- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armament
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Baltimore-class,USS Baltimore (CA-68), 1943 is a gift rank V American heavy cruiser with a battle rating of 6.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during Update "Hot Tracks" as a reward for the 2020 Operation W.I.N.T.E.R. event.
The Baltimore-class heavy cruisers represent the zenith of the United States Navy "screening fleet" doctrine during World War II. The ships of this class feature a variety of gun calibres placed all over the ship, with the emphasis on providing anti-air defense to fleet carriers taken to another level.
The USS Baltimore, the lead ship of the class, features a very high amount of anti-air armaments amongst cruisers with 72 in total. This huge amount of guns (consisting of powerful 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm Oerlikon autocannons) will keep all but the most daring of enemy aircraft at bay. Her anti-ship firepower is also not to be underestimated, as she features nine 8 inch (203 mm) cannons with super-heavy APCBC shells and versatile 127 mm secondary turrets. This makes the Baltimore a force to be reckoned with in top rank naval battles.
Survivability and armour
As with most of the US destroyers and some cruisers, the Baltimore's hull is clad with anti-fragmentation armour to protect her crew from HE shells, with her deck armour having 28.5 mm of thickness, 12.7 mm on her bow and stern, and 19 mm on the central compartments. When angled properly, she can absorb any cruiser-calibre HE shells with little to no crew loss and is immune to destroyer-calibre HE shells as long as they don't damage her wide array of secondary and AA armaments. As crew compartments and critical modules are placed far away from each other, the Baltimore is highly resilient to fire damage.
In terms of armour and module protection, the Baltimore is expectedly well-armoured. Her frontal and rear auxiliary magazine rooms are located below the waterline and are clad with 76 mm of armour at the sides, 63.5 mm at the deck, 140 mm at the bulkhead, and 127 mm at the stern. Her citadel is very well-armoured, with 152 mm on all sides except 63.5 mm at the deck. Her main turrets are protected with 203 mm armour at the front, 82.5 mm at the sides, 76 mm at the top, and 36.5 mm at the rear, and thus are harder to be taken out.
Baltimore's protection is not without weakness, however. Her fatal weakspots are the main magazine rooms which are located inside the shell elevator sitting way above the waterline, designed with the intention of providing Baltimore with consistent firepower without having to restock the ready racks. While the shell elevator is heavily-protected (with 160 mm of armour), well-aimed AP shots that manage to get inside the magazine are likely to detonate it, causing fatal damage.
Having lots of AA also means lots of crew (1,560). However, lots of crew can also be lost due to the AA and secondary turrets being repeatedly destroyed. It is not recommended to repair the ship unless major damage has been sustained.
The Baltimore's top speed is on par with that of the Hipper-class heavy cruiser, her agility is better however. She is unlikely to evade a torpedo if spotted too late, but being a heavy cruiser, she should survive a hit or two.
|Game Mode||Upgrade Status||Maximum Speed (km/h)|
Modifications and economy
The Baltimore features 9 x 8 inch/55 Mark 12 cannons in three triple turrets arranged in an A-Bs-X setup as her main armament. The guns have a rather mediocre traverse speed, but with a decent amount of firing angle to help increase her survivability when angled.
As with any other American heavy cruisers, the Baltimore's main guns have a mediocre rate of fire than its contemporaries, with 15 seconds (ace crew) of reload time, though this is a noticeable improvement compared to other American heavy cruisers armed with a similar-sized guns. The guns are also quite accurate with relatively low dispersion.
The ship utilizes a "common" type SAP shells as the default shell, which is completely inadequate against most opponents that she will face. While the shell has a sizeable filler of 4.84 kg of TNT equivalent, its penetration of 71 mm at 10 km is terrible (especially for its calibre), and is unable to put a dent in most enemy cruisers beyond 7.5 km range. This means you have to get dangerously close to enemies to deal damage, thus exposing yourself as a target for enemy ships.
Depending on your preference, you might want to get the "super-heavy" APCBC shell first before getting repair kits and FPE. The "super-heavy" shell is the trademark of the Baltimore-class heavy cruisers, since these shells are heavier than others, weighing over 151 kg, while most of the other nations' shells usually weigh around 110 kg. This gives them a longer flight time, but a steeper angle. The idea behind its design was that, at long ranges (~9 km), the shells would penetrate battleship's decks from above instead of hitting the much thicker side armour, potentially reaching critical components. With 256 mm of penetration at 10 km and the aforementioned unique properties, the shell is able to reach further into enemy ship's critical components, dealing much higher post-penetration damage than its counterparts due to the weight of the shell.
Other than the "super-heavy" APCBC shell, the Baltimore also has access to a general-purpose HE shell with decent 9.5 kg of TNT equivalent filler to soften enemy ships, and a "special" SAP shell with a marginally better penetration but less filler, which is still ill-suited against anything beyond 8 km.
