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Everything posted by EwenS

  1. Typical Shoreham class pre-war Note two masts and bulwark along the sides of the quarterdeck, the height of the funnel relative to the top of the bridge and the length of the forward deck from bow to the bridge. Only 7 of 8 built survived the war. Bideford - destored 5/45 & laid up at Milford Haven until scrapped Fowey - to Portsmouth 1/46 for a refit that was cancelled. Sold on civilian market that Oct. Here is her final RN fit https://www.pinterest.cl/pin/292593307041121060/?amp_client_id=CLIENT_ID(_)&mweb_unauth_id=&simplified=true Rochester - disarmed training ship from 7/45 with extra accomodation in place of aft 4" gun but nothing forward of the bridge. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205159598 Shoreham - operational in Far East and Persian Gulf until 7/46. Then home to pay off and sold 11/46. Dundee - sunk in WW2 Falmouth - operational in Far East & Persian Gulf until 12/46. Then to reserve until rescued in 1952 as an RNVR drillship based at Newcastle. Milford - to reserve in 1946 after serving latterly as a sub target vessel for which she remained armed without any deckhouses, and a tall structure on the aft end of the bridge to carry the Type 271 radar lantern. Also partial bulwark on quarterdeck. Weston - in reserve from 6/45 before scrapping. So Im just not seeing either the opportunity or the layout for the mystery ship to be a Shoreham class I'm afraid.
  2. You are welcome. The Black Swans have been a favourite of mine since I bought a book about British Escort ships as a kid way back in the 1970s. Out of interest what kind of suggestions were being made over on your FB Group? FB is just something I can't get into.
  3. Erne was stripped of her armament in 1952 and became a static RNVR at Southampton. But no extra deckhouses were added and, anyway, she had gained a lattice mast in 1945. Starling joined Redpole as a navigation training ship in 1946. Crucially for me however is that she retained the tall lattice mast she had gained in 1945 in anticipation of her service in the Pacific. Here is a photo of how she appeared in 1946 in that role. By 1957 she had gained yet more superstructure on the quarterdeck and behind the funnel. Wren (on quarterdeck) & Wild Goose (in place of X gun and on the quarterdeck) gained some extra accomodation in 1946 for service in the Persian Gulf but again both had lattice masts and kept most of their armament. Woodcock was another that kept her tripod mainmast postwar but had a short lattice aft supporting her radar like Redpole. But she came home from the Pacific in 1946 and went straight to reserve with no further active service. Their good AA armament made the Black Swans a priority for refitting for the Pacific immediately the war in Europe ended, although not all got there in time. They were then quite active in the postwar period, having been built on traditional naval lines rather than austere emergency basis, up until being sent to reserve mostly in the early-mid 1950s. But that service tended to be in the further flung parts of the world; Far East (think Amethyst up the Yangtse river in 1949), Persian Gulf, South Atlantic, Caribbean etc and they kept their armament. Someone made a suggestion that the mystery photo may have been taken in Malta. I think that unlikely. Photos taken in Malta tend to be from an elevated position in one of the forts looking down on the subject as they entered or left harbour. The mystery photo is taken from close to sea level. I've even thought about it being one of the pre-war or postwar temporary conversions of sloops, frigates or minesweepers to survey ships but cant find anything that fits the bill. Derby Haven or Woodbridge Haven are still the closest that I can get to fitting that mystery photo. Oh and here is Enchantress in her pre-war Admiralty yacht configuration and in her final, partially disarmed (she kept her Oerlikons only), wartime configuration returning home to pay off in March 1946 after a brief service with the British Pacific Fleet. Sorry, I was mistaken about her getting a lattice mast. She was sold for mercantile service in Oct 1946.
  4. The Black Swans were all wartime completions and the photo looks postwar not 1930s. But by 1945 the majority of the class had been refitted with lattice foremasts which, even allowing for the poor photo quality, would appear much thicker than in the photo. Later completions from about 1944 had them from the start. Here is Black Swan herself fresh from refit with her lattice mast heading for the Pacific in 1945. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Black_Swan_(L57)#/media/File%3AHMS_Black_Swan_1945_IWM_FL_2274.jpg The only ships of the class I can immediately think of retaining the tripod were Pheasant (in reserve throughout the post war period until scrapped) and Redpole. The latter was disarmed and acquired a deckhouse in X gun position. BUT cruciallly retained her very prominent after mast structure carrying the Type 277 radar set as here. Even allowing for the poor photo quality, I would expect it to be visible. And that Black Swan tripod just seems too sloped compared to the photo, which still seems to me to be a near vertical pole mast. The only other Black Swan option might be one of the Indian ships with which I’m less familiar because photos are rare. And before anyone asks, Pelican (sole survivor of the Egret class) and Enchantress (sole survivor of the Bittern class) had also gained lattice foremasts by 1945. Pre-war both ships had prominent mainmasts as well.
