HNoMS BATH Destroyer Town flush IV class
BUILDING SITE: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA, USA
PREVIOUS NAME: DD 181 USS Hopewell
LAUNCHED: 8 June 1918
HOIST NORWEGIAN COMMAND: 9 March 1941
3x 102mm cannons
4x 7.6mm machineguns
6x 53.3cm Torpedotubes
40x Depth charges/sinking mines
Crew: 126 men
Eigne: 2x Curtiss SR geared turbines
Power: 26.000 AHK
Speed: 35 knots
1940: Transferred to Royal Navy in October renamed HMS Bath
1941: Transferred to KNM 9 April with new name Bath
1941: Liverpool Escort Force
1941: Sunk by German submarine U 201 19 August south-west of Ireland while escorting convoy, 83 men killed
THE TOWN CLASS
During World War I, the Americans realized that they were “out of step” compared to other seafaring nations. The torpedo’s violent development meant that even small torpedo vessels could threaten both merchant ships and larger warships. already early during the First World War, the Americans believed that they needed a type of vessel that could fulfill the role of destroyer and escort vessel. They had to be relatively well equipped and, to be able to follow the larger warships, they also had to have good speed. the stated goal was for the US Navy to be “second to none”. the answer was the development of the so-called “fluch-deck” destroyers of which no fewer than 274 were built. With a displacement of well over 1,000 tonnes and a speed of 33.35 knots, these were larger destroyers than had been available before. for reinforcement they had no less than two 5-inch, four 4-inch and one 3-inch cannon, as well as four torpedo guns with 21 inch torpedoes in each gun. the term “flush-decker” refers to the low freeboard on the ship, which in turn caused unpleasant bye seas above deck. (access to the front cannon therefore had to go via the lower decks). They were also called “four.stackers” because most of the ships had four chimneys, one for each of the boilers. after a trial series of six vessels (the Caldwell class), they further developed the concept into the Wickers class, of which they built a total of 111 from 1917 - 1919. Throughout the war, the threat from submarines gradually increased and the Wickers class was developed into the Clemson class, of which 156 were built, most after the peace in 1918.
after the war there was naturally a large surplus of these destroyers. some were rebuilt for other purposes, some were chopped up and many were put into storage
in the summer of 1940, the British had lost a good number of their destroyers, including during the fighting in Norway. they then began to probe the possibility of an agreement on the takeover of some of the American destroyers, without agreeing on the conditions for this. after Dunkirk the situation became even more critical. the Americans then agreed to lend the British military bases in several British-controlled areas. it was a time of strong isolationist forces in the USA. but the relevant areas, including Newfoundland and areas in the West Indies and the Caribbean, were considered important in the American self-defense concept and thus the lend-lease scheme was realized. of the 50 vessels agreed on on 2 September 1940, 27 were of the Wickers class, 20 of the Clemson class and three of the first Caldwell class. The Americans then still had a little over 70 of these destroyers. because of the American attitude, there was also some discussion about whether the British should be allowed to give their own names. the name issue ended with a compromise whereby they were to get new names after cities with the same name in the USA and Great Britain. Thus the class hub naturally became the Town class.
As soon as possible after the transfer, the British rebuilt most of them. variations occur but normally the heaviest guns were taken ashore and six standard 3 inch guns (caliber 50) were obtained. half of the torpedoes were also taken ashore and they received four to six 20mm anti-aircraft guns, six sinking mine-throwers and two sinking mine ranges. aft chimney and boiler were normally removed. to reduce the weight above deck, the mainmast was taken down and the height of the remaining chimneys reduced. the vessels were now equipped with radar and sonar, and even though they were old, they were relatively well equipped for the role of escort vessel.
IN NORWEGIAN SERVICE
The British naturally had some problems when suddenly had to man 50 new vessels with a crew of around 125 men. some were operated by the Canadian navy by agreement, and it is also not surprising that Norway, on the basis of the concluded military agreement, came to operate five of the vessels
The next Destroyer, Bath, was given Norwegian command in April 1941 and from June 1941 it also entered the escort groups based in Liverpool, specifically the 5th escort group. However, it only managed to escort a few convoys before it was lost in the war on the night between 18 and 19 August 1941. It was lying as stern protection in a convoy on its way from Ireland to Gibraltar when it was hit by first one and then probably another torpedo from the German submarine U-204, about 400 nautical miles south-west of Ireland. The first tor pedo entered the engine room, and although it supposedly did not explode, the vessel heeled rapidly to port. The starboard lifeboats could not be deployed because of the “headwind” and the port lifeboat could not be released. Only two rafts got loose and in these some men saved themselves. A contributing factor to the fact that more than 80 men lost their lives was nevertheless the fact that the sinking engines on board had been prepared and set because they wanted to attack the submarine. When the sinkers followed the ship into the depths, the sinkers were released and killed many of those who floated in the water. The men in the fleet were first rescued by a British corvette, before they were later transferred to our own St.Albans.
PICTURES AND IMPORTANT DETAILS
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