Commonwealth Cruisers 1939-45 by Angus Konstam, Paul Wright

By Angus Konstam, Paul Wright

Within the early twentieth century Britain's biggest colonies tested their very own small naval presence, and their ships fought along the Royal army in the course of global battle I. those fleets have been multiplied a bit of through the inter-war years, and in 1939 the Royal Australian army, the Royal Canadian military and the Royal New Zealand army willingly joined the struggle on behalf of the British Commonwealth. For the main half those small navies consisted of some cruisers and destroyers, designed to guard territorial waters and to guard neighborhood sea lanes. besides the fact that, those warships and their crews quickly came upon themselves all for a world conflict, and for this reason have been known as upon to struggle at any place they have been wanted, opposed to the Germans, the Italians and the japanese. in the beginning of the warfare the Royal Australian military used to be the biggest of those Commonwealth navies, however the difficulties of providing its wartime wishes from the a long way part of the realm hindered its enlargement. From past due 1941 it additionally stumbled on itself combating a really assorted conflict from the British, and located itself operating heavily with the U.S. military to include the japanese within the Pacific. the following it used to be supported through the smaller Royal New Zealand army - whereas either one of those Commonwealth fleets had fought with contrast within the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, it used to be within the Pacific Theater that they'd make their mark. Geography intended that the Royal Canadian military was once thrust into the leading edge of the conflict of the Atlantic, and whereas its fleet accelerated quickly through the struggle, its sailors additionally earned a name for dedication, professionalism and cheerfulness which helped triumph over some of the tribulations of this gruelling naval crusade. The RCN ended the conflict because the greatest of those 3 Commonwealth fleets. This ebook tells the tale of those small cruiser forces, and the lads who served the Allied reason so good in the course of the lengthy and brutal battle at sea.

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In Canada, the priority was the safe passage of ships across the Atlantic Ocean, or the eastern seaboard of North America. This meant that while the RCN was keen to counter the threat posed by the Japanese in the Pacific, the real threat came from German U-boats operating in the North Atlantic. Not only did this mean larger naval warships such as cruisers were less important to the fleet than destroyers and escort vessels, but Canada’s limited naval resources were also concentrated on the east coast rather than the west.

Later that year, three more were ordered, followed by two more in 1942. However, these ships underwent considerable change on the design board. First, it was decided to build these as Uganda class cruisers, with only nine 6in guns apiece. Extra anti-aircraft batteries were built into the design, which increased the top weight of the ships. This in turn led to a slight increase of their beam. Unlike the Ugandas, they received an additional twin 4in gun turret in the ‘X’ turret position, but they were never fitted with an aircraft catapult.

During this period the cruiser was operating in the South Pacific. 2: HMNZS Gambia. As the war progressed the RNZN grew in size, but her cruiser force remained static at two Leander class vessels. However, during the battle of Kolombangara (July 1943) Leander was so badly damaged that she remained out of action for the remainder of the war. So in September the Fiji class light cruiser Gambia was transferred to the RNZN, to bring the New Zealanders’ cruiser force back up to strength. HMNZS Gambia spent the rest of the war in the Pacific.

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