Monday, 27 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Small Warships and Submarines

The museum's collection of small warships and submarines includes the following:

Auxiliary Cruiser/Raider Atlantis (HSK 2) (Germany, 1939)

Originally launched as the merchant ship Goldenfels in 1937, Atlantis was converted into a auxiliary cruiser/raider in 1939. After a very successful career as a raider, during which she sank or captured 22 ships, she was finally sunk on 22nd November 1941 by HMS Devonshire.

Minesweeper HMS Sir Kay (T241) (Britain, 1941)

HMS Sir Kay was one of the Round Table-class of minesweepers built specially for the Royal Navy. Their design was based on a standard trawler of the time. She was sold for commercial use in 1946.

Minesweeper FNS Lilas (M682) (France, 1950s)

Lilas was one of the Adjutant-class of minesweepers that were built by the United States in the early 1950s. They were loaned to fifteen foreign countries under the Military Defense Assistance Pact. She remained in service with the Frecnh Navy until 1981.

Minesweeper HMS Arun (M2014) (Briatin, 1986)

HMS Arun was a River-class minesweeper. Like most of its sister ships it served with the Royal Navy Reserve until being sold abroad. HMS Arun was sold to the Brazilian Navy and became the Patrol Corvette Babetonga (P63).

Motor Torpedo Boat MAS-532 (Italy, 1940s)

On 24th July 1941 MAS-532 took part in an attack on the Malta-bound Convoy GM1, during which she torpedoed and crippled the transport Sydney Star. The Sydney Star was hit by a torpedo on the port side and began to list, but despite this damage she managed to limp on to her destination, assisted by HMS Nestor.

Patrol Torpedo Boat/Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 (United States of America, 1942)

This Patrol Torpedo Boat was commanded by Lieutenant John F Kennedy during the Second World War. It was sunk in action by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on 2nd August 1943.

Submarine Delfino (Italy, 1891)

This was the first submarine to serve with the Italian Navy. She was designed by Engineer Inspector Giacinto Pullino, and as a result she was also known as Delfino-Pullino or Pullino for short. She was rebuilt fro 1902 to 1904, when her original electric motor was supplemented by a petrol engine for use on the surface and her original 350mm/14-inch torpedo tubes were replaced by a single 450mm/16-inch one.

Submarine U-2334 (Germany, 1944)

U-2334 was a Type XXIII U-boat. She was laid down on 14th July 1944, launched on 26th August 1944, and commissioned on 21st September 1944. She was surrendered at Kristiansand, Norway, on 9th May 1945, and sunk in the North Sea as part of Operation Deadlight on 28th November 1945.

Nuclear Guided Missile Submarine Kursk (K-141) (Russia, 1994)

Kursk was an Oscar-II-class nuclear-powered cruise-missile submarine. It was lost with all hands when it sank in the Barents Sea on 12th August 2000.

Nuclear Guided Missile Submarine Yuri Dolgorukiy (K-535) (Russia, 2008)

Yuri Dolgorukiy is the first Borei-class ballistic missile submarine to enter service. Laid down in 1996, the design had to be recast when the original missiles the submarine was designed to carry failed numerous tests.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Battleships (Part 2)

The museum's collection of battleships includes the following:

Battleship Littorio (Italy, 1937)

Littorio was the lead ship of the Italian Littorio-class of battleships designed during the late 1930s. (The class comprised Littorio, Vittorio Veneto, Roma, and Impero, but only the first three were completed and entered service with the Italian Navy.)

The Littorios were designed to counter the French Navy's new Richlieu-class battleships, and were fast and well-armed. They utilised the unique Pugliese torpedo defense system, which did not perform as well in real combat as had been hoped. As a result they were susceptible to underwater damage cause by torpedoes and shells, and tended to restrict their use.

When Italy withdrew from the Axis and changed sides, all three Littorios (along with a sizable part of the Italian Navy) set sail from their bases and attempted to reach Allied ports in the Mediterranean. During her passage to Malta, the Roma was hit by two Fritz-X radio-guided bombs. One passed through the ship and exploded under her keel, seriously weakening her, and the second hit near the forward magazines. The latter caused a massive explosion, and the Roma to sink very quickly thereafter. After the Second World War had ended, the remaining two ships (Littorio and Vittorio Veneto) were scrapped in La Spezia during 1948.

