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Cairo Class Light Cruiser

early photo of Carlisle
early photo of Carlisle
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Emergency war program ships, ordered 1917 as repeat of the Ceres class but as a result of these being very wet forward were given "trawler" bows - being raised 5ft, gradually reducing aft to meet the original line at A gun. Otherwise there was no difference.

All except Colombo were converted to AA cruisers during 1938-9. Twin 4in AA mountings replaced the 6in guns, except B, where a multiple 2pdr AA was located. An air defence position and director was placed at the head of the tripod foremast, the after superstructure was suppressed, and a tripod mainmast and a second director placed aft.

Colombo was converted in 1942.

Displacement: 4290 tons.
Dimensions: 425 feet pp 450 feet oa Beam 43.5ft Draught mean 14 feet 1inch. max 16.25 ft
Propulsion: 2 shaft Brown Curtis or Parsons geared turbines. Boilers 6 Yarrow 40,000 SHP = 29.5 knots
Complement: 400/437
Armament: 5 x 6 inch, Mk X11 50 cal., 2 x 3 inch QF Mk 1 AA. 9 to 11 smaller
Cairo, Carlisle & Calcutta: 8 x 4in Mk X1X (4x2); 4 2pdr, (1x4); 8 .5in MGs (2x4)
Torpedo tubes (21 inch): 8 above water, in pairs.
Armour: (H.T.): 3 inch side (amidships) .2.25in - 1.5in Side (bow) 2in Side (stern) 1in Upper deck (amids.) 1in Deck over rudder


Carlisle was completed with a hangar for an aircraft under the bridge, but this had been removed by 1920. Cairo and Calcutta were the second pair of C class ships to be taken in hand for conversion into AA cruisers, in 1938. They were rearmed with four twin 4in Mk XIX, one quadruple 2pdr Mk Vll and two .5in multiple MGs, with all tubes landed. Carlisle was then taken in hand in the summer of 1939 after the completion of the first pair of this class. Her refit, which followed the pattern of the earlier ships, was not completed before the outbreak of war. Cairo received little modification except for a number of single 20mm guns fitted in 1942. Calcutta similarly received little modification, owing to her early loss. Radar was never fitted. Capetown, on the other hand, never underwent conversion to an AA cruiser because of the outbreak of war and the shortage of dockyard resources. As an unconverted ship her additions were limited to six single 20mm and radar 290. Her outfit as late as April 1944 was two 3in, two 2pdr and six 20mm. Carlisle had two single 2pdr added by April 1941, and radar 281. A year later she had seven single 20mm fitted. After refit in November 1942 the seven single 20mm were removed and five twin 20mm added, with radars 271, 282 and 285. By April 1944 this outfit had not altered, except that the 20mm were in twin power-worked mountings. Colombo did not begin her conversion into an AA cruiser until August 1942. This equipped her with three twin 4in Mk XIX, two twin Hazemeyer Bofors, six power-worked twin 20mm and two single, plus radars 281b, 272, 285 and 282. This remained unchanged in April 1944, but by the end of the war in Europe two twin 20mm had been removed and four single 40mm Bofors Mk III added.

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