Heavy cruiser

The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range and high speed, armed generally with naval guns of roughly 203 mm (8 inches) in caliber, whose design parameters were dictated by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930. The heavy cruiser is part of a lineage of ship design from 1915 through the early 1950s, although the term "heavy cruiser" only came into formal use in 1930. The heavy cruiser's immediate precursors were the light cruiser designs of the 1900s and 1910s, rather than the armoured cruisers of before 1905. When the armoured cruiser was supplanted by the battlecruiser, an intermediate ship type between this and the light cruiser was found to be needed—one larger and more powerful than the light cruisers of a potential enemy but not as large and expensive as the battlecruiser so as to be built in sufficient numbers to protect merchant ships and serve in a number of combat theaters.

With their intended targets being other cruisers and smaller vessels, the role of the heavy cruiser differed fundamentally from that of the armored cruiser. Also, the heavy cruiser was designed to take advantage of advances in naval technology and design. Typically powered by oil-fired steam turbines rather than the reciprocating steam engines of the armoured cruiser, heavy cruisers were capable of far faster speeds and could cruise at high speed for much longer than could an armoured cruiser. They used uniform main guns, mounted in center-line superfiring turrets rather than casemates. Casemate guns and a mixed battery were eliminated to make room for above deck torpedoes, and ever increasing and more effective anti-aircraft armaments. They also benefited from the superior fire control of the 1920s and continually upgraded through the 1950s. Late in the development cycle radar and electronic countermeasure would also appear and rapidly gain in importance. These developments meant that the heavy cruiser was an overall more powerful ship type than the armoured cruiser had been.

HMS Frobisher
HMS Frobisher, a Hawkins-class cruiser around which the Washington Naval Treaty limits for heavy cruisers were written.

History

Development

USS Tennessee (ACR-10)
Armoured cruiser USS Tennessee, armed with four 10-inch (250 mm) guns, ca. 1907
HMS Hawkins
HMS Hawkins, lead ship of her class.

At the end of the 19th century, cruisers were classified as first, second or third class depending on their capabilities. First-class cruisers were typically armoured cruisers, with belt side armor, while lighter, cheaper and faster second- and third-class cruisers tended to have only an armoured deck and protective coal bunkers, rather than armoured hulls; they were hence known as protected cruisers. Their essential role had not changed since the age of sail—to serve on long-range missions, patrol for enemy warships and raid and defend commerce.[1] Armoured cruisers had proved less versatile than needed to do this adequately. In a race to outsize and outgun one another, they had grown to around 15,000 tons and up to 9.2 and 10 inches (230 and 250 mm) in main gun caliber—very close to the pre-dreadnought battleships of the day, although they were generally ascribed to be weaker than the battleship due to their lack of armor and not appreciably faster due to the limits of engine technology at the time. While Japanese armored cruisers had distinguished themselves at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, the armoured cruiser as it was then known had reached the end of its development.[2]

Tactics and technology were gearing towards naval encounters held over increasingly longer ranges, which demanded an armament of primarily large caliber guns. The demand for speed with which to outflank a potential enemy and fulfill its traditional role as scout for the fleet demanded a speed preferably 30 percent faster than battleships. Thirty percent was the ratio by which frigates had been faster than ships of the line in the days of sail. If a battleship sailed at 20 knots, this would mean that an armored cruiser would have to steam at least 26 or 27 knots.[3]

Armoured cruisers could not fulfill these criteria without being built much larger and taking on a different form than they had in the past. The result was the battlecruiser. HMS Invincible and her two sister ships were designed specifically to fulfill these requirements. In a sense they were an extension of the armoured cruiser as a fast, heavily armed scout, commerce protector and cruiser-destroyer, reflected in the term originally ascribed to them, "large armored cruiser". However, they were much larger, faster and better-armed than armored cruisers, able to outpace them, stay out of range of their weapons and destroy them with relative impunity. Because they carried the heavy guns normally ascribed to battleships, they could also theoretically hold their place in a battle line more readily than armoured cruisers and serve as the "battleship-cruiser" for which Hovgaard had argued after Tsushima. All these factors made battlecruisers attractive fighting units, although Britain, Germany and Japan would be the only powers to build them. They also meant that the armored cruiser as it had been known was now outmoded. No more were built after 1910 and by the end of World War I, the majority of them had been taken out of active service.[4]

Although Lord Fisher, the man behind the building of Invincible, had hoped to replace practically all forms of cruisers with battlecruisers, they proved to be too costly to build in large numbers. At the same time, the third class cruiser started to carry thin steel armour on the outside of its hull and became known as a light cruiser. The wide gap between the massive battlecruiser of perhaps 20,000 tons and 305 mm (12-inch) guns and the small light cruiser of up to 5,000 tons and 100 mm (4-in) or 155 mm (6-inch) guns naturally left room for an intermediate type. The first such design was the British 'Atlantic cruiser' proposal of 1912, which proposed a long-range cruiser of about 8,000 tons displacement with 190 mm (7.5-inch) guns. This was a response to a rumour that Germany was building cruisers to attack merchant shipping in the Atlantic with 170mm guns. The German raiders proved to be fictional and the 'Atlantic cruisers' were never built. However, in 1915 the requirement for long-range trade-protection cruisers resurfaced and resulted in the Hawkins class. Essentially enlarged light cruisers, the Hawkins-class each carried seven 190 mm (7.5-inch) guns, and had a displacement just under 10,000 tons.