Battleship Yamato (Japan, 1940)

Yamato was the lead ship of the Yamato-class of Japanese battleships. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest (71 590 tons full draft) and most heavily gunned (they carried 9 x 18.1-inch guns) battleships ever constructed.

was laid down on 4th November 1937, launched on 8th August 1940, and commissioned on 16th December 1941. She took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf, and on 6th April 1945 she was involved in Operation Ten-Go as part of the Surface Special Attack Force. This operation was the Japanese preemptive strike against the Allied forces that were operating in the area around Okinawa.

On 7th April the Japanese ships came under sustained air attack by American carrier-based aircraft. During the first wave of attacks Yamato was hit by two armor-piercing bombs and one torpedo, and during the second wave a further fifteen bombs and eight torpedoes hit her. This did considerable damage to the Yamato, which had to slow down and counter-flood in order to prevent herself from capsizing. A third wave of attackers hit her with a further three torpedoes. Further torpedo hits brought Yamato to a standstill, and at 2:05pm the Captain ordered her crew to abandon ship. At 2.20pm she capsized and began to sink, but before she completely slipped below the surface she exploded.

Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) (United States of America, 1944)

USS Missouri was the third of the Iowa-class fast battleships to be built. (Two more were laid down, but were never completed). She was laid down on 6th January 1941, launched on 29th January 1944, and commissioned on 11th June 1944. After arriving in the Pacific on 13th January 1945, she was assigned to Task Force 58, which was commanded by Admiral Mitscher. As a result she took part in Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa as well as shelling the Japanese home islands. On 9th May 1945 she became the flagship of Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.'s 3rd Fleet, and it was on her quarterdeck on 3rd September 1945 that Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the formal Instrument of Surrender that ended the war.

After the war Missouri spent some time in Japanese waters before returning to the USA for a much needed overhaul. She then spent the next few years 'showing the flag' around the world and acting as a training ship. When the Korean War broke out Missouri was one of the ships sent to support forces on the Korean peninsula. She remained off the coast of Korea until 19th March 1951 when she returned to the USA. She remained active, and took part in several training cruises for midshipmen as well as acting as a flagship. She was eventually decommissioned on 26th February 1955, and became part of the Reserve Fleet.

She remained inactive until 1984, when she was modernised. She lost he original armament of 20mm and 40mm anti-aircraft gun and four of her twin 5-inch guns and received four x MK 141 quad cell launchers that held a total of 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight x Armored Box Launchers (ABL) containing a total of 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, and four Phalanx close-in weapon systems (CIWS) in their place. Her radar and fire control systems were also upgraded and her electronic warfare capabilities improved. Missouri was recommissioned on 10th May 1986 and later that year she embarked upon an around-the-world cruise. She then had spells of duty in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean before returning to the Pacific region.

When the Gulf War broke out in 1990, Missouri was sent back to the Persian Gulf area to support Allied forces, and on 17th January 1991 she fired her first Tomahawk missile at an Iraqi target, and over the next five days she fired a further twenty seven. On 29th January Missouri fired her main armament in anger for the first time since the Korean War when she fired at an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border. She followed this with an intermittent bombardment of Iraqi beach defenses in occupied Kuwait that began on the night of 3rd February and lasted for three days. During this bombardment she fired 112 16-inch rounds, and on 11th/12th February she fired a further 60 16-inch rounds near Khafji. Missouri's final spell of coastal bombardment took place on 23rd February when she fired 133 16-inch rounds as part of a deception operation that was supposed to persuade the Iraqi's that there was about to be an amphibious landing on coast of Kuwait. She left the Persian Gulf area Persian Gulf on 21st March 1991, and returned home by early April.

Missouri was decommissioned on 31st March 1992, and again became part of the Reserve Fleet. On 4th May 1998 she was transferred to the non-profit-making USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii, and on on 29th January 1999 she opened as a museum ship, moored on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbour.

Battleship Richlieu (France, 1939)

The Richlieu was the lead ship of what was intended to be a class of four ships (only two were completed) that were designed in response to the Italian Littorio-class battleships. Their design was based upon that of the earlier Dunkerque-class, and they had a main battery of eight 15-inch guns in two quadruple turrets.

She was laid down on 22nd October 1935 in Brest, and the hull (less the bow and stern sections) was floated out of the dry dock it was built in on 17th January 1939. These were attached once the hull had been placed in the Laninon docks in the Brest Navy Yards. Still incomplete, the Richlieu went to sea for the first time in April 1940, and during May and early June she conducted speed and gunnery trials. On 18th June she set sail for Dakar to ensure that she did not fall into the hands of the advancing Germans, and she reached her destination on 23rd June.

After the Armistice had been signed between France and Germany, the British became concerned that Richlieu might fall into German hands, and on 7th and 8th July she was attacked by carrier aircraft from HMS Hermes. As a result Richlieu was damaged and rendered unable to go to sea for some time.

