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Naval Legends: HMCS Haida | World of Warships


Hamilton Ontario is about
45 minutes southwest of Toronto. Here can be found HMCS Haida. She’s the last of the Tribal-class
destroyers and is Canada’s naval legend. Naval Legends: HMCS Haida. If you had asked a Canadian
at the beginning of the 20th century to tell you about their country’s Navy, which has more than
240 thousand kilometers of coastline, their answer would probably
be no longer than this sentence. At that time, Canada was
a dominion of the British Empire and the defense of its sea borders was
entirely under the authority of Whitehall. Well, the Canadian Navy
didn’t exist until 1910. And then, in the First World War
we had one old retired, two old retired cruisers
from the Royal Navy, but they did nothing, they just
served as depot ships basically. A lot of it was, “Do we even have
to have a navy in the first place.” And there was a big problem with all
defense in the 30s, “Do we even need it?” There wasn’t really a need
seen for the Canadian Navy. In the first half of the 1930s, Japan, Italy, France, and Germany
were reinforcing their Navies with brand new destroyers carrying
powerful artillery and torpedo armament. Of course, Great Britain didn’t
want to be an outsider in this race. In 1935, British engineers
developed a destroyer that was able to successfully oppose
the most powerful ships of this type at that time—the Japanese
Fubuki-class destroyers. It became known as the Tribal class. As soon as the Royal Navy
received 16 Tribals, British dominions
expressed their desire to obtain the newest
destroyers as quickly as possible, because the drums of the European war
were already heard across the oceans. Canada mobilized. One-tenth of Canada in 1939,
a population of 12 million. We had one million
men and women in uniform. And all of those
people were volunteers. All the Canadian
combatants were volunteers. So when you see
those war graves in Normandy and in Amsterdam, Holland,
and whatever, or in Italy— those people were all volunteers. During the war,
as the Canadian Navy grew, mostly thanks to the addition
of escort corvettes and frigates, its area of
responsibility also increased and, in the end, included
the entire North Atlantic. Each new ship,
even a modest minesweeper, contributed to the combat
capability of the Allies at sea. Destroyer Haida was laid down
at the end of September of 1941 at a British Vickers-Armstrong shipyard. The ship was
commissioned two years later and was assigned
to the metropolitan fleet. Specifications of destroyer Haida. Length: almost 115 meters. Beam: more than 11 meters. Draft: 3.96 m. Total displacement: 2,519 tons. Armament. Primary armament: Six Mark XII guns installed
in three twin turrets. Caliber: 120 mm. Mark XVI dual-purpose guns
in a twin mount. Caliber: 102 mm. Anti-aircraft artillery: A Vickers Mark VII quadruple antiaircraft
machine gun (pom-pom). Caliber: 40 mm. Six twin Oerlikon
autocannons. Caliber: 20 mm. Mine and torpedo armament: A quadruple torpedo
launcher, caliber 533 mm. Two Mark IV mortars and
an aft depth-charge release gear. The ship carried 30 mines in reserve. Power plant. Three Admiralty type boilers and
two Parsons geared steam turbines. Power: 44,000 horsepower. Maximum Speed: 36 knots. Cruising range:
5,700 miles at 15 knots. Haida’s primary punch came
from three twin 4.7-inch mounts. This is very heavy firepower
for a destroyer of the era. They did come
with a couple of advantages, as a few German
destroyers discovered, but they also came
with one significant disadvantage. The elevation was limited to only
about 40 degrees on these mounts. In order to fix this, what they
did was they replaced the 4.7s with twin 4-inch dual-purpose mounts,
such as the ones behind me now. These could elevate up to
85 degrees and thus engage aircraft as well as surface targets
up to about 14.5 kilometers. From the very beginning,
designers of the Tribal project put emphasis on
reinforced artillery armament and planned to install
five 120-mm twin turrets, three on the bow
and two on the aft. The ship was conceived
as a destroyer leader and it was intended to partially complete
the objectives of a light cruiser— supporting squadrons
of allied destroyers, defending the main forces of the fleet
against enemy destroyer attacks, and carrying out long-range
reconnaissance and patrols. One of the controversial design decisions
when they’re creating the Tribals, was that they decided to
reduce the torpedo complement in favor of the gun batteries. As a result, the Tribals
were only equipped with a single quad mount
for the 21-inch torpedoes, and these would go
about five miles at 45 knots. The theory was that ordinarily the torpedo would be the main
armament of a destroyer, to sink ships, but it turns out in practice Haida’s
kills were all done with gunfire. The torpedoes were
aimed from the bridge wings. What would happen is once
the trigger was pulled up there, a signal was sent to fire this
shell casing, which has propellant. The gases would then expand
within the reservoir here, push out the torpedo
over the side of the ship, of course the stanchions would go
