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600.3' x 66.1' x 16.5'
9 × 8" guns
4 × 5" guns
6 × 21 in torpedo tubes
USN August 9, 1942
USN September 13, 1942
USN December 20, 1942
Built at Mare Island Navy Yard. Laid down September 10, 1928 as Northampton-class cruiser (CL). Launched April 10, 1930 as USS Chicago (CL-29). On July 1, 1931 reclassified as a heavy cruiser (CA-29) in accordance with the provisions of the London Naval Treaty of 1930. Commissioned March 9, 1931 with Captain Manley H. Simons in command.
Afterwards, undertook a shakedown cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti and American Samoa then returned to Mare Island. On July 27, 1931 departs Mare Island via the Panama Canal to Fort Pond Bay, NY and became the flagship of Commander, Cruisers, Scouting Force. During the remainder of the 1930s, participated in fleet exercises in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast. On May 31, 1934 she was part of the Naval review at New York City for U.S. President F. D. Roosevelt. Later, transited the Panama Canal to San Pedro. In September 1940 transferred to Pearl Harbor.
On December 7, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War, Chicago was at sea. Afterwards, she participated in patrol and search missions during the first weeks of the conflict, and in early February was sent to the south Pacific to protect Allied positions.
On May 4, 1942 supported the USS Yorktown CV-5 carrier aircraft attacking Tulagi then participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. On May 7, 1942 Chicago was lightly damaged in an enemy air attack, suffering suffered several casualties from strafing.
On May 31, 1942 Chicago was anchored in Sydney Harbor. On June 1, 1942 during the early morning hours, targeted by HA-24 Type A Midget Submarine (M24), that fired two torpedoes. Both missed and passed under Hr. Ms. K IX then detonated against the breakwater with the explosion damaging the submarine and the blast lifted out of the water and sank HMAS Kuttabul killing 21 sailors aboard. Afterwards, Chicago opened fired on the midget submarine without result.
On August 7, 1942 Chicago supported the U.S. landings at Tulagi and Guadalcanal.
Battle of Savo Island
On August 8-9, 1942 during the Battle of Savo Island, Chicago was patrolling with HMAS Canberra and two destroyers in Iron Bottom Sound between Guadalcanal and Savo. Intercepted by Japanese cruisers, Chicago was hit by a torpedo fired by a cruiser, resulting in minor damage to the bow and prevented the cruiser from participating further in the battle.
Withdrawn from the area the next day, Chicago proceeded to Nouméa where temporary repairs were performed before proceeding to Sydney Harbor for further repairs, arriving at San Francisco on October 13, 1942. Two days later, arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard where permanent repairs and an overhaul were completed by early January 1943.
G4M1 Betty piloted by Bunzaburo Imamura's was shot down astern of USS Chicago. The impact and flames on the surface provided illumination for other bombers to make torpedo attacks. Soon afterwards, Chicago was hit by two aerial torpedoes in the starboard hull. The damage caused severe flooding and loss of power, forcing the cruiser to be taken under tow.
The next evening on January 30, 1943, eleven G4M1 Betty bombers from 751 Kokutai made another attack, but were intercepted by F4F Wildcats from VF-10. During this attack, Chicago was hit by four more torpedoes at 16:24, one further damaging the starboard side. Seventeen minutes later, the cruiser sank stern-first. Chicago received three battle stars.
Former Captain Howard D. Bode's actions during the Battle of Savo Island were questioned in a US Navy inquiry headed by Admiral Hepburn. Though the report was not intended to be made public, on April 19, 1943 Bode learned of its implications and shot himself, dying the following day.
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