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The gunned anti-aircraft cruiser crammed an active and useful career into a few years of war' time service.
This class of warship was conceived in the 1930s. One of the first serious suggestions for such ships came in the 1931 Naval Institute Prize Essay “Elements of Aerial Superiority” by Lieutenant Franklin G. Percival, U. S. Navy (Retired). He cautioned that anti-aircraft strength was badly needed in the Fleet as a balance to air power, and suggested that unexpended Treaty cruiser tonnage could profitably be used to increase anti-aircraft strength.
But no ships were built. There was comparatively little money available in any navy for neW construction. What there was had to be divided among proven types of surface craft, including the relatively new aircraft carriers, and submarines. Also, no one expected large-scale war. I*1 Great Britain, for example, these were the days of the “Ten Year Rule”; annual naval estimates began with the premise that there would be no war in the ten years to come.
Beginning in World War I, anti-aircraft guns had been mounted in almost all the world s warships. In retrospect, the addition of a few slow-firing, high-angle heavy guns and a handfm of machine guns was a pathetic counter to aviation developments. At the time, however, ft must have seemed unlikely that aircraft, themselves under fire, could seriously damage fast) armored ships twisting and dodging thousands of feet below. Against the torpedo plane, there was another defense: since the plane had to make a long low approach, shell splashes in ft5 path would be able to stop it.
Whether the anti-aircraft guns of the early 1930s had been mounted in modernization pro'
The British anti-aircraft cruiser Euryalus trains her guns on an enemy in the Mediterranean,
asa?\°r by original design, almost all suffered from one great handicap: They were intended ’ esigned as, and placed as ancillary weapons. Prime consideration went to the main arma- of l c an<^ necessary deck and upperwork structures. Anti-aircraft guns were positioned in terms e tover space. Since Treaty shipbuilding had already imposed its own requirement for the llT>um use of space, even leftover space was at a premium. One result was that few anti- §Uns had adequate fields of fire. Another was that anti-aircraft fire control was usually . J/^ntary with space and weight considerations preventing elaboration.
0f j en the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1935, Britain was faced with the specter of thousands shi j lan bombers operating over the Mediterranean. The Royal Navy suddenly realized its 50^ °arb anti-aircraft armament was frighteningly sparse. The invasion had important les- a;rS 0r t^le British. One was that the Ten Year Rule had to go. It did. Another was that anti- ratt protection had to be greatly increased if control of the seas was to be attempted. gUnUcJi Protection could be provided in only two ways—by fighter aircraft and by anti-aircraft preS' theoretically, fighters could be based at Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, and Alexandria. A 8** alliance might add airfields in North Africa, the southern French coast, Corsica, and rala' ®ut even with all of these airstrips, there would be gaps which would be beyond the Car^e land-based fighter aircraft. The gaps might be filled by naval fighters flying off aircraft shilers> but carriers took time to build, were expensive, and vulnerable to attack by surface submarines, and aircraft
e Royal Navy’s anti-aircraft gun program was reappraised. The limitations under which
HMS Coventry (above) was the first of the anti-aircraft cruisers. Her open-mount f-inch guns and lack of electronic antennas marked the rudimentary state of anti-aircraft cruiser development. HMS Curacoa (top), originally of the same class, had gun shields and radar in her new configuration. HMS Delhi (right) was refitted in the United States in 191+1-191+2 with five 5-inch gun mounts and modern fire control equipment. Note the gun mount just aft of her stacks. The damage shown in the photo of the Delhi at upper right was caused by a bomb hit during the invasion of North Africa in November 191+2.
the guns already mounted would have to work became appallingly clear. Additional weapons were added to most ships, but it was too late to remedy basic defects in arcs of fire and fire control. It was thus considered necessary to build a new class of ships to provide an adequate measure of anti-aircraft defense for the older, major fleet units. The chief air threat to naval vessels was considered to be the high-altitude bomber. Hence the new ship, to be devoted primarily to anti-aircraft fire, would mount a battery of rapid-fire, high-angle, large-caliber guns capable of throwing up barrages which would make accurate bombing of ships impossible. A squadron of such anti-aircraft ships could, it was hoped, protect the entire battle fleet.
