Castle Class Corvette - Design

Design

The Admiralty had decided to cease Flower class construction in favour of the larger River-class frigates as the Flower class had originally been intended for coastal escort work and were not entirely satisfactory for Atlantic convoy service. In particular, they were slow, poorly armed, and rolled badly in rough seas which quickly exhausted their crews. However, many shipyards were not large enough to build frigates. The Castle class was designed to be built on small slipways for about half the overall effort of a Loch-class frigate. The Loch was a River built using the "American system" of prefabrication.

Appearance was much like the later "long forecastle" variant of the Flowers and they were a little larger (around 1,200 tons — about 200 tons more than the Flowers, and 40 ft (12 m) longer).

The most obvious difference was the lattice mainmast instead of the pole one fitted to the Flowers. There was also a more "square cut" look to the stern although it was still essentially a cruiser spoon type, this difference was only visible from abaft the beam.

Armament was similar except that the depth charge fitment had been replaced by one for the Squid anti-submarine mortar. HMS Hadleigh Castle received the first production Squid mounting.

Propulsion machinery was identical to the Flowers, and experienced officers felt that they were seriously under powered, having a tendency to turn into the wind despite everything the helmsman could do. The fact that Squid attacks required a fairly low speed (compared to depth charge attacks) only made matters worse.

Most had been scrapped by the end of the 1950s, but a few survived a little longer as weather ships. However, the last was the Uruguayan Montevideo, originally HMS Rising Castle and scrapped in 1975.

Most were operated by the Royal Navy, but twelve were assigned to the Royal Canadian Navy and one to the Royal Norwegian Navy. Three Castles were sunk through enemy action, and Castles participated in the sinking of seven U-boats.

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