USS Guam (CB-2)

USS Guam (CB-2) was the second and last member of the Alaska class of heavy cruisers to be completed, and supported the Fast Carrier Strike Force during the battle of Okinawa and raids on the Japanese Home Islands, before ending the war with raids into the East China Sea. She was awarded two battle stars for World War II service

The Guam was laid down on 2 February 1942, launched on 12 November 1943 and commissioned on 17 September 1944. Her shakedown cruiser took her to Trinidad, and she left Philadelphia for the Pacific on 17 January 1945. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 February, and joined the fleet at Ulithi at 3 March. She joined TF58, the fast carrier task force, with the role of providing anti-aircraft cover for the carriers.

Side view of USS Guam
Side view of
USS Guam

The fleet sortied on 4 March for an attack on the Japanese Home Islands. The fleet attacked targets on Kyushu on 18 March, and came under kamikaze attack. The Guam was unable to prevent the Japanese from hitting the carriers Enterprise and Intrepid from her task group.

The carrier Franklin was more badly damaged, and the Guam formed part of a special task unit that was formed to escort her away from the danger zone and towards safety at Guam (operating alongside her sister ship Alaska). This duty lasted until 22 March and she then rejoined Task Group 58.4.

The Guam took part in a shore bombardment of Minami Daito on 27-28 March 1945, and then supported their carriers during operations off Okinawa until mid-May. In June she returned to Okinawa as part of TG 38.4 (command of the fleet having passed to Admiral Halsey, it had switched from being the Fifth Fleet to being the Third Fleet). Once again she supported the carriers during operations over Okinawa and the Jome Islands. She also carried out a second shore bombardment, this time hitting Okino Daito.  

Guam was next made flagship of Task Force 95 (Guam, Alaska, four light cruisers and nine destroyers). This fleet carried out a series of raids into the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea between 16 July and 7 August. The decline in Japanese power was demonstrated by almost total lack of resistance to these raids.

After the end of the fighting the Guam joined her sister ship Alaska in a show of strength in the Yellow Sea, and the liberation of south Korea in September. In mid-November she left the Far East at the start of a 'Magic Carpet' mission, shipping US army troops back home. She reached Bayonne, New Jersey, on 17 December 1945, where she remained for the rest of her navy career. She was decommissioned on 17 February 1947, struck off in 1960 and sold for scrap in 1961.

Displacement (standard)

29,779t

Displacement (loaded)

34,253t

Top Speed

33kts

Range

12,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

5-9in

 - armour deck

3.8-4in
1.4in weather deck
0.625in splinter deck

 - barbettes

11-13in

 - turrets

12.8in face
5in roof
5.25-6in side
5.25in rear

 - conning tower

10.6in
5in roof

Length

808ft 6in

Armaments

Nine 12in/50 guns (three triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Fifty six 40mm guns (14 four gun positions)
Thirty four 20mm guns

Crew complement

1,517

Laid down

2 February 1942

Launched

12 November 1943

Completed

17 September 1944

Stricken

1 June 1960

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 August 2015), USS Guam (CB-2) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Guam_CB-2.html

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