  5. I doubt it. There is no superstructure forward of the bridge. The mystery photo seems to have at least one level if not two, hiding under that awning. Also the foremast slopes whereas that in the mystery photo seems vertical to me. And the funnel seems too tall relative to the bridge. Here is another photo of Rochester with a clear view of the forward end. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205159598
  6. Time to put two other candidates in the ring. The pair of Loch class frigates converted while under construction to Coastal Forces Depot Ships. Derby Haven & Woodbridge Haven. As part of that conversion they received additional superstructure on the squid deck, between the bridge and the funnel and on the aft gundeck. They also had a vertical pole foremast but no mainmast. There were detail differences between the two eg armament. And for at least a while Derby Haven carried no side pennant number. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205161874 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205121669 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120917
  7. Another reason for it not being an interwar sloop of any class is the lack of a mainmast. The foremast is apparent in the photo and, despite the poor quality, I would have expected a mainmast of similar size, as in the inter war sloops, to show up just as well.
  8. Don’t ask me why but the “feel” of the photo is postwar not 1930s. I’d hazard a guess that it is a River class frigate. That is based on the shape of the hull and break in the forecastle. i don’t think it is a Black Swan as the foremast seems vertical, whereas that in the Bittern, Egret and Black Swan classes was angled slightly aft. Also the flare on the bow seems to go right deck edge. In a Black Swan there is small vertical lip at the deck edge in the bow separating the flare from the deck edge. I think I can make out a sponson for a gun mount just aft of the break in the forecastle which again is not a feature of the Sloop classes. To be honest my first reaction was that it was HMS Nith postwar in her configuration as an LSH(S) when she had acquired some extra superstructure. Then I realised there is no after mast present in the photo nor an angled funnel cap. She is the only River I can think of with a sponson in that aft location. She had lost her 4” guns by this stage for more light AA. Waveney and Meon were also converted in similar fashion. Meon also had 2 masts. But I’ve never seen a photo of Waveney. That said the photo quality is awful awful so it could even be a “carrier”!
  9. Comment in “Air Arsenal North America” about RAF procurement of the Buffalo in late 1939 (order placed cDec that year) with my emphasis. “....The main driver for its purchase was the need to provide more modern equipment for the RAF in areas not directly involved in the war; this need could not be met from existing production lines, which were more than fully committed to equipping and supporting front-line units in combat areas.” The RAF assessed both the P-35 and the Buffalo for the role but selected the Buffalo as it was thought Seversky would be too busy fulfilling a Swedish order they had just picked up, while at the same time ignoring rumours of internal management problems at Brewster. So an underestimation of the likely enemy aircraft they would face 2 years later. But how much information was there on the Oscar? (First flight Jan 1939, service entry Oct 1941). How much on the Zero (first flight April 1939, service entry July 1940)? There was some on the latter from China but everyone, British and American, chose to ignore that. There was an air warning system in Malaya. It began to be built up from March 1941, around the same time as the Buffalos began arriving. And it had been successfully used in exercises in Aug/Sept 1941. By 8/12/41 there were 5 operational radar sets (the northernmost one at Mersing on the east coast) of the Chain Overseas type (overseas version of Chain Home) and a system capable of giving Singapore 30 mins notice of an attack coming in. More radars had been planned but priorities were greater elsewhere. GCI was for example due to be installed early spring 1942. But the problems in setting up such a system should not be overlooked when compared to the U.K. The telephone system into which RAF secure lines were plugged in the U.K. was nowhere near so extensive in Malaya necessitating more line laying to get it up and running. Weather interfered with radar signals to a much greater extent. Setting up an Observer Corps also began in 1941 but encountered the problem of locating sites on jungle clad hill tops and telephones again. There is even a story from Burma of reliance on heliographs! And as for the Buffalo squadrons. 2 RAF formed in March 1941 in Singapore from personnel sent from U.K. 2 Australian recently formed that arrived in Aug and only completed their Buffalo outfit in Oct/Nov, and a New Zealand squadron formed in NZ in Sept which arrived in Singapore in Oct and for which the Buffalo was its very first aircraft. Just how many of those pilots were straight out of OTUs? And what tactics were they being taught there? Because what was appropriate against an Me109 was no good against a Japanese fighter with its experienced pilot. So not a very good starting point to take on the IJAAF in Dec 1941.
