Armed Merchant Cruisers

tomrussell
7th December 2011, 13:47
Discussion thread for Armed Merchant Cruisers (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/Armed Merchant Cruisers). If you would like to add a comment, click the New Reply button

cunamara
7th December 2011, 15:10
Happy to see a discussion about Armed Merchant Cruisers. My late father's discharge lists him sailing on the Circassia which he often mentioned with fondness. He often mentioned patroling the Straits of Murmansk with the terrible weather conditions. He had great admiration for the prize crews (mainly Newfoundlanders) who manned the boats in these conditions. Recognition of these men with a special medal is a worthy cause, but a bit late.

stores
7th December 2011, 15:19
my opinion of them is they made good targets, high sided, ancient guns, no armour. Jervis Bay became prime target, took most of the enemy fire so convoy could scatter, was only a sacrifice, in WW2 i thought it was a bad idea,

LouisB
7th December 2011, 16:14
my opinion of them is they made good targets, high sided, ancient guns, no armour. Jervis Bay became prime target, took most of the enemy fire so convoy could scatter, was only a sacrifice, in WW2 i thought it was a bad idea,

Yes, when compared to a purpose designed warship. Although they may have had a turn of speed it would take a while to achieve and they were not very manoeuvrable due to size. Good for morale and maybe a surfaced sub against her deck gun. Otherwise, as you say, a target.

LouisB

Binnacle
7th December 2011, 16:46
my opinion of them is they made good targets, high sided, ancient guns, no armour. Jervis Bay became prime target, took most of the enemy fire so convoy could scatter, was only a sacrifice, in WW2 i thought it was a bad idea,

We had no option, we had insufficient ships in 1939 to patrol the seas. What "good" idea would you suggest ?
One needs - one must.

stores
7th December 2011, 17:34
german armed freighters had a reasonable speed, very heavily armed with modern guns, had good success, lower profile than a high sided passenger ship.

John Rogers
7th December 2011, 17:50
I guess what your saying Toni is,same idea but a lower profile ship with more speed and fire power. I can see that as being much better.


John.

stan mayes
7th December 2011, 17:58
I sailed in convoys with AMC's as escorts but at the time I did not realise how
'useless' they were when they had a naval ship as an adversary.
They did stop and capture a few blockade runners.
I sailed in one -Biscaya a German tanker captured by HMS Scotstoun ex Anchor
Line Caledonia...Biscaya was renamed Empire Unity.
Of interest - A voyage in Adula Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co with AMC escorts.
I joined ship 15th June 1941...in convoy OB 338 with AMC Ranpura as escort.
After ten days the convoy was dispersed and all ships sailed on independently to various destinations -ours being Trinidad..
At Point Fortin we loaded 12,000 tons of aviation spirit then independently to
Halifax NS..here we joined convoy HX 142 for the Mersey arriving 19th August.
The convoy was escorted by AMC Ausonia ex Cunard liner..
A few days into the voyage a DEMS gunner on our ship accidentally shot himself
while cleaning a machine gun...a message to Ausonia brought a RN surgeon to our ship as we had reduced speed and the lad was taken to Ausonia.
Sadly the gunner died and a burial service was conducted from Ausonia next morning.
Another ship in the convoy was Northumberland of Federal Line and she had units of the Canadian Army aboard including a Drum and Pipes band.
Ausonia - Northumberland and Adula reduced speed and closed up for the service...the Last Post was played and then Full Speed ahead to rejoin the convoy..
I wonder if a service such as this was ever re-enacted during the war? Doubtful !
Another incident of the Battle of the Atlantic...
Stan

LouisB
7th December 2011, 20:23
We had no option, we had insufficient ships in 1939 to patrol the seas. What "good" idea would you suggest ?
One needs - one must.

I'm not being critical Binnacle - just that these days we sometimes see things differently. I agree that suitable ships were at a premium and fast merchant ships were a possible alternative to corvettes and destroyers. The fact that they could be vulnerable was not intended to decry their use or the crews that manned them.


LouisB

stores
7th December 2011, 21:52
a high sided AMC could in fact make it easier for a convoy to be spotted, stick out like a sore thumb, seen from further away. Carmania and Cap Trafalger both took a battering Carmania was lucky to survive. the Hilfskruiser that sank HMAS Sydney was very heavily armed, but Sydney was lost by bad decision of her commander by getting too close, instead of staying out of range, should never have happened.

John Rogers
7th December 2011, 22:32
I have two books about German Armed Cruisers WW1 and WW2,they are great reading.

John.

stores
8th December 2011, 11:31
happy birthday john, (Thumb), some German raiders sank over 100,000 tons of merchant ships, almost equal to top uboat aces, carried MTB,s as well as seaplanes. one was sunk by a liberty ship on her maiden voyage, she was lost also. i think all our AMC,s achieved was stopping a few blockade runners, most of which scuttled themselves.

