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.
THE SHIPS, AIRCRAFT and EQUIPMENT
The I-16 was one of the first “Cruiser”classes of submarine built for the Imperial Japanese Navy and served throughout the Second World War.
They were among the largest submarines ever built up to that date, and were known as the most advanced submarines of the period. Later versions were built to act as cargo submarines and one of them, I-52, was selected for a mission to Germany. She was sunk on 24 June 1944 by aircraft from USS Bogue 800 miles southwest of the Azores. Her cargo consisted of rubber, gold, quinine, and Japanese engineers travelling to Germany.
2,184 long tons
3,561 long tons
358 ft 7 in
29 ft 10 in
17 ft 6 in
25 ft 7 in
Power plant and shaft
2 × diesels
14,000 nmi at 16 knots
60 nmi (at 3 knots
2 × 25mm AA guns
The Aichi E13A – allied code-name “Jake” – was the principal reconnaissance seaplane used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War. It mainly operated from catapults on major warships or from seaplane tenders.
J & K class destroyer
The J, K and N class was a class of 24 destroyers of the Royal Navy launched in 1938. They were a return to a smaller vessel, with a heavier torpedo armament, after the Tribal class that emphasized guns over torpedoes. The ships were built in three flotillas or groups, each consisting of eight ships.
The J & K classes were heavily involved in action in the Mediterranean (where most of the losses occurred), although they also served against the Japanese later in the war. Only two of the J class survived the war, with much of the losses occurring before the end of 1942. Despite the heavy losses of J & K class it was generally accepted that the design was sound, and formed the basis for the ‘emergency’ designs that followed. A total of 124 ships entered service as variations on the J & K class design.
|Displacement:||·1,690 long tons (1,720 t) (standard)|
·2,330 long tons (2,370 t) (deep load)
|Length:||356 ft 6 in (108.7 m) o/a|
|Beam:||35 ft 9 in (10.9 m)|
|Draught:||12 ft 6 in (3.8 m) (deep)|
|Installed power:||·44,000 shp (33,000 kW)|
|Propulsion:||2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Range:||5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
|Complement:||183 (218 for flotilla leaders)|
|Armament:||·3 × 2 - QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mk XII guns|
·20 × Depth charges, 1 × rack, 2 × throwers
|Displacement:||·1,773 long tons (1,801 t) (standard)|
·2,384 long tons (2,422 t) (deep load)
|Armament:||·1 × 1 - QF 4-inch Mark V (102 mm) AA gun|
·4 × 1 - 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns
·1 × 5 – 21inch torpedo tubes
·45 × Depth charges, 1 rack, 2 × throwers
The Junkers Ju 52 was a German trimotor transport aircraft, manufactured from 1931 to 1952. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. It had a crew of three (two pilots, radio operator)
Junkers JU 88:
The Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and effective combat aircraft of World War II. It originated in response to a 1935 the Luftwaffe had a requirement for a so-called Schnellbomber, which should have a speed of 500km/h with 800kg of bombs. The Ju 88 was certainly an excellent aircraft. It was easy to fly, gentle, responsive, and manoeuverable, without vices. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber night fighter, reconnaissance aircraft and heavy fighter.
It became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945, and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period.
Kagero class destroyer
The Kagero was a class of nineteen Fleet destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the 1930s, At the time of introduction, they had a heavier main battery and much heavier torpedo armament than other contemporary foreign destroyer designs. As a result the Kageros were among the deadliest destroyers afloat, primarily due to the excellent range and lethality of the IJN’s 24-inch, "Long Lance" torpedoes. They saw action throughout the Second World War, in the course of which, all but one of the nineteen were lost.
·388 ft 9 in,
35 ft 5 in
12 ft 4 in
·2 × shafts, 52,000 shp
·6 × Type 3, 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns (3×2)
·8 × Type 92 torpedo tubes (2×4)
·16 × 610 mm (24 in) Type 93 torpedoes
·18 × Type 95 depth charges
King George V class battleship:
King George V-class battleships were the most modern British battleships used during the Second World War. Five ships of this class were commissioned: HMS King George V (1940), HMS Prince of Wales (1941), HMS Duke of York (1941), HMS Howe (1942) and HMS Anson (1942).
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the Navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the First World War and the inter-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmament in the 1930s (the Treaty of Versailles had limited the size of the German navy previously). In January 1939 Plan Z was ordered, calling for the construction of a surface fleet capable of engaging the Royal Navy on an equal footing, however German industry would prove incapable of producing the necessary tonnage of steel.
