HSMS Smaland (CLA-1938)


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The four Smaland class cruisers were ordered as AA escorts to the Svealand class battlecruisers. To act as escorts to those big, fast ships required either very large destroyers or small cruisers with high speed. These Smaland class ships though rated as Light Cruisers (AA) they were no bigger than the French Mogador class which were rated as large destroyers. What they were was fast like the Mogador class. They all made over 42 knots in standard displacement conditions, and 39 knots and over at full load displacement. No sooner than the ships were completed than their role for the Scandinavian Navy changed. The Soviet Union started demanding the return of Finland to its hegemony. The Scandinavians pointed out that the Soviet Union was not 'Russia' and so felt no obligation to abide by the 1815 Treaty. The Smaland class went to Helsinki to join other fast attack boats to operate in the small area of the Gulf of Finland. The Smaland class had been completed with turbine machinery as the diesels that were being fitted to other classes being completed for Scandinavia around the same time could not supply the high speed demanded of the class. As it turned out, the ships being utilised in the Gulf of Finland the ships did not require long range.

While the main armament of eight 4.7" was small for a cruiser, the fast firing 4.7" made up for it when compared to the slower firing 5.9"/6" of most countries light cruisers. Armour on the class was virtually non-existant with only a set of boxes of 1.5" armour around the magazine and shell handling areas, with the same around the major propulsion areas. This gave the ships protection against aircraft cannon ordinance and torpedo boat cannons, but any destroyer gunfire would go straight through. The ships could be fitted to carry twenty mines for offensive minelaying operations.


Displacement 3,700 tons standard, 4,900 tons full load
Length 474 ft
Breadth 47 ft
Draught 14 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 90,000shp
Speed 39 knots
Range 3000 miles at 15 knots (800 at 38 knots)
Armour 1.5" splinter protection over magazines & propulsion, 1.5 turrets
Armament 8 x 4.7" (4x2)

20 x 40mm (10x2)

Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3)
Mines 24 when fitted
Complement 240
Notes HSMS Smaland


120mm twin turret with ASW mortar rails from 1944+.


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