Destroyers of the O-class were the
realization of the Emergency War Program and by some are considered to be
the low point of British destroyer development. You have to remember
however that judging the design by the size and firepower alone can be
very misleading. You need also to take into account its
seaworthiness and reliability, and ships of the O-class proved themselves
in the harshest possible environment - the Arctic convoys...
First action of
HMS Onslow takes place in December
of 1941 during the Lofot's Raid (operation Archery). In 1942,
HMS Onslow is transferred
to the Mediteranean where she takes part as an escort for convoy
supplying Malta. During Fall, she rejoins the rest of the O class ships
in the Arctic, escorting convoy PQ-18. In September, together with
HMS Faulknor and
HMS Impulsive, she sinks three
U-boots, and in cooperation with the Swordfish plane from HMS
Avenger, she sinks another U-boot.
In December of 1942, HMS Onslow
escorts convoy JW-51B. This time, instead of U-boots, Kriegsmarine
dispatches heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper,
pocket battleship Lutzow
and six destroyers.
During rather chaotic encounter caused by very poor visibility,
HMS Onslow is damaged by
Hipper's fire and Capt.
Sherbrooke is seriously wounded. The entire affair ends when distant
escort comprising of cruisers Jamaica
and Sheffield joins the
fight. Result of the battle is the loss of British destroyer
HMS Achates and German destroyer
Most importantly though, convoy
JW-51B arrives in Murmansk unscathed.
participated also in the Battle of the North Cape resulting in sinking
of the Scharnhorst,
and in Normandy landings in 1944..