HMS Enterprise (D52)

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HMS Enterprise
The Enterprise in late 1943. The 152 mm twin turret on the forecastle is clearly visible.
The Enterprise in late 1943. The 152 mm twin turret on the forecastle is clearly visible .
Ship data
flag United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag) United Kingdom
Ship type Light cruiser
class Emerald class
Shipyard John Brown & Company , Clydebank , United Kingdom
Build number 484
Order March 7, 1918
Keel laying June 28, 1918
Launch December 23, 1919
Commissioning April 7, 1926
Decommissioning January 13, 1946
Whereabouts Sold April 11, 1946; scrapped in Newport from the end of April 1946 .
Ship dimensions and crew
173.74 m ( Lüa )
163.44 m ( Lpp )
width 16.67 m
Draft Max. 5.65 m
displacement Construction: 7,580 ts
maximum: 10,060 ts
crew 450 men (1926)
572 men (1943)
Machine system
machine 8 Yarrow boilers
4 Brown Curtis - geared turbines
4 waves
80,000 PS (58,840 kW)
31.86 kn (59 km / h)
propeller 4th



  • 7 × Sk 152 mm L / 45 Mark XII (1 × 2, 5 × 1)
  • 3 × Sk 102 mm L / 45 Mark V (3 × 1)
  • 8 × Flak 40 mm (2 × 4)
  • 12 × flak 20 mm (6 × 2)
  • 8 × torpedo tubes ∅ 533 mm (2 × 4)
  • Side armor: 38 to 76 mm
  • Armored deck: 13 to 25 mm
  • Gun shields (15.2 cm cannons): 25 mm
  • Transverse bulkheads: 25 mm
  • Navigating bridge: 76 mm
  • Air warning radar type 281
  • Type 284 fire control radar (sea targets)
  • Fire control radar type 285 (air targets)
Aircraft catapults 1
Aircraft 1 to 2

HMS Enterprise (ID: D52) was a light cruiser of the British Navy , which had been commissioned in the final phase of the First World War , but was finally commissioned late in the 1920s and was used in World War II . After the war ended in 1945, the ship was soon decommissioned and scrapped.


The Enterprise , the second and last ship of the Emerald class (had originally three cruisers of this type to be built, the construction contract for the third unit was canceled, however, when the war ended in 1918), was on 28 June 1918 at the shipyard of John Brown & Company in Scotland Clydebank laid down on and ran on 23 December 1919 by the stack. After the end of the war in 1918, the British government not only completely canceled numerous wartime construction projects, but also significantly reduced the allocation of materials to the shipyards, mainly due to the financial burdens of the war. The company John Brown & Company also suffered severely from this drop in orders and narrowly escaped bankruptcy . As a result, it was temporarily uncertain whether the Enterprise could be completed and the hull, which had been left by the stack, remained in Clydebank until the end of 1922 and without further construction progress. It was not until 1923 that the British Admiralty decided to complete the cruiser and had the ship towed to the Devonport naval base , where the final equipment took place. The commissioning of the Enterprise , the tenth ship in the history of the Royal Navy to bear this name , did not finally take place until April 7, 1926.

Technical details, modifications and special features

The Enterprise was a maximum of 173.74 m long and 16.67 m wide. At maximum displacement, the draft was 5.65 m (this value is also used in the adjacent information block; the average draft was only 5.03 m). Eight oil-fired Yarrow boiler and four Brown-Curtis - geared turbines , which were headed four waves have, with a maximum capacity of 80,000 WPS, the cruiser a top speed of around 33  knots (about 61 km / h) permit should. In later use, the Emerald- class cruisers only reached 32 knots, but surpassed the German small cruisers of the Cöln- class , as their counterpart, among other things, by around 3 to 4 knots. The Enterprise's maximum oil supply was 1,600 ts, giving the cruiser a range of up to 8,000 nautical miles (at 15 kn cruising speed). At top speed (just under 32 knots) the range was around 1350 nautical miles.

A special feature of the Enterprise was the deployment of the main artillery. Originally, the cruiser, like its sister ship , should have received seven 152 mm L / 45 Mark XII guns in a stand-alone configuration (two guns each in the midship line and in an elevated position in front of and aft of the main superstructure, one gun amidships in front of the main mast and two each on both sides of the superstructure at the level of the middle chimney). The Enterprise , however, received the prototype of a twin tower Mark XVII (with two 152 mm Mark XII guns) on the forecastle instead of the two front individual guns . This change had been ordered by the Admiralty during the time the ship was at HMNB Devonport (from 1923) in order to test this new type of tower. The new tower construction proved itself well and later towers of this type (under the classification Mark XXIII) were used on the light cruisers of the Arethusa class and the Leander class . Overall, the Enterprise thus led seven 152-mm guns (in a twin turret and five single mounts). These cannons were able to fire a 45.3 kilogram grenade up to 21,700 meters, with the rate of fire at about five to seven rounds per minute.

