RZS Sauron (DS-1941)


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Part of the stock take the Admiralty did on the outbreak of war, were two refrigerated long haul freighters to transport meat from Zealandia to Britain. Both ships were requisitioned and the design altered to turn them into Squadron support ships for MTB's. Able to carry a full squadron of eight boats, first it was the 70 foot craft and eventually the 73 foot Vospers with their various armaments (as pictured). With a speed of 20 knots the two ships were able to get to their forward bases with a minimum fuss. The regard in which these ships was held was shown by both the armament fitted to them and the escorts they took with them wherever they went.

Beside the Squadron support role, the ships both had large workshops aboard in what had been the centre hold. Not only the MTB's but also the Minesweepers subs and other smaller units could be based on and serviced by these ships. The two squadrons of MTB's were both named, RZS Sauron carried the Cobra squadron (motto: one ring to rule them all), and the RZS Nazgul carried the Hammerhead Squadron. The armaments carried on the MTB's varied almost from ship to ship as each commander loaded aboard all types of 'scrounged' armaments.

Eventually four squadrons of the Vosper 73 foot MTB's were in service with one squadron in the Mediterranean, one in the English Channel, and the last two in the Pacific with the Sauron and Nazgul.


Displacement 14,700 tons std 19,250 tons full load
Length 552 ft
Breadth 79 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 20,000shp
Speed 20 knots
Range 14,000 miles at 14 knots
Armour nil
Armament 2 x 4" (2x1)
20 x 2pd (5x4)
8 x 20mm (4x2)
Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 700
Notes RZS Sauron (06/1941) Sunk by gunfire off the Philipine's 1944.

RZS Nazgul (07/1941) Scrapped 1972.

MTB armed with 6 pounder forward. At 40 knots maximum speed they were the Kings of the Mosquito Fleet.


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