We left the guide of the fleet “mistress of the seas” on the border of the 20-ies and 30-ies of XX century in deep thought about the future of the cruising fleet. Fully replace the old cruiser ultimate 10-tasaciones “Washington”, armed with eight-inch guns, clearly failed. England needed 50, in the worst case — 40 cruisers, while the number built, “County” under construction “truncated” “exetera” did not exceed a dozen. The rest of the Park were “veterans” of the world, armed with six-inch, still quite fit to fight with auxiliary cruisers, but are no longer able to resist the modern “colleagues” probable opponents in a dueling situation. And, worst of all, at least from the point of view of the lords of the Admiralty, they did not come for joint action with the fleet as cruisers, developed in the best years of 29 knots, and now hardly able to permanently exceed 26 — 27, could not lead the attack fleet destroyers. Required urgently find a solution to the problem, traditional to spread out on half of the world Empire: to cover all of their trade routes and to sweep them from enemy raiders. At the same time should not forget about the line Navy, for immediate support which required at least two dozen cruisers. And all this with very limited funds.

The only solution seemed fairly obvious: the need to reduce the size. But here shouldn’t get carried away, as too little new ships could not be better than the old, especially in terms of action in the open ocean. Therefore, the main requirement for a new cruiser, work on which began in 1928, was to ensure good seaworthiness and long range — for work on ocean communications, as well as high agility for the action, together with the destroyers in the composition of the main force. Pure fighting qualities, such as weapons and speed, remained in the background. However, with regard to the protection of the British was clearly inappropriate “rivet” one after the other “naked” cruisers: because the number of stronger opponents multiplied every year. So I decided to provide a new “all-rounders” three-inch side belt. Because vaudoises tion from the very beginning was limited to six thousand tons, in the end, the weapons automatically revert to the tried and usual for this class of six-inch guns. Ultimate “Washington” 203 mm in such a small ship is not placed.
British designers managed to create within the specified limits more than acceptable project. “Linder” and its sistership received eight 152-mm guns in the towers, extensive armor belt in the area of mechanical installations and safe protection of the cellar in the form of traditional “bernaysian”. The case was created on the basis of “small Washingtonians” — “Exeter” and “York” and had a good enough Board that allowed us to maintain a high stroke on the excitement at the action in the ocean. Yes and a top speed of 32.5 site looked quite well for its time. Moreover, in accordance with the new practice was achieved without any forcing turbines: the British finally completely abandoned squeezing extra knots on trials, except that disorienting the enemy, but hardly achievable in the service.
All this would look quite nice if they managed to meet the planned displacement. But in fact the design “shestidesiatniki” “fat” exactly a thousand tons that had an impact on the cost, which reached 600 thousand pounds sterling. So once again the battle over savings has been lost. However, a modest (albeit relatively) universal cruiser liking and sailors and the leadership of the Admiralty. “Linder” could become the new standard of the British Navy: originally intended to order 14 units. But here intervened repeatedly referred to the London naval Treaty of 1930, which limited the total tonnage of all categories of military courts. As a result of England had to save literally every ton of displacement. In the category “In”, which got cruisers with 6-inch guns, she had a reserve of 91 000 tons, which fit only 13 “peaks”. After a long study of “Trishkin coat” the lords of the Admiralty decided to confine nine units. However, the second series of “Leander contains” is supposed to be improved. All performance characteristics have been preserved, but have changed the layout of mechanical installations. Instead of the traditional linear (which is closer to the nose were placed one after the other three boiler rooms of the office, followed by two turbine), the engineers used a echelon, under which the boilers and turbine division alternated. So managed to achieve a higher survivability: now the ship did not lose power after any single hit, even a torpedo — at least theoretically. For the implementation of the ideas had a more powerful boilers, the number of which was now limited to only four (two in each compartment). Visually, the cruiser lost a nice wide pipe, which adorned the top five: it was replaced by two widely spaced narrow. Ironically, all the mortgaged ships of the second series were “younger brothers” — Australians. “Phaeton” was submitted on the slipway (it was commissioned as “Sydney”), and “Apollo” and “Amphion” become Australian “Perth” and “Hobart” after sailed in the Royal Navy two or three years.