The difference between these ships and ones that would follow with the heavy cruiser were almost as pronounced as that between the armoured cruiser and the battlecruiser. One reason for this difference was the intended mission of these ships. They were not intended to serve as a junior battleship, as the armoured cruiser had been, and were not built or designed to serve in that capacity. With their main armament of 203 mm (8-inch) guns, smaller than the typical 9.2-or-10-inch (230 or 250 mm) guns of later armoured cruisers, their intended targets were other cruisers and smaller vessels. Further reasons for the difference were the advances in technology and naval design, both of which the heavy cruiser was able to take advantage. Heavy cruisers, like all contemporary ships, were typically powered by oil-fired steam turbine engines and were capable of far faster speeds than armoured cruisers had ever been (propelled by coal-fired reciprocating steam engines of their era). Nonetheless, heavy cruisers often had a larger number of main guns (some armoured cruisers had a mixed instead of uniform complement of main guns), discarded the mounting of main guns in casemates in favor of center-line superfiring turrets (saved tonnage and enabled the ship to fire all guns on one broadside), and benefited from the introduction of fire control in the 1920s and 1930s, meaning that the heavy cruiser was considerably more powerful.

Washington Treaty

HMAS Canberra (D33) leaving Wellington, New Zealand, on 22 July 1942 (80-G-13454-A)
HMAS Canberra, a County-class "treaty cruiser".

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 imposed a moratorium on new battleship construction, with the exception of the two Nelson-class battleships by Great Britain, and set very strict limits on the tonnage and firepower of future battleships and battlecruisers. It also set the definition of a capital ship as a warship of more than 10,000 tons standard displacement or with armament of a calibre greater than 8 inches (203 mm). There was the concern that a subsequent race in building larger, more powerful cruisers might subvert the usefulness of the prohibition on capital ship construction and encourage navies to squander their now-limited permissible tonnage for capital ships on fast vessels designed specifically to hunt down large cruisers. To avert these challenges, representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France and Italy set limits on the tonnage and firepower of cruisers to 10,000 tons in standard displacement and 8 inches (203 mm) for maximum main gun caliber. These limits were in the interests of the U.S. and Britain especially. Planners in the U.S. Navy had spent two years prior to the start of negotiations designing 10,000 ton, 8-inch cruisers and were convinced that smaller vessels would not be worthwhile. Britain had just built its Hawkins-class cruisers and wanted to ensure they would not fall prey to a much larger type of super-cruiser.[5]

Despite these intentions and set limitations, a number of new, powerful cruiser classes emerged from these nations, which sparked off something of a cruiser arms-race. The Japanese navy had a doctrine of building more powerful ships in every class than its likely opponents, which led to the development of several very impressive heavy cruiser classes. British and American building was more influenced by the desire to be able to match the Japanese ships while keeping enough cruisers for their other global responsibilities. With battleships heavily regulated by the Washington Treaty, and aircraft carriers not yet mature, the cruiser question became the focus of naval affairs. The British, with a strained economy and global commitments, favoured unlimited cruiser tonnage but strict limits on the individual ships. The Americans favoured the opposite: strictly limited numbers of powerful cruisers. Disagreements between the British and Americans wrecked the 1927 conference on naval affairs.

CruiserHaguro
IJN Haguro of the Myoko class

Even during the 1920s, the 10,000-ton limit was not always strictly observed, although British, French and American designers generally worked to the limit with precision. The British built 13 of their famous County class with four twin 8-inch gun turrets but with very minimal armour. The ships had fine sea-keeping qualities and a long range, but were virtually unprotected, and were easily damaged in combat. The Japanese Myoko class, however, grew during its construction as the naval general staff prevailed on the designers to increase the weapons load. As well as a breach of the Treaty, this was a poor decision from the design point of view and the ships had to be reconstructed in the 1930s to reduce weight. The German Deutschland class was classified as armoured coast defence ships under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. They superficially resembled contemporary battleships due to their massive main gun turrets and unusually high conning tower/bridge. However, they were in effect a heavy cruiser being upgunned to 11-inch batteries at the cost of slower speed; their displacement was declared at 10,000 tons but was in practice considerably greater. The Italian Navy first built two Trento-class cruisers, which sacrificed protection for speed, and then four Zara class, a much more balanced and better-protected design, plus an improved replica of the Trentos (Bolzano); all of them, however, surpassed the displacement limit.