The required characteristics of such anti-aircraft ships were obvious. They should be fast enough and have enough fuel capacity to operate with the battle fleet. They should be large enough to carry adequate armament and anti-aircraft fire control equipment, but not so large as to become primary targets themselves. Finally, they must be small enough to permit rapid production with minimum drain on shipbuilding material and on shipyard labor. One type of ship could meet all these requirements: a small cruiser.
The Royal Navy had large numbers of small light cruisers of the “C” Class remaining from the First World War. These ships had been designed to work with destroyer flotillas, but they were no longer suitable for the job and they were gradually being retired. Rated at 29 knots, they were still fast enough for fleet actions. Two of them—the Coventry and Curlew—were converted into the first anti-aircraft cruisers in 1935. Their five 6-inch guns and eight torpedo tubes were replaced by ten 4-inch anti-aircraft guns, two multiple pom-poms, and special fire
r°ntrol equipment. Six more “C” Class ships were later converted with four twin 4-inch guns Placing the original five 6-inch guns. Also installed was a single multiple pom-pom, and, in N°me ships, two multiple .50-caliber machine guns. Later, an old “D” Class cruiser, the Delhi, Jas converted in the United States after she had been heavily damaged in battle. She received much improved armament of five dual-purpose 5-inch guns, two multiple pom-poms, and ten guns.
s he anti-aircraft cruiser conversions were satisfactory in terms of air-defense, but they pre- ^nted a new dilemma. They were no longer capable of fulfilling the traditional cruiser role of 0rking with destroyers in screening the battle line against enemy surface attacks. The idea of ^ aving to provide ships for a substantial anti-aircraft cruiser force and, in addition, a conven- m cruiser force was unacceptable.
he British therefore redesigned a class of 6-inch gunned ships then on the drawing-boards, h C Class, to produce effective anti-aircraft/anti-destroyer ships. The converted cruisers tenbeen t0° small Gust over 4>000 tons) to mount the torpedo tubes necessary for a ship in- “ e<4 to lead destroyers in flotilla actions. The Didos were enlarged to 5,450 tons and were 10v’idcd with six torpedo tubes. The high-angle 4-inch rifles of the Curlew were not powerful Uough to stop a destroyer. The new ships would mount ten 5.25-inch dual-purpose guns in five mnhouses (although, due to difficulties in the production of the new guns, and due to shore- air defense requirements, two ships were completed with lighter guns and two more were °dified with one twin 5.25-inch mount being replaced by a single, lighter gun). The 5.25s
HMS Dido was the prototype for the 16 British anti-aircraft , cruisers built during World War II. Above, she displays her for- , ward battery of six 5.25-inch guns. At upper right, the Dido’s main batteries open fire. At right is a Dido-cZass cruiser with two of her guns at near full elevation. Note the third—“Q”—5.25-inch mount has been replaced by a lighter gun. A four-barrel pom-pom can be seen between her stacks.
were of the same type as the guns in the secondary batteries of the new battleships of the King George V Class. They were the largest guns the British believed could be fired fast enough for effective anti-aircraft work. At the same time, they were heavy enough to inflict serious damage on enemy destroyers. For close-in defense, which was given second place in anti-aircraft thinking, the ships were initially provided with two multiple pom-poms and two multiple .50-caliber machine guns. The ZWo-class ships were rated at 32 knots.
The U. S. Navy, a pioneer in dive-bombing and aerial-torpedo techniques, was also acutely aware of the dangers of air attack on fleet units. Unlike the British, the U. S. Navy had no small cruisers to convert. The smallest cruisers in service in the U. S. Navy were the ten 7,050-ton Omahas, completed between 1923 and 1925. They were not suitable for conversion.
To fill the gaps in aircraft and destroyer defense, the Atlanta-class cruisers were designed in 1938. On a slightly larger displacement than that of the Didos, the 6,000-ton Atlantas mounted 16 5-inch dual-purpose guns (the same size guns mounted as secondaries in the new U. S- battleships), eight torpedo tubes, and four 1.1-inch quadruple machine guns. They were also faster than the British ships. The Atlantas were officially rated at 32 knots, and some of them are said to have reached more than 40 knots on trials.
