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  • The Royal Navy

    February 5, 1940. HMS Ajax

    HMS Ajax was a Leander class light cruiser which served with the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom during World War II. She was made famous for her part in the Battle of the River Plate, the Battle of Crete, the Battle of Malta, as a supply escort in the Battle of Tobruk.Built at Vickers shipyard, Barrow-in-Furness, England, she was laid down on 7 February 1933, launched on 1 March 1934, and completed on 12 April 1935. Ajax served on the America and West Indies Station from completion, then joined the South American Division on the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. There she sank the German merchant Olinda and intercepted the German merchant Carl Fritzen and the passenger ship Ussukuma. Both ships scuttled themselves to avoid capture.Operating off the River Plate, she intercepted the German merchantmen Carl Fritzen, Olinda, and Ussukuma. She was the flagship of Commodore Henry Harwood's Force G during the hunt for the Admiral Graf Spee. Ajax was hit seven times by the Germans but inflicted more damage on the Graf Spee during the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939. Under repair until July 1940, she then moved to the Mediterranean. On October 11/October 12, 1940 she engaged Italian forces off Cape Passero, sinking the Spica class torpedo boats Airone and Ariel, and badly damaging the Italian destroyer Artigliere, which was later sunk by HMS York. According to Seaman Harry Mansfield, the Ajax intercepted retreating German and Italian warships which were cruising towards Crete and fired a variety of small arms and large guns completely destroying the enemy. The Ajax then took part in the Battle of Taranto, a night operation which was held under by RDF (radio detection finder). Ajax was one of the escort vessels of that highly successful operation, the first all-air attack by a naval force in history. Ajax participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan and was hit by bombs from Ju 87's on 21 May. She evacuated many troops from Crete up until 29 May 1941. She then covered Syrian operations in June, and joined Force K at Malta in November 1941, but was withdrawn in February 1942.She was refitted in England from May to October 1942, then returned to the Mediterranean where she was again damaged by bombs. After repairs in New York between March and October 1943, Ajax went back to the Mediterranean. As part of Force K, she bombarded Gold Beach during the D-Day invasion, and later supported the landings in southern France. Ajax operated in the Aegean during the reoccupation of Athens and the communist uprising in Greece.She was decommissioned in February 1948. She was initially intended to be sold to the Indian Navy but this deal did not materialize because of Winston Churchill's apparent disapproval of the sale and he felt that such an important vessel would be better off broken up to preserve her history. She duly arrived at Newport for breaking up on 18 November 1949.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ajax_(22)



    February 19, 1940. HMS Exeter

    HMS Exeter was a York class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that served in World War II. She was laid down on 1 August 1928 at the Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon. She was launched on 18 July 1929 and completed on 27 July 1931.At the outbreak of the Second World War, she formed part of the South American Division with Cumberland. Together with the Leander class light cruisers Ajax and Achilles she engaged the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939, which action resulted in the scuttling of the Admiral Graf Spee several days later. Exeter operated as a division on her own, Achilles and Ajax as the other, in order to split the fire of Graf Spee. Exeter was hit by seven 11-inch shells and several near misses caused significant splinter damage. Sixty-one of her crew were killed and another twenty-three wounded. All three 8 inch turrets were put out of action and her speed was reduced to 18 knots (33 km/h), forcing her to withdraw from battle. Exeter made for Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands for emergency repairs which took until January 1940, then returned to Devonport without assistance for full repairs between February 1940 and March 1941.On the entry of the Empire of Japan into the war in December 1941, Exeter formed part of the ABDACOM naval force intended to defend the Dutch East Indies from Japanese invasion.On February 27, 1942, Exeter was damaged in the Battle of the Java Sea when she received an 8" shell hit to a boiler room and was subsequently ordered to Surabaya for repairs. The destroyer HMS Electra was sunk covering her withdrawal. Two days later, when she attempted to reach the Sunda Strait, she was intercepted by the Japanese heavy cruisers Nachi, Haguro, Myoko and Ashigara and the destroyers Akebono, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, Yamakaze and Kawakaze on the morning of 1 March 1942. The Second Battle of the Java Sea ensued, now more appropriately called The Battle off Bawean Island, and Exeter was soon badly damaged by gunfire from the above and another crucial 8" shell hit caused the loss of all power to the ship. Scuttling charges were set and she soon began sinking, initially listing to port only to be hit to starboard by a torpedo from the destroyer Inazuma[1] which sat her back upright and rolled her to starboard before she finally sunk about noon. Her escorting destroyers, HMS Encounter and USS Pope were also lost, although Pope temporarily escaped the initial melee only to be sunk with the aid of aerial attack a few hours later. About 800 Allied seamen, including the commander of Exeter, Captain O. L. Gordon, became prisoners of war.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Exeter_(68)