After all these exercises the English had very small reserve displacement, and the new cruisers did not have chronic. Without modern cover remained the main force, and a flotilla of destroyers had worthy leaders. Meanwhile, the designers worked hard at the drawing boards. In 1929, the lords of the Admiralty have received from them to study five projects characterized by full diversity in size, layout and weapons. Displacement ranged from 3000 tons to 5800 tons, the speed — from traditional 31,5 KTS. to ambitious 38. But most diverse was the service. Was offered a six and eight six-inch to two-gun towers, as well as five such as six guns and 140-mm in the old-fashioned deck shield installations. The last two options, in fact, took the new cruiser to a repetition of the old type “C” in a technologically more modern version, which, of course, did not comply with the dictates of time. But the greatest objections are caused protection: only the biggest, 5800-ton had armor cover, and even then only for mechanical setup, and the smaller in General was practically no armor. This situation did not suit the sailors. The designers demanded on the basis of the medium variant with a displacement of 4200 tons, armament of six 152mm guns in three towers to create a well-protected cruiser, even with echelon arrangement of machinery and boilers. It was resolved to increase the displacement of only up to 5 thousand tons.
Naturally, the next attempt to pour a liter of “fire water” in one half-liter bottle again failed. Engineers, and so made a real feat, creating a neat little boat, at the same time well armed and relatively well protected, the thickness of the armored belt was 70 mm, and the “box” cellars — 76 mm. it is Curious that the price has dropped almost exactly in the ratio of the number of towers: “Aretusa” cost about 1200 thousand pounds, just a quarter less than the “Linder”. But the six-inch guns at the kids with dignity “condensed” 102-mm anti-aircraft fire in the amount of four coupled units, giving a total of eight barrels, more than double the ocean “universals”. I must say that this service has established itself as a standard, and some of the “Leander contains” even before the Second world war, managed to re-equip the same.
In the end, the British quite succeeded in creating a really “light” cruisers that showed the course of the fighting at the outbreak of the war. Even the smallest “Aretusa” showed himself very worthy. They fought mostly in the Mediterranean, where the main trouble remained submarines and aircraft. The lead ship of the series in 1942, the “caught” air torpedo in the bow area of the towers. Although it suffered almost half of the crew, more than 200 people, the cruiser reached the port and embarked on the renovation, which lasted a year and a half. Less fortunate “Galatea”, which hit three torpedoes from the German submarine and-557. A small cruiser of course could not withstand such trials and sank in three minutes, taking with them a large part of the team — 430. Almost as many died in “Penelope”, also became a victim of the German submarine and a-557, successfully used a new weapon — acoustic homing torpedo. I must say that the “Babes” had to do this much harm to the enemy. “Penelope” and “Aurora” formed the nucleus of the famous Connection based on blocked by the Italians and Germans in Malta. In November 1941, they put to the bottom of all seven ships of the Italian convoy “Duisburg”, and at the same time concealing them destroyer “Fulmine”. A few days later the piles of iron increased transports ally Italy — German “Procida” and “Maritza”, and on 1 December they were followed by two appreciated by the Germans and Italians on the weight of the gold of the tanker and the escort destroyer “Alvise da Mosto”.
One of the last remaining minicruiser, “Aurora”, in addition to the Connection To have achieved several other victories, as a joint with the “senior comrades”, sinking at the beginning of 1941, the German tanker “Belchen” and in October — artillery training ship “Bremse” and personal. When the allied landing in North Africa, the cruiser has demonstrated that it is suitable for combat the largest destroyers. November 8, 1942, he fought in three fleet destroyers of the Vichy government, forcing two of them to be thrown ashore. And the next day his six-inch guns completely disabled the great leader “Epervier”. Almost a year later he was ordeal: the ship was hit by German bombs with a caliber of half a ton. In principle, such a contact could “murder” and larger cruiser, but Aurora managed to reach the saving of the port. Carefully renovated, the cruiser waited for a long life. In 1948 Britain handed it over to the Kuomintang government of China. Former “British”, renamed “Chongqing”, was the largest ship of the then Chinese fleet. In March 1949 it passed into the hands of the Communist people’s liberation army, but eventually sank at anchor in Taku. Lain on the bottom for two years, suffering the cruiser lifted and put into operation by Soviet specialists. He several times changed the name and made their “way of life” at the factory for dismantling in 1966.
