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Sleipner

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Sleipner

Postby shipstamps » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:04 pm


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The "Sleipner" was built at Horten, Norway, and completed on May 7th, 1936. Her displacement is 597 tons; complement 96; guns, three 4-in., one 40 mm. Bofors A.A., two cal. Colt machine guns. She is fitted with two twin 21-inch torpedo tubes, and her speed is 32 knots.
When Norway was invaded by the Germans in April, 1940, the "Sleipner" was guarding the coast traffic outside a British minefield laid on the Norwegian coast the day before. As soon as news reached her that the Germans had attacked Norway she immediately steamed full-speed for Kristiansund, in order to fill her water and oil tanks and to prepare for full-scale action.
Her first duty was to defend the entrance to Romsdalfjord, which had to be kept open at all costs for allied reinforcements.
On the morning of April 11th, the first German 'plane was fired on from the "Sleipner." The following day saw the destroyer fighting off German bombers several times a day.
On the 12th of April, men from the "Sleipner" captured two German vessels, a 2,000 ton freighter and a large trawler, both anchored off Aalesund.
After several nights and days of intensive fighting with enemy planes the Commander of the “Sleipner" put into one of the small fjords and, well camouflaged and hidden under pine trees, the exhausted crew got a well-earned rest.
On the 20th April, after being under constant air attack, without suffering any damage, the German-controlled Oslo radio station announced that she had been sunk.
Five days later was the most hectic time her crew experienced. It was the last day of their heroic struggle off the Norwegian coast. She was bombed constantly from midnight until late afternoon. In less than one hour, between 3-30 and 4-30 p.m., 43 bombs exploded in the water only a few yards from the "Sleipner."
In the period between April 9th and April 26th six enemy planes were shot down, without any serious damage to the ship.
On the 27th April, the "Sleipner" arrived in England to undergo minor repairs. Although her duty on the coast of the U.K. and in the Atlantic was not quite as adventurous as the first weeks of Norway's entry into the war, we know from her records that in those long years many an incident could be told from her 60,000 miles of cruising and the escorting of 13,000,000 tons of merchant shipping.
"Sleipner" typified Norway's determination and will to resist the Nazis until victory was won and the country was free again. She is fittingly honoured on her country's stamps.
The Colin Archer set issued in 1941, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Norwegian Lifeboat Society, is the only Nazi-occupation set of any country to honour or depict an Englishman. Archer lived in Norway, was the designer of the famous "Fram" ship of Amundsen and Nansen, and built in 1893 the first Norwegian lifeboat, "Colin Archer." The Nazis did not know he was an Englishman or the set would not have appeared. SG341,343.
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