The Abdiel class' were a class of six fast minelayers commissioned into the Royal Navy and active during the Second World War. They were also known as the
and as "mine-laying cruisers".
The Royal Navy ordered the first four ships in 1938, with a further two acquired as part of the War Emergency Programme
. They were specifically designed for the rapid laying of minefields
in enemy waters, close to harbours or sea lanes. As such they were required to be very fast and to possess sufficient anti-aircraft weaponry to defend themselves if discovered by enemy aircraft.
A large mineload of up to 150 mines was required to be carried under cover, therefore a long, flushdecked hull with high freeboard was required. The mines were laid through doors in her stern and she carried her own cranes for loading.In size they were almost as long as a cruiser
, but laid out much like a large destroyer
. However, the three straight funnels were an instant identifying feature. Top speed was specified as . To achieve this they were given a full cruiser set of machinery and with an installed output of on four shafts they made light and deep load. To put this into perspective, the contemporary "Town" class cruiser
had and a full load displacement of 12,980 tons, just short of four times that of the Abdiels
The ships were initially to be armed much as destroyers, with three twin CP Mark XIX mounts for the QF Mark XII gun (which had a maximum elevation of... Read More