Bob Theman
8th December 2011, 23:39
Can anyone give me an "Official" answer ?
As I understand the history, AMC were allowed to call themselves HMS and given the authority to wear the White Ensign. The overall cammand was vested in a commissioned officer of the RN but the other officers were the original merchant navy officers granted an 'Acting' RN rank but were not gazetted as commissioned.The Crew were all the original merchant navy lads.
In that authoratitive book of reference "Ships of the Royal Navy" which lists them all back to the time of Henry VIII not a single AMC is mentioned. Not even gallant little Jervis Bay !
So my question is, even although 'called' HMS and wearing the White Ensign were they still technically merchant ships - not being commissioned as His Majesty's Ship ?
In WW1 "Q" ships were not commissioned and the disguised RN crew had to carry bits of uniform with them to avoid the liability of being shot as spies if captured.

Klaatu83
9th December 2011, 02:57
It isn't quite fair to compare the achievements of the British Armed Merchant Cruisers with those of Germany. After all, Germany used theirs for intercepting Allied maritime commerce, of which there was a great deal. On the other hand, Germany had relatively little maritime commerce with which cruisers could interfere.

Armed Merchant Cruisers may not have been much use against a heavily-armed enemy warship, like the Admiral Scheer, but I think they might prove very useful against today's Somali Pirates. They'd be a lot cheaper to operate than regular warships, and they'd have sufficient range to cruise around the Indian Ocean for a useful amount of time without refueling. Besides, they'd make excellent bait for pirate attacks, suckering them into showing their hand, something pirates would be extremely unlikely to do in the presence of a real warship.

chadburn
9th December 2011, 14:55
I agree with you klaatu83, which is why I made the comment on the Piracy Forum "Bring back the Q ships"

LouisB
16th December 2011, 11:16
I agree with you klaatu83, which is why I made the comment on the Piracy Forum "Bring back the Q ships"

Hi Chadburn - Something of possible interest!


Read description prior to viewing to better understand it:

The video tape below shows Russian Navy commandos on a Somalian pirate ship shortly after the pirates had captured a Russian oil tanker. The Euro Union navy that patrols these waters would not interfere because they feared
there could be casualties.

So the Russian Navy Commandos freed their compatriots and the tanker.... and then moved the pirates back to their own pirate ship,

The Russians searched the pirate ship for weapons and explosives... and found
plenty! And then they left the ship and exploded it with all remaining pirates hand-cuffed to it.

Yes, the commandos sank the pirate ship along with the pirates and without any court proceedings, lawyers, etc.

They used the anti-piracy laws of the 18th and 19th centuries where the
captain of the rescuing ship has the right to decide what to do with the pirates.

Usually, they were hanged.

Conclusion: I would think from now on Russian ships will not be targets for Somalian pirates.

Video: http://true-turtle.livejournal.com/85315.html

Satanic Mechanic
16th December 2011, 11:45
Hi Chadburn - Something of possible interest!


Read description prior to viewing to better understand it:

The video tape below shows Russian Navy commandos on a Somalian pirate ship shortly after the pirates had captured a Russian oil tanker. The Euro Union navy that patrols these waters would not interfere because they feared
there could be casualties.

So the Russian Navy Commandos freed their compatriots and the tanker.... and then moved the pirates back to their own pirate ship,

The Russians searched the pirate ship for weapons and explosives... and found
plenty! And then they left the ship and exploded it with all remaining pirates hand-cuffed to it.

Yes, the commandos sank the pirate ship along with the pirates and without any court proceedings, lawyers, etc.

They used the anti-piracy laws of the 18th and 19th centuries where the
captain of the rescuing ship has the right to decide what to do with the pirates.

Usually, they were hanged.

Conclusion: I would think from now on Russian ships will not be targets for Somalian pirates.

Video: http://true-turtle.livejournal.com/85315.html

Not quite the true story is it Louis? Lets be honest it sounds far to contrived

I prefer this version

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8675978.stm

trotterdotpom
16th December 2011, 11:55
Looked like the yarn was written by Leonardo da Vinci so I couldn't read it. Cool Russki snuff movie though. Did they find all those guns or were they selling them?

John T

Satanic Mechanic
16th December 2011, 11:58
Looked like the yarn was written by Leonardo da Vinci so I couldn't read it. Cool Russki snuff movie though. Did they find all those guns or were they selling them?

John T

I think the correct term may be - 'repossessing' [=D]

LouisB
16th December 2011, 12:51
Not quite the true story is it Louis? Lets be honest it sounds far to contrived

I prefer this version

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8675978.stm

@ SM.

