HMS Striker

HMS Striker was an Attacker class escort carrier that took part in operations off the Norwegian coast during 1944, as well as playing a part in the D-Day landings and escorting convoys to Russia. In 1945 she joined the British Pacific Fleet, where she served as a replenishment carrier.

The Striker was built by the Western Pipe & Steel Corp, San Francisco. She was launched as USS Prince William (CVE-19) and completed on 29 April 1943.

In July 1945 six Bofors guns were added in single mountings, and the number of 20mm cannon was reduced to four.

1943

By the summer of 1943 the Striker was in a British port converting to Royal Navy standards of construction and equipment. In the third quarter of 1943 she was being prepared for anti U-boat duties and later in the year she began to escort convoys across the Bay of  Biscay and to North Africa.

1944

On 16 January, while escorting a convoy, a Ju 290 was spotted from the bridge of the Striker at a range of 32 miles. Two Hurricanes was launched, spotting the German aircraft themselves at a range of 20 miles. The chase lasted until the aircraft were seventy miles from the convoy, before the Ju 290 escaped into some clouds.

On 26 April the Striker was part of a force including the Victorious, Furious, Searcher, Pursuer and Emperor that attacked a south-bound convoy off Bödö, damaging all four merchant ships and one of the escorts. Five aircraft were lost.

On 6th, 8th, 14th, 15th May and 1 June 1944 aircraft from Victorious, Furious, Searcher, Striker and Emperor took part in a series of naval strikes off the Norwegian coast, sinking or seriously damaging six merchant ships, one escort vessel and two armed trawlers (all five carriers were not involved in all five attacks). Emperor, Searcher and Striker took part in the attack on 8 May, against a northbound convoy off Kristiansund. Emperor and Striker were involved in the attack on 14 May, damaging one ship at Rorvik, north of Trondheim.

Nine officers and men from Striker, Royalist and Emperor won awards for their part in Operation Potluck, the carriers strikes against the Norwegian coast.

On 19 June Fencer and Striker moved north of the D-Day invasion area, and tried to use bogus W/T traffic to convince Germans that the feared attack on their northern coasts was coming. The limited endurance of the carrier's destroyer escorts meant that the operation had to end before any positive results could be observed. 

During the period between May and July the Striker spent some time operating on anti-submarine duties with the escort groups. Between them six escort carriers spent 58 days at sea on this duty during those months.

Striker and Vindex formed part of the escort for the outbound Russian convoy JW.59, which left Scapa on 16 September. One U-boat was claimed on the outward journey, and another was attacked by Vindex's Swordfish during the return convoy (RA.59) before being sunk by surface forces.

The Striker returned to escort the outgoing Russian convoy JW.60, alongside HMS Campania. This convoy left Scapa Flow on 16 September, arriving at Kola Inlet without incident. On the night of 29-30 September, during the return journey aircraft from Campania sank U-921

1945

By the start of March 1945 the Striker was serving as a replenishment carrier with the British Pacific Fleet, a role she continued to fulfil until VJ Day, helping to supply the fleet during operations against Sakishima. In August 1945 she formed part of Task Force 112, supporting operations off Japan, before sailing to the fleet's base at Manus later in the month.

The Striker was returned to the US Navy on 12 February 1946.

Squadron

824 NAS

No.824 Squadron transferred from the Unicorn on 27 October 1943 and remained on the Striker for much of the next year, before disbanding on 16 October 1944.

Displacement (loaded)

10,200t standard
14,170t deep load

Top Speed

18.5kts

Range

 

Length

491ft 7in to 496ft 1in oa

Armaments

18-24 aircraft
Two 4in/50 US Mk 9 guns in one two-gun mounting
Eight 40mm Bofors guns in four two-gun mountings

Crew complement

646

Launched

7 May 1942

Completed

29 April 1943

Returned to US

1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 September 2010), HMS Striker , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_striker.html

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