Wind class icebreaker

The "Wind"-class icebreakers were a line of diesel electric-powered icebreakers in service with the US Navy, United States Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Coast Guard and Soviet Navy from 1944 through the late 1970's. Considered the most technologically advanced icebreakers in the world when first built, the "Wind"-class icebreakers were also heavily armed; the first operator of the class was the United States Coast Guard, which used the vessels for much-needed coastal patrol off Greenland during World War II. Three of the vessels of the class, the "Westwind", the "Southwind", and the first "Northwind" all went on to serve temporarily for the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, while two others were built for the United States Navy and another was built for the Royal Canadian Navy; all eight vessels were eventually transferred to the United States Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The "Winds" were the first class of true icebreakers built by the United States. Gibbs & Cox of New York provided the designs with input from the Coast Guard's Naval Engineering Division. The final design was heavily influenced by studies conducted by then LCDR Edward Thiele of foreign icebreakers, namely the Swedish "Ymer" and the Soviet "Krasin".

Seven ships of the class were built in the United States, and one modified version (the "Labrador") was built in Canada.

Ship Numbers

Initially, the ships of the "Wind"-class carried the designation of WAG for Coast Guard operated Auxiliary, General, and were numbered consecutively from AG-278; this was identified on the ships by painting the letter "W" before the number in order to visually differentiate them from their Navy sisters. In 1949 this was changed to WAGB for Coast Guard operated Auxiliary, General, Ice Breaker. The two vessels built for the Navy, the "Burton Island" and the "Edisto" were initially classified as AG-88 and AG-89, in 1949 this was changed to AGB-1 and AGB-2. The former Lend-Lease sisters were renamed and reclassified by the Navy upon their return back to the United States; the "Southwind" became the "Atka" and classified by the Navy as AGB-3, the first "Northwind" became the "Staten Island" and classified by the Navy as AGB-5, and the "Westwind" was classified by the Navy as AGB-6, but she was never operated by the Navy. In 1965-66, all U.S. Icebreakers were transferred to the Coast Guard. At that time, the "Atka" was renamed "Southwind", and reclassified as WAGB-280, the "Staten Island" was reclassified as WAGB-278, the former Navy "Burton Island" was reclassified as WAGB-283, and the former Navy "Edisto" was reclassified as WAGB-284.

For its "Wind"-class icebreaker, the Royal Canadian Navy assigned Pennant number AW 50 to the "Labrador".

General characteristics

(as originally fitted during WWII)
* Builder: Western Pipe and Steel Company
* Power Plant: six Fairbanks Morse diesel engines at 2000 Bhp each, powering 3 electric propulsion motors (the front propellor was detachable and seldom used; the bow propeller was not used for propulsion, but rather was used to help break through the ice)
* Length: 269 ft (82 m)
* Beam: 63.5 ft (19.4 m)
* Displacement: approx 6,515 tons full load
* Speed: 16.8 knots ( km/h)
** "Eastwind": knots ( km/h)
** "Westwind": knots ( km/h)
** "Westwind": knots ( km/h)
* Aircraft: 1 Grumman J2F Duck seaplane
* Cost: about US$10 million each
* Average Annual Operating Cost: US$?? million
* Service Life: ?? years
* Crew: 21 officers, 295 enlisted (as built. Following World War Two, the American members of this class had their armament greatly reduced, which also reduced their complement.)
* Armament: four 5-inch/38 (127 mm) dual purpose guns (2 twin turrets); twelve 40mm/60 AA guns (3 quadruple turrets); six 20mm/80 AA; Y-guns; two depth charge racks; one Hedgehog (weapon) launcher
* Date Deployed:

Ships in class

imilar Vessels

*USCGC|Mackinaw|WAGB-83 - Great Lakes icebreaker based on the "Wind"-class design



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