The idea of a heavy cruiser emerged in the aftermath of the First World War, and was closely linked to the limits set by the inter-war Washington Treaty on naval armament. The pre-Great War concept of armoured cruisers had been abandoned, but in their stead the Admiralty saw a place for powerful cruisers, able to patrol the sea lanes of the British Empire, and which were well-enough armed that they could destroy enemy commerce cruisers of the kind used by the Germans in the last war. The result was a group of British warships which were collectively known as the ""Washington Treaty Cruisers"", which did everything the Admiralty wanted, but which fitted within the limits imposed by the Washington Treaty - an armament of 8-inch guns, and a displacement of less than 10,000 tons. These impressive cruisers were high-sided, spacious and stately - perfect peacetime ambassadors for British power. In war they also packed a considerable punch.
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May 21, 2012
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