Leander class cruisers (1931)

RN (1931-35): HMS Leander, Achilles, Ajax, Neptune, Orion

The ANZAC light cruisers

The 5 Leanders (completed in 1933-34) and the 3 Australian Perth (1934-35) were the first light cruisers built since the Enterprise class of 1920. With their twin 6-in turrets, they were more of an adaptation of the previous design of the York class rather than a new creation. They were immediately recognizable by their unique truncated funnel (whereas the second group had two), and fought on four oceans, seeing heavy action from the Mediterranean to Guadalcanal. Some became legendary such as the Ajax or the Sydney with its epic duel with the Kormoran.


HMAS Sydney in her war paint in 1941 (AWM)

Design of the Leander group

The Washington treaty did not fixed rules for light cruisers but artillery (6-in), therefore in terms of tonnage, the ship could reach the heavy cruiser limit of 10,000 tons*, which left margin for range and speed. They were first and foremost intended for commerce protection, escort vessels. They displaced 9740 tons fully loaded, 9000 for the following group Amphion, and 7,270 tons standard for a hull largely similar to the York class, with a long forecastle ending mid-way with a roof above the superstucture, and htier hull had a 1/10 ratio or 550 ft by 56 ft, with a 19.1 ft draught.

*There was actually a British proposal at the three Power Geneva Naval Conference of 1927 to limit tonnage for light cruisers to 7000 tons, but it was never adopted.

Propulsion

Although the compartimentation was copied from the York class, the ships had four shafts, connected to Parsons single-reduction geared steam turbines, fed by four to six boilers, depending on the group. The first group or Leander class had six, and the Amphion four, of the 3-drum water-tube model. The first group was unique as the boiler rooms were arranged together and the exhausts truncated into a single funnel, whereas in the second group they were separated leading to a two funnels far apart look. The ensemble was rated for 72,000 shp (53,700 kW). Thanks to this, standard top speed was 32.5 knots (60 km/h). On trials, 32.45 knots were reached by HMS Leander. She still made 73,140 shp (54,500 kW) for 31 knots at full load of 9240 tons. Their range was sufficient to cross the Atlantic and back, about 5,730 nmi (10,610 km) at 13 knots (24 km/h).

HMS Ajax before the war, circa 1936
HMS Ajax before the war, circa 1936, HD picture, IMW.

Protection

Even in light cruiser standards, it was light and only kept in strategic areas:
The magazine box was protected by 3 in (76 mm) walls, the main deck 1 in (25.4 mm) and the turrets were protected by 1 in (25.4 mm) overall, whih was fairly unsufficient against anything else than destroyers, their main prey. Neither the rudder or machinery was protected and the belt armor was fairly light as well and the total represented 845 tons of armour.

Armament

Compared to the York, their smaller turrets allowed four to be placed in superfiring pairs fore and aft. The main gun models would evolve from the Mark V to VI later, with a greater angle mounting.
Developed in 1928-29, these breech-loading rifled 6-inch Mk XXIII 50 caliber naval guns became the staple of British Naval artillery up to the very last cruisers completed postwar. These guns were used by the Leander, Amphion, Arethusa, 'Town' superclass, Crown Colony, Minotaur, while the postwar Neptune (cancelled) and Tiger (Converted) embarked on the fully automated QF Mark N5.

The Mark XXIII was a traditional model with an hand-operated Welin breech block and Cloth bags for cordite, also hand-held. The guns used flashless (NQFP) powder, and fired a 51-kg (112-pound) projectile at 2760 feet per second (840 m/s) up to 25,480 yd (23,300 m) at 45°. The entire gun barrel was 300-in (7.6 meters) and weighted 7,000 kgs. Life expectancy was great, between 1200 and 2200 rounds according to the charge, classic cordite or NQFP. RPM with a trained crew was a shot every 4-5 seconds, only three when the range did not changed. It was more than three times faster than the classic 8-inches and therefore a reflection of the new tactical views of gunnery at that time, more about saturating the superstructures than piercing hulls and destroying turrets or trying to hit vitals.


