USS Chicago (CA-29)

USS Chicago (CA-29) was a Northampton class heavy cruiser that had a somewhat unlucky war, being badly damaged by Japanese torpedoes twice during the fighting off Guadalcanal, returning from repairs after the first attack on time to be sunk by the second.

USS Chicago (CA-29) being launched, 10 April 1930
USS Chicago (CA-29)
being launched,
10 April 1930

The Chicago was laid down on 10 September 1928, launched on 10 April 1930 and commissioned on 9 March 1931. Her shakedown cruise took her to Honolulu, Tahiti and American Samoa, before she sailed to New York to become the flagship of CruDiv 5. She also served as flagship, Commander, Cruisers, Scouting Force from June 1939. When she first joined the Scouting Force it was based on the east coast, but from 1934 it was based in California. The Chicago's home port was San Pedro until September 1940 when the fleet moved to Pearl Harbor.

The Chicago was at sea with TF 12 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She spent five days attempting to find the Japanese, before returning to Pearl Harbor on 12 December. She spent the rest of the month patrolling with TF 11.

On 2 February the Chicago left to join the ANZAC squadron at Suva Bay in the Fiji Islands. In March and April she was operating off the Louisiade Archipelago (south-east of New Guinea). She helped cover US carriers when they attacked Japanese shipping at Lae and Salamaua. On 1 May she was ordered to join the fleet in the South-West Pacific. On 4 May she supported the Yorktown during her strike on Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. She thus took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea, where she suffered some casualties after being strafed by Japanese aircraft.

USS Chicago (CA-29) at Sea
USS Chicago (CA-29) at Sea

In early August the Chicago supported the US landings on Guadalcanal. On 9 August she took part in the battle of Savo Island. She was hit in the bow by a torpedo and suffered heavy damage, but was able to fight on. She then withdrew to Noumea for basic repairs, Sydney for more work and finally to San Francisco for full repairs, arriving on 13 October.

The Chicago was ready to return to the fleet in January 1943. She joined TF 18, and in late January left Noumea to escort a convoy to Guadalcanal. On 29 January 1943 aircraft from the Japanese Navy attacked the American force (battle of Rennell Island). The Chicago was hit by two torpedoes which flooded the aft engine room and two fire rooms. By the end of the battle she was back on an even keel, and the Louisville (CA-28) attempted to tow her to safety. On the afternoon on 30 January the small force was attacked again and the Chicago was hit by four torpedoes. She sank in twenty minutes.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

3in over machinery
1in deck

 - magazines

3.75in side
2in deck

 - barbettes


 - gunhouses

2.5in face
2in roof
0.75in side and rear


600ft 3in oa


Nine 8in guns (three 3-gun turrets)
Four 5in guns (four single positions)
Six 21in torpedo tubes
Four aircraft

Crew complement

617? (734-48 for USS Chicago and USS Houston)

Laid down

10 September 1928


10 April 1930


9 March 1931


30 January 1943

US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45: Pre War Classes, Mark Stille. Looks at the 'treaty cruisers' built in the US between the wars, limited by treaty to 10,000 tons and 8in guns. Five classes of treaty cruisers were produced and they played a major role in the fighting during the Second World War, despite the limits imposed on them by the treaty restrictions. [read full review]
cover cover cover


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 March 2014), USS Chicago (CA-29) ,

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