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Ariecho

January 18 - Focus: Leander-class

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FIND ALL OUR DAILY THREADS HERE

 

General

 

Limited choices today, and limited daily staff as well, so we will only have one post.

 

Large ships and events relevant to a January 18:

1886 - HMS Traflagar - Trafalgar-class - Laid down

1901 - IJN Hatsuse - Shikishima-class - Commissioned

1909 - IJN Settsu - Kawachi-class - Laid down

1934 - HMS Orion - Leander-class - Commissioned

1942 - IJN Nisshin - Kasuga-class - Sunk

1944 - USS Kadashan Bay - Casablanca-class - Commissioned

 

Statistics for surface ships:

Allies: 23 ships laid down, 25 launched, 31 commissioned and 4 lost.

Japan: 1 laid down (IJN Settsu), 1 commissioned (IJN Hatsuse) and 1 sunk (IJN Nisshin).

 

1934

 

The day was January 18, 1934, and on that very day, celebrations were held in the northern England town of Barrow-in-Furness, for the commissioning of HMS Orion, a Leander-class light cruiser.  Other notable ships would come from this very shipyard, including HMS Indomitable, a British aircraft carrier.  It is also there that IJN Mikasa, the flagship of Admiral  Tōgō Heihachirō during the war between Japan and Russia, was built.

 

As the date indicates, HMS Orion was commissioned at a time where construction of warships was heavily regulated.  She was classified as a light cruiser, which limited her displacement to 10,000 tons and the caliber of her guns to 6 inches.

 

HMS_Orion_%2885%29.jpg

HMS Orion

 

Light cruisers:

The Leander-class was not the first class of British light cruisers.  They followed the Emerald-class (or E-class) covered in the daily threads only a few days ago, itself following the Danae-class (or D-class) and a few more before that.  Why the Royal Navy discontinued its class alphabetical order, jumping from "E" to "L" is something I would like to know.  Things were moving fast and classes were being engineered within years of the one preceding them.

 

Despite deflated naval budgets, Great Britain was struggling to keep a naval worldwide status.  During World War I, the Royal Navy's fleet of cruisers totaled 86 ships.  By the time the Leander-class came, barely half of that number could be attained, with the same missions and the same geographical areas (if not more) to cover.  The Royal Navy's World War I area of responsibility was mainly centered around Europe, but in the 1930s, events were in motion not only off the shores of England but also in the distanced Pacific, where Great Britain also had some vital interests.

 

Not only the British light cruisers were getting fewer and fewer, but they were also getting more obsolescent.  The very same engineers that had advocated the use of double turrets on British cruisers could only see their theories applied on other navies, such as the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Marine Nationale (the French Navy).

 

What would come to the rescue of British light cruisers was the fact that during the London Treaty of 1930, the same bureaucrats that had made sure to nomenclature and number everything forgot one element: there was no limitation to the number of light cruisers!  Great Britain's heavy cruisers were capped to 147,000 tons, which she had reached with her 15 ships, but she could theoretically, in the letter if not the spirit of the London Treaty build as many light cruisers as she wanted.

 

Leander-class:

The Leander-class had been thought before the treaty was signed, so its design had to be adopted to follow it.  As there was no displacement restriction between a heavy cruiser and a light cruiser, the British heavy cruiser HMS York (one of the two York-class cruisers with HMS Exeter) was taken as the basis of the new light cruiser class.

 

HMS_York_secured.jpg

HMS York, the basis for ...

 

800px-HMNZS_Achilles_SLV_AllanGreen.jpg

... HMNZS Achilles of the Leander-class

 

Eight Leander-class light cruisers were commissioned and the class would eventually be split into two sub-classes: the Leander-class and the modified Leander-class.  The class lead ship was HMS Leander, laid down in 1928.  She was followed in 1931 by HMS Neptune, HMS Orion and HMS Achilles, then in 1933 (because of budget restrictions) by HMS Ajax.  As you can tell, some of these ships were made famous later on, when they hunted down the German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee.

