Hawkins-class heavy cruiser, HMS Effingham (D98) (1940)

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Hawkins-class heavy cruiser, HMS Effingham D98 (1940)


Vehicle design and history:

HMS Effingham, along with the other five Hawkins-class cruisers, was designed to be able to hunt down german commerce raiders in the open ocean. In order to fullfill this role, they needed a heavy armament, high speed and long range. HMS Effingham had an overall length of 604 feet 10 inches (184.4 m), a beam of 65 feet (19.8 m) and a draught of 19 feet 3 inches (5.9 m) at deep load. With these dimmensions, the ship displaced 9,860 long tons (10,020 t) at (standard load) and 12,190 long tons (12,390 t) at deep load. A s built her crew numbered 690 officers and ratings, though this would increase as modifications took place during her service life. The ships were initially intended to be fitted out with 60,000-shaft-horsepower (45,000 kW) of propulsion machinery, but the Admiralty decided in 1917 that this was insufficient, and their four coal-fired boilers were replaced with more powerful oil burning ones. Due to most of the ships already under construction this change could only be applied to the last three ships in the class, including HMS Effingham, though she did not receive the full intended upgrade. Effingham ended up powered by four Brown-Curtis geared steam turbine sets, with each one driving a propeller shaft, using the steam from the 10 yarrow boilers, which were ducted into two funnels. This uprated the turbines to 65,000 shp (48,000 kW) giving the ships a top speed of 30.5 knots (56.5 km/h; 35.1 mph). In order to power this powerplant, Effingham carried 2,186 long tons (2,221 t) of fuel oil to give her a range of 5,640 nautical miles (10,450 km; 6,490 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).

This speed was complimented by a main armament of seven 7.5-inch (191 mm) Mk VI guns in single mounts, which were protected by 1-inch (25 mm) gun shields. The arrangement of these guns were five on the centerline, with four capable of superfiring fore and aft of the superstructure, with a firth gun further back on the quarterdeck and two more abreast of the rear funnel. For anti-air defence, three 4-inch (102 mm) Mk V guns and a pair of two-pounder (1.6-inch (40 mm)) guns were mounted. Two of the Mk V guns were located at the base of the mainmast and the third gun was on the quarterdeck. The pom poms on the otherhand were mounted on a platform betwixt the funnels. In addition to these guns, the ship was also equipt with 6 21 inch torpedo tudes, with two being submerged and the other 4 deck mounted, giving a torpedo broadside of 3 either side. The gun systems were controlled by a standard mechanical Mark III Dreyer Fire-control Table, which used data provided by the 15 foot coincidence rangefinder located in the gunnery director position atop the tripod mast, complimented by three 12 foot rangefinders. In terms of armour the Hawkins class was protected along the full length of the waterline by an armoured belt, with its thickest parts over the boiler and engine rooms ranging from 1 and a half to 3 inches. The magazines were also protected by an additional half to 1 inch of armour, along with 1 inch transversing bulkheads and a conning tower fitted with 3 inches of armour. The ships deck varied from 1 to 1.5 inches of high tensile steel.


With the London naval treaty of 1930, a limit was placed on the number of cruisers which could be armed with cannons larger than 6.1 (155m) inches. This was a problem for the Hawkins class, as they were equipt with 7.5 inch guns, meaning that the ships in the class were earmarked for demilitarization, by December of 1936 in order to comply with the treaty, as the Royal navy was in excess of the 15 heavy cruisers agreed on. Because the Hawkin’s class ships were still in good condition it was deemed that they could remain useful in service if rearmed with smaller guns, prompting Effingham to be selected to be the lead ship in a possible modernisation programme. This would be done using the spare six-inch (152 mm) Mark XII guns from the light cruisers Coventry and Curlew which were currently being rearmed and converted into anti aircraft cruisers.

