Baltimore-class Heavy Cruiser, USS Saint Paul (CA-73) (1970) - Long Range Bombardment

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USS Saint Paul (CA-73), in 1966

Background

USS Saint Paul was the sixth ship of the Baltimore class cruisers, commissioned in early 1945. As with the other Baltimore class ships, she was completed with nine 8 inch guns, twelve 5 inch guns, and many 40 mm and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns. Eventually her quad 40 mm mounts were replaced with twin 3 inch mounts and her forward-most 5 inch gun mount was removed. Saint Paul would participate in World War II, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War. In 1970 she used the Long Range Bombardment Ammunition on Viet Cong targets up to 35 miles (64 km) away in some of the longest range gun-fire missions in history. She was decommissioned in 1971, the last of the Baltimore retaining their original all-gun configuration.

Specifications

Table
Displacement 14,500 tons
Length 673 ft 5 in (205.26 m)
Beam 70 ft 10 in (21.59 m)
Draft 26 ft 5 in (8.05 m)
Speed 32 knots (59 km/h)
Complement 1700 officers and enlisted
Gun Turret/Mount
9 × 8"(203 mm)/55 Mark 15 3 × Three-gun Turrets
10 × 5"(127 mm)/38 Mark 12 5 × Mark 32 Mounts
12 × 3"(76 mm)/50 Mark 22 6 × Mark 33 Mounts

Long Range Bombardment Ammunition


The Long Range Bombardment Ammunition (LRBA) was a sub-caliber round designed for the naval 8 inch gun in order to extend range. The dart had a diameter of 4.125 inches (104 mm) fitting in the 8 inch gun with a sabot. The projectile had a range of up to 72,000 feet (66 km), this compares to the full-caliber ammunition with ranges up to 30,500 feet (28 km). The projectile weighed 111.8 pounds (50.7 kg) or 129.4 pounds (58.7 kg) with the sabot. The filler composed of 13 pounds (5.9 kg) of PBX-w-106.

AP Mark 21 HC Mark 25 LRBA
Mass 335 lbs. (152 kg) 260 lbs. (118 kg) 111.8 lbs. (50.7 kg)
Bursting Charge 5.03 lbs. (2.3 kg) 21.37 lbs. (9.7 kg) 13 lbs. (5.9 kg)
Muzzle Velocity 2,500 ft/s (762 m/s) 2,700 f/s (823 m/s) 4,000 f/s (1,200 m/s)

Although the long range isn’t particularly useful in game and the filler is noticeably less than the full-caliber HE shell, there are some potential benefits to it in game. The higher velocity means the shot doesn’t have to be lead as far and changes in the targets movement won’t have as much of an effect (standard shells can spend as much as 20 seconds in the air with this games engagement distances!). Another potential benefit would be the shallower trajectories for a given range. This means the guns won’t have to spend as much time changing elevation when switching between targets and the effective size of the target may be a bit bigger. The projectiles may also hit armor at less of an angle and combined with the higher velocity and lower cross-sectional area may lead to significantly higher penetration compared to it’s full-caliber counterparts.

Sources

Spoiler

USS Saint Paul (CA-73) - Wikipedia
Baltimore-class cruiser - Wikipedia
USS Saint Paul (CA 73) - Navysite
8"/55 (20.3 cm) Marks 12 and 15 - NavWeaps

Image Sources

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USS Saint Paul (CA-73), in 1966 (cropped)
USS Saint Paul (CA-73) off Wonsan, Korea, 20 April 1951 (80-K-11868)
WNUS 8-55 mk12-15 LRBA pic