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The Northampton-class cruisers were a group of six heavy cruisers built for the United States Navy, and commissioned between 1928 and 1931.

USS Northampton (CA-26) at Brisbane on 5 August 1941 (NH 94596).jpg
USS Northampton (CA-26)
Class overview
Name: Northampton class
Operators: Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States Navy
Preceded by: Pensacola class
Succeeded by: Portland class
Completed: 6
Lost: 3
Retired: 3
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Heavy cruiser
Displacement: 9,050 long tons (9,200 t)
Length: 600 ft 3 in (182.96 m)
Beam: 66 ft 1 in (20.14 m)
Draft: 16 ft 4 in (4.98 m)
  • 4 × Parsons turbines
  • 8 × White-Forster boilers
  • 4 × screws
  • 107,000 hp (80,000 kW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph)
  • 1,100
  • Officers: 105
  • Enlisted: 995[1]
Aircraft carried: 4 × Seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 2 × Amidship catapults and Seaplane hangar

The Northamptons saw much action in World War II. Three (Northampton, Chicago, and Houston) were lost during the war. The other three were decommissioned soon after the end of the war, and scrapped in 1959–1961.


The design of the ships was heavily influenced by the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited cruisers to a maximum of 10,000 tons displacement and a maximum main battery caliber of 8 inches (203 mm). The Northamptons were a reaction to the weight and cost of the immediately preceding Pensacola class, differing in several ways. The Pensacolas mounted a main battery of 10 8-inch (203 mm) guns in four turrets, a twin and superfiring triple fore and aft. In contrast, the Northamptons mounted 9 8-inch (203 mm) guns in three triple turrets, two forward and one aft, the layout followed in all subsequent U.S. heavy cruisers.

Although armor was increased, the Northamptons turned out to be lighter than the Pensacolas, and nearly 1,000 tons below the treaty limitations. Freeboard was increased in the Northamptons by adopting a high forecastle, which was extended aft in the last three for use as flagships. These ships were also the first U.S. ships to adopt a hangar for aircraft, and bunks instead of hammocks. Their lighter than expected weight caused them to roll excessively, which necessitated the fitting of deep bilge keels. The immediately following Portland class was essentially a modified Northampton.

Ships in classEdit

Ship name Hull no. Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate
Northampton CA-26 Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts 12 April 1928 5 September 1929 17 May 1930 N/A Sunk in the Battle of Tassafaronga, 30 November 1942
Chester CA-27 New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey 6 March 1928 3 July 1929 24 June 1930 10 June 1946 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap, 11 August 1959
Louisville CA-28 Puget Sound Navy Yard 4 July 1928 1 September 1930 15 January 1931 17 June 1946 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap, 14 September 1959
Chicago CA-29 Mare Island Naval Shipyard 10 September 1928 10 April 1930 9 March 1931 N/A Sunk during the Battle of Rennell Island, 30 January 1943
Houston CA-30 Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company 1 May 1928 7 September 1929 17 June 1930 Sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait, 1 March 1942
Augusta CA-31 2 July 1928 1 February 1930 30 January 1931 16 July 1946 Struck 1 March 1959; Sold for scrap, 9 November 1959


  1. ^ a b Silverstone, Paul H (1965). US Warships of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-773-9.
  2. ^ Note1 – the Nothamptons were originally fitted with four 1.1 in auto cannons in quad mounts at the start of the war in the Pacific and for the first year of that war and then replaced with Bofors. "Waiting for the Main Attack", Fighting For MacArthur, John Gordon, Naval Institute Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-61251-057-6, p. 67
  3. ^ Note2 In addition they had special water cooled .50 caliber machine guns instead of Oerlikon 20mm guns which were fitted later in the war.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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