In the course of the Harry Gilmour books, many references are made to ships, aircraft, weapons, people and places; many of which will not be familiar to most readers.

Below I have sought to help the reader out by providing comprehensive descriptions of the kit, the places and the people.



HMS Alconbury (Hunt Class destroyer)

This fictional ship was a Hunt class escort destroyer of the Royal Navy, first ordered early in 1939 and designed to free up larger Fleet destroyers from convoy escort duties. The class saw extensive service in the Second World War, particularly on the British east coast and Mediterranean convoys.  The escort vessels forsook the heavy armament and some of the speed of the fleet destroyers to reduce unit cost and better suit mass production and the conditions.

Displacement:·1,360 tons, full load
Length:278 ft 10 in
Beam:28 ft 10 in
Draught:10 ft 9 in
Propulsion:·2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers

·2 shaft Parsons geared turbines, 19,000 shp

Speed:·27.5 knots
Range:·3,500 nmi at 15 kts 1,000 nmi at 26 kts
Armament:·4 × QF 4-inch (Mark XVI guns on twin mounts

·4 × QF 2-pounder (40 mm) Mk. VIII AA guns on quad mounts

·2 × 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns on single mounts

·40 depth charges, 2 throwers, 1 rack

Arado 196 seaplane

The Arado Ar 196 was a shipboard reconnaissance low-wing monoplane built by the German firm of Arado  and became the standard aircraft of the Kriegsmarine (German navy) throughout the Second World War. It was armed with  two 50 kg (110 lb) bombs, two 20 mm MG FF cannon in the wings, and a 7.92 mm in the rear cockpit. The aircraft was loved by its pilots, who found that it handled well both in the air and on the water and continued to equip coastal squadrons flying reconnaissance missions and submarine hunts into late 1944. Although it was no match for a fighter, it was considerably better than its Allied counterparts, and generally considered the best of its type.

Arethusa class light cruisers:

In Turn Left for Gibraltar, HMS Pelleas and HMS Patroclus are named as Arethusa class light cruisers. Neither of those ships existed, and are inventions of the author’s so as not to compromise the distinguished war records of the real ships of the class.

The four Arethusas were built between 1934 and 1936, but differed from their predecessors in having only three 6-inch turrets instead of four. This reduction in armament allowed a 50-foot reduction in length, and welded construction was used to save weight, with over 250 tons being cut off the original specification. They were designed to be fast, nimble and able to meet any future threats from commerce raiders, which even with their reduced armament, they would enjoy a comfortable superiority over. But in the event, they were mainly deployed as part of the Mediterranean Fleet where they saw much action.

Displacement5270 tons
Length506 feet
Armament6 x 6" guns (3x2)
8 x 4" AA guns (4x2)
8 x .5" MG AA (2x4)
6 x 21" torpedo tubes (2x3)
1 aircraft
Max speed32.25 knots
EnginesGeared turbines, 4 shafts


In 1916, under the British Board of Invention and Research, work, for the Anti-Submarine Division of the British Naval Staff, was undertaken in utmost secrecy, to produce the world's first practical underwater active sound detection apparatus.

The name ASDIC comes from the cloak of secrecy that surrounded the research, and stems from  the word used to describe the early work, 'ASD'ics – the ‘ASD’ standing simply from anti submarine detection - hence the British acronym ASDIC. In 1939, in response to a question on the work, the Admiralty made up the story that it stood for 'Allied Submarine Detection Investigation Committee', and this is still widely believed, though no committee bearing this name has been found in the Admiralty archives.

By 1918 the Royal Navy had built prototype active system and Britain started production in 1922. The 6th Destroyer Flotilla had ASDIC-equipped vessels by 1923. And an anti-submarine school, HMS Osprey, and a training flotilla of four vessels were established on Portland in 1924.

By the outbreak of the Second World War, the Royal Navy had five sets for different surface ship classes, and others for submarines, incorporated into a complete anti-submarine attack system.

The system worked using a transmitter-receiver to send out a highly directional sound wave through the water. If the sound wave struck a submerged object it was reflected back and picked up by the receiver. The length of the time from transmission until the echo was received was used to measure the range, which was shown as a flickering light on the range scale. By mounting the transmitter head so that it could be directed almost like a searchlight, the bearing of the target could be read from the compass receiver.

