HMAS Napier (CLA-1915 (1935-mod))


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Arethusa class cruisers the Australis Navy built to go with the Queen class battleships. All 4 ships were laid down in 1913 and completed in 1915-16. The ships were quite a bit smaller than the later C class ships and were not able to carry as heavy an ordanance load. Up until 1933 the class carried the original 3 x 6 inch single open mountings and were used as training ships, their engines had been converted to oil fuel in 1922-23.

The Napier trialed the twin 4" light turret in 1933-34 in A position. This turret had no more than splinter protection and would keep out machine gun fire but what it did most was to give the gun crews a sense of security an open mounting can not. In heavy weather the gun crew stayed dry and operated at peak efficiency.


The class started their full rebuilds in 1935 with a ship entering the system every 6 months. What emerged was a useful anti-aircraft vessel, which were tied to the Albatross class and old battleships where these ships 28 knot speed gave them a usefull margin where they would not be able to keep up with the fast battleships and battlecruisers.


Displacement 3,500 tons std, 4,250 tons full load
Length 436 ft
Breadth 39 ft
Draught 13.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 40,000shp
Speed 28 knots
Range 4000 miles at 15 knots.
Armour 3" side, 1" deck.
Armament 8 x 4" (4x2)

8 x 2pd (2x4)

8x 20mm (2x2 4x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 4 x 21" (2x2)
Complement 325
Notes HMAS Cairns 1915

HMAS Napier 1915

HMAS Townsville 1916

HMAS Rockhampton 1916


Prewar view of Arethusa class cruiser with 6 inch fore and aft and 3 single 4 inch down each side. The twin tubes are visible behind the ships boat.


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