RPN Leopard (CA-1937)


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There was a gap in the production of cruisers when the two Illustrious class small battlecruisers were built instead. This allowed the first non-treaty cruisers to be designed and then put into production. They would be an improved Lion class with slightly bigger all round dimensions to improve seakeeping and allow for an enlarged radius of action and speed. The armour scheme would also be enhanced. Bigger, better, faster, they were to be all three. My favourite type of ship. Taking something I already like and make it better. Lets have a look!

This was what Panagaea had wanted as a Trade Protection cruiser. It needed to be 30% bigger than the Lion class ships, which is what all of the countries had known with the Treaty cruisers, to get what you wanted required more displacement to play with. The most telling feature was the 4" mountings going to power operated turrets, with splinter protection for the crews. A great advance over the manually operated, open backed mountings previously used on Panagaean cruisers. Some thought had been given to fitting the 4.5" turrets but the extra weight required would have outweighed any perceived advantage.

The Leopard class were fully in the thick of it, being kept with the main fleet, they never got the chance to have any gun actions against Japanese light forces, but that did not stop the Bobcat from being lost. Late 1942 and the Panagaean Task Force (4xCV, 6xBB, 4xCA, 4xCLA, 12xDD) was operating North of Guadalcanal, interdicting Japanese forces trying to run supplies along the 'Slot' through the islands. This attracted the ire of the Japanese who launched an air fleet at the Task Force of approximately 200 aircraft. The Panagaean carriers were launching fighters just as fast as they could get them in the air. The Combat Air Patrol had thrown itself at the incoming Japanese aircraft, sacrificing themselves to give the carriers a chance to get more fighters in the air. The Japanese fighters cleared a way through for the bombers to attack, the AA fire and Panagaean fighters did their best to upset the bombers runs. The dive bombers were trying to attack from astern and the torpedo bombers from the beam. The best the commanding Admiral could do was to do a fast zig-zag of the fleet to put them off. The four Leopard class were outside the carriers where their heavy AA could cover the carriers. The Japanese dropped torpedoes and the fleet turned toward to try and parallel the tracks, the Bobcat was unlucky and received two torpedo hits meant for the carrier behind it. The hit in the engine room stopped the ship and six dive bombers targeted the crippled ship and four hits were enough to tip the balance. Two destroyers came alongside and took off the remaining crew, then one of the destroyers put a last torpedo into the ship which rolled over and sunk. The Bobcat had done its job protecting the carriers.


Displacement 13,250 tons standard, 15,800 tons full load
Length 639 ft
Breadth 70 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft geared turbines, 95,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 9000 miles at 12 knots
Armour 5" side, 3" deck, 4" turrets
Armament As Completed:

9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 4" (5x2)
40 x 2pd (2x8,6x4)
28 x 0.5"mg (7x4)

Refits etc to 1942 (Cheetah)

9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 4" (5x2)
34 x 40mm (17x2)

Aircraft 3 nil
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (2x4) 8 x 21" (2x4)
Complement 835 865
Notes Leopard


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