Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Naval Warfare

USS Portland (CA-33)

Cruiser Warship [ 1933 ]

As lead ship of her Portland-class of cruisers, USS Portland CA-33 managed 16 Battle Stars for her service in World War 2.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/01/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

If there were superstars in naval warfare, USS Portland (CA-33) would be one of them. A pre-World War 2 cruiser warship, USS Portland headed the two-strong Portland-class which included her more famous sister - the ill-fated USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Portland managed some sixteen Battle Stars for her service in the war and went on to become one of the most decorated vessels in United States Navy history.

Portland was ordered during the pre-war period on February 13th, 1929 and built under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty enacted after World War 1 (1914-1918) drew to a close. She saw her keel laid down on February 17th, 1930 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation (Fore River Shipyard, Quincy MA) and was launched on May 21st, 1932, officially commissioned for service on February 23rd, 1933. As USS Portland, she was the first USN warship to carry the name of the city of Portland, Maine. Her initial pennant number was "CL-33" but, due to the terms of the London Naval Treaty, she was reclassified as a "Heavy Cruiser" and appropriately redesignated "CA-33".

Cruiser warships of World War 2 were built smaller in size than classic battleships but were dimensionally larger than destroyer types. They held a good combination of armament and armor protection and given useful cruising speeds as well as ocean-going capabilities. Beyond this the vessels could be arranged as part of the main fighting fleet or sent to conduct solo missions when hunting down enemy elements.©MilitaryFactory.com
She displaced at 10,000 tons under standard loads and ran a length of 610.2 feet with a beam reaching 66 feet and a draught of 24 feet. Installed power became 8 x Yarrow boilers feeding 4 x Parsons geared steam turbines developing 107,000 horsepower and driving 4 x shafts to speeds of 33 knots and ranges out to 12,000 miles (when cruising at 15 knots). Her crew complement numbered 91 officers and 757 enlisted personnel. Armor protection measured up to 127mm at the belt with decks plated in 64mm of armor, the barbettes given 38mm and the conning tower covered up to 32mm.

The primary battery consisted of 9 x 8" (200mm) /55 caliber guns, these set about three triple-gunned turrets, two fitted forward and one aft of midships. The secondary battery was made up of 8 x 5" (127mm) /25 caliber guns used in the Anti-Aircraft (AA) role. 2 x 3-pounder (47mm) guns were used for saluting purposes and 8 x 0.50 caliber Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) made up the close-in defense portion of the ship's armament suite.

Two catapults were fitted at the stern (aft of the third primary gun turret) and serviced up to four floatplane aircraft (recoverable by way of onboard crane). These provided critical over-the-horizon vision as well as artillery corrections and reconnaissance capabilities.

USS Portland's early-going proved no different when compared to warships of the inter-war period - she was sent to far-off places on the globe on friendly tours but it was her wartime career in World War 2 that would clearly set her apart. Her first actions were in the Battle of Coral Sea (May 4th - May 8th, 1942) which saw a combined U.S.-Australian force meet the enemy Japanese. Portland made up one of the nine Allied cruisers partaking in the battle which ended as a tactical Japanese victory but an Allied strategic victory. USS Portland was used to defend the carrier USS Yorktown and claimed survivors from the doomed carrier USS Lexington - the battle marked the first carrier-versus-carrier engagement in naval history.

During the Battle of Midway (June 4th - June 7th, 1942), USS Portland was once again called to defend Yorktown and later moved to escort USS Enterprise during the Guadalcanal Campaign (August 7th, 1942 to February 9th, 1943) before the end of the year. During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 12th - November 15th, 1942), Portland suffered serious damage from an enemy torpedo but not before helping to repel the Japanese force, reinforcing American positions by having 7,000 of her own troops go ashore and using her guns to bombard enemy positions. Her damage took her out of action for the next six months as repairs were had in both Sydney and San Diego.

By the middle of 1943, USS Portland was repaired, refitted and back in action, pressed into combat service across the Aleutian, Gilbert, Marshall, Mariana and New Guinea campaigns. In October of 1944 she participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23rd - October 26th, 1944) which led to a decisive Allied victory (a combined U.S.-Australian force was once again used). Some 24 Allied cruisers took part in one of the biggest naval battles in history. From there she was off to bombard shore positions at Lingayen Gulf and at Corregidor. Before the end of her wartime career, USS Portland had her armament suite revised to include 4 x 40mm Bofors quad-gunned AA emplacements, 4 x 40mm twin-gunned emplacements and 17 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons in single mounts - such was the danger from air attack when facing the Japanese. She retained her primary and secondary batteries as well as her saluting guns in the process. Her final war-time actions were in support of the Allied landings at Okinawa which helped to end the war in the Pacific.

USS Portland was used to accept the Japanese surrender in the Caroline Islands and took veterans of the long, hard-fought war home during "Operation Magic Carpet". After the war, her services were no longer in need so she was formally decommissioned on July 12th, 1946 and sold off for scrap on October 6th, 1959.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


United States
Operators National flag of the United States
United States
National Origin
Hull Class
USS Portland (CA-33); USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

610.2 feet
(185.99 meters)
66.0 feet
(20.12 meters)
17.0 feet
(5.18 meters)

8 x Yarrow boilers feeding 4 x Parsons geared steam turbines developing 107,000 horsepower to 4 x Shafts.
33.0 knots
(38.0 mph)
Surface Speed
10,428 nm
(12,000 miles | 19,312 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

9 x 8" (200mm) /55 cal main guns
8 x 5" (127mm) /25 cal Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns
2 x 3-pounder (47mm) saluting guns
8 x 0.50 cal Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs)

9 x 8" (200mm) /55 cal main guns
8 x 5" (127mm) /25 cal Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns
2 x 3-pounder (47mm) saluting guns
4 x 40mm Bofors AA guns in quad-gunned mounts
4 x 40mm Bofors AA guns in twin-gunned mounts
17 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns in single-gunned mountings

4 x Floatplane aircraft (recoverable)

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


1 / 1
Image of the USS Portland (CA-33)
Image from the United States National Archives; Public Domain.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)