HMS Leopard (CA-1934)


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Mediterranean Cruisers.

The RN had taken notice of the French, Italian and Japanese speed trials with their heavy cruisers. 34 to 36 knots. The British cruisers would never be able to catch them.

What was needed was a new design with the maximum sized propulsion system that could be fitted, and unlike the standard heavy cruiser about half the range and provisions to save weight. The same nine gun battery would be fitted as the earlier County class, once the ship caught an enemy it needed the firepower to kill it. No hangar for the aircraft, but as heavy an AA battery as could be fitted was put aboard.

On trials in 1934 with 110,000shp both ships maintained 34 knots at standard displacement and still made 32 knots at full load displacement. With full overload power applied at 128,000shp the ships made an average 35.5 knots. The RN had their greyhounds.

The two ships spent all their service lives in the Mediterranean either operating together or at either end at Gibraltar or Alexandria. One of their main uses during 1941-42 was as fast transports, taking essential provisions to Malta (in conjunction with the Abdiel class minelayers). In aid of this the aircraft handling facilities were taken out and the ships boats transferred into the space provided. This opened up space for more AA weapons. The torpedo tubes had been an early casualty in removing weight to allow for RADAR and other modern fittings to be placed aboard. All the gunnery directors received electronic assistance. The biggest change was due to the Lynx being chosen as the escort to the Illustrious on its trip to America for repairs to the bomb damage sustained trying to relieve Malta in 1941. The Lynx received an upgrade to the minor AA weaponry with the current outfit being replaced with 40mm quad mountings and 20mm in twin and single mountings.

Something not often done was the replacement of the aft twin 4" with a quad 40mm mounting. Experience in the Mediterranean had shown that the Stuka's preferred to attack from astern where a 40mm mounting would make their life much more difficult.

Displacement 10,075 tons standard, 12,800 tons full load
Length 627 ft
Breadth 64 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft geared turbines, 110,000shp
Speed 34 knots
Range 5000 miles at 12 knots
Armour 2" side, 2" deck, 3.5" turrets
Armament As Completed:

9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 4" (5x2)
8 x 2pd (2x4)
16 x 0.5"mg (4x4)

Refits etc to 1942 (Lynx)

9 x 8" (3x3)
8 x 4" (4x2)
20 x 40mm (5x4)
32x 20mm (7x2, 18x1)

Aircraft 1 nil
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (2x4) nil
Complement 755 790
Notes HMS Leopard (1934

HMS Lynx (1934)


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