Amazon-Class Destroyer, HMS Amazon (D39)

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Amazon-Class Destroyer, HMS Amazon (D39)

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Vehicle design and history:

HMS Amazon was a one of class prototype design of destroyer, that was ordered for the Royal Navy in 1924. She was designed and built by Thornycroft in response to an admiralty request for a new design of destroyer that incorporated the lessons and technological advances gained from the First World War in an attempt to create a new standard for Destroyer’s in the Royal Navy. Due to tender reasons, an order was also placed at their rivals Yarrow, which lead to a similar competitive design that would become HMS Ambuscade. Because of this competition Thornycroft drafted and evolded atleast four separate designs, with two being 310 ft (94 m) long (between perpendiculars) and two being 305 ft (93 m) long of various engine outputs from between 28,000–33,000 shp (21,000–25,000 kW). Two of these refined designs were put forward to the Admiralty, who required prototypes for subsequent destroyer construction. The second “B” design was selected, which differed from the “A” design by having a reduced length by 5 ft (1.5 m), and having only a single boiler room forward, like with their wartime modified W-class destroyer HMS Wishart. The “B” design would be further modified in november of 1924, after she had already been laid down, in order to take more advanced machinery, capable of giving the vessel an extra 2 kn (2.3 mph; 3.7 km/h) of speet, though this also required the ship to be lengthened. Further changes occured after initial sea trials in 1926, when the turbines were altered to further increase speed and sea worthyness.

These changes resulted in Amazon having easily recognisable slab-sided funnels, as was characteristic of Thornycroft vessels of the time. Amazon was easily recognisable by her slab-sided funnels, characteristic of Thornycroft vessels. Aside from this the majority of the differences between HMS Amazon and destroyers in service at the time were internal, though unlike earlier designs which were designed for home fleet service, Amazon was designed for colonial use, resulting in her having a higher freeboard, cruising turbines and better ventilation. In terms of armaments, HMS Amazon was identical to that of the modified V and W-class destroyers built near the end of the first world war, and comprised of four 4.7 in (120 mm) BL Mark I on CP Mk.VI** mountings. These guns were based on army artillary pieces, ahd had separate bagged charges and no quick firing mechanism, and the mountings posessed half shields giving a maximum elevation of 30°.

The fire control for these guns was by a 9 ft (2.7 m) base rangefinder and a new “Destroyer Director Control Tower” (DCT) which offered superiour rangefinding when compared to vessels currently in service. The sucess of the latter would find it fitted to all subsequent Destroyer designs in the Royal Navy from the C-class up to the U-class of 1942. Amazon’s speed was initially found lacking in her initial trials where she reached only 34.5 kn (39.7 mph; 63.9 km/h) so she underwent modifications, which increased her speed to 37.5 kn (43.2 mph; 69.5 km/h), further trials on the Skelmorlie Mile in March 1927, she made 38.71 kn (44.55 mph; 71.69 km/h) with an average engine output of 41,559 shp (30,991 kW). Happy with this improved preformance, she was deemed completed and entered full service on the 5th of may 1927. In fact the Navy was so satisfied with the design, that she formed the Basis for the next 77 destroyers, which became known as the interwar standard, which only came to an end with the introduction of the Tribal-class in 1936.

During the second world war though, HMS Amazon was starting to show her age, and she was fitted out for service during hte confilct as a convoy escort destroyer. To full fill this role, her “A” and “Y” 4.7 in guns and after set of torpedo tubes were removed. The torpedo tubes were replaced by a 12-pounder 3 in (76 mm) Mk.V anti-aircraft gun, in an attempt to remedy the ships lacking AA armament, and a Hedgehog launcher was mounted to her forecastle. A type 286P radar was added at the masthead, and her aging rangefinder and director were replaced by a centimetric Type 271 radar for detecting surfaced submarines. At some point the 2 pounder guns were replaced by a pair of 20mm Oerlikon cannons, with another pair added to the bridge wings. The final major modification was in 1943, when the 12 pounder and remaining torpedo tubes were removed to allow a 10-round depth charge pattern to be carried, and a type 291 radar replaced her Type 286P.

Service History:

HMS Amazon’s service history is similar to many of the early interwar destroyers in service with the Royal Navy during WW2, and was primarily focused on convoy escort, to serve as a defense against raiding u-boats. Because of this, she spent most of the war up until 1942, escorting Russian and North Atlantic convoys, before moving into the Mediterranean in order to take part in Operation Pedestal. HMS Amazon’s role in the operation was to escort the freighter’s and oil tanker to Gibraltar, as part of Convoy WS.21S, after which she formed part of the Reserve Escort Group, along with a group of other interwar destroyers that had been converted to convoy escorts. They were to be used to bolster the forces in the event of casualties during their return to Gibraltar, and in this role she would safely escort the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable back to the rock. With her role in the Mediterranean completed she returned to home waters in the company of HMS Rodney, and was soon back to her regular convoy defense. At this point though, her age was starting to show, and by late 1943 she had been relegated to a training target for submarines off Scarpa Flow for the remaining duration of the war. Upon the end of hostilities she was placed in reserve, and was Sold for scrapping 25 October 1948, though her scrapping would not occur until the next year when she was broken up West of Scotland Shipbreaking at Troon. Due to her role in Operation Pedestal, she was commemorated on a Maltese postage stamp on the 10th of august 2012, to mark the 70th anniversary of the the operation.

Specifications:

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Displacement: 1,350 long tons (1,370 t)

Length: 311 ft 9 in (95.02 m) (p/p)

Beam: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)

Draught: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)

Installed power: 42,000 shp (31,000 kW)

Propulsion: 2 × Brown-Curtiss single-reduction geared steam turbines
3 × 3-drum Yarrow-type boilers
2 × shafts

Speed: 38.71 kn (44.55 mph; 71.69 km/h)

Range: 3,400 nmi (3,900 mi; 6,300 km) at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
5,340 nmi (6,150 mi; 9,890 km) at 12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)

Capacity: 433 short tons (393 t) fuel oil

Complement: 138

Armament: 4 × BL 4.7 in (120 mm) Mk I dual purpose guns
2 × QF 2-pounder Mk.II anti-aircraft guns (2×1)
6 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (2×3)

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