Preface on the comments in the previous article.
Dear readers and understanding!
I am really pleased that you read and understand. And you criticize, without it nowhere, I agree. In the last article, about Duge-Truen, they pointed out to me that everything comes out somewhat randomly. I do not agree. You will understand everything, just look at the ships of even different countries in the complex. And today, here you will understand the connection between Duget-Truen, Exeter and Leander. She is. For our today's hero just budged from the light heavy Exeter project.
Next in line we have British light cruisers of the Leander type.
In Russian transcription, for some reason, the type was voiced as “Linder”, but if you look at the legends and myths of Ancient Greece, the character Λέανδρος in the translation was called Leander. There was such a waterfowl sexy maniac loser.
After the end of the First World War, having rested and sharing the fruits of victory, the British seriously thought about modernization fleet.
To say that Britain had a shortage of light cruisers is impossible. There were enough ships. However, after the First World War it became clear that cruisers such as the Danae and Caledon, of course, would still serve, the only question was how effective. Older pre-war buildings are sadness at all.
I repeat, the British had enough ships, it was not difficult to keep a colony in check. And therefore, for new projects, designers were planted only in 1928, when the curse of the Washington Sea Treaty had already collapsed onto the decks.
It is not surprising that Washington freaks, “light heavy” “Exeter” and “York” were taken as the basis. And on the basis of their projects, they created a new ship, a light cruiser, a series of which was traditionally named after mythological heroes.
By the way, if interested, check out history Leander himself. I would not be very willing to serve on such a ship ... "What do you call a yacht ..."
"Leander" built 5 units. Leander, Orion, Achilles, Ajax, and Neptune. With Neptune it is not entirely logical, it is still the Greek Poseidon in Roman mythology. And, by the way, the only one who didn’t go for needles, but died in a minefield. "Greeks" quite normally reached the regular dismantling for metal.
What is the Leander in the history of British ships? This is the beginning of a great and spectacular journey. The cruiser, which became the first ship of a really new type.
First of all, the Leander became the first cruisers of modern design with multi-barrel turret artillery of the main caliber and aviation weapons that were laid down in the project.
The main emphasis in the design of the Leander was not on the power of weapons or the achievement of a high speed, but on increasing seaworthiness and cruising range.
The designers sought to make the cruiser a stable artillery platform, and they succeeded. The Leander generally looked more like squadron escort and work cruisers as part of units consisting of ships of different classes.
And there was another installation from the Admiralty. Two new light cruisers had to successfully withstand any one (even heavy) enemy cruiser. By the way, during the war this approach was fully justified during operations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The British fleet, according to calculations made after the First World War, needed 75 cruisers. 45 for the protection of maritime routes of trade and supply, 15 for the defense of the shores of Britain itself, 15 for operations in the Pacific.
The empire, although it was still strong, but the sunset was already not far off. Especially in terms of finance. Therefore, the first steps in creating a new cruising fleet were “light heavy” cruisers of the “Exeter” type, which turned out to be even smaller than the pure “Washington” cruisers and “Leander”, which became reduced likenesses of the “Exeter”.
In general - cheaper and more.
It’s a paradox, but Leander was an ideal solution on the topic of “How to Get Out of the Washington Agreements”. He had almost everything he needed for a ship designed to perform tasks such as patrolling, escorting and guarding.
The British managed to increase the power of the power plant, to finalize the reservation and aircraft weapons.
The armor was supposed to protect against 120-mm shells of destroyers at a distance of more than 35 cable, and from 152 mm shells of cruisers and battleships - at distances from 50 to 80 cable.
For autonomy of actions on communications, a second aircraft was added and the catapult was strengthened under the Fairy IMF biplane reconnaissance biplane.
A novelty in the air defense systems was the 12,7-mm Vickers Mk.III anti-aircraft machine guns. It was assumed that 102-mm guns would provide long-range air defense against torpedo bombers and bombers, and machine guns would successfully work against attack aircraft and dive bombers.
TTX ships were as follows:
Standard: 6985-7270 t, full: 8904-9189 t.
Length 159,1 / 169 m. Width 16,8-17 m. Draft 5,8-6 m.
Engines 4 TZ Parsons, 72 liters with.
Speed 32,5 knots.
Cruising range 5 730 nautical miles at 13 knots.
Crew 570 man.
Main caliber: 4 × 2 - 152 mm / 50 Mk XXIII.
Auxiliary caliber: 4 × 2 - 102 mm / 45.
Anti-aircraft artillery: 3 × 4 Vickers machine guns 12,7 mm.
Mine-torpedo armament: 2 × 4 533-mm torpedo tubes.
Aviation group: 1 catapult, 1 seaplane.
- belt: 76 mm;
- traverses: 32 mm;
- deck: 32 mm;
- cellars: up to 89 mm;
- towers: 25 mm;
- Barbets: 25 mm.
Of course, with the outbreak of World War II, the composition of weapons began to change.
