Arethusa Class (1914) CC

The eight ships of the Arethusa Class (1914) were Light Cruisers. Part of the 1912 construction programme.

With the K and L Class destroyers reaching speeds of 29-31 kts. Existing Scout Cruisers (now light cruisers), were too slow to work effectively with the new destroyers. The Arethusa Class were intended to be super fast cruisers and only lightly armed and protected.

They were the first cruisers to use oil fuel only, and had fast running destroyer machinery. In the same way as the Chatham Class (1912), an armour belt was laid over 1in side plating making the armour contribute to the ships structural strength. The protective deck was abandoned, having only part plating over the machinery spaces.

A mixed armament of 6in and 4in guns caused the usual problems ranging the guns in action. It being very difficult to distinguish between a 6in and 4in shell splash.

Several ships had a flying off platform fitted over the forward 6in gun later in the war. In addition, as the war progressed various changes ware made to the armament.

All except HMS Undaunted were fitted for minelaying in 1918.

Although a successful design they were basically North Sea ships, and wartime additions made them very cramped.

They were outclassed by their successors and discarded soon after WW1 ended.


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This page last edited - 05 April, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.