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USS Surprise (PG-63)

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USS Surprise (PG-63)
History
United Kingdom
NameHMS Heliotrope
NamesakeHeliotrope (flower)
BuilderJohn Crown & Sons Ltd, Sunderland
Laid down23 October 1939
Launched5 June 1940
Commissioned12 September 1940
Decommissioned24 March 1942
IdentificationPennant number: K03
FateTransferred to United States Navy
United States
NameSurprise
Acquired24 March 1942
Commissioned24 March 1942
Decommissioned20 August 1945
Stricken17 September 1945
IdentificationHull number: PG-63
FateReturned to Royal Navy 26 August 1945
United Kingdom
NameHeliotrope
Acquired26 August 1945
FateSold into civilian service, 1947
People's Republic of China
NameLinyi
NamesakeLinyi
Acquired1949
Commissioned1949
Decommissioned1972
FateScrapped after retirement
General characteristics
TypePatrol gunboat
Displacement
  • 925 long tons (940 t) (normal)
  • 1,375 long tons (1,397 t) (full load)[1]
Length205 ft 2 in (62.53 m)
Beam33 ft (10 m)
Draft14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Installed power2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)[4]
Propulsion
Speed16.5 kn (19.0 mph; 30.6 km/h)
Complement87 officers and enlisted men
Armament

USS Surprise (PG-63), the fourth American naval ship of the name, was a Temptress-class patrol gunboat during World War II. She was built as the British Flower-class corvette HMS Heliotrope, and was in service with the Royal Navy during the first years of the Battle of the Atlantic. She was loaned to and operated by the United States Navy from 1942–1945. After World War II, she was sold as a merchant vessel and ended her life in the Chinese navy as Lin I.

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Gunboat

Gunboat

A gunboat is a naval watercraft designed for the express purpose of carrying one or more guns to bombard coastal targets, as opposed to those military craft designed for naval warfare, or for ferrying troops or supplies.

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 delivery of the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war.

Flower-class corvette

Flower-class corvette

The Flower-class corvette was a British class of 294 corvettes used during World War II by the Allied navies particularly as anti-submarine convoy escorts in the Battle of the Atlantic. Royal Navy ships of this class were named after flowers.

Royal Navy

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is consequently known as the Senior Service.

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.

United States Navy

United States Navy

The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most powerful navy in the world, with the estimated tonnage of its active battle fleet alone exceeding the next 13 navies combined, including 11 allies or partner nations of the United States as of 2015. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction, and five other carriers planned. With 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the United States Navy is the third largest of the United States military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 2,623 operational aircraft as of June 2019.

Design and construction

HMS Heliotrope was built by John Crown and Sons Ltd, Sunderland, England, as part of the 1939 building programme.[5] She was laid down on 23 October 1939 and launched on 5 June 1940. The ship was completed and entered service on 12 September 1940, being named for the flower heliotrope, the second ship of that name. As built, Heliotrope had the short forecastle that was a feature of the early Flower-class corvette, and which adversely effected their habitability. This was rectified during a refit, with the enclosed deck extended back to be level with the funnel.

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Service history

Royal Navy

After working up, Heliotrope was assigned to the Western Approaches Escort Force for service as a convoy escort. In this role she was engaged in all the duties performed by escort ships; protecting convoys, searching for and attacking U-boats which attacked ships in convoy, and rescuing survivors.

In 18 months service Heliotrope escorted 18 North Atlantic, eight Gibraltar and four South Atlantic convoys,[6][7] assisting in the safe passage of over 750 ships.

