Town-class light cruiser, Gloucester subclass, HMS Manchester (C15) (1942)

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Town-class light cruiser, Gloucester subclass, HMS Manchester (C15)

HMS Manchester (C15) on 17 May 1942

HMS Manchester is a light cruiser of the second series of Town-class cruisers. It was laid down on March 28, 1936, and launched on April 12, 1937, in service since August 4, 1938. The ship did not last long, but had a busy career. Took part in the Second World War. He carried out patrols in the Indian Ocean, participated in the Norwegian operation, battles in the Mediterranean Sea, and accompanied the Arctic convoy. While on patrol, she was torpedoed by Italian torpedo bombers. Sunk during a convoy to Malta by Italian torpedo boats. The ship’s motto is β€œDare to be Wise.”

The cruiser ended up in the 4th cruiser squadron, which was based at the East India station. In November-December 1938 he made a voyage with his squadron. At the beginning of World War II, the cruiser was in the Indian Ocean and received orders for several trade raids and to intercept German ships. Afterwards he defended a merchant convoy in the Indian Ocean.

In October 1939, the decision was made to transfer HMS Manchester to the 18th Cruising Squadron in the metropolis, where the cruiser headed across the Mediterranean. In November 1939, she arrived in Portsmouth, where she stood for repairs. On December 21, after repairs were completed, the ship set sail for Scapa Flow, where the 18th cruiser squadron was based. During 1940, the cruiser with the squadron sailed into the Atlantic Ocean to intercept German merchant ships. In February he joined the Server Patrol. On February 21, he captured the German merchant ship Wahehe and took it as a prize. In March, the cruiser became the flagship of the squadron.

HMS Manchester took part in the Norwegian operation. In April, the cruiser accompanied convoy ON25, but had to leave it in order to join the Home Fleet. The cruiser Southampton and the destroyers Janus, Javelin, Grenade and Eclipse went with Manchester. On April 9, the Home Fleet was attacked by German bombers. The destroyer Gurkha was killed by bombs. After this, Manchester, along with the cruisers Glasgow, Sheffield and Southampton, accompanied by 7 destroyers, was sent to attack the German ships that came to Bergen. On April 26, the cruiser put to sea to support the destroyer operation near Trondheim. After 2 days, he returned to the port to replenish ammunition in order to continue the operation off the coast of Norway. On May 10, she left Scapa Flow along with the cruiser Sheffield to cover the passage of the destroyer Kelly, damaged in a battle with German torpedo boats.


Operation Pedestal, August 11. Manchester on the left.

On 26 May HMS Manchester was transferred to the Humber for anti-landing operations. In June he was transferred to Rosyth for the same purposes. In July, the cruiser began repairs at the Portsmouth shipyard. On October 4, he moved to Scapa Flow. On October 9, he covered the battleship Revenge when it shelled Cherbourg.

In November, HMS Manchester was sent as reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet. He departed there with the destroyers Jaguar and Kelvin. During Operation Collar, the cruiser took part in the battle off Cape Spartivento and successfully delivered its cargo to Malta. On December 13th he returned to Scapa Flow.

Since January, the cruiser has been undergoing repairs in Tayne. At this time, a Type 279 search air radar was installed on the ship. On April 18, she returned to the patrol. On May 6, HMS Manchester covered the ships of the mine division. On May 7, a patrol captured the German weather ship Munchen. The German captain managed to destroy the Enigma encryption machine, but British sailors from the destroyer Somali managed to capture its rotors and cipher books. On May 22, the cruiser patrolled the line between Iceland and the Faroe Islands in search of the German battleship Bismarck, whose goal was to break out into the Atlantic. On May 24, Manchester patrolled the same line in case the battleship Bismarck returned. On June 3, the cruiser returned to Scapa Flow.

On July 2, it was decided to involve the ship in escorting the next trade convoy to Malta. On 11 July HMS Manchester entered Gibraltar. On July 23, the escort came under air attack. Manchester received a torpedo hit on the starboard side, near the boiler room.


HMS Manchester, 1942.

On July 26, she embarked for repairs at the Gibraltar shipyard and throughout August prepared for the passage to the United States. On September 17, the cruiser, together with the destroyer Firedrake, headed for the United States. On September 23, she arrived and began repairs at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where repairs continued until March 1942. New additional radar equipment was installed. Portsmouth installed: main caliber and heavy anti-aircraft artillery fire control radars Type 284 and Type 285, as well as the latest surface search 10-centimeter radar Type 273.

On 2 May HMS Manchester rejoined the fleet at Scapa Flow. On June 25, the cruiser delivered supplies and personnel to reinforce the Spitsbergen garrison. On July 3, the ship covered convoy PQ-17, after which it was defeated and returned to Scapa Flow.

On 3 August HMS Manchester again escorted a convoy to Malta. On August 10, the cruiser became part of Force X. During the transition, the formation was attacked by enemy aircraft and submarines. On August 12, at night near the island of Pantelleria, the convoy was attacked by German and Italian torpedo boats. Manchester received two torpedo hits from Italian MAS16 and MAS22. The torpedoes dug into the starboard side and caused flooding in the engine rooms. The cruiser lost 12 people killed. By the morning of August 13, due to the cruiser being close to the enemy shore, there was no hope of saving the ship and bringing it to Gibraltar. The explosive charges planted failed to sink the ship, so the destroyer Pathfinder finished it off with a torpedo.

Manchester sank near the Tunisian cape of Cap Bon.

More photos:



HMS Manchester. View from the starboard side.

HMS Manchester (C15), 1942

HMS Manchester. Back view.

HMS Manchester, 1942. Behind is Rodney.

Armament layout on HMS Manchester 1939

HMS Manchester during repairs in the USA.

HMS Manchester (C15), 1942

HMS Manchester (C15)



  • 9,551 tons standard
  • 11,837 tons full load
  • Length: 591 ft 6 in (180.3 m)
  • Beam: 62 ft 4 in (19 m)
  • Draft: 20 ft 7 in (6.3 m)


  • 4 Γ— shafts
  • 4 Γ— geared steam turbines
  • 4 Γ— Admiralty 3-drum boilers
  • 82,500 shp
  • Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
  • Complement: 815


  • Belt - 114 mm
  • Traverses - 63 mm
  • Deck - 32 (51 above the cellars) mm
  • Cellars - 114 / 32 mm
  • Towers - 102 / 51 mm
  • Barbettes - 51 / 25 mm

1942 Refit

  • 4x3 - 152 mm (6-inch) Mk XXIII guns
  • 4x2 - 102 mm QF (4-inch) guns
  • 2x4 - 40 mm QF (2-pounder) Pom Pom AA guns
  • 9x1 - 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns
  • 2x3 - 533 mm torpedo tubes
  • 2 x Supermarine Walrus Scouts

Scheme HMS Manchester (C15) on 1942


  • Neil McCart 1 // Town Class Cruisers. β€” Liskeard: Maritime Books, 2012 г… β€” 334 p. β€” 4,000 pounds. β€” ISBN 978-1-9044-5952-1
  • Gudmundur Helgason. β€” The U-boat War 1939β€”1945 HMS Manchester (15).
  • Gordon Smith. Naval-History.Net HMS Manchester.
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Greene, Jack & Massignani, Alessandro (2011). The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940–1943. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-561-5.
  • Haarr, Geirr H. (2013). The Gathering Storm: The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 – April 1940. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-331-4.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Cassell. ISBN 1-86019-874-0.
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