Well, I didn't write the the accompanying words. However although it is difficult to say exactly what happened I remember an incident during the Nigerian cement fiasco when pirates boarded a Russian manned vessel. Our oow reported bursts of automatic weapons fire and Russian vhf chatter during the night and at sunrise the Russian ship had gone. Several bodies were found floating a few days later? There again who's to say exactly what happened? Many had their own idea however.



LouisB

chadburn
16th December 2011, 16:32
Louis, interesting they let them go using an inflatable, I wonder how far they travelled before it deflated suddenly!!

LouisB
16th December 2011, 18:05
Louis, interesting they let them go using an inflatable, I wonder how far they travelled before it deflated suddenly!!

I agree totally with the sentiment, however there are those amongst us who are a little bit more pedantic where their perception of right and wrong are involved. I prefer to go with expediency myself. At least thats based on experience and not dogma.

As I've said before, 'the meek shall inherit the earth', B*****ks. I've been around a bit too long to fall for that one.

What say you SM?

chadburn
17th December 2011, 12:15
Louis, as you say "based on experience", if there is one thing the Russian's and Muslim's have in commen is that they did not and still do not give a lot of thought on the question of "Human Right's.

Satanic Mechanic
17th December 2011, 12:31
Louis, as you say "based on experience", if there is one thing the Russian's and Muslim's have in commen is that they did not and still do not give a lot of thought on the question of "Human Right's.

Which is why we are thankfully different from them

Satanic Mechanic
17th December 2011, 12:35
I agree totally with the sentiment, however there are those amongst us who are a little bit more pedantic where their perception of right and wrong are involved. I prefer to go with expediency myself. At least thats based on experience and not dogma.

As I've said before, 'the meek shall inherit the earth', B*****ks. I've been around a bit too long to fall for that one.

What say you SM?

I say we set the rules and live by them which is what makes us different.

I think also that the meek will eventually win because all the chest beating aresholes that love violence have caused us nothing but pain and suffering for centuries and at some point people will see that.

LouisB
18th December 2011, 02:02
I say we set the rules and live by them which is what makes us different.

I think also that the meek will eventually win because all the chest beating aresholes that love violence have caused us nothing but pain and suffering for centuries and at some point people will see that.

Well as Gilbert and Sullivan parodied "Let the punishment fit the crime" - would have fitted in nicely if had been from the Pirates of Penzance and not The Mikado. (ballet)


LouisB

chadburn
21st December 2011, 20:11
It's not about setting the Rules or Chest Beating it's about the ""Duty of Care" for ship's crew's, other shipping companies appear to be prepared to pay what the mechanic call's "eye watering cost's" and are taking onboard armed security people. It must be nice to apparently sit in some office? making negative decision's about ships crew security when there are now 1,000 plus (and counting) Ships Crew's held hostage because of tightwad ship management who are not prepared to pay the extra cost. Somalia has alway's been a hell hole and it was recounted to me at a Reardon Smiths function many years ago by a former Deck Officer of their "King City" when he was held hostage there over 70year's ago. The "Right to have a Family life" has been taken away from the present hostage's held there and it's about time all the Shipping Companies took up the armed option. At this time of the year we should think about the plight of the Seafarer's/Hostages and condemn the attitude of those who think it's all somebody else's problem and they should pay for it and not the Shipowner's, they are the true "Ar**hole's".

LouisB
23rd December 2011, 20:04
It's not about setting the Rules or Chest Beating it's about the ""Duty of Care" for ship's crew's, other shipping companies appear to be prepared to pay what the mechanic call's "eye watering cost's" and are taking onboard armed security people. It must be nice to apparently sit in some office? making negative decision's about ships crew security when there are now 1,000 plus (and counting) Ships Crew's held hostage because of tightwad ship management who are not prepared to pay the extra cost. Somalia has alway's been a hell hole and it was recounted to me at a Reardon Smiths function many years ago by a former Deck Officer of their "King City" when he was held hostage there over 70year's ago. The "Right to have a Family life" has been taken away from the present hostage's held there and it's about time all the Shipping Companies took up the armed option. At this time of the year we should think about the plight of the Seafarer's/Hostages and condemn the attitude of those who think it's all somebody else's problem and they should pay for it and not the Shipowner's, they are the true "Ar**hole's".

I can't say better than that Chadburn. Isn't it strange that where money is involved the Duty of Care requirement only seems to apply to somebody else and the HR act only seems to apply to the villainous bandit scumbags attacking seafarers off the coast of Somalia. I wonder if these so called pirates fired an RPG into a loaded tanker causing massive loss of life - would anything then be done? Probably not 'They're only seamen after all'.


LouisB :@