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fighting ships of the world

ROYAL NAVY - UNITED KINGDOM

CRUISERS

LEANDER light cruisers (1933-1935)

Ajax 1939

Ajax 1943

Ajax 1943

Achilles 1945

Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Achilles (RNZN 10/1941-9/1946) 70 - C70 983 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 11/6/1931 1/9/1932 6/10/1933 to India 7/1948 (Delhi)
Ajax 22 682 Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow 7/2/1933 1/3/1934 12/4/1935 sold for BU 11/1949
Leander (RNZN 10/1941-5/1944) 75   Devonport DYd 8/9/1930 24/9/1931 24/3/1933 sold for BU 12/1949
Neptune 20   Portsmouth DYd 24/9/1931 31/1/1933 23/2/1934 sunk 19/12/1941
Orion 85   Devonport DYd 26/9/1931 24/11/1932 18/1/1934 sold for BU 7/1949

 

Displacement standard, t

6985 - 7270

Displacement full, t

9000 - 9280 (later 9460 - 9740)

Length, m

159.1 pp 169.0 oa

Breadth, m

17.0

Leander: 16.8

Draught, m

5.79 - 5.99 deep load (later 6.07 - 6.22)

No of shafts

4

Machinery

Parsons geared steam turbines, 6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers

Power, h. p.

72000

Max speed, kn

32.5

Fuel, t

oil 1680 - 1785

Endurance, nm(kts) 10300(14)
Armour, mm

box protection to magazines: 89 - 25, belt: 76 on 25mm plating, bulkheads: 38, barbettes: 25, turrets: 25, deck: 51 - 25

Armament

4 x 2 - 152/50 BL Mk XXIII, 4 x 1 - 102/45 QF Mk V, 4 x 1 - 47/40 Hotchkiss Mk I, 3 x 4 - 12.7/62, 2 4 - 533 TT, 2 (later 1) aircraft (Fairey III, Osprey, Seal), 1 catapult D-I-L

Leander: 4 x 2 - 152/50 BL Mk XXIII, 4 x 1 - 102/45 QF Mk V, 4 x 1 - 47/40 Hotchkiss Mk I, 3 x 4 - 12.7/62, 2 4 - 533 TT, 2 (later 1) aircraft (Fairey III, Osprey, Seal), 1 catapult E-II-H

Complement

570

Ship project history: First British cruisers designed taking into account results of London conference of 1930, according to which Britain had the right to build till 1936 some cruisers of a category "B" (no more than 10 000t displacement , not above 155mm main guns) with the general displacement 91 000t.

It was supposed to build 14 6500t ships designed on a basis of Exeter with similar protection but with 8 152mm guns and less powerful machinery. The last, together with some re-planning of boiler rooms, has allowed to deduce boiler uptakes to single funnel.

As well as on Kent class, basic thrust became not on achievement of a high speed or heavy armament, but on seaworthiness and endurance. Unlike cruisers with 203mm guns they not were so rigidly limited by limitations as a result their displacement was significant (almost on 1000t) exceeded the planed. It has compelled Admiralty to shrink number of ships of class to 8 (taking into account three "improved" ships of Amphion class).

Protection: Armoured belt protected machinery spaces (51mm armour on 25mm plating) and extended to upper deck abreast boiler rooms and to main deck abreast engine rooms. Machinery also was protected by 32mm armoured deck. Magazines were covered by 89mm longitudinal and 76mm transverse bulkheads and 51mm crowns. Steering gear was protected by 32mm deck with 38mm slopes.

