A-class destroyer (1913)
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HMS Daring, the lead ship of the "26-knotter" group
|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 (457 mm) torpedo tubes
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 (457 mm) torpedoes. 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.
The 26-knotter group
Six ships were ordered under the 1892-93 programme:
- Daring-class destroyer; both built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick.
- Havock-class destroyer; both built by Yarrow Shipbuilders, Poplar.
- Ferret-class destroyer; both built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead.
The 27-knotter group
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.
- Charger-class destroyer; all built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd, Poplar.
- Banshee-class destroyer; all built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead
- Conflict-class destroyer; all built by J. Samuel White, Cowes
- Fervent-class destroyer; both built by Hanna, Donald & Wilson, Paisley.
- Handy-class destroyer; all built by Fairfields, Govan
- Hardy-class destroyer; both built by William Doxford & Sons, Sunderland.
- Janus-class destroyer; all built by Palmers, Jarrow.
- Sunfish-class destroyer; all built by Hawthorn, Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Rocket-class destroyer; all built by J & G Thomson (later to become John Brown and Company), Clydebank.
- Salmon-class destroyer; both built by Earle's, Kingston upon Hull.
- Sturgeon-class destroyer; all built by Naval Construction and Armament Company (later to become Vickers and eventually Vickers-Armstrongs), Barrow in Furness.
- Swordfish-class destroyer; both built by Armstrong Mitchell and Company (later part of Vickers-Armstrongs), Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne
- Zebra class; built by Thames Iron Works, Bow Creek
- Zebra, launched 13 December 1895, sold for breaking up 30 July 1914.
- Cocker, Maurice (1983). Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1075-7.
- Lyon, David (1996). The First Destroyers. Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-005-1.
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