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HMCS Milltown

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History
Canada
NameMilltown
NamesakeMilltown, Ontario
BuilderPort Arthur Shipbuilding Co, Port Arthur
Laid down18 August 1941
Launched27 January 1942
Commissioned18 September 1942
Decommissioned16 October 1945
IdentificationPennant number: J317
Honours and
awards
Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942,[1] Normandy 1944
FateSold for scrap 1959
General characteristics
Class and type Bangor-class minesweeper
Displacement672 long tons (683 t)
Length180 ft (54.9 m) oa
Beam28 ft 6 in (8.7 m)
Draught9 ft 9 in (3.0 m)
Propulsion2 Admiralty 3-drum water tube boilers, 2 shafts, vertical triple-expansion reciprocating engines, 2,400 ihp (1,790 kW)
Speed16.5 knots (31 km/h)
Complement83
Armament

HMCS Milltown (pennant J317) was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. The vessel entered service in 1942 and took part in the Battle of the Atlantic, Battle of the St. Lawrence and the invasion of Normandy. Milltown was laid up following the war, but reacquired in 1952 during the Korean War. The ship never re-entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy and was sold for scrap in 1959.

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Pennant number

Pennant number

In the Royal Navy and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations, ships are identified by pennant number. Historically, naval ships flew a flag that identified a flotilla or type of vessel. For example, the Royal Navy used a red burgee for torpedo boats and a pennant with an H for torpedo boat destroyers. Adding a number to the type-identifying flag uniquely identified each ship.

Bangor-class minesweeper

Bangor-class minesweeper

The Bangor-class minesweepers were a class of warships operated by the Royal Navy (RN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), and Royal Indian Navy (RIN) during the Second World War.

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.

World War II

World War II

World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Many participants threw their economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind this total war, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war.

Battle of the Atlantic

Battle of the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. The campaign peaked from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.

Battle of the St. Lawrence

Battle of the St. Lawrence

The Battle of the St. Lawrence involved marine and anti-submarine actions throughout the lower St. Lawrence River and the entire Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle, Anticosti Island and Cabot Strait from May–October 1942, September 1943, and again in October–November 1944. During this time, German U-boats sank over 20 merchant ships and four Canadian warships. There were several near-shore actions involving the drop of German spies, or the attempted pickup of escaping prisoners of war. Despite the 23 ships lost, this battle marked a strategic victory for Canadian forces as ultimately they managed to disrupt U-boat activity, protect Canadian and Allied convoys, and intercept all attempted shore operations. This marked the first time that a foreign power had inflicted casualties in Canadian inland waters since the US incursions in the War of 1812.

Korean War

Korean War

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

Design and description

A British design, the Bangor-class minesweepers were smaller than the preceding Halcyon-class minesweepers in British service, but larger than the Fundy class in Canadian service.[2][3] They came in two versions powered by different engines; those with a diesel engines and those with vertical triple-expansion steam engines.[2] Milltown was of the latter design and was larger than her diesel-engined cousins. The minesweeper was 180 feet (54.9 m) long overall, had a beam of 28 feet 6 inches (8.7 m) and a draught of 9 feet 9 inches (3.0 m).[2][4] Milltown had a displacement of 672 long tons (683 t). She had a complement of 6 officers and 77 enlisted.[4]

Milltown had two vertical triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam provided by two Admiralty three-drum boilers. The engines produced a total of 2,400 indicated horsepower (1,800 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph). The minesweeper could carry a maximum of 150 long tons (152 t) of fuel oil.[2]

Milltown was armed with a single quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder (3 in (76 mm)) 12 cwt HA gun mounted forward.[2][5][a] The ship was also fitted with a QF 2-pounder Mark VIII aft and were eventually fitted with single-mounted QF 20 mm Oerlikon guns on the bridge wings.[6] The 2-pounder gun was later replaced with a twin 20 mm Oerlikon mount.[5] Those ships assigned to convoy duty had two depth charge launchers and four chutes to deploy the 40 depth charges they carried.[2][5]

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Halcyon-class minesweeper

Halcyon-class minesweeper

The Halcyon class was a class of 21 oil-fired minesweepers built for the British Royal Navy between 1933 and 1939. They were given traditional small ship names used historically by the Royal Navy and served during World War II.

Fundy-class minesweeper

Fundy-class minesweeper

The Fundy-class minesweepers were a class of four minesweepers operated by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. All four ships entered service in 1938 and the class were discarded in 1945, sold for mercantile service. Three ended up sold to Chinese interests, while one remained active in Canada until 1987.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fuel oil

Fuel oil

Fuel oil is any of various fractions obtained from the distillation of petroleum. Such oils include distillates and residues. Fuel oils include heavy fuel oil, marine fuel oil (MFO), bunker fuel, furnace oil (FO), gas oil (gasoil), heating oils, diesel fuel and others.

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original German Becker Type M2 20 mm cannon design that appeared very early in World War I. It was widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others, with various models employed by both Allied and Axis forces during World War II. Many versions of the cannon are still used today.

Bridge (nautical)

Bridge (nautical)

The bridge, also known as the pilothouse or wheelhouse, is a room or platform of a ship from which the ship can be commanded. When a ship is under way, the bridge is manned by an officer of the watch aided usually by an able seaman acting as a lookout. During critical maneuvers the captain will be on the bridge, often supported by an officer of the watch, an able seaman on the wheel and sometimes a pilot, if required.

Depth charge

Depth charge

A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapon. It is intended to destroy a submarine by being dropped into the water nearby and detonating, subjecting the target to a powerful and destructive hydraulic shock. Most depth charges use high explosive charges and a fuze set to detonate the charge, typically at a specific depth. Depth charges can be dropped by ships, patrol aircraft, and helicopters.