Further British attacks took place in September 1940, and Richlieu was damaged yet again. She was repaired as best as the limited resources in Dakar allowed, and when the Allied invasion of North Africa took place and the French forces in Africa joined the Allied cause, she sailed across the Atlantic to be fully repaired and refitted in the New York Navy Yard. This was completed on 10th October 1943, and from November 1943 to March 1944 Richlieu served as part of the British Home Fleet. She was then transferred to the British Eastern Fleet, and took part in operations in the western Indian Ocean and around the Dutch East Indies.

She returned to French North Africa in late 1944, and after a further refit in Gibraltar in January 1945, she returned to the Far East, where she remained (except for a short time in Durban, South Africa) until the end of the war. During the last three months of 1945, Richelieu was part of the French force that reoccupied to Indochina. On 29th December 1945, she set sail for France, and she arrived in Toulon on 11th February 1946.

Richlieu spent the next few years as a training ship, showing the flag, or as flagship (in 1948 and 1949) of the Force d'Intervention. She was refitted several times, but by 1956 her role was being taken over by her newer sister ship, Jean Bart. From May 1956 until she was placed in reserve in 1958, she was used as an accommodation ship in Brest. Was eventually sold for scrapping in early 1968.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Battleships (Part 1)

The museum's collection of battleships includes the following:

Pre-dreadnought Battleship Danton (France, 1909)

Danton was the lead ship of a class of pre-dreadnought battleships that were laid down and completed for the French Navy after the completion of HMS Dreadnought. Despite the fact that she was already obsolete when she entered service, she had an active career in the Mediterranean until 19th March 1917 when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-64, a German U-Boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Robert Moraht.

Dreadnought Battleship HMS Dreadnought (Britain, 1906)

When HMS Dreadnought entered service with the Royal Navy in 1906, she revolutionised naval power and represented such a paradigm shift in naval technology. At a stroke she rendered all other battleships obsolete, and although by the time the First World War started in 1914 she was herself obsolete, her name came to be that by which all subsequent battleships would be described.

Battlecruiser HMS Hood (Britain, 1918)

HMS Hood was the last battlecruiser to be built for the Royal Navy, and during the 1920s and 1930s she came to symbolise British seapower. Long, low, fast, and well-armed, she looked both menacing and graceful. She was originally intended to be the first of a class of four battlecruisers, but after the Battle of Jutland the design was revised and this slowed down progress on her construction. Hood was eventually launched on 22nd August 1918 and commissioned on 15th May 1920.

She was scheduled to undergo a major rebuild in 1941 to correct her growing obsolescence and lack of modern armour protection, but the outbreak of World War II prevented this from happening. As a result she was essentially un-modernised when she engaged (and was sunk by) the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 24th May 1941.

Battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) (United States of America, 1915)

USS Arizona was one of the two Pennsylvania-class battleships that were built for the US Navy during the early years of the First World War. She served with the Pacific Fleet for most of her life, and was extensively modernised form 1929 until 1931. She was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour of 7th December 1941. After being repeatedly hit by bombs, she exploded and sank, with the result that 1,177 officers and crew were killed. Her wreck still remains in situ, and forms the underwater part of the USS Arizona Memorial, which was dedicated on 30th May 1962 to the memory of all those who died during the attack.

Battleship Bismarck (Germany, 1939)

The design of the Bismarck was based on plans developed from those of the German World War I-era Bayern-class battleships. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were heavily armoured and had twenty two watertight compartments. This made them very tough opponents and both survived incredible amounts of punishment before they sank.

The Bismarck was sunk during her maiden raiding cruise in the North Atlantic after she had managed to sink HMS Hood and severely damage the new battleship HMS Prince of Wales. An attack by a group of Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers during the night of 24th May 1941 from the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious did sufficient damage to cause the Birmarck to turn for home.

When fifteen of HMS Ark Royal's Swordfish torpedo bombers launched an attack on Bismarck on 25th May, three of their torpedoes are thought to have struck the ship. Two of them did very little damage but the third hit and jammed Bismarck's rudders hard to starboard. This damage could not be repaired, and the battleship began turning in a large circle. This turned her into the path of her pursuers, and early on the morning of 26th May 1941 the British battleships HMS King George V and HMS Rodney began firing at the Bismarck. Within a short time Bismarck's main armament was silenced, and at a little after 10.15am the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire was sent in to finish her off with torpedoes. Only 110 of Bismarck's crew were picked up after the battle, the rest having been killed, drowned, or died from exposure.

