HMS Sirius (CL-1939)

HMAS Darwin (CL-1940)

HMSAS Bechuanaland (CL-1940)


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Probably the most important design of light cruiser the Royal Navy produced, the first of the class to complete was the HMAS Newcastle in 1939 and a total of 36 ships were completed to the design. The design was based on the successful Leander class ships with the main upgrade being the move to the twin power operated 4" (Mk XX) mountings and a better AA outfit. Aircraft handling and storage was also improved.

The first RN ship to complete was HMS Sirius in April of 1939 with the RAN completing their first ship HMAS Newcastle in June of 1939. The first 12 ships (8xRN & 4xRAN) were all completed with the slanted funnels. From the RN Town class onwards the ships had upright funnels. During 1942 a shortage of the Mk XX 4" turret led to several of the ships being fitted with the Mk XVI open mountings instead. The AA outfits changed virtually from ship to ship as and when different types of AA armaments were available. The quad 0.5" machine guns were an early casualty being replaced with twin 20mm and later 40mm AA cannons. Some ships had quad 2 pounders while other ships had a mixture of quad and octuple 2 pounder mountings.

With the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Admiralty started placing orders for "War Emergency Construction". Cruiser construction was to center on the Modified Leander Class, and the Dido / Mount Perry / Kiliminjaro anti-aircraft ships. For the Modified Leander class the War Emergency orders were:
09/39 Four Town type
01/40 Four Town type
06/40 Two Colony type (HMSAS)
01/41 Four Colony type
01/42 Four Colony type
01/43 Two Superb type
06/43 Two Superb type (completed post war)
01/44 Two Superb type (completed post war)
01/45 Four Superb (cancelled June 1945)

HMSAS Uganda with the upgraded 6", twin 40mm over the hangar, upright funnels and Mk XVI 4". The aircraft handling facilities have been removed.

With the Kamikaze menace a problem in the Pacific, all the ships headed that way had their AA weaponry upgraded. The 20mm cannons and lesser machine guns were removed and only the big 2 pounder mountings and 40mm weaponry were placed aboard. HMS Kenya above has a uniform set of twin 40mm mountings with radar predictors added for more accurate firing.

Displacement 8,200 tons std 10,400 tons full load
Length 562 ft
Breadth 64 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 80,000 shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 7000 miles at 18 knots
Armour 4" side, 2" deck, 3" turrets
Armament HMS Sirius 1939

9 x 6" (3x3)
10 x4" (5x2)
16 x 2pd (4x4)
12 x 0.5"mg (3x4)
HMS Kenya 1944

9 x 6" (3x3)
10 x4" (5x2)
16 x 40mm (8x2)
Aircraft 3 2
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3) nil
Complement 710 745


Commonwealth ships:

Leander Upgrade (8): HMS Sirius, HMS Isis, HMS Arrogant, HMS Highflyer, HMS Challenger, HMS Amphitrite, HMS Diadem, HMS Europa.

Town Type (12): HMS Falmouth, HMS Nottingham, HMS Birkenhead, HMS Chester, HMS Sheffield, HMS Manchester, HMS Glasgow, HMS Lowestoft, HMAS Newcastle, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Whangarei, HMAS Whyalla

Colony Type (10): HMS Mauritius, HMS Honduras, HMS Jamaica, HMS Nigeria, HMS Kenya, HMS Fiji, HMS Trinidad, HMS Ceylon, HMSAS Uganda, HMSAS Bechuanaland

Superb Type (6): HMS Superb, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Astraea, HMS Canopus, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Bellerophon

Original drawing for this class which now looks bloody horrible. Surprising what 10 years of better pixel art can produce.

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