The Pensacola-class cruisers were the US Navy's first "treaty cruisers" designed in line with Washington Naval Treaty restrictions. Their main battery consisted of ten 8 in (200 mm) guns, in two twin turrets on the main deck, and two triple turrets two decks above, making it one of the two US Navy ship classes (besides the Nevada-class battleships) to have different-sized turrets for main armament (Subsequent US cruisers would mount nine 8" guns in three triple turrets 2 fore 1 aft). Their thin armor on the belt (varying from 2.5 to 4 inches (64 to 102 mm) in thickness) and deck 1.75 inches (44 mm) was no better than that on 6-inch-gunned cruisers and was inadequate to protect their vitals from enemy 8-inch shells. Also, their unusual main battery layout and heavy tripod fore-masts made these ships top-heavy and prone to excessive rolling. This combined with low freeboard forward made them inferior seaboats compared to later designs. Rework in the shipyards modified the hull and superstructure in the 1930s to eliminate the rolling. The two vessels in this class, Pensacola and Salt Lake City, were originally classified as light cruisers due to their minimal armor until re-designated in July 1931 as heavy cruisers in accord with international practice of designating all cruisers with guns larger than 6".[6]

London Treaty

In 1930 the Washington Naval Treaty was extended by the London Naval Treaty, which finally settled the arguments on cruisers which had raged in the 1920s. The treaty defined limits on both heavy cruisers – those with guns larger than 155 mm (6.1 inches) – and light cruisers – those with smaller-calibre guns. The limit of 10,000 tons displacement still applied to both. This was the point at which the split between 'heavy' and 'light' cruisers finally became official and widespread.

The Treaty satisfied Britain and America. However, it deeply offended Japan, as this severely limited the numbers of heavy cruisers that the Imperial Japanese Navy could have, as they considered heavy cruisers as key warships in a line of battle with their 8-inch guns and heavy torpedo armament. The IJN placed less priority on purpose-built light cruisers, most of their existing types dating back to the 1920s (the five World War I-era light cruisers that the IJN commissioned were less well-armed than light cruisers of the US and Royal Navies), which were largely relegated to leading destroyer squadrons. The solution the Japanese adopted was to build the Mogami class, which was declared as a 10,000 ton light cruiser with fifteen 6.1-inch guns. In practice, they displaced over 12,000 tons, had what was effectively a heavy cruiser hull design, and it was always intended to replace her turrets to give a final armament of ten 203 mm guns, making something of a nonsense of the light and heavy cruiser classifications. The waters were muddied further when the US Navy ceased laying down keels for new heavy cruisers in 1934 and used their new hull design for the Brooklyn-class cruiser of light cruiser. This type followed in the steps of Mogami by taking what was effectively a heavy cruiser hull and fitting light cruiser guns to it, and while the US Navy never fitted 8-inch guns to their "light" cruisers, the hull design was used as the basis for future heavy cruiser designs.

The German navy also paid lip-service to the treaty limitations, with the Admiral Hipper class weighing in at 16,170 tons.

In the mid-1930s, Britain, France and Italy ceased building heavy cruisers. It was feltthat in a likely cruiser engagement, a larger number of 155 mm (6-inch) guns would be preferable to a smaller number of 203 mm (8-inch). While the 8-inch gun would inflict more damage when it hit, more 6-inch guns could be carried, likely resulting in more shells on target, and a greater chance of scoring the first hit. This led to the construction of cruisers up to the 10,000-tons limit, with twelve to fifteen 155 mm guns.

The 1936 London Naval Treaty, principally negotiated between Britain and the United States but never ratified, abolished the heavy cruiser entirely by restricting new construction to 8,000 tons and 155 mm (6.1-inch) guns. This suited Britain's needs very well, but was largely a dead letter. The U.S. continued to build heavy cruisers, culminating in the New Orleans class and USS Wichita.

World War II

Heavy Cruiser Maya
IJN Maya, a Takao-class heavy cruiser

Heavy cruisers were still being built, and they could be balanced designs when nations decided to skirt the restrictions imposed by the London Naval Treaty.

The Germans built their Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruisers of 14,000 tons, although the Anglo-German Naval Agreement was supposed to limit their shipbuilding.