Anti-submarine boom, Firth of Clyde

During the Second World War, the northern area of the Firth of Clyde was protected by an anti-submarine boom made up by a series of steel nets, suspended between the Cloch lighthouse and Dunoon pier, designed to alert defences to any U-Boat attempting to enter the Clyde anchorage at the Tail o’ the Bank.

The one and a half mile boom was maintained in place by up to eight Boom Defence Vessels, and was capable of entangling any submarine seeking to force a passage. It was also armed with a series of trips designed so that if the net was hit, or tampered with, it would set off warning flares.

Friendly vessels approaching the boom from the south would have been expected to wait at the Clyde Inspection Anchorage further down the firth to the south of Toward Point, pending clearance to proceed. This requirement was not necessarily always obeyed, especially if the Captain was keen to make port, and frequently the Toward Battery was required to fire a warning shot across the offender's bow to alert them to their error.


Benson class destroyer


The Benson class was a class of destroyers built for the US Navy between 1939–1943. The thirty 1,620-ton destroyers were built in two groups. 

The Benson, and subsequently the Gleaves-class destroyers, were the backbone of the US Navy’s pre-war Neutrality Patrols and went onto participate in every major naval campaign of the war.


2474 tons


348 ft


 36 ft


· 17 ft 9 in


·4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 2 Bethlehem Steel geared steam turbines; 50,000 shp


2 shafts


37.5 knots


7,500 miles at 12 kts




·  5 × 5 in DP guns,

·  6 × 0.50 in.  guns,

·  10 × 21 inch torpedo tubes(2 × 5)



Beriev MBR 2 flying boat:

The Beriev MBR-2 was a reconnaissance flying boat which entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1935.

Crew: 4-5

Length: 44 ft 3½ in

Wingspan: 62 ft 4 in

Maximum speed: 148 knots, 171 mph

Range: 930 miles

Service ceiling: 16,080 ft

Armament: 1× 7.62 mm PV-1 machine gun in bow and 1× 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun in dorsal turret

Bombload: 660 lbs of bombs, mines, and depth charges carried underwing.


Bofors gun:

The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors gun,[2] is an anti-aircraft/multi-purpose autocannondesigned in the 1930s by the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors. It was one of the most popular medium-weight anti-aircraft systems during World War II, used by most of the western Allies as well as by the Axis powers.

The gun fired a 2.0 lb high explosive shell at 2,960 ft/s. The rate of fire was normally about 120 rounds per minute from the top-mounted magazine with the rounds fed into the breech from four round clips which had to be replaced by hand. The maximum attainable ceiling was 23,600 ft, but the practical maximum was about 12,500 ft.

The gun was provided with an advanced sighting system. The trainer and layer were both provided with reflector sights for aiming, while a third crew-member standing behind them "adjusted" for lead using a simple mechanical computer.


HMS Bonaventure


HMS Bonaventure was originally laid down on the Clyde at Greenock as SS Clan Campbell, a general cargo ship for the Clan Line. However, at the outbreak of war, the Admiralty requisitioned her for the Royal Navy, and after her launch on 27 October 1942, she was converted o become a submarine depot ship for X-class midget submarines. After completing work-up trials, Bonaventure sailed to Loch Striven on the west bank of the Clyde to become the main training base and depot ship for the X craft midget submarines. Then, in January 1944, she embarked the modified XE craft midget submarines and embarked for operations in the Far East.



·10,423 tons


487 ft


63 ft


30 ft


2 x steam triple expansion and exhaust turbines


16 knots


·2 × 4 in AA guns

·12 × 20 mm AA guns


Brooklyn class cruiser


These were seven light cruisers of the United States Navy that served throughout the second World War. Armed with five (three forward, two aft) triple turrets mounting 6-inch guns, they and their two near sisters of the St. Louis class mounted more heavy-calibre guns than any other US cruisers. All were commissioned between 1937 and 1938, and they served extensively in both the Pacific and Atlantic theatres. Though some were heavily damaged, all survived the war.

