Tuesday, September 1, 2009
USS Chicago (CA-29)
Figure 1: USS Chicago (CA-29) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in April 1931, soon after she was commissioned. Courtesy of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1970. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Chicago (CA-29) at Tutuila, American Samoa, during her shakedown cruise in 1931. Courtesy of Wiley H. Smith, 1981. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Chicago (CA-29), at right, turning in formation with three other Scouting Force heavy cruisers to create a "slick" for landing seaplanes during exercises off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 31 January 1933. Planes are landing astern of the middle cruisers. The other ships are (from front to back): USS Louisville (CA-28), USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) and USS Northampton (CA-26). Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Chicago (CA-29) underway off New York City during the 31 May 1934 fleet review. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Guadalcanal Landings, August 1942. Ships maneuvering off Tulagi, Solomon Islands, on 9 August 1942. Photographed from USS Ellet (DD-398). USS Chicago (CA-29) is at right, with a destroyer's stern and wake in the foreground. Column of smoke in the left center distance, beyond the two destroyers, may be from the burning USS George F. Elliott (AP-13). Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942. USS Chicago (CA-29) off Guadalcanal the day after the action, showing crewmen cutting away damaged plating to enable the ship to get underway. She had been torpedoed at her extreme bow during the night action of 9 August 1942. View looks forward along her port side, with No. 1 eight-inch gun turret in the upper right. Note life rafts hung on the turret side and destroyers in the distance. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Chicago (CA-29) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 14 December 1942. Circles mark alterations made during her last overhaul, including the repair of her torpedo-damaged bow. Note railway cars on the pier, including one full of scrap material. Barges alongside the pier at right include YF-388 (furthest right) and YF-349. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Chicago (CA-29) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, at the end of her last overhaul, 20 December 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Chicago (CA-29) low in the water on 30 January 1943, after she had been torpedoed by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Rennell Island. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
The 9,300-ton USS Chicago (CA-29) was a Northampton class heavy cruiser that was built by the Mare Island Navy Yard near San Francisco, California, and was commissioned on 9 March 1931. The ship was approximately 600 feet long and 66 feet wide, had a top speed of 32 knots, and had a crew of 621 officers and men. Chicago was armed with nine 8-inch guns, four 5-inch guns, and six 21-inch torpedo tubes. She also carried four reconnaissance float planes.
Chicago went on her shakedown cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti, and American Samoa and in August 1931 she steamed to America’s Atlantic coast, where she became the flagship of Commander Cruisers of the Scouting Force. On 31 May 1934, Chicago took part in the naval review for President Franklin D. Roosevelt off New York City. Later that same year, Chicago moved to her new base at San Pedro, California, where she stayed until September 1940, when she was relocated to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Throughout these years, Chicago participated in numerous naval exercises with the US Fleet.
Chicago was at sea when Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 December 1941. She was assigned to patrol missions during the first few weeks of the war and in early February was sent to the south Pacific to escort Allied shipping and to guard against Japanese warships. Chicago participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May 1942 and served as an escort for the American surface task force that was going to intercept the Japanese invasion fleet bound for Port Moresby, New Guinea. Although the US Navy turned back the Japanese invasion fleet, Chicago was slightly damaged in an enemy air attack on 7 May.
Though damaged, Chicago was able to remain in the south Pacific. In August 1942, she participated in the US invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. During the late evening hours of 8-9 August 1942, Chicago was patrolling the waters between Guadalcanal and Savo Island with the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra and two destroyers. The Allied ships were suddenly attacked by a group of Japanese cruisers and destroyers. During the ensuing battle, a Japanese warship managed to hit Chicago with a torpedo, which slammed into the extreme bow of the American cruiser. Chicago managed to steam away from the area the next day under her own power and eventually returned to San Francisco, California, for more permanent repairs.
After being repaired, Chicago was once again assigned to the south Pacific in January 1943. While steaming back to Guadalcanal with a group of cruisers and destroyers on 29 January, she was hit by two torpedoes dropped by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Rennell Island. Although the two torpedo hits caused serious flooding and loss of power, Chicago’s crew managed to keep the ship afloat. Her sister ship, USS Louisville (CA-28), initially took Chicago under tow but was relieved in this task by a tug the following morning. Unfortunately, while being towed away from the area, Japanese aircraft struck again and hit Chicago with four more torpedoes on 30 January. Chicago was overwhelmed and sank, but at least most of her crew was rescued by four American ships that were escorting the stricken cruiser. The waters off Guadalcanal proved to be a graveyard for many American warships during World War II and, sadly, USS Chicago was one of them.
Posted by Remo at 6:19 AM