HMS Sansovino (F162)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: C-1-S-AY1 finished as Infantry landing ship
Name: HMS Sansovino
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Wilmington, California
Launched: 29 July 1943
Completed: November 1943
Commissioned: 1945
Out of service: Returned to Ministry of War Transport in June 1946
Renamed: Built as Cape Compass
Empire Cutlass in 1943
HMS Sansovino in 1945
Empire Cutlass in June 1946
Hai Ou in 1948
Empire Cutlass in 1950
Hai Ou in 1960
Fate: Returned to US Navy in 1947
Decommissioned and laid up in 1948
Sold in 1960
Scrapped in 1970
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,177 tons grt
Length: 396 ft (121 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines
Boats and landing
craft carried:
sixteen Landing Craft Assault
Armament: 1 x 4 in gun
1 x 12 pdr gun
12 x 20mm guns

HMS Sansovino was an infantry landing ship in service with the Royal Navy during the late stages of the Second World War.

She was built by Consolidated Steel Corporation, Wilmington, California as the Cape Compass.

War Transport

She was transferred under the terms of lend lease shortly after being completed in 1943 under the name Empire Cutlass.[1] She was taken over by the Ministry of War Transport and operated by Furness, Withy & Co.

She was converted to carry sixteen Landing Craft Assault for the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. On D-Day she carried the South Lancashire Regiment for Sword Beach[2]. She had near misses from two torpedoes and suffered heavy shelling from Le Havre.

Later in June while in the Solent, a V-1 flying bomb brought down by her barrage balloon exploded on her starboard side. [3] She continued to ferry troops from England to France after repairs. On 21 November she was damaged by an oyster mine in the English Channel, but no casualties were reported.[4] She was sent for repairs in Falmouth.

Royal Navy service

In 1945 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and commissioned as HMS Sansovino, under which name she served out the remainder of the war.[1]

On 18 January 1946 she was in the Pacific when the MV Highland Brigade, carrying two thousand Indian troops, struck a mine off Singapore.[5] The Sansovino, which was carrying troops of the 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment from Soerabaja, came to the aid of the stricken Highland Brigade, and took 110 Indian troops off with her landing craft.[5] The Highland Brigade was subsequently towed into Singapore.[5] She was returned to the Ministry of War Transport in June 1946, which returned her to Furness, Withy & Co under her original name of Empire Cutlass.[1][6] She was returned to the US Navy in 1947 and operated by the United States Maritime Commission.[6] In 1948 it was arranged that she would be sold to China, and she was renamed Hai Ou in preparation. The arrangement was subsequently postponed, and by 1950 she had been renamed Empire Cutlass and was laid up in the James River, Virginia.[6] She returned to service in 1960, when the deal finally went ahead. She was renamed Hai Ou, and entered service with the China Merchants Steam Navigation Co., of Taiwan.[6] She sailed with them until 1970, when she was sold for breaking up, being scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan by 15 October 1970.[6][7]