The corvette was born out of dire need at the beginning of World War Two for something to fill the gap until the larger destroyers could be brought on line. The design used was an untested one based on a whaling ship.
The corvettes could sail at 16 knots while the surfaced U-boats could manage 17-18 knots. They were short and had a broad beam which allowed them to patrol in a fierce weather while most other escort vessels could only concentrate on survival. This hull design also made them "roll on a wet grass" as one quote has it, they were very lively at sea and during the worst storms even the most hardened naval veterans felt uneasy for sea-sickness. But they served very well and never gave the U-boats any break due to bad weather. Over 20 corvettes were lost to U-boats.
Eventually roughly half of the escorts in the North Atlantic convoys were corvettes.
The most famous class of corvettes was the Flower class which was a formidable U-boat hunter.
All Corvette classes
The list is divided by navy, then ordered by commissioned date of each class (oldest first).
|Flower (196)||1940 - 1944|
|Flower (rev.) (42)||1942 - 1944|
|Castle (39)||1943 - 1945|
|Gabbiano (19)||1942 - 1943|
Please note that we list the classes by navies that initiated/owned the class. Often vessels of certain classes were then built for other nations (or lent), those ships are not visible here but only through the navies pages or by looking into each class.
War losses: Corvettes
|22 Jun 1940||FR La Bastiaise||Flower|
|6 Sep 1940||HMS Godetia (i) (K 72)||Flower|
|12 Aug 1941||HMS Picotee (K 63)||Flower|
|23 Aug 1941||HMS Zinnia (K 98)||Flower|
|19 Sep 1941||HMCS Levis (i) (K 115)||Flower|
|14 Oct 1941||HMS Fleur de Lys (K 122)||Flower|
|17 Oct 1941||HMS Gladiolus (K 34)||Flower|
|7 Dec 1941||HMCS Windflower (K 155)||Flower|
|24 Dec 1941||HMS Salvia (K 97)||Flower|
|5 Feb 1942||HMS Arbutus (i) (K 86)||Flower|
|9 Feb 1942||FFL Alysse (K 100)||Flower|
|11 Feb 1942||HMCS Spikenard (K 198)||Flower|
|9 Apr 1942||HMS Hollyhock (K 64)||Flower|
|6 May 1942||HMS Auricula (K 12)||Flower|
|9 Jun 1942||FFL Mimosa (K 11)||Flower|
|11 Sep 1942||HMCS Charlottetown (i) (K 244)||Flower|
|9 Nov 1942||HMS Gardenia (K 99)||Flower|
|18 Nov 1942||HNoMS Montbretia (K 208)||Flower|
|9 Dec 1942||HMS Marigold (K 87)||Flower|
|19 Dec 1942||HMS Snapdragon (K 10)||Flower|
|30 Jan 1943||HMS Samphire (K 128)||Flower|
|6 Feb 1943||HMCS Louisburg (i) (K 143)||Flower|
|9 Feb 1943||HMS Erica (K 50)||Flower|
|22 Feb 1943||HMCS Weyburn (K 173)||Flower|
|21 Sep 1943||HMS Polyanthus (K 47)||Flower|
|10 Mar 1944||HMS Asphodel (K 56)||Flower|
|8 Aug 1944||HMCS Regina (K 234)||Flower|
|21 Aug 1944||HMCS Alberni (K 103)||Flower|
|21 Aug 1944||HMS Orchis (K 76)||Flower|
|1 Sep 1944||HMS Hurst Castle (K 416)||Castle|
|26 Oct 1944||HNoMS Rose (K 102)||Flower|
|25 Nov 1944||HMCS Shawinigan (K 136)||Flower|
|12 Dec 1944||HNoMS Tunsberg Castle (K 374)||Castle|
|13 Feb 1945||HMS Denbigh Castle (K 696)||Castle|
|17 Feb 1945||HMS Bluebell (K 80)||Flower|
|20 Feb 1945||HMS Vervain (K 190)||Flower|
|22 Feb 1945||HMCS Trentonian (K 368)||Flower (rev.)|
37 Corvettes lost. See all Allied Warship losses.
Cruel Sea, The
Books dealing with this subject include:
The Battle of the Atlantic, Bailey, Chris Howard (ed.), 1994