Five were transferred in 1951, to South American navies, where they served for many more years. One, the ARA General Belgrano, formerly USS Phoenix (CL-46), became the first, and so far only, warship to be sunk by a Nuclear powered attack sub when she was torpedoed by HMS Conqueror during the Falklands War in 1982.

Their design had a strong influence on all subsequent US cruiser classes, including the Cleveland-class light cruiser and Baltimore-class heavy cruisers.



·12,207 tons


606 ft


62 ft


23 ft

Installed power:

·8 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers

·100,000 shp 


·4 × Parsons geared turbines

·4 × shafts


32.5 knots 


10,000 nmi at 15 knots




·15 × 6 inches  (5 × 3)

·8 × 5 inches (8 × 1)

·8 × .50 caliber machine guns (8 × 1)


·Main Belt

·At Machinery: 5 in

·At Magazines: 2 in 

·Deck: 2 in

·Barbettes: 6 in

Aircraft carried:

4 × floatplanes


Breda cannon:

The Breda Model 35, was a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun produced by the Società Italiana Ernesto Breda of Brescia company in Italy and used during the Second World War. It was designed in 1932 and was adopted by the Italian armed forces in 1935. This gun was widely employed by the Regia Marina as a deck-mounted anti-aircraft weapon in most Italian warships, in both single and twin mountings, and was considered a fairly efficient weapon.

Weight330 kg (730 lb)
Length3.34 m (10 ft 11 in)
Barrel length1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Caliber20 mm (0.79 in)
Elevation-10 degrees to +80
Traverse360 degrees
Rate of fire240 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity840 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
Effective firing range1,500 m (4,900 ft) (against aerial targets)
Maximum firing range5.5 km (3.4 mi)
Feed system12 round strip
SightsTelescopic predictor sight


Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)


The US Army used the BAR as a light machine gun, often fired from a bipod, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role. Consequently the BAR never entirely lived up to the original hopes as either a rifle or a machine gun.



HMS Calliope

There never was a Dido class light anti-aircraft cruiser called HMS Calliope commissioned into the Royal Navy.

However, Dido class cruisers did exist and 16 were commissioned into the Fleet between 1940 and 1944. They were originally designed as small trade protection cruisers and for action in the Mediterranean, where they were surprisingly effective in protecting crucial Malta convoys. Their most famous action was at the Second Battle of Sirte where four Didos and another light cruiser defending a Malta-bound convoy, in March 1942, managed to see off an Italian battleship and three cruisers.

The class’s main armament, the 5.25-inch  gun, was primarily a surface weapon, but it was designed with a particularly high-angle capability intended to fire the heaviest shell suitable for anti-aircraft defence.

Displacement:·Standard: 5,700 tons

·Full load: 6,900 tons

Length:512 ft  overall
Beam:50 ft 6 in
Draught:14 ft
Speed:32.25 knots
Range:4,240 miles at 16 knots
Armament:10 × QF 5.25-inch guns (5×2)

8 × 0.5-inch Vickers machine gun mounts (2×4)

8 × QF 2-pounder (40 mm) pom-pom mounts (2×4)

6 × 21-inch torpedo tubes


Cant Z.501 seaplane:

The Z.501's was a single-engined search-and-rescue, and anti-submarine patrol aircraft operated by the Regia Aeronautica. The 880 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI engine gave it a maximum speed of 152 mph, and cruising speed of 120 mph.

Normal cruising range with full military load was 620 miles, while a maximum range was 1,490 miles. Its wing span 73 ft. 10 in. and hull length 46 ft. 11 in.

The aircraft carried a crew of 4 or 5. Its armament consisted of two gun positions in the bow and aft of the wing; a third position was located in the engine nacelle above the wing. All three posts mounted single 7.7-mm machine guns. Bombs were carried under the wings in racks attached to the bracing struts. The load was normally two 550-lb. bombs, or four 352-lb., or multiple loads of 220-lb., or 110-lb. bombs.

CANT Z.506 seaplane:

The CANT Z.506 evolved from the Airone, a civilian seaplane designed for the Italian airline, Ala Littoria. It first flew in 1935 as a 12 to 14-seat mail carrier. When the military version followed, it quickly established itself as one of the finest ever seaplane air-sea rescue and reconnaissance seaplanes ever built.

