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NMS Amiral Murgescu was a minelaying destroyer escort[1] of the Romanian Navy, the first sea-going warship built in Romania. She was laid down at the Galați shipyard in August 1938 and launched on 14 June 1939.[2][3][4][5]

Amiral Murgescu (side).jpg
Amiral Murgescu at sea
History
Romania
Name: Amiral Murgescu
Namesake: Admiral Ioan Murgescu (ro)
Builder: Galați shipyard, Romania
Laid down: August 1938
Launched: 14 June 1939
Commissioned: May 1941
Captured: By the Soviet Union, 1944
Soviet Union
Name: Don
Namesake: River Don
Acquired: 1944
Commissioned: 1944
Struck: 27 May 1988
Fate: Sold for scrap, 4 July 1988
Service record
Commanders:
  • Alexandru Dumbravă (1941-1942)
  • Ovidiu Mărgineanu (1942-1943)
  • Gheorghe Harting (1943)
  • Anton Foca (1943-1944)
Operations:
Victories:
  • 1 cruiser damaged
  • 1 destroyer leader, 1 R-boat, 1 S-boat, 2 motor gunboats and up to 12 submarines sunk
  • 12 aircraft destroyed
Awards:
General characteristics
Type: Minelayer/Destroyer escort/Anti-aircraft cruiser
Displacement: 1,068 tons
Length: 77 m (252 ft 7 in)
Beam: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
Draught: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 Krupp diesel engines 1,600 kW (2,200 hp), 2 shafts
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Range: 3,400 nautical miles (6,300 km; 3,900 mi)
Complement: 135
Armament:

DescriptionEdit

She had a crew of up to 135, a displacement of 1,068 tons, a length of 77 meters, a beam of 9 meters and a draught of 2.5 meters. She was powered by two Krupp diesel engines generating 1,100 horse power each, had a top speed of 16 knots and a range of 3,400 nautical miles at a speed of 13 knots. Her armament consisted of two 102 mm Bofors dual purpose naval/anti-aircraft guns, two 37 mm SK C/30 anti-aircraft guns, two 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns (later two German 20 mm C/38 AA guns and a battery of 37 mm AA guns were also added), two twin 13 mm machine guns and two depth charge throwers. She was able to carry between 120 and 135 mines, depending on their type.[6][7][8][9]

ServiceEdit

 
Amiral Murgescu (front view)
 
Amiral Murgescu loaded with mines and ready to depart, Constanța, October 1941

She had four captains across the war: Alexandru Dumbravă (1941-1942), Ovidiu Mărgineanu (1942-1943), Gheorghe Harting (1943) and Anton Foca (1943-1944).[10]

Her first mission was between 16 and 19 June 1941, when she and two other Romanian minelayers, Regele Carol I and Aurora, laid a barrage of 1,000 mines between Cape Midia and Tuzla, to protect the main Romanian port of Constanța. When the Soviet Black Sea Fleet attacked the port on 26 June, she helped repel the attack, together with the scout cruiser Mărăști and the destroyer Regina Maria and the German coastal battery Tirpitz. The Soviet destroyer leader Moskva was sunk by Romanian mines and the cruiser Voroshilov was damaged. Amiral Murgescu also shot down two Soviet aircraft on that same day.[11][12] Later, the Soviet submarine Shch-213 and 3 more Soviet submarines (M-58, M-34 and Shch-208) were sunk by Romanian mines near Constanța.[13] The German R-boat R-36 was also sunk by Romanian mines near Constanța in 1943.[14]

During a Soviet air raid on 23 June 1941, two of her crewmen were wounded. On a subsequent raid which took place the following day, she shot down two Soviet aircraft, her first aerial kills.[15]

In July, the gun shields protecting her two 102 mm guns were removed in order to facilitate anti-aircraft fire. During a Soviet air attack on Constanța on 5 August, she shot down three more aircraft.[16] In total, she shot down 12 Soviet aircraft.[17]

