Motor Minesweeper's were purpose built, wooden, shallow draft, minesweepers with both SA and LL sweeping capabilities. SA is Sweep Acoustic, a device similar to a Kanga Hammer which makes a loud thumping noise which explodes acoustic mines. LL (double L) is a pair of electric cables which are towed parallel to each other on floats and emit a strong electric pulse which generates a magnetic field which detonates magnetic mines.

Four Hundred and two Motor Minesweeper were built for the Royal Navy between 1940 and 1945.

Admiralty type; 1 to 118 and 123 to 313
Displacement      165 Tons
Length:                 105 Feet (32 metres)
Beam:                   23 Feet (7 metres)
Draft:                    9 feet 6 inches. (2.9 Metres)
Engine:                 Diesel. 500 BHP.
Speed:                  12.65 Miles per hour. (11 knots)
Complement:      20 Officers and men.
Armament:          Two 20 mm Anti-aircraft guns
                              Two machine guns.

MMS 173, Built by J. W. & A. Upham, Brixham. Launched 21 November 1941. Completed May 1942. The Netherlands Navy acquired MMS 173 and named it after the Dutch island Textel.

In service until returned to the Royal Navy in November 1942. The reason the minesweeper was returned, was because she was fitted with a 500 hp Newbury diesel engine, whereas her sister ships all had Crossley diesels. Served with 136th and 140th Minesweeping flotillas. Placed on sale list November, 1945. May still be in existence today in Oslo.

On 6th May, 1942  MMS 173 was  bombed and received minor damage. 

Sunday, 12 November 1944.  SANDY, Ronald L, Ordinary Telegraphist, RNPS, LT/JX 341809, DOWS. (Died of Wounds)

OFFICERS from Navy List June 1943.
Temp. Lieut. RNR, L. J. Barker. 24 March 43.

OFFICERS from Navy List June. 1944.
Temp. Lieut. RNR, L. J. Barker. 24 March 43.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, S. R. Linder. 24 Feb 43.

OFFICERS from Navy List January 1945.
Temp. Lieut. RNR, L. J. Barker. 24 March 43.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, S. R. Linder. 24 Feb 43.

OFFICERS from Navy List July 1945.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR,  K. P. Crampton. 26 April 45.

MMS 173

If you, your father or your grandfather have any additional information about this ship, crew lists, stories, photographs, please send copies of them to be added to our records and this website.

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Motor Minesweeper MMS 173 would have looked the same as her sister ship, MMS 192. Note, the Acoustic “hammer” on the bow in the up position used to sweep for acoustic mines and the drum on the stern for the LL cables used to detonate magnetic mines.

Watch these short videos about the Wildfire III Minesweepers.


D-day minesweepers:

Clearing the Scheldt:

The Relief of Holland: