USS St Louis 1909 SF.jpg (50109 bytes)
USS St Louis 1909
USS St Louis

Large Protected Cruiser

Originally intended as enlarged Olympia class protected cruisers, the three ships of the St. Louis class (St. Louis, Milwaukee and Charleston) grew considerably in the design stage. Ongoing disputes over the merits of protection vs speed resulted in a series of questionable "cut the baby in half" compromises. The intended 8" main armament was sacrificed for lighter 6" guns and, presumably, more speed. But the "more protection" faction demanded - and got - more side armour at the waterline. This cost speed, which necessitated a larger and heavier powerplant ...and so on. Friedman's "American Cruisers" mentions this class as an early example of "mission creep" during the design stage.

Given all that, I still like the look of this class. The Smithsonian Museum of US History in Washington, D.C., has a beautiful 1:48th scale USS St. Louis in a striking dazzle scheme. I've combined my Smithsonian photos with archival pictures from the US Naval Historical Center, shown below.

1/48th USS St. Louis on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
I photographed the model in August 1998.

She is shown in her striking WWI dazzle scheme
St Louis 01 RM.jpg (86987 bytes) St Louis 06 RM.jpg (60770 bytes) St Louis 05 RM.jpg (57050 bytes) St Louis 04 RM.jpg (69835 bytes)

USS St. Louis

Vital Statistics

Commissioned: 18 Aug 1906
Displacement: 10,964 tons full load
Length: 426' oa  Beam: 66'

Armament: fourteen 6"/50, eighteen 3", twelve 3 pounders,
four 1pounders, eight 1 pounder RF, ten .30" mg
Performance: 22 knots maximum
Complement: 564 as flagship

US Navy Historical Center Photos
Click thumbnail image to view full size picture
USS St Louis early.jpg (68492 bytes) USS St Louis 1913 Bremerton.jpg (61102 bytes) USS St Louis 1918 dazzle.jpg (59546 bytes) USS St Louis 1917 Boston.jpg (73454 bytes)
USS St Louis 1918 dazzle 02.jpg (74098 bytes) USS St Louis valet 6in 50.jpg (71114 bytes) USS St Louis awards ceremony.jpg (81911 bytes)