Caroline Class Cruiser (1914)
The six light cruisers of the Caroline Class (sometimes called the Comus Class) were completed in 1914 and 1915. This class is sometimes considered part of either the Cambrian or Calliope classes (it is never easy to tell).
|Overview of 6 vessels|
|Citations for this data available on individual ship pages|
|Caroline||Cammell Laird||28 Jan, 1914||29 Sep, 1914||Dec, 1914||Preserved|
|Carysfort||Hawthorn Leslie & Company||25 Feb, 1914||14 Nov, 1914||Jun, 1915||Sold 1931|
|Cleopatra||Cammell Laird||26 Feb, 1914||14 Jan, 1915||Jun, 1915||Sold 1931|
|Comus||Swan Hunter||3 Nov, 1913||16 Dec, 1914||Jan, 1915||Sold 28 Jul, 1934|
|Conquest||Chatham Royal Dockyard||3 Mar, 1914||20 Jan, 1915||Jun, 1915||Sold 29 Aug, 1930|
|Cordelia||Pembroke Royal Dockyard||21 Jul, 1913||23 Feb, 1914||Jan, 1915||Sold 31 Jul, 1923|
- 1 Design
- 2 Machinery
- 3 Armament
- 4 Fire Control
- 5 Torpedo Control
- 6 See Also
- 7 Footnotes
- 8 Bibliography
The Arethusa class had a 6-in gun forward and another aft, but this class moved the forward one aft as well in order to ensure it could be operable in any sea state and also to facilitate control of the 6-in guns by placing them close together.
In 1916, it was stated that ""C" and "D" class light cruisers" have three 52.5 kw dynamos at 105 volts. It is possible that this description encompasses this class.
The ships of Caroline, Calliope and Cambrian classes had their gun armament increased as the war went on.
- Two 6-in 45cal B.L. Mark XII guns aft on P. VII mountings (one source indicates P. VII*), able to elevate 15 degrees.
- Eight semi-automatic 4-in 45cal Q.F. Mark V guns on P. X mountings, two in tandem forward, three on each beam
This configuration drew criticism and it was proposed in 1915 to place a third gun forward in lieu of the pair of 4-in guns originally situated there as:
- the 6-in guns had superior range and hitting power
- the German 4.1-in gun on the opposing light cruisers was found to outrange the British 4-in Q.F. Mark V guns
- intelligence indicated that the next German light cruisers might move to 5.9-in guns and the older ships may also get larger weapons
- it was desired to augment the firepower in closing actions
This resulted in the configuration, decided upon in June 1916 to effect the alteration (all completed by summer 1917) for 12 ships described as the "Calliope class", but by the number 12 almost certainly indicating Calliope, Cambrian and Caroline classes:
- Two tandem 4-in guns forward replaced by third 6-in gun.
- one 4-in H.A. gun on an ad hoc "H.A. I" or "H.A. II" mounting to replace 3-pdr Vickers H.A. gun, with a second to appear when guns and proper H.A. III mountings became available.
In October 1916, Commodore, Harwich Force recommended removing all 4-in guns but the forward-most pair which would be converted to H.A. mountings. By removing five 4-in guns, a fourth 6-in gun could be mounted abaft the funnel. A variation on this was to be applied in 1918, though logistics slowed the work:
- all 4-in guns removed except the single H.A. mounting (presumably, H.A. III. There is no solid evidence that the second one was ever shipped)
- Fourth 6-in gun on elevated CL platform abaft funnels (on P. VII* mountings, as the P VII supplies were nil)
The original director firing arrangements to permit mixed calibres to be commanded by the same director proved less than desireable, and this prompted a decision in mid-1918 to remove the 4-in guns in favour of an all 6-in scheme. It is not clear when and if this occurred.
A final 1918 rearmament was to provide two 3-in H.A. guns in the positions where 4-in H.A. guns had previously been discussed. This plan was never was put into effect.
By the end of 1918, all the Carolines but Comus had four 6-in P. VII 20 degree mountings and one 4-in H.A. gun. Comus merely had her three 6-in mountings modified for 20 degree elevation, but was brought up to spec after the Armistice and prior to 1921.
- two 21-in Double Revolving torpedo tubes (2x2), mounted abreast
In 1918, the Caroline class was one of several light cruiser classes ordered to receive refits so that their A.W. torpedo tubes would use two impulse charges firing in a cascade to increase the torpedo discharge velocity and thus reduce the angle at which the torpedoes entered the water.
