Black Swan class sloop
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HMS Black Swan
|Name:||Black Swan class|
|Operators:||Royal Navy, Royal Indian Navy|
|Completed:||13 (original) + 24 (modified)|
1,250 tons original|
1,350 tons modified
|Length:||299 ft 6 in (91.29 m)|
37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) original|
38 ft 6 in (11.73 m) modified
|Draught:||11 ft (3.4 m)|
Geared turbines, 2 shafts:|
3,600 hp (2.68 MW) (original)
4,300 hp (3.21 MW) (modified)
19 knots (35 km/h) (original)|
20 knots (37 km/h) (modified)
|Range:||7,500 nmi (13,900 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)|
|Armament:||20 mm Oerlikon AA (6 × 2) (modified)|
The Black Swan class and Modified Black Swan class were two classes of sloop of the Royal Navy and Royal Indian Navy. Thirteen Black Swans were launched between 1939 and 1943, including four for the Royal Indian Navy; twenty-four Modified Black Swans were launched between 1942 and 1945, including two for the Royal Indian Navy; another five ships were cancelled in 1945.
Like corvettes, sloops of that period were specialized convoy-defence vessels, except that sloops possessed much superior anti-aircraft fire control via the Fuze Keeping Clock and a heavy armament of high angle 4 inch guns while retaining excellent anti-submarine capability. They were designed to have a longer range than a destroyer at the expense of a lower top speed, while remaining capable of outrunning surfaced Type VII and Type IX U-boats.
In World War II, Black Swan-class sloops sank 29 U-boats. The most famous sloop commander was Captain Frederic John Walker. His sloop Starling became one of the most successful submarine hunters, taking part in the sinking of eleven U-boats.
After the war, sloops continued in service with the Royal Navy, Egyptian Navy, Indian Navy, Pakistani Navy and the West German Navy. In April 1949, Amethyst was attacked on the Yangtze River by the Communist People's Liberation Army.
Several Black Swan sloops fought in the Korean War.
Black Swan class
The first two ships were built under the 1937 Programme and the second pair under the 1939 Programme. The remaining five RN ships were ordered under the 1940 War Programme; there were incremental improvements as the building developed, and the Woodcock and Wren when completed were practically indistinguishable from the Modified Black Swan Class.
- Flamingo, built by Yarrow, laid down on 26 May 1938, launched on 18 April 1939, and completed 3 November 1939. Transferred to West Germany as Graf Spee 21 January 1959. Sold for breaking up 25 October 1967.
- Black Swan, built by Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun, laid down on 20 June 1938, launched on 7 July 1939, and completed 27 January 1940. Sold for breaking up September 1956.
- Erne, built by Furness Shipbuilding, laid down on 22 September 1939, launched on 5 August 1940, and completed 26 April 1941. Became RNVR training ship Wessex on the Solent 4 June 1952, broken up October 1965.
- Ibis, built by Furness Shipbuilding, laid down on 22 September 1939, launched on 28 November 1940, and completed 30 August 1941. Sunk by Italian torpedo bombers off Algiers on 10 November 1942.
- Whimbrel, built by Yarrow, laid down on 31 October 1941, launched on 25 August 1942, and completed 13 January 1943. Transferred to Egypt as El Malek Farouq November 1949, renamed Tarik 1954.
- Wild Goose, built by Yarrow, laid down on 28 January 1942, launched on 14 October 1942, and completed 11 March 1943. Sold for breaking up February 1956.
- Woodcock, built by Fairfield, Govan, laid down on 21 October 1941, launched on 26 November 1942, and completed 29 May 1943. Sold for breaking up November 1955.
- Woodpecker, built by Denny, laid down on 23 February 1941, launched on 29 June 1942, and completed 14 December 1942. Sunk by U-256 on 27 February 1944.
- Wren, built by Denny, laid down on 27 February 1941, launched on 11 August 1942, and completed 4 February 1943. Sold for breaking up February 1956.
- Jumna, built by Denny, launched on 16 November 1940, and completed 13 May 1941. Later used as survey ship, renamed INS Jamuna 1968, paid off at end 1980 and broken up.
- Sutlej, built by Denny, launched on 1 October 1940, and completed 23 April 1941. Later used as survey ship, paid off at end 1978 and deleted 1982 or 1983.
- Godavari, built by Thornycroft, Woolston, launched on 21 March 1943, and completed 28 June 1943. Transferred to Pakistan as Sind 1948. Sold for breaking up 2 June 1959.
- Narbada, built by Thornycroft, launched on 21 December 1942, and completed 29 April 1943. Transferred to Pakistan as Jhelum 1948. Broken up July 1959.
