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Photo # NH 55011:  USS California.  Photographed circa 1908

Online Library of Selected Images:
U.S. NAVY SHIPS -- Listed by Hull Number

"ACR" and CA -- Armored Cruisers and (after 1920) larger Protected Cruisers

Armored cruisers were among the earliest new ships built for the "steel navy" of the later 1880s and the 1890s. In accordance with contemporary practice, these were grouped serially in an "Armored Cruiser" number series (informally abbreviated "ACR") that ultimately encompassed thirteen ships. When the Navy formally implemented its hull number system in 1920, the surviving units were given CA series numbers which corresponded to their original numbers. At the same time, several larger protected cruisers were also given new numbers in the same series.

The London Naval Treaty of 1930 produced a division of the existing "Light Cruiser" type into the new categories of Light Cruisers (CL) and Heavy Cruisers (CA). The U.S. Navy redesignated eight newly-built CLs as heavy cruisers and gave them CA series numbers. However these were simply a continuation of the same ships' previous light cruiser numbers and were not part of the earlier "ACR"/CA series, which became extinct with the scuttling of the old USS Rochester (CA-2) on Christmas Eve 1941, soon after the outbreak of the Pacific War.

This page provides the numbers of U.S. Navy armored cruisers, and of larger protected cruisers retained after 1920.

See the list below to locate photographs of individual armored cruisers numbered in the original "ACR" and CA series.

If the armored cruiser you want does not have an active link on this page, contact the Photographic Section concerning other research options.

Armored cruisers numbered in the pre-1920 "Armored Cruiser" number series:


  • To the best of our knowledge, the Online Library's pictures are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page may bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".

    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

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    Page made 21 August 2002
    New ship added 14 June 2009