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Great Britain's Flag

Great Britain's Danae class, D class cruisers

Photos

HMS Danae:
HMS Danae
©IWM, FL-791
HMS Danae:
HMS Danae
©IWM, Q-75621
HMS Danae:
HMS Danae
©IWM, SP-86
HMS Danae in Sydney Harbor:
HMS Danae in Sydney Harbor
©IWM, Hu-62303
HMS Dauntless in Shanghai in April 1927:
HMS Dauntless in Shanghai in April 1927
©IWM, Q-801777
HMS Dauntless in April 1942:
HMS Dauntless in April 1942
©IWM, FL-5375
HMS Dauntless:
HMS Dauntless
©IWM, Q-75346
HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, A-1449

HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, Q-23374
HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, A-6464

HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, Q-43249
HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, FL-9749
HMS Despatch:
HMS Despatch
©IWM, FL-9754
HMS Diomede on June 12, 1943:
HMS Diomede on June 12, 1943
©IWM, FL-24904
HMS Dragon in Greenock:
HMS Dragon in Greenock
©IWM, SP-2503
HMS Dragon:
HMS Dragon
©IWM, FL-798
HMS Dragon:
HMS Dragon
©IWM, Q-75345
HMS Dunedin:
HMS Dunedin
©IWM, Q-75344
HMS Durban at Portrush, Northern Ireland on July 6, 1937:
HMS Durban at Portrush, Northern Ireland on July 6, 1937
©IWM, HU-111342
HMS Durban as a block ship off the Normandy beaches in June 1944:
HMS Durban as a block ship off the Normandy beaches in June 1944
©IWM, A-24054
HMS Durban:
HMS Durban
©IWM, Q-75614
HMS Durban in Solent:
HMS Durban in Solent
©IWM, FL-8998

Design

Intelligence reports in 1916 suggested that the Germans were going to build new cruisers with 15 cm / 5.9" guns that would outclass the C classes of light cruisers.1 It was felt that just adding one gun would be more than enough.1 To make room for this 6th gun the hull was lengthened and the bridge moved back to fit it in front.1,5

The beam of the Danae class had to be increased by 2' 9" due to the top weight increasing.1

The Danae5, Dauntless5, and Dragon were ordered in September 1916.1,5

The Delhi5, Dunedin, and Durban5 were ordered in July 1917 / September 19175.1

The Daedalus, Daring, Despatch, Diomede, Dryad, and Desperate were ordered in March 1918.1,5 The Daedalus, Daring, Dryad, and Desperate were cancelled on November 1918.1,3,5

Battle of Jutland Influences

The Battle of Jutland happened during construction and it was decided to increase armor around the magazines and provide better protection for the main guns.1 Dual tube torpedo launchers were increased to three and depth charge launchers were added.1

Aircraft

The Dauntless and Dragon had hangers placed under the bridge.1 Delhi, Dunedin, Durban, Despatch, and Diomede initially had fly off platforms and these were to later be replaced by catapults but never were.1 They never carried aircraft and all the equipment was removed by the end of the 1930s.1 Danae did not carry aircraft.1

Ships

 

HMS Danae

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong3,5, Armstrongs1, Armstrong Whitworth2
  • December 19165, December 1, 1916: Laid down.1,2,5
  • January 26, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • June 18, 1918, June 22, 19182, July 19185: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1918 - 1919: Member of Harwich Force, 5th Light Cruiser Squadron.1
  • 1919: Baltic campaign.1
  • 1919 - 1924: Atlantic Fleet.1
  • 1924: Special Service Squadron.1
  • September 1925 - 1929: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.1
  • August 1930 - 1935: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • 1935 - 1936: Put in reserve.1
  • August 25, 1936 - 1938: Member 5th Cruiser Squadron at China Station.1
  • January 14, 1938: Put in reserve.1
  • 1939: Two 2 pdr guns added.1
  • 1939 - 1941: China.3
  • September 1939: Member of 9th Cruiser Squadron.1
  • March 1940: Member of British Malaya Force.1
  • December 1941: Member of China Force.1 Escorted ships between Singapore, Sunda, and Java.1
  • 1942: A 2 pdr quad mount replaced a 4".1
  • 1942 - 1944: Eastern Fleet.3
  • February 1942: Based in Batavia.1
  • February 28, 1942: Sailed from Sundra to Colombo.1
  • February 1942 - 1944: Member of 4th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet.1
  • August 1, 1942 - July 7, 1943: Refit in Britain.1
  • April 1943: One 4" twin mount, a 2 pdr quad mount, and four 20 mm twin mounts added.1 The single mount 20 mm guns were removed.1
  • 1944 - 1945: Home Fleet.3
  • April 1944: Torpedo tubes removed.1
  • June 6, 1944: Supported Normandy landings off Sword Beach.1
  • 1944 - 19464, October 4, 1944 - 1946: Renamed Conrad and lent to Polish Navy.1,3,4 Member of 10th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.1

