HMSAS Springbok (ML-1943)


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I have hummed and harred about what this vessel should be. I have gone from a large destroyer type to a raced up light cruiser. A modified Battle class, a 6" version of a Dido, and a version of the Mount Perry class AA cruisers. I like the idea of a converted Mount Perry design as I already have Southern Africa building those ships, so altering the design to a minelaying cruiser should be within their capabilities.

Up till 1940 the Southern African minelaying force was two old converted pre-dreadnoughts of the King Edward class that had been received in a demilitarised condition and were used in various training roles but had also been fitted as auxiliary minelayers for which their broad open deck plan made them very suitable. But they crawled. With a maximum 12-15 knots the ships were only good for laying and maintaining the home fields. Some destroyers were fitted for minelaying but the quantity that could be carried meant it took ages to lay a decent field. When one of the old ships (Elephant) was sunk, the answer was to build some purpose built minelayers. Two were laid down in 1940.

The Southern African Navy already had the Mount Perry CLA design being built. They took that design and turned it into a minelayer. The two ships were to be greyhounds and their names of Springbok and Cheetah certainly showed what the Southern African designers wanted their speed to be. They were not unhappy with the result. With engines of 100,000shp the ships made 40 knots on trials. To achieve the speeds required, all of the armour was removed, and two of the Mk II 4.5" turrets were deleted from the design. The other three turrets were replaced with 4.5" Mk V mountings. Where the Mt Perry design had a stepped deck from near the rear funnel to aft, the Springbok design plated that in to provide the space for the mine deck. The tertiary AA battery was solely 40mm weapons with radar predictors, four quads and two singles being fitted. Surface, Air search and targeting radars were fitted. The ships were fitted with a powerful Asdic set as where the Allies thought a minefield might cause havoc for the enemy the enemy may have already decided to protect the area with a minefield. Having the Asdic set allowed the ships to be able to find enemy minefields and plot better where they had laid their field.


Displacement 6,200 tons standard, 8,000 tons full load.
Length 500 ft
Breadth 49 ft
Draught 17 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Steam turbines, 100,000shp
Speed 40 knots calm (sea speed 36 knots)
Range 4500 miles at 15 knots, 1200 @ 35 knots
Armament 6 x 4.5" (3x2)
16 x 40mm (4x4)
2 x 40mm (2x1)
Mines 300 large 380 small
Complement 450
Notes HMSAS Springbok (11/1943)

HMSAS Cheetah (03/1944)

The other two versions, if used, I would have upgraded the drawings. But it is interesting to see them in their original condition.

6" Version of a Dido class cruiser. I would remove the aft 6" mounts and reduce it to 4x6" all forward. Add another twin 4" aft, quad 2pd beside the bridge, single/twin 20mm finish off the gun armament, mines would be carried in the open.

Converted large destroyer, same number of mines as the cruiser, but, too much heavy AA with the twin Hazemeyers, two or three, maybe, six = no.


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