|Ship Class||Northampton-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder||Mare Island Navy Yard|
|Launched||10 Apr 1930|
|Commissioned||9 Mar 1931|
|Sunk||30 Jan 1943|
|Displacement||9300 tons standard|
|Armament||9x8in, 4x5in, 6x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Cruiser USS Chicago had her shakedown cruise from Mare Island Navy Yard in the United States to Honolulu, Tahiti, and American Samoa. She arrived in New York, United States on 16 Aug 1931 to become the flagship of US Navy's Cruisers, Scouting Force; she remained in that role until 1940, serving on both of the United States' coasts.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Chicago was at sea with Task Force 12 nearby, and was dispatched to intercept the Japanese fleet; Task Force 12 returned to Pearl Harbor without finding the Japanese fleet on 12 Dec. In Mar and Apr 1942, she served off the eastern tip of New Guinea, covering the attacks on Lae and Salamaua. On 4 May, she escorted carrier Yorktown on the air raid against Tulagi. On 7 May, she sailed to intercept the Japanese invasion fleet aiming for Port Moresby, and the ensuing engagement with Japanese aircraft formed the small side-battle in the greater Battle of Coral Sea.
On the night of 31 May 1942, Japanese Navy Lieutenant Katsuhisa Ban and Petty Officer Mamoru Ashibe piloted the midget submarine M-24 around the defensive nets in the Sydney Harbor and fired two torpedoes at USS Chicago moored off the inner-city locality of Garden Island of Sydney, Australia; the torpedoes missed Chicago, but one of them struck Australian accommodation vessel Kuttabull, killing 19 Australians and 2 Britons.
Starting on 7 Aug, Chicago provided gunfire support for the initial landings on the island of Guadalcanal, which place her in the middle of the Battle of Savo Island on 9 Aug, where she sustained a torpedo hit and several shell hits. She engaged the Japanese bravely, but she (along with all other ships in the southern group) committed a grave mistake by not warning the northern group nearby of the presence of a Japanese attacking force, resulting in a disaster for the Allied fleet that night. She received repairs at Nouméa, Sydney, and San Francisco for much of the remainder of the year.
In Jan 1943, Chicago departed from San Francisco for the South Pacific. On 27 Jan, she sailed from Nouméa to escort a convoy to Guadalcanal. Some time in the afternoon of 29 Jan, American radar operators of Rear Admiral Robert Giffen's Task Force 18 detected unidentified aircraft, but they failed to report up the chain of command for proper action. The unidentified aircraft were 31 Japanese torpedo bombers. That evening, they found Giffen's two escort carriers, three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and eight destroyers 50 miles north of Rennell Island, and launched a torpedo attack. At 1938 and 1945, two torpedoes from two separate aircraft in the third wave of attack hit Chicago at port bow and then on starboard side. She was crippled by 2000. The damage control team controlled the fires, allowing her to be towed first by cruiser Louisville and then tug Navajo. At 1540 in the next afternoon, however, Japanese aircraft returned and delivered four lethal torpedoes. Captain Ralph Davis of USS Chicago evacuated his ship in about 20 minutes, and a few moments after the last of the 1,049 survivors left the ship, she sank stern first.
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal
USS Chicago Operational Timeline
|9 Mar 1931||Cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) was commissioned into service with Captain Manley Hale Simons in command.|
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Winston Churchill, 1935