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Great Britain's Flag

Great Britain's Carlisle class cruisers

Photos

HMS Cairo during the bombardment of Narvik on June 8, 1940:
HMS Cairo during the bombardment of Narvik on June 8, 1940
©IWM, N-331
HMS Cairo:
HMS Cairo
©IWM, FL-5349
HMS Cairo:
HMS Cairo
©IWM, Q-20272
HMS Cairo:
HMS Cairo
©IWM, Q-75348
HMS Calcutta:
HMS Calcutta
©IWM, SP-2553
HMS Calcutta:
HMS Calcutta
©IWM, SP-2554
HMS Capetown:
HMS Capetown
©IWM, FL-7497
HMS Capetown:
HMS Capetown
©IWM, Q-42671
HMS Carlisle in Plymouth Sound in 1942:
HMS Carlisle in Plymouth Sound in 1942
©IWM, FL-5448
HMS Colombo in Plymouth Sound in 1943:
HMS Colombo in Plymouth Sound in 1943
©IWM, FL-8184
HMS Colombo:
HMS Colombo
©IWM, Q-75349

Design

The Carlisle class ships were ordered in July 1917.1 They were to be similar to the Ceres class but with improved bows (increased in height by 5') to decrease the amount of water coming over them.1,3,5

Aircraft

The Carlisle originally had a hanger under the bridge but it was removed in 1920.1

Conversion

The Cairo and Calcutta were converted into anti-aircraft cruisers in 1938 / 1938 - 19384.1,4 Capetown was scheduled to be converted but the start of World War II changed that.1,3

Ships

HMS Cairo

  • Manufacturer: Cammell Laird1,2,3,5
  • November 28, 1917: Laid down.1,2,5
  • November 19, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • September 24, 19195, October 14, 1919: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1920: Joined 5th Light Cruiser Squadron in China.1
  • December 27, 1921 - 1925: Joined 5th Light Cruiser Squadron in the East Indies.1
  • 1925: Moved to China Station.1
  • 1927 - 1928: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • 1928 - 1930: Moved to Mediterranean and became flagship.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Refit.1
  • November 25, 1937 - May 1939, 1938 - 19394: Converted into anti-aircraft cruiser at Chatham.1,4
  • 1939 - 1942: Member of Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: Member of Channel Force.1
  • December 1939: At Humber.1
  • April 1940: Was escort during Norwegian campaign.1 Rescued survivors of HMS Effingham.1
  • 1941: Worked in North Atlantic.1
  • 1942: Became member of Force H in Gibraltar.1 Member of Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • 1942: Additional 20 mm guns added.1
  • July 1942: Escorted HMS Eagle convoy that delivered fighters to Malta.1
  • August 12, 1942: Sunk.1,3,4 Operation Pedestal.1

HMS Calcutta

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong3, Vickers1,2,5
  • October 19172,5, October 18, 1917: Laid down.1,2,5
  • July 9, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • August 19192, August 21, 1919: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1919 - November 1927: Member of 8th Light Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • November 1927: Decommissioned.1
  • September 18, 1929: Recommissioned.1 Joined 6th Cruiser Squadron at Africa Station.1
  • 1938 - 19394, 1938 - July 1939: Converted into anti-aircraft cruiser at Chatham.1,4
  • 1939 - 1940: Member of Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: Member of Humber Force.1
  • 1940 - 1941: Member of Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • April 1940: Supported Norwegian Campaign.1
  • May 1940: Member of Operation Dynamo.1
  • June 1940: Supported evacuation from France.1 Collided with and sank HMS Fraser.1
  • August 1940: Joined Force H in Gibraltar.1 Covered Malta bound convoys.1
  • September 1940: Member of attack on Benghazi.1
  • 1941: Supported operations in Greece.1
  • May 1941: Supported evacuation of Crete.1
  • June 1, 1941: Sunk by aircraft from German II/LG1 approximately 100 nautical miles north of Alexandria.1,3,4