  10. From FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 TOC 804 Sqn Hatston, tested 25/7/40-9/40; 759 Sqn Yeovilton 7/41. And that is it.
  11. Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945 lists 27 FAA Buffalos with the RN, 26 of which came from Belgian orders. These were serialled AS412,413,415-427 and AX810-820. The odd machine was BB450. They were used by 759, 760, 804and 885 squadrons in Britain and 805 in the Middle East.
  12. I came across a comment in the old Ducimus publication on the Spitfire that noted that while the AM instruction was dated 30 April, the “Spitfire drawings”, presumably at the factories, weren’t updated until 21 May 1941. Never doubt the ability of bureaucracy to slow things down!!
  13. See this from the RAAF Museum. 20in increase in wingspan from Prototype but doesn’t, on a quick reading identify how it was made. It is also noted in the Appendix 4 to Bowyer & Sharps Mosquito book and again I can’t see a reason being given or how it was carried out. https://www.airforce.gov.au/sites/default/files/minisite/static/7522/RAAFmuseum/exhibitions/restoration/dh_98.htm
  14. Might be worth considering a visit to a chiropractor. I had some major back problems 15 years ago for which the GP recommended rest and some pretty strong painkillers (didn’t help the pain - I just didn’t care about it any more!!). A series of sessions with a chiropractor worked some magic on realigning bits of my spine. Since then it’s been much better, with occasional twinges cured by a few days of the exercises he had me doing.
  15. So issued by the Air Ministry to all commands on 30 April 1942, who then have to ensure it is transmitted all the way down to squadron level, who then have to find the time to repaint the aircraft in between operational sorties. The instruction is to introduce them “...as early as possible on all aircraft.” So without email () it probably was into June if not July before it actually began to be implemented on the front line and seen on aircraft. And the circulation list at the bottom only seems to cover U.K. based Commands. So there must have been other communications covering overseas Commands, particularly the Middle East, and aircraft manufacturers.
  16. I've just seen this and see no one has replied. There is a summary here of which Essex class ships underwent which post-war modifications. This should give you a starting point. Just watch for the location of the starboard side deck edge lift which varied in some SCB-125 conversions depending on what had happened before. https://www.seaforces.org/usnships/cv/Essex-class.htm And you will find plenty of photos here. https://www.navsource.org/archives/02idx.htm
  17. You will find a detailed history of her here http://www.combinedfleet.com/Taiho.htm The now defunct AJ Press did a two volume set of books with many drawings and pieces of artwork, some drawn from original ships plans. If you intend adding a lower hangar as you are doing with GZ watch out for the armour layout on the lower hangar floor. Drawings seem to show part of it with a slope over the boiler uptakes that I am still trying to fully understand. It makes no sense in terms of parking aircraft down there. You will also find some photos, deck plans and cross sections (including one with that awkward hangar floor) here https://www.armouredcarriers.com/japanese-aircraft-carrier-taiho-armoured-flight-decks