178. Light cruiser “Penelope” (England, 1936)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Chatham. Standard displacement — 5270, MT; full — 6665 t; the maximum length is 154,33 m; width of 15.56 m; draft — 5,1 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine — 64 000 HP, speed — 32.25 node. Reservations: belt — 57 mm, protection of cellars 51 — 76 mm deck 25.4 mm, the tower — 25.4 mm. Armament: three 152/50 mm guns, eight 102/45 mm guns, two anti-aircraft guns, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1935 — 1937 built four units: “Aretusa”, “Aurora, “Penelope” and “Galatea”. Upgraded in the beginning of the war with the installation of eight 40-mm anti-aircraft machine guns. “Galatea” was killed in December 1941, “Penelope” — February 1944, “Aurora” transferred to China in 1948, “Aretusa” scrapped in 1950
179. Light cruiser “Leander” (England, 1933)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Devonport. Standard displacement of 7100 tons; full 9200 tons; the maximum length is 169,01 m; width — 16,81 m; draught of 6.22 m. Capacity chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine — 72 000 HP, speed — 32.5 node. Reservations: belt 102 mm, protection of cellars — 88 — 25 mm, 32 mm deck, turret 25 mm. Armament: eight 152/50 mm guns, four 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, two four 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1933 — 1935 he built five units: “Linder”, “Ajax”, “Achilles”, “Orion” and “Neptune”. Modernized during the war — had additional anti-aircraft guns. On the “Achilles” in 1944 removed one of the rear towers and replaced by four 4-barrelled 40-mm “POM-POM”. The surviving unit by the end of the war carried 12 — 21 40-to 18 mm and 20-mm guns. “Neptune” died on the mines in December 1941, Achilles transferred to India in 1948, and the rest scrapped in 1949
180. Light cruiser Hobart (Australia, 1936)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Devonport. Standard displacement — 6900, MT; full — 8950 tons; the maximum length is 171,1 m; width — 17,27 m; draught — 5,97 m. Capacity chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine — 72 000 HP, speed — 32.5 node. Reservations: belt 102 mm, protection of cellars 88 — 25 mm, 32 mm deck, turret 25 mm. Armament: eight 152/50 mm guns, four 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, two four 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1935 — 1936 he built three units: “Sydney”, “Perth” and “Hobart”. Before the war a single 102-mm setting replaced with paired. Hobart upgraded during the war with the installation of fourteen 40-mm and ten 20 mm anti-aircraft machine guns. “Sydney” was lost in December 1941, “Perth” in March 1942. Hobart scrapped in 1962

Not less distinguished elders “Aratus”, “Leander contains”. Both in the success and damage. Perhaps the most famous in this respect was “Sydney”. His military career began in June 1940, when the squadron sank Italian destroyer “Espero”. And in the next month followed by a triumph. “Sydney” with five destroyers valiantly attacked two Italian light cruisers, each of which had the same weapons as him. As a result, the prosecution was sunk by “Bartolomeo Colleoni” himself “Aussie” didn’t suffer much, limiting ingress into the chimney. But the return water was fatal. In November 1941, in the long March for the protection of trade routes off the West coast, he met the German auxiliary cruiser “Cormoran”. Prolonged the monotonous service of the effect on vigilance: let a suspicious British transport too close. The Germans suddenly raised the battle flag and opened a heavy fire from all the guns. “Sydney” received a torpedo and a dozen rounds before he could open fire. He remained in the ranks only two guns, firing from which the cruiser at the slowest possible speed away from the insidious enemy, now exceeding its firepower. In the “Cormoran” was punished. He received significant damage and was abandoned. But the “Sydney”, it seems to be safely detached from the enemy, lost with all hands, leaving no trace or message. Only today, after a long search, looked through many miles of ocean day, divers discovered the remains of the cruiser, literally riddled with shells. (It counted more than a hundred hits!)
As for the rest of the Australians, then, as we already know, “Perth” was killed in an unequal battle with Japanese heavy cruisers while trying to break out of the trap in the Java sea. But Hobart had passed through the entire war, although he was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine. But death at the hands of the Japanese he still did not escape: in 1962, served the maximum the veteran was sold to a breaker in Japan.
