HMS Puma (F34) at night in Kiel harbour, Germany
|Name||HMS Puma (F34)|
|Ordered||28 June 1951|
|Builder||Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd|
|Laid down||16 November 1953|
|Launched||30 June 1954|
|Commissioned||27 April 1957|
|Class and type||Leopard-class frigate|
|Length||101 metres (331 ft)|
|Beam||10.6 metres (35 ft)|
|Draught||3 metres (9.8 ft)|
|Speed||18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Range||2,200 miles (3,500 km) at 18 kts|
|Complement||200 (22 officers)|
|Sensors and |
HMS Puma (F34), was a Leopard-class anti-aircraft frigate of the Royal Navy, named after the puma (Puma concolor). Envisioned in late World War II, the class was designed to provide anti-aircraft escort to convoys and light fleet aircraft carriers you and to act as light destroyers on detached duties.
Puma was fitted with four QF Mark VI 4.5 guns in two unarmoured twin turrets for anti-aircraft and surface use with remote power control where the guns train and elevate the target following the director. The rate was 24 rounds per minute when power-loaded and 12-18 (in burst mode), when hand-loaded.
Anti-submarine armament was a Squid mortar. Defence against aircraft was initially provided by a STAAG (Stabilised Tachymetric Anti-Aircraft Gun), consisting of twin Bofors 40 mm L/60 guns, and a fire control system, in a stabilised, powered-operated mounting. This weapons system was ahead of the limits of technology at the time, was overweight and complex. Ultimately STAAG would be replaced by a single Bofors 40 mm gun on a Mark 9 mount.
In 1958 Puma began her third commission from Portland. During this commission, she visited ports in Europe, Africa and South America as well as Diego Suarez. Between 1958 and 1960 she was commanded by Richard Clayton. She was paid off at Plymouth in 1961. During this commission, she took part in naval exercises and served in the Iceland Patrol. In October 1962, Puma visited Tristan da Cunha, to help to prepare the island for the return of its residents, who had been evacuated as a result of the eruption of the volcano Queen Mary's Peak in 1961. Puma struck a submerged rock while off Tristan da Cuhna, damaging her port propeller, which resulted in the ship being docked down in Cape Town and then in Gibraltar for permanent repairs.
A major refit of Puma took place in Portsmouth Dockyard between 1963 and 1964 and the ship eventually re-commissioned for service in 1965, where she spent the year touring the UK recruiting. In 1966 she sailed for a foreign leg of her commission travelling to West and South Africa, as well as the South Atlantic, and South America, before returning to Plymouth in 1967. She was in refit from early 1967 for a few months before undertaking a round the world deployment taking in South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia before visiting San Francisco and Monterey then transiting the Panama Canal to head back across the Atlantic to the UK. In 1971 she undertook a Fishery Protection patrol in the Arctic and Barents Seas, using the northern Norwegian town of Hammerfest as a base, before paying off in Chatham in early 1972. Her badge is still on display at the Selborne dry dock wall.
- D.K. Brown & G. Moore. Rebuilding the Royal Navy. Naval Design since 1945. Seaforth. Barnssley (2013) p 74
- Thompson, P (ed), The Third Commission of the Frigate HMS Puma, 1959-1961(NAAFI, London, S.E.11. 1st.ed., N.D. c1961)
- "Puma Helped to get Tristan Ready for Islanders: New road named after ship". Navy News. February 1963. p. 7. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/pdf-docs/puma01.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/pdf-docs/puma02.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
- Critchley, Mike (1992). British Warships Since 1945: Part 5: Frigates. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Press. ISBN 0-907771-13-0.
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