USS Northampton (CA-1932)


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The US Navy was finally allowed to increase its cruiser size to 12,500 tons. The Navy had been advised that it was the opinion of the State Department that Japan would break away from the various treaties and that steps should be taken to enlarge the ships of the navy as a consequence. (These will be a combination of the Northampton, Portland and New Orleans classes.)

The extra tonnage allowed a complete revamp of the heavy cruiser design. The three and four, twin turret, designs were replaced with a three triple turret design. The heavy AA armament was increased, along with the first multiple machine gun light AA weapons. The major advance was in the armour on the ships. A full belt now covered not only the machinery spaces but also the magazines. Underwater armour was also increased and compartmentalisation was improved.

Two of the class went to the Kings Coronation review in 1937. There they made a great impression when compared to the heavy cruisers of the other nations. The only one that gave the US representatives pause for thought was the Japanese Ashigara with its large banks of torpedoes and ten gun main armament. A ship to be watched.

The early 1940's started the refit rounds that would take the ships up to and into the Second World War. The two sets of triple torpedoes were early casualties of the need to remove weight as more and more weight was added. The 0.5"mg's were added in the 20's, then removed in the 30's in favour of four quad 28mm Chicago pianos. Those in turn were ditched (rather quickly) for the 40mm and 20mm that became the mainstay of the light AA armaments.

Radar, predictors and a myriad of other electronic devices start sprouting from every crevice that is not filled with some form of light AA weaponry.


Displacement 12,800 tons standard, 14,500 tons full load
Length 610 ft
Breadth 66 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, steam turbines, 100,000 shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 14000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 4" side, 2.5" deck, 4"/3" turrets
Armament As completed
9 x 8" (3x3)
8 x 5" (8x1)
4 x .5" mg (4x1)
WW2 refits
9 x 8" (3x3)
8 x 5" (8x1)
20 x 40mm (2x4, 6x2)
22 x 20mm (22x1)
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3) nil
Aircraft 4 max, 2 normal complement. 2
Complement 800 (840 WW2)
Notes Northampton - sunk
Chicago - sunk
Houston - sunk
Indianapolis - sunk by sub 1945
New Orleans
Astoria - sunk Savo Island
San Francisco
Quincy - sunk Savo Island
Vincennes - sunk Savo Island


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