    March 21, 1940. HMNZS Achilles

    HMNZS Achilles was a Leander class cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy in World War II. She became famous for her part in the Battle of the River Plate, alongside HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter.She was the second of five ships of the Leander class light cruisers, designed as effective follow-ons to the York class. Upgraded to Improved Leander class, she was capable of carrying an aircraft, becoming the first ship to carry a Supermarine Walrus although this was removed before the war.Achilles was originally built for the Royal Navy, and was commissioned as HMS Achilles on October 10, 1933. She served with the Royal Navy's New Zealand Division from March 31, 1937 up to the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, into which she was transferred in September 1941, renamed as HMNZS Achilles. Her crew was approximately 60% from New Zealand.On the outbreak of the Second World War, Achilles started patrolling the west coast of South America looking for German merchant ships, but by 22 October 1939 she had arrived at the Falkland Islands, where she was assigned to the South American Division under Commodore Henry Harwood and allocated to Force G (HMS Exeter and Cumberland).In the early morning of 1939-12-13 a force consisting of Achilles, HMS Ajax and Exeter detected smoke on the horizon, which was confirmed at 06:16 to be a pocket battleship, thought to be Admiral Scheer but which turned out to be the Admiral Graf Spee. A fierce battle ensued, at a range of approximately 20 km (22,000 yards). Achilles took some damage: four crew were killed, and her captain, W. E. Parry was injured. In the exchange of fire 36 of Graf Spee's crew were killed. The range reduced to about four miles (7 km) at around 07:15 and Admiral Graf Spee broke off the engagement around 07:45 to head for the neutral harbour of Montevideo which she entered at 22:00 that night, having been pursued by Achilles and Ajax all day. She was forced by international law to leave with 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain of the Admiral Graf Spee, Hans Langsdorff, scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.Following the battle, Achilles returned to Auckland, New Zealand on 23 February 1940, where she was refitted until June. After Japan entered the war, she escorted troop convoys, then joined the ANZAC squadron in the south west Pacific. While operating off New Georgia with U.S. forces, she was hit by a bomb on X turret on 5 January 1943. She was repaired at Portsmouth from April 1943 to May 1944, during which X turret was replaced by four two-pounders. Sent to the Eastern Fleet, Achilles then joined the British Pacific Fleet (Task Force 57) in May 1945 for final operations in the Pacific.After the war, Achilles was returned to the Royal Navy at Sheerness, Kent, England on 17 September 1946. She was then sold to the Indian Navy and recommissioned on 5 July 1948 as INS Delhi. She remained in service until decommissioned for scrap at Bombay on 30 June 1978. As part of the scrapping her Y turret was removed and given as a gift to the New Zealand government, it is now on display at the entrance of Devonport RNZN Base in Auckland.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNZS_Achilles_(70)

    Last edited by Skoblin; 15 Dec 08, 02:03.


  • #2
    March 28, 1940. HMS Ark Royal

    HMS Ark Royal (91) was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that served in the Second World War and was torpedoed on 13 November 1941 by the German submarine U-81, sinking the following day.Designed in 1934 to fit within the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and Company, Ltd. at Birkenhead, England. Completed in November 1938, she served in some of the most active naval theatres of the early stages of World War II. She was involved in a number of notable actions, including the first aerial kill of the war, operations off Norway, the search for the Bismarck, and the Malta convoys, making her one of the most famous ships of the Royal Navy. Ark Royal survived several near misses in her short career, and gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship'. The Germans incorrectly reported her as sunk on a number of occasions.Her design as one of the first purpose-built carriers incorporated many new features, and differed in numerous ways from previous designs. Ark Royal was the first ship where the flight deck was an integral part of the ship, instead of an add-on or superstructure deck. Designed to carry a large number of aircraft, she was fitted with two hangar deck levels. She served during a period that first saw the extensive use of naval air power; a number of carrier tactics were developed and refined aboard Ark Royal.Her sinking was the subject of several inquiries, with the investigators keen to know how the carrier was lost, given that there were significant efforts to save the ship and tow her to the naval base at Gibraltar. The inquiries found that several design flaws contributed to the sinking, which were rectified in new British carriers. Although recorded as sinking 22 nautical miles (41 km) from Gibraltar, this was proved incorrect when Ark Royal was located in December 2002, approximately 30 nautical miles (56 km) from Gibraltar.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ark_Royal_(91)



