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British Fiji Class Cruisers and their Derivatives (Hardback)

Design, Development and Performance

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing Photographic Books

By Conrad Waters
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 400
Illustrations: 300 b/w photos & 50 b/w line drawings, 14 colour photos, 9 camouflage drawings, 6 colour plans, one
ISBN: 9781526799838
Published: 30th May 2024


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A follow-up to the author’s highly regarded history of British ‘Town’ class cruisers, this book takes the same approach, combining coverage of the development, design details and career highlights of the original class as well as the Uganda, Minotaur and Tiger designs that were derived from them. Often called the ‘Colony’ class, they were an attempt to incorporate the characteristics of the preceding ‘Town’ class within the reduced 8,000-ton limit agreed under the 1936 London Treaty. In general layout, they resembled the earlier class but adopted upright rather than raked funnels and masts. The use of a flat, transom stern conferred both hydrodynamic and internal space advantages.

Not surprisingly, they turned out to be very cramped ships which struggled to accommodate all the wartime additions of extra electronics and light AA guns, as well as the increased crew needed to man them. Many of the later modifications to existing ships and alterations to the succeeding designs were attempts to alleviate these issues, most visibly the reduction of the main armament from four to three turrets. Nevertheless, they were available in significant numbers and gave sterling service across all theatres of the naval war.

In this major study, Conrad Waters makes extensive use of archive material to provide a technical evaluation of the Fiji class design and its subsequent performance. He outlines the class’s origins in the context of inter-war cruiser policy, explains the design and construction process, and describes the characteristics of the resulting ships and how these were adapted in the light of wartime developments. An overview of service focuses on major engagements, assessing the extent to which the class met its designers’ expectations and detailing the consequences of action damage. Later chapters continue the story into the Cold War era, examining the various post-war modernisation programmes and concluding with the radical redesign of the Tiger class that produced the Royal Navy’s last conventional cruisers. Heavily illustrated with contemporary photographs, original plans and drawings by Dave Baker, John Jordan and George Richardson, British Fiji Class Cruisers provides a definitive reference to one of the Royal Navy’s most important Second World War warship designs.

"Conrad Waters clearly put a great deal of study and research into the creation of this remarkable book...Anyone with an interest in the development of warships in general and British cruisers from the late 1930s onwards will, therefore, find this to be an excellent reference source...I would highly recommend it."

Read the full review here.

Australian Naval Institute

About Conrad Waters

CONRAD WATERS, a barrister by training and a banker by profession, has had a lifelong interest in modern navies, about which he has written extensively. He edited the recent Navies in the 21st Century and has been the editor of the World Naval Review since its foundation in 2009. His expertise extends to historical subjects and in 2019 Seaforth published his major study of British Town Class Cruisers.

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