So today I'm starting a new initiative. I play Wows Blitz...I'm doing videos all the day long for Tanks and streams and podcasts..and this page is not getting the love it deserves. So I'm doing what very few men seem to be able to do. Which is obviously accept help from other people :). This kicks off today with my good mate Harry and his article on the Erie, the tier 1 US Cruiser in the Game that is fresh to the App Store in Australia and coming soon to other parts of the globe :)
Tier I Cruiser – United States Navy: “Erie” Class Patrol Gunboat
n the early 1930’s the US Navy needed a new class of multi-purpose craft to satisfy a diverse range of naval roles from military applications to diplomatic flagship duties, and the designs for the Erie class were drawn up in 1932. Her keel was laid down in dry dock #1 in the New York Naval Yard, Brooklyn in 1934 and following a two year build out she was launched in February 1936 for outfitting. Construction continued and with the outfitting nearing completion Commander Hanson signed the docket and became the first Captain of USS Erie PG-50 on 1st of July. Her sister ship and the only other Erie class gunboat: the USS Charleston PG-51 was completed at the same time in South Carolina.
At 100m in length and 2,000 tons displacement, armed with 4 single turret 6 inch cannon, she packed a punch for her size. She was equipped with 2 Parson’s turbines which gave her a respectable 20 knot operating speed. She carried a Curtis-Wright “Seagull” reconnaissance float-plane on a small flight deck and also boasted spacious comfortable quarters for visiting dignitaries. A purpose designed movie projector room in the rear superstructure allowed films to be played on to a large portable screen mounted on the rear deck for the pleasure of the crew and visiting diplomats.
Her service displacement approached 2,800 tons and she had an operational range of up to 8,000 nautical miles. Her decks and gun shields had 1 – 1.25 inch steel plate armour and the hull varied with up to 3.5 inch plate over the vital areas, the coning tower was protected with hefty 4 inch plate armour.
In August she was set to sea for her initial trials which revealed some issues with the propulsion system so after another brief period of adjustment she was finally ready for service in late September 1936. Further tests and trials were conducted in early October and Commander Hanson was issued with her first service orders.
Sailing from New York on the 31st of October 1936 she joined service on her shake-down cruise with squadron 40-T as they monitored the ongoing Spanish Civil War. Erie visited the Royal Naval shipyards at Plymouth for re-supply and then began service with 40-T under orders to visit Spanish sea ports and checking on the American citizens and foreign nationals and evacuate them if needs be.
It was while at anchor at the port of Gijón in northern Spain December 1936 that she first saw live action, the rebel Spanish battleship España firing 3 rounds from her 12 inch guns which landed close to Erie. Evasive action was ordered although no orders to return fire were given, and immediately the España steamed away. The US government deemed the incident as inadvertent and shortly after the Erie was recalled to New York via the Azores, a particularly difficult crossing in the rough seas of December which resulted in several hull plates being damaged during the trip and a brief spell in dry dock to repair the damage.
On completion of the repairs in late February 1937 Erie went on training operations along the Eastern seaboard of the US and in early May she was tasked with her role as a training vessel at Annapolis Naval Academy, Maryland. For the next 6 months she was used to train midshipmen as part of the Costal Cruising Detachment.
In late October she was ordered to visit New York Navy Yard for refit and installation of ordinance, a process that would take 3 months. Following the refit in January 1938 Erie was made ready to join the Special Service Squadron, SPERON, at Balboa, Panama, a location that would become her home port until she was eventually transferred to the Caribbean Sea Frontier Task Force in 1942.
In March she would formally take control of the SPERON flag, the squadron commanding officer and all of the flag personnel were transferred to the ship and her sister ship the PG-51 sailed north to the shipyard at Charleston, South Carolina. In April of 1938 Commander Hanson was transferred to the Naval Station at Samoa, to be replaced by Commander Ashbrook.
The rest of 1938 was a goodwill tour of Central and South America, 10 ports and 8 countries later, as this was the first time she had gone beyond the equator the crew upheld the “Crossing the Line” tradition where all her polliwogs (US novice sailors) were initiated in to the “Ancient Order of the Deep”. She finished the year exploring the potential of the Galapagos Islands to provide further defensive support to Panama.
In January 1939 the Erie was called to assist in the search and rescue of the Cavalier, an Imperial Airways Short Empire Flying boat which ditched and sank in the Atlantic before recommencing her role in the Panama Canal Zone. The role continued until 17th September 1940 when the Special Service Squadron was disbanded.
When America found itself drawn in to WWII the Erie was still stationed at Balboa in the Pacific, where she carried out numerous duties including the movement of Japanese nationals from Costa Rica, and a number of boardings and support missions across the area.
In June 1942 Erie was transferred to Cristóbal at the Atlantic end of the canal, thereby joining the Battle of the Caribbean against the German U-boats. On June 12th 1942 she rescued 46 seamen and other survivors of the British steamship Fort of Good Hope which had been attacked and sunk by U-159. On the 15th she rescued the Master and 22 survivors from the US bulk carrier Lebore after it was attacked and sunk by U-172. The following day she rescued 8 armed guards and 49 other survivors from the Dutch steam ship Crijnssen.
On the 10th of November Erie left Trinidad leading convoy TAG-20 on-route to Guantanamo Bay Cuba, accompanied by the destroyer Biddle, corvette Spry and three 461 class submarine hunters. She was two days out of port and approaching Curaçao when late in the afternoon the convoy was attacked and 3 torpedoes fired by U-163 struck her starboard quarter. The oil bunker on-board was damaged and caught light, and all electrical power was lost.
Half an hour later with partial power restored two severe explosions rocked the ship, the powder stores in #4 gun went up and the ship stopped again. 3 emergency lifeboats were launched to search for casualties and with injured personnel. Limping forward with only one engine working the crew began emptying the #3 powder store over the side to avoid further explosions. An hour after the attack the Erie beached herself 100m off shore, with oil on the water and the ship on fire the captain called “all hands abandon ship”. The attack had killed 7 crew and injured 11 more. She burned for several days before listing further. A couple of week’s later Erie was moved to the inner harbour of Willemstad where se capsized at her moorings. She was left until 1952 when she was raised, towed to deeper water and finally sunk to rest.
In game the Erie has great armour at tier I and a gun range of 7.5km. The guns are accurate and although only equipped with HE shells, they are capable of causing significant damage with a high rate of fire. However the ship has quite poor concealment statistics and will be targeted by the enemy, her good speed and handling mean that it is easy to become isolated so remain close to your convoy.
click the P to sponsor channel
UPCOMING LIVE STREAMS