HMNZS Moa (T233)
|Name:||HMNZS Moa (T233)|
|Builder:||Henry Robb Ltd., Leith, Scotland|
|Laid down:||22 March 1940|
|Sponsored by:||Lady Ferguson, wife of former governor-general Sir Charles Fergusson|
|Commissioned:||12 August 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by Japanese aircraft, 7 April 1943|
|Class and type:||Bird class minesweeper|
|Beam:||30 ft (9.1 m)|
|Draught:||15.3 ft (4.7 m)|
|Propulsion:||1,100 ihp (820 kW) oil|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h)|
Construction and design
The first of three Bird-class minesweepers, Moa displaced 607 tons standard and 923 tons at full load. She was 168 ft (51 m) long overall, had a beam of 30 ft (9.1 m) and a draught of 15.3 ft (4.7 m). She had a top speed of 13 knots (24 km/h) and a crew of between 33 and 35 personnel. Moa's main armament was a single 4-inch Mk IX naval gun, which was supplemented by anti-aircraft guns. She also carried minesweeping equipment and 40 depth charges for anti-submarine operations.
On 29 January 1943, in concert with her sister ship Kiwi, Moa helped ram and wreck the Japanese submarine I-1. At the time Moa was under the command of Lieutenant Commander Peter Phipps, later Vice Admiral Sir Peter Phipps.
In February 1943, Moa participated in Operation Cleanslate, the occupation of Russell Islands. However, when the Moa put the forces ashore, they were informed by local natives the Japanese had left ten days beforehand.
On 7 April 1943 Moa was refuelling from the USS Erskine M. Phelps at Tulagi Harbor when Japanese aircraft attacked. The Moa sustained a direct hit from a 500-pound bomb and was damaged by two near misses. She sank bow first within about four minutes. At some point after the sinking of the I-1, the Moa crew acquired and mounted a 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun, which the crew were able to use against their attackers prior to their sinking. Five ratings were killed and seven were seriously wounded, including Phipps.
Seventy-one years after her sinking, Moa's name plate was recovered by divers and is being restored for eventual display at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Auckland, New Zealand. The Torpedo Bay Naval Museum already has on display the main deck gun recovered from the wreck of the I-1.
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- Crenshaw, Jr., Russell Sydnor (2009). South Pacific Destroyer : the Battle for the Solomons from Savo Island to Vella Gulf (1st Naval Institute Press pbk. ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 99. ISBN 1591141435.
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Whilst waiting for the repairs to Kiwi to be completed, Moa managed to get the (dry) US Navy to provide and fit a 20 mm Oerlikon for the princely sum of two bottles of gin!
- Harker, Jack (2000)The Rockies: New Zealand Minesweepers at War. Silver Owl Press. ISBN 0-9597979-9-8
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- Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Updated 20 December 2012.
- Photo of the wreck of I-1
- Reminiscences RNZN Communications Association.
- Wreck of HMNZS Moa (T233) Retrieved 14 September 2014.