MaritimeDigital Archive Encyclopedia

Frederic Logghe
Home > 003 Military vessels > 003c Surface vessels (1881-1904)
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Battleships - Pre-Dreadnoughts
Cruisers - Protected cruisers
Protected cruisers were a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century. They were so known because their armor protected their vital machine spaces. They were less well protected than armored cruisers which also had a belt of armour along the sides. Around 1910, when armor plate began to increase in quality and engines became lighter, they were superseded by light and heavy cruisers.

Most of their armor was used on the special deck inside the vessel, protecting the boilers and steam engines, it was angled appearing trapezoid in cross-section, which gave the best protection for the least amount of armour. Protected cruisers would also use armour for the guns and conning tower.

The armor tended to range from 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in thickness.

Typically protected cruisers displaced from 2,500 to 7,000 tons. Their main armament was up to a dozen single guns between 3.9 and 6 inches (100 mm - 152 mm) in calibre. They were capable of 18 - 23 knots.

The first protected cruisers appeared about 1880 and production stopped around 1910, when countries started to build "light armoured cruisers", which had an armoured belt and armoured decks instead of the single deck.
Monitors - Seagoing monitors

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