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USS Little Rock (CL-92 / CLG-4 / CG-4)

Light Cruiser / Guided Missile Cruiser Warship [ 1945 ]

USS Little Rock was commissioned towards the end of World War 2 and found renewed life as a guided-missile cruiser before her sailing days ended.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/18/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

USS Little Rock (CL-92) became a late-World War 2 entry for the United States Navy (USN), arriving when victory over Japan in the Pacific was becoming an ever-greater possibility with each passing month. Her keel was laid down on March 6th, 1943 by Cramp Shipbuilding Company and the hull was launched on August 27th, 1944. Not formally commissioned until June 17th, 1945, the warship missed out on all actions related to the global conflict - instead becoming a critical USN player in the Cold War (1947-1991) that followed instead.

USS Little Rock belonged the Cleveland-class group of fighting surface warships, these hulls being "light cruisers" by definition and out of the fifty-two planned, just twenty-seven were completed. All twenty-seven went on to see retirement and, for her part, Little Rock saw a further evolution as a missile carrier before the end.

As built, the ship displaced 12,000 tons, had a length of 608 feet, a beam of 66.3 feet, and a draught down to 25.7 feet. Aboard was a crew of 1,255 personnel. Power was developed through 4 x Steam boilers feeding 4 x Geared turbines generating 100,000 horsepower to 4 x Shafts astern. This gave the warship speeds of 33 knots in open water (assuming ideal conditions) and the vessel could range out to 11,000 nautical miles giving her a good "legs" at sea. Armor protection reached up to 5" at the belt, 2" at the deck, 6" at the barbettes and turrets, and 5" at the conning tower. A pair of catapults were seated over the stern and this supported up to four recoverable floatplanes to be used for Over-the-Horizon (OtH) work - whether spotting for artillery, hunting submarines, or reconnoitering the ocean terrain ahead.

The armament suite comprised 12 x 6" (152mm) /47 caliber main guns set about four triple-gunned turrets. This was backed by 12 x 5" (127mm) /38 caliber secondary guns in six twin-gunned turrets. Following the frontline armament were 16 x 40mm Bofors automatic cannons in four quad-gunned emplacements and an additional 12 x 40mm guns in six twin-gunned emplacements. Up to 21 x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns were situated across the exposed decks of the ship, giving the ship a lethal network of guns to meet any aerial threat.

Well-armed, reasonably fast, and well-protected, USS Little Rock was a warship to be reckoned with.

Because of her late entry onto the scene (World War 2 ended in August/September of 1945), USS Little Rock entered retirement with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in 1949. On May 23rd, 1957, her CL-92 hull classification was changed to "CLG-4" and the vessel was recommissioned into service on June 3rd, 1960. Now modified with nuclear-capable Mark 7 "Talos" Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) in a single twin-launcher unit (up to 46 reloads carried), Little Rock joined five other Cleveland-class cruisers in becoming dedicated guided-missile cruisers at a time when the missile was quickly becoming the prevalent ranged weapon of the future.

Her final weapons arrangement became 3 x 6" main guns, 2 x 5" secondary guns, and 1 x Talos SAM twin-launcher.

USS Little Rock's career spanned from 1961 until 1976 when she undertook a series of deployments, some involving NATO. In 1976, the USN gave up use of the Talos missile system which briefly opened the door for Little Rock (now classified as "CG-4") to be modernized with an all-new weapons set and propulsion system. However, after review, the plan was shelved and the warship decommissioned for good on November 22nd, 1976.

Unlike other warships of the World War 2 and early Cold War periods, USS Little Rock did not fall to the scrapman's torch. Instead, she was preserved as a floating museum alongside the wartime destroyer USS The Sullivans. Today she resides at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Cramp Shipbuilding Company - USA
United States
Operators National flag of the United States
United States
National Origin
Decomissioned, Preserved
Project Status
Hull Class
USS Cleveland (); USS Columbia (); USS Montpelier (); USS Denver (); USS Amsterdam / Independence (); USS Santa Fe (); USS Tallahassee / Princeton (); USS Birmingham (); USS Mobile (); USS Vincennes (); USS Pasadena (); USS Springfield (); USS Topeka (); USS NEw Haven / Belleau Wood (); USS Huntington / Cowpens (); USS Dayton / Monterey (); USS Wilmington / Cabot (); US Biloxi (); USS Vicksburg / Houston (); USS Providence (); USS Manchester (); USS Buffalo (); USS Fargo / Langley (); USS Vicksburg; USS Duluth (); USS Newark (); USS Miami (); USS Wilkes-Barre / Astoria (); USS Oklahoma City (); USS Little Rock (); USS Galveston (); USS Youngstown; USS Buffalo / Bataan (); USS Newark / San Jacinto (); USS Amsterdam (); USS Portsmouth (); USS Wilkes-Barre (); USS Atlanta (); USS Dayton ()

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.

610.0 feet
(185.93 meters)
66.3 feet
(20.21 meters)
25.0 feet
(7.62 meters)

4 x Babcock & Wilcox boilers feeding 4 x Steam turbines and developing 100,000 horsepower to 4 x Shafts.
33.0 knots
(38.0 mph)
Surface Speed
12,600 nm
(14,500 miles | 23,335 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

Original Fit:
12 x 6" /47 caliber (152mm) main guns in four three-gunned turrets.
12 x 5" /38 caliber (127mm) guns in six twin-gunned turrets.
12 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns in two four-gunned turrets and two two-gunned turrets.
20 x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns

As Guided-Missile Cruiser:
3 x 6" (152mm) main guns.
2 x 5" /38 caliber guns.
1 x Mark 7 "Talos" Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) twin-missile launcher (46 reloads).


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


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Image of the USS Little Rock (CL-92 / CLG-4 / CG-4)
Image from the United States Navy image archives.

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