HMS Manchester (15) and Otakar Jaroš

For other ships of the same name, see HMS Manchester.

The second HMS Manchester was a Town-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, belonging to the Gloucester subclass. She was laid down by Hawthorn Leslie at Hebburn in March 1936, launched in April the following year and commissioned in August 1938. She had a relatively short, but active, career.

Contents 1 Early war service 2 Bismarck and the Mediterranean convoys 2.1 Sinking 3 Aftermath 4 Battle honours 5 See also 6 Notes 7 Citations 8 References 9 External links

Early war service

Manchester was serving in the East Indies with the 4th Cruiser Squadron at the outbreak of war, but was ordered home and arrived back Britain on 25 November 1939. She subsequently served with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, on Northern Patrol duties, capturing the German merchantman Wahehe on 21 February 1940. She first saw action during the ill-fated Norwegian campaign in 1940, where she won her first battle honour. She was then based in the Humber for anti-invasion duties, but on 15 September sailed to the Mediterranean for Operation Collar. In 1940, Manchester, along with other Royal Navy warships, engaged an Italian cruiser squadron, in a naval action that became known as the battle of Cape Spartivento. Men smothered in fuel oil taking a breath of fresh air on HMS Manchester's flight deck, after being rescued from below deck. One of them is wearing a life preserver. Manchester had been damaged by an aerial torpedo but was not sunk Bismarck and the Mediterranean convoys

Manchester returned to Britain on 13 December 1940 and spent the first four months of 1941 under refit, then patrolled the Iceland-Faroes passage during the Bismarck sortie. In July she returned to the Mediterranean for an important Malta convoy, but on 23 July she was hit on the port quarter by an aerial torpedo and badly damaged. Temporary repairs were made at Gibraltar, and the ship then sailed for Philadelphia for complete repair. This was finished on 27 February 1942, after which she returned to Portsmouth, where final work was completed by the end of April. On her return to service she joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow during the first week of May, then carried out Russian convoy cover duties and the reinforcement of Spitzbergen. In August she returned to the Mediterranean. Sinking

Manchester took part in Operation Pedestal, an operation to supply the besieged island of Malta, and which cost a number of warships, including the carrier HMS Eagle. During the operation, on 13 August, she was torpedoed and disabled by two Italian motor torpedo boats and subsequently scuttled with explosive charges. She was the largest ship sunk by motor torpedo boats during the Second World War. Operation Pedestal, 11 August: A general view of the convoy under air attack showing the intense anti-aircraft barrage put up by the escorts. The battleship HMS Rodney is on the left and HMS Manchester is on the right Aftermath

Her commanding officer, Captain Harold Drew, was court-martialled due to the Admiralty's belief that the ship was still navigable and capable of reaching a neutral port. Captain Drew was initially led to believe that he was taking part in an enquiry, and was only informed at the end of the trial that he was in fact being charged with negligence by a court martial. He was found guilty, and was reprimanded and dismissed. It was and remains a contentious decision; the ship had been crippled, and the Captain had feared the ship, including her radar gear, might fall into enemy hands. Many of the ship's crew were rescued by an Allied warship." Others, including Nigel Malim, fell into the hands of the Vichy French and were interned at Laghouat, to be released in November as a result of Operation Torch. Notably, the surviving crew members strongly supported both Captain Drew's assessment of the ship's situation and his decision to scuttle her, with one seaman stating "We were down to 10-15% ammunition, listing at nearly 45 degrees, with one engine destroyed and not much hope of getting the other working. The Captain decided that his choices were to wait until dawn and get blown to buggery, or to save the men."

In 2002, Manchester was the subject of a documentary by ITV, called "Running the Gauntlet: Sink the Manchester!".

In 2009, a successful expedition to dive HMS Manchester was completed. Battle honours Norway 1940 Spartivento 1940 Malta 1942 Arctic 1942 See also Operation Pedestal Notes

a. ^ There is some disagreement about Manchesters fatalities among the sources: The following websites mention 150 "lost": "Royal Navy Cruisers - Part 4". Alex's Royal Navy Page. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. "HMS Liverpool - Town Class Light Cruisers". The Naval Ships of Victor Johns. Retrieved 27 June 2013.

A more accurate account of the cruiser casualties reports 132 killed or missing and 568 survivors (rescued either by Allied forces or Vichy authorities)..