down, and then off towards the target. And each torpedo tube
is labeled with a letter, and what you do is you
always fire the aft torpedo first, because as the destroyer is moving, you want to make sure that
they don’t hit each other. Of course having
the ships is all very well, but they’re not going to do very much
without having the personnel to man them. Canada started off the war as
basically a homeland defense force, she had six destroyers,
a number of smaller vessels and the Navy
of about 1,700 personnel. They had great possibilities
for promotion though, because by the end of the war, Canada’s Navy had expanded
to over 110,000 personnel and had the third largest amount
of surface vessels in the world. Destroyer Haida began her combat career
by escorting Russian Arctic convoys. At the end of December 1943, the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst
tried to attack convoy JW 55B, which was escorted
by Haida among others. However, the destroyer
did not have a chance to participate in the
destruction of the German raider. It was handled by her more heavy-weight
allies from the Metropolitan fleet. At the start of the Second World War, the Canadian Navy came
under the control of the Royal Navy. They were controlled, operated by,
basically controlled by the Royal Navy. It wasn’t until later on,
again as the Canadian Navy grew, that we were looking for our own… We again sort of became
our own entity unto ourselves, a) because of the size,
and b) because of where we were. But by and large, yes, the Canadian
Navy was very much treated as Colonials and second-class citizens. Except for, again,
this ship and the Tribals. These were top of the form and they
bested the Brits at doing the same thing. In January 1944, Haida was assigned
to the 10th destroyer flotilla, which monitored the western
part of the English Channel. On April 26, during a patrol, her squadron discovered
three German destroyers. Haida and her sister ship Athabaskan
engaged the German T-29, which ended in the
destruction of the latter. One and a half months later,
roughly in the same area, a battle took place,
in which Haida made herself famous and brought glory to the
entire Royal Canadian Navy. The night of the 9th of June 1944 saw Haida partake in a rather
spirited and very chaotic fight against the 8th destroyer
flotilla of the German Navy. The 8th was a small force
consisting of three destroyers, two Narviks, a captured
Dutch ship and a torpedo boat, whilst the 10th destroyer
flotilla, of which Haida was a part, consisted of two four-ship divisions, the 19th was mainly
inexperienced vessels and the 20th was,
shall we say, the A-team. They had been told to intercept
the German force, which was known to be approaching the Western
Approaches of the English Channel. And sure enough, a contact
was made at about seven miles. The German destroyers
spotted the Allied ships first, when they became
highlighted by the moonlight. The Germans launched 12 torpedoes, but
their adversaries managed to dodge them. An artillery battle broke out and
the Allies had total fire superiority. Haida and Huron concentrated fire
on Z-24 and quickly achieved success— almost the entire above-water part of
the ship was destroyed and set ablaze. The enemy attempted to flee
under the cover of a smoke screen. The flagship Z-32 continued fighting against Tartar and Ashanti
on her own and took three hits. Z-32 turned right to put some
distance between her and the Allies. Ashanti rushed after her. At this moment, the damaged ZH-1
became visible in the dissipating smoke. Her artillery quickly
opened fire on Tartar, but Ashanti arrived in time and
torpedoed the motionless ship. The torpedo explosion
tore the ZH-1’s bow away. Ashanti kept firing
on the German destroyer. At 2:40, ZH-1 exploded and sank. Later that night, Canadian
destroyers were sweeping the area and stumbled across
the heavily damaged Z-32. Fleeing from them, Z-32 was
driven ashore on the Ile de Batz where, in the morning, she was finished
off by British Beaufighter aircraft. The Allies managed to destroy two
German destroyers and damage two more. After the successful
battle on June 9, 1944, Haida and her allies
continued to complete missions aimed at removing enemy
ships from coastal waters. During the fighting
in the English Channel, Haida had a couple of advantages called
radar, in fact she had three of them. She had firstly a gunnery radar, that was accurate enough to spot fall
of shot, both outbound and inbound, much to the consternation
of the operators. She had warning combined,
which is a fairly reliable radar. Although it was
well known to the Germans, and so the British and
Canadians didn’t like to use it unless contact was joined. And finally, she had warning surface,
which was a pretty reliable radar, which would detect a destroyer-
sized target at about nine miles. All of these would prove vital in the
night fighting in the English Channel. Despite the fact that the German
surface fleet was virtually non-existent by the end of June 1944,
the naval war went on. The more success the Allies
achieved in the land operations, the more desperately and fiercely
