Very Special Ships is the first full-length book about the six Abdiel-class fast minelayers, the fastest and most versatile ships to serve in the Royal Navy in the Second World War. They operated not only as offensive minelayers dashing into enemy waters under cover of darkness but in many other roles, most famously as blockade runners to Malta. In lieu of mines, they transported items as diverse as ammunition, condensed milk, gold, and VIPs. Distinguished by their three funnels, the Abdiels were attractive, well-designed ships, and they were also unique no other navy had such ships, and so they were sought-after commands and blessed with fine captains. To give the fullest picture of this important class of ships, the book details the origins and history of mines, minelayers, and minelaying; covers the origins and design of the class; describes the construction of each of the six ships, and the modified design of the last two; tells in detail of the operational careers of the ships in the second World War, when they played vital roles in the battle of Crete and the siege of Malta, plied the hazardous route to Tobruk, and laid mines off the Italian coast. The post-war careers of the surviving ships is also documented. Written to appeal to naval enthusiasts, students of World War II and modelmakers, the author tells the story of these ships through first-hand accounts, official sources, and specially- commissioned drawings and photographs.
Hearing Before the Special Oversight Panel on the Merchant Marine of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, Hearing Held July 16, 23, and October 8, 2002