Other sources only mention the deaths as result of the torpedo impact (about a dozen). . Citations ^ Malvezzi, Pierluigi. "MAS, VAS and MS". Regia Marina Italiana. Retrieved 27 June 2013.  ^ "HMS Manchester". The Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 27 June 2013.  ^ Rear Admiral Nigel Malim CB LVO DL at, accessed 3 July 2013 ^ "Sleeping giant". Diver Magazine. November 2009. 

Otakar Jaroš and HMS Manchester (15)

Otakar Jaroš (Czech pronunciation: ; 1 August 1912 – 8 March 1943) was a Czech officer in the Czechoslovak forces in the Soviet Union. He was killed in the Battle of Sokolovo and became the first foreigner decorated with the highest Soviet decoration, Hero of the Soviet Union.

Contents 1 Early life 2 Military career 3 Life in the Protectorate 4 World War II 5 Death 6 Decorations 7 Honoring 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Early life

Otakar Jaroš was born in Louny, Bohemia (Austria-Hungary, today the Czech Republic) into the family of a Czech railway engineer. When he was nine months old, his father was transferred to Mělník and the family followed him. Jaroš spent his childhood in Mělník and joined the Sokol and Scout organisations. These two organisations formed his physical skills and later fighting spirit. Military career

Following Czech independence in 1918, Jaroš studied in grammar school, but he left and attended high school in electrotechnics. After graduation, he was drafted and served his basic military service in the 3rd Signals Brigade in Trnava. He attended the non-commissioned officers school for a year and finished as a corporal. Jaroš went on to attend the school for reserve officers in Turnov. Following the advice of his uncle, Colonel František Konopásek, Jaroš entered the military academy in Hranice. On 29 August 1937 he was appointed to the rank of sub-lieutenant. He served as the commander of a signals platoon in Prešov for a year. Life in the Protectorate

After the 1938 Munich Agreement, Czechoslovakia was disunited. Jaroš returned to Mělník where the municipal office asked him to be the chief of police, which he refused. Instead, he worked for the post office in Náchod. World War II

Jaroš did not accept the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, and in the summer of 1939 he escaped to Poland where he joined a Czechoslovak Legion in Krakow under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ludvík Svoboda. When Poland was defeated by the Nazis and its eastern parts were occupied by the Soviet Union, the legion fell on 17 September into Soviet captivity.

In the Soviet internment, Jaroš led the signals platoon and also the officer's school. In January 1940 he began serving as the radio operator of the Czechoslovak military mission, Moscow. After the German assault on the Soviet Union, the situation changed radically. In the rank of lieutenant (since October 1941), Jaroš, together with other Czech officers, became a constituent member of the First Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion in Buzuluk in 1942. He was made First Lieutenant and was in command of 1st Company (February 7, 1942). Death

During a German counteroffensive in February 1943, the Czechoslovak battalion was ordered to defend the frozen river in the vicinity of Kharkov. Jaroš's strengthened 1st Company took position in front of the river in the village of Sokolovo; the rest of the battalion and supporting Soviet units stayed behind the river. On the afternoon of 8 March, German armored troops with at least 14 tanks launched two attacks on Sokolovo. In the ensuing battle, 1st Company was almost annihilated, and Jaroš was killed. Fighters of his company have destroyed about 19 tanks and 6 APCs. They were ordered to remain until reinforcements could arrive, but the supporting tanks could not cross the thawing river (the battalion's commander had neglected to take into account the terrain). Not until late that night were the remnants of 1st Company ordered to retreat, the further defence of Sokolovo having lost any value, as the unfrozen river no longer provided an avenue for the Germans to advance. Jaroš himself has been wounded twice during battle, and was killed during attempt to destroy German tank: he approached tank with a sheaf of grenades and was machine-gunned by it. Shortly after this tank has been destroyed in wake of grenades explosion. Decorations Otakar Jaroš on a 1969 postage stamp of the USSR.

For his heroism Otakar Jaroš was posthumously promoted to captain, and on 17 April 1943 he was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first member of a foreign army to be so honoured.

Other decorations: Československý válečný kříž 1939 (Czechoslovak Military Cross), 13.3.1943 Order of Lenin, 17.4.1943 Sokolovská pamětní medaile (Commemorative medal of Sokolovo), 8.3.1948 Honoring

One of the streets in Kharkov was named after Otakar Jaroš to memorise his deed.

The Embankment of Captain Jaroš (nábřeží Kapitána Jaroše) along the Vltava River in Prague (and its eponymous tram stop) also has been named in his honor since 1948. See also Richard Tesařík
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