She was involved in four major convoy battles: In October 1940 Heliotrope was part of the escort for HX 79, which was attacked by a U-boat "wolfpack", losing 12 ships sunk.[8] In May 1941 she joined HX 126 which saw nine ships sunk and one U-boat damaged.[9] In August 1941 she joined SL 81 which saw five ships sunk, while one U-boat was destroyed and two damaged[10] In October 1941 she was with HG 75 which saw four ships and one escort sunk, and one U-boat destroyed.[11]

US Navy

Heliotrope was transferred to the U.S. Navy at Hull, England, on 24 March 1942, one of a group of corvettes transferred to the U.S. Navy under reverse Lend-Lease. She was commissioned as USS Surprise the same day. She was delivered with British radars and armament installed, and over the course of her U.S. Navy service was gradually converted to U.S. standards. The 4-inch (102 mm) gun was mounted forward, the 3-inch (76 mm) gun aft.[12]

Surprise sailed from Lisahally Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 24 April 1942 to escort a convoy to Boston, Massachusetts. After an overhaul, she proceeded south and for the remainder of 1942 escorted convoys in the Caribbean Sea, principally between Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In January 1943, she extended her range into the South Atlantic and, into 1944, performed escort runs between Trinidad and Recife, Brazil.

Surprise then returned to the United States. In May 1944, she returned to the North Atlantic and, until after the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, rotated between Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland convoy runs and weather patrol duty.

Surprise was decommissioned on 20 August 1945 at Chatham, England, returned to the Royal Navy on 26 August, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 September.

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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.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and city located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar, at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 32,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians.

Convoy HX 79

Convoy HX 79

HX 79 was an Allied North Atlantic convoy of the HX series which ran during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II.

Convoy HX 126

Convoy HX 126

Convoy HX 126 was the 126th of the numbered series of World War II HX convoys of merchant ships from HalifaX to Liverpool.

Kingston upon Hull

Kingston upon Hull

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea and 37 miles (60 km) south-east of York, the historic county town. With a population of 267,014 (2021), it is the fourth-largest city in the Yorkshire and the Humber region after Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford.

Lend-Lease

Lend-Lease

Lend-Lease, formally the Lend-Lease Act and introduced as An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was a policy under which the United States supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, China, and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and 1945. The aid was given for free on the basis that such help was essential for the defense of the United States.

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.

Radar

Radar

Radar is a radiolocation system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (ranging), angle (azimuth), and radial velocity of objects relative to the site. It is used to detect and track aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, and motor vehicles, and map weather formations, and terrain. A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the objects. Radio waves from the transmitter reflect off the objects and return to the receiver, giving information about the objects' locations and speeds.

Caribbean Sea

Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles starting with Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the northern coast of South America. The Gulf of Mexico lies to the northwest.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, officially known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB, is a United States military base located on 45 square miles (117 km2) of land and water on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It has been permanently leased to the United States since 1903 as a coaling station and naval base, making it the oldest overseas U.S. naval base in the world. The lease was $2,000 in gold per year until 1934, when the payment was set to match the value in gold in dollars; in 1974, the yearly lease was set to $4,085.

Newfoundland (island)

Newfoundland (island)

Newfoundland is a large island off the east coast of the North American mainland and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which is home to about 36% of the population. Iceland is the largest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

Fate

She was transferred to China in 1947,[13] and, after a period of mercantile service, she was taken into the People's Liberation Army Navy service as Linyi after converting to a gunboat, and finally retired in 1972.

Source: "USS Surprise (PG-63)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, December 23rd), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Surprise_(PG-63).

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Notes
  1. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  2. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  3. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  4. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  5. ^ Elliott p.187
  6. ^ Heliotrope: convoy movements at naval-history.net; retrieved 19 July 2020
  7. ^ Heliotrope: convoy assignments at convoyweb.org.uk; retrieved 19 July 2020
  8. ^ Blair p.200
  9. ^ Blair pp.286-7
  10. ^ Blair pp.332-4
  11. ^ Blair p.208
  12. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  13. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
References
  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • Clay Blair : Hitler’s U-Boat War Vol I (1996) ISBN 0-304-35260-8
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980. ISBN 0-8317-0303-2.
  • Elliott, Peter: Allied Escort Ships of World War II (1977) ISBN 0-356-08401-9
  • Hague, Arnold : The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945 (2000) ISBN 1-55125-033-0 (Canada) . ISBN 1-86176-147-3 (UK)
External links

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