HMS Orchis (K76)

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HMS Orchis (K76) IWM FL 4270.jpg
Underway in the River Clyde, December 1942
RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Orchis
Builder: Harland and Wolff[1]
Yard number: 1075[1]
Laid down: 18 June 1940
Launched: 15 October 1940
Completed: 29 November 1940[1]
Commissioned: 29 November 1940
Identification: Pennant number: K76
Fate: Mined off Juno Beach 21 August 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette
Displacement: 925 long tons[2]
Length: 205 ft (62 m) o/a[2]
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)[2]
Draught: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
  • 1 × 4-cycle triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2 × fire tube Scotch boilers
  • Single shaft
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)[2]
Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h)[2]
Range: 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 90[2]
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 × Type 271 radar from March 1941[3]
  • 1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar
Service record
Operations: Battle of the Atlantic

HMS Orchis was a Flower-class corvette that served in the Royal Navy during World War II.

North Atlantic Trade Convoy Escort[edit]

In March 1941, Orchis was the first ship fitted with the very successful 10-cm wavelength Type 271 radar enabling detection of a surfaced submarine at 5,000 yards or a submarine periscope at 1,300 yards.[3] Orchis was assigned first to the 4th Escort Group based at Greenock[4] and then to Escort Group B3 of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force through early 1944.[5] Orchis escorted convoy ONS-18 during the battle of Convoys ONS-18/ON-202.[6]

English Channel[edit]

Orchis was then assigned to patrol the English Channel, and sank German submarine U-741 on 15 August 1944.[7] U-741 torpedoed LST-404 of convoy FTM-69 while Orchis was escorting nearby convoy FTC-68. Orchis gained and held sonar contact on U-741 and flooded the forward part of the U-boat with two Hedgehog attacks and two depth charge attacks. Leo Leuwer escaped from the aft torpedo-room hatch of the sunken U-boat, and was rescued by Orchis.[8]

On 21 August 1944, Orchis struck a mine that destroyed the bow back to the 4-inch gun. The damaged ship was beached on Juno Beach and declared a total loss.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b c McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 148. ISBN 9780752488615. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Brown(1995)p.178
  3. ^ a b Macintyre, Donald, CAPT RN "Shipborne Radar" United States Naval Institute Proceedings September 1967 p.80
  4. ^ Rohwer&Hummelchen(1992)p.89
  5. ^ Rohwer&Hummelchen(1992)pp.170,185,188,198,212,227,228,234,235,239,241&259
  6. ^ Rohwer&Hummelchen(1992)pp.235-236
  7. ^ Rohwer&Hummelchen(1992)p.291
  8. ^ Blair(1998)p.613
  9. ^ Brown(1995)p.119
  10. ^ Rohwer&Hummelchen(1992)p.299


  • Blair, Clay (1998). Hitler's U-boat War The Hunted 1942-1945. Random House. ISBN 0-679-45742-9. 
  • Brown, David (1995) [1990]. Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Rohwer, Jurgen; Hummelchen, Gerhard (1992) [1972]. Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.