The Baltimore features 12 x 5 inch/38 Mk.12 dual-purpose guns in six double turrets, two on the port and starboard sides each, and one at the front and the rear of her superstructure. These turrets have similar characteristics to those on the late war American destroyers such as the Somers or the Moffett, but with even faster reload (2.8 seconds with ace crew). As she can use up to 8 guns at once (the same as the aforementioned destroyers), the dual-purpose guns provide formidable supporting fire against enemy cruisers and destroyers, and act as potent defence against enemy PT boats and aircraft.
The shell choice of the secondary armaments is the same as found on the destroyers; a basic HE shell which provides good continuous damage, an SAP shell which ironically has better penetration than the main gun's SAP shell and thus more capable at dealing damage, and an HE-VT shell for anti-air purposes.
When it comes to anti-air armaments, the Baltimore takes the whole cake. The Baltimore features a staggering 48 x 40 mm Bofors AA cannons in 12 quadruple turrets and 24 x 20 mm Oerlikon cannons placed all over the ship. Without even taking the dual-purpose 127 mm guns into account, the Baltimore can create a literal "bullet hell" for any aircraft and PT boats that are either brave or foolish enough to come close to it and quickly dispatch them. In addition, these guns are also very useful for disabling enemy secondary and AA armaments at closer ranges (~4 km) and chipping away at their crew.
It should be noted, however, that the Baltimore will usually lose several guns (and a considerable amount of crew in the process) during firefights, and that her AA defence capabilities may be significantly reduced before the enemy team decides to spawn as aircraft.
Scout planeLocated on the stern are two catapults with one OS2U-1 scout plane each which provide unique offensive and defensive abilities, expanding tactical options. Ship-launched scout planes fly just like regular tree units but lack munition choices and cockpit views. Alongside the typical abilities of strafing, dropping 2 x 100 lb bombs, and capping zones, the OS2U-1 and other scout planes have the added ability to lay down smoke cover (up to 3 times). Captains will be wise to remember to utilize the aircraft and consider when best to use it, for example to cap a point early or late in the match, to create a smoke screen to stymie enemy bombardment and repair, to attack enemy units directly, or perhaps something completely new! With two scout planes one can risk a cap attempt at the beginning of the match, saving the second for any opportunity that presents itself.
Usage in battles
With a wide variety of guns on board and great protection, the Baltimore feels right at home when protecting allies from aircraft and surface targets, as well as acting as a vanguard for the team, providing heavy firepower and taking several hits in return.
Without the super-heavy APCBC shells at the start, the Baltimore's 203 mm guns with an awful stock "common" SAP shell which struggle to damage anything beyond 8 km. Your main priority is to quickly gain access to the "super-heavy" APCBC rounds: one should target enemy cruisers and destroyers at closer range (within 7.5 km), or play as the brawler by utilizing both the primary and secondary armaments and get closer to enemy ship to get more chance of a clean shots and more damage.
Once the "super-heavy" APCBC shell and the damage control kit (repair kit and FPE) is unlocked, the Baltimore's full potential as a universal gun cruiser will be unleashed. Due to the unique properties of the shell, at longer ranges, the shell is capable of penetrating the usually weaker deck armour instead of side armour, punching deep into the ship with its weight, and dealing devastating damage as a result. This allows a keen captain to take out enemy ship's key compartments (engines, drive shaft, ammo racks) and potentially capable of even ammoracking enemy battleships. Other than this, the HE shell is handy for softening enemy targets or finishing them off, while the "special" SAP shell is not that much better than the "common" SAP shell.
Other than the powerful 203 mm guns, the Baltimore utilizes rapid-firing 127 mm secondary guns to deal additional damage. As the AI gunners are quite inaccurate, you may want to handle the gun youself while the main gun is reloading to fire more precise shots at the enemy.
While the anti-air AI gunners can do their job well (especially at longer ranges) due to them spraying huge clouds of shells at the enemy aircraft, you might want to take control of the gun yourself if the enemy manages to slip closer to you or your allies.
When trying to survive in the USS Baltimore, the large amount of crew paired with her anti-fragmentation belt and other armour layers allows her to take a beating, however, her survivability can be exponentially increased if her captain chooses correctly when to repair. Boasting a huge anti-air profile, Baltimore's AA guns also pose as a crew sink drain for enemy HE, knocking out the 40 mm and 20 mm mounts together with the AA gun crews. If a careless repair is initiated, all destroyed anti-air mounts will be repaired and filled with a fresh crew that will become vulnerable to the next HE barrages. being selective about when to repair will decrease the number of times the AA mounts are destroyed and subsequently reduce the amount of crew bleed from engagements with other ships. Repairing damaged mounts only when an enemy air attack is anticipated or imminent is often the best course of action unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
Pros and cons
- Hull is clad with layers of anti-fragmentation armour, highly resilient to cruiser-calibre HE shells and fire damage
- Very well-armoured, can take a lot of punishments when angled properly
- Decent mobility for a heavy cruiser
- Great armaments
- Accurate main guns with much better fire rate than other American heavy cruisers
- Super-heavy APCBC shells have high penetration and post-penetration damage, capable of dealing considerable damage even against battleships
- Large amounts of fast-firing secondary 127 mm guns providing good supplementary damage at mid-to-close ranges
- 72 anti-air guns provide amazing aerial and close range defences
- Large crew size, with proper handling and damage control, she can stay afloat for the entire match
- Two scout seaplanes.
