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  1. This is going to be a bit of a historical write-up on ZG-3 “Hermes”, her background, her service and a few pictures for those that prefer something for the eye. Why that ex-Greek destroyer? Because she is in her form a unique ship. Germany only operated one destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea (and a good number of torpedoboats, although the line between DD and TB for the Germans was purely a question of what staff was on board, hence why the then ex-Italian Soldati-class were considered TBs), and it was one of the few Greek ships to fall into Axis hands. During her career she was without doubt the largest Kriegsmarine-operated warship in the Mediterranean, and one of the most active destroyers that Germany had during the entire war. Being only one and being deployed in a theatre that in the mainstream-view on history kind of ignored, she has been dropped under the table. An unfortunate fate, especially given her short but still busy life. Background The Greek Navy at the outbreak of WW2 was a mostly outdated Navy, which starting with the destroyers was to be modernized. Borrowing design elements from the British H-class destroyers, yet carrying German main weaponry and Dutch fire control equipment, she was the nameship of the most powerful class of Greek destroyers. The standard displacement was 1,350t which would go up 1,890t when fully loaded, and her 34,000shp machinery would permit a speed of up to 36kn. Four German 128mm (identical to those found on German destroyers), two quadruple 533mm torpedo launchers of British origin supplemented the armament, with four 37mm guns in single mounts and ASW being the final touch. Entering service on February 15th 1939 under the name Vasilevs Georgios I., she was damaged at her aft two years later by German dive bombers, and while being in a floating drydock to get repaired the entire drydock was sunk on April 20th 1941. Following the surrender of Greece the sunken ship, contrary to the German-Italian agreement which said that all captured ships would become Italian property, was integrated into the Kriegsmarine. Many repairs being necessary she was raised and repaired by workers of the Germania-yard. Those repairs, often being improvised in their nature, led to a few changes in her characteristics. The displacement rose to 1,414t standard and 2,088t full, which alongside the problems arising from previous bomb damage to the aft resulted in a lowered maximum speed of 32kn. The torpedo armament was modified to fit German torpedoes, whereas the artillery due to the German origin required no changes. Four 20mm guns were added for additional anti-air defense and throughout her service the older 37mm cannons, which proved unsatisfactory, were replaced by guns of the same caliber taken from Uboats. What was liked was her seakeeping, she was noted to be very smooth in her movements and having excellent turning capabilities, although when sailing against the waves she would take on a lot of water. She was recommissioned under the designation ZG-3 (which is short for Zerstörer Griechenland 3, Greek destroyer 3, with the 3 indicating that she was the third captured destroyer under the German flag) on March 3rd 1942. Under the German flag While the ship was commissioned in March, it took until June before she was deemed ready for combat. Although to spoil that part, there is no indication that she ever fired her main guns in anger. Interestingly enough she was at first called into service only as ZG-3, and only on August 22nd 1942 was she officially given the name Hermes. Considering how the Kriegsmarine stopped naming their destroyers with the outbreak of the war, this is a very unique event and definitely worth a mention. Hermes was deployed as a vessel for various tasks, or as the German saying goes as a “girl for everything”, and until the end of April 1943 she would be deployed over 50 times, escorting in total 74 merchant ships, eight troop transports and eleven other crafts such as netlayers and repair ships. Despite being alone in terms of nationality she was rarely alone on the water, during most of her trips she was accompanied by Italian destroyers, torpedoboats and occasionally by subchasers. Her only chance to see surface action was when Italian cruisers and destroyers were prepared for an expected movement of British reinforcements targeting Egypt. However, her order for assisting the Italians was recalled shortly before the operation began. Not facing surface ships did not exclude her from engaging submarines during her voyages, which happened twice during Hermes’ career. On November 16th 1942 Hermes spotted the Greek submarine Triton, and the assisting subchaser UJ2102 moved in for the kill. A similar fate struck HMS Splendid on April 21st 1943, although this time Hermes operated alone and had to sink the British submarine by herself. A more positive experience was granted to the German Uboats U-83 and U-97, who due to damage and the consequential inability to dive required assistance. Hermes escorted both of them back to port, former on August 18th 1942, latter on August 5th of the same year. As it was the case for many smaller German ships, Hermes would also be used for mine warfare. No less than three mine operations marked her career. Having plenty of experience escorting troop transports, she would eventually be used as a transport herself to quickly deliver troops and ordnance to Tunis. During her second run on April 30th 1943 air attacks first sank the accompanying Italian destroyer and then turned their attention to the now alone ship. Near misses resulted in the loss of lubrication pumps, and her engines were forced to full stop as the shafts ground against the hose without grease in between. Surviving the attack, a tugboat pulled her towards her destination Tunis where work was started to restore the combat readiness. However, the collapsing front at Tunis meant that survival would not be possible and she would be blown up by her own crew at the harbor entrance as a blockship. This marked the end of ZG-3 Hermes, during her 431 day long career as the only German destroyer on the Mediterranean she would be outside of a port for 124 days. Not much is known about her conduct and the impressions she left on those that had the pleasure of meeting her, but it is said that the crews of the merchants held a high opinion on Hermes and her crew for the dedication they showed even if the escorting would go without notable events. Her service, while not being as remarkable as that of the legends such as Johnston or Hatsuzuki, demonstrated how monotone yet crucial the role of a destroyer can be. A role that in Germany was rarely granted to destroyers. Picture section Blueprint-like drawings of Hermes in decent quality are difficult to find. This is the best one I could dig up, although it is not showing the added 20mm weaponry and is likely showing her in her pre-captured shape. A front view from her deck towards the superstructure. Interesting to note are the aerial recognition stripes on her deck (or called candy cane camo) which are typical features of Italian ships. Given how Hermes spent most of her time alongside Italian ships, wearing their recognition marks to avoid getting bombed by Allied forces a la Leberecht Maass was a reasonable thing to do. Hermes during her trials in 1942. Note the empty AA platform, although around the rear superstructure you can see a 20mm gun. While only displaying a relatively small portion of the ship, this shot shows the typical German 128mm mounts and the 20mm gun mounted at the tip of her bow. Various pictures of Hermes. She is wearing a similar camouflage to the Italian destroyers and torpedoboats. Afterword Playing this game just like most of you do, the question “Would she fit in-game?” deserves a quick answer. And the answer is yes. Her specs would fit perfectly at T5 if you kept the 32kn speed, T6 if you decided to let her run around with permanently overloaded engines. T-22’s sad state would be good enough of a justification to do a swift replace, or if WG wants to make Hermes a T5 premium (which would be better than T-22 in basically every way). Hope you enjoyed this short overview over Germany's only destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea, if you got questions, feel free to ask. Cheers~ References "Die deutschen Zerstörer 1935-1945" written by Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke "Z-Vor! Internationale Entwicklung und Kriegseinsätze von Zerstörern und Torpedobooten 1940-1945", written by Harald Fock "Marine Arsenal Band 46 – Beute-Zerstörer und Torpedoboote der Kriegsmarine", written by Dr. Z. Freivogel
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