RZS Mordor (CB-1920)


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The Mordor class cruisers came about from the proliferation of all the light/scout cruisers that were built during the period 1900-1920. The Armoured cruisers stopped being produced about 1910 with the Battlecruiser replacing them. But the Battlecruisers of the time made about 27-28 knots flat out while the light cruisers could do 29-30 knots. The battlecruisers could not catch them. What was needed was a mini battlecruiser with lesser armament and higher speed. The Zealandians already had the Forod-Waith in service which was fast enough to catch and dispatch the older armoured cruisers but needed to be faster. Enter the Mordor class.

It turned out that these were exactly the type of cruiser the Washington Treaty tried so hard, just a few years later, to expressly forbid from service. These were the type of cruiser the US wanted to build, big, well armed, long range, lots of armour, and good speed. The Zealandian Navy was very happy with their new cruisers and was not giving them up for a bunch of twits in Washington. Zealandia had plenty of Capital Ship tonnage to spare to accept these ships as battlecruisers. While the ships were classed as battlecruisers at the end of WW1 and by the Washington Treaty terms, they were more Armoured cruisers when compared to the latest battlecruisers.

There were a few other things that set the Mordor class apart. The most unusual part of the armament was the fitting of the 4.7" AA guns in single turrets, maybe the first instance of a dual purpose gun. With shell handling rooms below the turrets and the turrets themselves being power operated certainly increased the usefulness of the gun. The guns were replaced with the twin 4" in the ships 1939-40 rebuilding. With more and more electronics and AA armament being fitted, both the remaining torpedoes and aircraft handling equipment were removed in 1942 to keep stability at a reasonable level.

Displacement 18,500 tons standard, 23,800 tons full load
Length 644 feet
Breadth 76 feet
Draught 27 feet
Machinery 4 shaft, geared turbines, 90,000shp
Speed 31 knots
Range 8,500 miles at 16 knots
Armour 8" side, 4" deck, 8"-4" turrets.
Armament 8 x 10" (4x2)
6 x 4.7" (6x1)
8 x 2pd (2x4)
8 x 10" (4x2)
6 x 4.7" (6x1)
16 x 2pd (4x4)
8 x 10" (4x2)
12 x 4" (6x2)
20 x 2pd (5x4)
32 x 20mm (32x1)
Aircraft nil 1 1
Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3) 12 x 21" (4x3) 6 x 21" (2x3)
Complement 1450 1420 1496
Notes RZS Mordor (08/1920)

RZS Umbar (01/1921)


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