Centaur Class Cruiser (1916)

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The two light cruisers of the Centaur Class were completed in 1916.

Overview of 2 vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Centaur Vickers 24 Jan, 1915 6 Jan, 1916 Aug, 1916 Sold Feb, 1934
Concord Vickers 1 Feb, 1915 1 Apr, 1916 Dec, 1916 Sold Aug, 1935

Machinery

Generators

In 1916, it was stated that ""C" and "D" class light cruisers" have three 52.5 kw dynamos at 105 volts.[1]

Armament

The ships were armed as follows.[2]

Guns

  • Five 6-in 45cal B.L. Mark XII guns on P VII* mountings[3] on the centre-line with a maximum elevation of 30 degrees.[4] The guns had armoured shields of 1/4 inch on the face, 316 inch on sides and top, weighing 1.25 tons.[5]
  • Two 3-in 20cwt Q.F. on H.A. mountings
  • One 13-pdr

Torpedoes

  • Two Service Bar 21-in submerged broadside tubes amidships depressed 4 degrees and bearing 90.[6]

These were to be the last Royal Navy light cruisers to feature submerged torpedo tubes. Ensuing designs would employ new above water fitting featuring multiple tubes.

Navyphones

Navyphones[7]

Switchboards

There was a 15-line T.S. board with two Pattern 3330 Navyphones for the operator. It was connected to the 15 volt switchboard for power.[8][9]

Fire Control

Each gun had a Pattern 3333 Navyphone and a set of telaupads wired to the T.S. switchboard. The T.S. had three Pattern 3334 Navyphones, one for each control group.

The aft control platform and control top each had two Pattern 3331 Navyphones, though it is uncertain whether these pairs shared their line. The fore control platform had a single 3331 and the gun director tower had a 3331 with telaupads connected by flexible cable from the control top. It is not clear whether its line is distinct from the one or two feeding the spotting top.

Torpedo Control

It seems, by inference due to a lack of mention, that none of the phones were used for torpedo control.

Fire Control

Mechanical Aid-to-Spotter

By 1920, these ships seem conspicuous among their peers in lacking this equipment.[10]

Range Dials

In 1918, it was ordered that these and ten other classes of light cruisers should receive "range instruments for concentration of fire". Presumably, this meant range dials.[11]

As of 1920, neither ship seems to have been equipped.[12]

Rangefinders

A confusing decree from 1918 indicates that a traversing 9-foot R.F. on the manœuvring platform on this and three other classes is to be replaced by a fixed 12-foot R.F., "but no addition to the manœuvring platform can be accepted." Also, the roof of the after control is to be lowered and a 12-foot R.F. mounted on it, "but this alteration is not to be carried out pending the trials which are being carried out in Calliope.[13]

Evershed Bearing Indicators

This class was the first light cruiser class to feature Evershed installations, possibly upon their very completion. Such equipment became standard from here on out.[14]

Gunnery Control

Control Positions

There was a fore control platform, an after control platform, and a control top.

Control Groups

There were three control groups:[15]

  1. No. 1 gun
  2. Guns Nos. 2 & 3
  3. Guns Nos. 4 & 5

Directors

Director Firing Circuitry[16]

Both were completed a gunnery director in place forward.[17]

The director was in a tower on a pedestal mounting and was augmented by use of the #4 gun as a directing gun.[18][19]

The C.O.S. had three positions:

  1. director tower to all guns
  2. directing gun to all guns
  3. director tower to guns 1-3, directing gun to guns 4 & 5

Each gun had a C.O.S. to connect it to director or local firing circuits. The gun director tower had a 2-way switch to connect the night sights and such to either main or auxiliary power fed through a 5-way box.[20]

The Elevation Receivers were 6-in P. VII Type with electrical tilt correctors, capable of indicating up to 20 degrees of elevation, Pattern H. 21. It would appear that these left the last 10 degrees of the mounts' elevation unused. Their Small Type Training Receivers were to be pattern number 22 on #1, #2 and #3 guns, and pattern number 23 on #4 and #5.[21]

Transmitting Stations

The ships had a T.S. forward.[22]

Group 1 and Group 2 each had a two-position C.O.S. offering:

  1. T.S. control
  2. Fore control platform control

Group 3 had a three-position C.O.S. offering:

  1. T.S. control
  2. Fore control platform control
  3. After control platform control

Each group had a deflection and range transmitter with repeats and a fire gong key. The T.S. had a single Captain's cease fire gong. Everything worked off a 15 volt switchboard.

Dreyer Table

These ships had no fire control tables.[23]

Fire Control Instruments

Fire Control Circuits[24]
Those in the following Caledon class were noted as being similar. [25]

Each gun was equipped with a Barr and Stroud range and deflection receiver of unstated type, and a Captain's cease fire gong. The C.T. contained the only cease fire push for the monolithic gong circuit.

The fore and aft control positions were tied to Groups 1 and 3, respectively, offering a range receiver tied to the group C.O.S. in the T.S.. Additionally, a portable combined range and deflection transmitter was provided at both stations, driving fixed repeats. A pair of fire gong pushes were presumably fitted one to each broadside.[26]

The gun director tower had range and deflection receivers wired to the T.S.'s C.O.S. for Group 1 (or 2?) with fire gong and cease fire gong clearly wired to Group 2's C.O.S..[27]

The control top appears not to be a control position despite its name, as it features range and deflection repeat receivers from Group 1 and range receivers (only) for both the fore and aft control platform.

