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Great Britain's London class cruisers

Photos

HMS Devonshire in 1940:
HMS Devonshire in 1940
©IWM, A-115

HMS Devonshire in Freetown Harbor with its Supermarine Walrus landing beside on April 14, 1942:
HMS Devonshire in Freetown Harbor with its Supermarine Walrus landing beside on April 14, 1942
©IWM, A-9602
HMS Devonshire in 1940:
HMS Devonshire in 1940
©IWM, A-116
HMS Devonshire in 1940:
HMS Devonshire in 1940
©IWM, FL-5884
HMS Devonshire in Freetown Harbor on April 11, 1942:
HMS Devonshire in Freetown Harbor on April 11, 1942
©IWM, A-9603
HMS London and HMS Victorious in September 1941:
HMS London and HMS Victorious in September 1941
©IWM, A-5605
HMS London in March 1942:
HMS London in March 1942
©IWM, A-8230
HMS London escorting a convoy to the Soviet Union in May 1942:
HMS Cornwall
©IWM, A-8945
HMS London:
HMS London
©IWM,Q-65703
HMS Shropshire in the south Atlantic on April 14, 1942:
HMS Shropshire in the south Atlantic on April 14, 1942
©IWM, A-9226
HMS Shropshire firing a torpedo:
HMS Shropshire firing a torpedo
©IWM, A-7964
HMS Shropshire:
HMS Shropshire
©IWM, FL-5928
HMS Sussex in the Clyde:
HMS Sussex in the Clyde
©IWM, FL-5880
HMS Sussex:
HMS Sussex
©IWM, FL-5880
HMS Sussex at Sheerness:
HMS Sussex at Sheerness
©IWM, FL-5882

Design

The London class was designed by Sir William J. Berry.5

Based on the Kent class, the London class didn't have the external hull bulge which increased speed.1,2,4 The bridge and funnels were moved aft and the length was increased slightly.1,2

The London class was part of the 1925 - 1926 Program.2,5

Aircraft

There was a catapult to launch the aircraft.1

Armament

Type Rounds Carried
8"2 1002

Ships

 

HMS Devonshire

  • Manufacturer: Devonport Dock Yard1,3,4,5
  • March 16, 1926: Laid down.1,4,5
  • October 22, 1927, 19276: Launched.1,3,4,5,6
  • March 18, 1929: Completed.1,4,5
  • 1929 - 1939: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Catapult added.1,2
  • 1932 - 1933: China Station.1
  • 1936 - 1937: Four 4" guns added.1,2 Two 0.5" quad mount machine guns added.2
  • September 1939, 1939 - 19413: Home Fleet.1,3
  • April 1940: Norwegian campaign.1
  • August 1940: Operation Menace, attack on Dakar.1
  • Early 1941: Two 2 pdr eight barrel guns added.1
  • January 1941: In South Atlantic to hunt for the German raider Kormoran.1
  • February - May 1941, February 19, 1941 -May 22, 1942: Refit at Liverpool.1,2 Two 2 pdr eight barrels added.2
  • May - September 1941: With Home Fleet in operations off Norway and Soviet Union.1
  • September 1941: Two 20 mm guns added.1,2
  • Late 1941, 1942 - 19433: Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • November 2, 1941: Command ship of force that intercepted Vichy convoy bound for Indo-China.1
  • November 22, 1941: Intercepted German raider Atlantis.1
  • January - March 1942, January 24 - March 7, 1942: Refit at Norfolk.1,2 Four / six2 20 mm guns added.1,2
  • April 1942: Madagascar.1
  • Late 1942: Eight 4" guns replaced by four 4" Mk XIX twin mounts.1,2 In total eight 20 mm guns mounted.1
  • 1943: 0.5" machine guns and six 20 mm guns removed.1 Two 2 pdr quad mounts and twelve 20 mm twin mounts added.1
  • 1943 - 1945: Home Fleet.3
  • Early 1943: Covered troop convoys to Australia.1
  • May 1943 - March 1944, May 18, 1943 - March 20, 19442: Refit.1,2 Aircraft equipment, turret X and one 20 mm twin mount removed.2 Two 2 pdr 8 barrel pompoms and 8 20 mm guns added.2
  • April 1944: Aircraft and aircraft equipment removed.1
  • 1945: Carrier raids on Norway.1