The US built the Baltimore class of heavy cruisers during the war. While earlier heavy cruisers were noted for their powerful torpedo armament (especially Japanese heavy cruisers), later ships built by the USN concentrated mainly on anti-aircraft armament, as their main role was escorting aircraft carriers and troop transports instead of engaging in surface actions. Most Japanese heavy cruisers were sunk by aircraft or submarines, rather than in surface engagements.[7]

Duquesne

Example of heavy cruiser evolution during the Second World War: Duquesne in original anti-surface layout

Tourville 1945

Tourville after refit: reinforced anti-air armament, removal of sea plane, torpedo launchers and aft mast

USS Columbus (CG-12) underway off San Diego on 19 February 1965 (NH 82722-KN)
USS Columbus in 1965. Originally a Baltimore-class cruiser, she was rebuilt into an Albany-class guided missile cruiser.
USS Salem (CA-139) in the Med c1957
The last remaining heavy cruiser worldwide, USS Salem as she appeared in 1957

The US built the last heavy cruisers, which were finished shortly after the war. The Baltimore class consisted of seventeen ships, including three of the slightly different Oregon City class. The Des Moines class were the last heavy cruisers built: though based on the Baltimores, they were considerably heavier and longer due to their new rapid-firing 203 mm (8-inch) guns. Additionally, two aircraft carriers were built on a Baltimore-derived hull, the Saipan-class aircraft carrier.

The largest heavy cruisers were the Alaska-class large cruisers, which were designed as "cruiser killers". They resembled contemporary battlecruisers or battleships in general appearance, as well as having main armament and displacement equal or greater than that of capital ships of the First World War. However, they were actually upscaled heavy cruisers, as their machinery layout and the possession of a single rudder was based on cruisers rather than that of capital ships. The Alaska-class cruisers lacked the sophisticated underwater protection system of true capital ships, making them vulnerable to shells and torpedoes that hit under the waterline. They also had proportionately less weight in armour at 28.4% of displacement, in contrast to the British battlecruiser HMS Hood of 30%, the German Scharnhorst and the U.S. Navy's North Carolina-class battleships of 40%.[8] Effectively, the Alaskas were ill-protected to stand up against the guns of true battleships and battlecruisers, and as carrier escorts they were much more expensive than the Baltimores while having only slightly better anti-aircraft capabilities. Given low priority by the USN, only two members of the class were completed and they saw little service as World War II ended not long after their commissioning.

Heavy cruisers fell out of use after the Second World War, with the Royal Navy decommissioning its last three (HMS London, HMS Cumberland, and HMS Devonshire) by the early 1950s. Some existing US heavy cruisers lasted well through the 1970s, with the last all-gun ship USS Newport News decommissioning in 1975. USS Chicago, USS Columbus and USS Albany, which had been converted to guided missile cruisers (US hull symbol CG), were laid up between 1975 and 1980.

The last heavy cruiser in existence is the USS Salem, now a carefully preserved museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rodger, N. A. M.: The Command of the Ocean, A Naval History of Britain 1649–1815. Allen Lane, London, 2004. ISBN 0-7139-9411-8
  2. ^ Marriot, Leo. Treaty Cruisers location 124. ISBN 9781783409761
  3. ^ Breyer 1973, p. 48.
  4. ^ Breyer, pp. 48–9
  5. ^ Friedman 1985, pp. 109–10.
  6. ^ Silverstone, Paul H (1965). US Warships of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-773-9.
  7. ^ Junyokan! Stories and Battle Histories of the IJN's Cruiser Force
  8. ^ Friedman, Battleship Design and Development, 166–173
Baltimore-class cruiser

The Baltimore-class cruiser was a large class of heavy cruisers in the United States Navy commissioned during and shortly after World War II. Fourteen Baltimores were completed, more than any other class of heavy cruiser, along with three ships of the Oregon City-sub-class. Fast and heavily armed, the Baltimore cruisers were mainly used in World War II to protect the fast aircraft carriers in battle groups from air attack. Additionally, their 8-inch (203 mm) main guns and secondary 5-inch (127 mm) guns were regularly used to bombard land targets in support of amphibious landings. After the war, only six Baltimores (St Paul, Macon, Toledo, Columbus, Bremerton, and Helena) and two Oregon City-class ships (Albany and Rochester) remained in service, while the rest were moved to the reserve fleet. However, all ships except Boston, Canberra, Chicago and Fall River were reactivated for the Korean War. Except for St Paul, all the ships retaining all-gun configurations had very short (18 years or less) service lives, and by 1971 were decommissioned, and started showing up in the scrap-sale lists. However, four Baltimore-class cruisers were refitted and converted into some of the first guided missile cruisers in the world, becoming two of the three Albany-class and two Boston-class cruisers. The last of these was decommissioned in 1980, with the Chicago lasting until 1991 in reserve. No example of the Baltimore class still exists.

Cruiser

A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.

The term has been in use for several hundred years, and has had different meanings throughout this period. During the Age of Sail, the term cruising referred to certain kinds of missions—independent scouting, commerce protection, or raiding—fulfilled by a frigate or sloop-of-war, which were the cruising warships of a fleet.

