Minotaur class cruiser (1943)

Minotaur class cruiser (1943)
HMS Swiftsure anchored.jpg
HMS Swiftsure
Class overview
Name: Minotaur
Operators: RN Ensign Royal Navy
Canadian Blue Ensign 1921.svg Royal Canadian Navy
Preceded by: Crown Colony-class
Succeeded by: Tiger-class
In commission: 1944 - 1958
Planned: 8
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 5
General characteristics
Type: light cruiser
Displacement: 8,800 tons standard
11,130 tons full
(Superb: 8,885 tons standard
11,560 tons full)
Length: 555.5 ft (169.3 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19 m) (Superb: 64 ft)
Draught: 17.25 ft (5.26 m)
Propulsion: Four Admiralty-type three drum boilers
Four shaft Parsons steam turbines
72,500 shp
Speed: 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h)
Range: 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) at 30 knots (60 km/h)
8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h); 1,850 tons fuel oil
Complement: 867
  • Three triple BL 6 inch Mk XXIII guns
  • Five dual 4-inch / 45 QF Mk 16 HA
  • Four quad QF 2 pdr
  • Six single 40 mm AA
  • Two triple 21-inch (530 mm) Torpedo Tubes.
  • 3.25 to 3.5-inch (89 mm) belt
  • 2 inch deck
  • 1 to 2-inch (51 mm) turrets
  • 1.5 to 2-inch (51 mm) bulkheads

The Minotaur class of light cruisers of the Royal Navy, also known as the Swiftsure class, was designed as a modified version of the Crown Colony class incorporating war modifications and authorised in 1941, but, in spite of the heavy toll of cruisers in that year and the following one, the building of this new class had a relatively low priority and only three were completed by the war's end. They played no significant part in the Second World War, though HMS Swiftsure, as flagship of the British Pacific Cruiser Squadron, was selected by Admiral Cecil Harcourt to hoist his flag for the Japanese surrender at Hong Kong. HMS Superb was completed to a slightly different design.

The class was originally to have consisted of eight ships, laid down in 1943, but by the end of the Second World War only Minotaur, Swiftsure, and Superb were complete, whilst the others were laid up. Minotaur was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and renamed Ontario.

Three of the laid-up vessels were completed in the 1960s as Tiger class cruisers. Two went on to be further converted into Helicopter and Command Cruisers during the 1970s.



Swiftsure was completed with sixteen twin and six single 20mm guns, but had all the singles and eight of the twin removed in the summer of 1945, when she received, in lieu, eight 40mm Boffins and five single 40mm Bofors Mk III. HMCS Ontario (ex-Minotaur) was completed with the same close-range outfit as Swiftsure, and is reported to have had an outfit of six 40mm and six 20mm guns at the end of the war, all in single mountings. Superb was not completed until after the end of hostilities, and had a close-range outfit consisting of eight single 40mm Mk III, two single 2 pounders, four twin hand-operated 20mm and two single 20mm guns.


  • HMS Minotaur was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy on completion in 1944 and renamed HMCS Ontario. She was decommissioned in 1959 and scrapped in 1960.
  • HMS Swiftsure was launched in 1943 and served with the Royal Navy in the Far East. She was scrapped in 1962.
  • HMS Superb was built to a modified design and launched in 1943. She was scrapped in 1960.
  • HMS Hawke was laid down at Portsmouth Dockyard on 1 July 1943, but construction was cancelled on 15 October 1945 and she was broken up on the slipway.
  • HMS Tiger was renamed and laid down as Bellerophon at the Tyne yards of Vickers-Armstrong in August 1944, then renamed Blake, and then finally renamed Bellerophon again. Construction was cancelled in March 1946 and she was broken up.
  • HMS Blake was renamed Tiger, and then Blake again and finally completed as a Tiger class cruiser.
  • HMS Defence was renamed Lion and completed as a Tiger class cruiser.
  • HMS Bellerophon was renamed Tiger and completed as a Tiger class cruiser.


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