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Thread: This Week - 19th December

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    Default This Week - 19th December

    Hi team
    This month in history we remember the loss of HMS NEPTUNE with 150 New Zealanders onboard losing their lives; over half of those were Naval Reservists before the outbreak of WW2.
    On Saturday of this week, 19th December, the annual memorial service for those lost will be held at HMNZS PEGASUS the Naval Reserve Unit in Christchurch.

    Also in December but two years earlier than the Neptune tragedy, HMS ACHILLES went into battle against the German 'pocket battleship' ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE. Of the Achilles crew 321 were New Zealanders.

    Regards
    Peter Hogg
    RNZNA South Canterbury N.Z.

    "peterhogg222@gmail.com"



    HMS NEPTUNE
    It was New Zealand’s worst naval tragedy. When the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Neptune struck enemy mines and sank off Libya early on the morning of 19th December 1941.
    HMS NEPTUNE sank with the loss of all but one of her Ship's company on the night of 19 December 1941. The tragedy took the lives of 757 officers and ratings; Able Seaman John Norman Walton was the sole survivor. Of those lost in NEPTUNE, 150 were New Zealanders, and 80 of them had served in the Naval Reserve before the outbreak of war.
    Early in 1941, the New Zealand Government had responded to the Admiralty's request for more sailors to man the increasing number of ships being brought into war service. It was intended to form a New Zealand crew for an additional cruiser; NEPTUNE had been approved for this purpose. She had been expected to leave the United Kingdom for New Zealand in May, but instead she was attached to the Seventh Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean because of the heavy loss of cruisers suffered during the Crete campaign.
    At that time there was considerable effort concentrated on disrupting enemy supply lines from Italy to North Africa. In the months leading up to December 1941, as many as 77% of ships sailing from Italy to Tripoli were sunk.
    NEPTUNE joined Admiral Cunningham's Force K, based on Malta. On 17 December 1941 every available ship was deployed in an effort to ensure that the oiler HMS BRECONSHIRE arrived safely in Malta. The threat came not only from aircraft but also from two Italian Battleships, whose presence indicated the Italians' intention to sail a convoy to Tripoli. Force K sailed 18 December 1941 in an attempt to intercept it.

    It was blowing hard from the SW with a heavy sea. At one o'clock in the morning, the ships were 20 miles from Tripoli when NEPTUNE triggered a mine with one of her paravanes. Directly behind her, AURORA also triggered a mine. Whilst going full astern, NEPTUNE triggered two more mines that damaged her propellers and steering gear. Force K was in a deep-water minefield.
    During the following three hours there were many attempts to assist both NEPTUNE and the destroyer KANDAHAR, which was also badly damaged. However NEPTUNE struck another mine at 0400 and sank within a few minutes. Just sixteen men survived the ordeal and managed to climb aboard a raft, but during the next five days they died one after another. John Norman Walton alone survived, and was rescued by the Italians on Christmas Eve to become a prisoner of war.
    As her company fought to save NEPTUNE during those perilous hours, there would have been many acts of gallantry and heroism that went unrecorded. The loss of NEPTUNE remains the greatest single tragedy New Zealand Naval Forces have experienced.

    United Kingdom
    Name: HMS Neptune
    Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
    Laid down: 24 September 1931
    Launched: 31 January 1933
    Commissioned: 12 February 1934
    Identification: Pennant number: 20
    Motto: Regnare est servire
    (Latin: "To reign is to serve")
    Fate: Sunk 19 December 1941 by mines off Tripoli
    General characteristics
    Class & type: Leander-class light cruiser
    Displacement: 7,270 tons standard
    9,740 tons full load
    Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)
    Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
    Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
    Installed power: 72,000 shaft horsepower (54,000 kW)
    Propulsion: 4 Parsons geared steam turbines
    6 Admiralty 3-drum oil-fired boilers
    Four shafts
    Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
    Range: 5,730 nautical miles (10,610 km) at 13 knots (24 km/h)
    Complement: peacetime 550
    wartime 680
    Sensors and
    processing systems:
    type 284/286 air search radar
    type 273/271 surface search
    type 285 6 inch (152 mm) fire control
    type 282 40 mm fire control
    Armament: Original configuration:
    8[1] BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns[2]
    4 4 in guns
    12 0.5 in machine guns
    8 21 in torpedo tubes
    Armour: 4 in (102 mm) main belt
    2.5 in (64 mm) ends
    1.25 to 2 in (32 to 51 mm) deck
    1 in (25 mm) turrets
    Aircraft carried: One catapult-launched aircraft
    Original type was a Fairey Seafox
    catpult and aircraft later replaced with Supermarine Walrus