German submarines opposed them at sea. The time-honored method of dealing
with an enemy submarine will be the depth charge, usually mounted
on rails at the stern of the ship, or maybe fired
off the side with K-guns. The problem was that
in order to hit your target, you had to go directly over it,
which meant a) that you lost contact, and b) you actually had
to be accurate enough to do it. The end replacement of it
however was the Squid mortar. Haida received her Squids
in the 1950s update, they replaced both the
depth-charge rails and the aft gun. Now, the advantage of Squid
was it was adjustable in range. No longer did you have to ride
over your target in order to sink it. And they were fired automatically by
means of a simple electrical connection attached to the sonar
system inside the ship. Haida has a U-boat kill
to her credit, U-971 in 1944, as Haida was protecting the Western
Approaches to the English Channel during the invasion of France. Overall the Royal Canadian Navy
developed a reputation for ASW excellence. They sank about 30 U-boats and in the post-war period, they
became the de facto ASW force for NATO. During World War II, the number of people in the
Canadian Navy grew almost 70 times. And in all those years, Canadian sailors developed their
own understanding of naval service, which was slightly different from the
traditions of the British Royal Navy. An interesting event in Canadian
naval history happened in 1949 with what are known
as the Canadian mutinies. The word is a little bit
strong for what happened, not least because the captain of
Athabaskan accidentally on purpose left his cover on top of the written
list of demands from the junior sailors, so he never officially saw anything. This happened on a couple
of ships about the same time, not Haida, it should be noted. And what it really was,
was more of a sit-down protest pending an airing of grievances. And this came down to
something of a cultural difference between North Americans
and people from England. Where North American people, we
tend to be a little bit more independent and, shall we say, we’d like
to know why we’re doing it, and have a little bit more consideration,
shall we say, from up above, instead of simply being told “You’re going to do this,
whether you know like it or not.” The officers were more steeped
in the tradition of the Royal Navy, the British Navy, which perhaps
was a little bit more autocratic. The end result of this,
it all worked out fairly well, is that the Canadian Navy
devolved new policies, which took greater
concern of the requirements, shall we say,
of the junior enlisted sailors. Some people in the
Canadian government believed that this incident
was inspired by communist ideas, but this opinion
was completely unjustified. Moreover, the destroyer
was soon sent to Southeast Asia to fight against the “red menace.” Again, the ship was
converted to the way it is now, the armament was all
changed, upgraded in 1951, and this is the way the ship
was when it went to Korea in 1952. And that’s where Haida became famous when it joined what they
called the Train Busters Club. This was a method of trying
to destroy North Korean trains that ran along the coast at night, and it ran at night
thinking they couldn’t be seen. So it became a contest
invented by the US Navy to see if they could destroy these
trains, became the train buster. In the history of the Train Busters
Club, there were 25 trains destroyed. Haida is second in train
busting with two and a half. Haida’s record has always
been superb gunnery actions. In fact, the current Canadian Navy
trophy for gunnery expertise is named after Haida, it’s the Haida
trophy for gunnery excellence. During her second tour of duty
in the Yellow Sea in 1954, Haida patrolled Korean shores,
supervising the implementation of the ceasefire treaty
supported by the United Nations. This was the first example of what
we call today a peacekeeping mission, ten years before this notion was
introduced and became widely used. Haida reprised this role
during the Suez Crisis of 1956. The ship retired in
October 1963, because again, the life of a warship
is basically 20 years, and again, at that time
the Canadian Navy was expanding, they were building
completely different types of ships. And again, the men
that were needed on the Tribals, were needed to man other ships,
so the Tribals were scrapped. It was that time
that a next naval person, you know, Bruce, decided
that we’d try to preserve the ship as Canada’s greatest ship
and just preserve it as a Tribal. And they were successful
in that, an organization was formed, Haida Incorporated, and they acquired
the ship from crown assets in 1964. They bought it for a huge
sum at that time, $20,000. And it existed there as a naval
museum, as a National Historic Site. If you asked a Canadian today
to tell you about their country’s Navy, which has more than
240 thousand kilometres of coastline, then you would
definitely hear a long story full of brilliant
victories and heroic names. Especially Haida, a destroyer
of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. What do you think about today's episode?
    Does Haida deserve the title?:)