In the middle of the 19th century, cruiser came to be a classification for the ships intended for cruising distant waters, commerce raiding, and scouting for the battle fleet. Cruisers came in a wide variety of sizes, from the medium-sized protected cruiser to large armored cruisers that were nearly as big (although not as powerful or as well-armored) as a pre-dreadnought battleship. With the advent of the dreadnought battleship before World War I, the armored cruiser evolved into a vessel of similar scale known as the battlecruiser. The very large battlecruisers of the World War I era that succeeded armored cruisers were now classified, along with dreadnought battleships, as capital ships.

By the early 20th century after World War I, the direct successors to protected cruisers could be placed on a consistent scale of warship size, smaller than a battleship but larger than a destroyer. In 1922, the Washington Naval Treaty placed a formal limit on these cruisers, which were defined as warships of up to 10,000 tons displacement carrying guns no larger than 8 inches in calibre; heavy cruisers had 8-inch guns, while those with guns of 6.1 inches or less were light cruisers, which shaped cruiser design until the end of World War II. Some variations on the Treaty cruiser design included the German Deutschland-class "pocket battleships" which had heavier armament at the expense of speed compared to standard heavy cruisers, and the American Alaska class, which was a scaled-up heavy cruiser design designated as a "cruiser-killer".

In the later 20th century, the obsolescence of the battleship left the cruiser as the largest and most powerful surface combatant after the aircraft carrier. The role of the cruiser varied according to ship and navy, often including air defense and shore bombardment. During the Cold War, the Soviet Navy's cruisers had heavy anti-ship missile armament designed to sink NATO carrier task forces via saturation attack. The U.S. Navy built guided-missile cruisers upon destroyer-style hulls (some called "destroyer leaders" or "frigates" prior to the 1975 reclassification) primarily designed to provide air defense while often adding anti-submarine capabilities, being larger and having longer-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) than early Charles F. Adams guided-missile destroyers tasked with the short-range air defense role. By the end of the Cold War, the line between cruisers and destroyers had blurred, with the Ticonderoga-class cruiser using the hull of the Spruance-class destroyer but receiving the cruiser designation due to their enhanced mission and combat systems. Indeed, the newest U.S. and Chinese destroyers (for instance the Zumwalt class and Type 055) are more heavily armed than some of the cruisers that they succeeded.

Currently only two nations operate cruisers: the United States and Russia, and in both cases the vessels are primarily armed with guided missiles. BAP Almirante Grau was the last gun cruiser in service, serving with the Peruvian Navy until 2017.

Cruiser Mk II

The Tank, Cruiser, Mk II (A10), was a cruiser tank developed alongside the A9 cruiser tank, and was intended to be a heavier, infantry tank version of that type. In practice, it was not deemed suitable for the infantry tank role and was classified as a "heavy cruiser".

Des Moines-class cruiser

The Des Moines-class cruisers were a trio of U.S. Navy heavy cruisers commissioned in 1948 and 1949. They were the last of the all-gun heavy cruisers, exceeded in size in the American navy only by the Alaska-class cruisers that straddled the line between heavy cruiser and battlecruiser. Two were decommissioned by 1961, but one, Newport News (CA-148), served until 1975. Salem (CA-139) is a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts; the other two ships were scrapped.

Deutschland-class cruiser

The Deutschland class was a series of three Panzerschiffe (armored ships), a form of heavily armed cruiser, built by the Reichsmarine officially in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. The ships of the class, Deutschland, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee, were all stated to displace 10,000 long tons (10,000 t) in accordance with the Treaty, though they actually displaced 10,600 to 12,340 long tons (10,770 to 12,540 t) at standard displacement. Despite violating the weight limit, the design for the ships incorporated several radical innovations to save weight. They were the first major warships to use welding and all-diesel propulsion. Due to their heavy armament of six 28 cm (11 in) guns and lighter weight, the British began referring to the vessels as "pocket battleships". The Deutschland-class ships were initially classified as Panzerschiffe but the Kriegsmarine reclassified them as heavy cruisers in February 1940.

The three ships were built between 1929 and 1936 by the Deutsche Werke in Kiel and the Reichsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven, seeing much service with the German Navy. All three vessels served on non-intervention patrols during the Spanish Civil War. While on patrol, Deutschland was attacked by Republican bombers, and in response, Admiral Scheer bombarded the port of Almería. In 1937, Admiral Graf Spee represented Germany at the Coronation Review for Britain's King George VI. For the rest of their peacetime careers, the ships conducted a series of fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic and visited numerous foreign ports in goodwill tours.

Before the outbreak of World War II, Deutschland and Admiral Graf Spee were deployed to the Atlantic to put them in position to attack Allied merchant traffic once war was declared. Admiral Scheer remained in port for periodic maintenance. Deutschland was not particularly successful on her raiding sortie, during which she sank or captured three ships. She then returned to Germany where she was renamed Lützow. Admiral Graf Spee sank nine vessels in the South Atlantic before she was confronted by three British cruisers at the Battle of the River Plate. Although she damaged the British ships severely, she was herself damaged and her engines were in poor condition. Coupled with false reports of British reinforcements, the state of the ship convinced Hans Langsdorff, her commander, to scuttle the ship outside Montevideo.

