Wow, it has been a while!
However I have been busy during the interbellum, - I hope that the following meets with your collective approval
I present the next developments in the DCFI's Cruiser series - the two classes shown being constructed during the WW1 to Mid-1930's period.
Elusive Class - (1917-1951)
Designed in 1916, the DCFI’s Elusive Class Light Cruiser was inspired by an intermediate Admiralty sketch design of 1912 known as the "Atlantic Cruiser", armed with a combination of 7.5 and 6-inch (190 and 152 mm) guns - a concept that would later be refined into the RN's Hawkins class of 1917. The Elusive class were intended to be the first tranche of a class of nine 10,000 Ton, 6" cruisers with greater range, better sea-keeping and a more balanced armour scheme than the pre-war designed Chatham/Birmingham classes. Whilst the main armament was largely the same as their forebears, the guns mounted were intended to be longer in calibre and mated to state of the art fire control and range finding gear, whilst the secondary armament was to be strengthened and refined for greater effect against aircraft. 6 torpedo tubes were built into the hull below the waterline. Rapid changes in naval technology and tactics during the war resulted in significant design changes that were finalised in mid 1917, the class having been laid down in January of that year in three Falklands yards. HMFS Elusive took to the water in June 1918, and was armed from the outset with 10 x 6” guns in five twin turrets, arranged in a super-firing configuration fore and aft. This was a first for a cruiser of this size and such was only possible thanks to the leveraging of turret design data from the Anglo/Brazilian Javary-class gunboats (Humber class in RN service throughout WW1). Secondary armament was provided by a battery of 6 x 4” guns in shielded HA mounts, along with 6 x quad .50 Vickers MG Mounts for close-in AA defence. Accommodation of this class-leading armament meant that the hull form of the Elusive class was some-what beamier than the Hawkins class, but of roughly the same length and draught, with a flared bow and improved bilge keels for better seakeeping in the stormy South Atlantic. This produced a better sea boat, and a more stable gun platform, being able to sprint at a maximum of 29 knots on flat seas (one knot less than the Hawkins design). Turbine propulsion equipment and a more nuanced armour scheme allowed the class to come in at just over the 10,000 ton design requirement. Uncertainty over the relevance of the class post-war, as well as murmurings from the USA about a forthcoming naval disarmament conference meant that no more ships were begun after HMFS Empire took to the water on 13 November, 1918, just two days after the Austro-German armistice came into effect.
The class (and their Ethereal class follow-on brethren) formed the core of the DCFI’s Light Cruiser force during the 1920's and 30's and were an integral part of the eventual victory over Argentina in the 1928-1931 Border Wars. A major rebuilding program begun in the early 1930's saw the class reconstructed with modern propulsion systems, improving fuel economy and permitting an increase in maximum speed to 32 knots. Up-to-date fire control and range-finding equipment was mounted on this new superstructure, partly inspired by that of the HMS Exeter and the Leander class light cruisers of the RN. This allowed a revised and upgraded AA armament and an aircraft catapult for a spotter seaplane to be fitted. The AA armaments were transitioned from single 4” HAs and quad .50 MGs to twin 4” Mk. XVI HA mounts and quad 40mm Bofors guns. A nominal ASW capability was maintained throughout the life of the class with depth charge racks and two Depth Charge throwers aft on the quarter-deck, as well as the fitment of retractable ASDIC domes during the 1930’s refits.
space-saver for rebuilt Elusive Class
The class all fought with distinction during WW2 but only one, HMFS Elusive herself, survived. HMFS Excellent ran out of luck whilst escorting the Pedestal convoy to Malta during 1942, downing 4 Stukas and dodging 7 bombs before being hit twice off Pantellaria. With her superstructure well ablaze and her quarter-deck awash, she limped into Valetta Grand Harbour only to be sunk at anchor during a subsequent air raid. After a successful campaign off Norway, during which she provided fire support to the Anglo-French-Free Polish assault on Narvik and sank a German Destroyer off Trondheim, HMFS Empire spent much of the rest of the war escorting the South Atlantic convoys from the DCFI and the Rio Dela Plata to Britain, and it was on these duties that she was torpedoed and sunk by a U-Boat during 1943. HMFS Elusive served with distinction in the South Atlantic and Mediterranean, contributing to the defence of numerous convoys and the victory over the South American members of the Axis before being retired to reserve in 1946. She was finally sent to the Breakers in 1951, her 'A' turret being preserved as a war memorial at the Ardrossan Naval Base on the Gulf of San Matias.
I'm sure there's some room for improvement here so any constructive comments are (as always) very welcome
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DCFI (Falkland Islands) AU Nation