These were conceived as answers to the German Scharnhorst class battle cruisers and similar ships the Japanese were believed to be building. The U.S. Navy classed them as "large cruisers."
By the time they got into action in 1945, the German and Japanese surface fleets were vanquished. However, they made excellent consorts to our fast carrier groups, with their speed and heavy antiaircraft armament.
Guam was the other ship of this class to see combat. Hawaii was nearly complete but never finished and finally broken up.
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