Hi RF and everyone else!
These threads to tend to meander a bit off topic. Sometimes the expansions are within the fair scope of the original and sometimes not. The original topic was substitute New Orleans or Zara Class for Sydney; I think it's reasonable to expand that to other classes of heavy and light cruisers. But I plead guilty to being clearly off topic by asking whether some mechanical failure would be an alternative explanation that goes easier on Burnett. As to the latter, I'm going to research and refine that hypo and open a new thread shortly and hope every one joins me in kicking that ball around! So with this in mind RF Posted:
You have quoted me out of context. The sentence you mention was being applied to the main thrust of this thread, namely that instead of Sydney it is the USS New Orleans that Kormoran is shooting at, and was made as a point to ask whether a heavy cruiser as opposed to a light cruiser could stand up to a sustained assault, where the first Kormoran salvo may be insufficient to cause the disablement you detail on Sydney to New Orleans.
Sorry about the out of context. The thread meandering noted above tends to lend itself to that! But I'll address the OP and then do a little "natural expansion" to some other classes of cruisers - the most pertinent such expansion I think is the County Class. RF, you seem to agree that concentrating on the first salvo and topside exposure of CCC gets to the hard point fast so that theme is my thrust.
1. New Orleans - Bigger ship, more than three times the bridge armor and probably other topside protection, and lots more space - much more has to be destroyed to mission kill in one blow.
I think the same is true for the whole lot of the prewar US heavy cruisers starting with Pensacola. We have actual combat results to look at because they bore the brunt of the early Pacific fight. Five or more were sunk so we know what it takes to sink them. The pictures on the first page of the thread show what they could take and survive. One of your countrymen summed it up about them on another Board - "Say what you want, those Yanks knew how to build a cruiser!"
2. Zara - From what I can see these were tough and capable ships with capable crews - the problem was how senior leadership used them. I say same as 1. Plus see 6 below.
3. County Class and other Empire Heavy Cruisers - The focus has to be on comparing bridge and CCC protection to Sydney and its ability to withstand the first salvo. I haven't been able to find a lot of data other than the fact that the Counties had more expansive bridges and about twice the thickness of topside armor. While it cannot be said to be proof against Komoran's 6 inch guns, these have to be meaningful differences.
4. Other British Empire light cruisers - We have very detailed relevant information from the Sydney Report. I think that in all these important respects they were all the same and all would have fared the same as Sydney.
5. Brooklyns - I haven't researched it but I think the analysis would be almost the same as in 1. Plus the Captain would probably be much more aware of and predisposed to take full advantage of 15! rapid fire 6 inch guns - a man would not likely forget because he probably also felt hose guns between his legs!.
6. Any Existing Axis Heavy Or Light Cruiser Including Zara, Mogami, Atagos, Kakos, Hippers, K Class, Katoris, Italian lights - Detmer's log records that Komoran was a reasonably happy ship and the probable reason why - there was plenty of booze aboard. I say any of these Axis ships ties up along side and they have a party, provided the Japanese bring saki or the Italians wine! Note that this would increase Sydney's chances of bagging them both.
7. Baltimores, Clevelands, And Any Other Not Yet Existing Cruiser On Either Side - Impermissible expansion of Topic.