Here we see the Portuguese Navy Cacine-class coastal patrol vessel patrol craft (patrulha) NRP Zaire (P1146) off the African archipelago nation of Sao Tome e Príncipe, a former colonial possession of Portugal which maintains strong economic and military ties with Lisbon.
Built in 1969 as part of a class of 10 vessels, she has been used in fisheries protection role (SIFICAP) and search and rescue (SAR) roles in addition to defense patrol taskings, the Cacine-class replaced the WWII-era craft used by the Portuguese until the disco era and were built at Estaleiros Navais do Mondego (Figueira da Foz, Portugal) and the Arsenal do Alfeite over a half-decade period.
Some 157-feet long overall, they could float in 7 feet of saltwater. These 300-ton OPVs were powered by a pair of Maybach (later MTU) diesel engines which gave them enough speed (20-knots) to overtake poaching trawlers and illegal coasters landing guns to African rebel groups (Portugal was involved in a series of crazy colonial brush wars when the Cacines were produced). To help with their tasking on Africa patrol, they had a decent range of some 4,500nm.
In the interest of saving cash, the Portuguese used recycled WWII deck guns for these boats and gave each Cacine a 40mm/L60 Bofors single forward and a 20mm/80 Oerlikon over the rear along with a pair of MG3 machine guns.
Over the past several years, all of the Cacines have been put to pasture, replaced by the new and significantly larger (1,600-ton/272-feet) Viana do Castelo-class OPV
Zaire was the final to go, is decommissioning this month and her crew final crew is being decorated by the Sao Tome government for their efforts at saving lives and stopping poachers.
This throwback picture from 77 years ago today shows Pearl Harbor on a war footing just over a half-year after its Day That Will Live In Infamy.
It is of the fabled fleet carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), taken 12 July 1942 off Ford Island. She would leave Pearl just three days after this image was taken to join TF 61 to support the amphibious landings in the Solomon Islands.
Note Grumman F4F Wildcat on barge aft alongside, also extensive anti-torpedo nets and well-camouflaged buildings on Ford Island. The slick shown in the water is likely from the battleships sunk on Dec. 7, 1941, which were being salvaged at the time.
For reference, planes from Enterprise had just a month before at the Battle of Midway attacked and disabled the Japanese carriers, Kaga and Akagi, leaving them ablaze, then followed up by doing the same to the carrier Hiryu and cruiser Mikuma. All three of the flattops had been in the attack on Pearl.
This bad boy is the experimental “hydrofoil sub chaser” USS High Point (PCH-1) out of the water on the West Coast going for a flight with her hull above the water.
Built by Boeing for the Navy, she was constructed by J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma, WA and launched 17 August 1962.
According to DANFS, the 115-foot craft was named after the North Carolina city and:
High Point is the first of a series of hydrofoil craft designed to evaluate the performance of this kind of propulsion in the modern Navy. She has three submerged foils containing propulsion nacelles and propellers and is also capable of riding on her hull like a more conventional ship. On her foils, High Point is capable of very high-speed operation and can add mobility and flexibility to America’s antisubmarine forces. The craft carried out tests in Puget Sound from 1963 through 1967.
She later was used in testing Harpoons off her stern, which would lead to the Pegasus-class PHMs.
The Coast Guard even utilized the vessel, then with a lot of miles on her twin Rolls Royce Proteus gas turbines, in a series of tests that ended up with a blown engine.
Put in mothballs, she was stricken by the Navy in 1980 (although still used off and on for testing and not sold by MARAD until 1991) and has passed through a series of private owners over the past 40 years. Today, she is available for sale in the Portland region (Tounge Point) for what would seem to be a bargain price ($74,900).
The good news is: she floats.
The bad news is: she is an almost 60-year-old experimental craft that hasn’t operated as she was designed for most of that. While she still has her auxiliary 12V-71 450hp Detriot Diesel still installed for propulsion, it is not in working order. Also, the years have not been kind to her.
Still, if you have the dough to buy her and refurb her, she could be the world’s coolest live-aboard yacht. I would pick her up for LSOZI’s West Coast office if I had that kind of cash.
Anyway, full details at POP Yachts.
This very early Lee-Enfield India Pattern Mk 1 .303-caliber bolt action cavalry carbine was issued to Indian Volunteer Force mounted units of the era.
