HMCS Iroquois (G89)
|Ordered:||5 April 1940|
|Builder:||Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle-on-Tyne|
|Laid down:||19 September 1940|
|Launched:||23 September 1941|
|Commissioned:||30 November 1942|
|Decommissioned:||22 February 1946|
|Decommissioned:||24 October 1962|
|Class and type:||Tribal-class destroyer|
|Length:||377 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||37.5 ft (11.4 m)|
|Draught:||11.2 ft (3.4 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 shafts, 3 Admiralty 3-drum type boilers, 2 Parsons geared steam turbines, 44,000 shp (33,000 kW)|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h)|
|Complement:||259 (14 officers, 245 ratings)|
HMCS Iroquois was a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and Korean War. She was named for the Iroquois First Nations. Iroquois was the first ship to bear this name and the first ship of the class to serve with the Royal Canadian Navy.
Design and description
The Tribals were designed to fight heavily armed destroyers of other navies, such as the Japanese Fubuki class. Canada chose the design based on its armament, with the size and power of the Tribal class allowing them to act more like small cruisers than as fleet destroyers. Iroquois was among the first batch of Tribal-class destroyers ordered by the RCN in 1940–1941. They were ordered with modified ventilation and heating systems for North Atlantic winter service. Design modifications were made after deficiencies were noted in Iroquois, the lead ship of the Canadian Tribals.
Iroquois, as one of the British-built Tribal-class destroyers, was 335 feet 6 inches (102.26 m) long between perpendiculars and 377 feet (115 m) long overall with a beam of 36 feet 6 inches (11.13 m) and a draught of 13 feet (4.0 m). As built, the destroyer displaced 1,927 long tons (1,958 t) standard and 2,745 long tons (2,789 t) at deep load. Iroquois had a complement of 14 officers and 245 ratings.
The destroyer was propelled by two shafts driven by two Parsons geared turbines powered by steam created by three Admiralty-type three drum boilers. This created 44,000 shaft horsepower (33,000 kW) and gave the ship a maximum speed of 36.5 knots (67.6 km/h; 42.0 mph). The destroyers could carry 505–516 long tons (513–524 t) of fuel oil.
As built, Iroquois was fitted with six quick firing 4.7-inch (119 mm) Mk XII guns placed in three twin turrets, designated 'A', 'B' and 'Y' from bow to stern.[note 1] The turrets were placed on 40° mountings with open-backed shields. The ship also had one twin turret of QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mk XVI guns in the 'X' position. For secondary anti-aircraft armament, the destroyer was equipped with four single-mounted 2-pounder "pom-pom" guns. The vessel was also fitted with four 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes for Mk IX torpedoes.
Iroquois was ordered on 5 April 1940 as part of the 1940 shipbuilding programme. The destroyer was laid down on 19 September 1940 by Vickers-Armstrong at Newcastle on Tyne in the United Kingdom and launched 23 September the following year. Iroquois was originally laid down as Athabaskan. However, due to bomb damage, she and her sister had their names switched in order to ensure Iroquois commissioned first. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Newcastle on Tyne on 30 November 1942. The destroyer was not completed until 30 January 1943.
Following her completion, Iroquois began sea trials, suffering storm damage near the Faroes which included a bent keel and requiring repairs. Further trials continued in the North Sea until May 1943 when she departed for Plymouth. From Plymouth the destroyer was used as a convoy escort on Gibraltar convoys. On 11 June, three Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors from Kampfgeschwader 40 attacked a troop transport convoy west of Oporto in the Bay of Biscay. Iroquois was attacked by the aircraft, missing the destroyer with bombs 200 yards (180 m) astern. The German aircraft hit SS California and SS Duchess of York which were abandoned. Iroquois rescued 628 survivors from Duchess of York. On 19 July an event termed "incident" in official reports took place where according to the inquiry afterwards, a large section of the ship's company refused to perform their duties. Iroquois was among the destroyers deployed to cover escort forces attacking U-boats in the Bay of Biscay from 12 June to 2 August 1943.