HMAS 4-inch guns HA closeup

Their secondary artillery comprised four QF 4 in Mk.V (102 mm L/45) guns, in single mounts HA (High Angle) Mk.IV. They were heavy, unprotected ww1-1 era naval guns, weighting with barrel & breech: 4,890 lb (2,220 kg). They used an horizontal sliding-block with a recoil hydro-pneumatic/hydro-spring 15-in (380 mm) system and mounting dependent traverse and elevation. Their muzzle velocity however seen sufficient at 2,350 ft/s (716 m/s) up to 16,300 yd (15,000 m) in horiztontal, anti-ship fire and 28,750 ft (8,800 m) in AA mode and max elevation.

Their 5 pounds (2.27 kg) shell was filled with Lyddite-amatol. The rate of fire was slow as the mount only allowed a 60° elevation, and then the gun has to return to its max elevation of 80°. This was solved when QF 4 inch Mk XVI naval gun were provided and replaced them. The later were developed from 1936 and allowed a much greater rpm at 15-20 rounds. They fired a 35 pounds (15.88 kg) HE shell or 38.25 pounds (17.35 kg) S.A.P. projectile.

Their initial AA artillery was a reflection of the aviation of the time and comprised twelve 0.5-inch (13 mm) Vickers machine guns in three quadruple mounts. Also they carried two quadruple banks each side of standard 21-in TTs. Provision to mount catapults for Fairey Seafox reconnaissance aircraft was also done, some having them in operation.

Fairey Seafox

In 1937 their four single 102 mm guns were replaced by four modern 102 mm Mark XVI in twin mounts. They also had parade guns, quickly removed at the beginning of the conflict. They also lost catapult and crane in 1941 (Ajax-Orion) and 1943 (Leander, Achilles). They also received from 1941 2 quadruple bofors 40 mm carriages. Finally, in 1941, they received new tripod masts with radar.

The Leander and Amphion in action

Such a great chapter is a bit too much for a single post, but following are the individual detailed career of these ships. But in great lines: Ajax and Achilles were famously the sailors of the Exeter at the Battle of Rio de la Plata against the German pocket battleship Graf Spee. They were badly hit by heavy shells impact of Spee's secondary 6-in battery (reserving its 280 against the Exeter). Ajax lost two of its paper-protected turrets. But both ships escaped in a smoke cloud.

In 1941, Ajax and Leander were allotted to the RNZN (New Zealand Navy). Against the Japanese, they suffered significant damage, the Leander being almost destroyed, put of action for more than a year at the Battle of Kolombangara after gunfire and a torpedo hit. In December 1941, HMS Neptune hit four mines, but sank slowly enough for her crew to escape.

Ajax and Orion served in the Pacific extensively again until badly hit by by Japanese air attacks, and bot were out of the game for 9 months. In 1945-46, they were reduced to subsidiary roles and broken up in 1949, except for HMS Achilles who was later sold to a newly independent India with the constitution of the RIN (Royal Indian Navy) and served many more years of the cold war.

HMS Leander


HMNZS Leander and uss chicago off Suva, Fidji, Feb. 1942 (USNA).

HMS Leander (Devonport 1931) was commissioned first with the the Royal Navy, as HMS Leander in march 1933 but joined Achilles in the New Zealand Division. However in 1941 this division became the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) so she became the HMNZS Leander in September 1941 and served in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. On 27 February 1941, she sank an Italian armed freighter near the Maldives and on 23 March 1941, she captured the Vichy French freighter Charles L.D. between Mauritius and Madagascar.

In April, she operated in the Persian Gulf and teamed with HMS Hermes and Emerald, returning to the Maldives to search for the German raider Pinguin. In June 1941 however she was sent to the Mediterranean, against the Vichy French during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign. She was back in the pacific in September 1941.

On July 1943, she was part of Task Group 36.1 with USS Honolulu and St. Louis. when radar-spotting the IJN cruiser Jintsu and escort off Kolombangara (Solomon) and in the Battle that followed all four cruisers were met by a torpedo storm and badly hit. On leander it was abaft 'A' boiler room, with it and No.1 4-inch gun disabled, and the cruiser barely made it to Auckland, repaired enough to reach Boston and only return into service by August 1945. She was scrapped in 1950.

