Light cruiser

A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck. Prior to this smaller cruisers had been of the protected cruiser model, possessing armored decks only. While lighter and smaller than other contemporary ships they were still true cruisers, retaining the extended radius of action and self-sufficiency to act independently across the world. Through their history they served in a variety of roles, primarily as convoy escorts and destroyer command ships, but also as scouts and fleet support vessels for battle fleets.

Origins and development

HMS Mercury (1878)
HMS Mercury

The first small steam-powered cruisers were built for the British Royal Navy with HMS Mercury launched in 1878.[1] Such second and third class protected cruisers evolved, gradually becoming faster, better armed and better protected. Germany took a lead in small cruiser design in the 1890s, building a class of fast cruisers—the Gazelle class—copied by other nations. Such vessels were powered by coal-fired boilers and reciprocating steam engines and relied in part on the arrangement of coal bunkers for their protection. The adoption of oil-fired water-tube boilers and steam turbine engines meant that older small cruisers rapidly became obsolete. Furthermore, new construction could not rely on the protection of coal bunkers and would therefore have to adopt some form of side armoring. The British Bristol group of Town-class cruisers (1909) were a departure from previous designs; with turbine propulsion, mixed coal and oil firing and a 2-inch protective armoured belt as well as deck. Thus, by definition, they were armoured cruisers, despite displacing only 4,800 tons; the light armored cruiser had arrived. The first true modern light cruisers were the Arethusa class (1911) which had all oil-firing and used lightweight destroyer-type machinery to make 29 knots (54 km/h).


World War I

HMS Gloucester at anchor at Brindisi, Italy, 1917 - IWM SP 459
HMS Gloucester, one of the Town class, in 1917

By World War I, British light cruisers often had either two 6-inch (152 mm) and perhaps eight 4-inch (102 mm) guns, or a uniform armament of 6-inch guns on a ship of around 5,000 tons, while German light cruisers progressed during the war from 4.1-inch (104 mm) to 5.9-inch (150 mm) guns. Cruiser construction in Britain continued uninterrupted until Admiral "Jacky" Fisher's appointment as First Sea Lord in 1904. Due in part to the desire to curtail excess expenditures in light of the increasing cost of keeping up with German naval production and in part because he felt the type to be outdated, Fisher authorized few new cruisers and scrapped 70 older ones. Fisher's belief that battlecruisers would take the place of light cruisers to protect commercial shipping soon proved impractical, as their high construction cost precluded their availability in sufficient numbers to do so, and destroyers were too small for scouting duties. The group of 21 Town-class cruisers begun in 1910 proved excellent in scouting in all types of weather and could carry enough fuel and ammunition to guard the shipping lanes. The Arethusa class, launched three years later, was also successful. British designers continued enlarging and refining subsequent cruiser designs throughout the war.[2]

SMS Bremen 1907
SMS Bremen

The Germans built a number of light cruisers in the belief that they were good multi-purpose vessels. Unlike the British, who built both long-range cruisers like the Town class for commerce protection and short-range "scout" cruisers for fleet support, the Germans built a single series of light cruisers for both functions. Compared to the British "scout" type the German ships were bigger, slower and less manoeuvrable but, through a successive series of classes, improved consistently in seagoing qualities. However, the Germans were very late in adapting 5.9-inch guns (not doing so until the Pillau class of 1913); Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz's recalcitrance over the issue overrode the desires of others in the German Navy. For about a three-year period after the British Weymouth class of the Town series, completed with a uniform armament of 6-inch guns, and before the German Pillau class, German light cruisers (such as the Magdeburg and Karlsruhe-class cruisers) were faster but maintained a lighter 104 mm main armament compared to their British Town-class counterparts. With the Pillau and Wiesbaden-class cruisers the Germans followed the British example of heavier guns.

Earlier German light cruisers were in competition with a series of British scout cruisers which had a higher speed of 25 knots, but smaller 3-inch 12 pounder guns or 4-inch guns. The Germans completed the last two of their Bremen-class cruisers in 1906 and 1907 and followed them up with four Königsberg-class and two Dresden-class cruisers between 1905 and 1908. These last two classes, larger and faster than the Bremens, were armed the same (ten 4.1-inch guns) and carried less deck armor. Other major powers concentrated on battleship construction and built few cruisers.[3] The United States, Italy, and Austria-Hungary each built only a handful of scout cruisers while Japan and Spain added a few examples based on British designs; France built none at all.

During World War I, the Germans continued building larger cruisers with 150 mm guns while the British Arethusa class and early C-class cruisers reverted to an emphasis on superior speed with a more lightly-armed design for fleet support.

