Per the new USN paint scheme and additional documentary evidence available, I've reworked the Northampton
-class CA:s :
The class leader, USS Northampton (CA-26)
is depicted as of ca. 1937, as flagship of CRUDIV 4 Scouting Force, US Fleet
, flying the two-star rank flag of a RAdm. She has gained her ungainly, but distinctive heightened forefunnel and her torpedo tubes have been suppressed.
The USS Chester (CA-27)
depicted as commissioned, June, 1930, still rated as CL-27 due to her very scant armor scheme (The USN at this time compared these new vessels with their old, fairly well-armored ACR:s of the Pennsylvania
-classes) On July 1, 1930, she and her sisters were reclassified as heavy cruisers (CA) in recognition of their 8in main battery. During this period she made extensive cruises in European waters to show the flag and iron out any deficiencies in her, still new design. She was commanded by Capt. Arthur Fairfield. Noticeable is her upper bridge wings with their knuckles and the open admiral's bridge below. This appears to have been their original design and, at least Chicago (CA-29)
also shared it.
The USS Louisville (CA-28)
is seen as of 1934, serving in the Atlantic Fleet (6 CRUDIV, Scouting Force
). Here she was present to celebrate Memorial Day in New York, and was open to the public.
The USS Chicago (CA-29)
depicted as of 1937/38 when, as flagship of the Cruisers, Scouting Force, US Pacific Fleet
, she flew the flag of RAdm Joseph K. Taussig. Unusually for the period, Chicago
carried a full complement of six scout-planes.
USS Houston (CA-30)
shown amid one of her many glorious moments: playing host for the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in May 1935 slowly cruising off San Diego, CA. She carried, in addition to the Presidential flag, also the four-star flag of the CNO, Adm. William H. Standley.
The USS Augusta (CA-31)
is depicted two years into her commissioning, in Aug. 1933, when, under the command of a future notable Texan, Capt. Chester W. Nimitz, she hoisted the four-star rank flag of Adm. Frank B. Upham, C.-in-C. US Asiatic Fleet
and who was to be associated with this ship till his departure in Oct. 1935.
Noticeable are the impressive extended flagstaffs that the Augusta
is carrying. It was probably one of the rare moments when such extravagant features were employed, surely to impress both the Japanese, who were present at Shanghai at that time, as much the Chinese themselves. Also worth noting is that her gantry ladder, unlike all her sisters is forward facing; why it's not known. The Augusta
also carries a pair of 27ft whalers, similar to the ones carried abreast the aft superstructure, abaft her catapult towers. Louisville
did likewise. Again the reason eludes us.