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ROYAL NAVY SOUTH ATLANTIC COMMAND - ROYAL NAVY A B SHIPS

1)ACHILLES (LIGHT CRUISER)



Photo. www.wikipedia.org



Class and type Leander-class light cruiser


Builder: Cammell Laird, BirkenheadEngland 


Laid down 11 June 1931 


Launched 1 September 1932  


Commissioned 10 Oct 1933 


Out of service loaned to Royal New Zealand Navy 1 October 1936 


Fate: Sold to Indian Navy 5 July 1948


Displacement: 7,270 tons standard  9,740 tons full load


Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)


Beam: 56 ft (17 m)


Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)


Propulsion: Four Parsons geared steam turbines. Six boilers. Four shafts 72,000 shp


Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h) Range: 5,730 nmi at 13 knots


Complement: Peacetime 550. Wartime 680


Armament: Original configuration: 8 × 6 in guns 4 × 4 in guns


12 × 0.5 in machine guns 8 × 21 in torpedo tubes


Armour: 3 in magazine box 1 inch deck1 inch turrets


Aircraft carried: One catapult-launched aircraft. Original type was a Fairey Seafox catapult and aircraft later replaced with Supermarine Walrus


Cruiser Achilles saw intensive action in the south Atlantic from October 1939 to January 1940 in search for German merchant ships and in the Battle of the River Plate.


Achilles was originally built for the Royal Navy, and was commissioned as HMS Achilles on 10 October 1933. She would serve with the Royal Navy's New Zealand Division from 31 March 1937 up to the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, into which she was transferred in September 1941 and renamed HMNZS Achilles. Her crew was approximately 60 per cent from New Zealand.


At the outbreak of the Second World War, Achilles began patrolling the west coast of South America looking for German merchant ships, but by 22 October 1939 she had arrived at the Falkland Islands, where she was assigned to the South American Division under Commodore Henry Harwood and allocated to Force G (Exeter and Cumberland).


In the early morning of 13 December 1939, a force consisting of Achilles, Ajax and Exeter detected smoke on the horizon, which was confirmed at 06:16 to be a pocket battleship, thought to be the Admiral Scheer but which turned out to be the Admiral Graf Spee. A fierce battle ensued, at a range of approximately 20 kilometres (11 nmi). Achilles suffered some damage. In the exchange of fire, four crew were killed, her captain, W. E. Parry, was wounded; 36 of Graf Spee’s crew were killed.


 

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