 

Characteristics:

Displacement: 6,985 to 7,270 tons

Length (overall): 554 feet 6 inches

Beam: 56 feet (55 feet for Leander)

Propulsion: 2 x Parsons turbines,  6 x Admiralty boilers

Speed: 32.5 knots

Armament: 8 x 6-inch Mk XXIII guns (4 x 2), 4 x 4-inch Mk V guns (4 x 1), 12 machine guns (3 x 4)

Torpedoes: 8 x 21-inch torpedo tubes (2 x 4)

Armor: 1-inch deck, 1-inch turrets, 2-inch sides

Aircraft: 1 

Complement: 570

 

The Leander-class cruisers were lighter, shorter and slower than the class that they replaced.  They had 1 more 6-inch gun, 1 less 4-inch gun and 4 less torpedo tubes.  Their armor (on paper) looks similar.  As every other class of ships, the Leander would experience some evolution during the years.  Their secondary armament was reorganized and the 4 single 4-inch guns were replaced with 4 double.

 

Modified Leander-class:

A few months after HMS Ajax was laid down, the Royal Navy decided to improve its Leander-class.  One area of concern was the machinery, therefore the two turbines were separated in their own compartment, allowing them to work separately, should one be damaged.  This dramatically altered the look of the ships who were fitted with a second funnel, totally altering their appearance.

 

800px-StateLibQld_1_139266_Perth_%28ship

HMAS Perth (1939)

 

As the picture's caption above indicate, some moves were made.  As a matter of fact, all modified Leander-class cruisers were transferred to the Royal Australian Navy.  HMS Amphion, HMS Apollo and HMS Phaeton became HMAS Perth, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Sydney.

 

Operational life:

The Leander (and modified Leander) cruisers performed very well during World War II.  Most of them deserve their original thread and we will come back later to cover them individually.  The most famous engagement involving Leander-class cruisers was the battle of River Plate where two of them were involved in the pursuit of Admiral Graf Spee.  HMS Ajax and HNMZS Achilles earned respect that day.  For a full story of River Plate, follow this link.

 

HMS_Achilles_%2870%29.jpg

HMS Ajax seen from HMNZS Achilles...

 

1_zps610d140d.png

... which inspired this painting

 

HMAS Sydney was also made famous when she chased KM Kormoran, a German raider; the two ships mutually destroying each other, beside the cruiser's clear advantage.  Her story was covered in the daily threads by NGTM_1R in this thread.

 

bPw1xWc.jpg

Sydney and Kormoran (courtesy of Tanz in his own thread about Sydney)

 

Leander-class losses:

Beside HMAS Sydney, two other Leander-ships were lost during the war.  

 

HMAS Perth was sunk in the battle of Sunda Strait, on February 28, 1942.  Some of her crew were rescued by the Japanese, only to be held in terrible captivity conditions.  Her story inspired another prisoner, Murray Griffin, who painted the following picture.

 

AWM_ART24483_HMAS_Perth.jpg

"HMAS Perth fights to the last, 28th February, 1942 - Murray Griffin"

 

HMS Neptune, although listed as a Royal Navy ship, was in fact manned by a New Zealand crew.  On December 19, 1941, while part of Force K (a Royal Navy task force that operated in the Mediterranean), HMS Neptune hit two mines laid down by the Italians.  While trying to get out of the minefield, she was hit by a third mine.  None of the other ships in her formation could assist, because of the danger of other mines in the area, which had hit two other British ships (HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope) and eventually a third one (HMS Kandahar) trying to rescue the cruiser.  She was eventually hit by a fourth mine and rapidly capsized.

 

2_zpsfd6371b4.jpg

HMS Neptune

 

Leander-class in the game:

48kl.jpg

 

As seen from the phenomenal work from mr3awsome collecting data over 2 forums to tell us more about what is happening concerning technical trees, there is an "obvious" spot at tier-6, between the Emerald-class and the Southampton-class.  However, despite one more 6-inch gun, the Leander-class ships have 4 less torpedo tubes than the Emerald.  So, and don't take my word for it, based on what is also happening on the US tree with the Brooklyn-class, it wouldn't be a stretch to actually see Wargaming switch the Emerald and the Leander.  To be followed...