  2. A little info the western music at the front is to symbolize the ship as a honorary Texan as the crew of haida rescued the crew of a downed b29 bomber who's copilot was Texan also I think it symbolizes her second moniker "the gun fighter"

  3. Can you please do a video on the history of the RCN? I bought a book at the Haida museum called "Tin Can Canucks" it's extremely interesting with the history of all of our destroyers to present

  4. So why doesn't the secondary on Haida have a 14.7 KM range WG? Give secondaries realistic range values please.

  5. a little bit overkill on the german ships come on what could a german ship that has crashed in to a small island do… maybe kill a fish or two?

  6. Next ship y’all should do is the USS Johnston, the ship that fended off the Japanese Armada

  7. The HMCS Ojibwa isn't too far from Hamilton, you should take a look at that!

  8. Representing my Country Canada is so epic in World of Warships thank you Wargaming :).

  9. Why is the Lt wearing a female shirt? Since the tape can't be reversed the shirt is buttoned on the left not on the right as males do.
    Gary Herold

  10. Seeing a "zipper-head" sullying the decks of such an august, sleek greyhound of death was difficult at first. Still, now that you've finally done a quality piece on a real warship (rather than all those little tiny army ration cans you've been climbing around for the last several years) I think I'll actually subscribe now!

    In all seriousness, I don't game (my 4 y/o niece usually kicks my butt in Mario Kart ) but I have found your video series to be an OUTSTANDING educational tool in my high school classes and a great way to help the gear-heads I teach to actually appreciate history.

    So, Bravo-Zulu for the work….and if you could find it in your heart to do a piece on my first ship, the remarkable HMCS KOOTENAY (DDE-259) I'd be forever grateful. Heart of Oak, and keep up the great work!

  11. Always hear about the U.S. wanting to revive Battleships, why don’t we revive these along with them? New build of course, update the power systems, add a couple Phalanx CIWS, and off you go

  12. Well that definitely was an eye-opener. Special about all volunteer Force. I'm impressed!

  13. Very nice! I spent a weekend on the Haida back in the 70's as a sea cadet. It was moored in Toronto then. A seriously cool adventure then for a kid – ahh another lifetime ago….

  14. My father served on a corvette during the War. The North Atlantic run escorting convoys. As did his brother, who unfortunately suffered from chronic sea sickness.

  15. For anyone who is interested, the following is a more detailed account of the Channel naval battle of the night of June 9, 1944 which includes many interesting background details re: the 10th Destroyer Flotilla and its night fighting campaign of 1944.
    https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1117&context=cmh

  16. As a former member of the Friends of HMCS Haida, I used to give tours to visitors to the ship. I can tell you that the bridge of the Haida is the best place to be on a nice day on Hamilton Bay. Thanks to World of Warships and the Chieftain for producing this video! Two thumbs up!

  17. Was sad to see her leave Toronto. Been on board a couple of times when I was young

  18. My dad was on the Micmac a sister ship and I was very young but it will always be a source of pride for me

  19. They should bring her back to Toronto where people can see and tour her without having to go into that shithole Hamilton.

  20. Wooooo Hooooo. Welcome to the Hammer World of Warship viewers!  Proud Hamiltonian here.

  21. I live in Hamilton and it's always a treat to go to the harbour and see the Haida. But, to be fair, this is the first time I've actually learned about its wartime history. Glorious.

  22. I was so excited to see this and show my wife. I was privileged enough to spend a weekend on the HMCS Haida when she was at Ontario Place in Toronto. Members of my Air Cadet squadron were there to learn, polish brass and clean off the goose poop. I even fired the 12 o'clock 4" gun. Thank you very much for posting.

  23. They should move it to the west coast where the Haida people live

  24. They should have had The_chieftain do all of the videos. wish there was a playlist of videos he was in

  25. After being retired, she was in Toronto Harbour for a long time before going to Hamilton.

  26. I toured HMCS Haida in '97 when she was still in Toronto. One thing that surprised me was how small it seemed for an ocean going vessel. Those in Corvettes must have felt like they were in a bathtub. Haida participated in the D-Day invasion also.

  27. Great commentary and photography, but made almost unwatchable by dreadful soundtrack.
    It doesn't need loud drumming, it's not a video game. The sound completely distracts from the story and is completely incongruous with the period and subject.

  28. at the end of the war our tribals main armament was 3 to 4 twin mounts of 5.9" royal navy rifles. Pocket cruisers. heavily armed, fast, well-armoured. very nasty ships.

  29. Harry DeWolf, her captain during the English Channel affairs, was one of the group who saved the Haida from scrapping and made her a museum at Toronto.

  30. Thank you Major Moran. Good video. There's so much more to her story than a short video can cover, but you did quite well in the time you had. When they first bought Haida from the government she was tied up at Pier 4, in Toronto. As a young 1960's Royal Canadian Sea Cadet, I had the privilege of guiding tourists around her many compartments. These many decades later, I live in Hamilton, about 5 kilometres from where she's currently berthed. It's still a thrill to visit her from time to time. I wish I'd know you were here, I'd have happily shouted you a pint.