Between the wars

USS Raleigh (CL-7) off the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 6 July 1942 (19-N-30916)
USS Raleigh, an Omaha-class cruiser, in 1942. Note casemates at bow.
ARA General Belgrano underway
Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano

The United States resumed building light cruisers in 1918, largely because the ships it then had in service had become obsolete. The first of these, the ten Omaha-class ships, displaced 7,050 tons and were armed with twelve 6-inch (152 mm) guns. Eight of these guns were mounted in double-story casemates at the bow and stern, a reflection of the US prewar preference for heavy end-on fire. Fast and maneuverable, they were well-liked as seaboats despite being very wet in rough weather.[4]

The term light cruiser was given a definition by the London Naval Treaty of 1930. Light cruisers were defined as cruisers having guns of 6.1-inch (155 mm) or smaller, with heavy cruisers defined as cruisers having guns of up to 8-inch (203 mm). In both cases, the ships could not be greater than 10,000 tons.

After 1930, most naval powers concentrated on building light cruisers since they had already built up to the maximum limitations for heavy cruisers allowed under the Washington treaty. Japan laid down its four Mogami-class cruisers between 1931 and 1934.[5] The political climate from 1936 to 1939 gave the renewed building of light cruisers an added urgency. The British built 11 during this period, which culminated in the two Town-class ships, armed with 12 6-inch (152 mm) guns. The new ships were larger and better armored than other British treaty cruisers, with a 4.5-inch (114 mm) belt in the Towns and were capable of 32.5 knots, but for the most part tried to stay within past treaty limitations. The US also attempted to follow treaty limitations as it completed seven of its nine Brooklyn-class cruisers between 1938 and September 1939. These ships were an answer to Japan's Mogamis and were an indication of rising tensions in the Pacific theater. Japan, now considering itself under no restrictions, began rearming its Mogamis with 10 8-inch (203 mm) guns.[6]

World War II

In World War II, light cruisers had guns ranging from 5 inch (127 mm), as seen in the US Atlanta-class and British Dido-class anti-aircraft cruisers, to 6.1 inch, though the most common size by far was 6 inch. The Atlantas and Didos were borne out of the tactical need for vessels to protect aircraft carriers, battleships and convoys from air attack.[7]

The United States would move into full wartime production of the light cruisers of the Cleveland-class of which 27 would be produced. Unwilling to do anything to slow production, the ships of the class would be seriously overweight. They provided AA screening for the fast carriers, shore bombardment, and anti-destroyer screening for the US fleet. They traded a main gun turret for additional AA, fire control, and radar installations, over the Brooklyn Class.[8]

Light cruisers today

HMS Belfast 1 db
HMS Belfast as she is today. She carries 12 x 6-inch guns and displaced 11,553 tons – "light" in World War II referred to gun size, not displacement.

BAP Almirante Grau of the Peruvian Navy was the last light cruiser in service, being retired in 2017, and will become a museum ship in Lima. Another four are preserved as museum ships: HMS Belfast in London, HMS Caroline in Belfast, USS Little Rock in Buffalo, New York, and Mikhail Kutuzov at Novorossiysk. Similar ships include the protected cruisers Aurora (St. Petersburg) and USS Olympia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and the bow of the Puglia (Italy).

United States Navy classification

In the United States Navy, light cruisers have the hull classification symbol CL. Both heavy cruisers and light cruisers were classified under a common CL/CA sequence after 1931, hence there are some missing hull numbers, see List of United States Navy cruisers. After the development of seaborne guided missiles in the 1950s, all remaining cruisers armed solely with guns, regardless of caliber were redesignated as "Gun Cruisers" (hull classification symbol CA), with guided missile cruisers (which generally carry some gun armament) gaining the new hull classification symbol CG. By the 1975 fleet realignment, all gun cruisers were out of the fleet.

See also


  1. ^ Beeler, John (2001). Birth of the Battleship: British Capital Ship Design 1870–1881. Naval Institute Press. p. 40. ISBN 1-55750-213-7.
  2. ^ Conroy's, p. 2.
  3. ^ Conway's, pp. 152–53; Osborne, p. 73-75.
  4. ^ Conway's, pp. 119–20.
  5. ^ Osborne, pp. 112–13.
  6. ^ Osborne, pp. 116–17.
  7. ^ Osborne, p. 117.
  8. ^ US Cruisers: An Illustrated History Friedman, Norman pg 259–265


  • Osborne, Eric W., Cruisers and Battle Cruisers: An Illustrated History of Their Impact (ABC-CLIO, 2004). ISBN 1-85109-369-9.