  18. Graham I think the only thing we will agree about in this discussion is to leave it alone at this point.
  19. But taking back ownership of the FAA was the first step in sorting out the problems that the Admiralty faced with the RAF and Air Ministry inter-war. The Inskip Report was given to Govt in Dec 1937 and the FAA returned to full Admiralty control on 24th May 1939. Question for you. How many senior RAF officers in WW2 came from the RNAS? Despite the RFC and the RNAS being of similar size when the RAF formed on 1 April 1918 it was the RNAS part, coastal patrol etc, that suffered most heavily in the post WW1 cutbacks. The effect of that is then seen in RAF senior officer ranks in WW2 - very few from the RNAS. So as time went on there are fewer senior RAF officers with knowledge of naval aviation. After 1918 the Air Ministry went so far as banning RAF officers from maintaining direct contact with the Admiralty on policy matters or the evolution of air tactics. Perhaps understandable as the new boys on the block marking out their territory. Contact between the Admiralty and Air Ministry was supposed to via a series of Committees. But these were AM committees and drew most of their membership from the AM and RAF. RN representation was limited to junior officers with little staff experience. Despite the cost of naval aircraft coming from the RN budget, all sourcing had to be done via the AM, and they really only wanted to adapt RAF types for naval use inter war, presumably to keep the overall cost of development to them down. The RN wasn’t allowed direct contact with the aviation industry. And industry kept in with the AM for obvious commercial reasons when orders for new aircraft were few and far between. But the effect was that over time the Admiralty lost touch with what was and was not possible in aircraft design. That led to it continuing to push design criteria that limited aircraft performance come the latter part of the 1930s. When you compare British naval aircraft design with that of the US and Japan, there is not a lot to choose between them until about the mid / late 1930s. Design of both the US Douglas TBD Devastator and the British Blackburn Skua start about 1934. It is usually forgotten that in 1939 the USN was still flying biplane fighters and dive bombers. Those 2 extra years of peace made a big difference to it. Then what about the career path for naval aviators? The RN provided about 50% of FAA pilots and all the observers. But the highest aviation related rank would be as commander of a flight (1920s) or squadron (1930s). The options then are back to mainstream RN or transfer to RAF to continue an aviation career. And RAF officers didn’t want to be in the sideshow of the FAA. The action was with the RAF bomber force which would win the next war single handed according to the theories of the time. And as WW2 approached new aircraft for the FAA very much played second fiddle. So the Barracuda whose design started in 1937 finally reached squadron service in Jan 1943 instead of 1940/41, by which time it was outclassed. The RAF had priority for virtually everything, but it meant that the FAA had to go to war with what it had. Admiralty thinking can begin to be seen with the Specs that were issued in 1940 for new fighters when they requested both two seat and single seat types. Those led to the Firefly and Firebrand respectively.
  20. That and two other facts 1. No better fighter became available in numbers for the fleet carriers until the second half of 1941. Fixed wing Sea Hurricanes went aboard Indomitable when she completed in Oct 1941. Folding wing Martlets were only delivered when Illustrious returned to the U.K. in Dec 1941. Both those ships and Formidable then spent the first 7 months of 1942 in the Indian Ocean. It was later in 1942 before large numbers of the latter became available 2. Until those Martlet II appeared, the Fulmar was the only modern fighter that could be struck down into the hangars of the first 3 Illustrious class. So Victorious was stuck with being able to operate only a handful of Sea Hurricanes from mid-1942 or later, Seafires parked on outriggers. Indomitable benefitted from a larger forward lift allowing Sea Hurricanes, and in 1943 Seafire II to be struck down into the upper hangar only.
  21. The caption on the first photo in the post you refer to is incorrect. The ship is HMCS Ontario (ex HMS Minotaur) completed at Harland & Wolff Belfast in May 1945. Note the Mk.VI HADCT at the side of the bridge and aft with their distinctive headlamp radar dishes (Uganda had Mk.IV) and the two barrage directors on the front of the bridge (Uganda only had one). First time I’ve seen a colour version of that photo. The third and fourth photos are of Uganda. I would date the fourth to 1946/47 due to the camouflage on the Firefly Mk.I aircraft on what would be HMCS Warrior in the foreground. Uganda was laid up or refitting from Aug 1947 to Jan 1952. The Carley Floats in photo 3 have a more rounded appearance on the ends than those in photo 4. That would then indeed seem to date photo 3 into the 1950s. The third and fourth photos in that sequence are of Uganda but date to postwar.
  22. Not yet. Only the Mark 54 so far. https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/poseidon-achieves-first-torpedo-release/ Whether it will be in the future is another matter. This from 2018. https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2018-05-16/144839
  23. There was an air show at Lossiemouth for the general public in either 1986 or 1987. I remember cos I was there! Also memorable because of the number of aircraft the RAF put in the air at once. Something like 16-20 Buccs, Jags and Tornadoes in the circuit at once. As the first was touching down the last was somewhere above crossing the threshold. I seem to recall it was a bit of a one off. Hadn’t been one for years and hasn’t been one since.
  24. The reason why you don’t see the transport is that the U-boat pens did not have room along their sides for vehicles. The concrete U-boat pens were designed with a service lane that ran across the heads of the individual pens and in front of the workshop areas at the rear of the structures. There were entrances/exits at both sides (except the Keroman K1 & K2 pens in Lorient with only one but they were for deep maintenance not simple rearming). Rail lines were laid into the floor allowing delivery of anything necessary by either road or rail. Overhead cranes ran the length of each pen. The number and capacity in each individual pen varied depending on the function of that pen. But they were generally of 1,3,5 and 30 ton capacity. Google U-boat pen interiors and plenty of photos both past and present should come up. There is a photo about half way down this page with a Type IX loading a torpedo while in the pen. Overhead you can see the travelling crane. https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/submarine-pens.html
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