Friday, 24 June 2016


I've now had time to think about the result of the referendum, and although I voted to stay, I can understand why a majority of the voters did not share my vision for the future.

I think that we can look forward to what the Chinese call 'interesting times', but whatever happens, it will have been because the majority willed it ... and I'd rather live in a democracy where my opinion and vote counts than live under another form of government.

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Aircraft and Helicopter Carriers

The museum's collection of aircraft and helicopter carriers includes the following:

Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious (Britain, 1940)

HMS Illustrious was the first of the Illustrious-class armoured aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy. She was designed in the late 1930s and was first commissioned in 1940. After working up she joined the Mediterranean Fleet, and her aircraft were involved in the attack on the Italian naval base in Taranto. This resulted in one enemy battleship being sunk and two other being and seriously damaged. Two months later she was attacked by aircraft from the German Kliegerkorps X. She was badly damaged, and had she not been armoured it is very likely she would have been sunk.

After being repaired in North America, she was sent to the Indian Ocean, where she supported the Allied landings on Madagascar. She then returned home, and after a lengthy refit she joined the Home Fleet. She then transferred to the Mediterranean, where she supported the Salerno landings. In mid-1943 Illustrious again went east, and remained part of the Eastern Fleet until she was transferred to the newly-formed British Pacific Fleet. After taking part in the early stages of the Battle of Okinawa she returned to the UK to have a number of serious mechanical defect remedied.

Illustrious was in dock when the war ended, and it was decided that she would become the Home Fleet's trials and training aircraft carrier. As a result she took part in the deck-landing trials of most of the post-war British naval aircraft designed and manufactured the early 1950s. She was finally paid off in 1955, and sold for scrapping the year afterwards.

Escort Carrier USS Bouge (CVE-9) (United States of America, 1942)

The USS Bogue was the lead ship of one of the first classes of escort carriers built in the United States for service with the US Navy and (under lend-lease) the Royal Navy. The design of the hull of the Bogue-class escort carriers were based on the Maritime Commission's Type C3 cargo ship hull, and it was originally planned that after the war they would be converted into cargo ships. Some were so converted, but ten were retained by the US Navy (including Bouge) and were used during the mid 1950s they were re-designated as helicopter escort carriers (CVHE).

During World War II USS Bouge sank eleven German and two Japanese submarines. This made her the most successful anti-submarine escort carrier of the war.

Aircraft Carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) (United States of America, 1972)

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is the lead ship of her class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are currently in service with the US Navy. She was laid down on 22nd June 1968, launched on 13th May 1972, and commissioned on 3rd May 1975. She is expected to remain in service until 2025.

Amphibious Assault Ship USS Nassau (LHA-4) United States of America, 1978)

USS Nassau was the fourth of the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships (LHA) to enter service with the US Navy. She was aid down on 13th August 1973, launched on 21st January 1978, and commissioned on 28th July 1979. She was capable of carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of 1900 US Marines and their equipment. Her air wing (6 × AV-8B Harrier VSTOL attack planes, 4 × AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 × CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, 9 × CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and 4 × UH-1N Huey helicopters) was tasked to support any landings undertaken by the MEU.

USS Nassau was decommissioned on 31st March 2011, and now forms part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Helicopter Cruiser/Training Ship Jeanne D'Arc (R97) (France, 1964)

Jeanne d'Arc was originally named La Résolue, as her 1930s-built predecessor was still in service when she was first commissioned. She was subsequently renamed Jeanne d'Arc in 1964. She had two main roles; in peacetime she was a training ship, but in wartime she was expected to be a fully-operational helicopter cruiser.

The ship was retired on 7th June 2010 and decommissioned on 1st September 2010. She was sold for scrapping in 2014.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Liners and Research Ships

The museum's collection of model liners and research ships includes the following:

Liner RMS Titanic (Britain, 1912)

Probably the most famous liner ever launched, she sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic during her maiden voyage.

Liner SS France (France, 1962)

She was sold in 1979 to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and renamed SS Norway. She was sold for scrapping in 2006, and was finally demolished in 2008.

Research Ship RV Calypso (USA, 1941/France, 1950)

Originally built as the BYMS (British Yard Minesweeper) HMS J-826 in Seattle, Washington, USA. In 1949, after the end of the Second World War, she was sold, and for four months she operated as a ferry between two of the Maltese islands. She was then re-sold to a (then) unknown buyer, who leased her to the underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau. He had the ship modified and rebuilt into an expedition vessel that could support diving, underwater film-making, and oceanographic research.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Sailing Ships and Early Steamships

The museum's collection of model sailing ships and early steamships includes the following:

Turtle Ship (also known as Geobukseon) (Korea, 1415)

The Geobukseon was a type of large armoured warship that was used by the Royal Korean Navy from the early 15th century up until the 19th century. Its main purpose was to defend Korea from invading Japanese ships.