The anti-aircraft ships of the two Allies found themselves with very different wars to fight. Much of the European war between 1940 and 1943 was a deadly, running battle between ships of the Royal Navy and aircraft of the German and Italian air forces. Operating on interior lines, staging from their own and captured airfields and from Italy, the Germans could
s their land-based bombers far out over the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. They could atid^T t^le*r bombers about at will, supplement air attacks with onslaughts both by their own cjas . talian submarines, and by Italian torpedo bombers and surface units. In these battles m S,‘C'Style ^eet actions were rare; instead, as the Royal Navy frequently was thrown piece- er . mto desperate attempts to supply beleaguered garrisons or to help sustain amphibious op- f0 , °ns> the air-sea battle broke down into hundreds of fierce individual actions, some lasting ours, some for days.
also,e British, foreseeing the need for concentrated anti-aircraft defense as far back as 1936, stro,lJdt light sloops to carry six or eight anti-aircraft guns. Later, the British converted old de- as ‘ ^CrS’ anb still later, eight merchant ships for this purpose. But where opposition was worst, sunV^6 Mediterranean or during inshore operations under enemy air attack, these ships were p. ernented or replaced by the anti-aircraft cruisers, bee ^ anb~aircraft cruisers, along with sloops, were thrown into the Narvik campaign. They tvh' i!*0 ble main defense of the British beachheads against the Luftwaffe. It was a role for Cl(c. '•bey had not been intended. With their slow-firing guns, their primary tactic was the closem brc- They could throw up an impressive weight of metal before the bombers could ers tln’ but effective barrage fire was impossible in the few moments it took enemy dive-bomb- Conf. sw°op in over the steep fjord walls. The Germans were able to attack the beachheads lInt.jlnuously and made the anti-aircraft cruisers themselves prime targets. The ships fought 1 they used up their ammunition. One fired on with smoke shells and practice rounds; in
others, barrel rifling was worn smooth by constant fire. The cruiser Curlew was sunk by German aircraft. Because of masterly maneuvering in the narrow waters and because their guns fended off their attackers, four of the five anti-aircraft cruisers and four of the five anti-aircraft sloops in the Narvik action survived. But their efforts were in vain; the British had to evacuate.
One lesson of Narvik was that an anti-aircraft barrage was not enough; rapid-fire light guns were needed for close-in air defense. The pom-pom needed considerable improvement and better fire controls. The .50-caliber machine gun, as the U. S. Navy would also learn later, was all but useless in such situations. It was replaced by the 20-mm. Oerlikon gun which proved invaluable, and the number of light weapons was greatly increased.
At Dunkirk, anti-aircraft support was also badly needed, but the Royal Navy could not risk such valuable ships as anti-aircraft cruisers to defend the beaches. However, one of them- the Calcutta, ferried troops out of Dunkirk, and had the distinction of being the largest naval vessel to take part in the evacuation.
The action then shifted to the Mediterranean. The Royal Navy, charged with the defense of Malta and the British line to Suez, had few aircraft carriers with which to oppose the enemy s massed bombers. It had to rely on the anti-aircraft guns of the fleet, and that armament in' eluded most of the British anti-aircraft cruisers. The cruisers were employed both with the hard-pressed Malta convoys and with the fleet itself. Often their charges were sunk, but through their efforts a few supply ships and tankers did get through to Malta. These few were enough to sustain the island. The measure of success here was not the proportion of ships that came
r> e Prize: The battle for the Mediterranean was in large part the a°lyl Navy’s effort to hold Malta. At upper left, HMS Hermione, a 'd°-class ship, enters Malta’s Grand Harbor after escorting in foCon?°y during the fall of 19fl. A triple torpedo tube mount and rj r~°arrel pom-pom can be seen next to her stack. At left, a Dido- h(rS fights off an air attack. At top, HMS Argonaut trains “l battery to starboard. Below her is HMS Bellona, one of the the ‘Y ,, ^idos with straight stacks and a light anti-aircraft gun in Q ’ position just forward of the bridge.
