HMS Belfast

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History of HMS Belfast

The term 'cruiser' goes back to the days of sailing ships when large frigates could be detached from the main fleet to cruise independently.

The sailing cruiser, like her twentieth-century counterpart, was sufficiently powerful and fast to attack and destroy enemy commerce raiders. During the nineteenth century when sail gave way to steam and wooden ships were replaced by those built of iron, and later of steel, the cruiser evolved into a powerful warship which was used to patrol the Empire trade routes and protect friendly merchant shipping.

After the First World War (1914-1918) a single category of cruiser emerged whose size was indicated by the size of its guns; thus, HMS Belfast is a 6-inch cruiser, designed for the protection of trade, for offensive action, and as a powerful support for amphibious operations.