Minelayers (ACM or CM)

Photograph of USS Terror


Minelayers are ships equipped to lay various kinds of mines in shallow waters.  The United States built one minelayer from the keel up, the Terror, but most of its minesweepers were converted from other types, such as destroyers. These converted minelayers generally proved satisfactory. The Japanese also built a dedicated minelayer, Itsukushima, but most of her minelayers were minelayer/net tender or minelayer/escort ship hybrids.

Most minelayers were used for defensive minelaying, where mines were laid to protect friendly waters (such as approaches to friendly ports.) Such minelayers required neither speed nor endurance nor heavy armament. However, offensive minelaying, where mines were laid around enemy ports or along enemy shipping lanes, required enough speed to reach the target area, lay the mines, and get clear before the minelayer was detected. The U.S. Navy therefore classified fast minelayers (which usually converted destroyers) separately from other minelayers. However, we do not make the distinction in the following lists of minelayer classes.

Japanese minelayers

Eijo class

Hatsutaka class


Ma class

Natsushima class


Sokuten class

Tatsumiya Maru class


Tsubame class



American minelayers

Converted Clemson class

Converted Wickes class

Robert H. Smith class


British minelayers

Abdiel class

Australian minelayers


Dutch minelayers


Prinz Van Oranje class

Pro Patria


Willem van der Zan

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