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Cybele-class mine destructor vessel
Class overview
Name: Cybele-class mine destructor vessel
Builders: William Denny and Brothers
Swan Hunter
Operators:  Royal Navy
Built: 1943-1944
In service: 1944-1946
Completed: 2
Lost: 1
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,980 tonnes[1]
Length: 350 ft (110 m)
Beam: 60 ft (18 m)
Propulsion: None
Crew: 0

The Cybele class was a class of trimaran ships, constructed by the Royal Navy during World War II for the purpose of clearing minefields. Referred to as Mine Destructor Vessels, two ships of the class, HMS Cybele and HMS Cyrus were built in 1944; one was lost following D-Day, while the other survived the war only to be scrapped shortly thereafter.

Design and development

Officially designated as mine destructor vessels,[2] the Cybele class was a large trimaran vessel,[3] constructed using a steel lattice truss framework.[4] They were intended to be towed through minefields that used pressure mines, creating a pressure wave that would detonate the mines; the open lattice construction of the ships would, according to the design, allow the blast to pass through the vessel without causing damage to it.[4]

The ships were constructed under conditions of the utmost secrecy;[5] they were originally referred to as 'Sterling craft',[4] then later designated as being part of the Algerine class of fleet minesweepers;[6] their design was still classified as late as the late 1960s.[7]

Operational history

Two ships of the class were ordered by the Admiralty, in September 1943. HMS Cybele was constructed by William Denny and Brothers on the River Clyde, while HMS Cyrus was built at the Swan Hunter shipyards in Wallsend.[1] Both ships were launched in January 1944; transferred to Scott Lithgow, located on the lower Clyde, for completion and fitting out, the two vessels were commissioned in May of that year.[1]

Both ships of the class saw use during Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of northern France; although the two vessels proved successful in operational service, when damaged they were difficult to control, being "as difficult to handle as a battleship".[8] Cyrus was wrecked in the Seine Estuary in late 1944;[8] Cybele survived the war, being scrapped in October 1946.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chesneau 1980, p.85.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Colledge and Warlow 2010, pp.98-99.
  3. Preston 1987, p.139.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Keegan 1977, p.174.
  5. Gardiner and Brown 2004, p.163.
  6. Elliott 1979, p.88.
  7. Colledge 1969, p.18.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Preston 1976, p.194.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed (1980). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Colledge, J.J. (1969). Ships of the Royal Navy: A Historical Index, Volume one: Major Ships (excluding trawlers, drifters, tugs, etc.). Devon, England: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-4353-1. 
  • Colledge, J.J.; Ben Warlow (2010). Ships of the Royal Navy: A Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century to the Present. Newbury, England: Casemate. ISBN 978-1-935149-07-1. 
  • Elliott, Peter (1979). Allied Minesweeping in World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-904-7. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; D.K. Brown (2004). The Eclipse of the Big Gun: The Warship 1906-1945. Conway's History of the Ship. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 978-0-85177-953-9. 
  • Keegan, John (1977). Encyclopedia of World War II. New York: Gallery Books. ISBN 978-1-902616-48-3. 
  • Preston, Antony (1976). An Illustrated History of the Navies of World War II. New YorkASIN B002DSNA0E: Gallery Books. 
  • Preston, Antony (1987). History of the Royal Navy in the 20th century. New York: Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-86124-364-8. 

Warning: Display title "<i>Cybele</i> class mine destructor vessel" overrides earlier display title "<i>Cybele</i>-class mine destructor vessel".

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