  • Crew:5
  • Length:63 ft
  • Wingspan: 87 ft
  • Max take-off weight: 28,010 lb
  • Engines:3 × Alfa Romeo 126 RC 34 radial engines, 750 hp each
  • Maximum speed:220 mph
  • Range:1,200 miles
  • Service ceiling:23,000 ft
  • Guns:
    • 1 × 12.7 mm Breda machine gun
    • 3 × 7.7 mm machine guns
  • Bombs:
    • 2,600 lb of general ordnance or
    • 1 × 1,800 lb torpedo

Caproni 314

The Caproni Ca.314 was an Italian twin-engine monoplane bomber, used for ground-attack and torpedo bomber duties.

General characteristics

  • Crew:three
  • Length:8 m (38 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan:65 m (54 ft 8 in)
  • Height:7 m (12 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area:2 m2(422 sq ft)
  • Empty weight:4,560 kg (10,053 lb)
  • Gross weight:6,620 kg (14,595 lb)
  • Powerplant:2 × Isotta-Fraschini Delta R.C.25 (I-DS) inverted air-cooled V-12 piston engine, 724 hp each
  • Maximum speed:395 km/h (245 mph; 213 kn)
  • Range:1,690 km (1,050 mi; 913 nmi)
  • Service ceiling:6,400 m (21,000 ft)
  • Guns:

2 × 12.7 mm (0.500 in) fixed forward-firing Breda SAFAT machine-guns in the wing roots

1 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda SAFAT machine gun in a dorsal turret

  • Bombs: Up to 500 kg (1,100 lb)

Coastal Command, Royal Air Force

RAF Coastal Command was one of the four main formations within the RAF. Founded in 1936, it was the RAF's premier maritime arm, although it was often referred to as the "Cinderella Service", always coming behind Fighter Command and Bomber Command when it came to the allocation of resources.

Throughout the Second World War, its primary task was to protect convoys and coastal shipping from U Boats and the Luftwaffe, although it also served in an offensive capacity in the Mediterranean and the North and Baltic seas, carrying out attacks on German shipping. The service saw action from the first day of hostilities until the last day of the War. It flew over one million flying hours, carried out 240,000 operations and destroyed 212 U-boats. Coastal Command’s casualties amounted to 2,060 aircraft to all causes and some 5,866 personnel killed in action.


Chiburi class escort


After the start of the Pacific War, it became apparent to the Imperial Japanese Navy that it required a more capable design of anti-submarine warfare ship. Due to the high attrition of Japan's destroyer and escort ships, action needed to be urgently taken to produce more ships faster. So the 1941 Rapid Naval Armaments Supplement Programme authorised the building of the Chiburis and several other modified classes.

Their hulls were constructed using prefabricated sections which avoided the use of shaped steel or curved plates, which greatly reduced construction time. The curved plates on the bridge were also eliminated, and the smoke stacks were plated to give a hexagonal cross-section instead of the funnel being the usual circular or oval shape. Internally, crew quarters were just a communal area, and overall the construction was very spartan. These changes reduced construction time to under four months.



940 tons


255 ft


29 ft 10 in


10 ft


2 shaft, geared diesel engines, 4,400 hp


19.5 knots 


5,000 nmi at 16 kts




·3 × 4.7 in DP guns

·14-18 × 25 mm AA machine guns

·6 × depth charge throwers

·120 × depth charges

·1 × 81 mm mortar



HMS Courageous

HMS Courageous was the first of a class of Light-Battlecruisers (see graphic below) built for the Royal Navy during the First World War, and designed for a never-realised operation to force a Royal Navy squadron into the Baltic Sea.

However, after the war, as Britain consolidated its lead in naval aviation she was rebuilt as an aircraft carrier during the mid-1920s.

