HSMS Kung Gustaf (CDBC-1917 (1938-mod))


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These ships were to be units 3-4-5-6 of the Gotaland Class coast defence cruisers. To be built in pairs the first two were barely begun building when the Germanic States went to 12" guns, the British went to 13.5" and word came that the American nations were going to 14". Further units of the Norge class would be seriously outgunned. A new design was then promulgated to fix the gunpower problem. The unhandy 'Q' turret was dispensed with, the mounting moved to a superfiring position in 'X' position. The single 5.9" were continued with, the bigger hull of the Gustafs allowing an extra pair to be fitted. The increase in gun size to the Bofors 360mm (14.17") weapon did require an increase in dimensions.

For the first time for Scandinavia a pair of directors were fitted to direct the fire of the 5.9" guns. The three main directors for the 14.2" could be used on individual turrets to any of the three directors being able to direct the fire of all of the main turrets. Half a dozen 3.9" were fitted as anti-torpedoboat guns while another first was the fitting of two 50mm (2") quick firing anti-aircraft guns. The propulsion system had to be increased markedly to move the Gustafs just two knots faster than the Gotaland type. The funnels increasing from two to three.

The insistence of the Naval High Command to fit aircraft handling facilities to the rebuilt capital ships ended up unbalancing the design and required a much larger increase in the added bow structure. This was necessary as the bow had tended to plunge in moderate seas with the big 360mm turret so far forward. The better hull form helped with the increase in speed required by the rebuilding plans. Eight of the twin 4.7" turrets were fitted as the dual purpose armament while a blend of 40mm and 20mm completed the light armament. The class names comemorated all of the past monarchs of the name rather than just one individual.


Displacement As built 1917

24,700 tons std

28,400 tons full load

As rebuilt 1936-38

27,000 tons std

31,800 tons full load

Length 597.5 ft 646 ft
Breadth 88 ft 88 ft
Draught 27 ft 27 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 60,000shp 4 Shaft steam turbines, 90,000shp
Speed 25 knots as built (28 knots as rebuilt)
Range 5000 miles at 15 knots (2800 at 25knots)
Armour 10" side, 2.8" (4.7" Rebuilt) deck, 11"/8.2"/5.1" turrets
Armament As built

9 x 14.2" (3x3)

10 x 5.9" (10x1)

6 x 3.9" (6x1)

2 x 50mm (2x1)

As Rebuilt 1936-38

9 x 14.2" (3x3)

16 x 4.7" (8x2)

12 x 40mm (6x2)

12 x 20mm (6x2)

Aircraft nil 3
Torpedoes nil
Complement 950 1100
Notes HSMS Kung Gustaf (1917)

HSMS Kung Oscar (1917)

HSMS Kung Karl (1919)

HSMS Kung Fredrik (1920)


The twin Bofors 40mm went through many marks and versions from the originals shown on the ship. Note the two seated crew while the loaders refresh the magazines and the gun captain awaits further orders.


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