Leander-class cruiser (1931)

The Leander class was a class of eight light cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s that saw service in World War II. They were named after mythological figures, and all ships were commissioned between 1933 and 1936. The three ships of the second group were sold to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) before World War II and renamed after Australian cities.

Leander-class cruiser (1931)
Class Ship
Type Cruiser
Manufacturer HMNB Devonport
Production Period 1930 - 1933
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1933
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Australia 1933 1950 View
India 1933 1950 View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1933 1950 View
New Zealand 1933 1950 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Vickers-Armstrongs 1932 1933 1 View
Cammell Laird 1931 1931 1 View
Swan Hunter 1933 1933 1 View
HMNB Portsmouth 1931 1933 2 View
HMNB Devonport 1930 1933 3 View
The Leander class was influenced by the York-class heavy cruiser, and was an attempt to better provide for the role of commerce protection. The 7,000-7,200 ton Leanders were armed with eight BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns in twin turrets, two forward and two aft. Their secondary armament consisted of four high angle QF 4 inch Mk V naval guns, which were later replaced by twin mountings for eight guns (the later high angle QF 4 inch Mk XVI naval gun). Their close range anti-aircraft weaponry consisted of twelve 0.5-inch (13 mm) Vickers machine guns in three quadruple mounts. They also shipped a bank of four 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes on each beam and provision was made in the design for carriage of two catapult-launched Fairey Seafox aircraft.

Speed was 32 knots (59 km/h), and 845 tons of armour was provided. The first five vessels did not contain dispersed machinery; the boiler rooms were arranged together and exhausted into a single funnel, a unique feature amongst British cruisers. This meant that damage amidships was more liable to disable all the boiler rooms.

Wartime modifications

During the war, significant modifications were made to the vessels. Various additional anti-aircraft armaments were added, and the two New Zealand vessels removed a turret to carry heavier 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns in its place. Changes to the aircraft launching capability were reported, although use is unclear. Both Fairey Swordfish and Supermarine Walrus aircraft are reported to have been used by the class.
Name Pennant Namesake Builder Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Leander Group
Leander 75 Leander of Abydos HM Dockyard, Devonport 18 February 1930 8 September 1930 24 September 1931 24 March 1933 Transferred to Royal New Zealand Navy as HMNZS Leander 1941-1945
Broken up at Blyth 1950
Orion 85 Orion the Hunter HM Dockyard, Devonport 24 March 1931 26 September 1931 24 November 1932 18 January 1934 Broken up at Dalmuir, 1949
Neptune 20 Neptune, God of the Sea HM Dockyard, Portsmouth 2 March 1931 24 September 1931 31 January 1933 23 February 1934 Sunk in minefield off Tripoli, 19 December 1941
Ajax 22 Ajax the Great Vickers Armstrong 1 October 1932 7 February 1933 1 March 1934 12 April 1935 Broken up at Newport, 1949
Achilles 70 Achilles Cammell Laird 16 February 1931 11 June 1931 1 September 1932 24 March 1936 Transferred to Royal New Zealand Navy as HMNZS Achilles 1941-1946
Sold to Indian Navy as HIMS Delhi 1948
Amphion Group
Amphion 29 Amphion of Thebes HM Dockyard, Portsmouth 1 December 1932 22 June 1933 27 July 1934 15 June 1936 Sold to Royal Australian Navy as HMASPerth, 1939
Sunk in torpedo attack, 1 March 1942
Apollo 63 Apollo, God of Light HM Dockyard, Devonport 1 March 1933 15 August 1933 9 October 1934 13 January 1936 Sold to Royal Australian Navy as HMASHobart, 1938
Broken up at Osaka, 1962
Sydney
(ex-Phaeton)
48 City of Sydney Swan Hunter 10 February 1933 8 July 1933 22 September 1934 24 September 1935 Sunk in surface action, 19 November 1941

Name: Leander-class cruiser
Operators:  Royal Navy
 Royal Australian Navy
 Royal New Zealand Navy
 Indian Navy
Preceded by: Emerald class
Succeeded by: Arethusa class
Subclasses: Leander
Amphion/Perth
Completed: 8
Lost: 3
General characteristics (as built)
Type: light cruiser
Displacement: 7,270 tons standard 9,740 tons full load (9,000 tons in Amphions)
Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: 6 x (Leander) / 4 x (Amphion) Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers,Parsons single-reduction gearedsteam turbines, 72,000 shp (53,700 kW) on 4 shafts
Speed: 32.5 kn (60 km/h)
Range: 5,730 nmi (10,610 km) at 13 knots (24 km/h)
Complement: 570
Armament: 8 × BL 6 in Mk.XXIII (152 mm L/50) guns, twin turrets Mk.XXI
4 × QF 4 in Mk.V (102 mm L/45) guns, single mounts HA Mk.IV
12 × QF 0.5 in Mk.III Vickers(12.7 mm) machine guns, quad mounts Mk.I
8 (2×4) tubes for 21 inch torpedo Mk.IX
Armour: 3 in (76 mm) magazine box
1 in (25.4 mm) main deck
1 in (25.4 mm) turrets
Aircraft carried: 1 × Fairey Seafox, later Fairey Swordfish, later Supermarine Walrus
Aviation facilities: Rotating catapult & crane

End notes