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Australia's Leander class Cruisers

Photos

HMAS Hobart at Hamilton Wharves, Brisbane in 1939:
HMAS Hobart at Hamilton Wharves, Brisbane in 1939
Library of Queensland, 1-144999
HMAS Perth in the Mediterranean in August 1941:
HMAS Perth in the Mediterranean in August 1941
Imperial War Museum, AUS-586
HMAS Perth in 1942:
HMAS Perth in 1942
Australian Navy
HMAS Sydney in 1935:
HMAS Sydney in 1935
State Library of Victoria, H98-105-2529

HMAS Sydney loading troops headed to Crete in 1941:
HMAS Sydney loading troops headed to Crete in 1941
Imperial War Museum, E-1143
HMAS Sydney's 4" guns:
HMAS Sydney's 4" guns
Argus newspaper, State Library of Victoria, H98-105-3249
HMAS Sydney in 1940:
HMAS Sydney in 1940
Imperial War Museum, A-234
HMAS Sydney at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor on February 10, 1941:
HMAS Sydney at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor on February 10, 1941
Sydney Morning Harold

Design

These ships were originally part of the British Leanders class of cruisers. To save weight they were primarily welded. These were modified to only have two funnels.

Aircraft

There was one 53' catapult placed between the funnels. Initially the Supermarine Seagull V "Walrus" amphibian was the plane mounted.

Ships

HMAS Sydney

  • Formerly: Phaeton
  • Class: Sydney, Perth
  • Manufacturer: Swan Hunter
  • July 8, 1933: Laid down.
  • September 22, 1934: Launched.
  • September 24, 1935: Completed.
  • August 2, 1936: Arrived in Australia.
  • April - May 8, 1940: Escorted troop convoy to Columbo.
  • May 19, 1940: Joined 7th Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.
  • June 21, 1940: Bombarded Bardia.
  • July 9, 1940: At battle off Calabria against Italian Fleet.
  • July 1940: Heavily damaged Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni off Crete.
  • January 11 - February 5, 1941: Sailed from Alexandria to Australia.
  • November 19, 1941: Sunk by German Raider Kormoran.

HMAS Perth

  • Formerly: Amphion
  • Class: Sydney, Perth
  • Manufacturer: His Majesties Dockyard at Portsmouth, Portsmouth Dockyard
  • June 26, 1933: Laid down.
  • July 27, 1934: Launched.
  • July 6, 1936: Completed.
  • October 3, 1936 - October 1938: Flagship of Africa Station.
  • June 29, 1939, July 25, 1939: Transferred to Royal Australian Navy.
  • August 1939: Visited the World Fair in New York.
  • September 1939 - March 1940: Ordered to West Indies to protect oil infrastructure.
  • March 31, 1940: Refit at Garden Island.
  • June - November 1940: Flagship of Australian Squadron.
  • December 1940: Escorted convoy US7 to Suez. Joined 7th Cruiser Squadron.
  • Suffered near miss in Malta.
  • At Battle of Cape Matapan.
  • May 5, 1941: Added 2 pdr quad mount.
  • May 22, 1941: Around Greece suffered damage from near miss.
  • May 30, 1941: Boiler room hit by bomb.
  • July 1941: Removed 2 pdr quad mount.
  • July 18 - August 12, 1941: Sailed to Australia.
  • August 12 - November 22, 1941: Refit at Cockatoo yard.
  • February 14, 1942: Sailed to Java.
  • February 27 - 28, 1942: Battle of Java Sea.
  • March 1, 1942: Sunk during night action against Japanese landings at Banten Bay, Java when hit by three / four torpedoes.