HMS Dauntless

  • Manufacturer: Palmer5, Palmers1,2,3
  • January 3, 1917: Laid down.1,2
  • April 10, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • November 26, 1918, December 19185, December 2, 19182: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1919: Baltic.1
  • 1919 - 1924: Member of 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet.1
  • 1923 - 1924: Empire cruise.1
  • May 15, 1928: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • July 19285, July 2, 1928: Ran aground off Halifax, Nova Scotia.1,5
  • July 12, 1928: Refloated after the guns, torpedoed tubes, and funnels removed.1
  • 1929 - 1930: Refit.5
  • 1929: Put into reserve.1
  • 1930: America and West Indies Station.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Member of South American Division.1
  • 1934 - 1935: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.1
  • 1935 - 1939: Reserve.1
  • 1939 - 1941: China.3
  • September 1939: Member 9th Cruiser Squadron in South Atlantic Command.1
  • December 1939: Moved to China Station.1
  • June 15, 1941: Collision with HMS Emerald.1
  • June - August 1941: Repairs in Singapore.1
  • 1942: Refit at Portsmouth.1 Eight 20 mm guns added.1
  • 1942 - 1943: Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • April 1943: Two 2 pdr quad mounts added.1
  • 1943 - 1945: Training ship.1,2

HMS Delhi

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong3,5, Armstrongs1, Armstrong Whitworth2
  • October 29, 1917: Laid down.1,2,5
  • August 23, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • May 31, 1919, June 19195, June 7, 19192: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1919: Flagship of 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet.1
  • 1919: Flagship of Admiral Cowan's squadron in Baltic.1
  • 1923 - 1924: Empire cruise.1
  • November 18, 1924 - 1926: Mediterranean.1
  • 1926 - 1928: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron, China Station.1
  • December 1929 - 1932: Flagship of 8th Cruiser Squadron at American Station.1
  • 1932 - March 1938: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.1
  • March 1938: Put into reserve.1
  • 1939: Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: Member of 12th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.1
  • Late 1939: Intercept blockade runners Rheingold and Mecklenburg.1
  • 1940: Member of Force H in Gibraltar.1 Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • July 1940: Operation Hurry.1 Escort for carrier air attack on Sardinia.1
  • 1940: Attacks on Vichy French in Congo and Dakar.1
  • November 1940: Blockaded Gabon.1
  • 1941 - 1942: South Atlantic.3
  • 19414, 1941 - 19423, May 3 - December 31, 1941: Refit in New York Navy Yard as anti-aircraft cruiser.1,3,4 Five 5" L/38 Mk 30, two 2 pdr quad mounts, and eight 20 mm guns replaced ordinal armament.1,4 Torpedo tubes removed.1
  • 1942: Home Fleet.3
  • January - March 1942: Refit finished in Great Britain.1
  • March 1942: Member of Home Fleet.1
  • November 1942: Member of Center Task Force during Operation Torch landings in North Africa.1
  • November 20, 1942: Stern blown off by bombing.1
  • 1943 - 1945: Mediterranean Fleet.3
  • July 1943: Supported Sicily landings.1
  • September 1943: Collided with HMS Uganda.1
  • 1944: Two 20 mm twin mounts replaced two 20 mm single mounts.1
  • January 1944: Supported Anzio landings.1
  • April 1944: Escorting convoys in western Mediterranean.1
  • August 1944: Supported Operation Dragoon, landings in southern France.1
  • February 12, 1945: Hit by explosive motor boats at Split in the Adriatic.1
  • 19453, April 1945: Put into reserve.1,3

HMS Despatch

  • Manufacturer: Fairfield1,2,3,5, completed at Chatham Dock Yard1,2,3,5
  • July 19185, July 8, 1918: Laid down.1,2,5
  • September 24, 1919, December 21, 19193: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • June 2, 19225, June 15, 1922, June 30, 19222: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1922 - 1927: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron at China Station.1
  • 1927 - Summer 1931: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1
  • Summer 1931: Put into reserve.1
  • 1931 - 1933: Refit.1
  • February 3, 1933 - November 24, 1937: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.1
  • 1937 - 1939: Training ship.1
  • 1939: Two 0.5" machine gun quad mounts added.1
  • 1939 - 19423, September 1939 - 1942: Member 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1,3
  • December 1939: Captured freighter Düsseldorf off Chili.1
  • March 1940: Captured freighter Troja off Aruba.1
  • November 1940: Member of Force H.1
  • August 15, 1941: Captured freighter Norderney.1
  • Spring 1942: Eight 20 mm guns added.1 Kept three 4" guns, rest removed.1
  • 1942 - 1943: Member of South Atlantic Command.1,3
  • October 1943 - May 1944: Refit.1 All 6" guns removed.1 Sixteen 40 mm Mk III Bofors and two 20 mm guns added.1
  • 1944: Home Fleet.3
  • June 1944: Escorted headquarters ships during Normandy landings.1
  • 19453, January 1945: Accommodation ship.1,3

