HMS Icarus (D03)

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HMS Icarus
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Icarus
Builder: John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Laid down: 9 March 1936
Launched: 26 November 1936
Commissioned: 1 May 1937
Decommissioned: 29 August 1946
Identification: Pennant number: D03
Motto: Bene est tentare
("It is as well to try")
Fate: Scrapped 1946
Badge: On a Field Blue, a sun in splendour Proper above two wings White.
General characteristics (as built)
Class & type: I-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,370 long tons (1,390 t) (standard)
1,888 long tons (1,918 t) (deep load)
Length: 323 ft (98.5 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.1 m)
Draught: 12 ft 5 in (3.8 m)
Installed power: 34,000 shp (25,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, Parsons geared steam turbines
3 Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,530 nmi (10,240 km; 6,360 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 145
Sensors and
processing systems:
ASDIC
Armament: 4 × 1 - 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns
2 × 4 - 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) machine guns
2 × 5 - 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers
60 × Mines
Service record
Commanders: Colin Maud
Operations: North Sea 1939
Atlantic 1939-44
Narvik 1940
Norway 1940-41
Dunkirk 1940
Bismarck Action 1941
Arctic 1941-43
Malta Convoys 1942
Normandy 1944
English Channel 1945
Victories: Sank U-45, U-35 (1939), U-744 (1944), U-1199 (1945)
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Icarus.

HMS Icarus was an I-class destroyer that served with the Royal Navy in World War II.

On 29 November 1939, Icarus sighted the German U-boat U-35 between the Shetland Islands and Bergen (Norway), but was unable to launch an effective attack because her ASDIC (sonar) was out of commission. Fellow destroyers Kingston and Kashmir were called to the scene, and Icarus departed. Kingston was able to launch a successful depth charge attack, forcing the U-boat to surface and scuttle itself.

Icarus participated in the Norwegian campaign in 1940, first capturing the 8,514 ton German supply ship Alster (brought to the UK and renamed Empire Endurance) on 11 April and then taking part in the Second Battle of Narvik on 13 April 1940.

In early May 1941, the British Admiralty was on the alert that the Bismarck might attempt to break out into the North Atlantic; so Icarus was ordered to Scapa Flow for possible deployment against the Germans. On 22 May, just after midnight, Icarus sailed along with the destroyers Achates, Antelope, Anthony, Echo, and Electra, escorting the battlecruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales to cover the northern approaches. The intention was that the force would refuel in Hvalfjord, Iceland, and then sail again to watch the Denmark Strait.

On the evening of 23 May, the weather deteriorated. At 20:55 hrs., Admiral Lancelot Holland aboard the Hood signalled the destroyers "If you are unable to maintain this speed I will have to go on without you. You should follow at your best speed." At 02:15 on the morning of 24 May, the destroyers were ordered to spread out at 15 miles (24 km) intervals to search to the north. At about 05:35, the German forces were sighted by the Hood, and shortly after, the Germans sighted the British ships. Firing commenced at 05:52. At 06:01, Hood took a 38 centimetres (15 in) shell from Bismarck in the after magazine, which caused a massive explosion, sinking the ship within 2 minutes. Electra and the other destroyers were about 60 miles (97 km) away at the time.

Upon hearing that the Hood had sunk, Electra raced to the area, arriving about 2 hours after the Hood went down. They were expecting to find many survivors, and rigged scrambling nets and heaving lines, and placed life belts on the deck where they could be quickly thrown in. From the 94 officers and 1,321 ratings aboard the Hood, just three survivors were found. Electra rescued them, and continued searching. Shortly thereafeter, Icarus and Anthony joined in the search, and the three ships searched the area for more survivors. No more were found, only driftwood, debris, and a desk drawer filled with documents. After several hours searching, they left the area.

She participated and in Operation Pedestal, escorting a convoy to Malta in August 1942.

Icarus was involved in many important events of World War II, Dunkirk, Spitzbergen, and numerous Atlantic and Russian convoys.

Icarus sank four German U-boats:

A long-time captain of Icarus, Colin Maud, was the Juno beach master at the D-day landings; in the film 'The Longest Day' he was played by Kenneth More, complete with bulldog.

Lieutenant-Commander John Simon Kerans, famous for his part in sailing HMS Amethyst, down the Yangtze River, a feat made famous in the film Yangtse Incident, also served in Icarus as "number one".

Icarus was paid off on 29 August 1946, handed over to the British Iron and Steel Corporation on 29 October 1946 and broken up at Troon in Scotland.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Haarr, Geirr H. (2010). The Battle for Norway: April–June 1940. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-051-1. 
  • Haarr, Geirr H. (2009). The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-310-9. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 
  • Winser, John de D. (1999). B.E.F. Ships Before, At and After Dunkirk. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-91-6. 

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