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"River" Class, British Frigates


Photograph of a River-class frigate

Wikimedia Commons


Specifications:


Tonnage

1370 tons standard displacement

Dimensions

301' by 36'6" by 9'
92m by 11.1m by 2.7m

Maximum speed      

20 knots

Complement

140

Armament

2x1 4"/40 guns
2x2, 6x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
1 Hedgehog
8 depth charge throwers
2 depth charge racks (120 depth charges)
Machinery
2-shaft reciprocating (5500 ihp)
Bunkerage 500 tons

Range

5200 nautical miles (9600 km) at 12 knots
Sensors
Type 128 sonar
Type 277 radar
Modifications
Somewhat variable in armament; armament shown above was typical for Australian-constructed units.
A few units began to receive Type 275 radar in 1945.
The ships were to be fitted with single 40mm Bofors in place of some of their 20mm guns, but few were rearmed in time for service in the Far East.

The "Rivers" were built in 1941-1944 as mass-production convoy escorts for the North Atlantic. Units were produced in Britain, Canada and Australia, and a handful saw service in the Pacific.

The design was largely in response to the failings of the "Flower" class corvettes, which were originally intended as coastal escorts and lacked the speed and range desired for ocean escorts. The new design was expected to be able to sustain at least 20 knots, to keep up with a surfaced submarine, and the range was expected to be at least 3500 nautical miles at convoy speed to permit the ships to escort a convoy all the way across the North Atlantic. To speed development and production, the hulls were based on the Black Swan hull, but the ships had much less armament than a Black Swan. In effect, as Friedman (2006) put it, they were second-rate sloops.

The deeper draft compared with a "Flower" made for less rolling and better sonar performance. They carried a huge loadout of depth charges and correspondingly large numbers of depth charge throwers, allowing them to deliver a double layer pattern for better coverage in depth. They could ship minesweeping gear in port in exchange for all but 50 of their depth charges. They could also carry up to 22 barrage balloons.


Units in the Pacific:

Balmain
Completed 1943-11-18 (Sydney)  
RAN
Barcoo    
Completed 1944-1-17 (Sydney)     
RAN
Burdekin     
Completed 1944-6-27 (Maryborough)     
RAN
Hawkesbury
Completed 1944-7-5 (Sydney)   RAN
Lachlan
Completed 1945-2-14 (Sydney)   RAN
Diamantina     
Completed 1945-4-27 (Maryborough) RAN
Charlottetown     
Arrived 1945-6 (Victoria)
RCN
Eastview
Arrived 1945-7 (Victoria) RCN
Longueuil
Arrived 1945-7 (Victoria) RCN
Nadder
Arrived 1945-7
RN

References

Friedman(2006)
Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-3-30)
Uboat.net (accessed 2012-11-5)



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