Following her return to the UK, Iroquois was assigned to escort convoys heading to the Soviet Union over the following months. From 1–11 October, Iroquois and the destroyers Huron and Onslaught transported supplies to Murmansk for the escorts that remained there in the summer. Beginning in November Iroquois provided support to Russian convoys, beginning with convoy JW 54A from Loch Ewe on 18–24 November and convoy RA 54B from Molotvsk on 28 November. In late December, Iroquois escorted the convoy JW 55B. The convoy came under air attack on 23 December, but was unscathed. The convoy sailed as a lure for the German battleship Scharnhorst, which was sunk by British forces on 26 December. On 31 December, the warship was among the escort for RA 55B which departs Kola Inlet on 31 December and reaches Loch Ewe on 8 January without loss.
English Channel and end of war
In February 1944, she sailed to Halifax to undergo a refit that would keep her out of action until early June. She returned to the UK and was assigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy. After D-day, she carried out patrols of the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. During this period, Iroquois took part in many operations including Kinetic the objective of which was to eliminate the German navy all along the French Atlantic ports taking part in three actions including the Battle of Audierne Bay in August 1944.
On 5 August 1944, a force comprising the cruiser Bellona and the destroyers Tartar, Ashanti, Haida and Iroquois engaged and sank the German minesweepers M 263 and M 486 and the patrol boat V 414, coastal launch Otto from a German convoy north of Île d'Yeu. Iroquois was responsible for the sinking of two of the vessels. On 14 August, Iroquois joined with the destroyer Ursa and cruiser Mauritius to attack a German force of Les Sables d'Olonne and sink Sperrbrecher 157, badly damage M 275 and run M 385 aground. On 22–23 August Mauritius, Ursa and Iroquois sink V 702, V 717, V 720, V 729 and V 730 of Audierne. The destroyer continued patrolling the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel until October 1944 when she transferred to Scapa Flow.
Iroquois rejoined the Home Fleet in March 1945 at Scapa Flow. The destroyer was part of the screening force for aircraft carriers on 19 March and again on 24 March, which were performing air strikes along coastal Norway. She then escorted one more convoy to the Soviet Union. On 16 April Iroquois departed as part of the escort of JW 66. From 29 April-2 May Iroquois participated in the last convoy battle of war as part of the escort for convoy RA 66. Iroquois and Haida were just missed by torpedoes in an attack by U-427. They in turn pursued the submarine in which by the end of the engagement, 678 depth charge explosions are counted without sinking the submarine. Iroquois remained in British waters until the surrender of Germany.
Following the surrender, Iroquois was part of Crown Prince Olav's return to Norway after its liberation and then she sailed on to Copenhagen where she was an escort to German cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nürnberg until their formal surrender. The destroyer returned to Canada and began a tropicalization refit that was halted upon the surrender of Japan. Iroquois was then paid off on 22 February 1946.
Cold War service
Beginning in 1947, Iroquois underwent conversion to a destroyer escort, the first of her class to undergo the alterations. The changes involved her 4.7-inch main armament were replaced with 4-inch guns in the 'A' and 'B' turret positions, in the 'X' a twin 3-inch (76 mm)/50 calibre gun mount was installed and in the 'Y' site, two Squid anti-submarine mortars were situated.[note 2] Other alterations included an aluminum lattice with new radar. Iroquois was equipped with Type 275, SPS-10, SPS-6, Type 293 and 262 radars and Type 140 and 174 sonars. She emerged from her refit on 24 June 1949 and was recommissioned as a training ship.
Iroquois served off Korea during the Korean War, commanded by William Landymore. She served three tours, the first from 12 June until 26 November 1952. It was on this tour that on 2 October 1952, the ship was hit by enemy shore batteries, killing 3 and wounding 10. These were the only Royal Canadian Navy casualties in the war. Her second tour lasted from 18 June 1953 until 1 January 1954 and the third took place later that year, from 22 August to 26 December 1954.
She returned to her training role and remained as such until 1962. Iroquois was paid off at Halifax on 24 October 1962 and laid up at Sydney. In 1966 the vessel was taken to Bilbao, Spain and broken up in September.
The ship's badge is described as a blazon or, the head of an Iroquois brave, couped at the base of the neck, properly coloured and wearing two eagle feathers in his hair and a gold ring pendant from the ear. During the Second World War and up to 1948 when official badges were created for the Royal Canadian Navy, Iroquois had an unofficial crest. This crest consisted of an Iroquois brave, red, drawing a bow on a black background. Below the warrior was the ship's motto "Ongwanonsionni" which translates as "Relentless in pursuit". Above the warrior was a ship's crown.
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