Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.
– Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Here we see the old “C-class” light cruiser HMS Caroline steaming with a bone in her mouth.
The Caroline, at 4700-tons when fully loaded and some 446-feet overall length is about the size of today’s Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, but when she was designed in the 1900s, she was a pretty fierce fast cruiser. Capable of over 28-knots, her pair of 6-inch guns and 8 smaller 4-inchers could make mincemeat of attacking destroyers and torpedo boats of the day. Her job was to keep these wolverines at bay from the battleships of the line while being available for scouting and shadowing the bad guy’s battle line. Detached from fleet service she was also capable of showing the flag round the world anywhere the water was more than 16-feet deep.
Commissioned just four months after the start of WWI, Caroline served with the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron and famously led a torpedo attack during the Battle of Jutland. After the war she was sent to the East Indies Station based at Colombo where she patrolled the Indian coastline. In 1924 she became a drill ship for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in April 1924 at Alexandra Dock, Belfast. There she remained as a dockside trainer and depot ship. Still officially in commission but never leaving port, she still had a reserve ‘crew’ as late as 2009. Not bad when you consider she was built in less than nine months.
In India post WWI
Of her class of 28 cruisers, one was sunk in 1918 by a mine, six were lost during WWII, and the remainder were all broken up by 1948, leaving Caroline in Irish waters as the sole survivor of her group.
Finally, with her hull right at 98-years old, HMS Caroline was decommissioned on 31 March 2011. Her ensign was laid up in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. It is envisioned that she, the last survivor of Jutland and the last WWI-era Royal Navy cruiser afloat, will become a museum.
Today, disarmed, decommed, but still proud
The Brits sure got a lot of use out of her.
Displacement: Nominal: 3,750 tons
Loaded: 4,219 tons
Deep: 4,733 tons
Length: 420 ft (128.0 m) (446 ft (135.9 m) overall)
Beam: 41.5 ft (12.6 m)
Draught: 16 ft (5 m) maximum
Propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons turbines
Power: 40,000 shp
Speed: 28.5 knots (53 km/h) (largely immobile after 1924)
Range: carried 405 tons (772 tons maximum) of fuel oil
Armament: As built:
2 × BL 6 in (152 mm) /45 Mk XII guns (2 × 1),
8 × QF 4 in (102 mm) /45 Mk V guns
1 × 6 pounder,
4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
4 × 6 in (152 mm) /45 Mk XII
2 × 3 in (76 mm) anti-aircraft
4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes.
Armour: Belt: 3 to 1 in
Decks: 1 inch
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