Nearly 60 rounds of high explosive shells hammered Col Gaddafi’s forces in a day of high drama for HMS Liverpool, whose guns silenced the enemy yet again – and smashed up a military convoy.
The veteran destroyer came under fire from coastal batteries near the port of Zlitan as she carried out a night-time mission with NATO forces.
She’d been dispatched by a patrol aircraft to fire star shells over a suspected pro-Government position when a shore battery began lobbing shells at Liverpool.
After pulling back briefly from the danger zone, the destroyer was ordered in once more to resume her illumination mission – only to be engaged once again.
None of the enemy shells hit home, but three high-explosive rounds left the barrel of the destroyer’s 4.5in main gun at twice the speed of sound – and promptly silenced the pro-Gaddafi battery.
Later in the same day, a patrol aircraft spied a vehicle convoy moving along the coast road carrying ammunition and equipment for the front line.
Once again the order, “4.5 – engage!” echoed around Liverpool’s operations room as 54 high-explosive rounds were sent crashing into the column of vehicles, destroying some, seriously damaging others.
In the resulting chaos on the ground, Allied jets closed in and halted the progress of any of the remaining vehicles in the convoy.
“Liverpool’s gun bay teams worked tirelessly to ensure the continuous supply of rounds to the gun,” said Liverpool’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Colin Williams.
“This vital work ensured the success of the mission – and the protection of the civilian population of Libya.”
With the exception of a few short breaks for maintenance, resupply and rest for the 250-plus ship’s company, the Portsmouth-based destroyer has been on station off Libya since April 8 when she relieved HMS Cumberland. She’ll remain committed to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector into the autumn.
Liverpool’s one of the three Royal Navy warships assigned to the NATO mission, as of today, comprises 17 Allied vessels drawing a dragnet along the Libyan coast.
Also aiding the combined international effort to support the Libyan people are helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and minehunter HMS Bangor, which is keeping the sea lanes in the Gulf of Sirte open.
Source: royalnavy, August 17, 2011;