Modified Black Swan class
Eleven ships were in the 1940 Supplementary War Programme:
- Chanticleer, built by Denny, laid down on 6 June 1941, launched on 24 September 1942, and completed 29 March 1943. A total loss on 18 November 1943 by U-515 (Henke). Renamed Lusitania 31 December 1943 as a base ship, then broken up 1945.
- Crane, built by Denny, laid down on 13 June 1941, launched on 9 November 1942, and completed 10 May 1943. Broken up 1965.
- Cygnet, built by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, laid down on 30 August 1941, launched on 28 July 1942, and completed 1 December 1942. Broken up March 1956.
- Kite, built by Cammell Laird, laid down on 25 September 1941, launched on 13 October 1942, and completed 1 March 1943. Sunk by U-344 on 21 August 1944.
- Lapwing, built by Scotts, Greenock, laid down 17 December 1941, launched on 16 July 1943, and completed 21 March 1944. Sunk by U-968 on 20 March 1945.
- Lark, built by Scotts, laid down 5 May 1942, launched on 28 August 1943, and completed 10 April 1944. Damaged beyond repair by U-968 off Kola Inlet on 17 February 1945; salved by Soviet Navy and added as Neptun, finally broken up 1956.
- Magpie, built by Thornycroft, laid down on 30 December 1941, launched 24 March 1943, and completed 30 August 1943. Broken up July 1959.
- Peacock, built by Thornycroft, laid down on 29 November 1942, launched on 11 December 1943, and completed 10 May 1944. Broken up May 1958.
- Pheasant, built by Yarrow, laid down on 17 March 1942, launched on 21 December 1942, and completed 12 May 1943. Broken up January 1963.
- Redpole, built by Yarrow, laid down on 18 May 1942, launched on 25 February 1943, and completed 24 June 1943. Broken up November 1960.
- Starling, built by Fairfield, laid down on 21 October 1941, launched on 14 October 1942, and completed 1 April 1943. Broken up July 1965.
Ten more ships were in the 1941 Programme:
- Actaeon, built by Thornycroft, laid down on 15 May 1944, launched on 25 July 1945, and completed 24 July 1946. Transferred to West Germany as Hipper 9 December 1958. Hulked July 1964, sold for breaking up 25 October 1967.
- Amethyst, built by Alexander Stephen, laid down on 25 March 1942, launched on 7 May 1943, and completed 2 November 1943. Broken up January 1957.
- Hart, built by Stephen, laid down on 27 March 1942, launched on 7 July 1943, and completed 12 December 1943. Transferred to West Germany as Scheer 1958. Sold for breaking up 17 March 1971.
- Hind, built by Denny, laid down 31 August 1942, launched on 30 September 1943, and completed 11 April 1944. Broken up December 1958.
- Mermaid, built by Denny, laid down on 8 September 1942, launched on 11 November 1943, and completed 12 May 1944. Transferred to West Germany as Scharnhorst 5 May 1950. Hulked 1974, and broken up April 1990.
- Opossum, built by Denny, laid down on 28 July 1943, launched on 30 November 1944, and completed 16 June 1945. Broken up April 1960.
- Modeste, built by Chatham Dockyard, laid down on 15 February 1943, launched on 29 January 1944, and completed 3 September 1945. Broken up March 1961.
- Nereide, built by Chatham Dockyard, laid down on 15 February 1943, launched on 29 January 1944, and completed 6 May 1946. Broken up May 1958.
- Nonsuch, ordered from Portsmouth Dockyard 3 March 1942, laid down on 26 February 1945, but cancelled 23 October 1945.
- Nymphe, ordered from Portsmouth Dockyard 3 March 1942, laid down on 26 February 1945, but cancelled 23 October 1945.
Three more ships were in the 1942 Programme (Snipe and Sparrow had originally been in the 1940 Programme, ordered from John Brown, Clydebank on 21 June 1941, then the order was transferred to Devonport Dockyard 3 March 1942 and finally to Denny on 8 December 1942):
- Alacrity, built by Denny, laid down on 4 May 1943, launched on 1 September 1944, and completed 13 April 1945. Broken up September 1956.
- Snipe, built by Denny, laid down on 21 September 1944, launched on 20 December 1945, and completed 9 September 1946. Broken up August 1960.
- Sparrow, built by Denny, laid down on 30 October 1944, launched on 18 February 1946, and completed 16 December 1946. Broken up May 1958.
Three more ships were in the 1944 Programme, but all were cancelled 2 November 1945. These had been intended to be further modified and enlarged, with a beam of 38 feet 6 inches (11.73 m):
- Partridge, ordered from Thornycroft on 9 October 1944.
- Waterhen, ordered from Denny.