HMS leander in 1942 - Author's HD illustration
HMS leander in 1942 - Author's HD illustration

HMS Orion

HMS Orion circa 1943
HMS Orion circa 1943; notice the tripod masts and lower ports welded shut.

The light cruiser Orion ws in commission on 18 January 1934 with the Home Fleet before moving to serve with the North American and West Indies Station (8th Cruiser Squadron) and back home in February 1940. In June she joined the Mediterranean 7th Cruiser Squadron and acted as John Tovey's flagship. After Bardia and the Battle of Calabriashe sank the cargo Ermioni bound to the Dodecanese and escorted Malta or Greece convoys. She also served in Crete, the Aegean islands and took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

On 22 May, she attacked an axis convoy bound to Crete and duelled with the the Italian torpedo boat Lupo. The rest of the month shel helped evacuating troops when attacked by the luftwaffe and badly hit. She limped back to Alexandria for provisional repairs, completed later in South Africa via Aden and Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She was back in action in March 1942, refitted in Plymouth (AA and radar), patrolling in home waters escorting convoys to Africa and the Indian Ocean. Back in the Mediterranean 15th Cruiser Squadron she coverred the invasion of Sicily and later returned in the home waters to take part in the Normandy Landings. She was apparently the first British cruiser to fire at dawn. She was in reserve after the war and scrapped in 1949.

HMS Orion in Crete, 1941 - Author's HD Illustration
HMS Orion in Crete, 1941 - Author's HD Illustration

HMS Neptune

HMS Neptune 1937
HMS neptune in 1937 (AWM)

Neptune was operational on 12 February 1934 with a mixed crew mostly from the New Zealand Division and South African personnel. She started patrolling the South Atlantic in search for the Graf Spee, later sailed to station off Uruguayans waters, waiting for the damage German ship to exit, but the latter scuttled before she arrived.

Back in the Mediterranean, Neptune spotted first the Italian fleet at the battle of Calabria (9 July 1940) and was hit during the exchange by the Giuseppe Garibaldi. The 6-inch shell damaged her floatplane but in return she registered three hits on the Bolzano. Later in 1941, she led Force K to intercept axis convoys bound to Libya and the Afrika Korps.

She met her fate during one of these missions: On 18 December 1941, she took part of a brief fleet engagement, the First Battle of Sirte. This happened at sunset, and during the following night, Neptune struck two Italian mines laid earlier in June. The bow hull was breached and after reversing out she struck a third mine, blewing her propellers. HMS Aurora nearby could not assist her, as the area was too dangerous and she was herself too damaged, as other cruisers, like HMS Penelope.

The destroyers Kandahar and Lively attempted to tow her, but the first struck a mine and the second was signalled by Neptune to leave. The tragedy went on as the derving, powerless cruiser hit afourth mine, which was devastating. She quickly capsized, with mosy of the crew but about 30 survivors which apparently drawn too. In the end only one survivor was picked-up out of a total crew of 737 sailors and officers.

Authors HD illustration of HMS neptune in 1944
Author's HD illustration of HMS neptune in 1944

HMS Ajax

Probably the best known of all the Leander class cruisers, Ajax (named after the Trojan war Greek hero), was completed on 12 April 1935. At first she served with the North America and West Indies Station but instead joined the Mediterranean, to patrol during the Abyssinian crisis, returning later to her initial station. In early 1939 she was deployed in the Pacific, off South America, and back South Atlantic Division, in March.

Her first wartime action was to patrol down south to the Falklands, capturing or sinking the Olinda, German merchantman Carl Fritzen and Ussukuma. Later she returned north to hunt for the Graf Spee. This led to the famous battle of the River plate, together with HMS Exeter and Achilles. During the battle she acted as flaghsip of Force G (Commodore Henry Harwood). She located and engaged Graf Spee on 13 December, taking damage by the German 150 mm calibers, seven hits, disabling the first two turrets, whereas the Exeter was more badly damaged.