Lützow and Admiral Scheer were deployed to Norway in 1942 to join the attacks on Allied convoys to the Soviet Union. Admiral Scheer conducted Operation Wunderland in August 1942, a sortie into the Kara Sea to attack Soviet merchant shipping, though it ended without significant success. Lützow took part in the Battle of the Barents Sea in December 1942, a failed attempt to destroy a convoy. Both ships were damaged in the course of their deployment to Norway and eventually returned to Germany for repairs. They ended their careers bombarding advancing Soviet forces on the Eastern Front; both ships were destroyed by British bombers in the final weeks of the war. Lützow was raised and sunk as a target by the Soviet Navy and Admiral Scheer was partially broken up in situ, with the remainder of the hulk buried beneath rubble.

Deutschland incident (1937)

The Deutschland incident of 1937 occurred in May of that year, during the Spanish Civil War.

On 29 May 1937, a pair of Tupolev SB Soviet bombers attached to the Spanish Republican Air Force raided Nationalist air bases and the port of Ibiza, in the Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft departed from the airbase of Los Alcázares, near Cartagena. The German heavy cruiser Deutschland, which was part of the International Non-Intervention Committee patrol, was anchored off Ibiza and was allegedly misidentified by the bombers' crew as the Nationalist heavy cruiser Canarias. Two Soviet pilots, Captain Anton Progrorin and Lieutenant Vassily Schmidt, dropped their bombs on Deutschland, causing large fires on the ship and killing 31 sailors and wounding 74.

The following day German naval forces shelled the Republican held city of Almería in retaliation for the Republican air attacks on Deutschland. Because of the Deutschland incident, Germany and Italy left the meetings of the Non-Intervention Committee. The heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer shelled the port and the city of Almería with 200 rounds, resulting in 19 deaths, 55 wounded, and the destruction of 35 buildings. German and Italian warships were concentrated in the Mediterranean Sea next to Spain, and were starting to take a more active role in the supporting of Nationalist forces.

French cruiser Algérie

Algérie was a French heavy cruiser that served during the early years of World War II. She was built in response to the Italian Zara-class cruisers incorporating better armour than previous French cruisers. One of the last of the so-called "Treaty Cruisers," she was considered one of the best designs commissioned by any of the naval powers.

German cruiser Deutschland

Deutschland was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers (often termed a pocket battleship) which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. Ordered by the Weimar government for the Reichsmarine, she was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel in February 1929 and completed by April 1933. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff) by the Reichsmarine, in February 1940 the Germans reclassified the remaining two ships of this class as heavy cruisers. In 1940, she was renamed Lützow, after the Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser Lützow was handed over to the Soviet Union.

The ship saw significant action with the Kriegsmarine, including several non-intervention patrols in the Spanish Civil War, during which she was attacked by Republican bombers. At the outbreak of World War II, she was cruising the North Atlantic, prepared to attack Allied merchant traffic. Bad weather hampered her efforts, and she sank or captured only a handful of vessels before returning to Germany. She then participated in Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. Damaged at the Battle of Drøbak Sound, she was recalled to Germany for repairs. While en route, she was torpedoed and seriously damaged by a British submarine.

Repairs were completed by March 1941, Lützow returned to Norway to join the forces arrayed against Allied shipping to the Soviet Union. She ran aground during a planned attack on convoy PQ 17, which necessitated another return to Germany for repairs. She next saw action at the Battle of the Barents Sea with the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, which ended with a failure to destroy the convoy JW 51B. Engine problems forced a series of repairs culminating in a complete overhaul at the end of 1943, after which the ship remained in the Baltic. Sunk in shallow waters in the Kaiserfahrt in April 1945 by Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers, Lützow was used as a gun battery to support German troops fighting the Soviet Army until 4 May 1945, when she was disabled by her crew. Raised by the Soviet Navy in 1947, she was subsequently sunk as a target in the Baltic.

HMS Devonshire (39)

HMS Devonshire, pennant number 39, was a County-class heavy cruiser of the London sub-class built for the Royal Navy in the late 1920s. The ship spent most of her pre-World War II career assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet aside from a brief tour with the China Station. She spent the first two months of the Second World War in the Mediterranean until she was transferred to the Home Fleet and became flagship of a cruiser squadron. Devonshire took part in the Norwegian Campaign in mid 1940 and evacuated much of the Norwegian Government in June. Several months later, she participated in the Battle of Dakar, a failed attempt to seize the Vichy French colony of Senegal in September. The ship remained in the South Atlantic afterwards and supported Free French efforts to take control of French Equatorial Africa in addition to searching for German commerce raiders.

