Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
You need to play a total of 10 battles to post in this section.

January 7 - Focus: Ruggiero di Lauria-class pre-dreadnoughts and Cleveland-class cruisers

8 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

3,592 posts



Well, lots and lots of IJN ships today! But with our IJN expert being busy today, you’ll have to make do with some Italian and American goodness!


Ships of note for today:

1882 - RM Andrea Doria - Ruggiero di Lauria-class - Laid down

1888 - IJN Itsukushima - Matsushima-class - Laid down

1902 - IJN Niitaka - Niitaka-class - Laid down

1904 - IJN Kasuga - Kasuga-class - Laid down

1904 - IJN Nisshin - Kasuga-class - Commissioned

1939 - KM Scharnhorst - Scharnhorst-class - Commissioned

1945 - USS Dayton - Cleveland-class - Commissioned


General stats

 18 ships laid down, 31 launched, 19 commissioned
Germany: 1 ship commissioned (Scharnhorst - 1939)
Italy: 1 ship laid down (Andrea Doria – 1882)
Japan: 2 ships laid down, 2 commissioned.




Today, we once again go way back in time to the year 1882, for at this day, the Italian pre-dreadnought battleship Andrea Doria was launched…and while I’m a big fan of those sexy-as-hell Italian ships, this one is just…odd.

First, a little background: at the end of the 19th century, the recently formed Kingdom of Italy was reforming its navy into a proper fighting force. After receiving a serious load of butt-kicking at the hands of the Austro-Hungarian navy, a change in organization and an overall modernization and standardization was deemed necessary. Initially, the Italian government gave this task to Benedetto Brin, who immediately set out to design the Caio Duillio and Italia classes of battleships. These ships were, in true Italian style, very fast and were armed with the biggest guns available…but they were also very large (even for the time).


So, when the new Minister of the Navy, Ferdinando Acton, came to power he wanted ships with the same performance, but in a smaller package. Apparently not trusting Brin with coming up with a better design, he gave the task to another naval engineer: Giuseppe Micheli. Micheli had apparently impressed Acton with an original approach to ship design, but when he got the job he threw all originality out the window, took Brin’s Caio Duillio design, improved it somewhat and called it his own. Some things never change.




Andrea Doria (above) and the Caio Duilio-class Enrico Dandolo (below), pretty same-ish, no?


The changes he made were: new 17”/27 breach-loading guns (instead of 17.7” muzzle loaders) which were mounted in barbettes, instead of turrets. The double-expansion engines were replaced by compound engines, they also had armor of a higher quality steel which was also better distributed among the ship.


Sounds good, right? Well, yeah! But this is Italy we’re talking about! Something HAS to go wrong somewhere!


And go wrong, it did!

Three ships were ordered, they were: Ruggiero di Lauria (laid down in 1881), Francesco Morosini (also laid down in 1881) and Andrea Doria (laid down in 1882)…and it took the Italians between six and a half (Ruggiero di Lauria) and NINE AND A HALF years (Andrea Doria) to build! With rapid advances in naval technology, the design was rendered obsolete before the first ship was commissioned.


The deck of the Ruggiero do Lauria


Still, the ships were active for nearly twenty years before being decommissioned, but none of them saw any action with the most noteworthy thing being the Ruggiero di Lauria’s trip to Germany with three other Italian pre-dreads to celebrate the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, which connected the Baltic sea with the North sea.


Ships in class
Ruggiero di Lauria

Laid down: 08-03-1881

Launched: 08-09-1884

Commissioned: 02-01-1888

Fate: Converted into a floating oil tank in 1909, sunk by an air raid in 1943, scrapped in 1946


Francesco Morosini

Laid down: 12-04-1881

Launched: 07-30-1885

Commissioned: 08-21-1889

Fate: Sunk as a torpedo target in 1909


Andrea Doria

Laid down: 01-07-1882

Launched: 11-21-1885

Commissioned: 05-16-1891

Fate: Converted to a depot ship in 1911, then converted to a floating battery in 1915 and after WW1 used as a floating oil tank until she was scrapped in 1929



Length (total): 105.9m

Beam: 19.8m

Draft: 8.3m

Dispacement: between 11,173t (Ruggiero di Lauria) and 11,324t (Francesco Morosini)



As built

17”/27: 4

6”/32: 2

14” torpedo tubes: 4

Later additions

75mm guns: 2

57mm/40 QF: 10

37mm guns: 12

37mm/20 revolvers: 5

Machine guns: 2



Belt: 17”

Deck: 3”

Conning tower: 9.8”

Barbettes: 14.2”

Citadel: 14.2”



Shafts: 2

Engines: 2

Type: Compound



Total Performance: between 10,000shp (Francesco Morosini) and 10,591shp (Ruggiero di Lauria)

Max speed: between 16kn (Francesco Morosini) and 17kn (Ruggiero di Lauria)

Range: 2,800nmi at 10kn



Total: 509 men



Shipbucket illustration of the Ruggiero di Lauria-class





  • Cool 6

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
4,441 posts



On January 7, 1945, USS Dayton was commissioned in Camden, New Jersey.  CL-105 was a Cleveland-class light cruiser, a derivative of the Brooklyn-class, and the most numerous class of light cruisers who served in the US Navy during World War II.


Genesis of light cruisers in the US Navy:

Chester-class (CL-1 to CL-3): The first light cruisers to serve in the US Navy belonged to the Chester-class.  Their original designation was as "scout cruisers", but the Admiralty eventually "promoted" them into light cruisers.  3 of them were built and they served until 1923.  


