Tribal-class Destroyer, HMCS Iroquois (DDE 217)

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Tribal-class Destroyer, HMCS Iroquois (DDE 217)

Bluewater vessel, Canadian Tribal-class destroyer, refitted with lighter DP guns post-war.

The first Canadian Tribal-class destroyers to be built, HMCS Iroquois was laid down at the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1940. Originally named Athabaskan, it was swapped with the original Iroquois after that was damaged in a bombing raid to ensure the first ship completed had that name. It was commissioned in 1942, and saw its first action in July of 1943, where it escorted the troop ships SS California and SS Duchess of York, which were sunk by German aircraft with Iroquois rescuing 628 survivors. It also escorted Soviet convoys and participated in actions against German ships along the French coast. At the end of the war it escorted the Norwegian crown prince Olav back to Norway, and the German cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nurnberg to Kiel for internment. It then went through a refit for deployment in the Pacific, but that was cancelled after the surrender of Japan.

Post-war, the ship was paid off and used a depot ship until 1947, when it was converted into a training ship at Halifax. In June 1950 after the outbreak of the Korean War, it then underwent a conversion again into a “destroyer escort”. The 4.7-inch guns were replaced with 4-inch and 3-inch DP guns, the radar and fire-control modernized, and the ASW armament replaced. The conversion was completed and it was recommissioned into active duty in October 1951. It then sailed to Korea, where it spent most of the war conducting fire support and escorting carriers. In October of 1952 it was hit by a shell directly in one of the turrets, killing three crewmen and wounding 10, the only Canadian naval casualties of the war. The ship returned to Canada in November, but returned for its 2nd Korean tour in 1953, again supporting land operations and later evacuating troops after the armistice. It remained in Korea for patrol duties post-war, while also completing two circumnavigations during return trips to Halifax. In 1955 it returned to home waters, where it was remade again into training ship. It took part in naval exercises in the Atlantic until 1957 when its age caught up to it and was put into reserve. It was decommissioned in 1962, and was broken up in 1966 in Spain, the last Canadian Tribal-class to be scrapped.

Specifications: (1954)

2x2 4-inch (102mm) Mk.XVI in Mk.XIX mount
1x2 3-inch (76mm) Mk.33
4x1 40mm Bofors L/60 in Boffin mount (-10° - 70° elevations)
1x4 533mm TT
2x3 305mm Squid ASW Mortar

1927 tons standard
2800 tons full

Length: 114.9m

Beam: 11.4m

Draft: 4.6m

Propulsion: 2 Parson geared steam turbines with 3 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 44 000 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 36.25 knots (67.1 km/h)

Range: unknown

Crew: 233

Mark III(W) fire director
2 AN/SPG-34 tracking radars and Mark 29 directors
AN/SPS-6C search radar
Type 293 search radar
Sperry Mark II navigation radar
Type 170 sonar
Type 174 sonar




A pic of the Boffin when I was at the War Museum

Blackman, R. (1960). Canada. In Jane’s fighting ships 1960-61 (p. 69). Janes.
Campbell, S. D. (2017). Tin-Can Canucks: A Century of Canadian Destroyers (pp. 102-105). Kay Cee.
Fyffe, G. M., & Siddons, J. N. (1956). A pictorial record of HMC ships “Huron” and “Iroquois” under U.N. Command, 1954-1955.
Gardiner, R., Chumbley, S., & Budzbon, P. (1995). Canada. In Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1947-1995 (p. 41). Naval Institute Press.


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In addition to this configuration, some Canadian Tribals DDE conversions had a 3rd 4" twin Mk XIX mount aft, as seen in this 1951 photo of Cayuga. (Likely leaving for her 1st tour in Korea immediately after completing the conversion.)

And the 4 Halifax-built Tribals were initially built with 4x2 4" Mk XIX mounts, as seen in this photo of Cayuga in 1950.

(Unfortunately photos of the Halifax Tribals in as-built condition seem quite scarce. I was hoping to find some of the second HMCS Athabaskan for use in a suggestion post, but I’ve unable to find any.)

I for one would love to see all 3 of the uniquely Canadian Tribal configurations.

Sure, hopefully as part of a combined Canadian and Australian/New Zealand tech tree.