RFA Wave Conqueror, pictured in 1952
|Preceded by:||Ranger class|
|Succeeded by:||Surf class|
|Displacement:||16,476 long tons (16,740 t) to 16,483 long tons (16,748 t)|
|Beam:||64 ft 4 in (19.61 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)|
|Speed:||15 knots (17 mph; 28 km/h)|
|Capacity:||11,900 long tons (12,091 t)|
The Wave class was a class of replenishment oilers built for service supporting the Royal Navy during the later years of the Second World War. They were subsequently transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary after the end of the war, and went on to support British and allied fleet units in Cold War conflicts such as the Korean War.
Design and construction
The expanding needs of the Royal Navy to carry out long range operations away from friendly fueling and replenishment stations led to the ordering of a number of tankers of around 16,500 long tons (16,765 t) displacement, able to carry 11,900 long tons (12,091 t) of fuel oil. These would allow the Royal Navy and its allies increased flexibility, particularly in the Pacific theatre, where there were large expanses of water and few friendly fuel stations. A total of twenty ships were eventually built by three British yards; 12 by the Furness Shipbuilding Company, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, three by Harland and Wolff at their yard in Govan, and the remaining five by Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd, at Sunderland.
Thirteen of the 20 of the ships were initially built for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), which assigned them to be operated by various merchant shipping lines. Consequently most were named with the standard MoWT prefix "Empire". The remaining MoWT owned oilers were transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1946 and all were given "Wave" names. Several of the RFA ships served in the Far East during the Second World War, while the class was heavily involved in the Korean War. RFAs Wave Sovereign, Wave Baron, Wave Premier, Wave Prince, Wave Chief, Wave Knight, Wave Regent, Wave Laird and Wave Conqueror all served there in support of allied fleet units and task forces.
The class began to be retired from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the late 1950s, with Wave Commander and Wave Liberator the first to be sold for scrapping in 1959. Most of the remaining vessels had been scrapped by the mid-1960s, but refits and modifications allowed several to continue in service until the mid-1970s, with Wave Chief the last to be retired, in 1974.
|Wave Baron||A242||Furness Shipbuilding Company||19 February 1946||Empire Flodden||Scrapped in 1972|
|Wave Chief||A265||Harland and Wolff||30 August 1946||Empire Edgehill||Scrapped in 1974|
|Wave Commander||A244||Furness Shipbuilding Company||21 April 1944||Empire Paladin||Scrapped in 1959|
|Wave Conqueror||A245||Furness Shipbuilding Company||27 November 1943||Empire Law||Scrapped in 1960|
|Wave Duke||A246||Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd||16 November 1944||Empire Mars||Scrapped in 1969|
|Wave Emperor||A100||Furness Shipbuilding Company||16 October 1944||Scrapped in 1966|
|Wave Governor||A247||Furness Shipbuilding Company||30 November 1944||Scrapped in 1960|
|Wave King||A182||Harland and Wolff||21 July 1944||Scrapped in 1966|
|Wave Knight||A249||Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd||22 October 1945||Empire Naseby||Scrapped in 1964|
|Wave Laird||A119||Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd||3 April 1946||Empire Dunbar||Scrapped in 1970|
|Wave Liberator||A248||Furness Shipbuilding Company||9 February 1944||Empire Milner||Scrapped in 1959|
|Wave Master||A193||Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd||20 May 1944||Empire Salisbury||Scrapped in 1963|
|Wave Monarch||A264||Harland and Wolff||6 July 1944||Sold as oil hulk in 1960|
|Wave Premier||A129||Furness Shipbuilding Company||27 June 1946||Scrapped in 1960|
|Wave Prince||A207||Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd||27 July 1945||Empire Herald||Scrapped in 1971|
|Wave Protector||A215||Furness Shipbuilding Company||20 July 1944||Empire Protector||Scrapped in 1963|
|Wave Regent||A210||Furness Shipbuilding Company||29 March 1945||Scrapped in 1960|
|Wave Ruler||A212||Furness Shipbuilding Company||17 January 1946||Empire Evesham||Scrapped in 1977|
|Wave Sovereign||A211||Furness Shipbuilding Company||20 November 1945||Scrapped in 1966|
|Wave Victor||A220||Furness Shipbuilding Company||30 September 1943||Empire Bounty||Chartered to Air Ministry in 1960|
- Jane's Fighting Ships. p. 81.
- Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol. 2. pp. 383–4.
- Rottman. Korean War Order of Battle. pp. 143–4.
- Colledge, J.J. Ships of the Royal Navy: An Historical Index Volume 2: Navy-built Trawlers, Drifters, Tugs and Requisitioned Ships. Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
- Rottman, Gordon L (2002). Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950-1953. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-97835-4.
- Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New York: Crescent Books. 1989.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wave class oilers.|