USS Nashville CL-43

USS Nashville (CL-43) was a Brooklyn class cruiser that took part in the Doolittle raid, then fought in the Guadalcanal and New Georgia campaigns and during the campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines. Nashville received 10 battle stars for World War II service.

The Nashville was laid down in January 1935, launched in October 1937 and commissioned on 6 June 1938. Her shakedown cruiser took her to the Caribbean and was followed by a goodwill visit to Europe. On her way back she carried 25 million dollars worth of British gold bullion to New York. Early in 1939 she was used to carry the American delegations to the Pan American Defense Conference at Rio de Janiero.

USS Nashville (CL-43) at Mare Island, 4 August 1943
USS Nashville (CL-43)
at Mare Island, 1943

In June 1939 she moved to the Pacific, remaining there until May 1941. She was then ordered back to the Atlantic. Her first task after arriving was to escort a convoy carrying Marines to Iceland, where they replaced a British garrison. Between August and December she was based at Bermuda, and formed part of the Neutrality Patrol.

Between the attack on Pearl Harbor and February 1942 she escorted reinforcements heading to Iceland and escorted convoys to Bermuda. In March she escorted the carrier Hornet (CV-8) to the Pacific. Both ships then took part in the Doolittle Raid, the first time US aircraft attacked Japan (18 April 1942). On the day of the raid she sank a Japanese scout ship.

After returning from the Doolittle Raid the Nashville became the flagship of TF 8 in Alaska and the Aleutians. She remained in the area until November 1942. During that time she bombarded Kiska (7 August), inflicting damage on the Japanese defences.

USS Nashville (CL-43) bombarding Kiska, 8 August 1943
USS Nashville (CL-43) bombarding Kiska, 8 August 1943

In December 1942 the Nashville became the flagship of Task Force 67, part of the fleet operating around Guadalcanal. She escorted a troop convoy to Guadalcanal, then on 4 January 1943 took part in a bombardment of the Japanese airfield at Munda on New Georgia (Along with Helena (CL-50) and St Louis (CL-49) ). This began a period of operations in support of the fighting on New Georgia, but this was ended on 12 May when some of the powder charges in No.1 turret magazine exploded, killing 18 and injuring 17. This forced her back to Mare Island for repairs that took her out of action until August.

She rejoined the fleet at Pearl Harbor on 12 August and joined TF15, a carrier task force, for strikes against Marcus Island and Wake Island.

This was followed by seven months largely spend supporting the long campaign in New Guinea and the surrounding islands. In December she supported the landings at Cape Gloucester on New Britain, off the north coast off New Guinea. The same period also saw her support the landings on Bougainville, the last major action of the Solomon Islands campaign. 

In January 1944 the Nashville supported the landings at Saidor, New Guinea. In February she was part of TF74 for the invasion of the Admiralty Islands, bombarding Hauwei and Norilo islands. In April she bombarded Wadke Island (21-22 April), then supported the landings at Hollandia, Tanahmerah Bay and Aitape (21-23 April). In May she supported the landing at Biak Island. This fighting lasted into June, and the Nashville suffered light damage from a near miss.

On 15 September the Nashville was part of TG75.1 during the invasion of Morotai, carrying General MacArthur. She also carried the General during the landings on Leyte 20 October and formed part of the force guarding the beachheads until 25 October.  This was followed by a brief spell of repairs at Manus.

In late November the Nashville became the flagship of the Commander, Visayan Attack Force, for the invasion of Mindoro. On 13 December she was hit by a kamikaze aircraft while operating off Negros Islands. The aircraft hit her port 5in turret, causing massive fires amidships. She suffered 133 dead and 190 wounded in the attack and had to return to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repairs that lasted from January to mid March 1945.

The Nashville rejoined the fleet at Subic Bay on 16 May and became the flagship of TF 74. She took part in the Allied landings at Brunei Bay on Borneo, and provided part of the anti-aircraft cover for Allied aircraft carriers operating in the Makassar Straits, to the east of Borneo. On 29 July she was ordered to attack a Japanese convoy off the coast of Indochina, but this final wartime mission was cancelled.

After the end of the fighting the Nashville took part in the surrender of Japanese forces in Shanghai (September). In November she began a 'magic carpet' trip, carrying 450 servicemen heading back to the United States. She travelled via Pearl Harbor, and reached California on 3 December. She then carried out a second 'magic carpet' trip, this time bringing troops back from Eniwetok and Kwajalein. Towards the end of this trip she also helped tow the transport St. Mary's (APA-126), carrying 1,800 troops, into San Francisco after her engines failed.  

In January 1946 the Nashville prepared to be inactivated. She was decommissioned on 24 June 1946, but then came out of the reserve in 1950 and in 1951 was sold to Chile. She entered the Chilean Navy as Capitan Prat. She was renamed as Chacabuco on 1982, but was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1984.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

5in on 0.625in STS

 - deck


 - barbettes


 - turrets

6.5in face
2in roof
1.25in side and rear

 - conning tower

2.25in roof


608ft 4in


Fifteen 6in/47 guns (five triple turrets)
Eight 5in/25 guns (/38 on St Louis, Helena) (eight single positions)
Eight 0.5in guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement


Laid down

24 January 1935


2 October 1937


6 June 1938

Sold to Chile

9 January 1951

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille. Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 May 2015), USS Nashville CL-43 ,

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