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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 as a light cruiser (CL). Commissioned in April 1931 with a shakedown cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti and American Samoa. Afterwards, reclassified as a heavy cruiser (CA).
During July 1931 until August 1931 operated in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast, where she became the flagship of commander cruisers, scouting force. During the 1930s, regularly participated in fleet exercises. On May 31, 1934 she was present at the Naval review off New York City for U. S. President F. D. Roosevelt. Later in the year, 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 damaged the submarine and lifed HMAS Kuttabul out of the water and sinking it and killing 21 sailors aboard. Afterwards, Chicago opened fired on the midget submarine.
On August 7, 1942 Chicago supported the American 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Withdrawn from the area the next day, Chicago proceeded to Nouméa where temporary repairs were performed before proceeding to Sydney Harbor for further repairs, arriving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 crusier 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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