Naval drifter

A naval drifter is a boat built along the lines of a commercial fishing drifter but fitted out for naval purposes. The use of naval drifters is paralleled by the use of naval trawlers.

Fishing trawlers were designed to tow heavy trawls, so they were easily adapted to tow minesweepers, with the crew and layout already suited to the task. Drifters were robust boats built, like trawlers, to work in most weather conditions, but designed to deploy and retrieve drift nets. They were generally smaller and slower than trawlers. If requisitioned by navies, they were typically armed with an anti-submarine gun and depth charges and used to maintain and patrol anti-submarine nets.

British drifters Otranto barrage
British drifters sailing from their base in the Adriatic to the Otranto Barrage

World War I

Canadian drifter CD-27 CN-3347
The Canadian CD-class naval drifter, CD 27, built during World War I for the Royal Canadian Navy. Many became fishing vessels after the war.
George Albert FL13441
A Great Yarmouth drifter George Albert during the war
External image
Photos of a World War I naval drifter

Like fishing trawlers, the Royal Navy requisitioned many fishing drifters for conversion to naval use during World War I.

In addition, 362 naval drifters were ordered to Admiralty specifications (and thus are often referred to as "Admiralty drifters").[1] Shipyards used to building fishing trawlers or drifters could easily switch to constructing naval versions. As a bonus these drifters could be sold to commercial fishing interests when the war ended.

There were two basic types of Admiralty-built drifters, wooden hulled and steel hulled.

  • The wooden hull vessels displaced 175 tons, were 86 ft (26.2 m) long, with a beam of 19 ft (5.8 m). They had a speed of 9 knots and carried one 6 pounder gun. 91 wooden hull vessels were launched 1918–20, and 100 similar Canadian-built craft were ordered in January 1917.[1]
  • The steel hull vessels displaced 199 tons, were 86 ft (26.2 m) long, with a beam of 18 ft 6in (5.6 m). They also had a speed of 9 knots and carried a 6 pounder gun. 123 steel-hulled vessels were launched 1917–1920, and 48 others were cancelled.[1]

Royal Navy drifters were named like the trawlers were, except for the Canadian-built vessels which were numbered CD 1 to CD 100.[1]

During 1917, a fleet of British drifters, escorted by destroyers and light cruisers, maintained a blockade of the 72 km (45 mi) wide Strait of Otranto, denying the Austro-Hungarian Navy access to the Mediterranean. On 15 May 1917, the Austro-Hungarian Navy raided the barrage.[2] The Austro-Hungarians gave most drifter crews warning to abandon ship before opening fire.[2] Some drifter crews chose to fight, and the Gowan Lee returned fire on the Austro-Hungarian ships. The drifter was heavily damaged, but remained afloat. Skipper Joseph Watt was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the battle.[3] Of the 47 drifters in the barrage at the time, 14 were sunk and 4 were damaged.[3] The lack of sufficient Allied escorts forced the withdrawal of the remaining blockading ships, although only for a short time.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Gardiner et al., p. 104
  2. ^ a b Halpern, p. 162–163
  3. ^ a b Halpern, p. 163
  4. ^ Tucker, p. 1357

References

  • Colledge, J.J. Ships of the Royal Navy: An Historical Index Volume 2: Navy-built Trawlers, Drifters, Tugs and Requisitioned Ships. Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
  • Gardiner R, Gray R and Budzbon, P (1985) Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921 Conway. ISBN 978-0-85177-245-5
  • Halpern, Paul G (1995) A Naval History of World War I Naval Institute Press, Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-352-4
  • Tucker, Spencer E. (2005). The Encyclopedia of World War I. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-420-2.
Amenities ship

An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.

Ammunition ship

An ammunition ship is an auxiliary ship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for naval ships and aircraft. An ammunition ship′s cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in case of emergencies. Ammunition ships most often deliver their cargo to other ships using underway replenishment, using both connected replenishment and vertical replenishment. To a lesser extent, they transport ammunition from one shore-based weapons station to another.