- Wryneck, ordered from Denny.
- Cauvery, built by Yarrow, launched on 15 June 1943, and completed 21 October 1943. Renamed INS Kaveri 1968. Sold 1979.
- Kistna, built by Yarrow, launched on 22 April 1943, and completed 26 August 1943. Renamed INS Krishna 1968. Paid off at end 1981 and broken up.
Black Swans sunk or destroyed in action
- In World War II:
- Ibis was sunk by Italian torpedo bombers off Algiers on 10 November 1942
- Woodpecker was seriously damaged by an acoustic homing torpedo fired by U-256 on 20 February 1944 whilst escorting convoy ON-224. The ship sank a week later on 27 February whilst under tow during an Atlantic storm.
- Kite was sunk by U-344 on 21 August 1944 whilst the ship was escorting aircraft carriers which were covering the Arctic convoy JW-59.
- Lark was damaged beyond repair by U-968 on 17 February 1945
- Lapwing was sunk by U-968 on 20 March 1945
- In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War:
- El Malek Farouq was sunk by two MTM explosive motor boats of the Israeli Defence Forces on 21 October 1948. (This is not the class that was sunk, see HMS Whimbrel, sold in 1949 to Egypt and renamed Tarik in 1954.)
U-boats sunk by Black Swans
- U-213 was sunk east of the Azores by Erne, Rochester and Sandwich on 31 July 1942.
- U-124 was sunk west of Oporto by the corvette Stonecrop and Black Swan on 2 April 1943.
- U-202 was sunk at 00:30 hrs on 2 June 1943 south-east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position , by depth charges and gunfire from Starling on 2 June 1943.
- U-449 was sunk north-west of Cape Ortegal by Wren, Woodpecker, Kite and Wild Goose on 24 June 1943.
- U-462 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by a Handley-Page Halifax and Wren, Kite, Woodpecker, Wild Goose and Woodcock on 30 July 1943.
- U-504 was sunk north-west of Cape Ortegal by Kite, Woodpecker, Wren and Wild Goose on 30 July 1943.
- U-226 was sunk east of Newfoundland by Starling, Woodcock and Kite on 6 November 1943.
- U-538 was sunk south-west of Ireland by the frigate Foley and Crane on 21 November 1943.
- U-119 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Starling on 24 June 1943.
- U-842 was sunk by Starling and Wild Goose on 6 November 1943.
- U-592 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Starling, Wild Goose and Magpie on 31 January 1944.
- U-762 was sunk by Woodpecker and Wild Goose on 8 February 1944.
- U-734 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Wild Goose and Starling on 9 February 1944.
- U-238 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Kite, Magpie and Starling on 9 February 1944.
- U-424 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Wild Goose and Woodpecker on 11 February 1944.
- U-264 was sunk by Woodpecker and Starling on 19 February 1944.
- U-653 was sunk by a Fairey Swordfish from the escort carrier Vindex, Starling and Wild Goose on 15 March 1944.
- U-961 was sunk east of Iceland by Starling on 29 March 1944.
- U-962 was sunk north-west of Cape Finisterre by Crane and Cygnet on 8 April 1944.
- U-473 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Starling, Wren and Wild Goose on 6 May 1944.
- U-333 was sunk west of the Scilly Isles by Starling and the frigate Loch Killin on 31 July 1944.
- U-608 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Wren and a B-24 Liberator on 10 August 1944.
- U-385 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Starling and a Shorts Sunderland on 11 August 1944.
- U-198 was sunk near the Seychelles by the frigate Findhorn and HMIS Godavari on 12 August 1944.
- U-354 was sunk in the Barents Sea by Mermaid and Peacock, the frigate Loch Dunvegan and the destroyer Keppel on 24 August 1944.
- U-394 was sunk in the Norwegian Sea by a Fairey Swordfish from the escort carrier Vindex, the destroyers Keppel and Whitehall and the sloops Mermaid and Peacock on 2 September 1944.
- U-482 was sunk by Peacock, Hart, Starling, Amethyst and others on 16 January 1945.
- U-425 was sunk in the Barents Sea by Lark and the corvette Alnwick Castle on 17 February 1945.
- U-1276 was sunk south of Waterford by Amethyst on 20 February 1945.
- U-1208 was sunk by Amethyst and others on 20 February 1945.
- U-327 was sunk in the English Channel by the frigates Labuan and Loch Fada and Wild Goose on 27 February 1945.
- U-683 was sunk by Wild Goose and others on 12 March 1945.
- Media related to Black Swan class sloop at Wikimedia Commons
- List of Royal Navy ships
- List of naval ships of Egypt
- List of ship launches in 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946