Courageous served with the Home Fleet at the start of World War II forming part of one of the hunter-killer groups formed around the fleet's aircraft carriers to find and destroy U-boats. On the evening of 17 September 1939, she was on one such patrol off the coast of Ireland. Two of her four escorting destroyers had been sent to help a merchant ship under attack and all her aircraft had returned from patrols when U-29 fired three torpedoes. Two of the torpedoes struck the ship, knocking out all electrical power, and she capsized and sank in 20 minutes with the loss of 519 of her crew, including her captain.

Displacement: 26,990 tons

Length: 786 ft

Beam: 90ft 6in

Draught: 27.75ft

Engines: 4 shafts, 4 Parsons geared steam turbines

Speed: 30 knots

Range: 5,860 nautical miles at 16 knots

Complement: 814 + 403 air group

Armour: Belt: 2–3in; Decks: 0.75-1in; Bulkhead: 2–3in

Armament: 16 × 1 — 4.7-inch (120 mm) AA guns

Aircraft: 48


C46 Curtis Commando

Curtiss C-46 in flight (possibly S/N 41-5159, tail number 25159, but appears to have been added in the dark room). (U.S. Air Force photo)


The C46 Curtis Commando was most famous for its operations in the China-Burma-India theatre where it was the leading workhorse over "The Hump", as the trans Himalaya route was known, transporting desperately needed supplies from India to Allied troops fighting the Japanese in  China.

The C-46 was able to handle the wide range of adverse conditions encountered by the USAAF there, including, unpredictably violent weather, heavy cargo loads, high mountain terrain, and poorly equipped and frequently flooded airfields. Also, it could carry more cargo higher than other Allied twin-engine transport aircraft in the theatre, and its powerful engines enabled it to climb satisfactorily with heavy loads. Even so, the C-46 was often referred to by pilots as the "flying coffin" as well as, "The Whale," and the "Curtis Calamity", due to its accident rate. 

It was also frequently used to transfer casualties back from the frontline, to rear area hospitals.


Wing Span: 108 ft. 0 in.

Length: 76 ft. 4 in.

Height: 22 ft. 0 in.

Weight: 51,000 lbs. max.

Armament: None

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800s of 2,000 hp.

Maximum speed: 245 mph.

Cruising speed: 175 mph.

Range: 1,200 miles

Service Ceiling: 27,600 ft.




Dornier seaplane - Do 18

The Dornier Do 18 was developed for the Luftwaffe, as a maritime patrol aircraft but Lufthansa received five aircraft and used these for tests between the Azores and the North American continent in 1936 and on their mail route over the South Atlantic from 1937 to 1939.

However, it was obsolete by the outbreak of World War Two, but - as the only military flying boat – there were 62 aircraft in six squadrons, it was still in use, mainly on North Sea reconnaissance missions. The vulnerable and underpowered flying boat was soon relegated to training and the air/sea rescue role. By the middle of 1941, only one squadron was still operational having been replaced by the Blohm & Voss BV 138.

A Do 18 was the first German aircraft to be shot down by British aircraft during the war, when one of a formation of three was caught over the North Sea by nine Fleet Air Arm aircraft flying from HMS Ark Royal on 26 September 1939.



E-boat was the Royal Navy’s designation for all fast attack craft used by the Kriegsmarine during World War Two – the Germans referred to these light craft as Schnellboot, or S-Boot, meaning "fast boat". The origin of the term stems from – as legend has it – the E standing for Enemy.

All variants of the E-boat were very fast, able to cruise at 40 or 50 knots (46-58 mph), and with its wooden hull, it could cross magnetic minefields unharmed. It was better suited to the open sea and had substantially longer range (approximately 700 nautical miles) than the US Navy’s PT boat and the British Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB).

  • Length:9 m (114 feet 6 inches)
  • Weight:up to 120 tonnes
  • Speed:8 kts
  • Engines:Three 20-cylinder 2000 hp Daimler-Benz diesels driving three shafts.
  • Armament:
    • 2 × 21 inches torpedo tubes, with room for 2 more torpedoes (for reloading).
    • 1 × 20 mm gun, (20 mm single on early boats, twin and special bow version on later classes)
    • 1 × 40 mm gun

Other AA armament carried on different models included two or more pintle-mounted MG-34s, 3.7 cm Flak 42 and 8.6 cm RaG M42 or a quadruple 20mm mount.

All versions could be adapted to carry depth charges.


‘Emily’ flying boat

The Kawanishi H8K – allied codename "Emily" – was a large, four-engine aircraft designed for long range and extended endurance on patrols or bombing missions typically flown alone over the ocean. The prototype first flew in January 1941 and H8K1s made their first combat sortie in March 1942. The robust H8K2 flying boat was also fitted with powerful defensive armament, which Allied pilots had substantial respect for. 

  • Crew:10
  • Length:92 ft 3 in
  • Wingspan:124 ft 8 in
  • Height:30 ft 0 in
  • Max takeoff weight:71,650 lb
  • Engines:4 × Mitsubishi MK4Q Kasei 22 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines
  • Maximum speed:290 mph
  • Service ceiling:29,040 ft)
  • Guns: 5× 20 mm Type 99 Mark 1 cannon(one each in bow, dorsal, and tail turrets, plus one each in two waist blisters), 5× .303 Type 92 machine guns in fuselage hatches
  • Bombs:2× 800 kg (1,800 lb) torpedoes or 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) of bombs or depth charges




Fabrizio del Dondo (Zara Class cruiser)

The Zara class was a group of four heavy cruisers built for the Italian Regia Marina in the late 1920s and the early 1930s. The class comprised the vessels ZaraFiumeGorizia, and Pola. The ships were a substantial improvement over the preceding Trento-class cruisers, incorporating significantly heavier armour protection at the cost of the very high speed of the Trentos. They carried the same main battery of eight 8.0 in guns and had a maximum speed of 32 knots. Among the best-protected heavy cruisers built by any navy in the 1930s, the heavy armour had only be acquired by violating the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited cruiser displacement to 10,160  tons.

Displacement:·14,168  to 14,560 tons,  full load
Length:·599 ft 9 in
Beam:67 ft 8 in
Draft:23 ft 7 in
Installed power:·8 three-drum Thornycroft boilers - 95,000 shp
Propulsion:2 Parsons turbines
Speed:32 knots
Armament:·4 × 2 – 8.0 in guns

·8 × 2 -4 in/47  caliber guns

·4 × 2 - 37 mm / 54 caliber anti-aircraft guns

·6 × 2 & 2 × 1 - 20 mm / 65 caliber anti-aircraft guns

Armor:·Deck: 70 mm (2.8 in)

·Belt: 150 mm (5.9 in)

·Turret faces: 150 mm

·Barbettes: 150 mm

·Conning tower: 150 mm

Aircraft carried2 × seaplanes



The F-lighter, as it was known by the Allies, or Marinefährprahm, was a naval ferry barge, and was the largest landing craft operated by the Kriegsmarine during the war

It served a variety of roles, mostly transport, but also as a minelayer, escort and gunboat, where it was armed with a variety of weapons from light machine guns up to 20mm and 40mm cannon. It’s shallow draught made it very useful inshore, and all but invulnerable to attack by torpedo.

The first of these lighters was commissioned in April 1941, with approximately 700 being completed by the war's end



220-239 tons


47.04-49.84 metres


6.53-6.59 metres


4.7 metres


1.4 metres at full load


3 Deutz Diesel 390HP


10.5kts, empty


max. 1340nm at 7kts


85-140 tons


Folgore, Macchi C.202, single seat fighter

The Macchi C.202 Folgore "Thunderbolt" served as one of the top Italian-designed fighters of the Second World War. It was powered by a license-produced version of the German Daimler-Benz DB 601 series as used in the Me.109, with Alfa Romeo producing the engine locally. The result was one of the best Italian fighter designs of the war with the Folgore reportedly matching up well against the performances of Allied aircraft such as the Supermarine Spitfire Mark V. However the Folgore’s lack of heavy armament always remained a sticking point, delivering hardly enough "punch" to bring down enemy fighters let alone marauding Allied bombers.