  31. Haida is nice, a grand old lady, and has a great history, but I wanted to send some love to HMCS Star, the not glamorous ship in the background, land side, beside the Haida.
    "Wait, what? there a ship in the background? I don't see one, just non descript buildings, wtf?"
    Well some of those buildings are HMCS Star a long standing Canadian Navy Reserve establishment 'ship' which has been in service (and continues to be in service to this day). Generations of Hamiltonians have served "aboard" in wartime and peacetime her long before the arrival of the famous HMCS Haida.
    No disrespect of course, I appreciate so much that this video was made and that the Haida was included, but I wanted to give props to the long serving ship that stands beside her somewhat invisibly. Both are Hamilton icons though.
    Nice video.

  32. My father in law, Petty Officer Ken WRIGHT served in the RCN for 35 years…..one of his many ships he served on was HMCS Haida……

  33. This American loves our Canadian brothers and sisters for providing more than mutual support .
    God help you survive Trudeau.

  34. The Haida got her own WOW video?!?! That’s so cool! Just had to express myself.

  35. Ah ok i understand when a german boat drives on a riff-because the captai would save the live of his soldiers-then to bomb it with airplanes is ok? They surrendered

  36. I first saw Haida tied up at the foot of Yonge Street in Toronto in 1963 or 1964 when
    I was three, but until now, I had not known she had just then been decommissioned.

  37. The answer would be in this sentence: At that time, Canada was a dominion of the British empire and the defense of it's sea borders was entirely under the authority of Whitehall… First, Canada wasn't a Dominion per say, we had sovereignty over our international policies which by default is contrary to the stature given to a dominion since the statute of Wesminster (1931). HMCS stands for Her Majesty Canadian's Ship, Whitehall has nothing to do with that…

  38. She was great in her day ! She gets a easy pass. 9 ships sunk, in many conflicts. good job ! The Canucks are always reliable killers in war time.

  39. Great job with this video! Amazing CG and a wonderful story. Canadians everywhere would be very proud to watch this.

  40. i explores and went on the haida to look around for a school trip and it was the coolest experience

  41. My Father was a Chief Petty Officer on the Haida during WW2.. Want to get his war history

  42. This Peter Dixon on-screen commentator is a sitting disaster. Couldn't they have found someone who isn't a mush-mouthed, expressionless speaker? He is so terrible… he ruins the entire video for me. Bye.

  43. Sadly most Canadians don’t know much about our naval history, or how truly vital we were in the Second World War. Canada is one of the reasons the British didn’t fall to the nazi threat.

  44. My wife name is Haida,,and she's was giggling proud to have a ship bearing her name and fought gloriously,,hail Haida !!

  45. I dont get it. This is an informative lesson in naval history – and there are "Dislikes"? These must be from the uneducated and historically ignorant Trump red-neck and neo-nazi voters. Pricks. Thanks WG – as usual, with all your presentations – GREAT!

  46. pretty badass to have an entire gunnery accuracy award named after you. GO RCN!

  47. Those smiling Canadians are adorable. “Oh look there’s a torp eh, we should move out of its way, so it we don’t hurt it, eh”

  48. They have probably not haven't had a big boy since, I have probably got kids from Canuck female sailors back in the day

  49. The HMCS Haida was giving me ideas for a ship in Warship craft

    Like if you play Warship craft

  50. Bit late to the party here, binge watching the naval ledgends videos. If the 2nd ww taught us anything, it was that there will always be a need for the canadians, from their tankers to their airmen and the infantry. They have earned their place in history and deserve recognition.

  51. Canada may not answer to Whitehall anymore but Canada’s forces is still under the authority of her majesty.

  52. my grandfather worked on the ship in the late eighties early nineties with captain Gord shires when she was at ontario place, I remember the noon day gun firing. go G63

  53. Thanks for having this ship in the game and it mean a lot for me that its in the game

  54. Wasn't aware Canada fielded any capital ships. Very successful ship.

  55. From the U.S., very interesting and informative about one of our allies. The ship looks like it's ready to light the boilers and move out.

  56. I was in the Sea Cadets when I was a teen in Toronto . One summer I got to work on the HMCS Haida . They had me polishing the brass all over the ship . Lol . Still it was great . I still feel a part of her . A real part of Canadian history.

  57. WoW please make a video about BB Averof (Piza class ) from Hellenic royal navy

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