INS Delhi (C74)

This article is about the cruiser INS Delhi (1948-1978). For the present destroyer INS Delhi, see INS Delhi (D61). For pre 1948 service in the New Zealand Navy, see HMNZS Achilles.
For other ships with the same name, see HMS Delhi.
The ship when serving as HMNZS Achilles
Name: INS Delhi C74 [1]
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, England
Laid down: 11 June 1931
Launched: 1 September 1932
Acquired: by purchase, 1948
Commissioned: 5 July 1948
Decommissioned: 30 June 1978
Identification: Pennant number: C74
Fate: Scrapped, 1978
General characteristics
Class and type: Leander-class light cruiser
  • 7,270 long tons (7,387 t) standard
  • 9,740 long tons (9,896 t) full load (Oct 1945)
Length: 555 ft 6 in (169.32 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19 ft 2 in (5.84 m)
  • 4 × Parsons geared steam turbines
  • 6 × Yarrow boilers
  • 4 shafts
  • 73,280 shp (55 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Range: 5,730 nmi (10,610 km) at 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
  • 3 in (76 mm) magazine box
  • 1 in (25 mm) deck
  • 1 in (25 mm) turrets

INS Delhi was a Leander-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy in 1933 as HMS Achilles, and commissioned into the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy (from 1941 the Royal New Zealand Navy) in 1937 as HMNZS Achilles. She was returned to the Royal Navy at the end of the Second World War and in 1948 was sold to the Royal Indian Navy to be recommissioned as HMIS Delhi. In 1950 she was renamed INS Delhi and remained in service until decommissioned at Bombay on 30 June 1978.


The ship was commissioned into the Royal Indian Navy as HMIS Delhi on 5 July 1948 under the command of Captain H. N. S. Brown of the Royal Navy.[4] She had 17 British officers and petty officers, the rest of the crew being Indian. Commander Ram Dass Katari was her executive officer and the senior-most Indian officer, while Lieutenant Sardarilal Mathradas Nanda was her first lieutenant. HMIS Delhi arrived at Bombay on 16 September 1948.[4] She conducted her first major goodwill cruise in 1948, to East Africa, the Seychelles, and Mauritius.

After India became a Republic in January 1950, she was renamed INS Delhi. In June 1950, Commander Adhar Kumar Chatterji (later Chief of the Naval Staff) became her first Indian commanding officer; the same month she conveyed Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Indonesia on an official visit. In 1951 her first lieutenant was JB Simmons and she sailed to Africa and Madagascar, showing the flag for the first time since Independence. In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[5]

In 1956, she played herself, as Achilles, in the film Battle of the River Plate. In 1958 she was moved to a training role.

Portuguese-Indian War

On 18 December 1961, during the annexation of the Portuguese State of India, also known as "Operation Vijay" or the Portuguese-Indian War, in which the state of Goa and its dependencies of Daman and Diu were annexed, Delhi was tasked to patrol the waters off Diu.[6] At dawn, the ship was spotted by the Portuguese defenders, but they did not recognize its hoisted battle flag. The Portuguese land based artillery did not open fire considering it might be a cargo vessel. Indian Navy reports state that Delhi supported the Indian Army's advance by firing on the citadel, and neutralizing the airport control tower. The detailed Portuguese reports on the invasion do not mention fire from the main 6-inch (150 mm) guns of the Indian cruiser,[7] though a possible cause of the discrepancy is that the source of the fire from the ageing cruiser may not have been identified, due to the Indian Army firing from the landward side. Alternatively, the cruiser's shells may have fallen short of the citadel.

The only documented event of naval action between India and Portugal in Portuguese reports in the Diu region, was the sinking of the Portuguese patrol boat NRP Vega by Indian Air Force aircraft, after Vega opened fire on them with its sole Oerlikon 20 mm cannon. After the sinking of Vega the crew was taken prisoner-of-war on the shore.

Visit to New Zealand

In 1969, Delhi visited New Zealand under Vice Admiral Barbosa. The visit was the occasion of many reunions of Achilles veterans who were plied with large quantities of rum and beer, and taken on a quick trip by the ship.


Delhi was decommissioned at Bombay in 1978. Subsequently one of her gun turrets was sent to New Zealand, where it is preserved. A second turret, or gun, is reported to be preserved at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. The precise fate of the third turret is unknown, but a persistent rumour holds that it was officially recorded as "eaten by white ants".[8] The remainder of the ship was scrapped. The main mast serves as the quarterdeck through which cadets from the National Defence Academy of India pass out.

Commanding officers

19531953Captain A J Chatterji
c.1961c.1961Captain N Krishnan[9]
c.1969c.1969Captain VEC Barboza[9]


  2. Lenton & Colledge 1968 p.39
  3. Campbell 1985 p.34
  4. 1 2 Satyindra S,Bliueprint to Bluewater - The Indian Navy 1951 – 65; pub Lancer New Dehli 1992, ISBN 978-81-7062-148-5
  5. Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
  6. "Goa Operation". Indian Navy. 2004. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  7. de Morais, Carlos Alexandre (1995). A queda da Índia Portuguesa : crónica da invasão e do cativeiro [The Fall of Portuguese India: Chronicles of the invasion and captivity] (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Estampa.
  8. Nadkarni, J.G. (2012). "Why the Vikrant should become a national monument". Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  9. 1 2 Hiranandani G.M,Transition to Triumph - The Indian Navy 1965 – 75; pub Lancer Publishers LLC 2010, ISBN 978-1-897829-69-1


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