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SRD Aurora
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SRD Aurora
SRD Aurora in Constanta, 1940.

The ship was built in 1909 at Taranto for the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy and christened KuK Basilisk. It served as a minelayer during WWI on the Adriatic. In 1919 it was taken by the French Navy as war booty and renamed Aurore.

Its life under the Romanian flag started in 1922, when it was given to the Romanian Royal Navy as part of the pay up of some French debts from the war. The name was kept, but translated into Romanian. After five years it was taken out of use and was bought by Societatea Romana Dunareana (SRD), which operated it on the Danube.

In 1939, as the international situation worsened, Romania declared a partial mobilization of its armed forces in March. The Aurora was. It had just recently been overhauled and was in good shape. The Navy armed it with two 13.2 mm AA machine-guns and set it up to carry and launch a maximum of 40 mines. After all the changes were made, lt. cdor. (r) Stan Baicu was given command of the ship.

The first mine-laying operation NMS Aurora was involved in was between 30 June 3 July 1940, when, together with NMS Durostor, installed several barrages near Sulina. In January 1941 it was part of another operation near Sulina, during which the NMS Remus Lepri gunboat was lost after hitting a Romanian mine.

Cpt. Titus Horodinca took over command.. After the war started, the NMS Aurora participated during the night of 27/28 June in a mine-laying mission, during which it closed down with a barrage the mouth of the Sulina Channel. The following morning the Sulina harbor was bombed and the ship was badly damaged, four sailors being killed and another two wounded. It was taken to the SRD naval shipyard at Ceamurlia. On 15 July 1941, 11 SBs (belonging to 40 BAP) bombed the yard and destroyed the Aurora.

Specifications
Maximum speed20 Kn
Draught2.20 m
Width7.92 m
Length49.07 m
Displacement273 t
Artillery2x13.2 mm
Mines40

Author: Victor Nitu
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