The Baltimore-class of heavy cruiser warships began service with the United States Navy (USN) during the Second World War (1939-1945). All fourteen of the planned vessels were completed and this work ran into the post-war years. The group was used to succeed the pre-war Wichita-class units and, in turn, were succeeded themselves by the post-war Oregon City-class. USS Toledo (CA-133) was one of the Baltimore-class' number but was commissioned too late to see service in World War 2. Instead, she made her career in the Korean War of 1950-1953 and operated through to the end of the 1950s before being given up.
For her service in the Korean War, the warship was awarded five Battle Stars.
As designed, the vessel displaced 13,820 tons (short). Her overall length measured 675 feet while her beam reached 70.9 feet and her draught was 20.5 feet. Power came from boiler sets feeding geared steam turbines and these drove four shafts allowing the vessel to reach speeds of up to 33 knots. Aboard was a crew of 1,142 personnel.
Armament was 9 x 8" /55 caliber main guns in three triple-gunned turrets with 12 x 5" /38 caliber secondary guns in six twin-gunned turrets. For close-in air defense, she carried 48 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns in twelve quadruple-gunned mounts and 28 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns in single-gunned mounts.
USS Toledo's keel was laid down on September 13th, 1943 and she was launched on May 6th, 1945. Commissioned on October 27th, 1946, she missed out on combat action in World War 2 altogether - the war having ended in August of the previous year.
The early part of her career centered on training voyages and goodwill stops throughout the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In 1948, she stood on station at Yokosuka as part of the Allied occupation force and more goodwill stops followed. From 1949 to 1950, she underwent a refurbishment and entered a period of crew training once more. She was at Long Beach, California when the Korean War broke out. Once readied, she was ordered to steam to the combat theater and prepare for war.
USS Toledo served in the conflict from 1950 until 1952 and completed three tours. One of her major participations in the war was during the amphibious assault at Inchon which helped to turn the tide of the war in favor of the United States and its UN allies during September 1950. The warship was used to pummel onshore and inland positions using her 8" and 5" gun batteries at range. Eventually, the enemy was pushed back for the time being and ultimately held in check. During the early part of 1953, the warship was given an overhaul back in U.S. waters and remained there when the armistice between North Korea and South Korea was signed (July 27th, 1953). She was still stationed in Korean waters (basing out of Japan) for the near future to serve as a deterrent against further aggression by the North.
After a period that included evacuating Chinese Nationalist forces from mainland China, the warship continued undertaking training exercises, patrols and goodwill stops, all in Pacific waters. With her services no longer needed, USS Toledo was retired from frontline, active service by May 1960. For the next fourteen years, she lay in reserve in San Diego waters until her name was struck from the Naval Register in January of 1974 and her hulk sold off for scrapping in late-October 1974.
Sadly, none of the Baltimore-class warships were preserved as floating museums.