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D41 R Class Destroyers

D41 Rajput, D209 Ranjit and D115 Rana, ships of the Destroyer Flotilla, contributed considerably in putting the Navy on its rightful pedestal. HMS Raider, launched 01 April 1942, rransferred to India in 1949 becoming INS Rana. HMS Redoubt, launched 02 May 1942, transferred to India in 1949, becoming INS Ranjit. HMS Rotherham, launched 21 March 1942, transferred to India in 1949, becoming INS Rajput. The second ship of the name HMS Raider was a 358 foot Rotherham class destroyer launched in 1942. She served throughout the Second World War, gaining all six of the ship's battle honours, as well as four Distinguished Service Medals and five mentions in Dispatches for her ship's company. After the war, HMS Raider was sold to the Royal Indian Navy in 1949; being renamed Rana before being scrapped in 1976 after Indian Independence.

Naval Plans Paper 1/47 had envisaged, besides building up a cruiser squadron of three ships, the development of a destroyer flotilla of eight ships concurrently with the acquisition of a Fleet Air Arm and a submarine flotilla. In Plans Paper 5/48, however, the number of destroyers required was reduced to five, out of which three were to be acquired by the end of 1948 and two early in 1950-51.

Plans Paper 7/48 dated June 4, 1948 stated that as a result of negotiations with the British Government, the Admiralty had agreed to transfer three destroyers, HMS Rotherham, Redoubt, and Raider to the Government of India. It was anticipated at that time that these ships, which were undergoing refit at various Royal Naval Dockyards, would be ready for handing over to the Royal Indian Navy by January 1949.

The Q and R class was a class of sixteen War Emergency Program destroyers ordered for the British Royal Navy in 1940 as the 3rd and 4th Emergency Flotilla [not to be confused with the R class of destroyers built between 1916 and 1917]. They served as convoy escorts during World War II. The Q and R class were repeats of the preceding O and P class, but reverted to the larger J, K and N class hull to allow for the inevitable growth in topweight.

The formal request for the transfer of the three destroyers was made when Shri H.M. Patel, the then Defence Secretary, addressed a letter to Mr. John Lang, Secretary to the Admiralty, on November 15, 1947. This was followed by a formal letter addressed to the Secretary, Military Department (Defence Staff), Commonwealth Relations Office, London, which also sought facilities for the training of the slrip's crews, prior to their commissioning in the Royal Naval destroyers and training establishments.

The formal sanction for the acquisition of the three 'R' Class destroyers was obtained in July 1949. It was also decided that the ships, HMS Rotherham, Redoubt and Raider were to be respectively renamed Rajput (Flotilla Leader), Rana and Ranjit. The actual cost of the three destroyers, paid on March 25, 1949, was 700,800 while the cost of reconditioning these ships worked out to 344,200.

HMIS Rajput, with Captain A. Chakraverti (became a Rear Admiral before retiring) as its Commanding Officer and Senior Officer of the 1 lth Destroyer Squadron, the Indian Navy's first destroyer squadron was commissioned with pomp and eclat at Portsmouth on July 28, 1949. HMIS Ranjit with Commander G.S. Kapooras its Commanding Officer had already been commissioned at Chatham on July 4. The third destroyer, HMIS Rana, whose Commanding Officer was Commander S.N. Kohli (later an Admiral and Chief of the Naval Staff) was commissioned at Devonport on September 9, 1949.

The standard displacement of HMIS Rajput was 1,750 tons while that of the other two ships was 1,705 tons; the full load displacement of Rajput was 2,510 tons with the other ships' full load displacing 2,425 tons. The overall length of this class of ships was 358.25 feet with a beam of 35 feet eight inches, the maximum displacement being 16 feet. The armament consisted of four 4.7-inch guns which could be used against surface and serial targets and four two-pounder pompoms. Besides, Rajput had six 20 mm anti-aircraft guns while the other two ships had four 40 mm anti-aircraft guns each. Each ship was fitted with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes on quadruple mountings and four depth-charge throwers. The propulsion machinery of each ship comprised Parson's geared turbines delivering a specified horsepower of 40,000 on two shafts giving it a maximum speed of 32 knots.

The crests were shaped after traditional shields and depicted different types of mediaeval Rajput weapons; the Rajput crest displayed a Rajput helmet and two crossed spears, Rana's crest had a broad-based knife with a petagonal blade and a cross-grip, and Ranjit's crest carried two crossed curved daggers enclosed in a ring.

The total non-recurring1 expenditure involved in the acquisition of these destroyers was Rs. 1.548 crore^ and the annual recurring expenditure was estimated at Rs. 75.39 lakhi. This expenditure was to be met by debiting it to the unreleased portion of the sterling balance. These destroyers were expected to have a life-span of 15 to 18 years when they were to be replaced for which it was also proposed to make an annual contribution of Rs. 10 lakhs for each destroyer, besides building up a reserve stock of ammunition to be kept ashore.



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