British Royal Navy Special Sea-Mine Detonating Vessel - ETO 1944 - 1945

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Richard Stone
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British Royal Navy Special Sea-Mine Detonating Vessel - ETO 1944 - 1945

Post by Richard Stone » 19 Nov 2023 17:15

The attached short article shows one of several special sea-mine detonating vessels built to safely detonate German pressure-type sea mines in the waters of the ETO.

The article was printed in the June 1947 issue of the USA professional military reference magazine ‘Military Review’.

Combat Notes - Mil Review June 1947 - Brit Mine Det Ship.png
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Re: British Royal Navy Special Sea-Mine Detonating Vessel - ETO 1944 - 1945

Post by EwenS » 20 Nov 2023 15:37

The Egg Crates were designed by USN BuShips in the space of a few weeks. 50 were to be built in the USA at a rate of 14 per month, with another 14 ordered in Britain. The first (EC1) arrived at Falmouth on 10 Aug 1944 for trials. Initial trials with the big Bustler class tugs were unsuccessful and in their place 3 Bangor class minesweepers were used instead. HMS Seaham, Eastbourne and Fort York. Using 2 Bangor class as tugs they could achieve 6.27 knots at full power with the third Bangor standing by in case of breakdowns. It was early 1945 before they were used.

I've seen varying dimension figures for them.

The swept path was too narrow to be useful for mine clearance (60 yards wide in 6 fathoms; 20 yards in 11 fathoms, which was difficult to mark accurately) but they were used to prove shipping lanes were clear of pressure mines. They were not very successful (only 1 mine seems to have been able to be attributed to them). EC7 was wrecked in a gale in 1945. They were exceptionally unwieldy vessels to tow.

7 were sent to Japan in late 1945 but were no more successful there.

There was also a project in Britain to construct concrete barges for the same purpose but they proved no more successful.

The most interesting attempt to sweep pressure mines were the 2 Cybele class minesweepers which were built in 1943/44 before the Germans had even laid their first pressure mine of Normandy for the Allies to encounter. Referred to a Stirling Craft, they were again craft requiring towed. Used in trials only, during which they were damaged.

See Peter Elliot's "Allied Minesweeping in World War 2" published 1979.

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