Her next mission was between 7 and 16 October 1941. Together with the Romanian minelayers Regele Carol I and Dacia and escorted by the Romanian 250t-class torpedo boats Năluca, Sborul and Smeul, Romanian gunboats Sublocotenent Ghiculescu and Căpitan Dumitrescu and Bulgarian torpedo boats Drazki, Smeli and Hrabri, she laid four full minefields and one partial minefield along the Bulgarian coast.[18] These mines later sank 4 Soviet submarines (S-34, L-24, Shch-210 and Shch-211).[19]

In February 1942, she participated in a minelaying operation near Sulina, at the mouth of the Danube.[20]

On 24 June 1942, she laid mines near Odessa along with Dacia, while being escorted by the Romanian destroyers Regele Ferdinand, Regina Maria, the scout cruiser Mărășești, Romanian gunboats Ghiculescu, Stihi and Dumitrescu and Romanian torpedo boat Smeul as well as motor minesweepers of the Donau Flotilla.[21] The mines laid near Odessa later sank the Soviet submarines M-33 and M-60[22] and the motor gunboats YA-26 and YA-27.[23][24]

On 29-30 October and 5 November 1942, she along with Dacia and the Romanian destroyers Regina Maria, Regele Ferdinand , the Romanian scout cruiser Mărăști, the Romanian gunboat Stihi and four German R-boats laid two mine barrages to protect Snake Island.[25] These mines sank the Soviet submarine Shch-212 on 11 December that same year.[26][27][28] The Soviet submarine M-31 was either sunk as well by the Romanian mine barrages near the island on 17 December,[29][30] or sunk with depth charges by the Romanian scout cruiser Mărășești on 7 July 1943.[31] On 1 December 1942, while the Soviet cruiser Voroshilov together with the destroyer Soobrazitelny were bombarding the island with forty-six 180 mm and fifty-seven 100 mm shells, the cruiser was damaged by Romanian mines, but she managed to return to Poti for repairs under her own power. During the brief bombardment, she struck the radio station, barracks and lighthouse on the island, but failed to inflict significant losses.[32][33][34][35][36]

On 15 September 1943, she along with two German auxiliary minelayers, escorted by 6 R-boats and the German armed ship Xanten, laid a barrage of mines that closed the mouth of the Gulf of Kherson.[37]

She was fitted with two German 20 mm C/38 anti-aircraft guns sometime between late 1943 and early 1944.[38] In late March 1944, she also equipped a battery of 37 mm anti-aircraft guns.[39] Thus, by the start of the evacuation of the Crimea in April 1944, she was effectively converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser.

On 15 April 1944, the convoy she was escorting was attacked five times by Soviet bombers. She shot down two of them, but one of her 102 mm guns and one 20 mm gun were damaged.[40][41]

On 12 May 1944, she was the last Romanian warship to leave Crimea during the evacuation of the peninsula by the Axis. Commanded by Lieutenant Commander Anton Foca, she evacuated about 1,000 troops, including the highly-decorated German General Walter Hartmann.[42]

On 25-26 May, she and Dacia, escorted by the destroyer Regina Maria, the scout cruiser Mărășești, the torpedo boats Sborul and Smeul and the motor torpedo boats Vedenia and Viscolul, laid another barrage of mines off Sulina to reinforce the existing one.[43] The mines laid off Sulina sank the German S-boat S-148 on 22 August 1944.[44]

On 29 May 1944, she was decorated with the Order of the Star of Romania. She was also decorated with the Order of the Romanian Crown.[45][46]

