HMS Hunter, Sunk During First Battle of Narvik 10 April 1940, Found in One Thousand Feet of Water – Part 13

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Kriegsmarine Zerstörer Z-2 Georg Thiele. Her pennant number was 13, while the Z-2 means she was the second destroyer of the new series of German Zerstörers built. It’s confusing.

Judging from her bow wave and prop wash the ship looks to be proceeding about twenty knots. Her design speed was thirty-six knots but in an emergency I’m sure they could make thirty-eight or a bit more depending on various factors such as the last time the ship was dry-docked and the bottom of the hull scraped. Marine growth on the hull could reduce the speed of a warship in the World War Two era by two or four knots or more and increase fuel consumption.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 19, 2009) The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is in dry dock at Fleet Activities Yokosuka during a scheduled dry-dock selective restricted availability. John S. McCain is one of seven ships assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and is permanently forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bryan Reckard/Released) John McCain was a highly successful US Navy carrier task force commander in World War Two. He was the father of US Senator John McCain. I am not related to them. Curiously, his widow and the mother of US Senator McCain, lives a block from me because we vote in the same precinct.

Obviously, dry-docks in World War Two were used extensively for the repair of enemy damage done to warships and merchant ships. Ships which were hit by torpedoes but did not sink had pretty big holes in them and had to be dry-docked to be repair. Additionally, a torpedo would often blow the bow section off a ship forward of the collision bulkhead and while the ship looked like it had been cut by a knife 1/3 the way from the bow, the ship would often be towed to a dry dock and a new bow section constructed. While this was time consuming, it did not take nearly as long as building a ship.

[Source: Narvik: Battles in the Fjords by Peter Dickens. Images courtesy of NRK and the US Navy Website.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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