External links

2nd Light Cruiser Squadron (United Kingdom)

The 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron was a naval formation of light cruisers of the Royal Navy from 1914 to 1925.

Atlanta-class cruiser

The Atlanta-class cruisers were eight United States Navy light cruisers designed as fast scout cruisers or flotilla leaders but that proved to be effective anti-aircraft cruisers during World War II. They were also known as the Atlanta-Oakland class. The four Oakland and later ships had slightly different armament as they were further optimized for anti-aircraft fire. The Atlanta class had 12 x 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, mounted in three superfiring sets of two-gun turrets fore and three more aft. The first four ships of the class also had an additional two twin 5-inch/38 mounts, one port and one starboard, giving these first four Atlanta-class cruisers the heaviest anti-aircraft armament of any cruiser of World War II.

The Atlanta class saw heavy action during World War II, collectively earning 54 battle stars. Two ships of the class were sunk in action: Atlanta and Juneau, both at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The other six were decommissioned shortly after the war and were scrapped in the 1960s.

Brooklyn-class cruiser

The Brooklyn-class cruisers were nine light cruisers of the United States Navy that served during World War II. Armed with five (three forward, two aft) triple turrets mounting 6-inch (150 mm) guns, they mounted more heavy-caliber guns than any other US cruisers. The Brooklyns were all commissioned between 1937 and 1939, in the time between the start of the war in Asia and before the outbreak of war in Europe. They served extensively in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters during World War II. Though some were heavily damaged, all but Helena survived the war. All of the survivors were decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and five were transferred in 1951, to South American navies, where they served for many more years. One of these, ARA General Belgrano, formerly USS Phoenix (CL-46), was sunk during the Falklands War in 1982.The Brooklyn-class ships were a strong influence on US cruiser design. Nearly all subsequent US cruisers, heavy and light, were directly or indirectly based on them. Notable among these are the Cleveland-class light cruiser and Baltimore-class heavy cruiser of World War II.

Cleveland-class cruiser

The Cleveland class was a group of light cruisers built for the U.S. Navy during World War II, and were the most numerous class of light cruisers ever built.

Courageous-class battlecruiser

The Courageous class consisted of three battlecruisers known as "large light cruisers" built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. The class was nominally designed to support the Baltic Project, a plan by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher that was intended to land troops on the German Baltic Coast. Ships of this class were fast but very lightly armoured, with only a few heavy guns. They were given a shallow draught, in part to allow them to operate in the shallow waters of the Baltic but also reflecting experience gained earlier in the war. To maximize their speed, the Courageous-class battlecruisers were the first capital ships of the Royal Navy to use geared steam turbines and small-tube boilers.

The first two ships, Courageous and Glorious, were commissioned in 1917 and spent the war patrolling the North Sea. They participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and were present when the High Seas Fleet surrendered a year later. Their half-sister Furious was designed with a pair of 18-inch (457 mm) guns, the largest guns ever fitted on a ship of the Royal Navy, but was modified during construction to take a flying-off deck and hangar in lieu of her forward turret and barbette. After some patrols in the North Sea, her rear turret was removed and another flight deck added. Her aircraft attacked the Zeppelin sheds during the Tondern raid in July 1918.

All three ships were laid up after the war, but were rebuilt into the Courageous-class aircraft carrier during the 1920s. Glorious and Courageous were sunk early in the Second World War and Furious was sold for scrap in 1948.

Cöln-class cruiser

The Cöln class of light cruisers was Germany's last class commissioned before her defeat in World War I. Originally planned to comprise ten ships, only two were completed; Cöln and Dresden. Five more were launched, but not completed: Wiesbaden, Magdeburg, Leipzig, Rostock and Frauenlob, while another three were laid down but not launched: Ersatz Cöln, Ersatz Emden and Ersatz Karlsruhe (for the last three, the names quoted were only provisional titles to be used during construction, and the three would have received other names at their launch if that had taken place). The design was a slightly modified version of the preceding Königsberg class.

Cöln and Dresden joined the High Seas Fleet in 1918, which limited their service careers. They were assigned to the II Scouting Group, and participated in an abortive fleet operation to Norway to attack British convoys. They were to have led attacks on British merchant traffic designed to lure out the British Grand Fleet and force a climactic fleet battle in the final days of the war, but the Wilhelmshaven Mutiny forced the cancellation of the plan. The two ships were interned and eventually scuttled in Scapa Flow in June 1919. Both Dresden and Cöln remain on the bottom of Scapa Flow.