After the 23 August 1944 coup, she was captured by Soviet forces and commissioned as Don.[47] She was converted to training ship on 2 April 1945, to depot ship on 18 January 1947, to command ship on 9 February 1948, to disarmed barracks ship on 7 May 1956 (renamed PKZ-107) and finally to repair ship on 4 January 1958 (renamed PM-76, PMR-76 from 8 June 1966), being finally deleted on 27 May 1988 and sold for scrap on 4 July 1988.[48]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, p. 80
  2. ^ Shipbuilding & Shipping Record: A Journal of Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Dock, Harbours & Shipping, Volume 53, p. 827
  3. ^ The Shipbuilder and Marine Engine-builder, Volume 46, p. 449
  4. ^ Marine Engineering and Shipbuilding Abstracts, Volumes 1-5, p. 182
  5. ^ United States Naval Institute Proceedings, Volume 65, p. 1364
  6. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p 362
  7. ^ United States Naval Institute Proceedings, Volume 65, p. 1364
  8. ^ Navypedia: AMIRAL MURGESCU minelayers (1941)
  9. ^ Amiral Murgescu (in Romanian)
  10. ^ Constantin Cumpănă, Corina Apostoleanu, Amintiri despre o flota pierduta – vol. II – Voiaje neterminate, 2011, Telegraf Advertising
  11. ^ Jonathan Trigg, Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front, Chapter 3
  12. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, pp. 70 and 71
  13. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, pp. 265-266
  14. ^ Gordon Smith, Don Kindell, Donald A. Bertke, World War II Sea War, Vol 9: Wolfpacks Muzzled, p. 203
  15. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 45-46
  16. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, p. 72
  17. ^ Amiral Murgescu (in Romanian)
  18. ^ Donald A Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell, World War II Sea War, Volume 4: Germany Sends Russia to the Allies, p. 323
  19. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, pp. 265-266
  20. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, p. 76
  21. ^ Donald A. Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell World War II Sea War, Volume 6: The Allies Halt the Axis Advance, p. 268
  22. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, p. 266
  23. ^ Nicolae Koslinski, Raymond Stănescu, Marina română in al doilea război mondial: 1944-1945, p. 365 (in Romanian)
  24. ^ Navypedia:Ya-5 and Ya-5M types motor mortar boats (1942-1945)
  25. ^ Nicolae Koslinski, Raymond Stănescu, Marina română in al doilea război mondial: 1942-1944, pp. 53-54 (in Romanian)
  26. ^ Donald A Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell,World War II Sea War, Vol 8: Guadalcanal Secured, p. 77
  27. ^ Shch-212 on uboat.net
  28. ^ Shch-212 on wrecksite.eu
  29. ^ Gogin, Ivan. ""Series XII" submarines (project 40) (1937–1943)". Navypedia. Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  30. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "M-31". uboat.net. Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  31. ^ M. J. Whitley, Destroyers of World War Two, p. 224
  32. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 93-94
  33. ^ Timothy C. Dowling, Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond, p. 128
  34. ^ Spencer C. Tucker, World War II at Sea: An Encyclopedia,. p. 114
  35. ^ Nicolae Koslinski, Raymond Stănescu, Marina română in al doilea război mondial: 1942-1944, p. 56 (in Romanian)
  36. ^ Yakubov, Vladimir; Worth, Richard (2009). The Soviet Light Cruisers of the Kirov Class. In Jordan, John. Warship 2009, p. 92
  37. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, p. 120
  38. ^ Navypedia: AMIRAL MURGESCU minelayers (1941)
  39. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945 (in Romanian), p. 105
  40. ^ Nicolae Koslinski, Raymond Stănescu, Marina română in al doilea război mondial: 1942-1944 (in Romanian)
  41. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945 (in Romanian), p. 138
  42. ^ Robert Forczyk, Where the Iron Crosses Grow: The Crimea 1941–44, Chapter 9
  43. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, Conway Maritime Press, 2001, p. 84
  44. ^ Lawrence Paterson, Schnellboote: A Complete Operational History, p. 261
  45. ^ Amiral Murgescu (in Romanian)
  46. ^ Constantin Cumpănă, Corina Apostoleanu, Amintiri despre o flota pierduta – vol. II – Voiaje neterminate, 2011, Telegraf Advertising
  47. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, p. 167
  48. ^ Navypedia: DON minelayer (1941/1944)