Sleipner-class destroyer

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HNoMS Sleipner (H48).jpg
The lead Sleipner-class destroyer HNoMS Sleipner at sea in 1937
Class overview
Name: Sleipner
Builders: The Royal Norwegian Navy's shipyard at Karljohansvern, Horten
Fredrikstad Mekaniske Verksted (Tor)
Operators: Royal Norwegian Navy Ensign Royal Norwegian Navy
Preceded by: Draug class
Succeeded by: Town class
In service: – 1959
In commission: 7 May 1936
Completed: Sleipner, Æger, Gyller, Odin, Balder and Tor
Lost: 1
Scrapped: 5
General characteristics
Displacement: 735 tons [1]
Length: 74.30 m (243.77 ft)
Beam: 7.80 m (25.59 ft)
Draught: 4.15 m (13.62 ft)
Propulsion: 12,500 shp (9.3 MW) De Laval oil fuelled steam turbines
Speed: 32 knots (59.26 km/h)
Complement: 75 (? officers and ? ratings)
Armament: 3 x 10 cm guns
1 x 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun
2 x 12.7 mm Colt anti-aircraft machine guns
2 x 53.3 cm torpedo tubes
4 x depth charge throwers

The Sleipner class was a class of six destroyers[a] built for the Royal Norwegian Navy from 1936 until the German invasion in 1940. The design was considered advanced for its time, and it was the first class of vessels for the Norwegian Navy that used aluminium in the construction of the bridge, the mast and the outer funnel. Extra strength special steel was used in the construction of the hull. Unlike the earlier Draug class the Sleipner class had comparatively good capabilities in both main guns, anti-aircraft artillery and anti-submarine weapons.

The class was named after Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin.

Armament[edit]

The armament within the class varied slightly. Æger had the armament listed in the article info-box. Sleipner, the lead ship of the class, carried just two 10 cm guns and could not elevate them for use as anti-aircraft weapons. Gyller had two extra torpedo tubes, for a total of four. Odin had a 20 mm anti aircraft gun instead of a 40 mm. Balder and Tor had not been finished when the Germans attacked, and it is not known if any changes in armament were planned.

Although classified by the Norwegians as destroyers they have been widely regarded as torpedo boats because of their displacement and armament.[2][3]

Fates[edit]

The vessels had quite different fates. Æger was bombed by German planes on 9 April 1940, and wrecked with loss of life. Sleipner was in Norwegian service throughout World War II, and was kept in service until 1959. Gyller and Odin were captured by the Germans in 1940 at Kristiansand. Balder and Tor were captured unfinished at the shipyard and put into German service after completion.

Gyller and Odin were returned to the Royal Norwegian Navy after the war and kept in service until 1959. Finished by the Germans, Balder and Tor were used by them until the end of the war in 1945. Balder was scrapped in 1952, Tor in 1959.

The Germans re-classed the ships as Torpedoboot Ausland and renamed them: Gyller to Löwe, Odin to Panther, Balder to Leopard, and Tor to Tiger.[4]

In 1945 Löwe was one of the escorts to the Wilhelm Gustloff on her last voyage. The Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed and sank with a great loss of life. During the sinking, Löwe came alongside and rescued 472 of her passengers and crew.[5]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Another source [2] regards these ships as two classes of three; Sleipner, Æger and Gyller (the Sleipner class) and Odin, Balder and Tor (the Odin class).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fosland, Roger. "Jageren Sleipner". Tromsø Modellbåtklubb (in Norwegian). Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Roger Chesneau (ed.), Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, London, 1992, ISBN 0-85177-146-7, p. 379
  3. ^ A.V. Dashyan: Korabli Vtoroy mirovoy voyny – VMS Polshy i stran Skandinavii (Danii, Norwegii, Shvecyi i Finlandii) [WW2 ships - Navies of Poland and Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland)], Morskaya Kollekcya nr. 3/2005 (Russian)
  4. ^ Emmerich, Michael. "Torpedoboote Ausland". German Naval History. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "The sinking of the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff". wilhelmgustloff.com. 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 

Literature[edit]

  • Abelsen, Frank (1986). Norwegian naval ships 1939-1945 (in Norwegian and English). Oslo: Sem & Stenersen AS. ISBN 82-7046-050-8. 
  • Sivertsen, Svein Carl (ed.) (1999). Jageren Sleipner i Romsdalsfjord sjøforsvarsdistrikt april 1940 (in Norwegian). Hundvåg: Sjømilitære Samfund ved Norsk Tidsskrift for Sjøvesen.