G and H-class destroyer

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HMS Hunter (H35).png
HMS Hunter, a ship with the traditional bridge and wheelhouse layout
Class overview
Operators:

 Royal Navy
 Royal Hellenic Navy
 Brazilian Navy
 Argentine Navy
 Polish Navy

 Royal Canadian Navy
 Dominican Navy
 Royal Netherlands Navy
Preceded by: E and F class
Succeeded by: I class
Subclasses: G, H, Havant
In commission: 31 January 1936 (RN) - 1949 (RN)
Completed: 24 (RN)
Lost: 16
Retired: 6
General characteristics G class (RN) as built
Displacement: 1,350 long tons (1,370 t) (standard)
1,883 long tons (1,913 t) (deep load)
Length: 323 ft (98.5 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.1 m)
Draught: 12 ft 5 in (3.8 m)
Installed power: 34,000 shp (25,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, Parsons geared steam turbines
3 Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,530 nmi (10,240 km; 6,360 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 137 (peacetime), 146 (wartime)
Armament: 4 × 1 - QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mk IX guns

2 × 4 - 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) machine guns
2 × 4 - 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (except Glowworm; 2 × 5)

20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers
General characteristics (H class (RN))
Displacement: 1,340 tons (1,361 tonnes) standard
1,859 tons (1,888 tonnes) full load
Propulsion: as per G class, except Hyperion; 1 × Admiralty boiler replaced by Johnson type
Armament: 4 × 1 - QF 4.7-inch Mk IX guns
Notes: Other characteristics as per above
General characteristics (Havant class)
Armament: 3 × 1 - QF 4.7-inch Mk IX guns
up to 110 depth charges
Notes: Other characteristics as per H class
General characteristics (Grenville)
Displacement: 1,465 tons standard (1,488 tonnes)
2,053 tons full load (2,085 tonnes)
Length: 330 ft (100 m) o/a
Beam: 34.5 ft (10.5 m)
Draught: 12.75 ft (3.89 m)
Installed power: 38,000 shp (28,000 kW)
Propulsion: 3 × Yarrow side-fired boilers, Parsons steam turbines
Complement: 175
Armament: 5 × 1 - QF 4.7-inch Mk IX guns
Notes: Other characteristics as per above
General characteristics (Hardy)
Displacement: 1,455 tons standard (1,478 tonnes)
Length: 337 ft (103 m) o/a
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Notes: Other characteristics as per Grenville

The G- and H-class destroyers were a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Royal Navy (two later transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and one to the Polish Navy) launched in 1935–1939. They served in World War II and sixteen were lost, with a seventeenth being written off as a constructive total loss. Other ships were built for the navies of Argentina, Brazil, and Greece.

Design[edit]

G class[edit]

The G class were ordered as part of the 1933 naval construction programme, the H class following in 1934. They were generally repeats of the preceding F class, with a slight reduction in dimensions by the reduction of cruising turbines. Armament in the Gs was same as the Fs, based on the 4.7 inch QF Mark IX as the main gun. The 40° elevation of the guns in the CP (central pivot) Mark XVII mounting was achieved by building a lowered section of the deck, the "well", that allowed the breech of the gun to be lowered below deck height. Glowworm trialled the new quintuple PR Mk. I torpedo tubes, her sisters retaining the quadruple Mk.VIII. All G-class ships had tripod foremasts and pole mainmasts.

H class[edit]

The H class were repeats of the Gs, but a more satisfactory solution was found to achieve the gun elevation, by rearranging the breech end of the guns, the mountings CP Mk.XVIII could elevate to 40° without the need for the deck wells. Despite the availability of the quintuple tubes as trialled in Glowworm, these were not fitted due to topweight concerns. Design improvements and the increased use of welding resulted in a decrease in displacement of some 50 tons.

Hero and Hereward saw the introduction of a new style of bridge that would become standard on all Royal Navy fleet destroyers from the I class through to the Battle class of 1944. This was necessary as Hereward carried a prototype twin 4.7-inch (120 mm) gun mounting CP Mark XIX that was to be fitted to the Tribal and the J, K and N classes. This weapon had a trunnion height 13 inches higher than the previous weapons, therefore it was necessary to raise the wheelhouse to allow the helmsman to see over the top. Raising the wheelhouse meant it had to be placed in front of, rather than underneath, the bridge, and it was given sloping, armoured faces, resulting in a characteristic wedge shape, with a sloping roof to give the bridge a view over the fo'c'sle. Internally, the H class were as per the G class, except Hyperion, which received a single Johnson type boiler that was both smaller, lighter, and more economical than the Admiralty design. All ships had pole masts fore and aft and were fitted with TSDS (Two Speed Destroyer Sweeps) minesweeping gear.

