HMS Ajax (22)

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Missing image
HMS_Ajax.jpg
Image:HMS_Ajax.jpg

Career RN Ensign
Ordered:
Laid down: 7 February 1933
Launched: 1 March 1934
Commissioned: 3 June 1935
Decommissioned: February 1948
Fate: Sold for scrap in 1949
Struck:
General characteristics
Displacement: 7,220 tons (9,140 full load)
Length: 554 ft 1 in (169 m)
Beam: 55 ft 6 in (16.9 m)
Draught: 19 ft 2 in (5.8 m)
Propulsion: 6 Admiralty 3-drum oil-fired boilers, 4 parsons geared turbines, 4 screws
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h) @ 72,000 shp (54 MW)
Range: 7,300 nautical miles (13,500 km) @ 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 570 officers and enlisted
Armament (1945): 8 x 6 in (152 mm), 8 x 4 in (102 mm), 16 x 40 mm, 8 x 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (quadruple mounts)
Armor: 4 in (102 mm) main belt, 2.5 in (64 mm) ends, 1.25 to 2 in (32 to 51 mm) deck, 1 in (25 mm) turrets
Radar: type 284/286 air search, type 273/271 surface search, type 285 6-inch (152 mm) fire control, type 282 40-mm fire control
Aircraft: 1 seaplane
Motto:

HMS Ajax was a Leander-class light cruiser. Built at Vickers shipyard, Barrow-in-Furness, England, she was laid down on 7 February 1933, launched on 1 March 1934, and completed on 12 April 1935.

Ajax served on the America and West Indies Station from completion, then joined the South American Division on the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. Operating off the River Plate, she intercepted the German merchantmen Carl Fritzen, Olinda, and Ussukuma. She was the flagship of Commodore Henry Harwood's Force G during the hunt for the Admiral Graf Spee. Ajax was hit seven times during the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939.

Under repair until July 1940, she then moved to the Mediterranean. On October 11/12 1940 she engaged Italian forces, sinking the torpedo boats Airone and Ariel, and badly damaging the destroyer Artigliere, which was later sunk. Ajax participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan and the evacuation from Crete, removing the last troops on 29 April 1941. She was hit by bombs from Ju87's on 21 May, covered Syrian operations in June, and joined Force K at Malta in November 1941, but was withdrawn in February 1942.

She was refitted in England from May to October 1942, then returned to the Mediterranean where she was again damaged by bombs. After repairs in New York between March and October 1943, Ajax returned to the Mediterranean. As part of Force K, she bombarded Gold Beach during the D-Day invasion, and later supported the landings in southern France. Ajax operated in the Aegean during the reoccupation of Athens and the communist uprising in Greece.

She was decommissioned in February 1948 and broken up in November 1949.

The Town of Ajax, in Ontario, Canada, was named after the cruiser following the Battle of the River Plate. The town has streets named after members of the ship's company. For example, Harwood Avenue is the town's main north-south street.


Leander-class cruiser
Royal Navy
Achilles | Ajax | Amphion | Apollo | Leander | Neptune | Orion | Phaeton
Royal Australian Navy
Hobart (ex-Apollo) | Perth (ex-Amphion) | Sydney (ex-Phaeton)
Royal New Zealand Navy
Achilles | Leander
Indian Navy
Delhi (ex-Achilles)


List of cruisers of the Royal Navy

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