|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
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.
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
USS St. Louis
Commissioned: 18 Aug 1906
Displacement: 10,964 tons full load
Length: 426' oa Beam: 66'
Armament: fourteen 6"/50, eighteen 3", twelve 3
four 1pounders, eight 1 pounder RF, ten .30" mg
Performance: 22 knots maximum
Complement: 564 as flagship