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Northampton-class cruiser
USS Northampton (CA-26).jpg
USS Northampton (CA-26)
Class overview
Name: Northampton class cruiser
Operators: US flag 48 stars.svg United States Navy
Preceded by: Pensacola-class cruiser
Succeeded by: Portland-class cruiser
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)
Propulsion: 4-shaft Parsons turbines
8 White-Forster boilers
4 screws
107,000 hp (80 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Complement: 1,100
Officers: 105
Enlisted: 995[1]
Armor: Belt 3" over machinery with 1" deck
3.75" side and 2" deck over magazines
barbettes 1.5"
gunhouses 2.5" face
2" roof
0.75" side and rear
Aircraft carried: 2

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

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 class


  1. 1.0 1.1 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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