Edited by Ariecho
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The Leander's actually shipped their 4 x 1 QF4" Mk Vs for 4 x 2 QF4" Mk XVIs. The latter were used on all later British CLs, although the late-war paper designs had the QF4.5" Mk I or Mk III.

 

Personally I can see the Leander's being between the Southampton's and Emerald's, as it does make sense. 

 

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The Leander's actually shipped their 4 x 1 QF4" Mk Vs for 4 x 2 QF4" Mk XVIs. The latter were used on all later British CLs, although the late-war paper designs had the QF4.5" Mk I or Mk III.

 

Personally I can see the Leander's being between the Southampton's and Emerald's, as it does make sense. 

 

You are correct about the QF4!  It is a bad interpretation on my part, and it actually makes more sense. +1.

 

Not entirely positive about having them after the Emerald, because of Teit's comment about the Cleveland and the Brooklyn.

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Not entirely positive about having them after the Emerald, because of Teit's comment about the Cleveland and the Brooklyn.

Well the Leander's have one more gun,  1 or 5 more 4" guns and better AA guns. 

 

You might be confusing the Leanders with the Arethusas

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While 1st Edition LNT didn't limit the total number of light cruisers (as it did with heavy ones) it's still did limit the total tonnage to 192,200 for Britain. As for the apparent jump from "E" to "L" they aren't an alphabet class in the first place like the few preceding light cruiser classes were. The Leanders share mythological name theme (as do Arethusas).

 

(Edit) On the E-class vs. later cruisers subject, both Leanders and Arethusas have modern British fire-controls with powered DCTs and AFCTs for generating solution. I doubt the Emeralds ever got these. Turrets also tend to have superior, more integrated supply to pedestal mounts - which tend to need fair amount of manhandling - so higher (even significantly higher) rates of fire would be justified.

 

(Edit2) Dreadnought Project gives E-Class DFCT Mark III* in 1930: http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/Dreyer_Table_Mark_III*

Edited by Gigaton

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Well the Leander's have one more gun,  1 or 5 more 4" guns and better AA guns. 

 

You might be confusing the Leanders with the Arethusas

Oh, I know, and I even wrote that.  But it comes at the price of 4 torpedo tubes.

 

On the E-class vs. later cruisers subject, both Leanders and Arethusas have modern British fire-controls with powered DCTs and AFCTs for generating solution. I doubt the Emeralds ever got these

 

The only difference I found was the type 286 (in addition to the 281) and 284 on the Arethusa, not present on the Emerald, which was fitted in 1942 with (quoting from my post on HMS Emerald): "an aircraft warning radar (type 281), identification friend or foe (IFF), a surface warning radar (type 273) and fire control radar (type 282 and 285)."

 

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Oh, I know, and I even wrote that.  But it comes at the price of 4 torpedo tubes.

 

 

The only difference I found was the type 286 (in addition to the 281) and 284 on the Arethusa, not present on the Emerald, which was fitted in 1942 with (quoting from my post on HMS Emerald): "an aircraft warning radar (type 281), identification friend or foe (IFF), a surface warning radar (type 273) and fire control radar (type 282 and 285)."

 

True, but the Emeralds loose their TT to gain light AA later on. 

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True, but the Emeralds loose their TT to gain light AA later on. 

If such an upgrade was in the game, I'd be sure not to install it ...:sceptic:

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Nice post. +1

Did anyone else scroll up and down to see the painting and the picture? I did. :veryhappy:

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If such an upgrade was in the game, I'd be sure not to install it ...:sceptic:

It only loses 2 launchers, and gains quite a lot of light AA for it. 

 

the D class loose all theirs for their refits, count yourself lucky.

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Nice post. +1

Did anyone else scroll up and down to see the painting and the picture? I did. :veryhappy:

The only thing that puzzled me on the painting was that one of the windows (or whatever term you use for windows on a ship) was open, while in the horizon, you see the Graf Spee...