CD-class naval drifter

The CD-class naval drifters were armed naval drifters constructed in 1917 for the Royal Navy in Canada. 100 were ordered for use in British waters during World War I numbered from CD 1 to CD 100, of which 42 were transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and 18 were transferred to the United States Navy. In British waters, they were used to patrol areas around Gibraltar and Bermuda. In Canadian waters, the Maritimes and in American waters, along the New England coast. Following the war, the drifters were either sold into mercantile service or scrapped. Some survived in British service to be used during World War II.

Coastal minesweeper

Coastal minesweeper is a term used by the United States Navy to indicate a minesweeper intended for coastal use as opposed to participating in fleet operations at sea.

Because of its small size—usually less than 100 feet in length—and construction—wood as opposed to steel—and slow speed—usually about 9 or 10 knots—the coastal minesweeper was considered too fragile and slow to operate on the high seas with the fleet.

Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.

Coastal submarine

A coastal submarine or littoral submarine is a small, maneuverable submarine with shallow draft well suited to navigation of coastal channels and harbors. Although size is not precisely defined, coastal submarines are larger than midget submarines, but smaller than sea-going submarines designed for longer patrols on the open ocean. Space limitations aboard coastal submarines restrict fuel availability for distant travel, food availability for extended patrol duration, and number of weapons carried. Within those limitations, however, coastal submarines may be able to reach areas inaccessible to larger submarines, and be more difficult to detect.

General stores issue ship

General stores issue ship is a type of ship used by the United States Navy during World War II and for some time afterwards.

The task of the general stores issue ship was to sail into non-combat, or rear, areas and disburse general stores, such as canned goods, toilet paper, office supplies, etc., to ships and stations.

Guard ship

A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat which serves its protective role at sea.

Light aircraft carrier

A light aircraft carrier, or light fleet carrier, is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized fleet carrier. A light carrier was similar in concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers, while escort carriers usually defended convoys and provided air support during amphibious operations.

List of ships at Dunkirk

This list consists of all major naval and merchant ships involved in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of allied troops from the Dunkirk area from 26 May to 4 June 1940. The operation was administered by the British Admiralty with the Royal Navy providing the bulk of large vessels. They were accompanied by several other vessels of allied navies, most notably the French, as well as many merchant ships, some previously requisitioned and converted for naval use, and others called into service from their civilian roles due to the urgency of the situation. Hundreds of small privately owned craft, known as the Little Ships of Dunkirk, not listed here, were crucial in ferrying from the beaches to these larger vessels, whilst the majority of troops embarked directly at Dunkirk harbour.

List of shipwrecks in 1944

The list of shipwrecks in 1944 includes ships sunk, foundered, grounded, or otherwise lost during 1944.

List of shipwrecks in 1945

The list of shipwrecks in 1945 includes ships sunk, foundered, grounded, or otherwise lost during 1945.

List of shipwrecks in August 1944

The list of shipwrecks in August 1944 includes ships sunk, foundered, grounded, or otherwise lost during August 1944.

Mine countermeasures vessel

A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.

Minehunter

A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Naval trawler

A naval trawler is a vessel built along the lines of a fishing trawler but fitted out for naval purposes. Naval trawlers were widely used during the First and Second World Wars. Fishing trawlers were particularly suited for many naval requirements because they were robust boats designed to work heavy trawls in all types of weather and had large clear working decks. One could create a mine sweeper simply by replacing the trawl with a mine sweep. Adding depth charge racks on the deck, ASDIC below, and a 3-inch (76 mm) or 4-inch (102 mm) gun in the bow equipped the trawler for anti-submarine duties.

Ocean boarding vessel

Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.

Repair ship

A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.

Submarine tender

A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines.

Warship

A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more manoeuvrable than merchant ships. Unlike a merchant ship, which carries cargo, a warship typically carries only weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.

In wartime, the distinction between warships and merchant ships is often blurred. In war, merchant ships are often armed and used as auxiliary warships, such as the Q-ships of the First World War and the armed merchant cruisers of the Second World War. Until the 17th century it was common for merchant ships to be pressed into naval service and not unusual for more than half a fleet to be composed of merchant ships. Until the threat of piracy subsided in the 19th century, it was normal practice to arm larger merchant ships such as galleons. Warships have also often been used as troop carriers or supply ships, such as by the French Navy in the 18th century or the Japanese Navy during the Second World War.

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