The work took place between 1937-1938, in which all the ships guns were removed, along with her underwater torpedo tubes. The forward superstructure and bridge were also removed and rebuilt in order to accommodate teh nine 6-inch gunes, laid out in two superfiring trios fore and aft of the super structure, plus an additional cannon on each broadside along with one final gun on the far aft of the quarterdeck. These guns had a maximum elevation of +30°, and the guns had a range of 18,750 yd (17,140 m). This main gun armament was complimented by four mk v AA guns, along with the two-pounders being replaced by a trio of quadruple mounts for Vickers 0.5 in (12.7 mm) AA machine guns. Her aft pair of boilers were also removed and the room was converted into an oil tank increasing the ships oil storage to 2,620 long tons (2,660 t) in turn increasing her range to 5,410 nmi (10,020 km; 6,230 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph). This removal of two boilers reduced her total horsepower to 61,000 shp (45,000 kW) which in turn reduced her speed to a maximum speed of about 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph), during this process her boilers were also re-tubed. This change rendered her aft funnel redundant, and her forward funnel was instead enlarged. This opened up a large amount of space amidship, which allowed the fitting of a E.IV.H catapult and an aircraft-handling crane, this allowed Effingham to launch a Supermarine Walrus flying boat, which could serve as a gunnery director and scout. The spotting top was also rebuilt, and the gunnery director was moved to its roof, with the addition of a Mk III* High-Angle Control System (HACS) which was installed in mid 1939. Provisions were made for a pair of octuple mounts for the two-pounder Mk VIII “pom-poms” and their directors, but they were not installed due to war time shortages, and instead the ship was fitted with a pair of quadruple guns in 1940. The final major change was in late 1939, when the now dated Mk V AA guns were removed, and replaced by four twin-gun mounts for four-inch Mk XVI dual-purpose guns, effectivly giving the ship a secondary armament comparable to a destroyer. Due to all these changes and additional weapon systems the ship’s wartime crew swelled, and by 1940 her crew was over 800 men.

Service History:

HMS Effingham, was named after Lord High Admiral Lord Howard of Effingham, one of the leaders of the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1587. She is the only ship to ever bear this name to serve in the royal navy. She was laid down at HM Dockyard, Portsmouth, on the 6th of April 1917, launched on the 8th of June 1921 and ultimately completed in July of 1925. She was initially assigned to the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron (LCS) on the East Indies Station after working up with Captain Cecil Reyne in command. In 1930 she attended the coronation of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, with her royal marine band providing entertainment during the event. She would briefly serve as the flagship of the East Indies Station in 1932, but she was soon returned to the light cruiser squadron, before being returned to home waters in 1933. Here she became the flagship for the reserve fleet, and was present for the silver jubilee fleet review for King George V. After this she became a private ship in anticipation for her modernization.

After undergoing her modernization, she was recommissioned on the 15th of june 1938, and she again became the flagship of the reserve fleet. This modernization would continue into 1939 when she exchanged her single four-inch guns for new twin-gun mounts. on august 9th of the same year she hosted King George VI as he met the captains of sixty ships during his review of the recommissioned Reserve Fleet in Weymouth Bay. She remained in commision after the review, and was sent to Scarpa Flow on the 25th of august, assigned to the 12th cruiser squadron. She remained flagship, and with war declared she began hunting for german shipping as part of the northern patrol, in order to prevent them reaching home before the declaration of war. After the declaration of war, the northern patrols tasks expanded to intercepting german commerce raiders attempting to breakout into the north atlantic. During her first Patrol Effingham was bamaged which required repairs that lasted between october 3rd to 9th. With repairs complete she relieved HMS Berwich in escorting Convoy KJ-3, but again had to return to port for repairs, with a boiler cleaning that lasted until the 7th of november, when she was loaded with £2 million pounds in goal in order to buy goods and materials from canada. Upon arrival she was assigned to the West Indies Patrol, along with HMAS Perth, where they were tasked to patrol between kingston jamaica and halifax. More engine problems quickly put an end to this though, and she returned to port in bermuda for repairs. The replacement boiler tubes proved defective, and they needed to be replaced in a british port, resulting in her returning to england as an escort for convoy HX-14 on december 29th. She reached Portsmouth for the repairs on the 9th of January 1940, and had her engines stripped down and her boiler tubes replaced. During this time she had her pom poms installed, resulting in the ship being unready for action until april 12th, when she sailed to Scapa flow in order to participate in Plan R 4, were the brits intended to occupy Narvik Norway and iron mines in sweden if germany invaded norway, though the german invasion on april 8th rendered this plan obsolete.