- Very large target, easy to hit at longer ranges without angling and is vulnerable to torpedoes
- Atrocious stock grind, as the default common SAP shell have very poor penetration
- While faster than other American cruisers, the guns still have somewhat slow rate of fire compared to its contemporaries of other nations
- No torpedo armaments, have to rely solely on the guns to deal damage
- Rear turret's firing arc is obstructed by scout plane catapults, can make firing on retreat somewhat tricky
- While heavily armoured, a well-placed AP shots can detonate her ready shells in the elevator
USS Baltimore (CA-68) was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers built for the United States during the Second World War. Based on the preceding unique heavy cruiser Wichita, the Baltimores were extremely heavily armed and carried a potent anti-aircraft armament, though like all other American cruisers, they lacked torpedo armament. Baltimore saw extensive service in the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War, and carried Franklin D. Roosevelt to his meeting with American military leaders at Pearl Harbour. After the war, she was reduced to reserve, but reactivated for the Korean War. Despite false allegations by the North Koreans that Baltimore had been sunk by North Korean G-5 torpedo boats, she was actually reduced to reserve, and scrapped by 1973.
Design and development
The Baltimore class was designed to be a successor to the previous Pensacola, Northampton, Portland and New Orleans classes. The ship's design was based off of the USS Wichita, a unique heavy cruiser built just before the outbreak of hostilities. The hull itself was also extremely similar to the hull of the Cleveland class, a class of light cruiser that was then under construction. Superficially, the Baltimores look extremely similar to the Clevelands, but carried a heavier main armament. Built to this specification, the USS Baltimore was laid down in May of 1941, and commissioned after the start of the war in April of 1943.
Baltimore was 205 metres long and displaced almost 14000 tons standard, making her considerably heavier than her predecessors. Her main armament consisted of nine 8-inch (203 mm) guns in three triple turrets, the same layout as the preceding cruiser classes. However, Baltimore carried a significantly-improved secondary and anti-aircraft armament suite, composed of twelve 5-inch (127 mm) guns in six dual mounts, 48 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns in 12 quad mounts, and 24 Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns in single mounts. Powered by steam turbines delivering 120 000 shaft horsepower, she was capable of making 33 knots (61 km/h).
Following her commissioning in 1943, Baltimore joined the Pacific Fleet and spent October-November 1943 in training off the coast of California. Between November 1943 and June of 1944, Baltimore was part of a coastal bombardment force that provided fire support at the Makin Islands, Kwajalein and Truk landings. During this time, the force made great use of Baltimore's heavy main guns, proving themselves to be effective coastal bombardment weapons. Baltimore continued to provide this fire support capacity until June of 1944, when she returned to the Continental United States.
After returning to the United States, Baltimore embarked President Franklin D. Roosevelt and transported him to Pearl Harbour, where the president met with Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur. After the meeting, Baltimore transported the President to Alaska, and then returned to active duty. She spent the last part of the war providing fire support for American troops at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the cessation of hostilities, Baltimore joined the "magic carpet fleet" and transported American veterans back to their homeland.
After the war ended, Baltimore joined the reserve fleet at Bremerton, where she stayed until the Korean War started. She was reactivated in 1951 and assigned to the Atlantic fleet, meaning that she did not see service in the Korean theatre. She later represented the United States at the UK Fleet Review of 1953, and spent a short time in the Eastern Theatre before being reduced to reserve again. A North Korean museum claims that the Baltimore was sunk by G-5 Torpedo Boats in 1950, and has an exhibit showing "the actual boat" that sank the Baltimore. In fact, the Baltimore was never in the Korean Theatre during the war, and was scrapped in 1973. Baltimore earned a total of 9 war stars for her service during the Second World War.
The development of new heavy cruisers for the US Navy began after the outbreak of World War II. The restrictions of the London and Washington Treaties ceased to be relevant, so the United States enthusiastically began to refine the projects built within the limits of the restrictions. Based on the heavy cruisers of the USS Wichita class, a new cruiser was developed to correct the issues of its predecessor, namely low stability and a shortage of anti-aircraft weapons, and also with improved seaworthiness, protection and range. The lead ship of the new series, the heavy cruiser USS Baltimore, was laid down in 1941. The distinctive features of the new large series of cruisers are extremely powerful and versatile anti-aircraft weapons and an increased hull width for increased stability. The USS Baltimore entered service in 1943 and immediately began performing combat missions in the Pacific. Until the end of World War II, Baltimore was in the midst of naval war, taking part in a number of US operations. After a short "vacation" it was re-commissioned in 1951, but did not take part in the new, Korean War. The ship was decommissioned from service in May 1956.
- Related development
- USS Pittsburgh, a 1953 modernization of the standard Baltimore
- Similar vessels
- Chen, C. (2005, December). Heavy Cruiser Baltimore (CA-68). Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=165
- Wertheim, E. (2019, September 02). USS Baltimore (CA-68). Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1996/july/uss-baltimore-ca-68
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