The latter was save in part due to the smoke screen dressed by both cruisers. Despite her damage she only deplored 12 casualties, and was still able to station off Uruguay with Achilles, soon joined by Cumberland (from the Falklands), until the conclusion. She was instrumental in the radio bluff that scared Wilhelm Langsdorff up to scuttle his ship and later commit suicide.

achilles seen from ajax 1939
Achilles seen from Ajax, en route for the River Plate, 1939.

The next part of her career was Mediterranean, as appriopriate for a Greek hero, after a refit at Chatham where she received among others a Type 279 Radar. With the 7th Cruiser Squadron, teaming with HMS York, she escorting convoys bound to Alexandria and back. In late 1940 to 1941 she took part in the escort of British convoys to Malta while trying to intercept axis ones. She was part of the fleet covering convoy MF3 (Operation MB6) when during the night of 11-12 October she intercepted a small Italian force. The engagement is a minor ones but often referred to Battle of Cape Passero, which saw the sinking of two Italian TBs, and the destroyer Artigliere.

She was hit by seven shells, lost a whaler, took bridge damage and on radars, with 37 casualties. Afterwards she covered convoys to Suda Bay, in Crete, and later participated in Operation Coat with Force X. Her diversion helped the air attack on Taranto later.

hms ajax

In November she attacked an Italian convoy of four Italian merchant ships protected by an auxiliary vessel, and the old TB Nicola Fabrizi she badly damaged. This action saw the entire convoy destroyed, as part of the Battle of the Strait of Otranto. She later shelled Durazzo and joined Force B to cover the Greek evacuations. She took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan and was repeatedly by the Lufwaffe, but evacuated British troops from Crete while York was lost there. She departed in 1941 for a refit home via the long road, via Suez and South Africa.

HMS Ajax in 1939
Ajax in her fight against Graf Spee, December 13, 1939, at the Rio de la Plat - Old author's illustration

Her refit at Chatham Dockyard lasted until September 1942. She was back in the Mediterranean to take part in the latter part of Operation Torch, part of Force Q at Bône, Algeria. After being hit by an aviation bomb 1,000 lb (450 kg) on her "B" boiler room on 1 January 1943 she was repaired at Gibraltar and Norfolk, and returned in action after a long refit at Portsmouth, completed on 25 December 1943.

After her damage in Crete she was nearly two years out of action either in repairs or refit. She was back in the Mediterranean in February 1944, and later took part in June to D-Day artillery barrage and cover, as part of Force K, off Gold Beach. She returned in the Mediterranean to cover the landings in southern France and later policed Greek waters. Ironically after the war, she carried Graf Spee's crew from Uruguay back to Germany. She was later policing Palestinian waters, taking part in the 1947 Exodus affair. Placed in reserve she was decommissioned in February 1948, once proposed fo India and broken up.

HMS Leander in 1941
The same HMS Ajax after refit in the Mediterranean, Operation Torch. She would display two other liveries until 1945 - old author's illustrations.


Cutaway by Ross Walton Src


HMS Ajax after refit in January 1943, with a classic example of Mediterranean razzle dazzle


HMS Ajax in 1945, with an "atlantic approaches" three tone wavy camouflage


3D rendition of the Perth (World of Warhips)

Leander class wow

wow leander 2

Leander class summary wow Leander class upper view

HMS Achilles

HMNZS Achilles 1940
HMNZS Achilles circa 1941 - Allan C. Green coll.

Commissioned on 10 October 1933 she was the first of the improved Leander group to carry a floatplane, the medium range Supermarine Walrus. After service with the Royal Navy NZ division she joined in 1937, and in September 1941 was transferred to the newly-formed Royal New Zealand Navy. Her crew at that stage was composed of 60% New Zealanders.

Before that, she patrolled the south atlantic, searching for German privateers and later the Graf Spee, which saw her joining the Force G together with her sister ship Ajax and HMS Exeter (and the Cumberland which was still in the Falklands when the day came out). What followed was the clash between this truncated South American Division under Commodore Henry Harwood and the Graf Spee. In this duel, which started at 20 kilometres (11 nmi) at dawn, and she was hit, four crew killed, and captain, W. E. Parry wounded; But she went on firing until 07:15 when, while the distance fell to only 4 km, Graf Spee, hit too, broke off the engagement.

