Oudenarde. The lingering fate of hulk 1715.

Oudenarde. The lingering fate of hulk 1715.

Postby E28 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:13 pm

Oudenarde was a battle in which the British participated fought in the Spanish Netherlands, now Belgium, on the 11th July 1708.

The name was intended to be the first such in the Royal Navy when she was ordered as part of the 1943 new construction programme as 1 of 26 group 2 Battle class destroyers. Swan Hunters won her contract as y no 1715 with Admiralty contract/job number J4926 to build at Wallsend with another pair, Corunna and River Plate. Duly laid down 12th October 1944 she entered the Tyne 11th September 1945 to no ceremony and uncertain future. The fates of this trio could not be a greater contrast.

Before the cessation of hostilities it was apparent the British naval shipbuilding programme was over ambitious, unaffordable and unwanted. All needs had expired and most men serving had only one desire, to get home and get demobbed, returning to their civilian professions and trades.

The big cull of the group 2 Battle class builds occurred on 15th October 5 weeks from Oudenarde getting her bottom wet when 16 were cancelled in varying states of build, River Plate amongst others dismantled in situ on their building berths.
So, Oudenarde was in the stream a liability which Swans needed shifting for causing an obstruction to more pressing needs whilst the Admiralty needed to make decisions as to any future she may have, or otherwise.

There was one bonus however. Her machinery was installed. Part 1, to be continued.
Thats all folks. Sean.
E28
 
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Re: Oudenarde. The lingering fate of hulk 1715.

Postby E28 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:58 pm

The sheer volume of naval tonnage cancelled in the latter months of 1945 was staggering with no type immune. From the 4 Lion class battleships, the larger Gibraltar class carriers, light fleet carriers, numerous cruisers, half the Daring class successors to the Battles, most weapon class and all 8 of the G class destroyers, sloops, 30 A class subs, V class and the next generation B class, LST's and numerous small vessels.

Some as Oudenarde had been laid down where the options were twofold. If in frame they had to be broken on the berth, if plated and watertight they could be launched. Of the latter a number were promptly towed straight to the breakers for demolition courtesy BISCO. A number of others would duly occupy assorted trots in numerous rivers drifting in the tides attached to buoys, or, if space permitted kept in the building yard or alongside in docks. This did not take into account all the other equipment involved in their construction and essential had work continued, machinery, weapons and a thousand other pieces of kit all which had serious implications for the sub contractors involved. The financial cost was huge.

But needs must, Britain was broke. Merchant tonnage was needed in its many types from new cargo ships, coasters and myriad other types, World trade was essential with much lost war tonnage still to be replaced.

No one would ever miss those dozens of cancelled warships when the navy could not even man what it had, half of which was worn out and and would either promptly be allocated for scrap where Sentiment did not exist or placed in assorted reserves rapidly deteriorating in their dozens but with a chance of a foreign sale.

There was another fate for some warships.
Now, where did we leave Oudenarde ? Part 2, more in part 3.
Thats all folks. Sean.
E28
 
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Re: Oudenarde. The lingering fate of hulk 1715.

Postby E28 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:10 pm

Parlous is the polite term for the predicament Britains navy found itself post war with the destroyer type most precarious. Too many hulls with decreasing means and manpower.
The assorted reserves scattered around the coasts were rapidly filled with redundant war weary hulls whilst the new building had suffered wholesale cancellations and slowed construction. The future for the RN's destroyer flotillas (DF) looked bleak, their purpose as fleet escorts diminished so in 1946 a plan was promulgated where these flotillas would comprise 3 DF of the C classes and 3 DF Battles each of 8 destroyers. All other classes were put aside to await developments in a fast changing environment.

Oudenarde, Albuera, Namur and Jutland all had their main machinery installed upon launching, consequently their situation was such that some hoped a future might manifest itself and the Dutch were vaguely inquisitive enough in mid 1946 to enquire, already operating a number of British destroyers and possibly with their Eastern Empire still extant these Battles would prove beneficial. Nothing developed. Although brand new the Battles were already considered old technology with a poor main gun battery, too many torpedoes, lacking in any meaningful anti submarine abilities, large crews and outdated machinery and DC electrics. The Dutch built 4 new Holland class to much better meet their needs. And then 8 modified.

The remaining 8 group 2 Battles (16 group 1 were all in service) which survived the cull would slowly enter service, many with reduced manning and could never make up a full flotilla, half at best of 4 ships. In the case of Matapan it would be 25 years before she saw active service under the White Ensign, as a heavily converted trials ship proudly with her pendant D43.

Oudenarde too would have a future. But never have a ships company steaming her as H.M.S. under the White Ensign.
This concludes part 3. Part 4 becomes more explosive.
Thats all folks. Sean.
E28
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:14 pm
Location: Everyone has to be somewhere.


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