Sharpshooter-class torpedo gunboat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
HMS Spanker
HMS Spanker
Class overview
Name: Sharpshooter-class torpedo gunboat
  • Devonport Dockyard
  • Chatham Dockyard
  • Armstrong Mitchell, Elswick
  • Sheerness Dockyard
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Grasshopper class
Succeeded by: Alarm class
Built: 1888–1891
In commission: 1889–1922[1]
Completed: 13
Lost: 1
Scrapped: 12
General characteristics [1]
Type: Torpedo gunboat
Displacement: 735 tons
Length: 242 ft (74 m) oa, 230 ft (70 m) pp
Beam: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Draught: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Installed power:
  • 2,500 ihp (1,900 kW) (natural draught)
  • 3,600 ihp (2,700 kW) (forced draught)
  • 2 × Belliss and Morcom triple-expansion steam engines
  • Locomotive boilers
  • Twin screws
  • (later re-boilered with water-tube boilers)
Speed: 19 kn (35 km/h)
Range: 2,500 nmi (4,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 91

The Sharpshooter-class torpedo gunboat was a class of torpedo gunboat built for the Royal Navy in the late 19th century. One of the class was hulked in 1904, seven were scrapped before World War I and five were converted to minesweepers. Of these minesweepers, Seagull was lost to a collision in 1918 and the rest survived the war to be broken up in the early 1920s.


The Sharpshooter class was designed by Sir William White in 1888. They had a length overall of 242 ft (74 m), a beam of 27 ft (8.2 m) and a displacement of 735 tons.[1] They were engined with two sets of Belliss and Morcom triple-expansion steam engines, two locomotive-type boilers, and twin screws. This layout produced 2,500 indicated horsepower (1,900 kW) with natural draught and 3,600 indicated horsepower (2,700 kW) with forced draught, giving them a top speed of 19 knots (35 km/h).[1] They carried 100 tons of coal, giving them a range of about 2,500 nautical miles (4,600 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) and were manned by 91 sailors and officers. The following Alarm class were essentially an enlarged version of the Sharpshooters.[1]

From 1895 to 1898 a series of different boilers were fitted to Sharpshooter, Sheldrake, Seagull, Spanker and Salamander.[1]


At build the class was fitted with two QF 4.7-inch (12 cm)/45-pounder guns and four 3-pounder guns. Five 14-inch (360 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted, except in Plassey and Assaye, which had three tubes. Three reloads were provided.[1]

Those vessels converted to minesweepers in 1909 retained their guns and had a kite winch and gallows fitted on the quarterdeck.[2]


Plassey and Assaye were built for the Bombay Marine (renamed the Royal Indian Marine in 1892). Whiting and Wizard (renamed Boomerang and Karakatta before commissioning) were assigned to the Australia Station. Seven of the class, including all the colonial service boats, were sold for breaking in 1904 - 1907, and five of the class were converted to minesweepers in 1908 - 1909. Of the five minesweepers, Seagull was lost in a collision with SS Corrib in the Clyde in 1918,[2] and the others were sold for breaking after World War I. Sharpshooter was hulked for instructional duties in 1904 and renamed Northampton, surviving until 1922 until being sold for breaking.[1]

HMS Boomerang


Name Ship builder Launched Fate
Sharpshooter Devonport Dockyard 30 November 1888 Hulked for instructional duties and renamed Northampton in 1904 (or later). Sold for breaking on 27 March 1922
Spanker Devonport Dockyard 22 February 1889 Became a minesweeper in 1909. Sold for breaking on 20 March 1920
Speedwell Devonport Dockyard 15 March 1889 Became a minesweeper in 1909. Sold for breaking on 20 March 1920
Seagull Chatham Dockyard 31 May 1889 Became a minesweeper in 1909. Sunk in a collision in the Firth of Clyde on 30 September 1918
Salamander Chatham Dockyard 31 May 1889 Sold for breaking on 15 May 1906
Sheldrake Chatham Dockyard 30 March 1889 Sold for breaking on 9 July 1907
Skipjack Chatham Dockyard 30 April 1889 Became a minesweeper in 1909. Sold for breaking on 23 April 1920
Boomerang Armstrong Mitchell, Elswick 24 July 1889 Laid down as Whiting, renamed Boomerang on 2 April 1890. Sold at Portsmouth on 11 July 1905
Karakatta Armstrong Mitchell, Elswick 27 August 1889 Laid down as Wizard, renamed Karakatta on 2 April 1890. Sold at Portsmouth on 11 January 1905
Plassey Armstrong Mitchell, Elswick 5 July 1890 Built for the Royal Indian Marine. Sold on 17 May 1904
Assaye Armstrong Mitchell, Elswick 11 February 1890 Built for the Royal Indian Marine. Sold in May 1904
Gossamer Sheerness Dockyard 9 January 1890 Became a minesweeper in 1908. Sold for breaking on 20 March 1920
Gleaner Sheerness Dockyard 9 January 1890 Sold for breaking on 4 April 1905

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Winfield (2004), p.305.
  2. ^ a b Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3

External links[edit]