Cressy Class first class armoured cruisers

The Cresy Class first class armoured cruisers represented an important step in the process that eventually led to the production of the battlecruiser. They were very similar to the previous Diadem class, but with two big changes. The first was the restoration of the 9.2in guns, removed in the Diadem class in favour of four shielded 6in guns.

The second was far more important. Previous first class cruisers had been protected ships. This meant that their vital parts were protected by deck armour and by the placement of the coal bunkers. The Cressy class cruisers were given a belt of 6in thick side armour. This ran along half of the length of the ship, and ran from the main deck to a depth of five feet below water level. An armoured box was created by placed 5in armoured bulkheads across the ship at each end of the armoured belt. The area between the bow and the forward bulkhead was given 2in armour. The armour was constructed from Krupp steel, which gave much better protection than the equivalent weight of older armour.

The armoured cruiser gained a new role. Protected cruisers performed two very different sets of duties, protecting British commerce and acting as scouts for the fleet. The armoured cruiser soon be seen as an aid to the battlefleet, forming a rapid wing that could take on damaged battleships.

The Cressy class ships are most famous for suffering three disasters in rapid succession at the start of the First World War. On 22 November 1914 Hogue, Aboukir and Cressy were all sunk by the German submarine U-9 in a single incident. The loss of three cruisers in home waters in eleven days came as a real shock to the Royal Navy and made it clear how dangerous the U-boat could be. 

Displacement (loaded)

12,000t

Top Speed

21kts

Range

 

Armour – deck

3in-1in

 - belt

6in-2in

 - bulkheads

5in

 - casemates

5in

 - turrets

6in

 - barbettes

6in

 - ammo tubes

3in

 - conning tower

12in

Length

472 ft

Armaments

Two 9.2in guns
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Twelve 12pdr quick firing guns
Three 3pdr quick firing guns
Two 18in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement

706

Launched

1899-1901

Completed

1901-1904

Ships in class

HMS Aboukir
HMS Bacchante
HMS Cressy
HMS Euryalus
HMS Hogue
HMS Sutlej

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 September 2007), Cressy Class first class armoured cruisers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_cressy_class_cruisers.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies