Corvette Explanations

Derived from the French term corvette, the corvette concept alludes to a warship that resembles a frigate, although with less range and tonnage. The name of the current ships comes from ancient ships that had a square sail and three masts.

Corvettes are used to defend territorial waters, carry out surveillance activities or carry out short-term missions. They have more weapons than patrol boats but, unlike frigates, they are not capable of extensive missions due to their limited autonomy.

The first corvettes, which used to escort merchant ships, fell out of use in the second half of the 19th century. At the time of the First World War, these vessels re-emerged with their contemporary characteristics with a displacement that, over time, reached 2,000 tons.

According to, modern corvettes generally have anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile launchers, torpedoes, anti-submarine mortars, sonar and radar. This allows them to carry out various military tasks successfully.

Among the first generation corvettes we can mention the Esmeralda corvette, launched in 1855 and belonging to the Chilean Navy. This vessel, which was manufactured in shipyards in England, participated in the Spanish-South American War and the War of the Pacific ; she was finally scuttled in 1879.

The Buyan-class corvettes, meanwhile, are modern corvettes in service with the Russian Navy. The Chinese Navy also currently has corvettes assigned to several of its fleets: the Jiangdao warships, also known as Type 056 corvettes.

Flower-class corvette

Also known as the Gladiolus-class corvette, the Flower -class saw heavy use in the United States, Canada, and England throughout World War II. When the confrontation began, the British Royal Navy began its manufacture, for which it had to employ various shipyards. One of them was in France; when the Germans captured it, they seized the four corvettes they were building there.

Typically, the total manufacturing period for a Flower -class corvette was between 23 and 30 days. It is estimated that approximately two hundred units were built ; each one has an order number preceded by the letter K. Two of the best known are HMS Blue Bell (K80) and HMS Snowberry (K166).

With respect to their general characteristics, the corvettes were vessels with a displacement of 940 or 1,170 tons (depending on whether it was a standard voyage or a full load), a propulsion plant with a boiler that was capable of reaching 16 knots (30 km /h; its autonomy was 4000 nautical miles if it moved at 12 knots), four cannons, two Lewis machine guns and an anti-submarine mortar.

The crew of a corvette of this type numbered 47 officers and sailors. She had two bridges: one open and one closed. Inside, the distribution had the objective of making the most of every square centimeter. The officers were in the center, while the cabins of the crew were in the bow and stern.

One of the weaknesses of the Flower-class corvette is that it possessed no protection or armor against torpedoes. Some specialists consider this feature to be a true “defect” of the design, and rely on the fact that it caused so many losses during clashes with German submarines.

When the war ended, some of the corvettes that had survived the battles were put up for sale, and were purchased by individuals or foreign governments; the rest were put to scrap. It is worth mentioning that among these surviving corvettes, so to speak, some were used as harpoon ships, one of the components of whaling fleets.