HMS Prince Robert (AAS-1937-41)
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In the real world, the Prince Robert and its sisterships were built and converted in the Pacific Northwest, where they were fast ferries running from Seattle / Vancouver up to Anchorage, Alaska. They were converted to their primary purpose as Escort ships at the Esqimault Naval Yard before being sent out into the world. While I like the idea and carry it forward, I can't use the Canadian ships as in this Alternate Universe, Canada does not exist as a seperate identity. The ships I use are the cross channel ferries, which have a decent size and speed as well. They also have not much purpose after the Fall of France in July 1940. They are then ripe for conversion.
The first conversion of these ships was to Armed Merchant Cruisers with four single 6" (see photo) being then sent to the 10th Cruiser Squadron helping to patrol the Atlantic Gaps. With the loss of the Rawalipindi and the need for anti-aircraft escorts to help combat the attacks on convoys by the the big FW-200 bombers, the Prince class were converted to anti-aircraft ships. The three ships were used as the Escort Commanders ship, due to their bigger size to the other escorts. The big wide spacious decks gave plenty of room for armaments.
Prince David showing the aft single 6" when the ships were part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron undertaking patrol duties in the Atlantic Gaps.
|Displacement||6,000 tons standard, 8,200 tons full load|
|Length||385 ft||396 feet|
|Breadth||57 ft||58 feet|
|Draught||21 ft||20 feet|
|Machinery||2shaft , steam turbines, 20,000shp||2 shaft, steam turbines, 25,000shp|
|Speed||22 knots||25 knots|
|Range||6000 miles at 14 knots, 3,500 @ 20 knots||6000 miles at 14 knots, 3,500 at 20 knots|
|Armour||1" gun shields||nil|
8 x 4.7" DP (4x2)
8 x 2pd (2x4)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
8 x 4" DP (4x2)
12 x 2pd (3x4)
14 x 20mm (6x2, 2x1)
|DC's & Hedgehog (1942)||DC's|
|Notes||HMS Prince Robert - Returned to mercantile service,
HMS Prince David - Sunk by HS 293 guided bomb Bay of Biscay Nov-1943
HMS Prince Henry - returned to mercantile service, scrapped 1971.
HMS Humber - Sunk Feb 1945 by U-boat Norwegian Sea.
HMS Mersey - Scrapped 1963
The FW-200 armed with the HS-293 was a formidable opponent, and sunk many fine ships, not least of which was the Prince David.
HMS Humber (AAS-1938-41)
The two Humber class ships were converted after the Prince class ships and learnt from their conversions. They were converted directly to AA ships without the 6" in-between cruiser conversions. Command and control functions as Escort Command ships were enhanced, as were the electronic aids.
The biggest difference between the two types was the fitting of the faster firing twin 4" Mk.XVI, over the slower firing 4.7" twins. With three quad 2 pounder mountings and numerous 20mm guns, the light AA was well catered for. Mersey was the lucky one of the pair, assisting in the sinking of three U-boats, while the Humber was unfortunate being hit, and sunk, with a homing torpedo from U-968 in the Norwegian Sea in February 1945. Mersey was returned to mercantile service in 1946 and eventually scrapped in 1963.
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