Steve-M wrote:Paul L wrote:I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy sea. Historically this was the role of the Destroyers but they were sooo short range/speed and didn't have the sea keeping to keep station with bigger warships in heavy seas.
Practically speaking, probably the best / best use of cruisers, at least as the war carried on and air power became the preeminent threat. Not quite as cool as hunting down raiders ala River Plate, but minor detail.
Yes one of the original roles for cruisers was 'commerce protection' essentially from German raiders but from the UK POV this was best achieved by amassing 1/2 dozen cruisers along the GIUK gap to limit these raiders ability to break out. These force would have to be backed up by BB/CV/BC groups all requiring CA escorts if they planned to also hunt down the KM BBs.
When France was occupied that strategy was some what compromised , but the RAF took up the slack to suppress the Brest Squadron until Hitler ordered them back to Norway , when the cruiser picket along the GIUK gap took over that role for the rest of the war.
However from the time the Condors attacked convoys in 1940 , the Admiralty saw the increasing role of these lighter cruisers as AAA cover for convoys - clearly fore told in the prewar conversion of the older RN C Class light cruisers to CLAA....followed by the prewar designs of the Dido class of CLAA. At about the same time all RN prewar cruisers got their AAA overhauled with the pompoms & twin high angled 4" AAA.
I guess with the end of the air/surface threat in the Atlantic plus a shift east; newer roles for these costly cruisers were demanded.