Caledon class light cruisers

The Caledon class light cruisers were improved Centaur class ships. Like those ships, they were armed with five 6in guns, after a period in which most British light cruisers had carried a mix of guns. They were built to operate with the Grand Fleet, initially forming part of the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron. They were otherwise very similar to the earlier ships; with a slight increase is length and width to improve their performance in rougher seas.

Like the Centaur class, the Caledon class ships were given a tripod mast and director fire equipment. Their five guns were distributed along the centre line, with one forward, two on different levels at the rear, one between the conning tower and the first funnel and one behind the second funnel. They also featured a big increase in the number of torpedo tubes carried, from two on the Centaur class to eight deck mounted tubes on the Caledons.

As they entered service all four ships joined the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron based at Rosyth. Caradoc and Cassandra both ran aground on Fair Isle during August 1917, but were both repaired in time to take part in an extensive deployment during October. By this point Caledon had joined the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron as flagship, also at Rosyth.

Both of these squadrons were involved in the October deployment, made in response to news of a planned German sortie. In the event the Germans attacked a Norwegian convoy, and evaded the British cruisers. All but Cassandra were involved in the action of Heligoland Bight of 17 November 1917, an attempt to attack isolated German forces outside their minefields.

At the end of 1918 all but Caledon were sent to the Baltic. There Cassandra hit a mine in the Gulf of Finland, and sank, suffering eleven losses. The surviving three ships were all active at the start of the Second World War. Calypso was lost on 12 June 1940, torpedoed by an Italian submarine just after Italy entered the war. During 1942-43 Caledon was converted to act as an anti-aircraft cruiser, armed with six 40mm Bofors guns and fifteen 20mm cannon.

Displacement (loaded)

4,950t

Top Speed

20kts

Armour – deck

1in

 - belt

3in-1.75in

 - conning tower

6in

Length

450ft

Armaments

Five 6in BL M k XII guns
Two 3in Mk I AA guns
Four 3pdr guns
Eight 21in torpedo tubes

Crew complement

400

Launched

1916

Completed

1917

Ships in class

HMS Caledon
HMS Calypso
HMS Caradoc
HMS Cassandra

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 October 2007), Caledon class light cruisers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_caledon_class_cruisers.html

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