PENTECONTER Greek galley

The vessel depicted on this stamp I could not find a drawing of her on the internet, but she was given as a 600 BC used Greek cargo galley. On the stamp is depict a one row vessel with a ram bow. At that time the Greeks used a penteconter Greek galley for war, piracy and transport.

The penteconter, alt. spelling pentekonter and pentaconter, also transliterated as pentecontor or pentekontor (Greek: πεντηκόντορος, pentekontoros "fifty-oared"),plural penteconters was an ancient Greek galley in use since the archaic period. In an alternative meaning, the term was also used for a military commander of fifty men in ancient Greece.
The penteconters emerged in an era when there was no distinction between merchant and war ships. They were versatile, long-range ships used for sea trade, piracy and warfare, capable of transporting freight or troops. A penteconter was rowed by fifty oarsmen, arranged in a row of twenty-five on each side of the ship. A midship mast with sail could also propel the ship under favourable wind. Penteconters were long and sharp-keeled ships, hence described as long vessels (νῆες μακραί, nḗes markaí ). They typically lacked a full deck, and thus were also called unfenced vessels (ἄφρακτοι νῆες, áphraktoi nḗes).

Homer describes war ships during the Trojan War of various numbers of oars varying from twenty-oared, such as the ship that brought Chryseis back to her father, to fifty-oared, as Odysseus’ ship that had fifty men and as many as 120 men of the Boeotian ships.

According to some contemporary calculations, penteconters are believed to have been between 28 and 33 m (92 and 108 ft) long, approximately 4 m wide, and capable of reaching a top speed of 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph). However, modern reconstructions of penteconters, as well as other ancient ship designs such as triremes, manned by modern untrained amateurs, attained that top speed fairly easily on initial sea trials, which implies that the top speed of that type of ship in the ancient era had to be substantially higher. Ancient Greeks also used the triaconter or triacontor (τριακόντορος triakontoros), a shorter version of the penteconter with thirty oars. There is a general agreement that the trireme, the primary warship of classical antiquity, evolved from the penteconter via the bireme. The penteconter remained in use until the Hellenistic period, when it became complemented and eventually replaced by other designs, such as the lembos, the hemiolia and the liburnians.

Libya 1983 100dh sg 1304, scott
Vietnam 1986 3d sg 991, scott1689


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Postby shipstamps » Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:29 pm

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06 July 1935 laid down as a heavy cruiser on the Blohm & Voss shipyard at Hamburg for the Deutsche Kriegsmarine.
06 February 1937 launched under the name ADMIRAL HIPPER, named after Admiral Fritz Ritter von Hipper (1863-1932), he was commander of the German reconnaissance forces during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. She was a ship of the Blücher class.
Displacement 18.208 tons, dim. 205.9 x 21.3 x 7.7m. (draught).
Powered by geared steam turbines 80.000shp., speed 32.5 knots, four screws. Diesel engines for cruising
Armament 8 – 8.1 inch, 12 – 10.5cm, 12 – 3.7cm, 8 – 2cm guns, 12 – 21 inch torpedo tubes. Carried four aircraft.
Complement 830
Building cost 85.8 million Reichsmark.
29 April 1939 commissioned under command of Kptz. Hellmuth Heye.

From June through August 1939 used for training in the Baltic Sea. Thereafter used for patrol service in the Baltic.
November 1939 she returns to her builders yard at Hamburg for repairs and alternations.
January 1940 she completed her final training period in the Baltic.
08 April 1940 in action together with four German destroyers against the British destroyer HMS GLOWWORM, during the German invasion of Norway. The ADMIRAL HIPPER shelled the GLOWWORM and in a daring attempt to ram the ADMIRAL HIPPER, she succeeded in damaging the cruiser by ripping about a forty meter gash in the starboard hull of the cruiser, the GLOWWORM sank with the loss of 7 officers and 144 ratings.

From April to June 1940 the ADMIRAL HIPPER was under repair at Willemshaven.

June 1940 she carried out together with the SCHARNHORST, GNEISENAU and several destroyers attacks around Hasted, Norway, in one of the attacks the ADMIRAL HIPPER sinks the escort trawler HMS JUNIPER and the British tanker OILPIONEER on 08 June near Narvik during the operations involving the invasion of Allied troops near Narvik.

From November 1940 the ADMIRAL HIPPER was employed as a commerce raider. She attacks the Allied convoy WS5Aabout 200 miles North of the Azores, she sank the British steamship JUMNA on 25 December 1940 with the loss of the complete crew of 61 men, two gunners and 48 passengers.

01 February 1941 she sailed from Brest for a other raid in the North Atlantic, on 11 February she sank the small British freighter ICELAND, crew of 23 were taken prisoners. The next day she fell in with the unescorted convoy SLS64 in about position 37 10N 21 20W, in the convoy of 19 ships, seven ships were sunk, three damaged. The ADMIRAL HIPPER was then forged to return to Brest for fuel.

After bunkering in Brest she returned via the Denmark Strait to Kiel, where she was repaired. Thereafter she made some trials in the Baltic till December.

She was then send to Norway to attack the convoys to North Russia. She searched together with several German destroyers for convoy PQ17 in “Operation Rosselsprung”; the most well know convoy, was never sighted by the ADMIRAL HIPPER but mostly destroyed by German submarines and airplanes.

On 30 December 1942 convoy JW 51B was reported by the German U boat U-354, and in “Operation Regenbogen” the ADMIRAL HIPPER with some other ships of the German fleet where send out from Norway to intercept the convoy. On arrival in the approximated area of the convoy, the German ships spread out to form a line of search. The convoy was sighted at 08.00 of 31 December. The Admiral HIPPER when making contact opened fire on the HMS ONSLOW, which sustained heavy damage, then HMS BRAMBLE came under fire and she was hit very badly, and she was finished off by German destroyer FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, who was later sunk by HMS SHEFFIELD.
The ADMIRAL HIPPER was then engaged by three Allied destroyers, and fearing a torpedo attack, she turned away, running in the fire of the rapidly approaching British cruisers HMS SHEFFIELD and JAMIACA which were coming out of a snow squall.
The intervention of the British cruisers did the German ships to retire, with some damage to the ADMIRAL HIPPER who had one hit below the waterline, and the loss of the destroyer FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT, and at 12.40 the German fleet was out of touch.

The attack on the convoy was not a success, only one merchant ship was damaged and it culminated in the removal of the German Admiral Reader the Commander in Chief, and thereafter most of the German surface fleet did not sail out again from German waters. The ADMIRAL HIPPER spent the rest of the war in the Baltic.
In the autumn of 1944 used as a training ship.

During January 1945 in company with the WILHELM GUSTLOFF she was used to transport refugees from Götenhaven to Germany, the WILHELM GUSTLOFF was torpedoed with the loss of at least 5000 refugees on 30 January 1945, the ADMIRAL HIPPER arrived save in Kiel unharmed with on board 1.350 refugees.

04 April 1945 she was heavily damaged by an air raid of Allied planes at Kiel.
03 May 1945 blown up and scuttled by the Germans at the Deutsche Werke docks at Kiel.

In 1948 her remains were broken up by the British when she was moved to the Heikendorf Bucht.

Marshall Islands 1992 29c sg 440, scott 328.

Sources: Ships of the World by Lincoln Paine. Dictionary of Disasters at Sea. Lloyds war Losses WW II.
Convoys to Russia by Arnold Hague. WP CD-ROM.
Jane’s Fighting ships of World War II.
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