HMS Leander (CL-1932)

HMSAS Namaqualand (CL-1936)

HMAS Hobart (1935)


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The Leander class were important that they marked the return of the 6" cruiser after ten years of the Treaty heavy cruisers. The British Empire requires large numbers of cruisers, quantity rather than size. An 8000 ton cruiser meant they could build 3 6" cruisers for the price of 2 of the County types. A basic armament of 9 x 6" in triple turrets was deemed sufficient for this class with first single 4" as the heavy AA, these being replaced by twin 4" as they became available and as the ships went for refits. The ships were ordered in four groups of four. The first RN group completing in 1932-33, the Australis group in 1934-35, the next RN group in 1935-36 and the Southern African ships in 1936-37.

The four ships built for the Southern African Navy were the last overseas built cruisers for the SAN. From this class onwards the SAN built its own designs (with mixed results). With upright funnels and compact bridges these ships looked magnificent and served in theaters throughout the world. Several being lost (I am just not sure which ones yet and how).

Between 1939 and 1941 all of the ships that survived had electronic aids fitted for all the different levels of armament. Sea search and Air search radar were a must and improvements to these and other radars meant upgrades being put aboard the ships at regular refit intervals. The extra topweight from the electronics and extra AA weaponry meant the removal of the torpedoes and aircraft handling facilities to balance things out   

Launch of HMS Wyvern in 1935 with completion slated for 1936.

Displacement 7,800 tons std, 10,500 tons full load
Length 564 ft
Breadth 62 ft
Draught 20 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 75,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 6,500 at 15 knots
Armour 4" side, 2" deck 2.5" turrets
Armament RN First batch as completed

9 x 6" (3x3)
5 x 4" (5x1)
12 x 0.5" mg (3x4)
RN Second batch as completed

9 x 6" (3x3)
10 x 4" (5x2)
4 x 2pd (1x4)
12 x 0.5" mg (3x4)
Refits to 1941

9 x 6" (3x3)
10 x 4" (5x2)
12 x 2pd (3x4)
20 x 20mm (7x2 6x1)
Aircraft 1 1 1
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (2x4) 6 x 21" (2x3) 6 x 21" (2x3)
Complement 580 600 630
Notes HMS Leander
HMS Amphion
HMS Ajax - sunk Battle of Norwegian Sea May 1940
HMS Achilles
HMS Aboukir
HMS Cressy
HMS Wyvern
HMS Drake
HMAS Hobart
HMAS Sydney
HMAS Greymouth
HMAS Adelaide
HMSAS Namaqualand
HMSAS Zululand
HMSAS Basutoland
HMSAS Griqualand

Original Leander class cruisers were fitted with four twin 6" as a main armament.

Last one with old 6" triple turrets and 4".


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