Details on the instruments were spelled out in the Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915.[28]

The control top:

  • Vickers range repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 1
  • Vickers deflection repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 1
  • Barr and Stroud range receiver wired through T.S. from the transmitter in the fore control platform
  • Barr and Stroud range receiver wired through T.S. from the transmitter in the after control platform

The conning tower had only a Captain's cease fire push.

Fore control platform:

  • two fire gong keys
  • Barr and Stroud single range transmitter Mark III
  • Vickers range repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 1
  • Vickers deflection repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 1
  • one portable combined range and deflection transmitter add repeat receiver, wired to C.O.S.s for each group in the T.S.[29]

After control platform:

  • two fire gong keys
  • Barr and Stroud single range transmitter Mark III
  • Vickers range repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 3
  • Vickers deflection repeat receiver Mark III, wired from group 3
  • one portable combined range and deflection transmitter add repeat receiver, wired to C.O.S.s for group 3 in the T.S.

Gun director tower:

  • Vickers range receiver Mark III, wired to group 2
  • Vickers deflection receiver Mark III, wired to group 2

The T.S. had:

  • a panel for each of the three gun groups, each having the following wired up to the given group's C.O.S.:
    • Vickers range transmitter Mark IV*
    • Vickers range repeat receiver Mark III, wired from gun side of the C.O.S.
    • Vickers deflection transmitter Mark IV*
    • Vickers deflection repeat receiver Mark III, wired from gun side of the C.O.S.
    • fire gong push
  • Captain's cease fire bell
  • Barr and Stroud single range receiver Mark III from fore control platform
  • Barr and Stroud single range receiver Mark III from after control platform

The group C.O.S.s for groups 1 and 2 had two positions:

  • T.S. control
  • fore control platform

The group C.O.S.s for group 3 had three positions:

  • T.S. control
  • fore control platform
  • after control platform

Each gun had:

  • Vickers range receiver Mark III
  • Vickers deflection receiver Mark III
  • fire gong
  • Captain's cease fire bell

Torpedo Control

Torpedo Control Circuits[30]

In 1916, it was decided that all light cruisers of Bristol class and later should have torpedo firing keys (Pattern 2333) fitted on the fore bridge, in parallel with those in the CT, and that a flexible voice pipe be fitted between these positions.[31]

Additionally, all light cruisers with submerged tubes were to receive torpedo order and gyro angle instruments between torpedo flats and both control positions. The C class (which may or may not encompass the Centaur class) was to receive Chadburn's Torpedo Telegraphs to meet this need. Otherwise, Barr and Stroud would be a likely choice.[32]

In mid-1920, it was decided that the ships in this class should each receive a Renouf Torpedo Tactical Instrument Type A.[33]

Rangefinders

Sometime during or after 1917, an additional 9-foot rangefinder being handed down from a battleship or battlecruiser (likely an F.T. 24) was to be added specifically to augment torpedo control.[34]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 120.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 60.
  3. The Director Firing Handbook. p. 145.
  4. Progress in Naval Gunnery, 1914-1918", p. 10.
  5. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 18. I presume the described ""C" class" pertains to these ships.
  6. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915. p. 36.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 78.
  8. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 78.
  9. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915. p. 239.
  10. Absent in Manual of Gunnery, Volume III, 1920, p. 35.
  11. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 376. (C.I.O. 3492/18, N.S. 11226/18).
  12. absent from Manual of Gunnery of H.M. Fleet, Volume III, 1920, p. 45.
  13. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p 178.
  14. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 29.
  15. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 78.
  16. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 79.
  17. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 11.
  18. Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. p. 142 and plate opposite.
  19. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 150.
  20. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 150.
  21. The Director Firing Handbook. pp. 145-146.
  22. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 150, Plate 77.
  23. absent from list in Handbook of Capt. F.C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, p. 3.
  24. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 77.
  25. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 150.
  26. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 150.
  27. The schematic seems to indicate Group 1 for the receivers, but the label seems to spell out Group 2 in Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916, Plate 77.
  28. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915. pp. 240-1.
  29. It is not entirely clear how this was wired from the description.
  30. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. Plate 76.
  31. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 146.
  32. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 146.
  33. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1919. p. 119.
  34. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 199. (possibly pertinent: C.I.O. 481/17).

Bibliography

  • H.M.S. Vernon. (Jan 1916) Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915. C.B. 1166. Copy 1025 at The National Archives. ADM 189/35.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1917). The Director Firing Handbook. O.U. 6125 (late C.B. 1259). Copy No. 322 at The National Archives. ADM 186/227.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1910). Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. Copy No. 173 is Ja 345a at Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1918). Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. C.B. 1456. Copy No. 10 at Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • Admiralty, Technical History Section (1919). The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in H.M. Ships. Vol. 3, Part 23. C.B. 1515 (23) now O.U. 6171/14. At The National Archives. ADM 275/19.


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