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Centurion_IRL

8 Things you didnt know about HMS Belfast

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Senior Moderator, Alpha Tester, Already in Alpha Testers
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71XiF9T.jpg

 

1. HMS BELFAST IS ONE OF ONLY THREE SURVIVING BOMBARDMENT VESSELS FROM D-DAY

HMS Belfast is one of only three remaining vessels from the bombardment fleet which supported the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. The other vessels are the destroyer USS Laffey, part of the historic ships grouped at Patriots Point, South Carolina, and the dreadnought battleship USS Texas at San Jacinto, Texas.

2. HMS BELFAST WAS THE FLAGSHIP OF BOMBARDMENT FORCE E

On 6 June 1944, HMS Belfast was the flagship of Bombardment Force E, supporting troops landing at Gold and Juno beaches. Her first target was the German gun battery at La Marefontaine. As a result of HMS Belfast’s bombardment, the battery played no meaningful role in the defence of the beaches.

3. SHE WASN’T QUITE THE FIRST SHIP TO OPEN FIRE ON 6 JUNE

Though many of HMS Belfast’s veterans believe their ship was the first to open fire on 6 June, this wasn't the case. Lieutenant Peter Brooke Smith, who was serving on board HMS Belfast, recorded in his diary that another cruiser to the west fired first at 0523. The entry in HMS Belfast’s log (pictured here) records that she opened fire three minutes later at 0527, 'with full broadside to port.' 

4. HER GUNS CRACKED THE CREW'S TOILETS

The vibration of HMS Belfast’s guns firing during D-Day ended up cracking the crew’s toilets

5. CASUALTIES WERE TREATED ON BOARD

HMS Belfast was one of the larger warships in the fleet, with a fully equipped sick bay, a surgeon commander and two surgeon lieutenants. At 1300 on 6 June, casualties began to arrive on board.

6. THE CREW HELPED CLEAR THE BEACHES

On 25 June, during one of the quiet periods when fighting had largely moved out of range of HMS Belfast’s guns, some of the unoccupied members of the crew were chosen to form working parties to go ashore and help clear the beaches. 

7. SHE SPENT 33 DAYS IN NORMANDY AND FIRED OVER 5,000 SHELLS

In total, HMS Belfast spent 33 days in support of the landings and fired over 4,000 6-inch and 1,000 4-inch shells.

8. THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN WAS THE LAST TIME SHE FIRED HER GUNS IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR

The invasion of Normandy was the last time HMS Belfast fired her guns during the Second World War. In July, she set sail for Plymouth Devonport and a well-earned refit, before being despatched to the Far East.

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Alpha Tester
512 posts
308 battles

When I was in London a few years ago I was luckytm enough to visit the ship, was certainly one of the most memorable things I did in England.

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[CLAY]
Alpha Tester
976 posts
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Was the 3rd warship model I ever built. (age 11)

that bit about her damaging her toilets reminded me of HMS Rodney. When she helped suppress the Bismarck (with KGV). After the battle she had to go back for a repairs dew to the damage her own 16" guns did to herself (mostly breaking pipework). (although Bismarck focused her fire on the Rodney she never scored a hit only came close at start of battle, then her gunnery fell away).

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Senior Moderator, Alpha Tester, Already in Alpha Testers
116 posts
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Yes I visited her several times when in London you can feel the history as you walk around the ship.

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