HMS Capetown

  • Manufacturer: Cammell Laird1,2,3,5, Pembroke Dockyard (completed)1,3,5
  • February 23, 1918: Laid down.1,2,5
  • June 28, 1919: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • February 19225, April 10, 1922: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1922 - 1929: At America and West Indies Station.1
  • 1929 - 1934: Put in reserve.1
  • July 17, 1934: Recommissioned and joined 5th Cruiser Squadron at China Station.1
  • August 1938: Put in reserve.1
  • 1939 - 1940: Member of Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • September 1939: With North Atlantic Command at Gibraltar.1
  • 1941 - 1942: Member of East Indies Fleet.3
  • April 6, 1941: Supported offensive in Italian Somaliland.1 Torpedoed by motor torpedo boat MAS 213.1
  • April 1941 - 1942: In Port Sudan for repair.1
  • 1942 - 1943: With the Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • 1944 - 1945: Reserve and accommodation ship.3
  • June 6, 1944: Supported Normandy landings.1
  • June 1944 - September 1945: Accommodation ship.1

HMS Carlisle

  • Original name: Cawnpore2,3
  • Manufacturer: Fairfield1,2,3,5
  • October 19175, October 2, 1917, November 19172: Laid down.1,2,5
  • July 9, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • November 11, 19185, November 16, 1918: Completed.1,2,3,5
  • 1918 - March 1, 1919: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron at Harwich.1
  • March 1919 - 1928: China.1
  • 1920: Hanger removed.1
  • 1928 - 1929: Refit.1
  • 1929 - March 16, 1937: Member of 6th Cruiser Squadron at Africa Station.1
  • March 1937 - 1939: Put into reserve.1
  • 1939: Member of Home Fleet.3
  • Summer 1939, 1939 - 19404: Converted into anti-aircraft cruiser.1,4
  • 1940 - 1942: Red Sea.3
  • April 1940: Supported Norwegian campaign.1 Sank German troop ship Nord Norge.1
  • August 1940: In Red Sea supporting evacuation of Berbera.1
  • April 1941: One 2 pdr added.1
  • 1942 - 1943: Member of Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • 1942: Several 20 mm guns added.1
  • November 1942: Seven 20 mm guns replaced by five 20 mm twin mounts.1
  • 1943 - 1945: Levant and base ship in Alexandria.3
  • October 1943: Working in Aegean.1
  • October 9, 1943: Heavily damaged by bombs in the Scarpanto Channel.1 Towed to Alexandria and declared a constructional loss and used as a base ship.1,3,4

HMS Colombo

  • Manufacturer: Fairfield1,2,3,5
  • December 19172,5, December 8, 1917: Laid down.1,2,5
  • December 18, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • June 19195, June 18, 1919: Completed.1,2,5
  • June 1919 - March 15, 1922: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron at China Station.1
  • March 1922 - 1926: Member of 4th Light Cruiser Squadron in East Indies.1
  • 1926 - 1930: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • January 1930: Refit.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Mediterranean.1
  • July 1932 - 1935: East Indies.1
  • 1936 - 1939: Put into reserve.1
  • 1939: Member of Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: With 11th Cruiser Squadron at Gibraltar.1
  • November 17, 1939: Captured German Henning Oldendorf.1
  • 1940 - 1941: East Indies.1,3
  • February 1941: Blockaded Kismayu, Italian Somaliland.1
  • November 1941: Madagascar.1
  • 1942: Member of Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • 1942 - 19433, June 1942 - March 1943: Converted into anti-aircraft cruiser.1,3
  • 1943- 19453, March 1943: Mediterranean.1,3
  • 1944: Member of 31st Escort Group.1
  • August 1944: Supported Operation Dragoon, landings in southern France.1
  • 1945: Put into reserve.3

 

Usage

Operation Pedestal

During Operation Pedestal HMS Cairo's stern was blown off by a torpedo from the Italian submarine Axum on August 12, 1942.1 HMS Pathfinder had to sink her the next day.1

