Back again! The only way to take my mind off the bloody heat and humidity is to work, be it around the home, or around my MS Paint. So I've finally finished one of WWII era ships that are going to serve as the beginnings of my current AU. I'm trying to flesh out their early fleet to help the overall feel and history of my AU.
"This is the Newfoundland Broadcasting Service. St. John's. Today, April 1st, 1932, by proclamation of His Majesty, George the Fifth, Newfoundland joins the other Dominions of the Empire with the founding of The Royal Newfoundland Navy. There were many huzzahs both in and outside of the House of Assembly in St. John's, where only three months prior, the House had passed The Naval Bill that served as the catalyst for today's proclamation. The Prime Minister, in the House today, said that the Government had already begun readying orders to procure ships to serve this new fleet."
For centuries, Newfoundlanders had served in various capacities with Britain's navies, both at home and abroad. Starting in 1900, the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve was founded to provide both Britain and Newfoundland with a force of trained reservists to supplement RN sailors in the North American and West Indies stations. Initially training onboard the former corvette, HMS Calypso
. The reserve provided many sailors to the RN during the Great War. Churchill even stated that they were "the best small boat men in the world."
As the reserve developed into a larger force, it was eventually decided that it would be more economical for the government to take over the RN duties and create their own navy. As the RNFN was founded, it was gifted a few small vessels from the RN, but it would need it's own ships to create a nucleus from which to develop the fleet. The first such class of ships to be designed for Newfoundland, was the Terra Nova
HMNFS Terra Nova, 1934
The Terra Nova
class was designed as a joint venture between Newfoundland and Britain as a short of "light destroyer" (being before the concept of the DE). Smaller than a regular destroyer, she was intended to serve first and foremost as defends of Newfoundland's sovereignty and commercial trade, with a secondary duty of supporting the RN in times of war. They were simple vessels, designed with only two boilers to save space, they had a relatively sedate flank speed of only 28 knots, as they were envisioned to serve in concert with destroyers, but not necessarily keep up with a full destroyer flotilla.
They also were unique for their age as being designed and built with an enclosed bridge, to better weather the harsh north Atlantic waters.
They were relatively well armed for their size however, but also used a lot of recycled weapons from RN ships. They carried four 4" Mk IX naval guns, two on the bow and two on the stern, along with a stern depth-charge rack. A minor AA armament was fitted in the form of a two quad-Vickers 50 caliber machine gun mount.
While not considered the equals of the thoroughbreds that were fleet destroyers, the two ships of the class were considered good boats in service, and would prove their value in the following decades.
HMNFS Terra Nova, 1943
As the ships continued their service, and helped train the dedicated cadre of the RNFN, they would truly come into their own during the Second World War. As Newfoundland entered the War on September 2nd, 1939, the Government immediately offered their service to the RN, and were among the first ships of an Imperial navy to serve alongside the ships of the RN. Their service, along with the other ships of the fledgling fleet allowed a few RN ships to be freed from convoy duty to serve in the Home or Mediterranean fleets.
Despite more than several close calls, and even managing to sink a U-Boat each, the ships needed refit, which they received part-way through the war. The "Y" 4" mount was removed to allow four K-guns to be fitted, along with ASDIC. The remaining 4" mounts had shields added, along with a more modern gun director system and radar. Lastly, two twin 40" Boffin mounts were put in place of the earlier Vickers mount, to provide a beefier, if still limited, AA capability.
The ships would see out the way in the Atlantic on Convoy duty, before finally returning home to Newfoundland for good in the Winter of 1946. Five officers and ratings would receive the DSC for their wartime service, as well as a plethora of other awards for the fleet.
HMNFS Terra Nova, 1952
After the war ended, the RNFN looked to acquire second hand RN and USN ships to beef up their fleet as the Cold War grip took hold. Initially, it was intended to pay off the Terra Nova
, but a new post-war government in 1948 decided to give the ships a brief reprieve while new ships were acquired. A series of minor upgrades were made and, after a stint of service off the coasts of Korea during the war there, they were retired from service.
The post-war ships featured several changes from their earlier versions. The main guns were removed, and replaced with three twin 3"/50" Mk27 DP mountings, which were among many re-used USN weapons obtained for a song from the Americans, who thanks to the lend lease agreements, had several bases scattered around the country. The stern depth charge rack had long been replaced with a Squid mortar. And lastly, space was made for the mounting of two twin Bofors 40mm on surplus Hazemeyer mounts.
The ships would continue to serve until their replacement by the Little
class in the late 50's. Both ships were paid off and retired. Initially both were to be scrapped, but a grassroots effort and private donations save Terra Nova
. She is currently berthed in Lewisporte as a museum ship.
HMNFS Terra Nova
My first attempt at WWII era ships. Not my forte, so any feedback would be welcome.