Friday, May 31, 2013

HMS Matchless-- Part 2

In June 1942, the Matchless took part in Operation Harpoon which aimed to relieve the besieged island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.  The ship was damaged by a mine June 15th and had to remain in Malta for repairs.  During that time, the Matchless survived 265 air raids.

Repaired and out of Malta, the Matchless returned to the island during Operation Malta, also designed to relieve it.

Its next service was two Arctic convoys until May and June 1943, when the destroyer escorted the RMS Queen Mary half way across the North Atlantic.  The ocean liner was carrying none other than Winston Churchill on his way to the United States for a meeting with FDR.

While on convoy duty in December, the Matchless and three other destroyers were ordered to leave and join a task force going against the German cruiser Scharnhorst.  On December 25th, word was received that the British cruisers Belfast, Norfolk and Sheffield had engaged it.

The Scharnhorst had been ordered to attack convoys, but avoid a general battle with Allied warships.  On December 26th, Boxing Day in Britain, there was another fight and the Scharnhorst broke off and started heading for its home base in a Norwegian fjord.

The Matchless and other destroyers were ordered to intercept it.

Running for Home.  --GreGen

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