HMS Sirius (82)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Sirius.
HMS Sirius 1942 IWM FL 5263.jpg
Sirius leaving Portsmouth, 17 June 1942
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Dido-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Sirius
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, UK): Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland)
Laid down: 6 April 1938
Launched: 18 September 1940
Commissioned: 6 May 1942
Decommissioned: 1949
Out of service: 14 March 1951
Reclassified: In reserve between 1949 to 1956
Fate: Scrapped, Arrived at Blyth yard of Hughes Bolkow, (Northumberland, UK) in 15 October 1956.
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,600 tons standard
6,850 tons full load
Length: 485 ft (148 m) pp
512 ft (156 m) oa
Beam: 50.5 ft (15.4 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Parsons geared turbines
Four shafts
Four Admiralty 3-drum boilers
62,000 shp (46 MW)
Speed: 32.25 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 2,414 km (1,500 miles) at 30 knots
6,824 km (4,240 miles) at 16 knots
1,100 tons fuel oil
Complement: 480
Armament:
Original configuration:
  • 8 x 5.25 in (133 mm) dual guns,
  • 1 x 4.0 in (102 mm) gun,
  • 2 x 0.5 in MG quadruple guns,
  • 3 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
  • 2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.

Mid 1943 - Late 1943 configuration:

  • 10 x 5.25 in (133 mm) guns,
  • 7 x 20 mm (0.8 in) single guns,
  • 2 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
  • 2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.

Late 1943 - 1945 configuration:

  • 10 x 5.25 in (133 mm) guns,
  • 6 x 20 mm (0.8 in) single guns,
  • 2 x 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors Mk III single guns,
  • 2 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
  • 2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.
Armor:
Original configuration:
  • Belt: 3 inch,
  • Deck: 1 inch,
  • Magazines: 2 inch,
  • Bulkheads: 1 inch.
Notes: Pennant number 82

HMS Sirius was a Dido-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built by Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, UK) , with the keel being laid down on 6 April 1938. She was launched on 18 September 1940, and commissioned 6 May 1942.

History[edit]

Sirius's completion was delayed due to German bombing at Portsmouth Dockyard. She was completed at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland). On completion she initially joined the Home Fleet, and was then assigned to operate in the Mediterranean in August for Operation Pedestal. She was then ordered to the South Atlantic to patrol against Axis blockade runners on the Far East route, returning to Gibraltar in November for Operation Torch, the North African landings. As part of Force Q at Bone in December she harried Axis convoys to and from Tunisia until the Axis surrender in North Africa.

The last naval battle held in Mediterranean Sea during 1942, saw HMS Sirius as protagonist. The Q Force (HMS Sirius, Aurora, Argonaut, destroyers Quentin and Quiberon) intercepted a small convoy in the Sicily Channel, starting the Battle of Skerki Bank. In the night of 2 December, a troop convoy was heading for Tunisia: German KT-1 (850 tons), Aventino (3,794 t), Puccini (2,422 t), Aspromonte (a militarized ferry-boat, 976 tons). The Q Force intercepted the convoy in the night between 1 and 2 December. The British ships hit very hard and destroyed, one after the other, all the cargoes and troop ships. The escort ships were hit as well, with Folgore fatally damaged (9 133 mm direct hits) by cruisers, and later sunk with 120 dead (among them, Commander Ener Bettica), Da Recco badly damaged (explosion of the forward 120 mm ready ammunition depots) with 113 dead. Camicia Nera launched all of her six torpedoes, but missing the targets (mainly HMS Sirius). At dawn, the savage short-range engagement saw a clear British victory, while the Axis lost no less than 2,033 lives and five ships. This battle was almost forgotten (at least in Italy), but it was a big battle nevertheless, in which HMS Sirius was an absolute protagonist, escaping with no hit aboard despite the Camicia Nera, which fired on her from only 2 km, dodging several torpedoes and cooperating in the sinking of many Axis ships. In the return path HMS Quentin was sunk by 500 kg bombs released from Junkers 88s.[1]

Sirius then formed part of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, was at the Allied invasion of Sicily, (Operation Husky), in July. For the next few months she supported the army ashore, and in September took part in the occupation of Taranto before transferring to the Adriatic, where, on 7 October 1943 Sirius, HMS Penelope and the destroyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Fury, north of Astipalea (Stampalia) in the Dodecanese, attacked a German convoy consisting of the auxiliary submarine chaser Uj 2111 (former Italian Tramaglio), the cargo ship Olympus and seven MFPs, sinking all but one MFP.

The Royal Navy's big guns support the Allied armies in Normandy on board HMS Sirius in the Sword area. The number of shells used by Royal Marines manning the twin 5.25 inch gun X turret can be gauged by the shell cases massed on X-gun deck. They number more than 2,000.

On 17 October, Sirius was badly damaged by bombs off Scarpunto, and sailed to Massawa for repairs. These were carried out between November 1943 and February 1944, before the ship returned to Britain for Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, where she was part of the reserve of the Eastern Task Force. In August she returned to Mediterranean waters for the landings in the south of France, Operation Dragoon. She then served again in the Aegean, where, in October 1944, she was present during the reoccupation of Athens. Sirius remained with the Mediterranean Fleet, 15th Cruiser Squadron, postwar until 1946. After a refit at Portsmouth in 1946, Sirius joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron with the Home Fleet in March 1947. She was paid off in 1949 and was put up for disposal in 1956. On 15 October 1956 Sirius arrived at the Blyth yard of Hughes Bolkow for breaking up.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sgarlato, Nico: Lo scontro del banco di Skerki, Eserciti nella Storia magazine, Delta editions, Parma, gen-feb-2012, p.23-25

External links[edit]