    ACTION STATIONS ON HMS ACHILLES 13 DECEMBER 1939





    When the cruiser HMS Achilles opened fire on the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic, at 6.21 a.m. on 13 December 1939, it became the first New Zealand unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War. With the New Zealand ensign flying proudly from its mainmast – as battle loomed, a signalman had run aft with the ensign shouting ‘Make way for the Digger flag!’ – Achilles also became the first New Zealand warship to take part in a naval battle.
    The 82-minute engagement between the Graf Spee and its three smaller British opponents – Achilles, Ajax and Exeter – was inconclusive. All four were damaged, with the British ships suffering 72 fatalities (among them two New Zealanders) to the Graf Spee's 36. But the German warship's subsequent withdrawal to the neutral Uruguayan port of Montevideo, and its dramatic scuttling by its own crew on 17 December, turned the Battle of the River Plate into a major British victory – and a welcome morale boost for the Allied cause.
    April 1939: AAAAAA
    ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE Oct 1939 in Atlantic

    Name: Admiral Graf Spee
    Namesake: Maximilian von Spee
    Builder: Reichsmarinewerft, Wilhelmshaven
    Laid down: 1 October 1932
    Launched: 30 June 1934
    Commissioned: 6 January 1936
    Fate: Scuttled, 17 December 1939
    General characteristics
    Class & type: Deutschland-class cruiser
    Displacement: 14,890 t (14,650 long tons; 16,410 short tons) (design)
    16,020 long tons (16,280 t) (full load)
    Length: 186 m (610 ft 3 in)
    Beam: 21.65 m (71 ft 0 in)
    Draft: 7.34 m (24 ft 1 in)
    Propulsion: Eight MAN diesel engines
    Two propellers
    52,050 shp (38,810 kW)
    Speed: 28.5 knots (52.8 km/h; 32.8 mph)
    Range: 16,300 nautical miles (30,200 km; 18,800 mi) at 18.69 knots (34.61 km/h; 21.51 mph)
    Complement: As built:

    o 33 officers
    o 586 enlisted
    After 1935:

    o 30 officers
    o 921–1,040 enlisted
    Sensors and
    processing systems:
    1940:

    o FMG 39 G(gO)
    1941:

    o FMG 40 G(gO)
    o FuMO 26
    Armament: As built:

    o 6 28 cm (11 in) in triple turrets
    o 8 15 cm (5.9 in) in single turrets
    o 8 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes
    Armor: Main turrets: 140 mm (5.5 in)
    Belt: 80 mm (3.1 in)
    Main deck: 17–45 mm (0.67–1.77 in)
    Aircraft carried: Two Arado Ar 196 seaplanes
    Aviation facilities: One catapult
    Brian Probetts (site admin)
    R760142

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    On this day in 1923: The Fleetwood trawler WREN FD 174 Foundered in North Sea in storm conditions, all nine crew lost. BURMAH (H86) received a signal believed from sinking trawler but unable to proceed in blizzard conditions.
    S.T. Wren FD174 : The Bosun's Watch

    S.T. Wren FD174 : The Bosun's Watch
    The Bosun's Watch

    Official Number: 108530 Yard Number: 553 Completed: 1897 Gross Tonnage: 144 Net Tonnage: 44 Length: ...
    .
    .
    .On this day in 1939: The Fleetwood trawler AUREA FD300 Foundered in the North Sea, 150 miles E by N of May Island, Firth of Forth after being bombed and damaged by German air attack; one deckhand, James Swanney killed by machine gun fire. Survivors taken onboard COLLEAGUE (GN53).
    S.T. Aurea FD300 : The Bosun's Watch

    S.T. Aurea FD300 : The Bosun's Watch
    The Bosun's Watch

    Official Number: 141946 Yard Number: 279 Completed: 1917 Gross Tonnage: 270 Net Tonnage: 105 Length:...
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 17th December 2015 at 10:29 AM.