^°ugh; but the fact that any of the ships at all got through to the beleaguered island, -me of the largest Malta convoys, that of August 1942, illustrates the conditions of convoy narfare in the Mediterranean. For the first leg of its trip, the convoy, which consisted of 14 crCfC^antrnen, was escorted by the Mediterranean Fleet consisting of two battleships, four air- fQd1 carriers, seven cruisers (including the anti-aircraft conversion Cairo) and 25 destroyers. Be- t^re ttle escorting ships turned back, the aircraft carrier Eagle had been sunk by a U-boat. Less an an hour after the Fleet turned back, leaving the convoy with a close screen of four cruisers Th ^ destroyers, the cruisers Cairo and Nigeria were both hit by submarine torpedoes.
ese tvvo ships had carried the fighter control officers of the convoy, and the Cairo had been Ct)C ar”:’'aircraft ship. With the Cairo sunk and the Nigeria forced to return to Gibraltar, the to> Was badly mauled by a massive attack of 784 aircraft and numerous submarines and a Ped° boats. Although no ship in the convoy had previously been sunk or even badly dam- cJeC ’ n’ne merchantmen and the light cruiser Manchester were now lost. Even considering the SQJaa/'ture of the heavy ship escorts, the decisive element in the loss of the convoy would rea- aoly appear to have been the elimination of the two air-defense cruisers.
It ] ° ®r’tish capital ship in the Mediterranean or the Atlantic was sunk by German or lan air attack, when anti-aircraft cruisers accompanied fleet units, su Ut *be anti-aircraft cruisers were called on for many other tasks as well. They provided fire PP°rt and assisted in the evacuation from Crete, landed supplies at Tobruk and Malta, red the Murmansk run, and provided surface support for convoys.
The USS Atlanta (CLAA-51) introduced the anti-aircraft cruiser concept to the U. S. Fleet. At right, the Atlanta steams in rough water wearing her pre-war paint. Above, in her first action, the Battle of Midway in June 19J>2, the I Atlanta, in her “war paint,” closes with the USS Hornet I (CV-8). In addition to their 5-inch main batteries, anti-aircraft cruisers carried many lighter weapons like the 4.0-mW I guns at top. At upper right is the USS San Diego (CLAA- 53). Note the torpedo tubes and twin 5-inch mount alongside her after structure. These were not included in later ships-
In the Mediterranean during March 1942, four cruisers, three of them Didos, and supporting destroyers fought off an Italian battleship, three heavy cruisers, and ten destroyers seeking to crush a five-ship Malta convoy. This action was considered one of the most brilliant of the war. Unfortunately, it could not save the convoy. Even as the merchant ships and a reduced escort were pulling away from the naval engagement, they were coming closer to violent German air attacks. Three merchantmen were sunk en route and two others in Malta’s Grand Harbor with their cargoes only partly unloaded.
The anti-aircraft cruisers Phoebe, Calcutta, and Coventry were all drafted to evacuate troops from Crete. The Calcutta took off one load of men and was sunk by bombers as she went in for a second. The Dido was badly mauled in another phase of the Crete evacuation. The Coventry went down after an attempted British amphibious landing at Tobruk in September 1942. The Carlisle was badly hit in 1943 during British attempts to sweep the Germans from the Aegean Sea.
In many of their operations, the anti-aircraft ships were compelled to function at a heavy disadvantage. While escorting convoys they lost much of the value of their speed. During in* shore operations they were all but immobile for protracted periods. Four Didos went down if the Mediterranean and another in the English Channel, though only one, the Spartan, was lost through air attack. Even this was unconventional; the enemy bomber stayed out of range and destroyed the ship with a remote-control glider bomb.
*n North Africa, the capture of Sicily, and the surrender of Italy helped drive the Luftwaffe £ most of the Mediterranean. Anti-aircraft cruisers were assigned to other jobs: the .UW«s, Scylla, and Charybdis ferried reinforcements to Salerno. Luftwaffe strength continued c .wmdle, and the network of Allied fighter fields grew. A number of the British anti-aircraft *Jlsers ended the war in the Pacific.
n l^c Pacific the U. S. Navy fought the type of war for which anti-aircraft cruisers had been and?neC^ ^ Was a war actions, spread over enormous distances, with air attacks sudden
< reafter, tactics were revised so that anti-aircraft fire was begun as much as ten miles from
r heavy, but of limited duration. The fast carrier was established very early in the war as the y actor in the struggle, and the anti-aircraft cruiser’s main job became carrier protection. Ail 6 ^rSt S' anti-aircraft cruisers entered service shortly after Pearl Harbor. The prototype ,^(CLAA-5l) joined the Pacific Fleet in time for Midway in June 1942, and was in the \l>riSe (CV-6)-Hornet (CV-8) task force in the Battle. The loss of the carrier Torktown (CV-5) idway was blamed partly on the fact that anti-aircraft fire was begun with enemy aircraft ready too close to the carriers, allowing too many Japanese attackers to break through.