HMS Diomede

  • Manufacturer: Vickers1,2,3,5, completed at Portsmouth Dock Yard1,2,3,5
  • June 19185, June 3, 1918: Laid down.1,2,5
  • April 29, 1919: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • June 2, 19225, October 7, 19222, October 22, 1922: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1922 - 1925: Member of 5th Cruiser Squadron in China.1
  • 1925 - 19374, October 21, 1925 - 1935: Member of New Zealand Squadron.1
  • 1929 - 1930: Refit.1
  • 1935 - 1937: Royal New Zealand Navy.3
  • 1939: Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: Member of 7th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet doing patrols in north Atlantic.1
  • 1940 - 1942: Member of 8th Cruiser Squadron at America and West Indies Station.1,3
  • December 15, 1940: Captured blockade runner Idawald off Tampico, Mexico.1
  • 1942: Member of South Atlantic Command and operated off West Africa.1,3
  • 1942 - 1943: Home Fleet.3
  • July 22, 1942 - September 24, 1943: Refit at Rosyth.1 6" gunhouse replaced by shielded gun.1 Two 2 pdr guns replaced by eight 20 mm guns.1
  • 1943: Two 20 mm single mounts replaced by two 20 mm twin mounts.1
  • 1943 - 1945: Training ship.1,3

HMS Dragon

  • Manufacturer: Scotts1,2,3
  • January 24, 1917: Laid down.1,2
  • December 29, 1917: Launched.1,2,3,4
  • August 10, 1918, August 16, 19182: Completed.1,2
  • 1918 - 1919: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, Harwich Force.1
  • 1919: Member of Baltic Squadron.1
  • 1920 - 1925: Member of 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet.1
  • 1923 - 1924: Empire cruise.1
  • February 1926 - 1928: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean.1
  • October 1926: China.1
  • December 19, 1928 - March 18, 1930: Refit at Chatham.1
  • 1930 - 1937: America and West Indies Station.1
  • July 16, 1937: Put into reserve.1
  • 1939: Home Fleet.3
  • September 1939: Member of 7th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.1
  • 1940: Mediterranean Fleet and East Indies.3
  • 1940 - 1941: South Atlantic.3
  • March 1940: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean.1
  • August 1940: Captured Vichy freighter Touareg off Congo.1
  • September 1940: Dakar.1 Attacked by French sub Persée but wasn't hit.1
  • Late 1940: Based at St. Helena.1
  • 1941: East Indies.1
  • December 1941: Based in Singapore doing escorting.1
  • February 28, 1941: Member of Slow Division, Eastern Fleet based in Colombo.1
  • 1942: Eastern Fleet.3
  • 1943 - 1944: Home Fleet.3
  • 1943 - 19444, January 1943: Loaned to Polish Navy.1,4,5
  • April 1943: Added two 2 pdr quad mounts and eight 20 mm guns.1
  • April 1944: A 6", 4", and four 20 mm guns removed.1 Torpedo tubes removed.1
  • June 1944: Member of Force B supporting Normandy landings at Sword Beach.1
  • July 8, 1944: Heavily damaged by Marder4 or Neger battle units.1
  • July 11, 1944; Declared total loss.1
  • July 8, 19444, July 18, 1944: Sunk as breakwater off Normandy.1,3,4

HMS Dunedin

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong3, Armstrongs1, Armstrong Whitworth2
  • November 5, 1917: Laid down.1,2
  • November 19, 1918: Launched.1,2,3,4
  • September 13, 1919, October 19192: Compelted.1,2
  • 1919: Member 1st Cruiser Squadron Atlantic Fleet.1
  • May 1924: Loaned to New Zealand Division.1
  • 1924 - 1937: Royal New Zealand Navy.3,4
  • 1931 - 1932: Refit.1
  • 1939: Two 0.5" machine gun quad mounts added.1
  • 1939: Home Fleet.3
  • August 1939: Member of 12th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.1
  • September 1939: Member of 11th Cruiser Squadron, Orkneys and Shetlands Command.1
  • 1940: America and West Indies Station.1,3
  • March 1940: Captured freighters Hanover and Heidelberg.1
  • June - July 1940: Blockaded Martinique.1
  • December 1940: Escort convoy WS5a that was attacked by KMS Admiral Hipper.1 Didn't get into combat.1
  • 1941: South Atlantic.1,3
  • June 15, 1941: Captured freighter Lothringen in central Atlantic.1
  • June 22, 1941: Captured Vichy French Ville de Rouen off Natal.1
  • June 30, 1941: Captured Vichy French Ville de Tamative.1
  • November 24, 1941: Sunk by two torpedoes from U124.1,3,4