Devonshire returned home in early 1941 and briefly rejoined the Home Fleet, during which time she escorted several aircraft carriers as they attacked German forces in Norway and Finland and covered the first convoy to the Soviet Union. Shortly afterwards, the ship was sent to the South Atlantic where she sank the Q-ship Atlantis. Devonshire was then assigned to the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean and supported the Allied invasion of Madagascar in mid-1942. She then spent the next year escorting convoys before returning home to begin a lengthy refit. After it was completed in early 1944, the ship escorted various aircraft carriers for the rest of the war as they attacked targets in Norway.

After the German surrender in May 1945, she sailed to Norway and escorted two surrendered German cruisers from Denmark to the UK. Devonshire then began ferrying British troops home from Australia for the rest of the year. In 1947, the ship was converted into a training ship for naval cadets and served until she was sold for scrap in 1954.

HMS Dorsetshire (40)

HMS Dorsetshire (pennant number 40) was a heavy cruiser of the County class of the Royal Navy, named after the English county, now usually known as Dorset. The ship was a member of the Norfolk sub-class, of which Norfolk was the only other unit; the County class comprised a further eleven ships in two other sub-classes. Dorsetshire was built at the Portsmouth Dockyard; her keel was laid in September 1927, she was launched in January 1929, and was completed in September 1930. Dorsetshire was armed with a main battery of eight 8 in (200 mm) guns, and had a top speed of 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph).

Dorsetshire served initially in the Atlantic Fleet in the early 1930s, before moving to the Africa Station in 1933, and then to the China Station in late 1935. She remained there until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when she was transferred to the South Atlantic. There, she reinforced the search for the German raider Admiral Graf Spee. In late May 1941, Dorsetshire took part in the final engagement with the battleship Bismarck, which ended when Dorsetshire was ordered to close and torpedo the crippled German battleship. She joined searches for the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in August and the auxiliary cruiser Atlantis in November.

In March 1942, Dorsetshire was transferred to the Eastern Fleet to support British forces in the recently opened Pacific Theatre of the war. At the end of the month, the Japanese fast carrier task force—the Kido Butai—launched the Indian Ocean raid. On 5 April, Japanese aircraft spotted Dorsetshire and her sister Cornwall while en route to Colombo; a force of dive bombers then attacked the two ships and sank them. More than 1,100 men were rescued the next day, out of a combined crew of over 1,500.

Japanese cruiser Chikuma (1938)

Chikuma (筑摩 重巡洋艦, Chikuma jūjun'yōkan) was the second and last vessel in the Tone class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship was named after the Chikuma River, in Nagano prefecture of Japan. Entering service in 1939, Chikuma saw battle during World War II in the Pacific. She was scuttled on 25 October 1944 after the Battle off Samar.

Kirov-class battlecruiser

The Kirov class, Soviet designation Project 1144 Orlan (sea eagle), is a class of nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers of the Soviet Navy and Russian Navy, the largest and heaviest surface combatant warships (i.e. not an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship) in operation in the world. Among modern warships, they are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and of similar size to a World War I era battleships. The Soviet classification of the ship-type is (Russian: тяжёлый атомный ракетный крейсер, "heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser"). The ships are often referred to as battlecruisers by Western defence commentators due to their size and general appearance.The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s.The Kirov class hull design was also used for the Soviet nuclear-powered command and control ship SSV-33 Ural.

List of cruisers of World War II

The heavy cruiser was designed for long range, high speed, and heavy calibre naval guns. The first heavy cruisers were built in 1915, although it only became a widespread classification following the London Naval Treaty in 1930. The heavy cruiser's immediate precursors were the light cruiser designs of the 1910s and 1920s; the US 8-inch 'treaty cruisers' of the 1920s were originally classed as light cruisers until the London Treaty forced their redesignation. Heavy cruisers continued in use until after World War II.

The German Deutschland class was a series of three Panzerschiffe ("armored ships"), a form of heavily armed cruiser, built by the German Reichsmarine in nominal accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. The class is named after the first ship of this class to be completed (Deutschland). All three ships were launched between 1931 and 1934, and served with Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. During the war, they were reclassified as heavy cruisers.

The British press began referring to the vessels as pocket battleships, in reference to the heavy firepower contained in the relatively small vessels; they were considerably smaller than contemporary battleships, though at 28 knots, were slower than battlecruisers. And although their displacement and scale of armor protection was that of a heavy cruiser, they were armed with guns larger than the heavy cruisers of other nations. Deutschland-class ships continue to be called pocket battleships in some circles. The development of the anti-aircraft cruiser began in 1935 when the Royal Navy re-armed HMS Coventry and HMS Curlew. Torpedo tubes and 6-inch (152 mm) low-angle guns were removed from these World War I light cruisers and replaced by ten 4-inch (102 mm) high-angle guns with appropriate fire-control equipment to provide larger warships with protection against high-altitude bombers.A tactical shortcoming was recognized after completing six additional conversions of C-class cruisers. Having sacrificed anti-ship weapons for anti-aircraft armament, the converted anti-aircraft cruisers might need protection themselves against surface units. New construction was undertaken to create cruisers of similar speed and displacement with dual-purpose guns. Dual-purpose guns offered good anti-aircraft protection with anti-surface capability for the traditional light cruiser role of defending capital ships from destroyers. The first purpose built anti-aircraft cruiser was the British Dido class, completed shortly before the beginning of World War II. The US Navy Atlanta-class anti-aircraft cruisers (CLAA) were designed to match capabilities of the Royal Navy. Both Dido and Atlanta carried torpedo tubes.

