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HMCS Cowichan (MCB 147)

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History
Canada
NameCowichan
NamesakeCowichan Bay
BuilderDavie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, Quebec
Laid down20 June 1951
Launched12 November 1951
Commissioned10 December 1953
Decommissioned31 March 1954
IdentificationMCB 147
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1941–45, Normandy 1944[1]
FateTransferred to French Navy 1954
BadgeOn a field barry wavy argent and azure, a pale argent on which a chief's ceremonial mask traditional of the "Cowichan" type of the Salish, vert.[1]
France
NameLa Malouine
Acquired7 April 1954
Stricken1977
IdentificationP 651
FateSunk as target 1985
General characteristics
Class and typeBay-class minesweeper
Displacement
  • 390 long tons (400 t)
  • 412 long tons (419 t) (deep load)
Length152 ft (46 m)
Beam28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught8 ft (2.4 m)
Propulsion2 shafts, 2 GM 12-cylinder diesels, 2,400 bhp (1,800 kW)
Speed16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Range3,290 nmi (6,090 km; 3,790 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement38
Armament1 x 40 mm Bofors gun


HMCS Cowichan (hull number MCB 147) was a Bay-class minesweeper that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Cold War. The minesweeper entered service in 1953 and was transferred to the French Navy in 1954. Renamed La Malouine, the ship was converted to a territorial patrol vessel in 1973 and remained in service until 1977. La Malouine was sunk as a target ship in 1985.

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Hull classification symbol (Canada)

Hull classification symbol (Canada)

The Royal Canadian Navy uses hull classification symbols to identify the types of its ships, which are similar to the United States Navy's hull classification symbol system. The Royal Navy and some European and Commonwealth navies use a somewhat analogous system of pennant numbers.

Bay-class minesweeper

Bay-class minesweeper

The Bay-class minesweepers, also known as the Gaspé-class minesweepers, were a class of minesweepers operated by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Forces (CF) during the Cold War. Their design was similar to the British Ton-class minesweepers.

Minesweeper

Minesweeper

A minesweeper is a small warship designed to remove or detonate naval mines. Using various mechanisms intended to counter the threat posed by naval mines, minesweepers keep waterways clear for safe shipping.

Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2021, the RCN operates 12 frigates, four attack submarines, 12 coastal defence vessels, eight patrol class training vessels, two offshore patrol vessels, and several auxiliary vessels. The RCN consists of 8,570 Regular Force and 4,111 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by 3,800 civilians. Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee is the current commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and chief of the Naval Staff.

Cold War

Cold War

The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term cold war is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported opposing sides in major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by these two superpowers, following their temporary alliance and victory against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945. Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

French Navy

French Navy

The French Navy, informally La Royale, is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces and one of the five military service branches of France. It is among the largest and most powerful naval forces in the world, ranking seventh in combined fleet tonnage and fifth in number of naval vessels. The French Navy is one of eight naval forces currently operating fixed-wing aircraft carriers, with its flagship Charles de Gaulle being the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier outside the United States Navy, and one of two non-American vessels to use catapults to launch aircraft.

Target ship

Target ship

A target ship is a vessel — typically an obsolete or captured warship — used as a seaborne target for naval gunnery practice or for weapons testing. Targets may be used with the intention of testing effectiveness of specific types of ammunition; or the target ship may be used for an extended period of routine target practice with specialized non-explosive ammunition. The potential consequences of a drifting wreck require careful preparation of the target ship to prevent pollution, or a floating or submerged collision risk for maritime navigation.

