:: EXETER (1929) ::

HMS Exeter heavy cruiser (1929) High resolution picture

The HMS Exeter was a British heavy cruiser launched in 1929, exactly one year later than her sister HMS York. Albeit the ships of the prior County class were granted all the possible advantages regarding the limits set by the Washington Naval Treaty, the British Admiralty was convinced that for the British requirements it would be better a higher quantity of smaller cruisers. The minimum number of cannons required to fire before being detected by the radar was six, and this determined the size of the ships of the York class, which were specifically conceived as convoy escorts.

The thickness of the armor was reduced around the machinery due to the idea that the largest part of actions would take place on aslant attitudes rather than by exposing the board. The HMS York had a taller bridge which incorporated a hangar for the aircraft, whereas the HMS Exeter had a lower bridge, vertical masts and funnels, a catapult in the centerline and a slightly increased beam to improve stability. The illustration shows the Exeter as she was in December 1939; it can be seen the low profile of the bridge, the V-shaped catapult with a Walrus seaplane behind the aft funnel and the 102-millimeter cannons in single mountings.

The HMS Exeter is probably better known by her unfortunate encounter with the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee in December 1939, in which she received a very severe punishment from the very superior artillery of the German ship; it could have easily resulted in sinking but for the indecided attitude of the German commander. The HMS York was sunk by Italian explosive craft near Crete in March 1941 and the HMS Exeter would be finally sunk by four Japanese cruisers in February 1942, during the Battle of Java Sea.

Class: York (2 units - Exeter, York)

Type: Heavy cruiser

Length: 175.6 meters

Beam: 17.7 meters

Draught: 6.2 meters

Displacement (standard): 8520 tonnes

Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Parsons, 8 x boiler Admiralty, 80000 horsepower

Speed: 32 knots (59.2 kilometers/hour)

Range: 8400 nautical miles (15556 kilometers) at 14 knots

Complement: 630

Armament (as built): 6 x 203-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 4 x 102-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 6 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 2 x aircraft

Armament (in 1941): 6 x 203-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 8 x 102-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 16 x 40-millimeter cannon, 2 x 12.7-millimeter machine gun, 6 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 2 x aircraft

Armor: 51-76 millimeters in belt, 25-63 millimeters in bulkheads, 32-51 millimeters in deck, 25 millimeters in barbettes, 38-51 millimeters in main turrets

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