Gazelle-class cruiser

The Gazelle class was a group of ten light cruisers built for the Imperial German Navy at the turn of the 20th century. They were the first modern light cruiser design of the Imperial Navy, and set the basic pattern for all future light cruisers in Imperial service. The design of the Gazelle class attempted to merge the fleet scout with the colonial cruiser. They were armed with a main battery of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and a pair of torpedo tubes, and were capable of a speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph).

All ten ships served with the fleet when they were first commissioned, and several served on foreign stations in the decade before the outbreak of World War I. Most were used as coastal defense ships early in the war. Ariadne was sunk at the Battle of Heligoland Bight in August 1914, Undine was torpedoed in the Baltic by a British submarine in November 1915, and Frauenlob was sunk at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916. The rest survived the war to see service with the Reichsmarine, with the exception of Gazelle, which was broken up in 1920.

Niobe was sold to Yugoslavia in 1925 and renamed Dalmacija, and the rest of the cruisers were withdrawn from service by the end of the 1920s and used for secondary duties or broken up for scrap. Medusa and Arcona were converted into anti-aircraft ships in 1940 and were scuttled at the end of World War II. Dalmacija was captured twice during the war, first by the Italians, who renamed her Cattaro, and then by the Germans, who restored the original name of Niobe. She ran aground in December 1943 and was subsequently destroyed by British Motor Torpedo Boats. Amazone was the only member to survive the war intact, as a barracks ship, and she remained in service until 1954, when she was broken up for scrap.

HMS Falmouth (1910)

HMS Falmouth was a Town-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy during the 1910s. She was one of four ships of the Weymouth sub-class. The ship was initially assigned to the Atlantic Fleet upon completion in 1911, but was reduced to reserve in mid-1913. When the First World War began in 1914, Falmouth was transferred to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron (LCS) of the Grand Fleet and then the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron at the end of the year. The ship participated in most of the early fleet actions, including the Battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank, and Jutland, but was only seriously engaged in the latter. She was torpedoed and sunk off Flamborough Head, Yorkshire by German submarines during the Action of 19 August 1916.

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.

Kolberg-class cruiser

The Kolberg class was a group of four light cruisers built for the German Imperial Navy and used during the First World War. The class comprised four vessels: SMS Kolberg, the lead ship, Mainz, Cöln, and Augsburg. The ships were built between 1908 and 1910, and two, Kolberg and Augsburg, were modernized in 1916–1917. The ships were armed with a main battery of twelve 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns and had a design speed of 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph). The first three ships were assigned to the reconnaissance forces of the High Seas Fleet; Augsburg was instead used as a torpedo and gunnery training ship.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, Augsburg was deployed to the Baltic, while Kolberg, Mainz, and Cöln remained in the North Sea. The three ships were assigned to patrol duty in the Heligoland Bight; on 28 August 1914, they were attacked during the Battle of Heligoland Bight. Mainz and Cöln were both sunk in the battle. Kolberg saw action at the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915, and joined Augsburg for the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915. Both ships also saw service during Operation Albion in October 1917. Both ships survived the war; Kolberg was ceded to France, where she was renamed Colmar and served in the French Navy until 1927. Augsburg was surrendered to Japan and was then sold for scrap.

Königsberg-class cruiser (1905)

The Königsberg class was a group of four light cruisers built for the German Imperial Navy. The class comprised four vessels: SMS Königsberg, the lead ship, SMS Nürnberg, SMS Stuttgart, and SMS Stettin. The ships were an improvement on the preceding Bremen class, being slightly larger and faster, and mounting the same armament of ten 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns and two 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes.

The four ships saw extensive service during World War I. Königsberg conducted commerce warfare in the Indian Ocean before being trapped in the Rufiji River and sunk by British warships. Her guns nevertheless continued to see action as converted artillery pieces for the German Army in German East Africa. Nürnberg was part of the German East Asia Squadron, and participated in the Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands. At the former, she sank the British armored cruiser HMS Monmouth, and at the latter, she was in turn sunk by the cruiser HMS Kent.

Stuttgart and Stettin remained in German waters during the war, and both saw action at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May and 1 June 1916. The two cruisers engaged in close-range night fighting with the British fleet, but neither was significantly damaged. Both ships were withdrawn from service later in the war, Stettin to serve as a training ship, and Stuttgart to be converted into a seaplane tender in 1918. They both survived the war, and were surrendered to Britain as war prizes; they were dismantled in the early 1920s.

Königsberg-class cruiser (1915)

The Königsberg class of light cruisers was a group of four ships commissioned into Germany's Imperial Navy shortly before the end of World War I. The class comprised Königsberg, Karlsruhe, Emden, and Nürnberg, all of which were named after light cruisers lost earlier in the war. The ships were an incremental improvement over the preceding Wiesbaden-class cruisers, and were armed with a main battery of eight 15 cm SK L/45 guns and had a designed speed of 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph).

