The Saint

uss saint paul ca-73CDR Salamander pays homage to USS Saint Paul (CA 73) in today’s Fullbore Friday.

The St. Paul was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser built during WW2 and also fought in both Korea and Vietnam. The main armament, standard for US WW2 heavy cruisers, consisted of nine 8″ guns in three triple turrets. Other than three half-sisters in the Oregon City class, the only gunned US heavy cruisers to follow the Baltimores were the larger Des Moines class. The three ships of that class featured the rapid-fire turrets and could put out hellacious hurt.

CDR Salamander writes:

Think about Somalia, Pakistan, SE Asia, China, South America – anywhere there is a shore line. Look at the mission she did and the firepower, and ability to take a hit, she took with her. Littoral? Yea, she has that. Range? Ditto? You can go on and on.

Here is the point to ponder, did we take the wrong fork in the road when we left the gun cruiser behind? Don’t talk to me about the 5″ guns we put on our CLG (which is what a Tico class is) or the Arleigh Burke class (which are a CLG as well – I don’t care what you call them).

The dirty little secret here is that the Navy has realized that it did make a mistake when it decided to go all missile and pop guns, and left the MK-71 behind. DDG-1000 proves my point.

For what it’s worth, I sure wouldn’t have minded seeing those 8″ guns from Des Moines pulled off and put on a new class of nine Littoral Fire Support Ships, each with an 8″ gun, a 5″ gun or two, and some 40mm. Or, as we’ve discussed in the past, maybe toss on a MLRS. One goes out with each Marine Expeditionary Strike Group. Just in case.

Heck, just put a triple turret on an armored barge and call it a monitor. Something.

We may never need heavy naval fire support again. But if we do, there’s no substitute for big guns going boom.