Flotilla leaders[edit]

As per the E and F class, the flotilla leaders were built to an enlarged design, incorporating a fifth 4.7 inch gun in 'Q' position, between the funnels. They were based on the F-class leader, Faulknor. Grenville was slightly shorter as she used compact Yarrow-type side fired boilers. Hardy could be identified by having a tripod foremast. Both ships were early wartime losses and consequently received no modifications.

Havant class[edit]

The Havants were laid down in 1938 for Brazil. They had pole masts forward and tripods aft, were completed without 'Y' gun on the quarterdeck, allowing an increase in depth charge stowage, and with the funnels cut down to improve the field of fire for A/A weapons. They were completed with rangefinders only, but later shipped the designed combined rangefinder-director on the bridge, as opposed to the separated functions of their half sisters. After commissioning into the Royal Navy, Handy and Hearty were renamed Harvester and Hesperus respectively to avoid confusion with Hardy. The six Havant-class destroyers initially formed the 9th Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet assigned to anti-submarine protection of Scapa Flow.[1]

In late 1940, 9th Destroyer Flotilla was transferred to the Western Approaches Command and re-designated 9th Escort Group.[2] In March 1942, the remaining five Havant-class destroyers were designated group leaders of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force through the winter of 1942-43.[3]

HMS Hurricane was leader of Escort Group B-1 for convoys HX-187, ONS-96, HX-193, ONS-108, SC-92, ON119/HX-201, ONS-124, HX-206, ONS-134, SC-105, HX-215, ON-151, SC-114, ON-162, SC-119, ONS-171, HX-230, ON-178 and HX-236.

HMS Hesperus was leader of Escort Group B-2 for convoys SC-81, ON-97, SC-86, ON-107, HX-198, ONS-118, HX-203, ONS-128, HX-208, ONS-138, HX213, ONS-148, HX219, ON-159, SC-118, ON-170, SC-123, ONS-4, SC-129 and ONS-9.

HMS Harvester was leader of Escort Group B-3 for convoys HX-188, ONS-98, HX-194, ONS-110, SC-93, ON-121/HX-202, ONS-126, HX-207, ONS-136, SC-106, ONS-146, HX-218, ON-157, SC-117, ONS-167, and was sunk while escorting HX-228.

HMS Highlander was leader of Escort Group B-4 for convoys SC-82, ON-99, SC-87, ON-109, HX-199, ONS-120, HX-204, ONS-130, HX-209, ONS-140, HX-214, ONS-150, HX-220, ON-161, ONS-169, HX-229, ON-176, HX-234, and ON-183.

HMS Havelock was leader of Escort Group B-5 in the Caribbean until escorting convoys ON-168, SC-122, SC-126 and ONS-7.[4][5]

Ships[edit]

Royal Navy[edit]

G class[edit]

Ship Pennant number Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
Gallant H59 Alexander Stephen and Sons, Linthouse 15 September 1934 26 September 1935 25 February 1936 Constructive total loss after striking a mine near Malta on 20 January 1941
Garland H37 Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan 22 August 1934 24 October 1935 3 March 1936 Transferred to the Polish Navy as ORP Garland in 1940. Post-war transferred to Dutch navy and scrapped in 1964
Gipsy H63 Fairfield, Govan 4 September 1934 7 November 1935 22 February 1936 Sunk by a mine near Harwich on 21 November 1939
Glowworm H92 John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston 15 August 1934 22 July 1935 22 January 1936 Sunk while ramming the German cruiser Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940
Grafton H89 Thornycroft 30 August 1934 18 September 1935 20 March 1936 Sunk by U 62 on 29 May 1940
Grenade H86 Stephen 3 October 1934 12 November 1935 28 March 1936 Sunk by air attack off Dunkirk on 29 May 1940
Grenville H03 Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun 29 September 1934 15 August 1935 1 July 1936 Sunk by a mine on 19 January 1940.
Greyhound H05 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow-in-Furness 20 September 1934 15 August 1935 1 February 1936 Sunk by German dive-bombers in the Battle of Crete on 22 May 1941
Griffin H31 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow 20 September 1934 15 August 1935 6 March 1936 Transferred to the Canada as HMCS Ottawa

H class[edit]

