World War II in the Pacific
The needs of war required that Atlanta (CL-51) and Juneau (CL-52) participate in the night action of First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in which Atlanta sank the next day from damage and the damaged Juneau was torpedoed during the withdrawal and when down in seconds. San Diego (CL-53) provided protection to Enterprise (CV-6) during that three day battle. San Diego went on earn 15 battle stars and was the first USN ship to enter Tokyo Bay on 27Aug45. San Juan (CL-54) was escorting Saratoga (CV-3) to the South Pacific during that battle. Damaged twice early in the war, San Juan finished the war with 13 battle stars and also entered Tokyo Bay 27Aug45.
The second batch of anti-aircraft cruisers, the Oakland Class, arrived about two years later with six dual 5"/38 turrets and many 40mm and 20mm : Oakland (CL-95), Reno (CL-96), Flint (CL-97), and Tucson (CL-98). The proved handy with Kamikazes in the last months of the war.
The third batch, the Juneau Class, continued with six dual 5"/38 turrets, but with four of the turrets lowered one deck, 24- 40mm guns, and no torpedo tubes. These were commissioned in 1946 : Juneau II (CL-119), Spokane II (CL-120) and Fresno (CL-121).
The battle cruiser as a class had not fared well in WWI where, on the battle line, they were shown to be more vulnerable to damage than a battleship and without sufficient weight of broadside to sink enemy battleships. As an extra heavy cruiser, they have been incipiently fast to chase down other cruisers.
Alaska and Guam arrived on the scene in 1945 after the Japanese battle fleet had been destroyed. They had sufficient speed to keep up with the fast carrier task force, conduct anti-shipping sweeps in the East China Sea, and they were used for shore bombardment. There armor and anti-aircraft guns were useful during the Kamikaze attacks towards the end of the war.
About this page: ShipNote - Notes about some of the ship classes in World War II, Pacific War, the early years.