HNoMS FRØYA - Minelayer

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HNoMS FRØYA - Minelayer

BUILDING SITE: Marinens Hovedverft, Horten
LAUNCHED: 20 June 1916
HOIST COMMAND: 1 June 1918

4x 102mm Fast-firing automatic cannons HAK
1x 40mm Hotchkiss
1x 45.7cm double torpedo-cannon
180 mines

4x 102mm Fast-firing automatic cannons HAK
1x 40mm Hotchkiss¨
1x 76mm/7.5cm Bofors L/44 AA
1x 45.7cm double torpedo-cannon
180 mines

Frøya had the mines stored on the main deck, under the superstructure, amidships. They stood on rails in two rows on either side of the chimneys. When minelaying, they were rolled out over the transom and tipped into the sea from the stern.

Displacement: 870 Ton
Hull: Steel
Coal Bunker: 165 Ton
Length: 75.3m
Width: 8.2m
Depth: 2.8m

Eigne: 2x Triple-expansion steam-eigne
Power: 6.000 IHK
Speed: 21.8 knots (40.37 km/h)
Crew: 78

1940: Laid mines in Skjørnsfjorden on 9 April (they day of the German invasion)
1940: Blown up by own crew on 13 April at Søtvika in Stjørdalsfjorden, Shortly afterwards torpedoed by a German submarine

The first actual minelayers
Next to the mines, the torpedo was also very popular from the late 19th century, and when the Navy was rearmed from 1895, it was mainly torpedo boats that were targeted, next to the four large armored ships. From 1907, submarines also entered as a competitor in the battle for resources. The strong investment in the production of mines from 1911 went beyond the production of torpedoes for a while, but the starting budget had to be satisfied with the converted gunboats as minelayers. However, at the outbreak of the First World War, our two new armored ships Bjørgvin and Nidaros, which were under construction in England, were held back by the British, but still under such orderly conditions that we were reimbursed our progress payments for them. thanks to these funds, we were able to start the construction of three new and relatively large vessels, specially designed for laying mines.

Frøya was built at the Navy’s Main Shipyard as the only new construction during the war, a period when the Shipyard was mainly occupied with preparing and repairing ships for neutrality service. With its 870 tonnes, it was a relatively large barrel, designed to be able to operate on the open sea. Frøya had a capacity for 180 mines, which were laid out from the open aft deck. This was quickly tested when Frøya laid most of the mines in the Karmøysperringen. With 4x 10cm guns and a double torpedo tube, it had both good protection and qualities that could be compared to a small escort vessel. Later, it was also fitted with an anti-aircraft cannon.

The other two minelayers, the sister ships Glommen and Lågen, were built at Akershus Mekaniske Verksted and launched in 1917 and 1918. These were significantly smaller and were therefore intended for a more limited role as pure minelayers in shallower waters. storage of up to 120 mines on an underlying deck and with 4 ports on an underlying deck and with four ports for simultaneous deployment. In the interwar period, Glommen and Laugen practiced together with the small minelayers, while Frøya most often practiced with the torpedo boats

During the Winter War, Frøya had been based in Eastern Finnmark, but on 3 April was ordered to go to the Oslofjord to take command of the 1st Minelaying Division. on board they had 96 mines for a maximum depth of 200 metres.

On 8 April, the ship’s commander, Captain Schrøder Nielsen, heard about the British minelaying. Because of his own mine load, he chose to enter Brekstad Bukta at Ørland outside the Trondheimsfjord, which was communicated to the commander of the 2nd Naval District, Admiral Tank-Nielsen. It later emerged that the admiral considered giving Frøya orders to lay her mines as a barrier at Agdenesm, but that this was abandoned, because here it was deeper than 200 metres. when the commander at Frøya learned early the next morning that both Trondheim city and Agdened fortress were occupied by the Germans, he chose to go as far as possible into the Størnfjord, which provided several good cover opportunities. Here in the Nordfjord, they got rid of the mine cargo in relatively shallow water. The mines were laid without an ignition device and they were connected, with the aim that they could later be taken back on board. The ship’s commander defied German calls to surrender the vessel to save bloodshed.

Even without mines, Frøya represented a fighting potential and the ship’s commander hoped to be able to make an effort if British vessels wanted to attack the fortress. for the next couple of days they were overrun by both German and British planes. The British also dropped some bombs against the vessel, before they discovered the Norwegian flag.

On 13 April, the ship’s commander received a message that German troops were positioning land positions along the fjord outside, probably to block the ship inside. On their way out of the fjord, they were fired upon by both machine guns and cannons. A projectile peeked through the command bridge and took both chart table and gyrocompass with it.

with a daring manoeuvre, however, Frøya made it to safety in Støvika. Here the commander held a ship’s council with his officers and they agreed to abandon the vessel, disable the guns and blow up the vessel. The bow was set ashore and two demolition mines were detonated in the aft boiler room, although the ship did not sink completely. Some time later “help” was received in the destruction of a German submarine which fired a torpedo at the steadfast ship






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