HMS Halcyon (MS-1934)


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The Royal Navy built exactly 21 Fleet minesweepers between 1919 and 1939, the Halcyon class. The RN would have liked to have built 100 or more but like all the other classes of ships the RN never had the funding to be able to build what it needed to cover the tens of thousands of miles of sea where mines could be laid, or where enemy ships and aircraft can interdict the same seaways. To this end, the Halcyons, as well as acting as minelayers needed to be able to act as escort vessels. The minesweeping gear being landed and ASW weaponry placed aboard. From 1938 the ships were fitted/completed with ASDIC from new and refits. In later versions a mixed MS/Escort armament was fitted.

Fitted with the Mk.5 4" low angle guns, these were upgraded and replaced with the Dual Purpose version from 1937 onwards. The class was heavily armed with AA guns from the start. A quad machinegun mounting and four single 20mm Hispano cannons being mounted. The ships would be acting close inshore for the most part and needed the weapons to deal with the threat from the air as well as E-boats and other threats. The light weaponry was upgraded throughout the war, with a single 40mm Bofors and six 20mm Oerlikons being mounted. Radar started to be added in late 1941, minesweepers being a long way down the waiting list for such electronic equipment. The class was meant to be used as the basis for the war built minesweepers, but in the end the far cheaper Bangor type were built.

Displacement 950 tons std, 1360 tons full load.
Length 245.5 ft
Breadth 28 ft
Draught 9 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Reciprocating, 2,000shp
Speed 18 knots
Range 5000 miles at 12 knots
Armament As Completed
2 x 4" (2x1) LA
4 x 20mm Hispano (4x1)
4 x 0.5" mg (1x4)
Upgrades to 1939
2 x 4" DP (2x1)
2 x 20mm Oerlikon (1x2)
4 x 20mm Hispano (4x1)
Upgrades to 1942
2 x 4" DP (2x1)
1 x 40mm (1x1)
6 x 20mm (6x1)
Complement 85-96

Halcyon Class Statistics and fates.

Reciprocating group

Turbine group

British Typhoons are the worst cause of loss for the Halcyon class sinking 3 with rockets and bombs 27/08/1944.

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