Modernizations: 1936 - 1938, all but Achilles: - 4 x 1 - 102/45; + 4 x 2 - 102/45 QF Mk XVI

3/1936, Achilles: - 1 catapult D-I-L with Osprey seaplane; + 1 catapult E-II-H with 1 Walrus seaplane

1939, all: - 4 x 1 - 47/40

early 1940, Ajax: - 1 catapult D-I-L with Osprey seaplane; + 1 catapult E-II-H with Walrus seaplane, type 279 radar

5/1941, Neptune: + 3 x 1 - 40/39 QF Mk II, 3 x 4 - 12.7/62, type 281, 284, 285 radars

5/1941, Ajax: - 1 catapult with seaplane; + 1 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII

6/1941, Leander: - 1 catapult with seaplane; + 1 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII

8/1941, Orion: - 1 catapult with seaplane

late 1941, Leander: - 3 x 4 - 12.7/62; + 1 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII, 5 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, 1 catapult E-II-H with 1 Walrus seaplane

early 1942, Ajax: + 6 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

2/1942, Orion: - 3 x 4 - 12.7/62; + 2 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII, 7 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, type 279, 284, 285 radars

4/1942, Orion: + type 273 radar

1942, Achilles: - 4 x 1 - 102/45, 3 x 4 - 12.7/62; + 7 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

mid-1942, Leander: + type 284, 291 radars

mid-1942, Ajax: - 3 x 4 - 12.7/62; + 1 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII, 3 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, type 272, 284 radars

10/1942, Orion: + 2 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

early 1943, Leander: - 1 catapult with seaplane; + 4 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, type 273 radar

8/1943, Ajax; 10/1943, Orion: - 2 x 4 - 40/39, 4 x 1 - 20/70; + 2 x 4 - 40/56 Bofors Mk 1/2, 4 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

5/1944, Achilles: - 1 x 2 - 152/50 ("X"), 3 x 1 - 20/70, 1 catapult with seaplane; + 4 x 2 - 102/45 QF Mk XVI, 4 x 4 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII, 7 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, type 277, 281B, 4x 282, 2x 285, 293 radars

1944, Ajax: + 1 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

4/1945, Achilles: - 2 x 2 - 20/70; + 4 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors Mk III, 1 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

8/1945, Leander: - 1 x 2 - 152/50 ("X"), 5 x 1 - 20/70; + 2 x 4 - 40/56 Bofors Mk 1/2, 3 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, 2x type 285 radars

9/1946, Achilles: 3 x 2 - 152/50 Mk XXI, 4 x 2 - 102/45 Mk XIX, 4 x 1 - 40/60 Mk III, 4 x 4 - 40/39 Mk VII, 5 x 2 - 20/70 Mk V, 5 x 1 - 20/70 Mk III, 2 4 - 533 TT

1/1946, Ajax: 4 x 2 - 152/50 Mk XXI, 4 x 2 - 102/45 Mk XIX, 2 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 5 x 2 - 20/70 Mk V, 5 x 1 - 20/70 Mk III, 2 4 - 533 TT

1/1946, Leander: 3 x 2 - 152/50 Mk XXI, 4 x 2 - 102/45 Mk XIX, 2 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 2 x 4 - 40/39 Mk VII, 3 x 2 - 20/70 Mk V, 4 x 1 - 20/70 Mk III, 2 4 - 533 TT

1/1946, Orion: 4 x 2 - 152/50 Mk XXI, 4 x 2 - 102/45 Mk XIX, 2 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 4 x 2 - 20/70 Mk V, 5 x 1 - 20/70 Mk III, 2 4 - 533 TT

Naval service: Achilles and Ajax were damaged 13/12/1939 in battle with German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, repair lasted 2 and 6 months respectively. Achilles was damaged by Japanese bomb at Guadalcanal 5/1/1943 and has failed almost on one and half year. Ajax was damaged 1/1/1943 by the 500kg bomb off Cape Bon (Mediterranean sea) and has failed for a year. Leander was damaged by Japanese 610mm torpedo 13/7/1943 in battle at Kolombangara (Solomon Islands) and was under repair till the end of war. Orion was damaged 29/5/1941 by German aircraft off Crete (2 bomb hits)   and has failed for 9 months. Neptune was lost after being stricken by three or four Italian mines near Tripoli 19/12/1941.

Ajax 1935

Ivan Gogin, 2008-15