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HMS Neptune - World Naval Ships Directory

HMS Neptune

Name : HMS Neptune
Laid Down : 24th September 1930
Launched : 31st January 1933
Completed : 12th February 1934
Type : Cruiser
Class : Leander
Builder : Portsmouth
Country : UK
Pennants : 20
Fate : Sunk 19th December 1941

Armament: eight 6 inch guns in twin turrets, four 4 inch anti-aircraft guns in single mountings and twelve 0.5 inch machine guns in fours. Eight 21 inch torpedo tubes in quadruple mountings and 1 aircraft. Single 4 inch guns later replaced by four twin mountings.

NEPTUNE was the fourth ship of her class and was the ninth Royal Navy vessel to carry the name Neptune. His Majesty’s Dockyard Portsmouth launched this Leander class light cruiser on 31 January 1933 and she entered service in the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy on 12 February 1934, moving to the Africa Station in 1937, based at Simonstown. At the outbreak of war she was part of the 6th Cruiser Squadron in the South Atlantic. During World War II, NEPTUNE operated with a New Zealand crew.

In December 1939, a couple months after war was declared, NEPTUNE was patrolling in the South Atlantic in pursuit of a surface raider, the German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE. NEPTUNE, with other patrolling Royal Navy heavy units, was sent to Uruguay in the aftermath of the Battle of the River Plate. She was still in transit however on December 17th when the Germans scuttled the GRAF SPEE. NEPTUNE participated in the battle of Calabria, on 9 July 1940, during which 6” gunfire from the Italian light cruiser GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI hit her. The 6" shell splinters damaged her floatplane beyond repair.

Later in the war, she led Force K, a raiding squadron of cruisers. Their task was to intercept and destroy German and Italian convoys supplying Rommel's Afrika Korps in North Africa with troops and equipment.

Force K left Malta on 18 December 1941 to intercept a convoy bound for Tripoli. NEPTUNE, leading the line, struck mines of a newly laid Italian minefield during the night of 19-20 December. The other cruisers, AURORA and PENELOPE, also struck mines. Reversing out of the minefield, NEPTUNE struck a third mine, which destroyed her propellers and left her dead in the water. The AURORA’s speed was reduced to 10 knots and so she turned back for Malta immediately; the destroyers KANDAHAR and LIVELY went into the minefield to attempt a tow. KANDAHAR struck a mine, and NEPTUNE signalled for the destroyers to keep clear. NEPTUNE then hit a fourth mine and capsized. The KANDAHAR drifted away, sinking the following night. Some thirty of NEPTUNE’s crew of 767 got into a raft, but only one was still alive when an Italian torpedo boat picked them up five days later.

HMS Neptune Photos for Sale
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HMS Neptune, 1934.


HMS Neptune, 1934.


HMS Neptune, 1935.


HMS Neptune, 1935.


HMS Neptune.


HMS Neptune.

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Database Currently Holds : 6278 ships and 6289 crew!

Last edited : 12:15, July 21, 2011
By : tjstoneman


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