B-class destroyer

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For the earlier ship class of the same name, see B class destroyer (1913).
HMS Bulldog.jpg
Bulldog with wartime modifications
Class overview
Operators:  Royal Navy
 Royal Hellenic Navy
Preceded by: A class
Succeeded by: C and D class
In commission: 1930-02-19 - 1947
Completed: 9
Lost: 5
Retired: 4
General characteristics (as completed)
Class and type: B-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,360 long tons (1,380 t) (standard)
1,790 long tons (1,820 t) (deep load)
Length: 323 ft (98.5 m) o/a
Beam: 32 ft 3 in (9.8 m)
Draught: 12 ft 3 in (3.7 m)
Installed power: 34,000 shp (25,000 kW)
3 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Propulsion: 2 × shafts
2 × Parsons geared steam turbines
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 4,800 nmi (8,900 km; 5,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 142 (wartime)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Type 119 ASDIC
Armament: 4 × 1 - 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mk IX guns

2 × 1 - QF 2-pounder (40 mm) Mk II AA guns
2 × 4 - 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers
General characteristics (Keith)
Displacement: 1,400 tons standard (1,442 tonnes)
1,821 tons full load (1,850 tonnes)
Length: 323.2 ft (98.5 m) o/a
Complement: 175
Notes: Other characteristics as above

The B class was a class of nine destroyers of the British Royal Navy, ordered as part of the 1928 Naval Estimates, launched in 1930 and that commissioned in 1931. The class was similar to the preceding A class, with minor modifications. They saw extensive service in the Second World War and five were sunk in combat; Blanche had the unfortunate distinction of being the first British destroyer lost during the war, when she was mined in the Thames Estuary some 2 months after the declaration of war.


The main difference between the As and the Bs was that the latter dispensed with the minesweeping gear of the former in lieu of Asdic (sonar) and depth charges to suit them to anti-submarine work.

Unlike the A class the flotilla leader, Keith, was built upon the same hull as her sisters; the enlarged leader HMS Codrington of the A class proved to be tactically incompatible with her flotilla as she was both a number of knots faster and had a much greater tactical radius. As a result, Keith was too small to accommodate the entirety of Captain (D)'s staff, and Blanche was fitted as a divisional leader to carry the surplus.

Wartime modifications[edit]

The early losses likely had few modifications; restricted to replacing the after set of torpedo tubes with a QF 12 pounder anti-aircraft (A/A) gun - if at all. Like their contemporary older British destroyers, the B class were cascaded into convoy escort work as new vessels became available for fleet work. Modifications generally involved the aforementioned addition of the 12 pounder and striking the mainmast to improve the weapon's field of fire. 'Y' gun was landed to increase the space available for depth charge gear. The cumbersome metric wavelength Radar Type 286 was added to some ships as it became available. Based on the Royal Air Force's ASV set, and intended to warn against surfaced submarines, it had a fixed antenna that scanned in a forward arc, requiring the ship's heading to be changed in order to alter the search direction.

The 12 pounder gun was later removed from surviving ships, extra depth charges being carried in lieu. The 2 pounder guns were also replaced by QF 20 mm Oerlikon guns as they became available, with a further pair of the latter added in place of the searchlight position. Bulldog later received a further pair for a total of six Oerlikons. Beagle, Brilliant and Bulldog later received a much improved radar set in place of the rangefinder and director equipment; the centimetric wavelength Type 271 that combined the enormous advances of the cavity magnetron and the plan position indicator, resulting in a highly useful set that could detect a submarine periscope in the correct conditions. Bulldog and Beagle lost 'A' gun, gaining a Hedgehog ahead-throwing A/S weapon in its place. Bulldog received a QF 2 pounder Mk.VIII gun mounted as a bow chaser in 1944, to deal with the threat posed by German E boats.


Ship Pennant
Builder[2] Laid down[2] Launched[2] Commissioned[2] Fate
Keith H06 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow in Furness 1 October 1929 10 July 1930 20 March 1931 Sunk, 1 June 1940, by Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers off Dunkirk, France[3]
Basilisk H11 John Brown & Company, Clydebank 18 August 1929 6 August 1930 4 April 1931
Beagle H30 11 October 1936 29 September 1930 9 April 1931 Scrapped, 1946[4]
Blanche H47 Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn 29 July 1936 29 May 1930 14 February 1931 Sunk by a mine, 13 November 1939[5]
Boadicea H65 11 July 1929 23 September 1930 7 April 1931 Sunk by Junkers Ju 88 bombers off Portland, 13 June 1944[6]
Boreas H77 Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow 22 July 1929 18 July 1930 20 February 1931 Scrapped, 1952[7]
Brazen H80 25 July 1930 8 April 1931 Sunk by Ju 87 "Stuka"s off Dover, 20 July 1940[8]
Brilliant H84 Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend 8 July 1929 9 October 1930 21 February 1931 Scrapped, 1948[9]
Bulldog H91 10 August 1936 6 December 1930 8 April 1931 Scrapped, 1946[10]


  1. ^ Whitley, p. 99
  2. ^ a b c d English, p. 30
  3. ^ English, pp. 31–32
  4. ^ English, p. 33
  5. ^ English, p. 34
  6. ^ English, p. 36
  7. ^ English, p. 37
  8. ^ English, p. 38
  9. ^ English, p. 40
  10. ^ English, p. 42


  • English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 

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