Specifications

  Carlisle class
Crew 3341, 4005
Crew - Flagship 4375
Displacement 4,190 tons5, 4,200 tons1,2
Displacement - Loaded 5,300 tons1
Physical Characteristics  
Length 450'5, 451' 6"1,2
148.12 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425'1,2,5
129.58 m1
Length - Water Line  
Beam 43' 6"1,2,5
13.25 m1
Draft / Height 14' 1"5, 14' 3"1
4.34 m1
Draft / Height - Maximum 16' 3"5
Performance  
Speed 29.5 knots1
Range at 10 knots 5,900 nautical miles1
Armament 6" BL Mk XII: 51
6" L/45 BL Mk XII: 62
6" L/50: 55
Anti-Aircraft 3" QF Mk I: 21,2
3": 25
3 pdr: 2 - 45
2 pdr pom pom: 25
2 pdr: 21
Torpedo Tubes 21": 81, 2 mounts 4 tubes each2,5
Armor  
Belt - Aft 2"5
Belt - Forward 1.5" - 2.25"5
Belt - Machinery 3"1
Belt - Magazines 2.25"1
Belt - Main 3"5
Control Tower 3"5
Deck 1"1,5
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow: 61
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons geared1
HP 40,0001
Oil 935 tons1
  Capetown class
Crew 4003
Crew - Flagship 4373
Displacement 4,290 tons3
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length 451' 6"3
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425'3
Length - Water Line  
Beam 43' 6"3
Draft / Height 14' 3"3
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed 29 knots3
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4" twin mounts: 43
2 pdr: 43
0.5" machine gun quad mounts: 23
Torpedo Tubes  
Armor  
Belt - Aft 2" - 2.5"3
Belt - Forward 1.25" - 2.25"3
Belt - Main 3"3
Control Tower  
Deck 1"3
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts 23
Turbines Geared3
HP 40,0003
Oil  
  Cairo
Crew  
Displacement - August 1928 4,065 tons2
Displacement - Loaded - August 1928 5,210 tons4, 5,310 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - 1938 4" Mk XIX twin mounts: 41
4" QF Mk XIX twin mounts: 44
2 pdr Mk VII: 41
2 pdr quad mount: 14
0.5" machine gun quad mounts: 21
Torpedo Tubes - 1938 01
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons5
HP  
Oil  
  Calcutta
Crew  
Displacement - May 1919 3,976 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,208 tons2, 5,235 tons4
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - 1938 4" Mk XIX twin mounts: 41
4" QF Mk XIX twin mounts: 44
2 pdr Mk VII: 41
2 pdr quad mount: 14
0.5" machine gun quad mounts: 21
Torpedo Tubes - 1938 01
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons5
HP  
Oil  
  Capetown
Crew  
Displacement - December 1921 3,940 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,180 tons4
Displacement - Loaded - December 1921 5,185 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - April 1944 3": 21
2 pdr: 21
20 mm: 61
Torpedo Tubes  
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons5
HP  
Oil  
  Carlisle
Crew  
Displacement - March 1919 4,022 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,236 tons4
Displacement - Loaded - March 1919 5,254 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - 1939? 4" Mk XIX twin mounts: 41
4" QF Mk XIX twin mounts: 44
2 pdr Mk VII: 41
2 pdr quad mount: 14
0.5" machine gun quad mounts: 21
Torpedo Tubes  
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown Curtis geared1,5
HP  
Oil  
  Colombo
Crew  
Displacement - July 1926 4,015 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,240 tons4
Displacement - Loaded - July 1926 5,243 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 10 knots  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - August 1942 4" Mk XIX twin mounts: 31
4" QF Mk XVI twin mounts: 34
40 mm Bofors twin mounts: 24
Hazemeyer Bofors twin mount: 21
40 mm Bofors: 44
20 mm twin mounts: 61
20 mm: 21, 104
Torpedo Tubes  
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown Curtis geared1,5
HP  
Oil  

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. British Cruisers of World War Two, Alan Raven, John Roberts, 1980
  3. Warships of World War II, H. T. Lenton and J. J. Colledge, 1964
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  5. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
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