Leberecht Maass class destroyers:
Z1 Leberecht Maass was the first destroyer class to be built for the Kriegsmarine post First World War. The ship was named after Rear Admiral Leberecht Maass who commanded German forces in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in August 1914. In all 15 ships were completed.
Leberecht Maass had an overall length of 119 meters (390 ft) and was 114 meters (374 ft) long at the waterline. The ship had a beam of 11.3 meters (37 ft), and a maximum draft of 4.23 meters (14 ft). She displaced 2,223 long tons. Her Wagner geared steam turbines were designed to produce 70,000 shaft horsepower which would propel the ship at 36 knots (41 mph). Leberecht Maass carried a maximum of 752 metric tons (740 long tons) of fuel oil which was intended to give a range of 8,100 km; 5,100 miles at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph), but the ship proved top-heavy in service and 30% of the fuel had to be retained as ballast. The effective range proved to be only 2,830 km; 1,760 mi at 19 knots.
The ship carried five 12.7 cm SK C/34 guns in single mounts with gun shields, two each superimposed, fore and aft. The fifth gun was carried on top of the rear deckhouse. Her anti-aircraft armament consisted of four 3.7 cm SK C/30 guns in two twin mounts abreast the rear funnel and six 2 cm C/30 guns in single mounts. The ship carried eight above-water 53.3-centimeter (21.0 in) torpedo tubes in two power-operated mounts. Four depth charge throwers were mounted on the sides of the rear deckhouse and they were supplemented by six racks for individual depth charges on the sides of the stern. Enough depth charges were carried for either two or four patterns of 16 charges each. Mine rails could be fitted on the rear deck that had a maximum capacity of 60 mines. A system of passive hydrophones designated as 'GHG' (Gruppenhorchgerät) was fitted to detect submarines. The crew numbered 10 officers and 315 enlisted men.
Lee Enfield .303 rifle:
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957.
A redesign of the Lee-Metford (adopted by the British Army in 1888), the Lee-Enfield superseded the earlier Martini-Henry rifles. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British cartridge manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers. The fast-operating Lee bolt-action and 10-round magazine capacity enabled a well-trained rifleman to perform the "mad minute", firing 20 to 30 aimed rounds in 60 seconds, making the Lee-Enfield the fastest military bolt-action rifle of the day.
The Lewis gun is a First World War-era light machine gun of American design that was perfected and widely used by the British Empire. It was first used in combat in World War I, and continued in service with a number of armed forces through to the end of the Korean War. It is visually distinctive because of a wide tubular cooling shroud around the barrel and a top-mounted drum-pan magazine.
|Weight||28 pounds (13 kg)|
|Length||50.5 inches (1,280 mm)|
|Barrel length||26.5 inches (670 mm)|
|Width||4.5 inches (110 mm)|
|Rate of fire||500–600 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||2,440 feet per second|
|Effective firing range||880 yards|
|Maximum firing range||3,500 yards|
|Feed system||47 or 97 round Pan magazine|
30 round detatchable Bren magazines
The MG 42, or Maschinengewehr 42, was a 7.92mm Mauser general-purpose machine gun designed in Nazi Germany. It was intended to replace the earlier MG 34, but both weapons were produced until the end of the war.
Designed to be low-cost and easy to build, the MG 42 proved to be highly reliable and easy to operate. It is most notable for its very high cyclic rate for a gun using full power service cartridges, averaging about 1,200 rounds per minute compared to around 850 for the MG 34, and perhaps 450 to 600 for other common machine guns like the Browning or Bren. This ability made it extremely effective in providing suppressive fire.
11.6 kg (25.57 lb)
1,220 mm (48 in)
530 mm (20.9 in)
740 m/s (2,428 ft/s)
Effective firing range
200–2,000 m (219–2,187 yd) sight adjustments
Maximum firing range
4,700 m (5,140 yd)
Möwe class torpedo Boats
Known in the Kriegsmarine as the Type 23 torpedo boat, it was a class of torpedo boat built for the German Navy following the First World War. Six vessels were built in total, and were named for birds of prey. They were also referred to as the Raubvogel class and came into service in 1926 and 1927.
All six vessels were built at Reichsmarinewerft ("Navy Yard"), Wilhelmshaven. They were the first to use electrical welding for hull construction to reduce displacement and they also introduced geared turbines. During the Second World War these ships were referred to as the Möwe class by the Royal Navy.