This particular specimen was produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield and issued to the Assam Valley Light Horse Regiment. With its headquarters at Dibrugarh in the state of Assam, the AVLH was formed in 1891, largely from local Europeans amalgamated from four previously raised troop-sized dragoon units (the Sibsager Mounted Rifles, Darrang Mounted Rifles, Lakhimpur Mounted Rifles, and Newgong Mounted Rifles.) Some members of the unit served in the Boer Wars as part of Lumsden’s Horse.
The rifle was presented to Lt.Col. James Stenhouse Elliot, VD, in 1905 on the occasion of his retirement from the Indian forces (he is listed on the Indian Army’s reserve list with an 1879 rank date).
The good Lt.Col. Stenhouse Elliot likely took the rifle back to England with him, where it was pressed into service during WWII with the Britsh Home Guard and, in the initial stages of the formation of “Dad’s Army” it was likely one of the most modern weapons in the armory.
It is now in the collection of the National Army Museum.
As for the AVLH, they were part of the British Indian Army’s cavalry reserve and never deployed as a unit, although members did volunteer for service in both World Wars and against the Abors in 1911-12. They were disbanded after India’s independence in 1947.
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, July 10, 2019: The Slayer of Victoria
Here we see the Royal Navy’s Admiral-class early barbette-type pre-dreadnought ironclad battleship HMS Camperdown via The Engineer in 1893. A very modern ship when she was designed, she did, in fact, quickly and easily send another period battlewagon to Neptune’s cold embrace– just not as you would think.
Britain’s first barbette ships, a class that would provide the basic format for all the Victorian and Edwardian battleships right up until HMS Dreadnought broke the mold in 1906, the so-called Admiral-class vessels were, in actuality, six fairly different vessels.
While all six had roughly the same hull, running about 330 feet in length with a 68-foot beam (although even this varied a few feet between sisters), the class weighed in between 9,500 and 10,600 tons. Armor at its thickest was an impressive 18-inches of iron plate backed by another 20-inches of timber. Each had two centerline funnels and a deep (27+ foot) draft with a relatively low freeboard, a facet common on front-line capital ships of the age. Speed was 16 to 17 knots depending on the ship, which made their ram bows, popular ever since the 1866 Battle of Lissa, deadly at close quarters (more on this later!)
Each had their main armament split fore and aft with secondary and tertiary batteries arranged along the waterline in broadside while five early torpedo tubes were also carried.
When it came to armament, things got wild.
Collingwood mounted two pair of 12″/25cal BL Mk V rifles
Benbow, the final ship of the class, meanwhile, mounted two single Armstrong 16.25″/30cal BL Mk I guns
As for the middle four ships– Anson, Rodney, Camperdown, and Howe— they mounted four 13.5″/30 caliber (34.3 cm) Mark I “67-ton” guns, often regarded England’s first successful large breechloading naval rifle.
Capable of firing a 1,200-pound Palliser shell to 12,260 yards when at a maximum elevation of 13 degrees (!) these guns could switch to AP shells and penetrate up to 11-inches of Krupp steel at 3,000 yards or a whopping 28-inches of vertical iron plate at point blank distances.
As a negative, the ship’s magazines were shallow, carrying just 81 (20 AP, 12 Palliser, 39 common and 10 shrapnel) shells per gun while a trained crew could only keep up a rate of fire of about one round every other minute. Additionally, the open barbette construction gave said crew about 30 seconds of life expectancy when exposed to a naval engagement against an opponent firing more than just spitballs and coconuts.
While all six of Admirals carried a half-dozen BL 6″/26cal BL Mk IV guns as secondaries, their small batteries often varied, with Camperdown and Anson at least toting 12 57mm (6pdr) Hotchkiss Mk Is and a further 10 47mm (3pdr) Hotchkiss anti-boat guns.
Laid down at HMs Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth on 18 December 1882, Camperdown was the only member of the class constructed there with the other five being built at Pembroke, Chatham, and Blackwall. She was, of course, the third such British warship named after the epic sea clash at Camperdown in 1797 off the coast of the Netherlands in which Admiral Adam Duncan bested the Dutch fleet under Vice Adm. Jan de Winter.
While not very well known outside of the UK or Holland, the engagement was one of the largest of the Napoleonic era prior to Trafalgar and is a key point in British naval history.
Completed in May 1889, HMS Camperdown served first as the flag of the RN’s Mediterranean Fleet and then the Channel Fleet while passing in and out of reserve status for the first several years of her life.
