A depot ship is an auxiliary ship used as a mobile or fixed base for submarines, destroyers, minesweepers, fast attack craft, landing craft, or other small ships with similarly limited space for maintenance equipment and crew dining, berthing and relaxation. Depot ships may be identified as tenders in American English. Depot ships may be specifically designed for their purpose or be converted from another purpose.
Depot ships provide services unavailable from local naval base shore facilities. Industrialized countries may build naval bases with extensive workshops, warehouses, barracks, and medical and recreation facilities. Depot ships operating within such bases may provide little more than command staff offices,while depot ships operating at remote bases may perform unusually diverse support functions. Some United States Navy submarine depot ships operating in the Pacific during World War II included sailors with Construction Battalion ratings to clear recreational sites and assemble buildings ashore, while the Royal Navy mobile naval bases included specialized amenities ships to meet recreational needs of British Pacific Fleet personnel.
Services provided by a depot ship depend upon whether typical client warship missions are measured in hours, or days, or weeks. A warship crew may be expected to remain at their stations for missions measured in hours, but longer missions may require provisions for dining, sleeping, and personal hygiene. The crew of small warships may carry individual combat rations and urinate or defecate from the weather deck. Longer missions typically require storage provisions for drinking water and preserved food, and some resting area for the crew, although rest may be limited to a sheltered spot to sit or recline. Cooking may be limited to warming food on an exhaust vent, and buckets may be used for bathing, laundry, and sanitary waste. Habitability standards vary among navies, but client warships large enough to include a head, bunks, a shower, a kitchen stove, refrigerated food storage, a drinking water distillation unit, and a laundry require little more than medical and repair service from a depot ship. Depot ships are similar to repair ships, but provide a wider range of services to a smaller portion of the fleet. Depot ships undertake repair work for a flotilla of small warships, while repair ships offer more comprehensive repair capability for a larger variety of fleet warships. Depot ships also provide personnel and resupply services for their flotilla. Some depot ships may transport their short-range landing or attack craft from home ports to launch near the scene of battle.The following summary of World War II depot ships indicates the range of locations and warships served:
HMS St. Columba was the depot ship for the boom defence vessels at Greenock. The survey ship HMS Endeavour (J61) served as a depot ship for boom defence in Singapore and the Mediterranean Sea.
Requisitioned merchant ships HMS Aberdonian (F74) and Vienna (F138) and the French Belfort (U63) were used as depot ships for Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy. Aberdonian started at Fort William, Scotland, but spent most of the war at Dartmouth, Devon, while Vienna was in the Mediterranean. The Loch-class frigates Loch Assynt (K438) and Loch Torridon (K654) became coastal forces depot ships HMS Derby Haven and Woodbridge Haven, respectively.
HMS Sandhurst (F92) was a converted merchant ship used as a depot ship for coastal convoy escorts at Dover, Derry and Greenock.
The first landing craft carrier was completed by Japan in 1935.The United States Navy began launching dock landing ships in 1943. The 8,580-ton Beachy Head-class ships HMS Buchan Ness, Dodman Point, Dungeness, Fife Ness, Girdle Ness and Spurn Point were used as depot ships for Ramped Cargo Lighters during the last year of World War II.
Nettlebeck, Brommy and Van der Groeben were depot ships for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd R boat flotillas, respectively. The 1st and 3rd flotillas were at Kiel, and the 2nd was at Cuxhaven.HMS Ambitious (F169), Celebrity and St. Tudno served as depot ships for minesweepers. Ambitious was stationed at Scapa Flow, and St. Tudno was at the Nore. Japan requisitioned Chohei Maru, Rokusan Maru and Teishu Maru from civilian service as depot ships for minesweepers.
Tsingtau and Tanga were depot ships for the 1st and 2nd E-boat flotillas at Kiel and Hamburg, respectively.Kamikaze Maru, Nihonkai Maru, Shinsho Maru and Shuri Maru were requisitioned from civilian service as depot ships for Japanese Motor Torpedo Boats.
HMS Marshal Soult and the French ships Courbet, Paris, Coucy and Diligente were used as depot ships for vessels patrolling the English Channel after the Second Armistice at Compiègne. HMS BrilliantHMS Brilliant (1891) was based at Lerwick, Shetland Islands, in July 1917 as a depot ship for trawlers and patrol boats. HMS Ambitious was a depot ship at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands during the First World War.
Includes both Seaplane carriers and ships intended to support the operation of large Flying boats, known as seaplane tenders in United States usage.
Some depot ships support a naval base. HMAS Platypus was the base ship at Darwin, Australia during World War II. In the Royal Navy, under section 87 of the Naval Discipline Act 1866, the provisions of the act only applied to officers and men of the Royal Navy borne on the books of a warship. When shore establishments began to become more common it was necessary to allocate the title of the establishment to an actual vessel which became the nominal depot ship for the men allocated to the establishment and thus ensured they were subject to the provisions of the Act.
Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The use of Q-ships contributed to the abandonment of cruiser rules restricting attacks on unarmed merchant ships and to the shift to unrestricted submarine warfare in the 20th century.
The Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY) was the first United States Navy base established on the Pacific Ocean. It is located 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in Vallejo, California. The Napa River goes through the Mare Island Strait and separates the peninsula shipyard from the main portion of the city of Vallejo. MINSY made a name for itself as the premier US West Coast submarine port as well as serving as the controlling force in San Francisco Bay Area shipbuilding efforts during World War II.
A fleet submarine is a submarine with the speed, range, and endurance to operate as part of a navy's battle fleet. Examples of fleet submarines are the British First World War era K class and the American World War II era Gato class.
The first ship named in honor of Rear Admiral Aaron Ward, USS Aaron Ward (DD-132) was a Wickes-class destroyer in service with the United States Navy. In 1940, she was transferred to the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Castleton.
USS Abel P. Upshur (DD-193) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy until traded to Britain at the beginning of World War II where she served as HMS Clare.
A submarine squadron (SUBRON) is a naval formation or unit in such states such as the United Kingdom, United States, and Russia/Soviet Union. In France the equivalent unit is the escadrille des sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque (ESNA), part of the French submarine forces.
USS Herndon (DD-198) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy. Herndon served in the United States Coast Guard as CG-17. She was later transferred to the Royal Navy as HMS Churchill and still later to the Soviet Navy as Deyatelny.
The second USS Aulick (DD-258) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy and transferred to the Royal Navy where she served as HMS Burnham (H82) during World War II.
HMS Maidstone was a submarine depot ship of the Royal Navy. It operated in the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean during the Second World War. It later was used as a barracks and then as a prison ship in Northern Ireland.
Destroyer leader (DL) was the United States Navy designation for large destroyers from 9 February 1951 through the early years of the Cold War. United States ships with hull classification symbol DL were officially frigates from 1 January 1955 until 1975. The smaller destroyer leaders were reclassified as destroyers and the larger as cruisers by the United States Navy 1975 ship reclassification; so destroyer escorts could be reclassified as frigates (FF) in conformance with international usage of the term.
HMS Adamant was a World War II submarine depot ship.
A destroyer tender, or destroyer depot ship in British English, is an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. The use of this class has faded from its peak in the first half of the 20th century as the roles and weaponry of small combatants have evolved.
Allied submarines were used extensively during the Pacific War and were a key contributor to the defeat of the Empire of Japan.
A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.
HMS Ambrose was a cargo and passenger liner bought by the Admiralty from the Booth Steamship Company early in World War I and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. Later in the war she was converted into a submarine depot ship and spent most of the 1920s supporting submarines in the Far East. Upon her return home in 1928, Ambrose was placed in the Reserve Fleet. She was later modified to support destroyers and did so throughout World War II before she was sold for scrap in 1946.
MV Agamemnon was a cargo liner launched in 1929 for the Blue Funnel Line between United Kingdom ports and the Far East. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for conversion to the auxiliary minelayer HMS Agamemnon. She joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh laying mines for the World War II Northern Barrage. When minelaying was completed in October 1943, she was retained for conversion to an amenities ship as part of a mobile naval base for British Pacific Fleet warships. She underwent further conversion at Vancouver in 1944 including installation of a movie theater and canteen to be staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. Conversion was incomplete when hostilities with Japan ended, and she was returned to Blue Funnel Line in 1946.
MV Menestheus was a Blue Funnel Liner launched in 1929. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for conversion to the auxiliary minelayer HMS Menestheus. She joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh laying mines for the World War II Northern Barrage. When minelaying was completed in October 1943, she was retained for conversion to an amenities ship as part of a mobile naval base for British Pacific Fleet warships. She underwent further conversion at Vancouver in 1944 including installation of a movie theater and canteen staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. Conversion included a brewery to make beer for shipboard consumption. The ship had been painted grey for service in the North Atlantic, but was repainted white for service in the western Pacific. Conversion was incomplete when hostilities with Japan ended, and she was returned to Blue Funnel Line in 1946.
An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.
A cruiser submarine was a very large submarine designed to remain at sea for extended periods in areas distant from base facilities. Cruiser submarines were successful for a brief period of World War I, but were less successful than smaller submarines during World War II. Large submarines remained vulnerable to damage from Defensively equipped merchant ships (DEMS), were slow to dive if found by aircraft, offered a large sonar echo surface, and were less able to defensively maneuver during depth charge attacks.
HMS Tyne was a store-ship of the Royal Navy. The ship was launched on 19 January 1878 at Armstrong Mitchell's Low Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne shipyard as the mercantile Mariotis. She was purchased for the Royal Navy on 8 March 1878. Commanded by Commander John Edward Stokes on 12 March 1879.