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It only loses 2 launchers, and gains quite a lot of light AA for it. 

 

the D class loose all theirs for their refits, count yourself lucky.

If it grants me protection from Aircraft...why not... 

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Nice post +1.

 

Although I noticed there was nothing about Leander participating in the Battle of Kolombangara.

You are correct.  As mentioned, it is a bout the class, not individual ships within it.  They all had a rich history that wouldn't have been served well mentioned in one post (and 2 to 3 hours to put it together).  I only mentioned those that were lost, but (again) as mentioned, we will revisit these ships on an individual basis.

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The only difference I found was the type 286 (in addition to the 281) and 284 on the Arethusa, not present on the Emerald, which was fitted in 1942 with (quoting from my post on HMS Emerald): "an aircraft warning radar (type 281), identification friend or foe (IFF), a surface warning radar (type 273) and fire control radar (type 282 and 285)."

 

The Types 282 (pom-pom radar), 284 (LA radar) and 285 (HA radar) would be the most important ones here. Sadly the model of, say, Type 284 fitted is not commenly given. Type 284s ran from approximate USN Mark 3 equivalents to approximate USN Mark 8 equivalents in capability.

 

I originally meant the underlying fire-control system though. The new Admiralty Fire Control Tables, gyrostabilized director sights, the powered enclosed Director Control Towers, "synchronous" data transmission (name aside, this is not to be confused with USN selsyns/synchros). These were introduced in new construction cruisers and battleships starting with the Counties (DCT aside) and Nelsons. Few ships of old construction were also totally modernized in FCS, namely Renown, Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and Warspite (these were, to my knowledge, the only old contruction units that got AFCTs).

 

Of the cruiser in question specifically, Leander had Mark IV AFCT, Achilles, Neptune and Orion and AFCT Mark IV*, Ajax, Australian Leanders, and the first three Arethusas had the simplified Mark V. Aurora had similar fire-controls to most of the Towns, with AFCT Mark VI and much improved data transmission in form of the "Magslip" (the RN equivalent to USN selsyns/synchros). Some of the Arethusas are listed with cross-levelling gear in 1940.

 

I did note while cheking that up that Enterprise was fitted with prototype DCT (the first RN cruiser to get one, actually, the first "serial" models were for the four last Counties, including York and Exeter) but no idea what sort of system it was.

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The Types 282 (pom-pom radar), 284 (LA radar) and 285 (HA radar) would be the most important ones here. Sadly the model of, say, Type 284 fitted is not commenly given. Type 284s ran from approximate USN Mark 3 equivalents to approximate USN Mark 8 equivalents in capability.

 

I originally meant the underlying fire-control system though. The new Admiralty Fire Control Tables, gyrostabilized director sights, the powered enclosed Director Control Towers, "synchronous" data transmission (name aside, this is not to be confused with USN selsyns/synchros). These were introduced in new construction cruisers and battleships starting with the Counties (DCT aside) and Nelsons. Few ships of old construction were also totally modernized in FCS, namely Renown, Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and Warspite (these were, to my knowledge, the only old contruction units that got AFCTs).

 

Of the cruiser in question specifically, Leander had Mark IV AFCT, Achilles, Neptune and Orion and AFCT Mark IV*, Ajax, Australian Leanders, and the first three Arethusas had the simplified Mark V. Aurora had similar fire-controls to most of the Towns, with AFCT Mark VI and much improved data transmission in form of the "Magslip" (the RN equivalent to USN selsyns/synchros). Some of the Arethusas are listed with cross-levelling gear in 1940.

 

I did note while cheking that up that Enterprise was fitted with prototype DCT (the first RN cruiser to get one, actually, the first "serial" models were for the four last Counties, including York and Exeter) but no idea what sort of system it was.

Thanks, excellent information.

 

I wish I could go to that level of detail, but understandably (hopefully), already spending 3-5 hours a day writing the daily thread, I can't dig into subjects as much as I would like it.

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