The next year, HMNZS Achilles was back in Auckland, New Zealand for a refit. After seaching for German raiders in the South Pacific and some escort missions between NZ and Australian she joined the ANZAC Squadron in the south-west Pacific, under orders of Rear-Admiral John G. Crace as flasghip. Together with HMAS Perth, she protected the Pensacola convoy.

She actively served in that role until 1943 and joined the US Navy Task Force 67 to operate at Guadalcanal. However on 5 January 1943 she was attacked by IJN planes X turret was hit and blown up. She stayed in Portsmouth for repairs and modernizations until May 1944, receiving notably dual-purpose twin QF 4 inch Mk XVI guns and new radars and added AA like a quad QF 2 pom poms installed in place of the former X turret.

INS Delhi
INS Delhi in 1953 Credits: dennilfloss.blogspot.com

However work was cut short by a dockyard explosion and she was repaired until March 1945. She joined the British Pacific Fleet in May 1945, participating in the last operations until September. Back in home waters she was placed in reserve, put on disposal list then resold to India and recommissioned on 5 July 1948 as INS Delhi. She served proudly until 1978, but instead of being scrapped she was offered to the NZ government and is now on display at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

Achilles 1939 illustration
Author's HD Illustration of HMS Achilles in 1939

Design of the Amphion group

The last three ships of the Leander class varied among authors, between "Amphion" and "Perth" (second name) class. Apart many superstructure details, the biggest difference was their machinery and propulsion. It was organised in two self-contained units well separated fore and aft. This system was done to prevent the ship to be dead on the water in case of a hit, as one compartment would have been still able to propel the ship.

Therefore this new arrangement called for the two exhaust funnels far apart, and instantly more recoignisable look. Machinery spaces had the side armour extended from to 141 feet (43 m) almost double the original design. But this negated the weight reduction. However this sytem was copied on the next class Arethusa.

When the blueprints were still on drawing stage, both deck-level turrets were to be fitted with three guns (ten guns total) but new calculations cancelled the prospect as it would have impacted the top speed and complexified fire control. Other than that, modifications included the placement of the windows on the bridge walls, alteration in the higher up fire control telemeter, masts, ventilation shafts, boats, crane, catapult, AA guns and even the secondary DP guns, previously forward abaft the main bridge, and relocated aft, as well as the forecastle.

The Australian cruisers in action

All three ships were sold to the RAN (Royal Australian Navy), Phaeton was renamed Sydney in 1939, Amphion was renamed Perth and Apollo Hobart after a few years of British service under their launch names. They fought in the pacific and the Mediterranean: Perth participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941, joined the pacific and was lost in action at the Battle of Sunda Strait in early 1942 (Guadalcanal).

HMAS Hobart took part in the East African Campaign, Battle of the Coral Sea and Guadalcanal, Philippines campaign in 1944 and the Borneo/Aitape-Wewak campaigns. HMAS Sydney fought with distinction at the Battle of Cape Spada, Battle of Cape Matapan and Battle of Calabria. In 1941 famously she ended her days fighting off Western Australia the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran and destroyer her while sinking herself in one of the most epic duels of ww2.

HMS Amphion/HMAS Perth

Perth underway in 1942
Perth underway in 1942

First cruiser of the second serie, HMS Amphion (D29) diverged extensively by several details. she was commissioned as HMS Amphion in 1936. She was posted the last years of the interwar in the North America and West Indies Station. In July 1939 before the war broke out, she was transferred to the newly created RAN, recommissioned as HMAS Perth. Her crew travelled already from May 1939 to join the ship in pitiful conditions among livestock, and during the 1939 New York World's Fair where they represented Australia a mutiny erupted over discipline, wearing new uniform to get on shore. The situation was serious enough and tense with officers that the NY police Dept sent a heavy force on the wharf in case.


HMAS Perth (Amphion) after battle damage, before refit, author's HD illustration.

