HMNZS Moa (T233)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMNZS Moa.
Career (New Zealand)
Name: HMNZS Moa (T233)
Namesake: Moa
Ordered: September 1939
Builder: Henry Robb Ltd., Leith, Scotland
Laid down: 22 March 1940[1]
Sponsored by: Lady Ferguson, wife of former governor-general Sir Charles Fergusson[2]
Commissioned: 12 August 1941
Fate: Sunk by Japanese aircraft, 7 April 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Bird class minesweeper
Displacement: 607 tons standard
923 tons full load
Length: 168 ft (51 m) (overall)
157.5 ft (48.0 m) (keel)
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)
Complement: 33–35
Sensors and
processing systems:
ASDIC
Armament: 1 × 4-inch gun
1 × QF 2-pounder naval gun[3]
1 × twin Lewis
40-42 depth charges[4]

HMNZS Moa (T233) was a Bird class minesweeper of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) that served during World War II.

Construction and design[edit]

The first of three Bird-class minesweeper, 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.[3][4]

Operational history[edit]

Commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 12 August 1941, Moa was the first of two vessels with this name to serve in the RNZN and was named after a native bird from New Zealand.[5][6]

On 29 January 1943, in concert with her sister ship Kiwi, Moa helped ram and wreck the Japanese submarine I-1.[7] At the time Moa was under the command of Lieutenant Commander Peter Phipps, later Vice Admiral Sir Peter Phipps.[7][8]

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.[9]

On 7 April 1943 the HMNZS Moa was refuelling from the USS Erskine M. Phelps at Tulagi Harbor when Japanese aircraft attacked.[10][11] 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.[8] 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.[12] Five ratings were killed and seven were seriously wounded, including Phipps.[7][8]

Postscript[edit]

I-1‍ '​s gun on display at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

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.[4] The Torpedo Bay Naval Museum already has on display the main deck gun recovered from the wreck of the I-1.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Waters, Sydney David (1956). "12". The Royal New Zealand Navy. Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs. p. 168. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  2. ^ McLean, Gavin. "Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships, Page 3 – Early wartime duties". New Zealand History. History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Editorial Director Robert Gardiner, Editor Robert Chesneau; contributors Przemysław Budzbon ... et. al. (1984). Conway's All the world's fighting ships, 1922-1946. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780870219139. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "HMNZS MOA - Yard No 314 - Bird Class Naval Training - NZ Navy - Built 1941". The Loftsman. Leith Shipyards. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  5. ^ McLean, Gavin. "Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships, Page 1 – Introduction". New Zealand History. History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  6. ^ New Zealand army, National Security and Defense Policy Handbook. Washington, DC: International Business Publications. 2004. p. 103. ISBN 9780739754054. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Waters, Sydney David (1956). "20". The Royal New Zealand Navy. Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs. pp. 307–309. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "WWII: Vice Admiral Sir Peter Phipps KBE DSC VRD". Royal New Zealand Navy. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "HMNZS Moa and Operation CLEANSLATE". National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ McFadyen, Michael. "HMNZS Moa Dive Site". Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Campbell Buchanan and the sinking of Japanese Submarine I-1". National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 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! 

Further reading[edit]

  • Harker, Jack (2000)The Rockies: New Zealand Minesweepers at War. Silver Owl Press. ISBN 0-9597979-9-8
  • McDougall, R.J. (1989). New Zealand Naval Vessels. Wellington: GP Books, Informing New Zealanders. ISBN 9780477013994. 
  • Roberts, John (2000). British Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 155750220X. 
  • Harold, Jack Nelson (1993). Big Bird - Little Ship: H.M.N.Z.S. Moa, Royal New Zealand Navy. J.N. Harold. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 9°05′42.1″S 160°8′57.20″E / 9.095028°S 160.1492222°E / -9.095028; 160.1492222