Norwegian Campaign:

Together with the heavy cruiser HMS York, and the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Calcutta along with an assorted group of destroyers, Effingham set out in search of 5 german destroyers that had been sighted off Stavanger by an aircraft. The report turned out to be false, but even so the ships remained off the entrance to the Romsdalsfjord between the 17th and 18th of april, in order to begin landing troops at Molde and Åndalsnes. During this time German submarine U-38 made an unsuccessful attack on the cruiser, though it failed to hit, and Effingham and her squadron returned to scapa flow on april 19 without issue. On april 24th she took part in a bombardment of German-held Narvik during a snowstorm, with further bombardments taking place on the 1st and 3rd of may against the towns of Ankenes and Bjerkvik in preparation for a planned Allied attack on Narvik itself Effingham would serve as the command ship for a landing operation at . Bjerkvik on the 12–13 May, in which she would ferry around 750 men to land along with providing naval gunfire support during the attack. This method was selected as the threat of german aerial attack ruled out the use of slow troopships, though the captain protested the demands from the admiralty, as he deemed the ship overweight with 1020 british and french troops, though he was overruled and an additional 130 short tons of supplys were loaded along with ten bren carriers, rendering some of the ships guns arcs useless during the voyage.

The operation would quickly take a turn, when the squadron entered the enterance of the strait, where at around 19:47 the destroyer leading the formation struck a submerged rock, tearing off her port propeller, before a minute later Effingham struck the same shoal tearing a huge string of holes in her hull, before being clipped by the cruiser Coventry behind her, which had to agressivly turn to starboard to avoid ramming Effingham. The flooding quickly caused the ship to lose power, and she began drifting, before settlign on an even keel. Worried the ship could capsize at any momment with massive loss of life, Captain Howson, ordered the ship dragged to shallow water by HMS Echo, and she was beached at 20:15. Echo managed to evacuate all passangers and over 200 crew, and by 22:10 all these men had been transfered to Coventry, allowign her to return and collect the remaining crewman on Effingham. With Effingham stuck, and unable to be refloated, she was deemed a loss, and not wanting her to fall into german hands the choice was made to scuttle her that night in order to ensure she was throughly wrecked. During the process of scuttling her, as much equiptment was saved as possible including four bren carriers and a collection of morters, though most material could not be salavaged, and was lost when the ships torpedo warheads along with other exploisives were detonated, along with her guns sabotaged, and a pair of torpedos were launched at her by Echo, causing her to ultimately capsize at coordinates 67°16.7′N 14°03.5′E. The germans made no attempt to salvage the wreck, and she would remain in place until the end of hostilities, when in the post war period she was dismantled by Høvding Skipsopphugging so now only a few plates and discarded components the sea bed.



Displacement: 9,860 long tons (10,020 t) (standard)

12,800 long tons (13,000 t) (deep load)

Length: 604 ft 10 in (184.4 m) (o/a)

Beam: 65 ft (19.8 m)

Draught: 19 ft 3 in (5.9 m) (deep load)

Machinery: 8 × Yarrow boilers

61,000 shp (45,000 kW)

Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph)

Range: 5,410 nmi (10,020 km; 6,230 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)

Complement: over 800

Armor: Main belt 1.5in-2.5in (fwd), 2in-3in (amid), 2.25in-2.5in (aft)

deck 1in-1.5in

shields 1in-2.5in

Armament: 9 x BL 6-inch Mk XII naval guns (9x1)

8 x four-inch Mk XVI dual-purpose guns.(4x2)

8 x two-pounder Mk VIII “pom-poms” (2x4)

, 12 x Vickers 0.5 in (12.7 mm) AA machine guns (3x4)

1 x aircraft (Supermarine Walrus)

Additional historical images:

Image of HMS Effingham in a Norwegian fjord 1940:

Hide contents


Another Photo from 1940, showing one of the duel 4 inch gun mounts, along with Universal carriers being transported ready for the norway campaign:

Hide contents



Edited March 5 by nathanclawfish