Königsberg and Nürnberg saw action at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, where Königsberg was hit by a shell from the battlecruiser Repulse. Three of the four ships were to participate in a climactic fleet operation to attack the British Grand Fleet in the final days of the war, but revolts in the fleet forced the cancellation of the plan. Karlsruhe, Emden, and Nürnberg were interned at Scapa Flow after the end of the war, and were scuttled on 21 June 1919, though only Karlsruhe was successfully sunk. The other two ships were beached by British sailors and ceded to the Allies. Königsberg was transferred to the French Navy as a war prize and commissioned as Metz; she served with the French Navy until the 1930s, when she was broken up for scrap.

List of Star Wars spacecraft

The following is a list of fictional starships, cruisers, battleships, and other spacecraft in the Star Wars films, books, and video games.

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.

Omaha-class cruiser

The Omaha-class cruisers were a class of light cruisers built for the United States Navy. The oldest class of cruiser still in service with the Navy at the outbreak of World War II, the Omaha class was an immediate post-World War I design.

Pillau-class cruiser

The Pillau class of light cruisers was a pair of ships built in Germany just before the start of World War I. The class consisted of SMS Pillau and Elbing. The ships were initially ordered for the Imperial Russian Navy in 1912, and were built by the Schichau-Werke shipyard in Danzig. After the outbreak of World War I, however, the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) confiscated the ships before they were completed. The ships were similar in design to other German light cruisers, although they lacked an armored belt. They were the first German light cruisers to be equipped with 15 cm SK L/45 guns, of which they carried eight. The two ships had a top speed of 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph).

Pillau and Elbing saw extensive service with the German High Seas Fleet. Pillau participated in the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915, and Elbing took part in the bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft in April 1916. The following month, both ships were heavily engaged in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May –1 June; there, Elbing scored the first hit of either side in the battle. Elbing was accidentally rammed and immobilized by the German battleship SMS Posen in the confused night fighting, and her crew were ultimately forced to scuttle her. Pillau continued to serve with the fleet until the end of the war. After the German defeat, she was ceded to Italy as a war prize and renamed Bari. She served in the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) until June 1943, when she was sunk in Livorno by USAAF bombers, and eventually broken up for scrap in 1948.

Wiesbaden-class cruiser

The Wiesbaden class of light cruisers was a class of ships built by the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) shortly before the outbreak of World War I. Two ships were built in this class, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt. They were very similar to the preceding design, the Graudenz class, though they were armed with eight 15 cm SK L/45 guns instead of the twelve 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns on the earlier vessels. The ships had a top speed of 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph).

Wiesbaden saw only one major action, the Battle of Jutland, on 31 May – 1 June 1916. She was badly damaged and immobilized during the battle and became the center of a melee as both sides fought over the crippled ship. She eventually sank in the early morning hours of 1 June, with only one survivor. Frankfurt was only lightly damaged at Jutland and saw extensive service with the II Scouting Group, including during Operation Albion against the Russians in the Baltic and at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, both in 1917. She was interned with the rest of the fleet at the end of the war and scuttled at Scapa Flow, though British sailors prevented her from sinking. Frankfurt was ceded to the US Navy as a war prize and eventually expended as a target in July 1921.

Worcester-class cruiser

The Worcester class was a class of light cruisers used by the United States Navy, laid down in 1945 and commissioned in 1948-49. They and their contemporaries, the Des Moines-class heavy cruisers, were the last all-gun cruisers built for the U.S. Navy. Ten ships were planned for this class, but only two (USS Worcester (CL-144) and USS Roanoke (CL-145)) were completed.

The main battery layout was distinctive, with twin rather than triple turrets, unlike the previous Cleveland-class, St. Louis-class, and Brooklyn-class light cruisers. Aside from the Worcesters main battery consisting of 6 in (152 mm) rather than 5 in (127 mm) guns, the layout was identical to the much smaller Juneau-class light cruisers, carrying 12 guns in six turrets, three forward and three aft, with only turrets 3 and 4 superfiring. The 6"/47 Mk 16 gun was an autoloading, high-angle dual purpose gun with a high rate of fire, and the Worcesters were thus designed to serve as AA cruisers like the Juneaus but with much more potent guns, as well as conventional light cruisers.

Both ships were decommissioned in 1958, the last conventional light cruisers to serve in the fleet, and scrapped in the early 1970s.

Aircraft carriers
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support


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.