When the war broke out, Perth was sailing off the coast of Venezuela. She searched for German shipping ans auxiliary cruisers and raiders, and then was sent to Alexandria to relieve Sydney. She covered several convoys to Malta with the 7th Cruiser Squadron and was air attacked several times. She also operated in Crete and off Greece for last ditch reinforcements in 1941 (and later their evacuation). She took part actively in the Battle of Cape Matapan, during the night og 28-29 March 1941, battle of Crete, and was badly hit by a Stuka, hitting the 'A' boiler room. Thanks to her new engine compartimentation, she was able to sail ou of harm, with 1200 "Tommies" on board. She later took part in the Australian campaign against Vichy French forces in Syria, and closely avoided a friendly bombardment by allied aviation.



HMAS Perth
Two views of HMAS Perth in 1942

She was later sent to the Pacific to join the ANZAC squadron after a short refit in Brisbane, with AA and other alterations. With HMNZS Achilles she covered the Pensacola convoy. However fatefully she was sent to the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) force. After missions back and forth from Singapore to Australia, she arrived at Tanjong Priok on 24 February 1942 in the midst of a Japanese air attack. She joined Surabaya with Exeter and the destroyers Jupiter, Electra and Encounter, to place herself under command of Dutch Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman.

ABDA then sailed to intercept a convoy guarded by eight cruisers. In the following engagement, Perth badly damaged an IJN destroyer, but the duels eventually split forces. The Dutch cruisers De Ruyter and Java were sunk, Exeter was separated and Perth was found assisting the USS Houston in what became the Battle of the Java Sea.

Rare color photo of HMAS Perth, date unknown
Rare color photo of HMAS Perth, date unknown.

However, low on fuel and ammunitions, Perth, Houston, and the Dutch destroyer Evertsen sailed at sunset for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait. Here, a large Japanese force had assembled at Bantam Bay fell on them. The IJN was expert in night fighting and known for agressive torpedo attacks. The cruiser changed course to escape but took four Japanese torpedoes in the space of a few minutes. Evacuated, she sank at 25 min. past midnight with 353 lost.

The survivors were picked up by the Japanese and ended in POWs, only 218 surviving the war internment. The wreck of HMAS Perth sparkled controversy when she was allegedly pillages by Indonesian divers in 2013. The ship was not protected as a war grave and was broke up with dynamite for scrap metal value and it soured Indonesian-Australian relations for years;

HD profile Perth 1942
Author's HD profile of HMS Perth in 1942.

HMS Apollo/HMAS Hobart

hms apollo before transfer 1938
HMS Apollo before transfer to the RAN in Miami, 1938

HMS Apollo entered service in 1936, and until 1938 was posted to the American and West Indies station (The carribean), and she was purchased by the Australian Government in 1938, as well as the aviation tender HMAS Albatross, but this was postponed to September because of the Munich crisis. HMAS Hobart started her wartime career by escort duties patrolling Bass Strait, and up from Colombo to the Indian ocean and Arabian gulf. She later joined the East Indies Station and red sea squadron with HMS Liverpool. On 12 June 1940 she fired on Italian aviation off Aden while her Walrus bombed the Peak Island Italian wireless station.

She escorted a reinforcement convoy bound to East Africa after the Italian invasion of British Somaliland, and later the evacuation. Fighting rearguard actions with a 3-pdr AA converted into an had oc AT gun and the Walrus bombing the Italian headquarters at Zeila, HMAS Hobart crew successfully helped the British evacuation. In total the Australian vessel would cover 7,000 soldiers and civilians aboard a heterogenous flotilla of vessels.

HMAS_Hobart_SLV_AllanGreen
HMAS Hobart - src SLV Allan Green

In the end of 1941, the cruiser saild back to Colombo and then Australia, becoming the flagship of Rear Admiral John Gregory Crace. Her seaplane catapult and crane were removed, and she was sent back to the Mediterranean, fighting off air attacks at Port Tewfik. She covered actions of the Western Desert Campaign until December 1941. Throughout 1942 she was in constant convoy escort duties in the Far East Station. She was attacked by Japanese aviation while refuelling from a tanker at Tanjong Priok, took damage and was not able to join the ABDA squadron.