The Leander in June 1941 broke up with the catapult, instead of which a 40-mm quad anti-aircraft machine from Vickers was installed. Then the catapult was returned, but 5 20 mm guns from the Erlikon were shoved across the ship. In mid-1942, a radar was installed on the ship, and at the beginning of 1943 the catapult and aircraft equipment were finally dismantled, adding four more 20-mm Oerlikon machine guns to the ship’s air defense.
In 1942, the Achilles lost all 102-mm universal guns, but several 20-mm machine guns were temporarily replaced to replace them. But during the modernization of 1943-1944, the cruiser received a whole battery of air defense:
- 4 paired 102-mm universal installations;
- 4 four-barreled 40-mm anti-aircraft guns;
- 5 twin and 6 single 20 mm Oerlikon submachine guns.
Like the Leander, a catapult and a damaged main-caliber tower were dismantled, radar and fighter guidance equipment were installed.
In the spring of 1941, Neptune received three additional 12,7 mm four machine guns, three single 40 mm anti-aircraft guns and a radar.
"Orion" in August 1941, too, lost aviation weapons, and in early 1942 all 12,7-mm machine guns. Instead, 2 quad Vickers 40mm anti-aircraft guns, 7x20mm Oerlikon submachine guns and a radar were installed.
“Ajax” first survived the replacement of a catapult with a longer one, in 1940 received its radar for detecting air targets, and in May 1941 the catapult, beam cranes and aircraft were completely removed. Instead, they have traditionally delivered a quad 40 mm machine gun from Vickers. In February 1942, another quad 40 mm machine gun and 6 single 20 mm machine guns from Erlikon were installed.
Enough overall? Of course not. But it was definitely more than nothing. And for the outbreak of war, at the time of 1941, pretty sane.
Just a few more words about the case. The hull had a half-tank design with the so-called "trawler" bow and cruise stern. A distinctive feature of the silhouette, which gives it uniqueness, is a wide and high chimney.
The case was divided into 15 compartments. The cruiser had one continuous deck - the upper one. The main deck was interrupted in the area of boiler rooms, and the lower in the area of engine rooms. All decks were waterproof. The decking was wooden, hardwood varieties of teak. The British had never had any problems with hardwood. Throughout the entire length of the hull there was a double bottom, in the cellar area - a triple bottom.
The main power plant consisted of four Parsons turbo-gear units and six three-collector steam Admiralty type boilers. The power plant provided cruisers with a maximum speed of 32 knots. During testing in December 1932, the Leander showed 32,45 knots. The power plants of the cruisers of the series have proven reliable and unpretentious in operation.
In general, the Leander became the last British cruisers to have a traditional linear layout of the power plant.
Cruising range was 5730 miles with a 13-knot course, 5100 miles with a 20-knot course, 30 miles could pass at a speed of 1910 knots of the cruiser. Some directories provide the cruising range of the cruisers of the series of 10 miles with a 300-nodal stroke.
The crew consisted of 570 sailors, but in wartime, mainly due to air defense calculations, the number was increased and reached 767 people on Neptune.
The ship reservation was an exact copy of the Exeter reservation scheme. The difference was in the thickness of the individual booking sections. There was no constructive anti-torpedo protection. The total weight of the Leander’s head armor was 871 tons (11,7% of the displacement), and for subsequent ships it increased to 882 tons.
The main caliber was represented by eight 152 mm BL 6 Mk XXIII guns mounted in four two-gun Mk XXI towers.
All eight guns could participate in the airborne salvo, the elevation angle was 60 °, and the declination angle was -5 °.
The rate of fire of the guns was 8 rounds per minute (the figure is quite real), and the firing range was 22 m.
Ammunition consisted of 200 shells per gun. The shells were of two types, equally: semi-armor-piercing with a ballistic cap and high-explosive.
Anti-aircraft, and, by the way, universal artillery consisted of four 102-mm Mk V rapid-fire guns, which were mounted in single installations without shields on a platform around the chimney. These guns could be used against aircraft at an altitude of 8,5 km or against surface targets at a distance of 15 km. During modernization, these guns were replaced by four twin units of the same caliber of the Mk XVI guns.
About Vickers anti-aircraft machine guns, or nothing, or ... In general, the 13,2 mm quad mount did not show anything. Efficiency was close to zero, since the rate of fire left much to be desired.
The torpedo weapons were two four-tube torpedo 533-mm QR Mk VII vehicles. The ships had one apparatus for dropping depth charges and 15 depth charges Mk.VII.
Aviation weapons were. Dot. It was not for long, since one plane is not so much. At first, the ships received the Fairy Sea Fox, which were later replaced by the Valrus Supermarine. In general, these aircraft were too much about anything.
True, Ajax really successfully used its aircraft to adjust the shooting, but this was more likely the exception than the rule. And the appearance of radars in general completely destroyed seaplanes, as a class of weapons of ships. Therefore, from many cruisers, aircraft equipment was dismantled as unnecessary.
Churchill on Ajax
How did you fight? In general, like all British cruisers of that period. Engaged in everything and everywhere. Some were more fortunate, others less.
