World of Warships

History Trivia About the Pensacola Class

WorldOfWarships2 - History Trivia About the Pensacola Class

Here's some fun, low effort trivia about the design of the Pensacola class. Hope you find it interesting!

The thing I and I'm sure many others first noticed about the Pensacola class was their unusual turret arrangement. The ships were armed with 10 8" guns in two triple and two twin turrets. However, the turrets were laid out in an unusual configuration where the triple turret superfired overtop of the twin turret. The reason for this was that, as a cruiser, Pensacola had a long, thin hull to aid with high speed cruising. There was not enough beam to fit a triple turret as far forward as the planned location of turret 1, so it was moved aft to the superfiring position.

Their square, slab-sidded turrets were somewhat larger and heavier than the hexagonal ones used on later American cruisers.

Pensacola is notorious in game for her paper-thin armor, especially for a supposed "heavy cruiser." The armor was a compromise that resulted from the need for high speed, the heavy gun armament, and the 10,000 ton displacement limit imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty.

On a related note, Pensacola was originally classified as a light cruiser upon launch. The class actually pre-dates the term "heavy cruiser" by several years. The term is a purely political one that first appeared in the London Naval Treaty in 1930, which split cruisers into "light cruisers" armed with guns 6.1 inch and smaller and "heavy cruisers" armed with guns 6.11 inch to 8 inch. This is why a "heavy cruiser" has such thin armor. The term only applies to armament and has no relation to armor protection.


The Pensacola class was originally armed with two triple 21" torpedo launchers, one per broadside. These were removed in the 1930s. There were two reasons for this. The first was to save weight for upgrades like better anti-aircraft guns and (eventually) radar and other sensors. This saving was both in terms of treaty tonnage, which limited how much weight could be added to a design as "upgrades" to fight rules lawyers, and to improve stability by reducing topweight, something which the Pensacolas, like many other treaty cruisers, struggled with. The second reason was one of doctrine. The US Navy decided that the range of cruiser guns had increased to the point that torpedoes were no longer useful in daylight engagements. This, combined with the US's emphasis on long range daylight engagements, a concern about just how safe having several tons of TNT or torpex just lying around on deck out in the open, and the aforementioned need for weight saving resulted in their removal.

The Pensacola class had the heaviest and most future-proof secondary battery of the first generation treaty cruisers. They had 8 single 5"/25 caliber dual purpose guns, compared to the County class's 4 single 4 inch guns and the Furutaka class's 4 single 3 inch guns.

Both ships survived Operation Crossroads, the tests at Bikini Atoll (the place Spongebob lives) to see the effects of atomic bombs on surface ships. Both were later sunk as target ships.

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