HMS Cornwall (CA-1928)

HMSAS Congo (CA-1929)

HMAS Canberra (CA-1928)


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I have been reviewing my cruiser lines post WW1. The original line I have uses the Frobisher class hull and using twin and triple 7.5" mountings. The 7.5" gun is a good enough gun and being smaller/lighter does give some spare tonnage that can be used for the necessary extra armour over the RTL County class. The biggest difference between the RTL County and my expanded Frobisher's is the radius of action. The difference in range is about 4000 miles. Difference between 13,300 nmi at 12 knots and 9000 nmi at 12 knots. Almost a 50% loss. That is just the difference in the size of the hulls. Lots more space in the County hull for fuel and provisions.

The other cruisers being built at the same time as the Frobisher's was the 'E' Class. So my thought was, "What would an improved 'E' look like with 8" guns?". My first part of the idea was to replace the twin 8" of the County's with triples. Mainly as a weight and space saving device. One of the improvements of the 'E's was the unit system of machinery, intentional or otherwise. From forward to aft the propulsion system ran, boiler room, boiler room, engine room and lastly another boiler room. This gave the slightly odd looking funnel arrangement, but powerful 80,000shp propulsion system.

What was required was an expanded hull. Going from the 570 x 54.5 foot hull for 7x6" at 33.5 knots to the 617 x 66 foot hull with 9x8" at 32 knots. The original design made space for where aircraft handling facilities could be fitted but these were not fitted to the mid 30's. In fact a series of refits and rebuilds were required from completion to 1939-40 to keep the ships at the forefront of their class.

Two of the class were built for the Southern African Navy and were the last cruisers sourced outside of Southern Africa as the new infrastructure for shipbuilding came online in the mid-20's and beyond. The final four ships of the class were cancelled and reordered as the eight ship Glorious Class CL's.

Displacement 10,000 tons std 13,250 tons full load
Length 617 ft
Breadth 66 ft
Draught 20.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 80,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 10000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 3.5" side, 1.5" deck, 3" turrets
Armament As Completed:

9 x 8" (3x3)
5 x 4" (5x1)
4 x 2pd (4x1)

Refits etc to 1939-40

9 x 8" (3x3)
8 x 4" (4x2)
12 x 2pd (3x4)
24 x 20mm (24x1)

Aircraft nil 2
Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3) 6 x 21" (2x3)
Complement 740 765 (800 as Flagship)
Notes Royal Navy ships:
HMS Norfolk,
HMS Suffolk,
HMS Cornwall,
HMS Cumberland,
HMS Dorsetshire,
HMS Kent,
HMS Lancaster,
HMS Devonshire,
HMS Roxburgh, sunk by Graf Spee, Norwegian Sea, June 1940.
HMS Hampshire,
HMS Berwick,
HMS London,
HMS Essex,
HMS Carnarvon

Southern African Navy ships:
HMSAS Congo,
HMSAS Lydenberg.

Australis Navy Ships:
HMAS Canberra 1928
HMAS Darwin 1928
HMAS Riverina 1929
HMAS Albany 1930
HMAS Wellington 1932
HMAS Grampian 1932

Below: a quad turret armed version for a County class cruiser type.

HMS Norfolk, original drawing based on Hawkins hull.

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