HMS Argonaut (61)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Argonaut.
HMS Argonaut
HMS Argonaut in her War (Dazzle) Colours, November 1943 just after repairs at Philadelphia Navy yard
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Argonaut
Builder: Cammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, UK)
Laid down: 21 November 1939
Launched: 6 September 1941
Commissioned: 8 August 1942
Out of service: 6 July 1946
Reclassified: In reserve from 1946 to 1955
Fate: Scrapped, Arrived at J Cashmore, Newport on 19 November 1955
General characteristics
Class and type: Dido-class light cruiser
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 (1,303 nmi; 1,500 mi) (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:

10 (5x2) 5.25 in (133 mm) dual purpose guns,
4 x 20 mm (0.8 in) single guns,
8 (2x4) 2 pdr (40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
2 x 21-inch (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.

1943-1944 configuration:

8 x 5.25 in (133 mm) guns,
3 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
5 x 20 mm (0.8 in) twin guns,
2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.

1944-1946 configuration:

8 x 5.25 in (133 mm) guns,
3 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
6 x 20 mm (0.8 in) twin power-operated guns,
5 x 20 mm (0.8 in) single guns,
5 x 40 mm (1.6 in) Boffins twin guns,
3 x 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors Mk III single 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 61

HMS Argonaut was a Dido-class cruiser. During October through November of 1942, HMS Argonaut served as part of Operation "Torch", Allied landings in North Africa. In this time part of Force "H", Gibraltar, commanding officers Vice Admiral Sir E. N. Syfret. Force "H" was a supporting force against German–Italian attacks or French counterattacks. December 1942 part of the new Force "Q" (RAdm. C. H. J. Harcourt) to fight against German–Italian convoys on the Tunisian coast. Part of Force "Q" are the cruisers Aurora, Sirius, Argonaut and the both Australian destroyers Quiberon and Quentin. On 1 December fighting with Italian Escort forces, the Italian convoy lost all four transport ships and the Italian destroyer Folgore. On the following day the German Air Force sunk HMAS Quentin westward of Cap Serrat.

Argonaut's hull, after suffering heavy torpedo damage.

On 14 December 1942, Argonaut was heavily damaged by Italian submarine Mocenigo not far from Bone. The cruiser suffered immense damage and survived only due to to the skill of its Captain and crew and the extensive subdivision and integrity of its cruiser design. The bow and stern sections at the front and rear of the cruiser had effectively been blown off and almost severed and the steering wrecked. The ship was patched up and limped to Algiers for more temporary repairs.It then sailed for the United States were it underwent a seven month reconstruction completed in November 1943. After return to the UK, it received a new sensor fit with 293 and 277 radar and was essentially fitted out as a picket and command ship for escort carriers and fleet carriers in the Pacific. It was rearmed with its 4 twin 5.25 turrets but Q turret replaced by a Quad pom pom. It was returned to service, under command of its earlier 1942 Captain Longley Longley on bombardment duties on D Day and the subsequent invasion of Normanby, and then covered the allied invasion from the South of France, Operation Dragoon, in the cruiser's new role as an Escort carrier Flagship and after that successful role, conducted a sweep of the Agean Sea, sinking a number of Axis small craft, before sailing east to the Indian Ocean. In 1945, HMS Argonaut was employed with the British Pacific fleet. It was laid up on return to the UK in 1946 and saw no furthur service before being scrapped in 1945 one of the first war built cruisers and Dido's to be disposed of.

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