    April 22, 1940. HMS Spearfish

    HMS Spearfish was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched April 21, 1936 and fought in World War II. Spearfish is one of 12 boats named in the song Twelve Little S-Boats. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to be named Spearfish.Her wartime career started inauspiciously, when on the 24th September, 1939, she was heavily damaged by German warships off Horns Reef. She was unable to submerge but nevertheless managed to escape. A rescue mission was undertaken by the British Humber force and Home Fleet, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, and the battleship HMS Nelson, which performed escort duty whilst search and rescue attempts were made. Spearfish safely put in Rosyth on the 26th, and repairs were completed in early March 1940.Another notable action occurred on April 4, 1940, when whilst patrolling in the Kattegat when she torpedoed and damaged the German pocket battleship Lützow, putting her out of action for over a year. Later that year, on May 20, she sunk two Danish fishing vessels with gunfire in the North Sea.Spearfish sailed from Rosyth on July 31 1940 to patrol off the Norwegian coast. On August 1 she was spotted on the surface by U34 who attacked and sank her. There was only one survivor.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Spearfish



    April 25, 1940. HMS Snapper/HMS Seal

    HMS Snapper was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched October 25, 1934 and fought in World War II. Snapper is one of 12 boats named in the song Twelve Little S-Boats.Snapper spent most of her career in home waters. She was mistakenly attacked by a British aircraft when returning to Harwich after a patrol in the North Sea. Although suffering a direct hit, Snapper escaped damage. She went on to sink the small German tanker Moonsund, the German merchant Florida, the German auxiliary minesweepers M 1701 / H. M. Behrens and M 1702 / Carsten Janssen, the German armed trawler V 1107 / Portland and the Norwegian merchant Cygnus. She also attacked the German armed merchant cruiser Schiff 21 / Widder, but the torpedoes missed their target.She left the Clyde on January 29, 1941 to patrol in the Bay of Biscay. She should have arrived in her patrol area on February 1. She was ordered to remain on station until the 10th and then to return with her escort. Snapper failed to make the rendezvous with the escort and was not heard from again. It is believed that she met her fate through a mine or that she was mortally damaged by a minesweeper which attacked a submarine in Snapper's area on the 11th although Snapper should have been out of the area by then.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Snapper_(39S)

    Last edited by Skoblin; 15 Dec 08, 02:01.

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    • #3
      HMS Hood

      May 1941. HMS Hood

      HMS Hood (pennant number 51) was a battlecruiser of the Royal Navy, and considered the pride of the Royal Navy in the interwar period and during the early period of World War II. She was one of four Admiral class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916 under the Emergency War Programme. Although the design was drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland, it was realised that there were serious limitations even to the revised design; for this reason, and because of evidence that the German battlecruisers that they were designed to counter were unlikely to be completed, work on her sister ships was suspended in 1917. As a result, Hood was Britain's last completed battlecruiser. She was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood. Hood had served in the Royal Navy for over two decades before her sinking at the hands of the German battleship Bismarck, on 24 May 1941.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Hood_(51)

      Last edited by Skoblin; 15 Dec 08, 01:59.

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      • #4
        HMS Repulse

        May 27, 1940. HMS Repulse. May 27, 1940. HMS Repulse was a Renown-class battlecruiser, the second to last battlecruiser built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland, for the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1916, too late to take part in the Battle of Jutland, but also too early to incorporate the lessons of that battle. Still in time to take part in World War I, in September 1916, she joined the Grand Fleet as flagship of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron.Repulse first saw action on 17 November 1917 at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight. Commanded by Captain William "Ginger" Boyle she briefly engaged two German battleships, SMS Kaiser and SMS Kaiserin, before they retired. The next month, Repulse was damaged in collision with the battlecruiser HMAS Australia.After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Repulse operated in various hunting groups that were formed to hunt down German commerce raiders. However, she did not engage any. In December, she performed escort duty for troop carriers between Canada and Britain. In July, 1940, when Glowworm was lost attacking the Admiral Hipper, Repulse took part in the search, but failed to make contact. Towards the end of the campaign, during the evacuation of British troops, due to concern that an invasion of Iceland was in process, Repulse was detached from protecting Norway convoys to search for the invasion force. In fact, no invasion was under way. Subsequently Repulse returned to convoy protection through early 1941.In January 1941, Repulse participated in the hunt for the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. In May, she took part in the chase of the Bismarck. In August, she was transferred to Cape Town, South Africa, and in October, she was transferred to India, arriving on 28 October.At the end of 1941, as the threat of war with Japan loomed ever larger, Repulse was detached to the Far East as a deterrent to Japanese aggression. This force, long envisioned in Admiralty strategic planning as a large battle fleet designed to act as a Fleet-in-being and as a counter to Japanese intentions, eventually was despatched to Singapore as an under-strength squadron. Its inability to act as a deterrent would soon be exposed.Initially designated as Force G, this squadron was sent without the planned for aircraft carrier to Singapore. Shortly after the outbreak of war in the Pacific on 8 December 1941, Repulse left Singapore in company with the other major element of the Eastern Fleet, the fast battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and 4 destroyers, to try and intercept Japanese invasion convoys heading towards Malaya. Both the HMS Repulse and the HMS Prince of Wales were subsequently sunk by Japanese aircraft on December 10, 1941.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Repulse_(1916)


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        • #5
          Good stuff all! Thanks Skoblin!
          History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
          _________
          BoRG
          __________
          "I am Arthur, King of the Britons!"