The Raubvogels were successful sea-boats, although limited to coastal waters. However, their dependency on torpedoes as a main armament meant their anti-aircraft weaponry was wholly deficient, and had to be upgraded, and their deck guns were inadequate when it came to defending themselves from surface attack. All were lost during the war.
Mutsuki class destroyer
Mutsuki-class ships formed the backbone of Japanese destroyer formations throughout the twenties and thirties, and were retained as first line destroyers due to their range and their powerful torpedo armament. All saw combat during the Second World War, but none survived it.
·2 × geared turbines
3,600 nautical miles 14 knots
· 2 × 4.7 inch guns
·16 × 25 mm AA Guns,
·1 × triple Type 12 torpedo tubes
·36 × depth charges
HMS Nelson along with her sistership HMS Rodney were built between the two World Wars. They were a result of the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the world's first modern disarmament agreement, which limited fleet size as well as restricted future battleships to 35,000 tons and 16" guns. In an effort to create a new battleship that met the required criteria, British planners settled on a radical design which placed all of the ship's main guns forward of the superstructure. Mounting three triple turrets, the new design saw A and X turrets mounted on the main deck, while B turret was in a raised position between them. The secondary guns were clustered aft.
This approach aided in reducing displacement as it limited the area of the ship requiring heavy armour. This "all or nothing" approach to armour was used with areas either being heavily protected or not protected at all. Those protected sections of the ship utilised an internal, inclined armour belt to increase the relative width of the belt to a striking projectile. Mounted aft, the ship's tall superstructure was triangular in plan and largely built of lightweight materials.
9 × BL 16-in. Mk I guns (3 × 3)
12 × BL 6 in. Mk XXII guns (6 × 2)
6 × QF 4.7 in. anti-aircraft guns (6 × 1)
48 × QF 2-pdr AA (6 octuple mounts)
16 × 40 mm anti-aircraft guns (4 × 4)
61 × 20 mm anti-aircraft guns
The loss of HMS Neptune features in Turn Left for Gibraltar. She was a Leander-class light cruiser which served with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, operating with a predominantly New Zealand crew. She was the fourth ship of its class and was the ninth Royal Navy vessel to carry the name, and
She was lost on the night of 19–20 December when she struck two mines. Damaged but going astern to escape the minefield, Neptune struck two more mines and quickly capsized, killing all of her crew bar one.
|Displacement:||9,740 tons full load|
|Propulsion:||6 x Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers, Parsons single-reduction geared steam turbines, 72,000 shp on 4 shafts|
|Range:||5,730 nmi at 13 knots|
|Armament:||·8 × BL 6 in Mk.XXIII guns, twin turrets|
·4 × QF 4 in Mk.V guns, single mounts
·12 × QF 0.5 in Mk.III Vickers machine guns, quad mounts
·8 (2×4) tubes for 21-inch torpedo
|Armour:||·3 in magazine box|
·1 in main deck
·1 in turrets
|Aircraft:||1 × Walrus|
HMS N’galawa - N and U Class submarines
No such class as ‘N-Class’ submarines ever equipped the Royal Navy. I have invented this type of boat as a variant of the U-Class submarine, which were a class of 49 small submarines built just before and during World War Two
These small submarines, of around 630 tons, were originally intended as unarmed training vessels to replace the ageing H class. They proved to be useful warships in the confined waters of the North Sea and particularly in the Mediterranean. A further 34 vessels, forming the third group, were ordered in 1940 and 1941. They were similar to the second group, but were lengthened by 5 feet to provide a more streamlined shape. All but two of the 49 boats built were constructed by Vickers-Armstrong. The submarines were powered by Paxman diesels generating 615 bhp and electric motors that could put out 825 shp giving a surface speed of 11.25 knots and a submerged speed of 10 knots.
|Displacement:||540 tons standard, 630 tons full load surfaced|
730 tons submerged
|Draught:||15 ft 2 in|
|Propulsion:||2 shaft diesel-electric|
2 Paxman Ricardo diesel generators + electric motors
615 hp, 825 hp
|Speed:||11.25 knots surfaced|
9 knots submerged
|Range:||4,500 nmi at 11 kts surfaced|
|Complement:||27 to 31|
|Armament:||6 × 21 in torpedo tubes - 4 bow internal, 2 bow external (first group only)- 8 - 10 torpedoes|
1 × 3 in gun