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Originally a US destroyer, HMS Campbeltown was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases agreement after the outset of World War Two. She was arguably the most famous of these ships due to her role in Operation Chariot in 1942. Though she saw a brief...
Originally a US destroyer, HMS Campbeltown was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases agreement after the outset of World War Two. She was arguably the most famous of these ships due to her role in Operation Chariot in 1942.
Though she saw a brief service with the Royal Netherlands Navy, her most famed action was that against the dry dock of St Nazaire. This facility was the World’s largest dry-dock, and provided a site of vital strategic interest to both Allies and Axis, offering a gateway to the Atlantic and large enough to house the mighty Tirpitz and Bismarck. Should they have been unleashed upon Atlantic convoy shipping, the war effort will have suffered incredibly.
With the dock well into an estuary and capital ship involvement an impossibility, a daring plan was concocted. HMS Campbeltown would be disguised as a German ship and, along with a flotilla, would be laden with explosives and used as a ram against the dock gates. Simultaneously, the flotilla would disgorge their loads of British Commandos to sow chaos amongst the Kriegsmarine defenders. The vessels and their payloads of munitions and men were seen as expendable, such was the critical nature of this mission.
Though both Allied and Axis losses were heavy the mission was a complete success – with the dry-dock knocked out of action for the duration of the war, and the threat of the Tirpitz sailing the Atlantic never materializing.
You can now add this legendary vessel to your Cruel Seas collection. Within the pages of Close Quarters! the latest supplement for Cruel Seas, you’ll find rules and a scenario for re-enacting the daring St Nazaire raid on the tabletop.