r^ereafto^ • > .1 ^ ■__ r. c______ 1____________ u „„ ».____ :i_ r____
e carriers. As
call fntl‘a*rcraft cruisers joined the Pacific Fleet they were assigned to carrier forces. Typi- So y* Task Force 58 had one in each of its carrier task groups. Early in the war the cruisers were etlmes the only ships in a force, except for the new fast battleships, with effective anti- Ta t armament and fire control radar. Later, destroyers had these invaluable features. In
such a force, the anti-aircraft cruiser no longer stood out, but she was a valuable ship through the final days of the war.
In what was probably the most dramatic action in which the Atlantas engaged, they fought enemy ships rather than planes. The Atlanta and her sister ship Juneau (CLAA-52) were among the ships supporting landings and protecting the beachheads at Guadalcanal in November 1942. A heavy Japanese surface force, built around two battleships, tore through IronbottoiH Sound with the primary objective of wiping out the U. S. airfield on Guadalcanal. The U. S- force—five cruisers and eight destroyers—attacked and drove off the raiders. In the wild night action both the Atlanta and Juneau were severely damaged by Japanese destroyer-launched torpedoes. The Atlanta was scuttled the next morning. Later in the day a Japanese submarine torpedoed the damaged Juneau. She disintegrated in the explosion and disappeared within two minutes. Of the more than 700 men on board the Juneau the night before, only ten survived. Four U. S. destroyers were also sunk in the battle. The Japanese lost two destroyers, and one battleship was so heavily damaged she was easy prey for U. S. planes the next day- Moreover, the Guadalcanal airfield remained intact.
In contrast to the British, the U. S. Navy had few anti-aircraft cruisers. Some were not completed until after the war. No more than five were in action at any one time whereas the British had 11 Didos as well as four anti-aircraft cruiser conversions in service in 1945. The United States had many more fleet carriers than the British and the burden of anti-aircraft defense i» the war against the Japanese lay with the carriers’ combat air patrol. Furthermore, many
design without the two twin 5-inch mounts amidships.
radar antennas have been painted out of this 191+1+ photo-
,aPh- Above, the USS Juneau (CLAA-52) blasts enemy planes lh rinQ the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 October 191+2. In pin t <lc^i°n the battleship South Dakota (BB-57), from which this ci °ii°tlraph was taken, claimed 32 planes shot down; she was offi- sfa Ji cre^ted with 26. At left, the USS San Diego (CLAA-53) Q - s by as Marines go ashore at Tokyo on 30 August 191+5. Anti- <raft cruisers took part in many of the Pacific landings which
r , faore violent in nature. The center photograph shows sailors taxing on board the USS Flint (CLAA-97).
t,Cavy units added to the U. S. Fleet during the war had anti-aircraft capabilities far beyond °se of the anti-aircraft cruisers. Typically, the largest single-action bag of Japanese planes by ny U. S. ship is attributed to variously the battle cruiser Guam (CB-2) and the battleship ^Dakota (BB-57).
Ur>e aspect of battle history the American and British anti-aircraft cruisers share is a kind of Nv °nymity. Often when enemy planes were downed keeping score was a luxury for which there mas n° time. The primary objectives were to fight off the attack, brace for more attackers, and cj^e on. It was almost impossible to assign credits to anti-aircraft cruisers for planes shot down. esPite this, despite the anti-aircraft power built into the other types of ships, despite the Ct.c.lne °f Japanese air power, the value of this ship was such that the last U. S. anti-aircraft fo'J'ser! the Fresno (CLAA-121), was laid down in 1945 and commissioned in 1946. Modifications li ^ Uture service were still being made. The balance between the heavy gun and the rapid-fire t gun was recjressed to allow more weight for the latter. With the development of radar cla CrnS caus*n§ increases in top weight, realignments were necessary. The modified Atlanta- Ss ships commissioned in 1946 had some gunhouses lowered a deck to permit new radar 4qS aNations and a greater number of light guns. These ships mounted 12 5-inch guns and 28 Pr h*111 weaP°ns plus numerous 20-mm. cannon. The need for more powerful rapid-fire guns uced the 3-inch dual-purpose, automatic gun when even the formidable 40-mm. Bofors vv°r '^capable of stopping Kamikazes. These new 3-inch weapons did not see combat in °r d War II, however. (They are now found on numerous U. S. cruisers and destroyers.)