HMS London

  • Manufacturer: Portsmouth Dock Yard1,3,4,5
  • February 22, 19265, February 23, 1926: Laid down.1,4,5
  • September 14, 1927, 19276: Launched.1,3,4,5,6
  • January 31, 1929, February 5, 19295: Completed.1,4,5
  • 1929 - March 1939: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron.1
  • 1930 - 19312, 1931 - 1932: Catapult added.1,2
  • 1936 - 1937: Four 4" guns added.1,2
  • December 1938 - March 19414, 1939 - 19413, March 1939 - February 1941: Refit at Chatham.1,3,4 Two aircraft added.4 3.5" armor belt added.1,2,4 Bridge modified.1,2 Catapult added.1 Four 4" Mk XIX twin mounts and two 2 pdr eight barrel guns added.1,2,4
  • 1941 - 1944: Home Fleet.3
  • February 1941: Hunted for KMS Bismarck.1
  • June 4, 1941: Captured German tankers Esso Hamburg and Esso Colon.1
  • June 5, 1941: Captured German tanker Egerland.1
  • June 21, 1941: Captured German supply ship Babitonga.1
  • October 1941 - January 1942, October 30, 1941 - January 25, 19422: Repairs to hull at Tyne.1,2 Two 0.5" machine gun quad mounts removed.2 Eight 20 mm guns added.2
  • Late 1941: Two 0.5" quad mounts and eight 20 mm guns removed.1
  • January - November 1942: Arctic convoy escort.1
  • December 1942 - May 1943, December 21, 1942 - May 17, 19432: Refit and repairs at Rosyth.1,2 Aircraft equipment removed except for hanger.1,2 Seven 20 mm guns added.1,2
  • May 1943 - 1945, 1944 - 19453: Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • Late 1943, December 27, 1943 - February 2, 19442: Refit at Simonstown.1,2 Three 20 mm guns removed.1,2 Four 20 mm twin mounts added.1,2
  • April - July 1945, April 27 - July 2, 19452: Refit.2 Eight 20 mm guns removed.1,2 Four 20 mm twin mounts and four 40 mm Mk III Bofors added.1,2

HMS Shropshire

  • Manufacturer: Beardmore1,3,4
  • February 24, 1927: Laid down.1,4
  • July 5, 1928, 19286: Launched.1,3,4,6
  • September 12, 1929: Completed.1,4
  • September 1929 - September 1939: Mediterranean.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Catapult added.1,2
  • 1936 - 1937: Four 4" guns added.1,2 Two 0.5" quad mount machine guns added.2
  • August - September 1936: Evacuation of refugees from Spanish Civil War.1
  • September 1939, 1939 - 19403: Joined Force H in south Atlantic.1,3
  • December 9, 1939: Captured German blockade runner Adolf Leonhardt near St. Helena.1
  • 1940 - 1941: Red Sea.3 East Indies.3
  • 1941 - 1942: Home Fleet.3 South Atlantic.3
  • Early 1941: Two 2 pdr eight barrel guns added.1
  • February 13, 1941: Sank Italian Pensilvania.1
  • March - June 1941, March 10 - June 19412: Refit at Simonstown.1,2 Two 2 pdr eight barrel pompoms added.2
  • October 1941 - February 1942, October 17, 1941 - February 16, 19422: Refit at Chatham.1,2
    One 4" and four 4" twin mounts removed.1 Eight 4" guns removed.2 Four 4" twin mounts added.2
    Seven 20 mm guns added.1,2
  • 1942 - 1945: Australia.3
  • February 1942: South Atlantic.1
  • Late 1942: Three 20 mm guns added.1,2
  • September 8, 1942: Announcement of transfer to Royal Australian Navy.1
  • November 1942 - June 1943, November 26, 1942 - June 12, 19432: Refit at Chatham.1,2 Aircraft equipment except for crane removed.1,2 All 0.5" machine guns and four 20 mm guns were removed.1,2 Seven 20 mm twin mounts added.2
  • 1943: Turned over to Royal Australian Navy.1,3
  • April 1944: Two 20 mm guns added.1
  • 1945: Torpedo tubes removed.4
  • Early 1945: Six 20 mm and five 20 mm twin mounts removed.1 Eleven 40 mm Mk III Bofors added.1
  • May 1945: Four 40 mm Mk III Bofors added.1
  • Late 1945: Six 20 mm and seven 20 mm twin mounts removed.2 Eleven 40 mm Mk III Bofors added.2

