Adamant-class submarine depot ship, HMS Adamant (A164) (1942) - The cruiser that pretend to be a tender

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Note: This suggestion were imported over from the old WT forums.

Hello. Today I would like to suggest the addition of the HMS Adamant (A164) . Or more specifically, the second submarine depot ship to be named “Adamant”. This ship is arguably one of the most well-armed auxiliary ship of the Royal Navy, primarily due to her 8 × 4.5 inch main guns and a wide array of anti-air defense.


HMS Adamant along with submarines of the 4th flotilla at Fremantle, Australia, c. 1946.

HMS Adamant (A164) was the sole ship of the Adamant-class submarine depot ship. She was the second ship of the Royal Navy to bear this name after the HMS Adamant (1911), which were the first purpose-built submarine depot ship ever built.

Design-wise, the Adamant were largely based on the HMS Maidstone (1937), a depot ship with similar armaments, although Adamant is considerably larger to accomodate amenities, staff, and armor protection. She was ordered on 1 March, 1939 from Harland & Wolff shipyard, Belfast, and launched on 20 November 1941. After her completion in January 1942, she was commissioned on 28 Febuary 1942.


Full view of the Adamant in 1943.

In terms of armament, the Adamant is certainly very-well equipped for a ship of her type. She is armed with 8 × 4.5 inch Mark III UD guns in four twin mounts (to put that into persepctive, this ship has the same gun count as the HMS Charybdis, but in an improved mounting), and defended by 16 × Pom-pom autocannons in four quadruple mounts, 8 × 20 mm Oerlikon autocannons and 8 × .50 Vickers machine guns in a single mount. She is also distinctive for having an actual armor protection, with 1 inch (25.4 mm) of torpedo bulkhead 10 feet (3 meters) inboard and 2 inch (50.8 mm) at the middle deck.


Starboard quarter view of the Adamant with HMS Lookout in the background. Note several quadruple Pom-poms and single Oerlikon autocannon mounts.

HMS Adamant’s service career is relatively uneventful. She was assigned to the Eastern Fleet and departed from the UK three weeks later as a part of the WS 17 convoy to Freetown, Sierra Leone, arrived on 6 April. She then continued her journey under convoy WS 17B to Cape Town, then WS 19 to Durban. After WS 19 convoy splited, Adamant then sailed independently for Mombasa, arriving at Kilindini on 9 May. She would stay there until March 1943, conducting exercise and submarine tending.

On 22 March 1943, sailed for Colombo along with destroyers HMS Quickmatch and HMS Nizam. She then spending two years patrolling around the Indian Ocean with the 4th Submarine Flotilla, with occasional stop at Colombo and Tricomalee.


The Adamant’s specification sheet from 1957. Showing the ship from the port side.


HMS Adamant at Sydney harbor, Australia.

On April 1945, HMS Adamant along with the 4th flotilla sailed to Fremantle, Australia to relieve HMS Maidstone which sailed to join the Pacific Fleet. She continued the support of the 4th flotilla against the Japanese until the end of the war.

After the war, after the Maidstone arrived from Hong Kong in 30 September with liberated POWs, Adamant was involved in a crew exchange with the former. On 14 October, Adamant along with the 4th flotilla sailed to Hong Kong to conduct anti-piracy patrol.


HMS Adamant and HMS Jamaica during a goodwill visit at the Kiel canal, 1957.

After spending four years in Australia, HMS Adamant returned to the UK in 1950 and was assigned as a flagship of the reserve fleet in Portsmouth. In 1953, she took part in the Fleet Revew for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The next year, she was recommissioned to an active service as a depot ship of the 3rd Submarine Squadron at Rothesay. After a refit that remove most of her original armament and replace it with several Bofors autocannon mounts in 1963, she was decommissioned three years later. She were broken up for scrap at Inverkeithing in 1970.

Extra images:


Crews of HMS Adamant during the casualty drill on board, 1942.
HMS Alcide (S65) with the Adamant, 1961.
Crewmen of HMS Adamant cleaning the 4.5 inch gun barrels.

Specifications (1942):

Displacement: 12,700 tons empty load, 16,765 tons full load
Length: 189 meters (l.p.p), 200.5 meters (overall)
Beam: 21.5 meters
Draft: 5.5 meters, full load
Polpusion system: geared turbines, 8,000 shp (6 MW)
Power: 8,000 shp (6 MW)
Top speed: 17 knots (31.5 km/h)
Armament: 4 × 2 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mk. III UD cannons, two at bow and stern each (8 total), 4 × 4 2-pounder (40 mm) Pom-Pom autocannons on port and starboard sides (16 total), 8 × 1 20 mm Oerlikon autocannons, 8 × 1 .50 (12.7 mm) Vickers machine guns.
Protection: 25.4 mm of torpedo bulkhead 3 meters inboard and 50.8 mm of deck armor on the middle deck.
Crew: 1,273



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Allied Warships of WWII - Submarine Depot Ship HMS Adamant -
HMS Adamant (A164) - Wikipedia
McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 147. ISBN 9780752488615.