By 1920, these ships were equipped with Mechanical Aid-to-Spotter Mark II*s with Evershed Bearing Transmitters. The installations generally consisted of placing one on each side of the foretop, driven by flexible shafting from a gearbox on the director tower.
Supplies of these devices began in June 1918.
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.
As of 1920, none of the ships seem to have been equipped.
By June 1918, it was determined that the ships would probably eventually carry two 12-foot 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.
Evershed Bearing Indicators
All six ships were fitted with directors in 1917 and 1918.
The elevation limits of their weapons may have increased in late 1917 or early 1918, resulting in orders for adapting their director systems issued 13 November, 1917. It is not clear whether these alterations were for the entire class or just Caroline herself, or when they were effected.
The 6-in guns had 6-in P. XIII Type Elevation Receivers with electrical tilt correction capable of indicating 15 degrees elevation, Pattern V.E. 3. The 4-in guns had 4-in P. X models with electrical tilt correction and 20 degree elevation, Pattern F. C. 5. Their Small Type Training Receivers were pattern number 22 on the 6-in gun #1, pattern number 23 on 6-in guns #2 and #3, pattern number 20 on the 4-in guns.
Most of these ships had no fire control tables during the war, but by June 1918, Comus and Carysfort are listed as having Dreyer Turret Control Tables in their T.S.es, and by 1930 all but Caroline were so equipped (Cordelia had been scrapped in 1923).
Fire Control Instruments
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 C.T., and that a flexible voice pipe be fitted between these positions.
In 1916, torpedo control lessons pertinent to the equipment of light cruisers and destroyers that had been taken from experience the Battle of Jutland were to be apply to light cruisers "of Penelope class and later". The baseline capabilities required that primary control be exercised from the fore bridge, where Fore Bridge Firing Gear and a sight or director would be fitted, and that this position should enjoy efficient communication to a similar secondary position located some distance away. Additionally, the ships would need:
- Fore Bridge Firing Gear
- order instruments from control positions to A.W. tubes
- deflection instruments
- fire gongs and alarm gongs
The A.W. tubes were to have local sights fitted, and the tubes should enjoy order and sightsetting instruments from the control positions as well as firing gongs in case fore bridge firing should fail. 
This work was still underway in the various light cruisers as of early 1918.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. p. 4.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. p. 4.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School', 1916', p. 120.
- Technical History and Index indicates on page 4 that "12 ships of the "Cambrian" and "Calliope" Class" were so modified. That the Caroline ships are part of this total of 12 ships is made clear on page 7.
- The Director Firing Handbook. p. 144.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. pp. 5-6.
- The Director Firing Handbook. p. 145.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. pp. 4-5.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. p. 5.
- Progress in Naval Gunnery, 1914-1918", p. 10.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. p. 6.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. pp. 5-7.
- Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 21/6/1918, p. 118.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 7.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 210.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 61.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 81.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1920. pp. 6-7. (G. 10141/20-6.8.1920).
- Manual of Gunnery (Volume III) for His Majesty's Fleet, 1920. p. 35.
- Manual of Gunnery (Volume III) for His Majesty's Fleet, 1920. p. 35, 37.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 25-6.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 376. (C.I.O. 3492/18, N.S. 11226/18).
- absent from Manual of Gunnery of H.M. Fleet, Volume III, 1920, p. 45.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 199. (possibly pertinent: C.I.O. 481/17).
- Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 21/6/1918, p. 116.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p 178.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 29.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 29.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 11-12.
- Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. p. 142 and plate opposite.
I am inferring that the 2 light cruisers shown in the plate are meant to represent those with and without a tower.
- The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 14.
- The Director Firing Handbook. pp. 144-146.
- Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. p. 3, Pamphlet on the Turret Dreyer Table as fitted in the turrets of H.M. battleships and in the transmitting stations of certain cruisers, 1930, p. 4.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. Plate 75.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. Plate 76.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. Plate 78.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 146.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. pp. 29-30.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 209.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1919. p. 119.
- Admiralty, Technical History Section (1920). The Technical History and Index: Alteration in Armaments of H.M. Ships during the War. Vol. 4, Part 34. C.B. 1515 (34) now O.U. 6171/20. At The National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.
- 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 (1914). Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. G. 01627/14. C.B. 1030. Copy 1235 at The National Archives. ADM 186/191.
- 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.
- Admiralty, Gunnery and Torpedo Division (July, 1919). Progress in Naval Gunnery, 1914-1918. C.B. 902. The National Archives. ADM 186/238.
|Caroline Class Light Cruiser|
|<–||Arethusa Class||Minor Cruisers (UK)||Calliope Class||–>|