The medium and light armament of the Enterprise consisted of three individually mounted 102-mm multi-purpose guns Mark V and initially four outdated 47-mm Vickers cannons and two 40-mm anti-aircraft guns. While the 102 mm guns remained unchanged on board until they were decommissioned, the light armament underwent numerous changes. The older 47-mm cannons and the two 40-mm anti-aircraft guns were dismantled when war broke out in 1939 and were replaced by eight 40-mm cannons in two Mark VIII quadruple mounts by 1943 . In addition, by 1943 twelve 20 mm anti-aircraft guns were installed in six electrically powered double mounts; At times, between October 1942 and October 1943, there were four individually mounted and hand-operated 20-mm Oerlikon cannons on board.

The Enterprise's torpedo armament has also been modified several times. After commissioning in 1926, this initially consisted of twelve torpedo tubes in four triple tube sets (for 533 mm torpedoes of the Mark V type), these were replaced in 1929 by four sets of four tubes (for 533 mm torpedoes of the Mark IX type introduced from 1928), with which the ship temporarily carried 16 torpedo tubes - it was the most powerful torpedo armament on board a British cruiser in the 1930s. In the winter of 1942/43, mainly as part of the strengthening of the anti-aircraft capacity, two of these quadruple sets were expanded again, so that at the end of the war there were only eight 533 mm torpedo tubes on board (in two quadruple sets).

When it was commissioned, the Enterprise also had a rotating steam catapult behind the aft chimney for launching reconnaissance aircraft. Usually there were one or two machines of the types Fairey Flycatcher (from 1926) or Hawker Osprey (from the mid-1930s) on the cruiser. The aircraft equipment was removed and taken ashore in February 1944.

The Enterprise in the port of Haifa (May 1936). Note the forward turret and the aircraft catapult aft.

period of service

Pre-war period

After the completion of the test drives, the Enterprise was transferred to the 4th Cruiser Squadron and served as a guard and colonial ship in the Indian Ocean on the so-called East India Station of the Royal Navy until 1934 . During this time, the cruiser stationed in Trincomalee visited the ports of Bombay , Aden , Singapore and Basra, among others . At the end of 1934 the ship was temporarily ordered back to the United Kingdom, where it underwent a major overhaul at the Devonport naval base . Subsequently, in the spring of 1936 , the Enterprise relocated again via Malta , Suez and Aden to Trincomalee, with the port of Haifa in the British mandate of Palestine being called in the meantime in May 1936 . In early 1938, after a short stay in East Asian waters in 1937/38 , the cruiser was detached again to the United Kingdom for the purpose of transferring personnel for British ships at China Station . There the ship was temporarily decommissioned on September 30, 1938 in Weymouth and assigned to the reserve fleet .

Second World War

After the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the Enterprise was put back into service and operated together with the sister ship Emerald in the Western Approaches and on the British convoy routes in the North Atlantic as a patrol and security ship until March 1940 . On February 27, 1940, the cruiser sighted the German freighter Consul Horn (8384 GRT), camouflaged as the Soviet steamer Molodez, southwest of Iceland in stormy weather , which had left Aruba in January 1940 and intended to break through the Allied blockade line. The crew of the Enterprise was evidently deceived by the camouflage of the German ship and the Consul Horn later safely reached German waters.

Fighting for Norway in 1940 and Operation Catapult

From April 14, 1940, the Enterprise took part in the fighting for Norway as part of and in association with the Home Fleet and fired at German positions near Narvik , among other things . During the approach, the cruiser had only just escaped a torpedo attack by the German U- 65 on April 19, southwest of the Lofoten , as both torpedoes fired by the submarine detonated prematurely due to defects in the magneto (see torpedo crisis ). . After further bombardment missions, in mid-May in the Ofotfjord to support contingents of the French Foreign Legion landed there , the Enterprise was withdrawn from the fighting off Norway at the end of May 1940 and ordered back to the Devonport naval base for an overhaul. On the way back, the cruiser took part of the Norwegian gold reserves in Tromsø  - a total of around 50 tons of gold , of which around 20 tons were transported by the Enterprise - and brought it safely to Greenock .

In the summer of 1940 and after the overhaul was over, the Enterprise was detached to the newly established Force H , which was stationed in Gibraltar and took part in Operation Catapult on July 3, 1940 , the British attack on the parts of the Mers-el-Kébir located in Mers-el-Kébir French Mediterranean Fleet , part. After this company returned to Gibraltar, the ship operated in the Atlantic until the end of 1940 and in December 1940 participated in the (albeit unsuccessful) search for German trade disruptors temporarily deployed in the South Atlantic, including the auxiliary cruiser Thor and the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer .

