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Naval Warfare

USS Canberra (CA-70)

Heavy Cruiser / Missile Cruiser Warship [ 1943 ]

The USS Canberra survived World War 2, the Vietnam War and the Cold War as two different class of fighting ship.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/13/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The USS Canberra was a United States naval warship that was put into action in the middle years of World War 2 and survived long enough to take part in some of the most critical years of the Cold War and the Vietnam conflict. The vessel was modestly armed and was fielded initially as part of the Baltimore-class cruiser family. Later, the Canberra was converted to accept the Terrier surface-to-air missile system and had her designation changed from CA-70 to CAG-2 to represent her as a guided missile cruiser, now part of the Boston-class of warships.

The Canberra's profile is typical of ships in the class with a large superstructure dominating the design. The superstructure is complimented with masts containing sensors and arrays and is surrounded by a battery of armament which originally consisted of 9 x 8" main guns and 12 x 5" cannons. This was altered when the Canberra became a guided missile cruiser and as such she was now armed with 6 x 8" main guns, 10 x 5" cannons and 12 x 3" cannons along with her supply of 2 x Terrier missile launchers for anti-aircraft defense. In any case, the World War 2-era vessel was now making a transition to the Cold War-era where missiles would begin to take the place of cannon as a vessels main armament. Her main guns were held in turrets with two forward and one aft with three guns to an emplacement. The addition of the Terrier system deleted the aft gun turret and its three guns.

While in service during World War 2, her actions primarily kept her located in the central Pacific. In 1944, she served as part of US Task Force 58 for the Battle of Philippine Sea and took part in the battle for Truk eventually succumbing to severe damage inflicted by a Japanese torpedo in the Battle of Formosa off Okinawa in June of that year. Her damage was such that her war days in the conflict were numbered and the USS Canberra was decommissioned following the war in 1947 and put into reserve.

With the arrival of the Cold War, the USS Canberra (CA-70) was back in service, now undergoing conversion to become a guided missile heavy cruiser. This conversion forced her from her Baltimore-class classification to the Boston-class family where she joined the USS Boston as the modernized CAG-2. The vessel was made ready in time to take part in the deterrent blockading actions in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some time later, Canberra would see herself deployed several times in support of the Vietnam conflict where, by this time, her Terrier missile systems were wholly outdated though her common guns were put to good use as she shelled inland targets and took part in the TET Offensive. With the war over and her fighting years behind her, the USS Canberra returned home with her old CA-70 designation now reinstated and was officially decommissioned in 1970. Her parts were unceremoniously sold for scrapping in 1980.

The USS Canberra was first ordered in 1940 and laid down in 1941 by Bethel Steel Company Fore River Shipyard. She was launched in 1943 and commissioned later that same year. She fought under the motto of "Can-Do Kangaroo" and was named in honor of an Australian cruiser - the HMAS Canberra, a vessel lost to the sea after taking torpedo damage from Japanese forces at the Battle of Savo Island. Incidentally, the USS America remains the only United States Navy vessel to be named after an existing foreign ship. In response, the Australian Navy commissioned the destroyer HMAS Bataan as a tribute to the Battle of Bataan.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States


Baltimore-class / Boston-class

USS Albany (CA-123); USS Baltimore (CA-68); USS Boston (CA-69); USS Bremerton (CA-130); USS Canberra (CA-70); USS Chicago (CA-136); USS Columbus (CA-74); USS Fall River (CA-131); USS Helena (CA-75); USS Los Angeles (CA-135); USS Macon (CA-132); USS Oregon City (CA-122); USS Pittsburgh (CA-72); USS Quincy (CA-71); USS Rochester (CA-124); USS Saint Pau (CA-73); USS Toldeo (CA-133)

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

674.0 ft
205.44 m
70.0 ft
21.34 m
24.0 ft
7.32 m

Installed Power: 4 x Boilers with geared turbines driving 4 x shafts.
Surface Speed
33.0 kts
(38.0 mph)
7,094 nm
(8,164 mi | 13,139 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
CA 70 (heavy cruiser):
9 x 8"/55 main guns
12 x 5"/38 cannons

CAG 2 (missile cruiser):
6 x 8"/55 main guns
10 x 5"/38 cannons
12 x 3"/50 cannons
2 x Terrier twin-rail surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers

Supported Types

Graphical image of a historical warship turreted main gun armament
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

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