In 1943, a dual-purpose 6-inch automatic gun in a twin mounting was developed by the U. S. Navy and a ship was designed to mount it. This ship, the Worcester (CL-144), was the culmination of American gunned anti-aircraft cruiser development. More than twice as large as the Atlantas, the Worcester displaced 14,700 tons (more than the wartime heavy cruisers). She was intended to carry the latest fire control radar, 12 of the new 6-inch guns, 12 3-inch guns, and 80 lighter anti-aircraft weapons. The lighter guns were not mounted in the intended numbers, and the Worcester and her sister ship Roanoke (CL-145) carried 24 3-inch anti-aircraft guns in lieu of the 40-mm. and 20-mm. weapons originally planned. The Worcester joined the Fleet in 1948 and the Roanoke in 1949.
A few footnotes round out the history of gunned anti-aircraft cruisers. The Dutch Jacob van Heemskerck, under construction when the Germans invaded Holland in 1940, was towed to England and completed there as an anti-aircraft cruiser. The 4,150-ton warship carried a main battery of ten 4-inch guns in twin mounts.
After the war other countries added anti-aircraft cruisers to their fleets. The Spanish modernized the 4,680-ton Mendez Nunez, originally completed in 1924, giving her eight single 4.7- inch anti-aircraft guns. The Swedes converted their unusual 4,750-ton cruiser-carrier Gotland to an anti-aircraft ship by adding a large number of light rapid-fire weapons. They also gave their 7,400-ton sister ships Tre Kronor and Gota Lejon automatic, dual-purpose 6-inch guns and an elaborate radar fire-control system.
The Dutch did the same thing in re-designing the De Ruyter and De Zeven Provincien. These
After World War II the United ates completed two cruisers with nt °matic 6-inch guns, the USS °rcester (CL-Hb), above and ,j}ht, and the USS Roanoke to The Worcester pho-
JraPhs, taken in 1951 and 195f,
onb ^€r a ^~tnch niount rcn'ier bows. This mount was later in from these ships, as seen sin l Roanoke view. Two
the'6 9~^n°h Qun mounts were on Wa\ j fantaits. The Worcester’s Hynih°Wn astern, right, seemed to wh' ;° l2e the nuclear-missile age anr marhed the end of the gunned l~aircraft cruisers.
9 73 c
Pur t0n nCar s*sters were laid down in 1939 and completed in late 1953 with eight 6-inch dual- ^/)SC ^uns Plus lighter weapons. The French made an anti-aircraft cruiser out of the 9,380- l Ue Grasse, whose construction stretched from 1938 to 1955. She was completed with the srr 7 armament of 16 5-inch guns in twin mounts and 20 57-mm. weapons. The slightly 5^ erj “new” cruiser Colbert, finished in 1959, mounted the same number of 5-inch guns and J?171- guns. (The lighter weapons have now been reduced in both ships.)
ljlct rtf t-Uin + rt Urt rtrt^>nl/\4.n J 4-1. , . T a >
e last ships of this type to be completed were the British Tiger, Lion, and Blake. They were lip-1 °Wn *n 1941 and 1942 as conventional cruisers to mount nine 6-inch, ten 4-inch, and 16 ari(j er guns. Work was suspended on them in 1946 for eight years. As completed between 1959 Jul> they each mounted only four 6-inch guns and six 3-inch guns. But the British claimed roi |lClr gunnery systems were the most advanced afloat with the 6-inch guns rated at 24 ^ s-per-minute and the 3-inch guns at 120 rounds-per-minute.
^uilt ^ater war Years and postwar period, strong anti-aircraft capabilities were also being sha 1 *nt° destr°yer-type ships. This coupled with a new development in naval ordnance fore- Tl°We<^ eX*t dle anti-aircraft cruiser.
def. C antl"aircraft guided missile, developed to combat propeller aircraft, became the fleet no;r WeaPon against jet-propelled aircraft. The missile—and the manned interceptor—have become the anti-aircraft strength called for by Lieutenant Percival in 1931. j, y two of the surviving U. S. and British anti-aircraft cruisers saw action during the an conflict. The Worcester and a new Juneau (CLAA-119) were involved, but primarily in
shore bombardment roles. A few anti-aircraft gun cruisers remain in the U. S. mothball fleets. None are active. The British have begun modifying their Tigers to operate four antisubmarine helicopters at the expense of half their 6-inch gun battery.