HMS Durban

  • Manufacturer: Scotts1,2,3,5, completed at Devonport Dock Yard1,2,5
  • June 19185, June 22, 1918: Laid down.1,2,5
  • May 29, 1919: Launched.1,2,3,4,5
  • September 1, 19215, October 31, 19212, November 1, 1921: Completed.1,2,5
  • 1921 - 1928: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, China Station.1
  • 1928 - 1930: America and West Indies Station.1
  • July 1, 1931 - December 1933: South Atlantic Division.1
  • March 1934 - September 1936: Mediterranean.1
  • September 1936 - 1939: Reserve.1
  • 1939 - 1941: China.3
  • September 1939: Member of 9th Cruiser Squadron, South Atlantic Command.1
  • 1940: Member of British Malaya Force.1
  • 1942 - 1943: Eastern Fleet.3
  • December 1941 - February 1942: China Force.1
  • 1942: Added eight 20 mm guns.1
  • February 12, 1942: Damaged by bombs.1
  • April 1942: Repaired in United States.1
  • June - August 1942: Repairs in Portsmouth.1
  • August 1942 - 1943: Eastern Fleet.1
  • 1944: Home Fleet.3
  • June 9, 1944: Sunk as breakwater off Normandy.1,3,4

Specifications

  Danae class
Crew 4503, 450 - 4695, 4521,2
Crew - Flagship 4693
Displacement 4,850 tons1,3,5
Displacement - Loaded 6,030 tons1
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"2,3,5
Length - Between Perpendiculars 445'1,2,3,5
135.6 m1
Length - Water Line 465' 6"5
Beam 46' 6"2,3,5
Draft / Height 14' 3"5, 14' 6"1,3
4.42 m1
Draft / Height - Maximum 16' 6"5
Performance  
Speed 29 knots1,2,3,5
Range at 10 knots 6,700 nautical miles1,2
Range at 29 knots 1,480 nautical miles2
Armament 6": 63
6" L/50: 65
6" BL Mk XII: 61
6" L/45 BL Mk XII: 62
Anti-Aircraft 4": 33,5
4" Mk V: 31
3" QF Mk II: 22
3 pdr: 45
2 pdr: 21,3
2 pdr Mk II: 22
Torpedo Tubes 21": 4 mounts with 3 each1,2,3,5
Armor  
Belt - Aft 2"2,3
Belt - Forward 1.5"2,3
Belt - Machinery 3"1,2,3
Belt - Magazines 2.25"1,2
Belt - Main 3"5
Control Tower  
Deck 1"1,3
Deck - Lower 1"2
Deck - Upper 1"2,5
Magazine Box 1"1,2
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow: 61,2,5
Shafts 23,5
Turbines Brown-Curtis geared1,2
Geared3
HP 40,0001,2,3,5
Oil 1,050 tons5, 1,060 tons1,2
  HMS Danae
Crew  
Displacement 4,648 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,790 tons4, 5,994 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 471'1,2
143.5 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars 445' 2.25"2
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46'1,2
14.02 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown-Curtis5
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Dauntless
Crew  
Displacement 4,550 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,820 tons4, 5,910 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 471'1,2
143.5 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars 445' 0.375"2
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46'1,2
14.02 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons geared1,2,5
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Delhi
Crew  
Displacement 4,668 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,800 tons4, 6,030 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"1
144 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars 445' 1.5"2
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46' 6"1
14.17 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament 5": 53
5" L/38: 44
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr quad mounts: 23,4
20 mm twin mounts: 23
20 mm : 63, 104
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown-Curtis5
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Despatch
Crew  
Displacement 4,535 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,885 tons2, 5,930 tons4
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"1
144 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46' 6"1
14.17 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4" QF Mk V: 22
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown-Curtis5
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Diomede
Crew  
Displacement 4,646 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,850 tons4, 6,000 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"1
144 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46' 6"1
14.17 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament 6" BL Mk XII twin mount: 11
6" BL Mk XII: 41
6" L/45 BL Mk XII twin mount: 12
6" L/45 BL Mk XII: 42
Anti-Aircraft 4" QF Mk V: 22
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Parsons geared1,2,5
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Dragon
Crew  
Displacement 4,492 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,730 tons4, 5,853 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 471'1,2
143.5 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars 445'2
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46'1,2
14.02 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Dunedin
Crew  
Displacement 4,650 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,800 tons4, 6,030 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"1
144 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46' 6"1
14.17 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Durban
Crew  
Displacement 4,614 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 5,800 tons4, 5,975 tons2
Physical Characteristics  
Length 472' 6"1
144 m1
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam 46' 6"1
14.17 m1
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines Brown-Curtis5
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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site