HMAS Hobart

  • Formerly: Apollo
  • Class: Sydney, Perth
  • Cost: £1,450,000
  • Manufacturer: His Majesties Dockyard at Devonport, Devonport Dockyard, Devonport
  • August 15, 1933: Laid down.
  • October 9, 1934: Launched.
  • January 1936, January 13, 1936: Completed.
  • 1938, September 28, 1938: Transferred to Royal Australian Navy.
  • October 1939: In East Indies. Escort for troop transports.
  • June 1940: In Aden.
  • August 19, 1940: Bombarded Berbera.
  • October 1940: Arrived in Columbo for refit.
  • June 1941: Catapult removed.
  • August 1941: Arrived in Mediterranean. Supported troops in Tobruk.
  • December 1941: Escorted troop convoy BM9A to Singapore.
  • December 1941: Two 2 pdr quad pompoms added.
  • February 25, 1942: Was bombed while oiling up at Tandjong Priok. Was unable to finish refueling and missed Battle of the Java Sea.
  • May 1942: With TF61 and TF44 in Coral Sea battles.
  • August 1942: Supported invasions of Guadalcanal and Tulagi.
  • October 1942: Refit in Sydney.
  • May 1943: Member of TF74.
  • July 1943: As part of TF74 sent to New Georgia.
  • July 20, 1943: Japanese submarine I11 hit Hobart with torpedoes.
  • August 26, 1943: Arrived in Sydney for repairs.
  • August 26, 1943 - January 1945: Repairs in Sydney. Tripod masts added. Four 20 mm twin mounts removed.
  • September 1944: Three 40 mm Bofors twin mounts added.
  • April 1945: Supported landings at Tarakan, Borneo.
  • July 1945: Supported landings at Balikpapan.
  • August 31, 1945: In Tokyo Bay for surrender ceremonies.

Usage

Battle against a Raider

The HMAS Sydney encountered the German Raider Kormoran off Sharks Bay, Australia. The Kormoran was allowed to get too close and in the ensuing battle the Sydney was badly damaged and on fire when it sailed out of site never to be seen again.

All hands were lost.

The Kormoran did sink as well but there were survivors.

Battle of the Java Sea

The HMAS Perth and USS Houston were the only survivors of the Battle of the Java Sea.

Specifications

  Leander / Perth class
Crew 570
Displacement 6,830 tons, 6,830 tons - 7,105 tons
Displacement - Loaded 8,850 tons, 8,850 tons - 9,150 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 562' 3"
171.37 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 522'
159.1 m
Length - Water Line  
Beam 56' 8"
17.27 m
Draft / Height 18' 6", 18' 6" - 19'
5.64 m, 5.64 m - 5.79 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 19' 7"
5.97 m
Performance  
Speed 32.5 knots
Range at 12 knots 7,180 nautical miles
Armament 6" Mk XXIII twin turrets: 4
6" L/50 Mk XXIII twin turrets: 4
Anti-Aircraft 4" Mk V twin mounts: 4
4" L/45 QF Mk V HA: 4
0.5" machine guns triple mounts: 3
Saluting 3 pdr: 4
Torpedo Tubes 21": 8
Aircraft 1
Armor  
Belt - Main 1" + 3"
Bulkheads 1.5"
Magazines 1" - 3.5"
Turrets 1"
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty: 4
Shafts 4
Turbines Parsons geared
HP 72,000
Oil 1,606 tons, 1,765 tons - 1,837 tons
  HMAS Perth
Crew  
Displacement 6,980 tons
Displacement - Loaded 9,420 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 12 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Torpedo Tubes  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Deck  
Machinery Spaces  
Magazines  
Turrets  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMAS Hobart
Crew 550
Displacement 7,105 tons
Displacement - Loaded 9,420 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 530'
Length - Water Line 55'
Beam 56' 8"
Draft / Height 15' 8"
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 12 knots  
Armament 6": 8
Anti-Aircraft 4": 8
2 pdr: 8
Machine guns: 8
Torpedo Tubes 21": 8
Aircraft  
Armor  
Bridges 1"
Deck 2"
Side 2" - 3"
Turrets 1"
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil 1,553 tons

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site