By all accounts, she was a happy and proud ship during this time.
Then came a fateful day in the summer of 1893.
While in the Med on summer exercises under the eye of the Ottoman Turks, Camperdown was in close maneuvers with the rest of the line and struck the brand-new battleship HMS Victoria in broad daylight. In short, Victoria sank following a bizarre order from Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon– a career officer with some 45 years at sea under his belt– to perform a difficult turning order at close range to Camperdown which brought his flagship in collision to Camperdown, the latter of which flew the flag of Tyron’s second-in-command, Rear Admiral Sir Albert Markham.
Tyron was last seen on the bridge of Victoria, as she sank with the loss of over 350 men in something like 13 minutes, largely due to the fact that most of the ship’s hatches were open on the hot summer day in the Med. Tyron’s last words were said to be, “It is entirely my fault.” An RN inquiry into the affair was happy to let Tyron carry the blame.
In true Victorian gothic fashion, the good Admiral’s ghost is said to have appeared that night, to friends attending a party thrown by his wife back in London.
As for Camperdown, her bow ram was almost pulled completely off when she backed out of the sinking Victoria just before that stricken ship capsized, only narrowly missing joining her on the seafloor.
After extensive repairs, Camperdown returned to the Med where she was part of the six-power International Squadron in 1897 that was involved in what was termed the “Cretan Intervention” which ultimately led to the semi-independent Cretan State (before that island was annexed by Greece), separated from Ottoman rule.
The squadron included not only British ships but those sent by the Kaisers of Austro-Hungary and Germany as well as the French Republic, Royal Italian Navy and units sent by the Tsar. Camperdown, as well as other vessels of the task force, engaged insurgents ashore and landed armed tars and Royal Marines to mop up.
The gunboat diplomacy was to be Camperdown‘s swan song.
After but 10 years with the fleet, by September 1899 she was in reserve and would spend the next decade alternating between mothballs and service as a coast guard vessel and submarine tender at Harwick. During this period, she carried a haze gray scheme, her days as a flagship long gone. Notably, she also carried a second mast.
She would be sold in 1911 for her value in scrap, a fate shared by all five of her sisters before her. Camperdown was just 22 years old but was hopelessly obsolete.
Her name would be reissued to HMS Camperdown (D32), a Battle-class destroyer commissioned on 18 June 1945.
In a twist of fate, in 1953, at Plymouth, this subsequent Camperdown was accidentally rammed by the former Flower-class corvette HMS Coreopsis (K32), the latter of which was owned by Ealing Studios at the time and was being used as a floating set for the British WWII film “The Cruel Sea.” Unlike the 1889 crack-up, both Camperdown and Coreopsis survived the encounter.
Since D32 was sold for scrap in 1970, the RN has not issued the “Camperdown” name to any other vessel.
As for the original Camperdown‘s tragic victim, HMS Victoria stands famously upright off the Lebanon coast today, with her bow stuck in the seafloor. She is a very popular wreck for skin divers.
Displacement: 10,600 long tons
Length: 330 ft
Beam: 68 ft 6 in
Draught: 27 ft 10 in
2 3-cyl Maudslay coal-fired steam engines, 12 cylindrical boilers, twin screws
11,500 indicated horsepower at a forced draught
Range: 7,000nm at 10 knots with 1,200 tons coal
4 x 13.5″/30 caliber (34.3 cm) Mark I “67-ton” guns
6 x BL 6″/26cal BL Mk IV guns
12 x 6-pounder (57 mm) Hotchkiss guns
10 x 3-pounder (47 mm) Hotchkiss guns
5 × 356mm tubes for Whitehead 14-inch torpedos
1 x very deadly bow ram
Compound Belt: 18–8 in (457–203 mm) with 178mm timber backing
Bulkheads: 16–7 in (406–178 mm)
Barbettes: 11.5–10 in (292–254 mm)
Conning Tower: 12–2 in (305–51 mm)
Deck: 3–2 in (76–51 mm)
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While in Pascagoula a few days ago, I spotted this familiar old girl in the shallow waters of the muddy Pascagoula River along Ingalls SB’s West Bank.
Note her Union Jack on the bow, which was only recently raised a couple of weeks ago.