HMAS Hobart joined the composite force deployed to prevent an invasion of Port Moresby, composed of the Australia, Hobart, USS Chicago, and Perkins, Walke, and Farragut at Jomard Passage. They were exposed to three IJN air attacks and later were redeployed off Port Moresby. However nothing happened, and Hobart was sent to cover landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. However on 20 July 1943 while en route from Espiritu Santo to join TF 74 she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, destroying an entire section of the port quarter. She had to limp back to Espiritu Santo escorted by two US destroyers.

She later sailed back for more extensive repairs at Cockatoo, being out of service until 1944. Back in service she covered the landing at Tarakan (25 April 1944), Wewak (11 May) Brunei (June 1944), and Balikpapan (July). She was present at V-day in Tokyo bay. She would serve as a training vessel postwar, ironically sold for scrap to a Japanese shipbreaker on 22 February 1962.

Hobart 1941 camouflage
Hobart 1942 camouflage
Author's HD illustrations of the two known camouflage pattern used in 1941 and 1942 by HMAS Hobart.

HMS Phaeton/HMAS Sydney

HD Rendition of the HMAS Sydney in 1935
HD Rendition of the HMAS Sydney in 1935

In 1934, the Australian government seeked a replacement for the old HMAS Brisbane, and negotiations for the purchase of HMS Phaeton while she still under construction took place. She was commissioned with the RAN on 24 September 1935. She sailed with RN captain J.U.P. Fitzgerald from Portsmouth on 29 October 1935 and joined the Mediterranean Fleet at Gibraltar to assist the 2nd Cruiser Squadron during the Abyssinian crisis. She spent her last interwar years off Australia in fleet exercises and training cruises.

Under John Collins she joined Australia and Canberra to try to catch the KMS Admiral Graf Spee when she was operating in the Indian Ocean. She then joined the escort force bound to the middle east with Canberra, Leander and Ramillies. She was posted in March-April in the Cocos islands when replaced by French cruiser Suffren, then was back to Fremantle, and the East Indies Station and after a while she was attached to the British 7th Cruiser squadron of British Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral Andrew Cunningham.

After a westbound sweep, she joined Orion, Neptune, and the French battleship Lorraine shelling Bardia. During the operation she lost her Walrus, shot by Italian CR42 fighters. She was present at Alxandria during Operation catapult, where fortunately no gunfight with the new Vichy French fleet took place.

HMAS Sydney in 1940
HMAS Sydney in 1940, AWM

On 28 June 1940, while escorting a convoy to Malta she engaged a large Italian destroyer force, badly damaging and later sinking the Espero. During the 9 July engagement she fired on an Italian Zara-class cruiser from 23,000 yards (21,000 m) and so participated in the Battle of Calabria (Or Punta Stilo). En route to Malta she fend off several air attacks and spended all her AA ammunitions; After a stop in Alexandria for resupplying she spotted and engaged on 19 July the Italian cruisers Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Bartolomeo Colleoni, assisted by destroyers.

In the Battle of Cape Spada she badly hit both cruisers successively, forcing them to escape in smoke. For this action, the cruiser's crew received two DSO, DSC and five DSM with twelve mentions. In the fall of July both her and HMS Neptune were in the Aegean. They destroyed the Italian tanker Ermioni. During the rest of the summer she stayed at Alexandria for a refit and received her camouflage. She was even modified to look like a Condotierri class cruiser, successfully approaching and shelling the Italian Makri Yalo Airbase at Scarpanto. Congratulated by Cunningham she gained the nickname "stormy petrel".

Sydney's Crew
Sydney's Crew

After Malta convoys, and assisting convoys to and from Greece, HMAS Sydney operated at Souda Bay in Crete, and was attacked and hit by Italian aircraft on 24 November 1940. In January 1941 after a small refit she was back chasing German merchant raiders on the road to Australia from the red sea. She nearly missed the merchant raider Atlantis. Until November 1941 she multiplied escort missions of ANZAC troops to Africa. She received a distress signal on 19 November 1941 from Straat Malakka signalling she was chased by an unknown merchant raider. HMAS Sydney scrambled in hot pursuit, and eventually the Australian cruiser catch up what was revealed to be the KMS Kormoran.

