The USS Fall River (CA-131)
was one of the originally six Baltimore-class heavy cruisers selected for conversion to missile cruisers. For some reason, the almost brand-new vessel, which had enjoyed only about two-and-a-half years of active service before being mothballed at the end of 1947, was ultimately rejected and the Chicago
was selected instead.
But, what if one of the many projects that the USN entertained but ultimately had to abandon due to fiscal constraints would have borne fruit: in 1955/56, the navy studied the feasibility of converting one or to Baltimores
into a heavy cruiser equivalent of the Cleveland
I selected the USS Fall River
to represent this project and gave her the designation CAG-3, to pair her in with the previous missile cruisers Boston (CAG-1)
and Canberra (CAG-2)
. As such the Fall River
retains her forward battery of six 8" guns, and has six 5" guns in three twin gun houses. She also has eight 3" guns in four open twin mounts. The whole aft section of the ship was rebuilt, resulting in a large, long and tall continuous deck-house with a ready room and a generous magazine beneath capable of storing 102 Talos long-range missiles.
The conversion otherwise is even more austere in certain aspects than the Boston's
; she retains her two slim funnels. A new bridge, similar to the earlier CAGs allowed the ship to serve as flagship.
Here is Fall River
represented as of 1970, with the SPS-8 heightfinder radar replaced by the SPS-52 long-range 3D radar on top of her middle pole mast, and several early SatCom antennas.