Wild Beast-class destroyer (1912)
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Wild Beast class (as completed)
|Operators:||Royal Hellenic Navy|
|Beam:||8.45 m (27 ft 9 in)|
|Draught:||2.59 m (8 ft 6 in)|
|Notes:||Ships in class include: Aetos, Ierax, Leon and Panthir.|
The Wild Beast (Greek: Θηρία) class, or Aetos class, of destroyers were bought by the Royal Hellenic Navy before World War I when the Greek government expanded its navy after losing the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and in anticipation of the Balkan Wars. These four ships had originally been ordered by Argentina from the English shipyards Cammell Laird in Liverpool. They were bought by Greece just as they were about to sail for Argentina.
During World War I, these ships were seized by the French Navy when Greece did not enter the war on the side of the Allies, but were returned to the Hellenic Royal Navy in 1917 when Greece declared war.
Significant changes were made between 1924 and 1935, when the ships were reconstructed by J. Samuel White. Oil-fired boilers replaced the coal-fired ones, allowing the number of funnels to be reduced from five to two; one four-inch gun was moved to a new platform forward of the bridge, allowing four single torpedo tube mountings to be replaced by two triple mountings; two single 2-pounder anti-aircraft guns were also added. Two ships, Aetos and Panthir, were further modified in 1936-37 to include mine-laying capability.
In World War II, after the Axis invasions, the four ships served with the Allies. One, Leon, was accidentally damaged and subsequently sunk at Suda Bay, Crete. The remaining three were refitted in Madras, Calcutta and Port Sudan during 1941 and 1942.
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