Cressy class armoured cruisers (1899)

Cressy class armoured cruisers (1899)

HMS Cressy, Hogue, Aboukir, Sutlej, Bacchante, Euryalus (1899)

The Cressy-class cruisers were a group of six armored cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the early 1900s. These ships were designed during a period when naval technology and strategy were rapidly evolving. Ships in Class: HMS Cressy, HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue, HMS Bacchante, HMS Euryalus, HMS Sutlej.
Displacement: Approximately 12,000 tons
Length: 472 feet (144 meters)
Beam: 69 feet (21 meters)
Draught: 26 feet (8 meters)
Speed: 21 knots
Complement: Around 760 officers and men
Main Armament:
2 × 9.2-inch (234 mm) Mk X guns in single turrets
12 × 6-inch (152 mm) Mk VII guns in single casemates
Secondary Armament:
12 × 12-pounder (76 mm) guns
3 × 3-pounder (47 mm) guns
Torpedo Tubes: 2 × 18-inch (450 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
Belt Armor: 6 inches (152 mm)
Deck Armor: 2 inches (51 mm)
Conning Tower: 12 inches (305 mm)
Gun Turrets: 6 inches (152 mm)
Operational History
The Cressy-class cruisers were primarily used for patrolling and protection of trade routes due to their relatively good speed and armament for the time. They played significant roles during the early months of World War I.
Tragic Loss
One of the most notable events involving the Cressy-class was the sinking of three of its ships—HMS Cressy, HMS Aboukir, and HMS Hogue—on September 22, 1914. They were sunk by the German U-boat U-9 in the North Sea. This incident, known as the “Action of 22 September 1914,” resulted in the loss of over 1,400 men and demonstrated the effectiveness of submarines in naval warfare.
The loss of these cruisers highlighted vulnerabilities in naval strategy and ship design of the time, prompting changes in naval tactics and the development of anti-submarine measures. Despite their relatively short service lives, the Cressy-class cruisers had a significant impact on naval warfare and strategy during the early 20th century.

⚠ Note: This post is scheduled for rewriting. Completion expected in August 2024.

Close copies of the Diadem

Six large battlecrackers were ordered in 1898, taking over the design of the previous Diadems, but with significant protection, superior power to safeguard the speed and armament of the Powerful. The progress came from the adoption of Krupp lateral armor plates, which was stronger because it was thinner and lighter.
The ammunition wells and bunkers were also armored and the internal formwork reinforced. The heavy turrets had the advantage of being hydraulic and steerable at any angle (including the rise) while allowing reloading.

Cressy class diagrams Brasseys 1906
Cressy class diagrams Brasseys 1906

These ships had a silhouette and a size corresponding to that of the Diadem and yet the hull was fuller and they accused 1000 tons more, in favor of stability, while having a stern profile better, in favor of maneuverability. They were also good walkers, surpassing their expected speed on paper. On the other hand, their ASM protection was ineffective, as evidenced by the spectacular loss of three of the ships of this class, torpedoed by a single U-Boote in September 1914.

Breech-loading 9.2 inches turret of the Cressy, right elevation

The Cressy in service

On their entry into service, they were broken down between different assignments: the Hogue and Sutlej in sleeve, the Aboukir and Bacchante in Gibraltar, Cressy in Hong Kong, Euryalus in Australia. The latter entered service in 1904 due to numerous machinery accidents.
They then gradually returned to the Home Fleet and were there at the beginning of the war. The HMS Aboukir was in reserve and was sent with a crew of reservists in the patrol of the South of the North Sea, the famous Force C, known as the “14 powerful”.

She was torpedoed by the U9 on September 4, 1914 and sank with almost all its crew. HMS Bacchante served on the Humber River in 1914 but was transferred as a Force C flagship. He saw fire at the first Battle of Heligoland Bay, and escorted convoys to Gibraltar.
He was sent to defend the Suez Canal, and found himself in the Dardanelles in 1915. In 1916 he was back in the North Atlantic. He struck the Achilles in the Irish Sea in 1917, then returned to Gibraltar as a flagship. It was then placed in reserve in Chatham and demolished in 1920.

HMS Cressy served pre-war service in both North America and the East Indies, and was part of Force C at the beginning of the war. He was torpedoed by the U9 the same day as the Aboukir, trying to fish his crew and himself lost 560 men in his wreck.
HMS Euryalus was part of Force C and then escorted convoys to Gibraltar. He then performed in front of Suez, Smyrna and the Dardanelles. He permitted the support of the Arab revolt in the Red Sea, and served in the East Indies. He ended his career in Hong Kong, and returned after the war to the metropolis for a demolition.

HMS Hogue served in Force C, and had the opportunity to fight in the Battle of Heligoland Bay. He towed the heavily damaged HMS Arethusa to the port. He suffered the same fate as Cressy and Aboukir being torpedoed by the U9. Finally HMS Sutlej passed from 1914 to 9th squadron cruisers in Ireland, from 1915 to 1916.
She was sent to Santa Cruz, then returned to the Home Fleet within the 9th squadron. It was put in reserve in Rosyth from 1917 and put on sale for demolition in 1919


The Cressy class on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.


Author’s profile of hms cressy in 1914.

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