Indian Ocean 1941/42

Relocated to the East India Station at the beginning of 1941 , the Enterprise spent almost the entire year 1941 in the Indian Ocean , with the cruiser mostly shuttling as a backup ship of so-called WS troop transports between Australia , Bombay , Aden , Singapore and the Persian Gulf . Among other things, the cruiser participated, again together with the sister ship Emerald as well as the New Zealand light cruiser Leander and the aircraft carrier Hermes , also in April 1941 in the fighting in what was then the British mandate of Iraq to suppress an axis-friendly coup under Raschid Ali al-Gailani . Underwent a shipyard overhaul in Colombo at the end of 1941 , the Enterprise was surprised there by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the outbreak of the Pacific War .

At the beginning of 1942 still temporarily used in the Indian Ocean as a security ship for troop transports - among other things, the Enterprise rescued on 5/6. April 1942 over 1000 survivors of the two British heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall , which had been sunk by Japanese carrier aircraft southwest of Ceylon - the ship was relocated back to the United Kingdom via Mombasa and Freetown at the end of 1942 and there between John Brown & Company in Clydebank Docked December 1942 and November 1943. During this time, the cruiser not only underwent a major overhaul, but was also equipped with additional anti-aircraft guns and several radars (including a Type 284 anti -ship radar and a Type 285 radar for the management of the heavy 102 mm anti-aircraft guns) .

The Enterprise (right) and the British light cruiser Glasgow in the port of Singapore (1942).

Battle of the Bay of Biscay in 1943

Returned to service at the end of November 1943, the Enterprise was deployed on December 12th and together with the light cruisers Gambia and Glasgow in British search operations against German blockade breakers in the eastern North Atlantic and in the Bay of Biscay ( Operation Stonewall ). The British efforts aimed primarily at the two German freighters Osorno and Alsterufer coming from Kobe and loaded with rubber and tin . While the former was able to reach the Gironde estuary on December 25, the Alsterufer (2,729 GRT) , which was approaching with a delay , was sunk by Allied aircraft on December 27 in the afternoon northwest of Cape Finisterre .

The German security forces that originally left to bring this ship in - five destroyers of the 8th destroyer flotilla and six torpedo boats of the 4th T-boat flotilla - were informed too late about the loss of the freighter (the German naval group command West learned of the sinking itself due to communication problems only on the morning of December 28th), which is why the German ships - which had already been captured by the Allied air surveillance - suddenly encountered the Enterprise and the Glasgow , which had meanwhile been called up, in the midday of December 28th and in stormy weather . Although the two German flotillas were numerically and nominally superior in terms of artillery, the German ships could not bring these factors and their normally higher speed in a storm to bear. In a battle lasting two and a half hours, the two British cruisers succeeded in sinking the destroyer Z 27 and the two torpedo boats T 25 and T 26 . The Enterprise brought here around 16:00 pm, the maneuver shot by artillery fire torpedo boat T 26 with a torpedo to sink. A total of around 400 German seamen were killed in the battle; the two British ships suffered no losses.

Final phase of the Second World War

After another overhaul, the Enterprise was included in the planning for the Allied landing in Normandy from April 1944 and was used as a fire support ship on the day of the invasion, June 6, 1944, off the Utah Beach landing section . At the end of June, the Enterprise also took part in the fighting down of the strong German coastal batteries in the Cherbourg area and fired at enemy positions near Querqueville . The cruiser suffered some minor fragmentation damage from close hits by coastal guns. In July, further bombardment missions followed against the surroundings and the center of the hard-fought city of Caen . In total, the Enterprise fired around 9,000 152 mm shells during operations off the Normandy coast up to the end of July 1944.

Withdrawn from the Normandy coast in September, the cruiser was completely removed from the fighting in October after a short stay off the Dutch coast in the context of the beginning battle of the Scheldt estuary and was initially transferred to the reserve in Rosyth in December 1944 .


In the spring of 1945 the Enterprise was once again temporarily put into service - although part of the main artillery and anti-aircraft cannons had already been dismantled - and between June and December 1945 made a total of four trips to Bombay , Cape Town and Colombo to bring British troops in bring back home. On January 13, 1946, the ship was finally decommissioned in Portsmouth . After the cruiser was sold to the British Iron and Steel Corporation (BISCO) on April 11, 1946, it was scrapped in Newport at the end of April 1946 .

Individual evidence



  • Norman Friedman: British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley 2010.
  • Mike J. Whitley: Cruiser in World War II. Classes, types, construction dates. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1997.

Web links