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HMNZS Leander - The Legend of Defiance

HMNZS Leander is the lead ship of the British Leander-class light cruisers, which primarily served under the flag of New Zealand during WW2. In update 1.87,  captains and fans of British warships may look forward to the addition of the Leander to the ranks of the Royal Navy in the next major War Thunder update!

Briefly: A new British light cruiser featuring all the best qualities expected of other British ships of this class.


The Leander-class light cruisers were designed in the late 1920s under the influence of the York-class heavy cruisers. However, the Leander-class differed from previous light cruisers by placing a higher emphasis on seaworthiness and operating range, rather than on protection and firepower. This was done with the aim to make the Leander-class light cruisers more suitable for the commerce protection role.

Initially, five ships of the Leander-class were ordered in the early 1930s, with HMS Leader as the lead ship being laid down in September 1930. Leander was completed a year later and commissioned into service in March 1933. Initially, the warship served with the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, before being transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy after its formation in 1941. From there onwards, the ship sailed under its new designation HMNZS Leander.

Leander primarily served in the Pacific theatre during WW2, taking part in several smaller operations during her early service life. Leander was also briefly stationed in the Mediterranean, supporting allied troops in actions against Vichy France during the Syria-Lebanon campaign. After that, Leander once again returned to the Pacific, where she was severely damaged after an engagement with a small Japanese task force in July 1943. The damage suffered from a torpedo hit was so severe that it rendered Leander inoperable for the remainder of the war, until she was repaired in August 1945.

HMNZS Leander only had a very short post-war service life. The warship was officially decommissioned in 1948 and sold for scrap in 1950.


In War Thunder, HMNZS Leander will become available to all captains as a new light cruiser of the fourth rank of the British naval tree with the release of the upcoming update 1.87.  The Leander features typical mobility, firepower and protection for British light cruisers of the time which makes it a highly versatile “jack of all trades, master of none” type of warship.

As far as firepower is concerned, HMNZS Leander represents a sort of middle ground between the existing HMS Dido and HMS Enterprise light cruisers. The Leander’s primary armament consists of four dual 6-inch (152mm) cannons, thus she has less main calibre weapons than the Dido (8 against 10), but a higher calibre and weight of fire (the Dido’s main calibre is 133mm). The Leander features the same calibre main guns found on the Enterprise, and more of them at that (8 against 7) and they are better situated, allowing all main calibre guns to fire from one side, thereby allowing captains to comfortably engage any target they may come across on the battlefield.


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Leander’s secondary and anti-air armament matches that of similar ships. Fitted with four dual 4-inch (102mm) cannons mounted in open turrets, five single 20mm auto cannons and three quadruple Vickers heavy machine guns, in addition, Leander also sports two quadruple 21-inch (533mm) torpedo launchers on either side of the hull. The ship is more than capable of defending herself against smaller vessels and air attacks, but may quickly get overwhelmed if attacked by a larger number of opponents, especially aircraft.

Fun Fact: Leander, like all ships of her class, was named after a character from Greek mythology.

Leander’s six steam turbines, powering four propellor shafts, generate 72,000 shaft horsepower, in turn allowing the ship to reach a respectable top speed of 32.5 knots (60 km/h). However, Leander’s steam turbines are placed very close to each other - 3 in a row from each side, and are all linked to a single funnel. This means that a single penetrating shot to the mid section, or high-explosive salvo hitting the funnel, may cause significant power loss.

Fortunately, Leander does possess 3-inch (76mm) thick belt armor plating, typical for British light cruisers of the time. While this won’t completely mitigate the possibility of shots penetrating the ship’s hull, it does certainly reduce the chances of it happening at longer ranges and greater angles.

HMNZS Leander is steaming at full speed towards War Thunder naval battles! Until then, be sure to stay tuned to the news for more information regarding the next major update coming to the game very soon. We’ll see you on the high seas captains!

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