HMAS Sydney at Sydney Cove in 1941
HMAS Sydney at Sydney Cove in 1941

Her last and most fateful duel began at 17:30 when the German ship revealed her true identity and with this surprise advantage, her six 6-in guns rapidly hit the Sydney at short range, hitting the cruiser's bridge and gun director tower, damage the forward turrets, and set the aircraft on fire. It seemed Sydney was less accurate. After 5 minutes of fierce fighting her main armament was mostly disabled but she was partly masked by the smoke caused by her multiple fires. She tried to open the gap while she was pounded mercilessly, her secondary armament out of range. 10 min.

German merchant raider KMS Kormoran
German merchant raider KMS Kormoran.

Later Sydney launched a torpedo volley, which missed as the German ship manoeuvred but broke down her engine in the process. While immobilized she continued to fire on Sydney until 17:50, when the distance closed to at 6,600 yards (6,000 m), and she fired her own torpedoes but missed; Sydney would sink later around 22:00 after burning heavily, with great loss of lives. The news of this loss was morally crippling, as this represented until then 35% of total Australian losses in this war. Kormoran own fires were soon out of control and she was evacuated and scuttled after midnight, the survivors being later interrogated.

HMAS Sydney in 1941

HMS Leander 1939 specifications

Dimensions169 m long, 16.97 m wide, 6 m draught (fully loaded).
Displacement7,200 t. standard -9,500 t. Fully Loaded
Crew630
Propulsion4 shafts Parsons turbines, 6 Admiralty boilers, 72,000 hp.
Speed32.5 knots, Range 4,500 nautical at 14 knots.
Armament8 x 6-in (152 mm/50) (4x2), 4 x 4-in (102 mm/45) MK V AA, 12 x 0.5 in Vickers mm AA, 6 x 21-in (533 mm) TTs, 2 seaplane.
ArmorBelt, main deck and turrets 25 mm (2.54 in), ammunition magazines 76 mm (3 in).

Links/sources

Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy
Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War Two.
Jack S. Harker. HMNZS Achilles. William Collins Publishers.
Gill, G. Hermon (1957). "Ch. 14". Royal Australian Navy 1939-1942
Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1921-1947
www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Achilles.htm
www.naval-history.net/xGM-Tech-NZRadar.htm
navymuseum.co.nz/hmshmnzs-achilles-leander-class-cruiser/
uboat.net/allies/warships/class/67.html
www.hmsajax.org/the-battle-of-the-river-plate/4559373096
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leander-class_cruiser_(1931)
rapidttp.co.za/waratsea/neptune.html
ericcolbourne.com/remembrance/
i.ytimg.com/vi/xzyo_xSnUas/maxresdefault.jpg
blueprints-depot/ships/cruisers-uk/hms-ajax-1942-light-cruiser.png
Model of the Ajax

Naval History

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Hellenic Navy 1870 Nautoko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Haiti Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)
French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870 Imperial Japanese navy 1870 Nihhon Kaigun Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine Russian mperial Navy 1870 Russkiy Flot Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
⚑ 1898 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class Gunboats (1873)
La Plata class Coast Battleships (1875)
Pilcomayo class Gunboats (1875)
Ferre class Gunboats (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 Imperial Chinese Navy
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Hellenic Navy 1898 Nautiko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class arm. rams (1870)
Tonnerre class Br. Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br. Monitors (1876)
Tonnant Barbette ship (1880)
Furieux Barbette ship (1883)
Fusee class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm. Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class C.Defense ships (1890)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts

WW1

☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Europe
Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Greek Royal Navy Greece

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Spanish Armada Spain Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden


WW2

✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1943)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
PT-Boats
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCI(L) LC
LCT(6) LC
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts
LCA
LCP
LCM

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class BBs (1918)
Interwar swedish BB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies


The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
US Navy USN (1990)


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