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          • #6
            More Royal Navy stuff coming, Torien: HMAS Sydney, HMS KGV, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Cossack and others....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by skoblin View Post
              More Royal Navy stuff coming, Torien: HMAS Sydney, HMS KGV, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Cossack and others....
              Excellent !
              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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              • #8
                HMAS Sydney, that would be interesting to see!
                "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                Ernest Hemingway.

                In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Achtung baby View Post
                  HMAS Sydney, that would be interesting to see!
                  HMAS Sydney was a light cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) between 1934 and 1941. Sydney had great success in the first years of World War II, but controversy and mystery surrounded the loss of the battle-hardened ship and her crew in November 1941. She was sunk on 19 November 1941 with the loss of all 645 hands, which represented the greatest loss of life in an Australian warship, and the largest Allied vessel to sink with all hands during the war. She was classified by the RAN as a Modified Leander class cruiser, although these ships are sometimes known as the "Perth class" or the "Amphion class". As Sydney was originally intended for the Royal Navy, she was known as HMS Phaeton for part of her construction. The ship was bought by the Australian government and renamed before she was launched. After years of searching, the wreckage of the German vessel that sank HMAS Sydney, the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran was found on 12 March 2008. On 17 March 2008 the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that the wreck of HMAS Sydney had also been discovered, on the previous day. Sydney was found 150 kilometres (81 nmi) from Shark Bay, Western Australia and 22.6 kilometres (12.2 nmi) from the Kormoran.

                  July 1936. Movietone News.



                  April 3, 1941. Movietone News.


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                  • #10
                    Thanks skoblin, the videos were very interesting to watch. Although I did find it a bit sad watching the second video, to see all the faces of those men and their families, some openly emotional to see them back home... and knowing what happened to the ship later that year!
                    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                    Ernest Hemingway.

                    In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

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                    • #11
                      1931 The Royal Navy at Kiel

                      1931. Units of the British Royal Navy make a hospitality visit to the German naval base at Kiel. The first meeting of the fleets since the end of World War I.


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                      • #12
                        Just found a video of the HMS Rodney from early 1930s. Will post tomorrow.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skoblin View Post
                          Just found a video of the HMS Rodney from early 1930s. Will post tomorrow.
                          Looking forward to it.
                          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                          • #14
                            1931 HMS Rodney and HMS Nelson

                            The Nelson class was a class of two battleships of the British Royal Navy, built shortly after, and under the terms of, the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. They were the first British battleships built since the Revenge class (ordered in 1913) and their orders were not followed until the King George V class of 1936. In order that they comply with the limitations of the Washington treaty, these ships were of an unusual design with many novel features. In order to reduce the weight of armour, the main gun turrets were mounted all forward, shortening the necessary armoured length. All three were in front of the bridge; 'B' was mounted superfiring over 'A', with 'Q' turret at the main deck level behind 'B', and therefore unable to fire directly forward or aft. The large superstructure, which was triangular in plan, was sometimes referred to as the "Queen Anne's Mansions", from its similarity to a 14-storey brick residential development of the same name, opposite St. James's Park underground railway station in London.Their main armament of 16-inch (406 mm) guns were mounted in triple turrets, the only RN battleships with this feature. The guns themselves were a step away from standard British designs. Where previous RN weapons fired heavy shells at a moderate velocity, the Nelson's weapons followed the German practice of a lighter shell at a higher velocity.Because of their unusual silhouette, HMS Nelson and her sister Rodney were sarcastically nicknamed Nelsol and Rodnol by the Royal Navy - their manoeuvrability issues and single-funnelled silhouettes reminded Navy men of oil tankers, and a series of fleet oilers had been built during the First World War that bore names ending in "ol".

                            Synopsis:
                            1. Front view - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant
                            2. Side view - HMS Nelson
                            3. On deck view of turrets - HMS Rodney
                            4. Planes flying over the HMS Rodney
                            5. Rear view of HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Nelson turning
                            6. HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Rodney and HMS Nelson in row
                            7. Anchor on board the HMS Rodney.


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                            • #15
                              I read the post skoblin, but why would that "Q" battery have been lower than the one in front of it?

                              Anybody?
                              History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
                              _________
                              BoRG
                              __________
                              "I am Arthur, King of the Britons!"

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