 1939 as built.
  • Main turret cutaway section view.
  • 5 inch 38 cal Mk. 30 Mod 0 Enclosed mount cutaway section view.
  • 5 inch 38 cal Mk. 30 Mod 0 open mount plan and elevation.
  • 20 mm single perspective view.
  • 1.1 inch Quad Mount plan and Elevation.
  • 40 mm Quad Mount perspective view.
  • Plan and Elevation with deck levels August 1945 final configuration.
General Statistics with an armament summary throughout her career are also included.

This book is 56 pages packed with 90 photos. Many of the photos in this book have never been in print before. The retail price is $11.95, making it an excellent value for the Historian and Modeler alike. 


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