Welcome back to your weekly installment of the ship of the week! Back by unpopular request, I'm sealclubbing moderator Tsukiumi. This week though, we’re taking things to the high tiers! The very high tiers in fact. It’s time to have some island-humping fun!
That’s right, it’s time for Tier X Best Girl!
Des Moines was launched in September 1946 by the Bethlehem Steel Company, and commissioned in November of 1948. She became the first of her class to mount the semi-automatic Mark 16 8 inch turrets, and the first to carry the new Sikorsky HO3S-1 utility helicopters in place of seaplanes.
In a varied operating schedule designed to maintain the readiness of the Navy to meet the constant demands of defense and foreign policy, Des Moines cruised from her home port at Newport, Rhode Island and after 1950, from Norfolk, Virginia on exercises of every type in the Caribbean, along the East Coast, in the Mediterranean Sea, and in North Atlantic waters. Annually between 1949 and 1957 she deployed to the Mediterranean, during the first seven years serving as flagship for the 6th Task Fleet (known as the 6th Fleet from 1950). In 1952, and each year from 1954 to 1957, she carried midshipmen for summer training cruises, crossing to Northern European ports on the first four cruises. She also sailed to Northern Europe on NATO exercises in 1952, 1953, and 1955. On 18 February 1958, she cleared Norfolk for the Mediterranean once more, this time to remain as flagship for the 6th Fleet until July 1961 when was placed out of commission in reserve.
Through her Mediterranean services Des Moines contributed significantly to the success of the 6th Fleet in representing American power and interests in the countries of Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Near East. She made this contribution through such activities as her participation in NATO Mediterranean exercises; her call to seldom-visited Rijeka, Yugoslavia, in December 1950 and Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, in May 1960, and to many other ports as a regular feature of her schedule; her cruising in the eastern Atlantic during the wake of the Suez Crisis of 1956; and service on patrol and as control center for American forces in the Lebanon crisis of 1958. Film footage of her cruising with other ships of the United States 6th Fleet was used in the introduction and conclusion of the movie: "John Paul Jones" (starring Robert Stack).
After decommissioning in 1961 she was mothballed in the South Boston Naval Annex and eventually laid up in the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Philadelphia in maintained reserve. In 1981 the United States Congress directed that the Navy conduct a survey to determine if she and sister ship USS Salem could be reactivated (in lieu of two Iowa-class battleships) to support the 600-ship Navy proposed by the Reagan Administration. The study concluded that while both ships would be useful in the active fleet, there was not enough deck space to add the modern weapons (such as Tomahawk cruise missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Phalanx CIWS mounts, radars and communication systems) that the ships would need to operate in a 1980's environment. In addition, the per-ship costs for the reactivations and updates (that were determined feasible) would be close to the costs for an Iowa. Therefore, both ships remained in maintained reserve until they were struck off the reserve list in August 1993. After an attempt to turn her into a museum ship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, failed (Salem did become a museum ship however) she was sold in 2005, and then towed to Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. By July 2007, she had been completely broken up. Her status officially changed to "disposed of by scrapping, dismantling" on 16 August 2007. Two of her dual 5"/38 gun mounts were donated to the USS Lexington (CV-16) museum in Corpus Christi, TX, where they can now be seen on display. Her sister ship USS Newport News (CA-148) was scrapped in New Orleans in 1993. The third Des Moines-class ship, the USS Salem (CA-139), is a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts.
So, what’s she like in game?
Hey kid? You wanna citadel something?
In the right hands, a Des Moines is one of the most powerful ships in game. She will often be found next to her waifu, Island-Chan (Thank you, /u/ThePrimeHunter), but can be played in other ways too. Don’t believe me as to how powerful a Des Moines can be?
Yeah. She’s wicked good in the right hands. But, I do play her as a radar ship. I’m sane, okay.
Insanely quick rate of fire, coupled with AP that absolutely devastates broadside…. well, anything, makes for a powerful combination. Camp the right island though, and you can really make for a strong defense. On some maps, I’ve been known to choose islands inside of caps. You can kill me, but you’ll need a hell of a lot of force to do it. Des Moines attracts a lot of fire, and that’s just how she likes it. She wants to be the center of attention, while safely guarding her vulnerable side with the finest in external armor. We don’t talk about Ocean.
How to play the Des Moines:
This is the first time I’ve done one of these where I don’t need the torpedo warning! Step 1. Get the legendary module. Yes, it’s as good as the hype. Your acceleration will break the laws of physics- think of the fastest car you’ve ever driven (Mine is a Supercharged 1996 Riviera). Yeah, the Des Moines with Legendary Mod will make whatever car you pictured look like it’s headed out to Bingo night.
Go find an island and watch as shells hit the innocent rock next to you. Use AP primarily- you will deal large damage really fast. Cruisers will either not dare to show you a broadside, or they will die quickly to you. Battleships won’t want to show you broadside either. And, DDs: Call the ambulance and police- There’s about to be a murder in progress. Airplanes you say? Well, if you dislike carriers, you’re going to fall in love with Des Moines.
If you are a carrier, you’ll view Des Moines about as favorably as most players view your ship 😛
Put Des Moines in a tough situation and she can really rock hard! Forget you have a back turret in most cases, and pummel broadsides with AP. Turn angled BBs into a nice, golden crispy flavor at 350 degrees, and when they’re ready to turn, AP them! Get in there with your radar, being close to the action to the point that the entire team is spamming the “Get Back!” command, but in safety at the same time. Set your trap, and nuke those who dare to challenge you. If nobody does, then it’s time to pull an REO Speedwagon move, and take it on the run! With legendary mod, you can juke shots easier, getting you out of really tricky situations. Remember though, Legendary or not, you do NOT want to show your side- flash that to the enemies and you’ll be reeling in pain.
P.S. The3GuiltySpar (Prinz Eugen player in my last match), yes, I’m "the Tsukiumi from Reddit." And, yes, you are right. I am an absolutely insane Des Moines driver. I put her in places where most people never dare. But, you all should too. That’s when she really shines. Pull out a copy of Pearl Jam’s “(I’m Still) Alive” and go ham. She can take the heat. And between you and me, she LOVES to play rough. Just, not in her side. Or her front. Or her rear. Or with RTS Midway AP bombs.
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