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    On this day in 1944: The Fleetwood trawler RIVER YTHAN M51 was reported missing since leaving Grimsby. Twelve crew lost.
    S.T. River Ythan M51 : The Bosun's Watch

    S.T. River Ythan M51 : The Bosun's Watch
    The Bosun's Watch

    Official Number: 118159 Yard Number: 388 Completed: 1905 Gross Tonnage: 161 Net Tonnage: 61 Length: ...

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    Contrast the pics of those WW2 warships with the latest from the United States, not only its hull design but its fire power.
    Navy new destroyer: USS Zumwalt is bigger, badder than any other destroyer (+video) - CSMonitor.com
    rgds
    JA (sorry for breaking into the thread)

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arton View Post
    Contrast the pics of those WW2 warships with the latest from the United States, not only its hull design but its fire power.
    Navy new destroyer: USS Zumwalt is bigger, badder than any other destroyer (+video) - CSMonitor.com
    rgds
    JA (sorry for breaking into the thread)
    But it keeps breaking down and had to be towed back 40 miles into port, also its mine locating and destroying capabilities failed to locate and destroy over 50% of the mines on a recent excercise

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Cloherty View Post
    But it keeps breaking down and had to be towed back 40 miles into port, also its mine locating and destroying capabilities failed to locate and destroy over 50% of the mines on a recent excercise
    Ivan
    just minor teething troubles then eh!
    rgds
    JA

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    I think the manning of RN warships was always on the side of overmanning as lead to believe there was always a back up man for every job. To have 751 men on the size of the NZ ship pictured would in all consequences have a large number of fatalities. Don't know how the manning today compares of yesteryear but must be taken into consideration by their Lords of The Admiralty when acquiring any new buildings. I know by the manning of British Mine Hunters in the late 70"s and early 80"s they were always well manned and still used hammocks in spare spaces. If I had a sharper mind when asked by PC if the ship I was on was any better inside than outside, should have replied about the same state as HMS Bonnington who we sometimes worked with and he was on during his naval career. They even carried a gunnery officer for the one 6 pounder or whatever it was. As what I have seen on the likes of going on trials before handing over to the Navy, when the ship used to be manned by its full complement , the hardest working people were the PO's Who took on most jobs and did an excellent job. JS

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    having seen old time colliers of the 50s come alongside with two forrard and 2 aft ....in an assortment of gear from long johns ....just out his bunk .......to a peg leg as old as the likes of JS...i couldnt believe the ist time i saw a destroyer come alongside there appeares to be dozens of matelots covering the working area......i suppose this is part of the ......look at us we are the big shout round here ......a look of power .....but when you think about it they have so many more offices to look after .....i am not decrying them they always looked the biz ...and i bet hugh was the pride of the crowd .........happy xmas to the ROYAL NAVY.....seamen all...... regards cappy

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    #5...Ivan, the Zumwalt has been doing okay so far. The ship you mentioned is one of the new Littoral Combat Ships, which have been dogged by questions about their mission, performance and ability to survive in combat. The main problem is that their hi-tech robotic mine hunting gear just isn't coming up to scratch. I belive the original order for 52 has now been cut to 32.

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    Default Re: This Week - 19th December

    Doing exercises off Falmouth one time I had to take the fast launch we had into Falmouth itself for something or other. No one told me which way I had to approach so I was just under the speed at which the boat was supposed to plane about 28 knots, when all these objects started popping to the surface, they were the dummy mines in the exercise area. Big hue and cry "you shouldn't have gone that way" too late now was the reply. Continuing on into Falmouth I didn't reduce speed enough and was over the 4 knots harbour speed. There were hundreds of tourists on the sea wall and around the little harbour there, amidst them all was this figure in a full dress MN uniform shouting through a megaphone words of Blasphemy, and the tourists all laughing at this scene of nautical activity, I spoiled it all for them when I shouted back "who the hell are you the Deck Chair attendant". The old Harbour master never forgave me and I noticed whenever I went back in for stores etc. the fast boat he had was always in the vicinity, he reported me to various high up personnel, but hey we live in the land of free speech, abuse is abuse he swore I didn't. Cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 19th December 2015 at 12:11 AM.

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