HMS Sussex

  • Manufacturer: Hawthorne Leslie1,3,4
  • February 1, 1927: Laid down.1,4,5
  • February 22, 1928, 19286: Launched.1,3,4,5,6
  • March 19, 1929, March 26, 19295: Completed.1,4,5
  • March 1929 - 1934: Mediterranean.1
  • 1931 - 1932: Catapult added.1,2
  • 1934 - 1936: Australia.1
  • 1936 - 1937: Four 4" guns added.1,2 Two 0.5" quad mount machine guns added.2
  • 1936 - 1939: Mediterranean.1
  • 1939: South Atlantic.3
  • Late 1939: With HMS Shropshire in Group H looked for KMS Admiral Graf Spee.1
  • December 2, 1939: Captured German blockade runner Watussi.1
  • 1940: East Indies.3
  • 1940 - 1942: 0.5" machine guns removed.1 One 4" removed.1 Four 4" twin mounts, two 2 pdr eight barrel, and ten 20 mm guns added.1
  • 1940 - 1943: Home Fleet.3
  • April 1940: With Home Fleet in Norway operation.1
  • Late 1940: Refit at Glasgow.1
  • September 19404, September 17 - 18, 1940: Hit by bombs and settled to bottom.1,4
  • September 1940 - August 1942, November 1940 - August 19422: Repairs at Clyde.1,2 Two 0.5" quad mount machine guns removed.2 Ten 20 mm and two 2 pdr eight barrel pompoms added.2
  • August 1942 - February 1943: Atlantic patrols.1
  • February 20, 1943: Captured German Hohenfriedburg and was missed by torpedoes from U264.1
  • 1943 - 19453, February 1943 - 1945: Eastern Fleet.1,3
  • December 1943: Eleven 20 mm added.2 Aircraft equipment removed.2
  • June 1944, June 1944 - March 19452: Refit at Sheerness.1,2 Turret X, torpedo tubes, and 15 20 mm guns removed.1 Four 2 pdr eight barrel and four 20 mm twin mounts added.1,2

Usage

The London class' hulls were strained from reconstruction and would often be damaged during use.1

Specifications

  London class
Crew 6503, 6606, 7004, 7841,2, 7895
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 9,830 tons - 9,850 tons4, 9,850 tons1,3, 9,825 tons6, 10,000 tons5
Displacement - Loaded 13,315 tons1,4, 14,000 tons6
Length 630' - 635'4, 632' 8"1,2, 633'3,5,6
192.02 - 192.93 m4, 192.8 m1, 193.3 m6
Length - Between Perpendiculars 595'1,2,3,4,5
181.35 m1,4
Beam 66'1,2,3,4,5,6
20.12 m1,4, 20.2 m6
Draft / Height 17'3,5, 20' 9"1,4, 21' 6"6
6.32 m1,4, 6.6 m6
Performance  
Speed 32 knots6, 32.25 knots2,3,5, 32.3 knots1,4
Range at 12 knots 9,120 nautical miles1, 12,500 nautical miles2
Armament 8" / 20.3 cm6, 8" L/50: 85,6
8" twin turrets3, 8" L/50 BL Mk VIII twin turrets: 41,2,3
Anti-Aircraft 4"3,5, 4" / 12.7 cm AA6, 4" QF Mk V1,2, 4" L/45 QF Mk V HA4: 41,2,4, 83,5,6
2 pdr1, 2 pdr AA6, 2 pdr Mk II2, 2 pdr pompom44: 41,2,4, 8 or 166
2 pdr quad mount: 23
2 pdr twin mount: 43
Saluting 3 pdr: 44
Torpedo Tubes 21"1,2,3,4,6 / 53.3 cm6 : 2 mounts 4 tubes each1,2,3,4, 86
Aircraft 11,3, 1 or 36
Armor  
Barbettes 1"6
2.5 cm6
Belt - Main 1"1,2,4, 3" - 5"5,6
7.6 cm - 12.7 cm6
Bulkheads 1"4
Control Tower 3"3,5
Deck 1.5" - 4"3,6, 4"5
3.8 cm - 10.2 cm6
Deck - Lower 1.375"2
Magazine Box 1" - 4"4, 1" - 4.375"1, 3"2
Turrets 1"1,2,4, 1.5" - 2"3,6
3.8 cm - 5.1 cm6
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty: 81,2,4,5
Shafts 41,3,4,5,6
Turbines Geared3, Parsons geared1,2,4,5, Parsons or Brown Curtis geared6
HP 80,0001,2,3,4,5,6
Oil 3,190 tons1,2, 3,200 tons5, 3,210 tons4
  HMS Devonshire
Crew 8525
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 9,850 tons5
Length 630'5
Length - Between Perpendiculars 595'5
Beam 66'5
Draft / Height 17'5
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - April 1944 2 pdr quad mounts: 61
20 mm twin mounts: 71
20 mm: 121
  HMS London
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 4" twin mounts: 43
0.5" machine gun: 83
Aircraft 33
Armor  
Belt - Main 3" - 5"3
  HMS Sussex
Crew 8525
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 9,830 tons5
Length 630'5
Length - Between Perpendiculars 595'5
Beam 66'5
Draft / Height 17'5

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
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site