USS Wichita (CA-45)

Wichita in May, 1944. Photo in the collection of the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

USS Wichita (CA-45) was the last of the US Navy's Treaty Cruisers, built in the 1930s, and restricted by the Washington and London Naval Treaties in size and displacement. A one-off design, Wichita was designed to use up the US's remaining cruiser tonnage allotment from the treaties. Laid down 28 October, 1935, and commissioned 16 February, 1939, Wichita saw early War service on Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic, and supported the invasion of French North Africa in November, 1942. She later operated on convoy runs to Murmansk, before transferring to the Pacific in early 1943. Shortly after arriving, Wichita participated in the Battle of Rennell Island (29 January), where she was struck by a dud torpedo. She was later transferred to the Aleutians, and covered US landings on Attu and Kiska. Back in the Central Pacific in 1944, Wichita operated with the carriers and bombardment groups, claiming two B5Ns in the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot in June, and assists on the converted carrier Chiyoda and destroyer Hatsuzuki in the Battle of Cape EngaƱo in October. Wichita was sent back to the US for an overhaul in November, 1944, after two of her four propeller shafts were found to be inoperable. She was back in service in time for the invasion of Okinawa, where she escaped damage until 27 April, when she was hit by a small shell that penetrated a fuel tank. The damage was repaired, but she was hit again on 12 May, this time by an American 5" shell. She finished out the war off Okinawa, and was assigned to occupation duties in Nagasaki and Sasebo. Wichita joined Operation Magic Carpet in November, making to voyages to bring servicemen back to San Francisco. Placed in reserve on 15 July, 1946, Wichita decommissioned the following February, and remained in reserve until she was sold for scrap in 1959.