Tag Archives: USS McInerney (FFG-8)

Remembering Sydney vs. Kormoran in a unique, and mutual, way

The Type 123 Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern (F-217) deployed to the Pacific in August in an effort to “show more presence in the Indo-Pacific region.”

She has completed exercises and steamed with a host of foreign navies along the way.

PASSEX on Sept 7 2021 with the German frigate Bayern, Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67), and the Pakistani Navy frigate PNS Alamgir (F260)– formerly USS McInerney (FFG-8)–in the Indian Ocean. (Photos: German Navy)

Notably, when Bayern arrived in Fremantle last week she was the first German navy ship to visit Australia since the tall ship Gorch Fock berthed in Sydney in 1988.

Historically, German and Australian naval ships don’t interact very often.

Speaking of which, there was one very memorable meeting between the two countries at sea on 19 November 1941 when the Leander-class light cruiser HMAS Sydney (D48) came across the notorious German auxiliary cruiser (Hilfskreuzer) Kormoran which was brazenly steaming just 150 miles south-west of the coast of Western Australia. The heavily-armed commerce raider, known as “Raider G” to the Allies, had been at sea for 352 days and her crack crew had chalked up some 75,000 tons of shipping. A wolf in sheep’s clothing found by Sydney while flying a Dutch flag, with the action beginning at what was effectively point-blank range. 

In the mutually destructive surface action that followed, both ships were lost with a combined butcher’s bill of 727 men dead to include every single member of the Australian cruiser’s complement.

The engagement echoed a similar one between the Dresden-class cruiser SMS Emden and the Chatam-class light cruiser HMAS Sydney off Cocos Islands in November 1914, only much bloodier.

Only a few weeks away from the 80th anniversary of the loss of Kormoran and the later Sydney, embarked exchange sailors from the Royal Australian Navy on Bayern this week joined a solemn ceremony held by the crew to observe the battle, over at 26°S 111°E.

Members of the Bayern’s ship’s company also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the State War Memorial in Perth’s Kings Park. 

From Maine to Turkey

From Bath Iron Works:

An aerial shot of the shipyard from 1979, with four FFGs at the pier and two more under construction on the inclined ways, a DDG in dry dock and Hull 401, the future Resolute (MA 326) container ship, on the waterfront.

Of the 71 FFG7’s built, 30 were made by Todd on the West Coast, 6 by Bazan in Spain, 8 by China Shipbuilding in Taiwan and two by AMECON in Australia. This leaves a grand total of some 25 crafted by Bath, which designed the program in the first place. Those under construction at Bath in 1979 included USS McInerney (FFG-8), USS Clark (FFG-11), USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG-13), USS Sides (FFG-14), USS Clifton Sprague (FFG-16) and USS Estocin (FFG-15), so they are likely the craft in the above. As for the destroyer, yard records show the Adams-class USS Conyngham (DDG 17) was undergoing an overhaul at the yard until 22 August 1980 (job #1031).

Odds are about half of the warships in the above photo are now sharing dock space in Turkey.

Morrison is currently TCG Gökova (F 496) in the Turkish Navy while her sister Estocin is TCG Göksu (F 497) and Sprague is TCG Gaziantep (F 490).

Of the rest: Sides was scrapped in 2015. First of the “long hulls” McInerney is serving the Pakistanis as PNS Alamgir (F-260). Clark is in the Polish Navy as ORP Gen. K. Pułaski (272). The destroyer, Conyngham, was scrapped in 1994.

SS Resolute, ordered by Farrell Lines of New York, was picked up by MARAD when they went out of business in 1986 then later picked up the name American Resolute on a bareboat charter. Placed in the James River Reserve Fleet at Fort Eustis, Virginia on June 26, 2000. “It was maintained there in a militarily-useful retention status for several years; however, with the abundance of cellular containerships in commercial trade available for military sealift, the need for a reserve containership diminished quickly. Resolute was considered for conversion into a training ship between 2003 and 2005, but that effort was superseded. Resolute was removed from retention status in 2008.” She went to the breakers in 2009.