Galleon (Spain, 1545)

Galleons were a large, multi-decked sailing ships that were primarily used by European states during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Galleon San'yago (or Santiago) (Spain, 1588)

This is possibly a model of either the Santiago el Mayor (24 guns) or the San Felipe y Santiago (24 guns), both of which took part in the Spanish Armada

Galleon Vasa (Sweden. 1628)

Vasa is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. She sank during her maiden voyage on 10th August 1628. The largely intact remains of the ship were salvaged in 1961, and after prolonged conservation she is currently on display in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Frigate Olifant (Russia, 1704)

The Olifant had a short life, being launched in 1704 and broken up in 1712.

Galley Reale de France (France, 1694)

She was designed by Jean-Baptiste Chabert, and became the flagship of the French galley fleet during the reign of Louis XIV. She was decommissioned in 1720.

East Indiaman Boullongne (France, 1758)

Frigate USS Constitution (United States of America, 1797)

USS Constitution was one of six original frigates constructed as a result of the Naval Act of 1794. She and her sisters were designed by Joshua Humphreys and she was built in Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts. She remained in service until she was decommissioned on 14th June 1855 at Portsmouth Navy Yard. USS Constitution was then converted to serve as a training ship, and remained in that role until 1871. She was subsequently overhauled so that she could participate in the centennial celebrations of the United States of America, but after sailing to France and back in 1878 she reverted to being a training ship.

In 1881 she was moved to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where she was used as a receiving ship until 1897, at which point she was moved yet again, this time to Boston. After being used as a barracks she was partially restored and in 1907 she became a museum. She was renamed USS Old Constitution so that her original name could be used for one of the new Lexington-class battle cruisers. When this new ship was not built, Old Constitution reverted to her original name.

Since then she has been restored several times, and between 1931 and 1934 she visited ninety port cities along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts before returning to Boston. She has been restored and reconstructed several times since then, and today she is a visitor attraction that is used to promote a greater understanding of the United States Navy's role in war and peace. USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

Sloop Mirny (Russia, 1818)

Whilst building Mirny was originally named Ladoga, but when it was decided that she should be used as an expedition ship, her incomplete hull was remodelled and she was renamed.

Mirny took part in the First Russian Antarctic Expedition in 1819—1821, during which the Vostok and the Mirny circumnavigated the globe, visited and twice circumnavigated Antarctica, and discovered a number of islands and archipelagos in the Southern Ocean and the Pacific.

Steam Frigate Svietlana (Russia, 1858)

Svietlana was built in Bordeaux, France. She served in the Mediterranean Sea during 1859–1860 and then in the Northern Pacific from 1860 until 1862. She visited Brazil in 1867–1868 and the USA and Japan in 1871–1873. She returned to the Mediterranean Sea from 1875 to 1877 before becoming a training ship in 1878. She was decommissioned and scrapped in 1892.

Steam Frigate HMS Warrior (Britain, 1861)

HMS Warrior and her sister ship, HMS Black Prince, were the world's first ocean-going iron armoured ships. HMS Warrior was completed in October 1861 and re-armed between 1864 and 1867. In 1881 she became a training ship on the Clyde, and 1884 she was re-rated as an reserve armoured cruiser. She remained in reserve until 1902, when she became a torpedo depot ship in Portsmouth. In 1904 she was re-named Vernon III, but reverted to her original name in 1923. She was hulked six years later, and re-named C77 in 1945. She was restored in 1979 and is now preserved at Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Barque Belem (France, 1898)

Built in Nantes, France, Belem was originally a cargo ship. She was used to transport sugar from the West Indies as well as cocoa, and coffee from Brazil and French Guiana to Nantes, France. In 1914 to she was bought by the Duke of Westminster, who had converted her into luxurious pleasure yacht with auxiliary diesel engines.

She was sold again in 1922 to Sir Arthur Ernest Guinness, who renamed her the Fantôme II. After Sir Arthur died in 1949 she passed through the hands of several owners. (1951: New owner Vittorio Cini renamed her the Giorgio Cini in memory of his dead son; 1972: The Italian Carabinieri attempted to restore her to the original barque rig but this proved too expensive.)

She reverted to her original name Belem in 1979 and was converted into a sail training ship in Nantes, which remains her home port.)