I tried SO hard not to have to pore more venom out on the Alaska Class, but no...
The Alaska's were not fine ships. They had an exceptional 12 inch gun, possibly one of the best naval rifles every designed. Unfortunately those 12" guns were located on a battleship size hull (808 feet long, 91 feet wide, 35,000 tons full load) with heavy cruiser protection. Had the ship been a balanced design (i.e. proof against its own main battery) it would have had a displacement greater than the North Carolina class (728 feet L, 108 feet W, 45,000 tons full load) and South Dakota class (680' L, 108' W, 45,200 tons full load) battleships. The only ships the U.S. built during WW II that cost more than the Alaska class were the Iowa class battleship, the Kearsarge (which managed to cost $22M dollars more than the rest of the Essex Class for some bloody reason), and the Midway. Yep, the Alaska class cost MORE (fractionally, but still more) than a full on battleship with 9 sixteen inch guns and 20 5"/38s (the Alaskas carried 12 5"/38 and 1/3 fewer 40mm guns than the fast BB classes).
The ships handled like a pig in a poke (ONE rudder! 800 feet long, 35K tons, and ONE GODDAMNED RUDDER, which resulted in an 800 YARD turning radius), were extremely vulnerable to battle damage for a ship of their size due to the aforementioned single rudder and the complete lack of torpedo blisters or any other enhanced underwater protection (hey, it was only a $78 million, in 1940 USD, ship, who cares if a single torpedo can stop it dead if not sink it outright), and quite literally had no useful function that could not to fulfilled by either an actual battleship or by the two heavy cruisers or three CLAA that could be built for the same cost.
While BuShips can be forgiven for starting the design process while the Deutschland class "pocket battleships" were all the rage, the fact that the program officer spent one dollar on these insults to naval architecture after December 10, 1941 comes close to criminal.
BTW: NONE of the hulls had even been laid down before Pearl Harbor, they kept going with the building plans even AFTER it was obvious that the ship had no useful purpose. They were even built in the SAME YARD that built the Independence class CVL. SAME YARD. Five of the Independence class were laid down AFTER the Alaska. They wouldn't have even needed to change the destination for the building materials if they had changed over to carrier construction. Think about that for a second.
It was an abomination. Thank God the U.S. had so much excess capacity and an nearly unlimited supply of money.
Come on Cal, stop holding out on us & tell us what you really think!