H.M Jagare Puke (1942), Psilander class

H.M Jagare Puke (1942) of the Psilander class

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H.M Jagare Puke was a Swedish destroyer of the Psilander-klass (Originally Sella-class) bought from Italy in 1940 but modified for Swedish conditions, she wore the number (19). She and her sister Psilander served for a very short time in the navy and were put out of service in 1947. Their fate was as most old military ships, being shot in target practice, and later scrapped in Karlskrona in 1949.

History and related information

The story of H.M Jagare Puke as well as her sister H.M Jagare Psilander begins in 1926, Italy. The Italians wanted a destroyer for their navy and they wanted it designed and built in Italy. From this the “Sella class” was born with the ships Bettino Ricasoli (Later Puke), Francesco Crispi, Quintino Sella and Giovanni Nicotera. They were to be the first Italian produced destroyer since WW1. They were built by Pattison in Neapel, Italy and originally carried three 12cm cannons, they were quickly modernized in 1929 by getting two twin turrets with modern cannons and served as such in the Italian navy until 1940. By then they were quite worn and despite WW2 being in full swing, the Italians simply didn’t need them anymore, that’s were Sweden came in!
Bettino Ricasoli of the Italian navy, would later become our beloved Puke.

As WW2 came about, Sweden realized that their navy needed ships, and fast. Despite being offered good deals to build new ship designs by various Swedish companies, Defense Minister Per Edvin Sköld was under the idea that buying existing ships would be more efficient as the need for new ships was so dire that there was no time plan and build. Therefore already in January 1940, Sweden had signed a contract to purchase two of the old Sella class destroyers from Italy, the Giovanni Nicotera and Bettino Ricasoli would become the Psilander and Puke respectively and would join the Swedish navy in July of that same year. (The purchase also bought the Swedish navy two ships of the Spica class, not relevant to the post, just cool info)

She sails, like a magnificent duck.

The way to Sweden was a troublesome one due to one big problem standing in the way, the British.
The incident known as the “Psilander affair” happened, i’m only going to do a short and basic explanation here.
In June the Brits saw the new Swedish destroyers sailing home and wanted to “Prevent them falling in to German hands” and sent bigger ships to intercept and intern both Swedish ships and crew using the “right of angary”. The Swedish were both out gunned and out sized as four small Destroyers against the three Tribal class destroyers that came and threatened them. Still, strict orders had been given to the Swedish captains to shoot anyone trying to stop them from getting home, the captain of the Psilander was quite happy to die a hero as the man the ship was named after died in the same way, refusing to give up against a more powerful British ship. However the captain was also human and know that the crews lives as well as the ships may survive with the help of negotiating, also it might prevent a war. Long story short they gave in and after a week of internment they were on their way back to Sweden, captain was shamed and sent to trial, nothing really came of it and the British later apologized for the incident, they also apologized for the bombing attempt that happened afterwards.

Photo of the incident, Tribal class next to the much smaller H.M Jagare Remus (One of the other ships that were also purchased in Italy as previously stated)

ANYWAYS! Back to the Puke and her Swedish service life.

When H.M Jagare Puke arrived in Sweden she almost immediately went in dry dock for modifications. To no ones surprise, the Baltic sea and the Mediterranean sea were two very different seas. The Psilander class itself was too weak to withstand the rough seas of the Baltic so both ships were modified, they tended to rock violently when sailing and as such received a reinforced hull as well as a brand new sling keel. She was put out to sea once more and then found herself back in the dock in 1941 for some weapon modernizing. Weaponry wise they were quite outdated and got upgraded anti air capabilities, bigger torpedoes and sink bombs. The final upgrades were completed in 1942 where the completed Puke stood ready, the Psilander class was done!

H.M Jagare Puke served with her sister decently but was put into materiel readiness and out of direct service already in 1943, in 1945 both were put back in action and went on to serve faithfully until 1947 when they were put out of service and shot to death by different forms of weaponry. And so H.M Jagare Puke was scrapped in Karlskrona in 1949.

Armament and stats

Length: 84.9 meters
Width: 8.6 meters
Draft: 2.6 meters
Displacement: 970 / 1480 tons
Speed: 35 Knots
Crew: 133

Main armament consisted of four 12 cm m/40 guns in two twin turrets
The anti-aircraft defense was two 40 mm AA automatic cannons m/36 and two twin 8 mm AA machine guns m/36.
It carried four 533mm torpedoes and had depth charge throwers and depth charge racks installed.

Fun fact: H.M Jagare Pukes name comes form Swedish admiral Johan Af Puke.
Johan_af_Puke_1797 (1)
Quite a jolly looking fella i must say.



Militaria - Hans Högman

HMS Puke (19) – Wikipedia (Swedish)

Psilander-klass – Wikipedia (Swedish)

Psilanderaffären – Wikipedia (Swedish, only for the Psilander affair part, irrelevant to the ship performance)

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