Design and description

The Bay class were designed and ordered as replacements for the Second World War-era minesweepers that the Royal Canadian Navy operated at the time. Similar to the Ton-class minesweeper, they were constructed of wood planking and aluminum framing.[2][3]

Displacing 390 long tons (400 t) standard at 412 long tons (419 t) at deep load, the minesweepers were 152 ft (46 m) long with a beam of 28 ft (8.5 m) and a draught of 8 ft (2.4 m).[2][3] They had a complement of 38 officers and ratings.[2][note 1]

The Bay-class minesweepers were powered by two GM 12-cylinder diesel engines driving two shafts creating 2,400 brake horsepower (1,800 kW). This gave the ships a maximum speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) and a range of 3,290 nautical miles (6,090 km; 3,790 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).[3][4] The ships were armed with one 40 mm Bofors gun and were equipped with minesweeping gear.[2][3]

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Ton-class minesweeper

Ton-class minesweeper

The Ton class were coastal minesweepers built in the 1950s for the Royal Navy, but also used by other navies such as the South African Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. They were intended to meet the threat of seabed mines laid in shallow coastal waters, rivers, ports and harbours, a task for which the existing ocean-going minesweepers of the Algerine-class were not suited.

Displacement (ship)

Displacement (ship)

The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight. As the term indicates, it is measured indirectly, using Archimedes' principle, by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship, then converting that value into weight. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons. Today, tonnes are more commonly used.

Length overall

Length overall

Length overall is the maximum length of a vessel's hull measured parallel to the waterline. This length is important while docking the ship. It is the most commonly used way of expressing the size of a ship, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth.

Beam (nautical)

Beam (nautical)

The beam of a ship is its width at its widest point. The maximum beam (BMAX) is the distance between planes passing through the outer extremities of the ship, beam of the hull (BH) only includes permanently fixed parts of the hull, and beam at waterline (BWL) is the maximum width where the hull intersects the surface of the water.

Draft (hull)

Draft (hull)

The draft or draught of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel). The draught of the vessel is the maximum depth of any part of the vessel, including appendages such as rudders, propellers and drop keels if deployed. Draft determines the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate. The related term air draft is the maximum height of any part of the vessel above the water.

General Motors

General Motors

The General Motors Company (GM) is an American multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, United States. It is the largest automaker in the United States and was the largest in the world for 77 years before losing the top spot to Toyota in 2008.

Diesel engine

Diesel engine

The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to mechanical compression; thus, the diesel engine is called a compression-ignition engine. This contrasts with engines using spark plug-ignition of the air-fuel mixture, such as a petrol engine or a gas engine.

Knot (unit)

Knot (unit)

The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, exactly 1.852 km/h. The ISO standard symbol for the knot is kn. The same symbol is preferred by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), while kt is also common, especially in aviation, where it is the form recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The knot is a non-SI unit. The knot is used in meteorology, and in maritime and air navigation. A vessel travelling at 1 knot along a meridian travels approximately one minute of geographic latitude in one hour.

Nautical mile

Nautical mile

A nautical mile is a unit of length used in air, marine, and space navigation, and for the definition of territorial waters. Historically, it was defined as the meridian arc length corresponding to one minute of latitude. Today the international nautical mile is defined as exactly 1,852 metres. The derived unit of speed is the knot, one nautical mile per hour.

Operational history

The ship's keel was laid down on 20 June 1951 by Davie Shipbuilding at their yard in Lauzon, Quebec. Named for a bay located in British Columbia, Cowichan was launched on 12 November 1951.[5][6] The ship was commissioned on 10 December 1953.[5]

Cowichan remained in service for only a few months with the Royal Canadian Navy as the vessel was paid off on 31 March 1954.[5] The minesweeper was transferred to the French Navy on 7 April 1954 and renamed La Malouine.[6] She served as a minesweeper until 1973 when the minesweeping gear was removed and La Malouine transferred to the Pacific Ocean for duty as an overseas territories patrol vessel.[7] La Malouine served until 1977.[5] The ship was used as a target ship and sunk on 25 February 1985.[6]

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Keel

Keel

The keel is the bottom-most longitudinal structural element on a vessel. On some sailboats, it may have a hydrodynamic and counterbalancing purpose, as well. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in the construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event.

