HMS Largs

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Freefrench british captured hms CHARLES PLUMIER.jpg
HMS Largs at Greenock
History
 France
Name: MV Charles Plumier
Owner: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (The French Line)
Builder: Chantiers & Ateliers de Provence at Port de Bouc
Commissioned: 1938
Captured: by Royal Navy November 1941
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Largs
Acquired: November 1941
Decommissioned: 1945
Fate: Returned to France
France
Commissioned: 1945
Decommissioned: 1964
Fate: Sold to Greek Cruise company
 Greece
Name: MV Pleias
Commissioned: 1964
Decommissioned: 1968
Fate: Scrapped 1968
General characteristics
Class and type: cargo-passenger ship
Tonnage: 4,626 tons GRT
Length: 104,45 m
Beam: 15,8 m
Draught: deadweight 2386 tons
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2-stroke MAN-Diesel engines, 5200HP
Speed: 14,5 Knots

HMS Largs was a former Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (French Line)[1] fruit (banana) ship captured by the Royal Navy ship HMS Faulknor[2] five months after the Battle of France while docked at Gibraltar in November 1940 and commissioned as an "ocean boarding vessel". She subsequently became a Combined Operations Headquarters ship for almost every significant amphibious operation of World War II, including Operations Torch, Husky and Overlord and she would be manned by naval, army and air force crew.[3]

Royal Navy Transfer[edit]

She was built by France and named MV Charles Plumier[2] in 1938. Following the creation of Vichy France and Free France she was transferred in 1941 to the Royal Navy, instead of being handed over to the Free French Navy, and renamed HMS Largs. She took part in many operations including Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, and Operation Overlord, during the invasion of Normandy.[4] she was the headquarters ship for Sword Beach.[5]

Camouflage research[edit]

HMS Largs bulwark with diffused lighting camouflage fittings, 2 retracted (up), 2 deployed

HMS Largs was used in 1942 for secret trials of a Canadian invention, diffused lighting camouflage. This used dimmable lamps to bring the brightness of the ship's superstructure to the same as the night sky. The system of 60 lamps reduced the distance at which a ship could be seen from a surfaced submarine by 25% using binoculars, or by 33% using the naked eye. It worked best on clear moonless nights, at best preventing Largs from being seen until it closed to 2,250 yards (2,060 m) when counter-illuminated, compared to 5,250 yards (4,800 m) unlighted, a 57% reduction in range. However, with the development of marine radar, the system was not put into service.[6][7]

Pacific & Post WWII[edit]

In 1945 she was transferred to the Pacific War and used in actions in Thailand and Malaya. After the end of the war she was handed back to France, and served for nineteen years. She was sold off to a private company from Greece in 1964 as a cruise ship, and given the name MV Pleias. She was scrapped in 1968.

References[edit]

  1. ^ French Lines cargo ship CHARLES-PLUMIER
  2. ^ a b "A 6944". www.iwm.org.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Normandy: Combined Operations". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Memories of D-Day: Naval Memories". www.ddaymuseum.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "HMS Largs". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Diffused Lighting and its use in the Chaleur Bay". Naval Museum of Quebec. Royal Canadian Navy. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Admiralty (1942). Trial Report D.L. 126: DL Trials on HMS Largs in Clyde Approaches. ADM/116/5026 Diffused Lighting. The National Archives, Kew: Admiralty.