'D' class Cruisers (CL-1919-1925)


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The D class were the next step up from the C class. A bit more length and breadth to fit an extra 6" to give an inline armament of six by 6" guns. The same powerplant was fitted which produced the same 28-30 knot speed due to hull hydrodynamics employed to smooth the hull.

The 'D' class is one of those classes with enough ships that I can experiment a bit with various designs and layouts. Lots of the drawings did not always work as you can see from the drawings below the statistics box. Full conversions with turret guns would have required a complete remodelling of the interior to provide the service lanes from magazine to turret. Cheaper to build a new ship. This is why most of the conversions that worked on the C and D types were converted around the single and twin 4" AA guns. The best fit being the one on one swap of 6" singles for 4" twins. In real life the only D to be converted was the Delhi which received its conversion under Lend / Lease agreement in the US,
from May to December, 1941 Delhi was refitted as an anti-aircraft cruiser at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This introduced the Royal Navy to the 5"/38 dual purpose gun but more importantly to the US Mk37 gun control system. The RN eventually was allowed to build some under license and these were fitted to Vanguard some aircraft carriers and Battle class destroyers. The RN caught up very quickly with this technology replacing its old HACS units and 2pd radar predictors with updated units from 1944-45 onwards. The introduction of the STAAG and other radar onboard mountings also helped to phase out the old equipment.

First eight D class were completed to the standard shown below.

Above: HMS Diomede (left) fitted with experimental single 6" turret. HMS Dunedin with standard armament. Both pictured at Wellington NZ in the late 1920's.

The final four that were to be completed post war, were completed to a different design that laid out the 6" in three twin turrets as designed for the G3/N3 battleships.

HMS Daring was patrolling north of the Faroes Islands, in November 1939, in support of two other members of the 10th cruiser squadron, HMS Rawalipindi and HMS Chitral. HMS Rawalipindi made a sighting report of enemy surface ships and minutes later upgraded its report to sighting the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. The Rawalipindi turned to fight even though it was hopelessly outgunned. The Daring was only 20 minutes away and went to full speed to assist the Rawalipindi. When the Daring arrived at the scene the Rawalipindi was still afloat but a complete wreck. The Daring opened fire and drew the enemies fire off the Rawalipindi and on to itself. The Daring was unlucky being hit by two 11" shells, from the first salvoes, that wrecked the engine and boiler rooms, leaving the Daring stopped but still firing its guns. The S & G continued to fire at what was now target practice on the Daring and hits knocked out the two aft turrets and forward 4" guns. The Daring fired its two triple torpedo tube sets at what was maximum range but no hits were obtained. The S & G never even reported sighting torpedoes. Further 11" hits wrecked the Daring and left it in a sinking condition. The S & G went on their way and the HMS Chitral arrived and rescued the survivors from the bitter waters. Many succumbed to exposure even after being rescued from the icy seas. The Daring hit the Scharnhorst several times and damaged one of the 5.9" single mountings and the adjacent 4.1 AA mounting killing and wounding 27 crew. The other hits were on armoured positions and did no damage. The Daring had been unlucky in taking the damage it did. It should have been in a position to shadow the S & G with other members of the 10th cruiser squadron and report their position reguarly so that the main fleet out of Scapa Flow could intercept.

(what sort of happened in real life reports)
Sortieing from Scapa Flow on patrol on 23 November 1939, the Delhi and Daring joined the cruisers CaledonCardiffNewcastle and the armed merchant cruisers Rawalpindi and Chitral (10th Cruiser Squadron). During this patrol, Rawalpindi and Daring encountered the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and were sunk in a furious hour-long surface action. However, with Newcastle and Delhi shadowing and the rapid approach of heavy units of the Home Fleet, Admiral Marschall withdrew his battleships into inclement weather, slipping his pursuers and retreating to Wilhelmshaven.

Below is the standard conversion of the original D class cruisers to anti-aircraft ships.

HMS Delhi after AA Cruiser conversion in the USA 1941.

The Dauntless like the Delhi went to the US for its rebuilding and was fitted with twin 5"/38.

Where some of the smaller and handier C class cruisers were fitted with Asdic and a few depth charges, the more unwieldly D class were never fitted out in this way.

Displacement 5,100 tons standard, 5,950 tons full load
Length 473 ft
Breadth 47 ft
Draught 16 ft
Machinery twin shaft, Geared turbines, 40,000shp
Speed 28-30 knots
Range 4,500 miles at 15 knots
2,300 miles at 27 knots
Armour 3" side 1.5" deck
Armament As built Original

6 x 6" (6x1)
3 x 4" AA (3x1)
2 x 2pd AA (2x1)
As built Turrets

6 x 6" (3x2)
4 x 4" AA (4x1)
13 x 2pd AA (2x4, 5x1)
AA Conversions

10 x 4" (5x2)
8 x 2pd (2x4)
16 x 0.5" mg (4x4)
US Lend Lease Conversion

5 x 5" (5x1)
8 x 2pd (2x4)
12 x 20mm (4x2, 4x1)
Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3) 12 x 21" (4x3) nil nil
Complement 400 390 410 415
Notes Original
Danae (1918)
Dauntless (1918)
Dragon (1918)
Delhi (1919)
Dunedin (1919) torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-124 off Saint Paul's Rock in the South Atlantic 24 November 1941.
Durban (1921)
Despatch (1922) Sunk Malta Harbour as close escort of Illustrious when it underwent emergency repairs at Malta after being bombed January 1941.
Diomede (1922)
Daedalus (1926)
Daring (1926) Sunk in action with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau as part of 10th cruiser Squadron with HMS Rawalipindi patrolling north of the Faroe Islands on 23 November 1939.
Desperate (1926)
Dryad (1927)

Below, the RN wanted to extend the range of the D class ships and asked for a design to be produced to cater for that.

Below are the speculative AA conversions with either 2pd pom poms or 40mm guns. Both were armed with the light 4.5" turret.

Below: a thought I had to rearm the D's with 7.5" guns to match the heavy cruiser ideas I was playing with at the time.

Below the 4.5/4.7" AA armed with twin turrets. It was felt the heavier twin turrets would overload the hull.

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