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Ferocity

 

The composition of this introduction could not have been made without the kind permission to read unpublished papers by Commander Peter Du Cane, forwarded by Charles Du Cane, Chairman of the BMPTrust, and also the use of valuable details supplied by Les Brown BSc Eng, Philip Simons -Lead Analyst- Audit & Research-Lloyds Register-Fairplay Ltd.

The “Brave” class of FPB’S were to finally demonstrate the viability and success of using gas turbines as main machinery for fast surface craft and from the early trials with HMS Grey Goose, through to the “Bold” experiments etc, the “Braves” proved to be the epitome of ‘wet hulled’ FPB design.

Long before HMS Brave Swordsman was completed it was realised that these were going to prove to be expensive craft to build. Messrs Vosper Ltd therefore planned, as a private venture, a two-turbine version but using well tried and ‘traditional’ building methods.

Using the high Chine and deep ‘V’ sections, as incorporated in the “Brave’s”, but being rather ‘softer and deeper’ in the forward sections. Using glued ‘all timber’ construction making full use of laminated plywood techniques etc to a considerable extent; the cost of the Hull construction for “Ferocity” was kept down to a minimum. Although still quite expensive, as a prototype, the ‘initial costs’ were considered as favouring the then current production methods used at Messrs Vosper Ltd while being much cheaper to repair than the composite material construction employed in the building of the “Brave” Hulls.

The use of two, as opposed to three, Proteus Gas Turbines allowed a much narrower Beam while the up rated engines (from 3500bhp max to 4250bhp max) promised to give similar performance with comparative armament profiles. The designed length of “Ferocity”, as against the “Braves”, was also shortened as the 3.3inch gun, under development (and originally fitted to “Bold Pioneer”), was eventually cancelled.
Other major changes from the “Brave” class were the introduction of two small diesel engines for cruising and manoeuvring. Gas turbine’s inherent high consumption at low power outputs made this change favourable as it increased the operating range to 2000 miles. Two Mathway-Daimler diesel engines, with a continuous rating of 150bhp each, were connected to the two main prop shafts via the V drive-reduction gearboxes. “Ferocity” retained the two Rover Gas Turbines for electrical power generation.

The much-reduced Beam however proved to be too narrow and a revised figure was quickly calculated for the first export model ordered by the then- German Federal Navy. This craft, (Pfeil. P6193), was ordered alongside an export modified “Brave” (Strahl. P6194), that craft using similar building techniques and materials as used in “Ferocity”.
(Both of these craft were eventually transferred to the Royal Hellenic Navy in 1967 after first being refitted by the then incorporated Vosper\Thornycroft Companies).

The original narrow Beam of “Ferocity” was increased by 2ft 6in, and the original designed Length by 4ft. Her final dimensions being: Length 90ft 8in OA, 88ft water line. Beam 22ft.

Her ‘’modern’ Bridge structure allowed for complete sealing from certain effects of Nuclear or Biological warfare, whilst retaining the ability to operate in such ‘infected’ areas.

It has recently come to light that ‘Ferocity’ was indeed commissioned for a very brief period into the Royal Navy – acceptance over a two day period from the 14th June 1967 – commissioned on the 16th June 1967 - to become a ‘Tender’ to HMS Brave Swordsman -then de-commissioned just 2 weeks later on the 28th June 1967 (Source - Geoffrey Hudson via Les Brown). She was then returned to Messrs Vosper Ltd to resume her role as a successful ‘Sales Hack’ for the export versions of the ‘Brave’ class and others that followed.

There are still rumors however, of her being used in ‘clandestine operations – manned by non-RN personnel. It remains a mystery as to what actually happened to her after her ‘commercial’ career was over. Several Vosper Gas Turbine craft were later to be disposed of privately – some to Greek and Egyptian interests (the ‘Scimitar’ class and HMS Tenacity etc) but the final fate of ‘Ferocity’ still remains a tantalizing mystery.

While not really pertinent to this intro to ”Ferocity”, the German export “Brave” (P6194 Strahl), using the same build methods developed with “Ferocity” and having proved to be decidedly cheaper to build than the original “Brave’s”, led to several of this version being built for other navies. The Danish Navy, for example, ordered two with four others being built under licence in the Royal Dockyard, Copenhagen.

Produced by ‘Pioneer’.

 
   

visitors since 15th February 2004