Commissioned at Bath in 1995, USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) carries the nickname of “Fightin’ Fitz” and recently made international news when, on 17 June 2017, the destroyer was involved in a collision some 50 miles off Japan with the 40,000-ton Philippine-flagged container ship MV ACX Crystal. The encounter damaged the ship, killed seven of her crew were killed– lost in a flooded berthing compartment in the predawn collision– and left a number seriously injured. With her hull open to the sea, swift and effective damage control by her crew saved the vessel.
Fitz has since been in Pascagoula for the past 18 months undergoing a $400~ million repair/refit.
Three weeks ago, at morning colors on June 17, 2019, her crew unveiled a commemorative flag honoring the Sailors who died in a collision in the Sea of Japan two years ago. In addition, the National Ensign and Union Jack were raised on the ship for the first time since November 2017.
From the Navy’s presser:
Designed by current crewmembers, the flag memorializes their seven fallen shipmates. The flag is blue with “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” emblazoned above the names of the seven Sailors. The motto is a common Navy phrase, but all Fitzgerald Sailors embodied that spirit on June 17, 2017, when they fought significant flooding and structural damage following the collision.
“I am proud of this flag and proud of our shipmates who helped design it, as it is a product of respect and professionalism that symbolizes their great service and sacrifice,” said CDR Garrett Miller, Fitzgerald commanding officer, who unfurled the commemorative flag for the first time.
“Fitzgerald’s crew designed this flag from scratch as a way to embody those shipmates we lost,” said Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, Fitzgerald’s executive officer. “It will be flown every year on 17 June to honor them and to never forget their sacrifice. The current crew continues to live out that motto while bringing the ship back to the Fleet.”
Here we see the beautiful Miguel Malvar-class offshore patrol “corvette” BRP Sultan Kudarat (PS-22) of the Philippine Navy on 5 July 2019, as she gave her last day of military service in a career that began in 1944– giving her a rock solid 75 years of hard duty across three fleets. Not bad for a ship considered at the time of her construction to be disposable.
If she looks familiar, she was originally built as USS PCE-895 a former PCE-842-class Patrol Craft Escort, by the Willamette Iron and Steel Corp., of Portland, Oregon during WWII. She patrolled Alaskan coastal waters in the tail end of the war and was later dubbed USS Crestview.
Transferred to the Republic of South Vietnam 29 November 1961, she later became Dong Da II (HQ 07)
Derived from the 180-foot Admirable-class minesweeper as a substitute for the much more numerous 173-foot PC-461-class of submarine chasers that were used for coastal ASW, the PCE-842-class was just eight feet longer but a lot heavier (650-tons vs 450-tons), which gave them much longer endurance, although roughly the same armament. They carried a single 3″/50 dual purpose mount, three 40mm Bofors mounts, five Oerlikon 20 mm mounts, two depth charge tracks, four depth charge projectors, and two depth charge projectors (hedgehogs)– making them pretty deadly to subs while giving them enough punch to take on small gunboats/trawlers and low numbers of incoming aircraft.
While the U.S. got rid of their 842s wholesale by the 1970s– scrapping some and sinking others as targets– several continued to serve in overseas Allied navies for decades.
When Saigon fell in April 1975, Crestview/Dong Da II beat feet as part of the South Vietnamese exile flotilla to Luzon, where she, like most of that force, was later absorbed into Manila’s own forces.
The Philippines has used no less than 11 of these retired PCEs between craft transferred outright from the U.S. and ships taken up from former Vietnamese service, eventually replacing their Glen Miller-era GM 12-567A diesel with more modern GM 12-278As, as well as a host of improvements to their sensors (they now carry the SPS-64 surface search and commercial nav radars, for instance.) Gone are the ASW weapons and sonar, but they do still pack the old 3-incher, long since retired by just about everyone else, as well as a smattering of Bofors and Oerlikon.
Sultan Kudarat has reportedly been retired in preparation for the arrival of a more capable Pohang-class vessel that has been donated by South Korea.
The country still has four of the class on their Naval List, expected to retire by 2022.
- BRP Miguel Malvar (PS-19), former USS Brattleboro (PCE(R)-852), ex RVN Ngọc Hồi, since 1975.
- BRP Magat Salamat (PS-20), former USS Gayety (AM-239), ex RVN MSF-239, since 1975.
- BRP Cebu (PS-28), former USS PCE-881, transferred from the U.S. in 1948.
- BRP Pangasinan (PS-31), former USS PCE-891, transferred from the U.S. in 1948.