  • Length:29 ft 0 in
  • Wingspan:34 ft 9 in
  • Max takeoff weight:6,460 lb
  • Maximum speed: 370 mph, at 18,400 ft
  • Range: 475 miles
  • Service ceiling: 37,700 ft
  • Rate of climb: 3,560 ft/min


  • 2 × 12.7 mm (0.500 in) Breda-SAFATmachine guns in the engine cowling, 360/400 rpg
  • 2 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the wings, 500 rpg
  • 2 × 350 lb bombs



7.81 tonnes 


19 ft


6 ft 10 in


5 ft 9 in


2 + 10 troops



6-14.5 mm (0.24-0.57 in)



one Maybach HL42 6-cylinder petrol engine
100 PS (99 hp)



300 km (186 miles)

Top Speed

52.5 km/h (32.5 mph)



HMS Forth

HMS FORTH (FL 10203) Secured to a buoy in Holy Loch. HMS SEA NYMPH (P.223) secured to port side. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

HMS Forth was a purpose-built submarine depot ship of the Maidstone Class and entered service with the Royal Navy in 1939. Forth served at Holy Loch on the Clyde (see picture) for most of the Second World War, before being deployed to Trincomalee, in the then Ceylon.

Displacement:9,043 tons
Length:497 ft (151 m)
Beam:73 ft (22 m)
Speed:17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Complement:1,167 men
Armament:• 8 × 4.5 in (110 mm) DP guns(4×2)
• 8 × 2-pounder AA guns (2×4)

Flower Class corvette

Flower Class corvettes were a British class of 267 corvettes used during World War Two as anti-submarine convoy escorts during the Battle of the Atlantic – so named because the Royal Navy named all ships of this class after flowers.

In early 1939, with the risk of war with Nazi Germany increasing, it was clear to the Royal Navy that it needed more escort ships to counter the threat from U-boats. What was needed was something larger and faster than trawlers, but still cheap enough to be built in large numbers, preferably at small merchant shipyards. To meet this requirement, the Smiths Dock Company of Middlesbrough, which designed and built fishing vessels, offered a development of its 700 ton, 16 knots whale catcher design. They were intended as small convoy escort ships that could be produced quickly and cheaply in large numbers. Despite naval planners' intentions that they be deployed for coastal convoys, their long range meant that they became the mainstay of Mid-Ocean convoy protection during the first half of the war.

The Flower-class became an essential resource for North Atlantic convoy protection until larger vessels such as destroyer escorts and frigates could be produced in sufficient quantities.


Displacement:925 tons
Length:205 ft
Beam:33 ft
Draught:11.5 ft
Propulsion:·       single shaft

·       1 × double acting triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine

Speed:16 knots
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 × SW1C or 2C radar

1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar

Armament:1 × 4 inch BL Mk.IX single gun
2 × Vickers .50 machine guns (twin)
2 × .303 inch Lewis machine gun (twin)
2 × Mk.II depth charge throwers
2 × depth charge rails with 40 depth charges

Force H

Force H was an ad hoc Royal Navy squadron, formed in 1940 to replace French naval power in the western Mediterranean in the wake of the French armistice with Nazi Germany. Based on Gibraltar, Force H was originally assembled from units of the Home Fleet under Vice-Adm Sir James Somerville who flew his flag in battlecruiser HMS Hood and commanded battleships HMS Resolution and HMS Valiant, the carrier HMS Ark Royal and a few cruisers and destroyers. From Gibraltar, Force H could cover the Western Mediterranean and the Atlantic, as happened in the May 1941 hunt for the Bismarck. The ships assigned to Force H changed frequently, with units transfering back to the Home Fleet and UK waters, or to the Mediterranean Fleet as required.  The photograph shows the battlecruiser HMS Renown, the carrier HMS Ark Royal and the cruiser HMS Sheffield in 1941.


HMS Glorious

HMS Glorious was a sister ship of HMS Courageous  and was also rebuilt as an aircraft carrier during the late 1920s. After recommissioning she spent most of her career operating in the Mediterranean. After the start of the war, Glorious spent the rest of 1939 unsuccessfully hunting for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the Indian Ocean before returning to the Mediterranean. She was recalled in April 1940 to support British operations in Norway.

Scharnhorst firing her forward guns against HMS Glorious, 8 Jun 1940

While evacuating British aircraft from Norway in June, the ship was sunk in controvertial circumstances by the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and  Gneisenau, with the loss of over 1,200 lives.