Ship Pennant number Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
Hardy (H87) Flotilla Leader Cammell Laird & Company, Birkenhead 30 May 1935 7 April 1936 11 December 1936 Sunk by gunfire from German destroyer Georg Thiele on 10 April 1940 in the First Battle of Narvik
Hasty H24 William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton 15 April 1935 5 May 1936 11 November 1936 Torpedoed by the German motor torpedo boat S-55, 14 June 1942, scuttled near Derna by Hotspur, 15 June 1942
Havock H43 Denny 15 May 1935 7 July 1936 16 January 1937 Ran aground near Kelibia, Tunisia and scuttled, 6 April 1942
Hereward H93 Vickers Armstrongs, Walker 28 February 1935 10 March 1936 9 December 1936 Sunk by German Ju 87 dive bombers near Plaka, Crete, 29 May 1941
Hero H99 Vickers Armstrong, Walker 28 February 1935 10 March 1936 21 October 1936 Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Chaudiere
Hostile H55 Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Greenock 27 February 1935 24 January 1936 10 September 1936 Damaged by a mine, 23 August 1940 and scuttled by Hero
Hotspur H01 Scotts 27 February 1935 23 March 1936 29 December 1936 Sold to the Dominican Republic Navy, 1949
Hunter H35 Swan Hunter, Wallsend 27 March 1935 25 February 1936 30 September 1936 Sunk by German destroyers, 10 April 1940 in the Battle of Narvik
Hyperion H97 Swan Hunter 27 March 1935 8 April 1936 3 December 1936 Sunk by a mine near Pantelleria on 22 December 1940

Havant class[edit]

HMS Hesperus wearing dazzle camouflage showing the angular bridge front that was fitted to Hero, Hereward and the ex-Brazilian ships.

These six ships were ordered by the Brazilian Navy but on the outbreak of World War II they were requisitioned by the Royal Navy. They are usually included with the H class.

Ship Pennant Number Builder Launched Fate
Harvester, ex-Handy, ex-Jurua H19 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow 29 September 1939 Sunk by U-432 on 11 March 1943.
Havant, ex-Javary H32 J. Samuel White, Cowes 17 July 1939 Damaged by air attack during the battle of Dunkirk on 1 June 1940 and sunk by HMS Saltash
Havelock, ex-Jutahy H88 White 16 October 1939 broken up 1946
Hesperus, ex-Hearty, ex-Juruena H57 Thornycroft 1 August 1939 Broken up 1946
Highlander, ex-Juguaribe H44 Thornycroft 19 October 1939. Broken up in 1947
Hurricane, ex-Japarua H06 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow 29 September 1939 sunk by U-415 on 24 December 1943

Argentine Navy[edit]

Seven ships were built for the Argentine Navy as the Buenos Aires class, they were delivered in 1938. They were built by Vickers Armstrongs (Barrow), Cammell Laird and John Brown & Company (Clydebank).

Brazilian Navy[edit]

Brazil ordered six Jarua-class ships from Britain in 1938. These ships were purchased by Britain on the outbreak of war in 1939 and are described above. The Brazilians decided to produce indigenous destroyers, the Acre class, at the Ilha das Cobras shipyard, Rio de Janeiro. The design was based on the H-class plans supplied by Britain, but with guns and machinery supplied by the USA. Although laid down in 1940, the ships were not completed until 1949–51.[6]

Royal Hellenic Navy[edit]

Two ships, modified versions of the G class, were built for the Greek Royal Hellenic Navy by Yarrow. The ships were fitted with German-made 12.7 cm SK C/34 naval guns and 37 mm AA guns. The installation of the armament was carried out in Greece as the Germans refused to ship the weapons to Britain.

  • Vasilefs Georgios: Named after King George I, she served with the RHN during the Greco-Italian War. Damaged by German aircraft, she managed to reach the Salamis Navy Yard and was put in drydock for repairs, where after further damage during German air attacks, she was finally scuttled to prevent capture. The Germans raised and repaired her and she was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine as Hermes (ZG3) on 21 March 1942. Hermes was heavily damaged off Cape Bon on 30 April 1943 and scuttled on 7 May 1943.
  • Vasilissa Olga: Named after Queen Olga, she served with the RHN during the Greco-Italian War. Along with other ships, escaped to Alexandria in May 1941 and joined the Allied forces. She was lost to German aircraft while anchored in Lakki Bay, Leros on 26 September 1943.

Two further ships, the Vasilefs Konstantinos and Vasilissa Sofia, named after King Constantine I and Queen Sofia respectively, were to be built in Greece, but construction halted due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ HMS Hesperus, Peter Dickens, 1972, Profile publications, p.180
  2. ^ HMS Hesperus, Peter Dickens, 1972, Profile publications, p.181
  3. ^ HMS Hesperus, Peter Dickens, 1972, Profile publications, p.187
  4. ^ Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945, J. Rohwer and G. Hummelchen, 1992, Naval Institute Press ISBN 1-55750-105-X
  5. ^ North Atlantic Run, Marc Milner, 1985, Naval Institute Press ISBN 0-87021-450-0
  6. ^ Friedman, p. 227

References[edit]

  • Douglas, W. A. B.; Sarty, Roger; Michael Whitby, Robert H. Caldwell, William Johnston, William G. P. Rawling (2002). No Higher Purpose. The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1939–1943. 2, pt. 1. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell. ISBN 1-55125-061-6. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]