Achilles HMS (1932)

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Achilles HMS (1932)

Post by shipstamps » Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:18 pm

Class and type: Leander-class light cruiser
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, England
Laid down: 11 June 1931
Launched: 1 September 1932
Commissioned: 10 October 1933
Out of service: loaned to Royal New Zealand Navy 1 October 1936
Fate: Sold to Indian Navy 5 July 1948
Career (New Zealand)  Royal New Zealand Navy
Name: HMNZS Achilles
Commissioned: 1 October 1941
Decommissioned: 17 September 1946
Fate: Returned to Royal Navy 17 September 1946
Career (India) 
Name: INS Delhi
Acquired: 5 July 1948
Decommissioned: 30 June 1978
General characteristics
Displacement: 7,270 tons standard
9,740 tons full load
Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: Four Parsons geared steam turbines
Six boilers
Four shafts
72,000 shp
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 5,730 nmi at 13 knots
Complement: peacetime 550
wartime 680
Armament: Original configuration: 8 × 6 in guns
4 × 4 in guns
12 × 0.5 in machine guns

8 × 21 in torpedo tubes
Armour: 3 in magazine box 1 inch deck

1 inch turrets
Aircraft carried: One catapult-launched aircraft
Original type was a Fairey Seafox
catpult and aircraft later replaced with Supermarine Walrus
Notes: Pennant number 70
Achilles was originally built for the Royal Navy, and was commissioned as HMS Achilles on 10 October 1933. She served with the Royal Navy's New Zealand Division from 31 March 1937 up to the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, into which she was transferred in September 1941, renamed as HMNZS Achilles. Her crew was approximately 60% from New Zealand.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, Achilles started patrolling the west coast of South America looking for German merchant ships, but by 22 October 1939 she had arrived at the Falkland Islands, where she was assigned to the South American Division under Commodore Henry Harwood and allocated to Force G (HMS Exeter and Cumberland).

Battle of the River Plate
In the early morning of 13 December 1939, a force consisting of Achilles, HMS Ajax and Exeter detected smoke on the horizon, which was confirmed at 06:16 to be a pocket battleship, thought to be Admiral Scheer but which turned out to be the Admiral Graf Spee. A fierce battle ensued, at a range of approximately 20 kilometres (11 nmi). Achilles took some damage: four crew were killed, and her captain, W. E. Parry, was injured. In the exchange of fire, 36 of Graf Spee’s crew were killed.

The range reduced to about 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) at around 07:15 and Graf Spee broke off the engagement around 07:45 to head for the neutral harbour of Montevideo in Uruguay, which she entered at 22:00 that night, having been pursued by Achilles and Ajax all day. Graf Spee was forced by international law to leave within 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain of the Graf Spee, Hans Langsdorff, scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.

Following the Atlantic battle, HMS Achilles returned to Auckland, New Zealand on 23 February 1940, where she was underwent refits until June. After Japan entered the war, she escorted troop convoys, then joined the ANZAC squadron in the south-west Pacific. While operating off New Georgia Island with U.S. Navy forces, a bomb damaged her X turret on 5 January 1943. Between April 1943 and May 1944, Achilles was docked in Portsmouth, England for repairs. Her damaged X-turret was replaced by four QF 2 pounder naval guns. Sent to back to the New Zealand Fleet, the Achilles next joined the British Pacific Fleet in May 1945 for final operations in the Pacific War.

After the war, Achilles was returned to the Royal Navy at Sheerness, Kent, England on 17 September 1946. She was then sold to the Indian Navy and recommissioned on 5 July 1948 as INS Delhi. She remained in service until being decommissioned for scrap at Bombay on 30 June 1978. As part of the scrapping her Y turret was removed and presented as a gift to the New Zealand government. It is now on display at the entrance of Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

In 1956, Achilles played herself in the film The Battle of the River Plate.

Colledge, J. J. and Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: the complete record of all fighting ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham. ISBN 9781861762818. OCLC 67375475. 
HMNZS Achilles at

Falkland Is 1984. 4p. SG308. N Zealand 1944. 2d. SG473. 1984 29c. SG886. 1992. 42c. SG1331. Tuvalu SG615
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Last edited by john sefton on Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Improvement in wording

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