The Dutch De Revert Provincien is being converted to a missile cruiser. (Her near sister D‘ Ruyler will not be converted because her age at the completion of such a conversion would give her a short operational life.)
Two of the improved Didos are now the largest ships in the Pakistani and New Zealand navies. Pakistan operates the former HMS Diadem as the Babur and New Zealand’s colors nov'1 fly from the Royalist. The Jacob van Heemskerck is an accommodation ship in the Dutch Navy. The Mendez Nunez is still carried on the Spanish Navy’s rolls, but is apparently being cannibalized. The Tre Kronors, the Colbert, and the De Grasse are still in commission.
The gunned anti-aircraft cruiser has already earned its medals. Designed for a specific function—fleet air defense—it fulfilled that assignment capably. Thrown into special missions! as at Narvik, Dunkirk, Crete, Tobruk, and Guadalcanal, it fought valiantly and effectively-
^ Coventry ^ Curlew
Converted 1935 Converted 1935-1936
Displacement: 4,190 tons. Lenlth: 451’A ft. Main battery: 10 4-inch guns (single). Speed: 29 knots.
Displacement: 4,180 tons. Length: 450 ft.
Main battery: 8 4-inch guns (twin). i Speed: 29 knots.
^ Curacoa ^ Cairo ^ Calcutta Carlisle Colombo
Converted 1939-1940 Converted 1939 Converted 1939 Converted 1939-1940 Converted 1939
Displacement: 4,290 tons. Length: 451 ’A ft. Main battery: 8 4-inch guns (twin).
Speed: 29 knots.
Displacement: 4,850 tons. Length: 472'A ft- \ Main battery: 5 5-inch guns (single).
Speed: 29 knots. j
^ Bonaventure ^ Hermione ^ Charybdis Cleopatra Scylla Argonaut
Completed: 1940 Completed: 1941 Completed: 1940 Completed: 1940 Completed: 1942 Completed: 1940 Completed: 1941 Completed: 1941 Completed: 1941 Completed: 1942 Completed: 1942
Displacement: 5,450 tons. Length: 512 ft. Main battery: 10 5.25-inch guns (twin) except Charybdis and Scylla, 8 4.5-inch guns. Torpedo tubes: 6.
Speed: 32 knots.
Bellona Black Prince Diadem Royalist Spartan
Completed: 1943 Completed: 1943 Completed: 1944 Completed: 1943 Completed: 1943
Displacement: 5,770 tons. Length: 512 ft.
Main battery: 8 5.25-inch guns (twin). | Torpedo tubes: 6. Speed: 32 knots.
Completed: 1959 Completed: 1960 Completed: 1961
Displacement: 9,550 tons. Length: 555’A ft. Main battery: 4 6-inch guns (twin).
Speed: 31 ’A knots.
U. S. ANTI-AIRCRAFT CRUISERS
J CLAA-51 + CLAA-52 CLAA-53 CLAA-54
Atlanta Comm: 1941 Juneau Comm: 1942 San Diego Comm: 1942 Son Juan Comm: 1942
Displacement: 6,000 tons. Length: 541 ft. Main battery: 16 5-inch/38 cal. guns (twin) Torpedo tubes: 8. Speed: 32 knots (several reportedly exceeded 40 knots).
Oakland Comm: 1943 Reno Comm: 1943 Flint Comm: 1944 Tucson Comm: 1945
Displacement: 6,000 tons. Length: 541 ft. Main battery: 12 5-inch/38 cal. guns (twin). Torpedo tubes: 8. Speed: 32 knots.
CLAA-119 CLAA-120 CLAA-121
Juneau Comm: 1946 Spokane Comm: 1946 Fresno Comm: 1946
Displacement: 6,000 tons. Length: 541 ft. Main battery: 12 5-inch/38 cal. guns (twin). Speed: 32 knots.
Worcester Comm: 1948 Roanoke Comm: 1949
Displacement: 14,700 tons. Length: 679’/j ft. ; Main battery: 12 6-inch/47 cal. guns (twin).
Speed: 32 knots.
+ WAR LOSSES.