Omaha-class (CL-4 to CL-13): The Chester-class was immediately followed by the Omaha-class.  They were the first US light cruisers to use 6-inch guns.  The US Navy was happy with them and commissioned 10.  When World War II erupted, they were the oldest light cruisers in service.


Brooklyn-class (CL-40 to CL-43, CL-46 to CL-48): Before I go any further, I know what you'll say.  "Ari, what happened between CL-13 and CL-40"?  Well, the best answer I could come up with is that some bureaucrats within the Admiralty started to re-designate some protected cruisers as light cruisers.  Then, to add to the confusion, they also designated some heavy cruisers with some light cruisers numbers, such as the Northampton-class who received both CL and CA numbers.  A big mess, if you ask me.  For more details, check this site.


Anyway, back to the Brooklyn-class.  We covered them in our November 17 thread and they were the first US light cruisers built after the infamous London Treaty of 1930.  7 were built and they were a sound class, whose design would be the basis of subsequent classes.


St. Louis-class (CL-49 to CL-50): These two ships were modified Brooklyn-class cruisers with better anti-aircraft armament and also improvements in their machinery.


Atlanta-class (CL-51 to CL-54 and CL-95 to CL-98): These ships, including what is sometimes referred to as the Atlanta-Oakland-class were formidable anti-aircraft cruisers and the only US light cruisers to be equipped with torpedo tubes.  However, they proved fragile in anti-surface engagements.




Cleveland-class cruisers:




In their constant research for improvement, US Naval engineers decided that, instead of using a clean sheet of paper, they would revisit older light cruisers designs and make them better.  The reason behind this decision was the time it took to develop new classes and the fact that it was getting clearer and clearer that the world was heading again towards a general conflict.  While the United States' priority was to stay neutral, the country wanted to be ready, just in case.  


Engineers set their eyes on the Brooklyn-class.  The class was sound and its first derivative, the St. Louis-class was also a good basis.  The hull was therefore duplicated from the St. Louis-class'  and the engineers then focused on the armament.  



Turret #3 was removed and instead, 2 additional 5-inch turret were installed.  One was set where turret #3 was and another one was installed aft.  That still left the Cleveland-class with 12 x 6-inch guns, as opposed to the 15 that could be seen on the Brooklyn-class.  On the other hand, the Cleveland-class now had 12 x 5-inch guns where the Brooklyn-class only had 8.  Cleveland-class cruisers also had a formidable anti-aircraft suite, composed of 28 x 40 mm guns and 20 x 20 mm, although numbers could vary from one ship to another.  




All Cleveland-class cruisers had two funnels with the exception of the last two ships of the class, USS Fargo (CL-106) and USS Huntington (CL-107), who only had one.  Some other sources consider them as the Fargo-class rather than the Cleveland-class, but indications are that the distinction was only made after World War II.  The sources that I used indicate that until then, the two ships were considered as Cleveland-class cruisers.



USS Fargo (1949) and her one funnel and ...



USS Pasadena, "traditional" Cleveland-class with 2 funnels


Cleveland-class cruisers had a large aviation hangar that could handle up to 6 aircraft, to which 2 more could be stored on the ship's catapults. However, most of the times, the cruisers only carried 4 of them.  The usual contingent of aircraft was the OS2U Kingfisher and the SOC Seagull.



OS2U Kingfisher on USS Mobile (CL-63) in 1943


Operational life:

Most of the Cleveland-class cruisers were assigned to the Pacific Ocean where they performed well.  All survived the war but most were rapidly decommissioned between 1946 and 1950.


Because of the increasing need of aircraft carriers, 9 Cleveland-class cruisers were converted into aircraft carriers and became the Independence-class. The first was was USS Amsterdam (CL-59) who became USS Independence (CVL-22).



USS Independence, ex-USS Amsterdam


Only a few Cleveland-class cruisers survived demobilization (5 from what I could find).  Those who did became guided missile light cruisers (CLG) and survived some other years until deemed too old.  Only 1 Cleveland-class cruiser is still afloat, at a museum in Buffalo, New York: USS Little Rock (CL-92 then CLG-4).



USS Little Rock

Edited by Ariecho
  • Cool 6

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Supertester, Members, Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
11,416 posts
1,963 battles

Good stuff!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
634 posts
2,465 battles

One of the important but often overlooked changes to Cleveland over Brooklyn and St. Louis was changing the projectile hoist motors from 15 HP (in Brooklyn/St. Louis) to 20 HP (in Cleveland). This allowed the hoists to sustain 10 rounds/minute per gun instead of the 8 on the Brooklyn class, meaning firepower was effectively the same as the preceding class.


Very scary 'light' cruisers.

  • Cool 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
1,606 posts
1,149 battles

Were the upgrades to the Cleveland Class' AA suites a response to the Japanese Carriers being built at the time? What prompted the shift towards many smaller DP guns while the rest of the world was building more bigger gun ships?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
634 posts
2,465 battles

Were the upgrades to the Cleveland Class' AA suites a response to the Japanese Carriers being built at the time? What prompted the shift towards many smaller DP guns while the rest of the world was building more bigger gun ships?


The Clevelands used the same six turret layout for their 5in DP guns as the Baltimore class CA's and the Alaska class CB's. The 5in/38 was in service before the war, this was just the typical layout settled on for wartime construction, and it was fairly efficient as it allowed 4 turrets / 8 guns to fire to broadside (for comparsion the fast BB's could only fire 10 DP guns to a side, so these ships had almost comparable heavy caliber AA firepower). Not really sure what you mean by a 'shift towards many smaller DP guns' considering 5in was a very common DP caliber for many navies, though both the IJN and RN also used several 4in designs.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.