Castle Class (1943) Corvette

This Class of Corvette was a follow on from the original Flower Class (1940) Corvette, and Flower Class Modified (1943) Corvette

They were designed at the same time as the larger Loch Class (1944) Frigates, and incorporated lessons learned from Flower Class (1940). However Corvettes were still a very basic design and could not match the performance of the larger Frigate design.

The Castle's were 35ft longer than Flower Class to improve seaworthiness, and give extra crew space. Although armed similarly to the Flower's, the Castle's had their forward armament of Anti-submarine mortar and 4in gun reversed. With the gun mounted to the front in the most exposed position and the mortar behind the gun on a short shelter deck in front of the bridge. This emphasised the priority of anti-submarine weapons over guns. 

Although slightly heavier and powered with the same machinery there was no reduction in speed because of the extra length. 

The reason for continuing with a design which was barely adequate was to allow spare short slip capacity to be used which could not build the longer frigate hulls. This got more hulls in the water faster.

However as the critical escort shortage began to be relieved the construction program was cut short in 1943 to allow maximum effort to be put into frigate construction. So, 14 of the units ordered in the UK and all 37 units ordered in Canada were cancelled. 

Five were completed as convoy rescue ships, operated and manned by the Ministry of War Transport (MOWT) using merchant seamen. These ships were fitted with additional lifeboats and the men to man them, spare accommodation, plus a sick bay and naval medical team to man it. They only carried a defensive armament of 2 x 12pdr AA guns and 4 x 20mm AA guns.


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This page last edited - 17 April, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.