Leander. Probably lucky. On April 30, 1937, the cruiser was handed over to the New Zealand Navy. He participated in the defense of convoys in the Indian Ocean, and then as a part of allied forces ended up in the Mediterranean Sea. February 27, 1941 sank the Italian auxiliary cruiser "Ramb I". After it was again thrown to the east, and on July 13, 1943 in a battle near Fr. Kolombangara received a 610-mm torpedo from one of the Japanese destroyers.
The crew defended the ship, but a fat cross was put on combat readiness, and the Leander went for repairs, in which it stood until May 1944. After the repair, it was returned to the British Navy, was used as a training ship, and eventually ended his career on December 15, 1949, when it was sold for scrap.
"Achilles". The longest-living cruiser of this type. March 31, 1936 transferred to the New Zealand Navy. He participated in the battle at La Plata, where he received injuries that healed for more than two months. He further participated in the protection of communications in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. September 12, 1946 returned to the British Navy.
On July 5, 1948, the Achilles was transferred to the Indian Navy. The Hindus renamed the cruiser “Delhi”, and right up until 1957 the ship was the flagship of the Indian Navy. June 30, 1978 expelled from the fleet and sold for scrap.
"Neptune". He participated in the fighting in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. June 28, 1940 co-authored the destruction of the Italian destroyer Espero. He died on December 19, 1941 in the Tripoli region as a result of a sea mine explosion. 766 crew members were killed.
"Orion". The main actions of the cruiser fell on the Mediterranean Sea. On June 28, 1940, along with Neptune, the Italian destroyer Espero was sunk. He participated in the battle at Cape Matapan, in the Cretan campaign. On May 29, 1941, it was badly damaged by the Luftwaffe dive bombers in the region of the island of Crete. Got two hits of 250 kg bombs spent almost a year in repair. Participated in Operation Overlord. Sold for scrap July 19, 1949.
Ajax. The most effective and perhaps the most famous ship of this type. He worked in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. A participant in the battle of La Plata, where he served as a target for artillery raiders "Admiral Count Spee." But it survived, even though the Germans finished it for half a year of repair.
On October 12, 1940, near the Cape Passero, a group of Italian ships (4 destroyers and 3 destroyers) attacked the Ajax. The British did not immediately find the Italian squad, or rather, they found it already when the shells of the destroyers were pounding the cruiser’s hull.
But the Ajax crew decided to accept the battle and coped with this task just fine. The calculations fired about 500 main-caliber shells and four torpedoes.
As a result, two destroyers of the Spika, Ariel, and Airone types went down. Then the British caught the courage butchered the destroyer Avieri, to which the shells turned the bow so far that the ship miraculously was able to return to the base. Dodging the torpedoes of the Italians, the Ajax further engaged in the destroyer Artillery, which he also very much picked up. Killed most of the crew and the commander of the flotilla captain Carlo Margottini. They tried to drag the Artillery in tow, but the next day the York cruiser came across the destroyer, which simply finished off the Italian ship with a torpedo.
This is not to say that the Italians could not do anything with the cruiser, but actually, they could have fought better. The destroyed radar, without which, I note, the British could easily do, and the destroyed bridge is not at all the price for three destroyed ships. Moreover, the repair of Ajax lasted only a month.
Further, the cruiser participated in the battle at Cape Matapan, in the Cretan campaign, in the campaign in Syria. There, on 1.01.1943/500/8, hot guys from the Luftwaffe treated the cruiser with a 1949 kg bomb, and the ship went on repair for a year. After the repair, Operation Overlord just arrived. November XNUMX, XNUMX sold for scrap.
In general, the life of the ships (except for Neptune) was a success. With special effects, as befits British warships.
In general, combat work can only be evaluated positively. Two sunken Italian destroyers, two destroyers, brought to the self-propelled heavy cruiser "Admiral Count Spee" - it seems to me. "Leandra" paid off with interest.
How can I evaluate the project?
In general, the Leander proved to be very decent ships on the one hand, but not as universal as the British would like. For the squadron service, they turned out to be somewhat large, for the leadership of the destroyers there was not enough speed and maneuverability, for operations in the ocean there was not enough sailing range.
There wasn’t (obviously) a displacement to install modernizations, additional systems and air defense barrels, which is why I had to constantly unscrew something from the ships.
On the other hand, French cruisers such as the Duguet-Truen, an article about which came out before this and aroused the righteous anger of readers, and the Italian Condottieri could not compare with the British.
With equality in the main caliber artillery, Italians and French were significantly inferior in booking, cruising range and seaworthiness. Perhaps the British air defense was stronger. And the speed of Italian ships, which became a visiting card, could not always be useful.
Even the German K-type cruisers that appeared later in time (and the Nuremberg too) had weaker armor and a lower range.
I note that in the conditions of the Mediterranean the sailing range was not particularly important, as well as seaworthiness, because the closed Mediterranean Sea is not the Sulawesi Sea or the Java Sea, is it?
But when we are talking about Japanese light cruisers such as the Kuma or Nagara, then we will compare them with the Leander, although they have not been seen at all.
If you look closely, then, despite the fact that the Leander didn’t turn out the way the Admiralty wanted to see them, the cruisers just turned out. These were really good ships, which their track record only confirms.