Operational history

The minesweeper was ordered as part of the 1941–1942 construction programme.[5] The ship's keel was laid down on 18 August 1941 by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co at their yard in Port Arthur, Ontario. Named for a community in Ontario, Milltown was launched on 27 January 1942. The ship was commissioned on 18 September 1942 at Port Arthur.[7]

After arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 27 October 1942, the vessel was assigned to Halifax Force, the local patrol and escort force operating from the city in December. Milltown transferred to the Western Local Escort Force in March 1943 as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic and served with them for a couple of months. In June, the minesweeper transferred to Gaspé Force, the group tasked with escorting convoys through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Saint Lawrence River in the Battle of the Saint Lawrence.[7]

In November 1943, Milltown returned to Halifax Force and remained with the unit until February 1944. That month, the ship sailed to Europe as part of Canada's contribution to the invasion of Normandy. Upon arrival in March, Milltown was assigned to the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla. During the invasion, Milltown and her fellow minesweepers swept and marked channels through the German minefields leading into the invasion beaches in the American sector.[8] The 31st Minesweeping Flotilla swept channel 3 on 6 June.[9] The Canadian Bangors spent most of June sweeping Channel 14, the widened area that combined assault channels 1 to 4.[10]

The minesweepers spent the following months clearing the shipping lanes between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. Towards the end of 1944, the minesweepers were also being used as a cross channel convoy escorts.[11] Milltown returned to Canada in March 1945 to undergo a refit at Saint John, New Brunswick. The refit was completed in June and the ship returned to European waters and remained there until 21 September.[7]

The ship returned to Canada and on 16 October 1945, Milltown was paid off at Sydney, Nova Scotia and laid up at Shelburne, Nova Scotia. In 1946, the minesweeper was taken to Sorel, Quebec and placed in strategic reserve. Reacquired in 1952 by the Royal Canadian Navy during the height of the Korean War, the vessel was taken to Sydney and given the new hull number FSE 194 and re-designated a coastal escort.[7][12] However, the ship never re-entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy and remained at Sydney until 1959.[7] Milltown was sold to Marine Industries in February 1959 and broken up for scrap at Sorel.[13][14]

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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. The laying of the keel is often the initial step in the construction of a ship. In the British and American shipbuilding traditions, this event marks the beginning date of a ships construction.

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario, Canada, located on Lake Superior. In January 1970, it amalgamated with Fort William and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay.

Ontario

Ontario

Ontario is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province, with 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province by total area. Ontario is Canada's fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is Ontario's provincial capital.

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.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is the capital and largest municipality of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and the largest municipality in Atlantic Canada. Halifax is one of Canada's fastest growing municipalities, and as of 2022, it is estimated that the CMA population of Halifax was 480,582,with 348,634 people in its urban area. The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996: Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County.

Western Local Escort Force

Western Local Escort Force

Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) referred to the organization of anti-submarine escorts for World War II trade convoys from North American port cities to the Western Ocean Meeting Point near Newfoundland where ships of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) assumed responsibility for safely delivering the convoys to the British Isles.

Convoy

Convoy

A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support and can help maintain cohesion within a unit. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.

Battle of the Atlantic

Battle of the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. The campaign peaked from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.

Gulf of St. Lawrence

Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is the outlet of the North American Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. The gulf is a semi-enclosed sea, covering an area of about 226,000 square kilometres (87,000 sq mi) and containing about 34,500 cubic kilometres (8,300 cu mi) of water, at an average depth of 152 metres (500 ft).

Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John is a seaport city of the Atlantic Ocean located on the Bay of Fundy in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. Saint John is the oldest incorporated city in Canada, established by royal charter on May 18, 1785, during the reign of King George III. The port is Canada's third-largest port by tonnage with a cargo base that includes dry and liquid bulk, break bulk, containers, and cruise. The city was the most populous in New Brunswick until the 2016 census, when it was overtaken by Moncton. It is currently the second-largest city in the province, with a population of 69,895 over an area of 315.59 km2 (121.85 sq mi).

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney is a former city and urban community on the east coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Sydney was founded in 1785 by the British, was incorporated as a city in 1904, and dissolved on 1 August 1995, when it was amalgamated into the regional municipality.

Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Shelburne is a town located in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada.

Source: "HMCS Milltown", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Milltown.

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References

Notes

  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 20 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.

Citations

  1. ^ "Royal Canadian Warships that Participated in the Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Chesneau, p. 64
  3. ^ Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 167
  4. ^ a b Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 180
  5. ^ a b c d Macpherson (1997), p. 70
  6. ^ Macpherson (1997), p. 58
  7. ^ a b c d e Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 192
  8. ^ Schull, pp. 233–34
  9. ^ Schull, pp. 270–273
  10. ^ Douglas et al., A Blue Water Navy, pp. 290–291
  11. ^ Douglas et al., A Blue Water Navy, p. 334
  12. ^ Blackman, p. 99
  13. ^ Colledge, p. 411
  14. ^ "Milltown (6113710)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 12 November 2016.

Sources

  • Blackman, Raymond V.B., ed. (1953). Jane's Fighting Ships 1953–54. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. OCLC 913556389.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • 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.
  • Douglas, W.A.B.; Sarty, Roger; Whitby, Michael (2007). A Blue Water Navy: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1943–1945 Volume II, Part II. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55125-069-4.
  • Macpherson, Ken (1997). Minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy 1938–1945. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-920277-55-1.
  • 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.
  • Schull, Joseph (1961). The Far Distant Ships: An Official Account of Canadian Naval Operations in the Second World War. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. OCLC 19974782.
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