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HMS Aurora (12): Wikis

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HMS Aurora
HMS Aurora just completed, November 1937
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Arethusa-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Aurora
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, UK)
Laid down: 27 July 1935
Launched: 20 August 1936
Commissioned: 12 November 1937
Decommissioned: April 1946
Fate: Sold on 19 May 1948 to the Nationalist Chinese Navy
Career (Nationalist China) Naval Jack of the Republic of China.svg
Name: Chung King
Acquired: 19 May 1948
Fate: Defected to Chinese Communists
Career (Chinese Communists) Naval Ensign of the People's Republic of China.svg
Name: Tchoung King
Renamed: Hsuang Ho (1951)
Pei Ching (1951)
Kuang Chou
Fate: Continued in service until mid 1950s
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,220 tons standard
6,665 tons full load
Length: 506 ft (154 m)
Beam: 51 ft (16 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Four Parsons geared steam turbines
Four Admiralty 3-drum oil-fired boilers
Four shafts
64,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: Unknown; 1,325 tons fuel oil
Complement: 500
Armament: Original configuration:
3x 6-inch (152 mm) dual guns
4x 4-inch (102 mm) single AA guns
2x 0.5 inch quadruple machine guns
2x 21-inch (533 mm) triple torpedo tubes April 1941 - October 1942 configuration:
3x 6-inch (152 mm) dual guns
2x 2-pdr (40 mm) pom-pomquad AA guns
3x 20 mm Oerlikonsingle AA guns
2x 0.5 inch quadruple machine guns
2x 21-inch (533 mm) triple torpedo tubes. December 1943 - April 1944 configuration:
3x 6-inch (152 mm) dual guns
2x 40 mm Boforsquad AA guns
4x 20 mm Oerlikon dual power-operated AA guns
3x 20 mm Oerlikon single AA guns
2x 0.5 inch quadruple machine guns
2x 21-inch (533 mm) triple torpedo tubes.
Armour: Original configuration:
1to 3inches - magazine protection
2.25inches - belt
1inches - deck, turrets and bulkheads
Aircraft carried: One aircraft (later removed).
Notes: Pennant number 12

HMS Aurora (12) was an Arethusa-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built by Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, UK), with the keel being laid down on the 27 July 1935. She was launched on the 20 August 1936, and commissioned 12 November 1937.

History

Aurora served with the Home Fleet from completion as Rear Admiral (D). In September 1939 she was with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, escorting convoys to Scandinavia and engaged on the hunt for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. After the Norwegian Campaign she participated in the operations hunting Bismarck and, with Kenya, intercepted one of the German supply ships, Belchen, on 3 June 1941.

Between July and August 1941, as part of Force "K" with the Home Fleet, she was involved in operations to Spitsbergen and Bear Island (operation Gauntlet). After one of these sorties, in company with Nigeria, she intercepted a German troop convoy off Northern Norway, and the German Bremse was sunk. In the autumn she was transferred to the Mediterranean and arrived in Malta on 21 October 1941 to join a new Force "K". On 9 November 1941, Force "K", made up of Aurora and Penelope and destroyers Lance and Lively, intercepted an Italian convoy some 130 south-west off Calabria in approximate position 37°05′N 18°05′E / 37.08°N 18.09°E / 37.08; 18.09. The Italian convoy was bound from Naples to Tripoli.

In the resulting Battle of the Duisburg Convoy the Italian destroyer Fulmine was sunk as well as the German transports Duisburg and San Marco, the Italian transports Maria, Sagitta and Rina Corrado, and the Italian Conte di Misurata and Minatitlan. The Italian destroyers Grecale and Euro were damaged.

On 19 December 1941, While on their way to intercept an Italian convoy bound for Tripoli the British Force "K", Aurora, Neptune, Penelope and the destroyers Kandahar, Lance, Lively and Havock ran into a newly laid Italian minefield. Neptune and Kandahar sank while Aurora was badly damaged, while Penelope was only lightly damaged. Aurora was patched up at Malta before she sailed home on 29 March 1942 for full repair at Liverpool, which took until the end of June 1942.

After her return to the Mediterranean she joined Force "H", and in November was part of the Centre Task Force for the Landings in North Africa, Operation Torch. Off Oran, she engaged the Vichy French torpilleurs Tramontane and Tornade on 8 November 1942, sinking the latter and damaging the former so badly that she had to be beached. The following day she badly damaged the contre-torpilleur Epervier and drove her ashore. By December she was operating as part of Force "Q" at Bône against the Axis evacuation and supply convoys between Trapani and Tunis.

Then, as a unit of the 15th Cruiser Squadron, she participated in the invasion of Sicily and the Salerno landings (Operation Avalanche) before moving into the Aegean in October 1943. During operations in that area she was damaged by bombs off Castellorizo on 30 October, and withdrew to Taranto for repairs which lasted until April 1944. In August 1944 she was at the landings in the south of France, then returned to the Aegean, where she assisted in the liberation of Athens.

After the war Aurora was sold on 19 May 1948 to the Chinese Navy as compensation for six Chinese Custom patrol ships and one freighter that the British seized in Hong Kong and lost during the war. She was renamed Chung King and became the flagship of Chinese navy. On 25 February 1949 her crew defected to the Communists and the ship was renamed Tchoung King, a variation on her previous name. In March 1949 she was sunk in Taku harbour by Nationalist aircraft. She was later salvaged with Russian assistance but then stripped bare as "repayment". The empty hulk spent the rest of her life as an accommodation and warehouse ship, being subsequently renamed Hsuang Ho (1951), Pei Ching (1951) and Kuang Chou.

References

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