HMS Neptune (20)

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Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom, svg
HMS Neptune (AWM 302461) .jpg
Construction and service time
Shipyard Vickers Armstrongs Ltd ,
Keel laying September 24, 1931
Launch January 31, 1933
Commissioning February 12, 1934
Whereabouts Sunk December 19, 1941 by mines off Tripoli
Technical specifications
Displacement Standard 7,270 ts
maximum 9,740 ts
length over everything: 169 m
width 17 m
Draft 5.8 m
Armament (original)
  • 8 × 15.2 cm guns
  • 4 × 10.2 cm anti-aircraft guns
  • 10 × 12.7 mm machine guns
  • 8 × torpedo tubes Ø 53.3 cm
Propulsion system
  • Steam turbines (Parson type)
  • 6 Admiralty steam boilers (3-drum type)
  • 74,000 HP on 4 screws
speed 32.5 kn
Driving range 5730 nm at 13 kn
crew 550 men (peace), 680 men (war)

The HMS Neptune was a British light cruiser of the Leander class in World War II . The crew consisted of New Zealanders .

Before the war

The keel was laid on September 24, 1931. The launch was on January 31, 1933 and the commissioning on February 12, 1934.

Second World War

On September 5, 1939, the HMS Neptune brought up the German freighter Inn off the Canary Islands , took the crew on board and sank it.

In December 1939, the light cruiser was patrolling the South Atlantic in search of the German ironclad Admiral Graf Spee . After the sea ​​battle in front of the Río de la Plata he was sent to Uruguay, but was still on the march when the Admiral Graf Spee was sunk by her own crew .

The Neptune took part in the naval battle at Punta Stilo on July 9, 1940 , during which she was hit by the Italian light cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi . The aircraft on board was irreparably damaged and the wreckage was thrown into the sea.

The light cruiser later led the Force K , a flotilla of cruisers intended to intercept German and Italian supply convoys for the Afrika Korps en route to Libya. On December 18, 1941, Force K was assigned to a convoy destined for Tripoli . The Neptune as the lead ship ran on the night of December 19 to 20 on two mines of a newly laid Italian minefield.

The other two cruisers, the HMS Aurora and the HMS Penelope , also ran into mines. When the Neptune wanted to free itself backwards from the minefield, it ran into a third mine, the explosion of which tore off the propellers and made the ship immobile.

The Aurora had to return to Malta due to the damage. While trying to save the Neptune , the destroyer Kandahar was damaged by a mine and began to sink. The Neptune eventually drifted onto a fourth mine and capsized. Of the 767 men of the crew, around 30 were able to save themselves on a raft, but only one was still alive when he was found five days later by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa .


  1. cf. Article Arnold Schultze


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