Davie Shipbuilding

Davie Shipbuilding

Davie Shipbuilding is a historic shipbuilding company located in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada. The facility is now operating as Chantier Davie Canada Inc. and is the oldest continually operating shipbuilder in North America.

Lauzon, Quebec

Lauzon, Quebec

Lauzon is a former city in southern Quebec, Canada, located on the St. Lawrence River northeast of Lévis. Founded in 1867 as a village it became a town in 1910, Lauzon had a population of about 14,500 when it merged with Lévis in 1989. The then-amalgamated city had the name of Lévis-Lauzon for about one year in 1991, before merging again and changing its name for good to Lévis.

Quebec

Quebec

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the largest province by area and the second-largest by population. Much of the population lives in urban areas along the St. Lawrence River, between the most populous city, Montreal, and the provincial capital, Quebec City. Quebec is the home of the Québécois nation. Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the west, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; in the south it borders Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York in the United States.

Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay is a bay and community located on the east coast of southern Vancouver Island near Duncan, in British Columbia. The mouth of the Cowichan River is near Cowichan Bay. Mount Tzouhalem and its hiking trails and ecological reserve stands to the north. The bay is known for its fishing and scenic value. The area's main industries are fishing and tourism.

British Columbia

British Columbia

British Columbia, commonly abbreviated as BC, is the westernmost province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, inland deserts and grassy plains, and borders the province of Alberta to the east, the Yukon and Northwest Territories to the north and the US states of Washington, Idaho and Montana to the south. With an estimated population of 5.3 million as of 2022, it is Canada's third-most populous province. The capital of British Columbia is Victoria and its largest city is Vancouver. Vancouver is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada; the 2021 census recorded 2.6 million people in Metro Vancouver.

Ship commissioning

Ship commissioning

Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to placing a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries-old naval tradition.

Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2021, the RCN operates 12 frigates, four attack submarines, 12 coastal defence vessels, eight patrol class training vessels, two offshore patrol vessels, and several auxiliary vessels. The RCN consists of 8,570 Regular Force and 4,111 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by 3,800 civilians. Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee is the current commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and chief of the Naval Staff.

French Navy

French Navy

The French Navy, informally La Royale, is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces and one of the five military service branches of France. It is among the largest and most powerful naval forces in the world, ranking seventh in combined fleet tonnage and fifth in number of naval vessels. The French Navy is one of eight naval forces currently operating fixed-wing aircraft carriers, with its flagship Charles de Gaulle being the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier outside the United States Navy, and one of two non-American vessels to use catapults to launch aircraft.

Target ship

Target ship

A target ship is a vessel — typically an obsolete or captured warship — used as a seaborne target for naval gunnery practice or for weapons testing. Targets may be used with the intention of testing effectiveness of specific types of ammunition; or the target ship may be used for an extended period of routine target practice with specialized non-explosive ammunition. The potential consequences of a drifting wreck require careful preparation of the target ship to prevent pollution, or a floating or submerged collision risk for maritime navigation.

Source: "HMCS Cowichan (MCB 147)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Cowichan_(MCB_147).

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References

Notes

  1. ^ Gardiner and Chumbley claim the complement was 40.

Citations

  1. ^ a b Arbuckle, p. 32
  2. ^ a b c d Macpherson and Barrie, p. 271
  3. ^ a b c d Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 49
  4. ^ Moore, p. 82
  5. ^ a b c d Macpherson and Barrie, p. 273
  6. ^ a b c Colledge, p. 160
  7. ^ Moore, p. 171

References

  • Arbuckle, J. Graeme (1987). Badges of the Canadian Navy. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nimbus Publishing. ISBN 0-920852-49-1.
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen; Budzbon, Przemysław, eds. (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910–2002 (Third ed.). St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-072-1.
  • Moore, John, ed. (1981). Jane's Fighting Ships, 1981–1982. New York: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-531-03977-3.

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