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Leander Class, British Light Cruisers


Photograph of Leander-class cruiser

Naval Historical Center #NH 58633.


Specifications:


Tonnage

7220 tons standard displacement

Dimensions

554'1" by 55'6" by 19'1"

168.88m by 16.92m by 5.82m

Maximum speed      

32.5 knots

Complement

550

Aircraft

1 seaplane catapult

1 seaplane

Armament

4x2 6"/45 guns

4x2 4"/40 dual-purpose guns

5x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns

12 0.50 machine guns

2x4 21" torpedo tubes

Protection

837 tons:
2" armor on 1" plate (51mm armor on 25mm plate) belt (machinery)
1.5" (38mm) bulkheads (machinery)
1.25" (32mm) deck (machinery)
3.5"/3"/2" (89mm/76mm/51mm) NC magazine box side/ends/roof
1.25" (32mm) deck (steering)
1" (25mm) turret
1" (25mm) barbettes
Machinery
4-shaft Parsons geared turbine (72,000 shp)
6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers

Bunkerage

1835 tons fuel oil

Range

7800 nautical miles (14,400 km) at 15 knots

Modifications
Varied greatly between ships.

1942: Leander added Type 284 and Type 291 radar. Achilles replaced all the 4" guns with a large number of 20mm guns.

1943: Leander had the catapult replaced with 4x1 20mm guns and Type 273 radar was installed. Achilles restored the 4" guns and one 6" turret and the seaplane were removed to to make room for 4x4 40mm/40 AA guns.

1944: Leander replaced one 6" turret with 2x1, 1x2 20mm guns and 2x4 40mm Bofors AA guns.

1945: Achilles light antiaircraft consisted of 4x1 40mm Bofors guns, 5x2 and 5x1 20mm guns, and 4x4 40mm/40 guns.


The Leanders were completed from 1933-1936. They were a light cruiser spinoff of the Exeters, meant to be built economically in large numbers for traded protection, and inherited Exeter's sea keeping ability. Their greatest liability in the Pacific was their rather short cruising range. They also had only a single gun director, as a cost-cutting measure, so they could only engage a single target at a time. They were the first British warships to use a significant amount of welded construction.

Achilles and Leander were loaned to New Zealand during the Pacific war.


Units in the Pacific:

Achilles

Auckland

Leander      

Auckland


References

Gogin (2010; accessed 2012-12-27)

Whitley (1995)

Worth (2001)



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