Gradisca de Isonzo (Abruzzi class light cruiser)

The fictitious Gradisca de Isonzo was an Italian Duca degli Abruzzi-class light cruiser, which entered service with the Regia Marina in 1937 and saw action throughout the Second World War. The class was larger and better protected than their predecessors, with the main armament increased by two extra 6 in guns, by using triple turrets to replaced twins in the "A" and "Y" positions. However changes to the main engines led to these ships having a slightly slower maximum speed than previous Italian light cruisers.

Displacement:·11,735 tons full load
Length:561–614 ft
Beam:62 ft
Draught:23 ft
Propulsion:·6 boilers

·2 shafts

·100,000 hp

Speed:34 knots
Range:4,125 nmi at 13 kts
Armament:·10 x 6 in guns

·8 x 4 in guns

·8 x 37mm

·12 x 20 mm

·6 x 533 mm torpedo tubes

·2 x anti-submarines mortars

Armour:·Outer Belt: 1.2 in

·Inner Belt: 3.9 in

·Main Deck: 1.6 in

·Turrets: 5.3 in


Graf von Zeithen - Hipper Class cruiser

Admiral Hipper-class was a group of five heavy cruisers built for the Kriegsmarine in the mid-1930s. Graf von Zeithen would have made six. However, no such ship was ever built. She is my creation, and appears for the sole purpose of delivering a victory to Sub Lt. Harry Gilmour and his crew. The ships planned for the class were Admiral HipperBlücherPrinz EugenSeydlitz, and Lützow. Only the first three ships were completed however, and saw action. Work on Seydlitz stopped when she was approximately 95 percent complete; it was decided to convert her into an aircraft carrier, but this was not completed either. Lützow was sold incomplete to the Soviet Union in 1940.

Displacement18,200 tons
Length676 feet
Beam70 feet
Draft25 feet
MachineryBlohm & Voss with 3 screws
Speed32 knots
Range8,000nm at 20 knots
Armament8x8in, 12x10.5cm, 6x4cm anti-aircraft, 8x3.7cm, 32x2cm machine guns, 12x53cm torpedoes
Armour12-50mm deck, 70-80mm belt, 50-150mm command tower, 70-105mm turrets



H Class destroyers – HMS Hester, and HMS Hecate

H-class destroyers formed part of a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Royal Navy (two later transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and one to the Polish Navy) launched between 1935–1939. They served throughout the war and sixteen were lost, with a seventeenth being written off as a constructive total loss. Other ships were built for the navies of Argentina, Brazil, and Greece.


Displacement:1,350 tons
Length:323 ft
Beam:33 ft
Draught:12 ft 5 in
Propulsion:2 shafts; Parsons geared steam turbines
Speed:36 knots
Range:5,530 nmi at 15 knots
Armament:4 × 1 - QF 4.7-inch Mk IX guns
2 × 4 - 0.5-inch  machine guns
2 × 4 - 21-inch torpedo tubes20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers

H Class submarine:

H-class submarines were constructed for the Royal Navy between 1915 and 1919. The boats were designed to attack German submarines operating in British waters. Despite their cramped size and lack of a deck gun, the class became enormously popular amongst submariners, and saw action in Home waters and the Mediterranean. Post-war many were retained for training purposes. However, by the time World War Two broke out they were hopelessly obsolete, but nevertheless were retained in training and coastal warfare roles to help the Royal Navy cope with heavy losses to the submarine fleet during the early stages of the war.




The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug251Hanomag half-track was a WW2 German armoured fighting vehicle designed by the  company, designed to transport the  German mechanized infantry into battle. It was the most widely produced German half-track of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants delivered.

Many variants mounted many weapons from anti-tank gun to the 20mm triple mount anti-aircraft weapon.


7.81 tonnes 


5.80 m (19 ft)


2.10 m (6 ft 10 in)


1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)


2 + 10 troops



6-14.5 mm (0.24-0.57 in)



one Maybach HL42 6-cylinder petrol engine
100 PS (99 hp)



300 km (186 miles)

Top Speed

52.5 km/h (32.5 mph)