HMAS New Zealand (BC-1939)


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The battlecruiser New Zealand was made possible by the rebuilding of the four Australis Navy Iron Duke class battleships. The rebuilding in each case had removed the center turret and barbette. The cancellation of the last 2 Westralis class battleships freed up funds for this ship which as it was utilising spare turrets would be both cheaper and quicker to build. Laid down in late 1935 it was thought that the ship could be completed mid 1939 between the two Westralis class ships. Accepting the 13.5" guns for the new ship was not difficuilt as Australis already had 2 battlecruisers with 13.5" guns (see Queensland).

There was nothing unconventional about this ships design with armour layout following the British doctrine, though the armour belt and deck thicknesses were increased over the Tiger/Renown type, those ships coming to the same standards during their rebuilds. The dual purpose and anti-aircraft armaments were enlarged over previous ships and followed the trend of the time with the lessons learnt from aircraft -v- ship during the Spanish Civil War. In service it was faster than the earlier ships, as propulsion systems had improved between the wars.  The ship proved a very good heavy escort to the big and fast Australis Aircraft Carriers of the Endeavour Class.


Displacement 38,500 tons full load
Length 736 ft
Breadth 90 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam turbines 145,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 7500 miles at 18 knots
Armour 11" side, 5.5" deck. 11/9/6" turrets
Armament 8 x 13.5" (4x2)

20 x 4.5" (10x2)

64 x 2pd (8x8)

10 x 40mm (10x1)

Aircraft 4 (mix of Walrus and Swordfish)
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1450




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