A-class destroyer (1913)

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For the 1927 programme's A class, see A-class destroyer.
HMS Daring
HMS Daring, the lead ship of the "26-knotter" group
Class overview
Builders: Various
Operators: Royal Navy
Built: 1892–1895
In commission: 1893–1920
Completed: 42
Lost: 3
General characteristics
Displacement: From 185–340 long tons (188–345 t)
Length: 200–210 ft (61–64 m)
Propulsion: Triple expansion steam engines
Coal-fired water-tube boilers
Speed: 26 kn (48 km/h) or 27 kn (50 km/h)
Complement: 46 to 53
Armament: 1 × QF 12-pounder gun
Up to 5 × QF 6 pounder guns
2 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes[1]
Daring and Havock class ships had a third torpedo tube in the bow, later removed

The A class as designated in 1913 was a heterogeneous group of torpedo boat destroyers (TBDs) built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1890s. Some 42 vessels were constructed to the individual designs of their builders to meet Admiralty specifications, the only uniting feature being a specified top speed of 27 knots (50 km/h). In fact the initial six vessels were generally differentiated by a slightly lower speed and were often referred to as "26-knotters" to distinguish them from the following batch of thirty-six vessels; all surviving "27-knotter" vessels were classified by the Admiralty as the A class in 1913 to provide some system to the naming of HM destroyers. All of the "26-knotters" and most of the "27-knotters" had been lost or scrapped before the 1913 classification (and so - strictly speaking - never survived to become 'A' class), but for convenience all 42 ships are listed below. The number of funnels varied from one to four. All vessels had a distinctive "turtleback" forecastle that was intended to clear water from the bow, but actually tended to dig the bow in to anything of a sea, resulting in a very wet conning position.

They generally displaced around 260 tons and had a length of around 200 feet (61 m). All were powered by triple expansion steam engines and had coal-fired water-tube boilers (although initially, some had "locomotive type" fire-tube boilers in lieu). Armament was generally one QF 12 pounder on a bandstand on the forecastle, up to five QF 6 pounder and 2 single tubes for 18-inch (460 mm) torpedoes.[1] The Daring and Havock class ships initially had a third tube in the bow, fixed to fire straight ahead, but this was found to weigh down the bows and it was possible for the ship to run over its own torpedo when moving at high speed, as such they were later removed and this feature was not repeated in later vessels.

Ships[edit]

The 26-knotter group[edit]

Six ships were ordered under the 1892-93 programme:

The 27-knotter group[edit]

Initially six torpedo boat destroyers (the Thornycroft and Yarrow vessels below) were ordered under the 1893-94 Estimates, but a series of follow-up orders raised the programme to thirty-six vessels.

  • Ardent-class destroyer; all built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick.
    • Ardent, launched 16 October 1894, sold for breaking up 10 October 1911.
    • Boxer, launched 28 November 1894, lost in collision with SS St Patrick in the Channel 8 February 1918.
    • Bruizer, launched 27 February 1895, sold for breaking up 26 May 1914.
  • Charger-class destroyer; all built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd, Poplar.
    • Charger, launched 15 September 1894, sold for breaking up 14 May 1912.
    • Dasher, launched 28 November 1894, sold for breaking up 14 May 1912.
    • Hasty, launched 16 June 1894, sold for breaking up 9 July 1912.
  • Banshee-class destroyer; all built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead
    • Banshee, launched 17 November 1894, sold for breaking up 10 April 1912.
    • Contest, launched 1 December 1894, sold for breaking up 11 July 1911.
    • Dragon, launched 15 December 1894, sold for breaking up 9 July 1912.
  • Conflict-class destroyer; all built by J. Samuel White, Cowes
    • Conflict, launched 13 December 1894, sold for breaking up 20 May 1920.
    • Teazer, launched 9 February 1895, sold for breaking up 9 July 1912.
    • Wizard, launched 27 February 1895, sold for breaking up 20 May 1920.
  • Fervent-class destroyer; both built by Hanna, Donald & Wilson, Paisley.
    • Fervent, launched 20 March 1895, sold for breaking up 20 May 1920.
    • Zephyr, launched 10 May 1895, sold for breaking up 20 May 1920.
  • Handy-class destroyer; all built by Fairfields, Govan
    • Handy, launched 9 March 1895, sold for breaking up 1916 at Hong Kong.
    • Hart, launched 27 March 1895, sold for breaking up 1912 at Hong Kong.
    • Hunter, launched 28 December 1895, sold for breaking up 10 April 1912.
  • Hardy-class destroyer; both built by William Doxford & Sons, Sunderland.
    • Hardy, launched 16 December 1895, sold for breaking up 11 July 1911.
    • Haughty, launched 18 September 1895, sold for breaking up 10 April 1912.
  • Janus class; all built by Palmers, Jarrow.
    • Janus, launched 12 March 1895, sold for breaking up 1914 at Hong Kong.
    • Lightning, launched 10 April 1895, sunk, probably by mine, 30 June 1915.
    • Porcupine, launched 19 September 1895, sold for breaking up 29 April 1920.
  • Sunfish-class destroyer; all built by Hawthorn, Newcastle upon Tyne.
    • Sunfish, launched 9 August 1895, sold for breaking up 7 June 1920.
    • Opposum, launched 4 October 1895, sold for breaking up 29 July 1920.
    • Ranger, launched 28 May 1895, sold for breaking up 20 July 1920.
  • Rocket-class destroyer; all built by J & G Thomson (later to become John Brown and Company), Clydebank.
    • Rocket, launched 14 August 1894, sold for breaking up 10 April 1912.
    • Shark, launched 22 September 1894, sold for breaking up 11 July 1911.
    • Surly, launched 10 November 1894, sold for breaking up 23 March 1920.
  • Salmon-class destroyer; both built by Earle's, Kingston upon Hull.
    • Salmon, launched 15 January 1895, sold for breaking up 14 May 1912.
    • Snapper, launched 30 January 1895, sold for breaking up 14 May 1912.
  • Sturgeon-class destroyer; all built by Naval Construction and Armament Company (later to become Vickers and eventually Vickers-Armstrongs), Barrow in Furness.
    • Sturgeon, launched 21 July 1894, sold for breaking up 14 May 1912.
    • Starfish, launched 26 January 1895, sold for breaking up 15 May 1912.
    • Skate, launched 13 March 1895, sold for breaking up 9 April 1907.
  • Swordfish-class destroyer; both built by Armstrong Mitchell and Company (later part of Vickers-Armstrongs), Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne
    • Swordfish, launched 7 June 1895, sold for breaking up 11 October 1910.
    • Spitfire, launched 27 February 1895, sold for breaking up 10 April 1912.
  • Zebra class; built by Thames Iron Works, Bow Creek
    • Zebra, launched 13 December 1895, sold for breaking up 30 July 1914.

See also[edit]

Media related to A class destroyer (1913) at Wikimedia Commons

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Royal Navy's Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34, p. 15