The design for the St Louis Class cruisers of the 1900 Program was one of the worst designs ever devised for the United States Navy. Originally meant to be improved versions of the USS Olympia, which was 5,500 tons, this cruiser picked up weight hand over fist, without increasing fighting ability. Called a "semi-armored" cruiser the class was listed in the standard cruiser numbering, rather than those of the armored cruisers. The three ships, St Louis, Milwaukee and Charleston started out at 6,000 tons but lack of focus and political considerations coming into play, finally came in displacing 9,700 tons, the weight of a full armored cruiser, without the armor or armament. With 14 six inch guns and a eight gun broadside, they were considerably under-gunned for their weight. She was equally under armored for her size with a very limited four inch belt with most of the protection coming from an armored deck, which was the primary protection for protected cruiser designs. On the plus side, these vessels were indeed handsome. They resemble scaled down versions of the following Pennsylvania Class armored cruiser without the fore and aft turrets. 

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The photographs shown here are those taken by Quintin Trammell, showing his build of the 1:350 scale kit of USS Milwaukee from Iron Shipwright.

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