This was the a later variant of the Brooklyn class with the same fifteen 6" guns but with the eight 5" dual purpose antiaircraft/surface secondary guns mounted in more efficient and less vulnerable twin gun turrets.
They reflected the Navy's doctrine of massive firepower to deal with enemy destroyers, but without torpedo( tub)es to menace heavier classes.
As with the Brooklyns, their heavy complement of shells made them vulnerable to explosion. In the Battle of Kula Gulf in the Solomons in the night of 6Jul43, multiple torpedo hits blew up Helena, although a surprising number of its crew survived thanks to outstanding rescue efforts and the help of Australian coastwatchers and local natives. By contrast, Helena had dished out considerable punishment and survived the First Battle of Guadalcanal, 12/13Nov42. However, its skillful and experienced Captain Gilbert Hoover was dismissed afterwards, when he was wrongfully scapegoated for the 110 survivors of USS Juneau not being rescued.
This page is from ONI 222, published in Sep45:
While this is from 1943, along with the original Brooklyn class:
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