The quick-firing dual-purpose gun anti-aircraft cruiser concept was embraced in several designs completed too late to see combat including USS Worcester and USS Roanoke completed in 1948 and 1949, two De Zeven Provinciën-class cruisers completed in 1953, De Grasse and Colbert completed in 1955 and 1959, and HMS Tiger, HMS Lion and HMS Blake completed between 1959 and 1961.The List of ships of World War II contains major military vessels of the war, arranged alphabetically and by type. The list includes armed vessels that served during the war and in the immediate aftermath, inclusive of localized ongoing combat operations, garrison surrenders, post-surrender occupation, colony re-occupation, troop and prisoner repatriation, to the end of 1945. For smaller vessels, see also List of World War II ships of less than 1000 tons. Some uncompleted Axis ships are included, out of historic interest. Ships are designated to the country under which they operated for the longest period of the World War II, regardless of where they were built or previous service history.

Click on headers to sort column alphabetically.

List of ship classes of World War II

The List of ship classes of the World War II is an alphabetical list of all ship classes that served in World War II. Only actual classes are included as opposed to unique ships (which are still included if they were the only one of a class to be built, for example, HMS Hood was the first of the four planned Admiral-class battlecruisers, but the other three were cancelled.)

The list of ships of World War II contains major military vessels of the war, arranged alphabetically and by type. The list includes armed vessels that served during the war and in the immediate aftermath, inclusive of localized ongoing combat operations, garrison surrenders, post-surrender occupation, colony re-occupation, troop and prisoner repatriation, to the end of 1945. For smaller vessels, see also List of World War II ships of less than 1000 tons. Some uncompleted Axis ships are included, out of historic interest. Ships are designated to the country under which they operated for the longest period of the World War II, regardless of where they were built or previous service history.

List of starships in Babylon 5

The following is a list of fictional starships and starship types from the Babylon 5 science fiction television series universe and its spin-offs, Crusade, Babylon 5: In the Beginning, Babylon 5: The Gathering, Babylon 5: Thirdspace, Babylon 5: The River of Souls, Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, and Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.

Oregon City-class cruiser

The Oregon City class was a class of heavy cruisers of the United States Navy. Although it was intended to build ten, only four were completed – one of those as a command ship. The three ships completed as cruisers were in commission from 1946 to 1970.

Pensacola-class cruiser

The Pensacola class was a class of United States Navy heavy cruiser, the first "treaty cruisers" designed under the limitations set by the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited cruisers to a maximum of 10,000 long tons (10,160 t) displacement and a maximum main battery caliber of 8-inch (203 mm).

USS Astoria (CA-34)

The second USS Astoria (CL/CA-34) was a New Orleans Class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy that participated in both the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, but was then sunk in August 1942, at the Battle of Savo Island. Astoria was the first Astoria-class cruiser to be laid down but launched after and received a hull number higher than New Orleans, which the class was renamed for after Astoria sunk.

Immediately after the months-long Guadalcanal Campaign ended in February 1943, the remaining ships of the class would go through major overhauls to lessen top-heaviness due to new electrical and radar systems and advanced anti-aircraft weaponry. In doing so the ships took on a new appearance, most notably in the bridge.

USS Vincennes (CA-44)

USS Vincennes (CA-44) was a United States Navy New Orleans-class cruiser, sunk at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942. She was the second ship to bear the name.

She was laid down on 2 January 1934 at Quincy, Massachusetts, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company's Fore River plant, launched on 21 May 1936, sponsored by Miss Harriet Virginia Kimmell (daughter of Joseph Kimmell, mayor of Vincennes, Indiana), and commissioned on 24 February 1937, Captain Burton H. Green in command.The New Orleans-class cruisers were the last U.S. cruisers built to the specifications and standards of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. Such ships, with a limit of 10,000 tons standard displacement and 8-inch caliber main guns may be referred to as "treaty cruisers." Originally classified a light cruiser when she was authorized, because of her thin armor, Vincennes was reclassified a heavy cruiser, because of her 8-inch guns. The term "heavy cruiser" was not defined until the London Naval Treaty in 1930. This ship and Quincy were a slightly improved version of the New Orleans-class design.

Aircraft carriers
Battleships
Cruisers
Escort
Transport
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support
Submarines
Miscellaneous

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.