Not less actively worked, and “Leander contains” the first of the series. “Ajax” and “Achilles” along with “Exeter” and participated in the battle with the German “pocket battleship” “Admiral Graf Spee” off the coast of Uruguay and has made about 20 hits in his formidable opponent after the Exeter out of order. Appearing in the Mediterranean, “Ajax” in October 1940 sunk in a single battle from a couple of Italian destroyers and another damaged. He participated in almost all major battles in this theatre, sometimes playing totally alien to the light cruiser role, while under the fire of enemy battleships and heavy cruisers.
His sidekick “Achilles” was on the Pacific ocean, where “faithfully” served as a target for Japanese planes. His military career ended in the manner of the British “Aurora” in 1948, the cruiser gave the newly independent India. Renamed “Delhi”, he has long served as the flagship of the Indian Navy and in 1961 was shot with live ammunition by Portuguese troops unsuccessfully tried to defend their small colony enclaves of Goa and DIU. Service is the veteran of the two fleets was completed only in 1979.
“Neptune” was also part of the Connection To and became a victim of the Italian mines, stepped in four. Although he was sinking slowly, but in loneliness, and together with the cruiser killed nearly his entire team.
Huge losses in men suffered and the “Orion”, heavily damaged by German bombers during the evacuation of troops from Crete. Two direct hits were killed and injured 560 people, including soldiers that broke the forecastle of the cruiser. However, the ship survived, as survived and “Linder” after being hit by a devastating 610 mm Japanese torpedoes contained more than 400 kilograms of explosives.
The success of Britain in the creation of more or less “economical” type of cruiser did not go unnoticed by potential consumers in other countries. In 1934, the Argentine government adopted a special programme, a training ship ordered by type “Aretusa”. Persistent Latinos decided to take the already known by us, considering that the ship can be “rubber”. They demanded to strengthen the arms, replacing the two-gun turret on treboradice, and at the same time to ensure at least 60 students. The famous firm “Vickers-Armstrong”, of course, fulfilled wishes, but due to the increase in displacement 6500 tons. A little hurt and speed fell to 30 knots. But in the end, Argentina got a very worthy craft, well armed and protected, and for the price lesser than the British “kids” is just about 1175 thousand pounds. However, this amount with the sign “minus” included some “export tips”, such as a reduced number of watertight bulkheads, more lightweight design and widespread use of welding (building their cruisers the British prefer to gather using more expensive riveting in the most critical locations). Nevertheless, “La Argentina” perfectly served for a very long time, making a lot of long hikes and upon his retirement in 1945.
By the way, for Argentina the experience with better choice of modern cruisers was not the first. History began with the development of the latest achievements of shipbuilding in 1926, when the government of a distant country took decisive update to its cruising fleet, presented only with rarities not less than chetvertichnogo age. The Argentines wanted neither more nor less than a true heavy cruiser, but… cheap. They announced an international competition that was won by Italian firm OTO. The project was a “Trento”, reduced for all parameters. Towers were only three, and the guns they had the original 190-mm caliber. It is clear that the development of a new gun didn’t want to pay for neither the customer nor the manufacturer, so the Italians used the old British variant, applied to the armored cruiser “San Marco” and “Pisa”. However, such improvisation was quite successful: almost 91-kg projectile, fired from a decent initial velocity (at the expense of a more powerful charge), could penetrate the armor of any ship of this class in the world! So the Italians got a very decent ships of small displacement, high speed, quite well armed and protected, besides costing only a thousand 1225pounds apiece — the same as British “Arethusa”, which, by the way, the same number of guns, but with shells of half that mass. The “economic” alternative, intermediate between light and heavy cruisers, caused a certain stupor in the world of shipbuilding. He abruptly broke the developed by the time the main Maritime countries traditions to build a 10 000-tonne maximum heavy cruisers. Just in case, “Almirante brown” and “25 May” was accused of the usual weaknesses, such as too lightweight design, unreliable mechanisms, General overload, that has not prevented Argentine couple safely proplavit 30 years. Their service has been fairly serene. The only incident occurred during maneuvers in October 1941, when the “brown” in tumane rammed his own destroyer, and he was in the stern crashed into the bow of the battleship “Rivadavia”. Italian for “lightweight design” has withstood the test of time, though the ship had to be repaired three months. No other serious accidents cruiser served until 1960, when they finally withdrew from the fleet. Before its end they had a chance to return to the distant homeland, the last time crossing the Atlantic ocean: sold for scrapping to the Italian firm.

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