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Great Britain's "A" class destroyers

Photos

  • HMS Codrington destroyer
  • HMS Achates destroyer
  • HMS Active destroyer
  • HMS Antelope destroyer
  • HMS Anthony destroyer
  • HMS Ardent destroyer
  • HMS Arrow destroyer
  • HMCS Saguenay destroyer
  • HMCS Skeena destroyer

Design

After World War I it was decided to build the class ships first then build an enlarged ship as the class leader. These were to be built under the 1927 programme. The ship's primary function was to conduct torpedo attacks.

The original design for the "A" Class was to have been 43' longer.

The "A" Class of destroyers first introduced the quad-mount torpedo launcher.

Armament

The HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena initially carried Mk IV torpedoes then later Mk IX.

The HMS Codrington had Mk V torpedoes and those were later replaced by Mk IX.

The rest had Mk V torpedoes.

Mine Sweeping

All were fitted with Two Speed Destroyer Sweep (TSDS) so that they could do mine sweeping.

Ships

 

HMS Codrington, "A" Class leader, D.65

  • Builder: Swan Hunter at Wallsend
  • 1928, June 20, 1928: Laid down
  • August 7, 1929: Launched
  • May 1930: Commissioned
  • June 1930: Completed
  • 193?: Captain (D) of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla based in the Mediterranean
  • April 1940: Norway
  • May 10, 1940: English Channel.
  • May 12, 1940: Evacuated Crown Princess of the Netherlands from Ijmuiden.
  • June 1940: Dunkirk evacuation.
  • June 9, 1940: Evacuated troops from Le Havre.
  • July 27, 1940: Sunk by German bombers in Dover harbor.

HMS Acasta, H.09

  • Builder: Clydebank, John Brown
  • August 13, 1928: Laid down
  • August 7, 1929, August 8, 1929: Launched
  • February 11, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • April 1940: With Home Fleet in Norway operation.
  • June 8, 1940: Torpedoed KMS Scharnhorst. Sunk by KMS Scharnhorst and KMS Gneisenau.

HMS Achates, H.12

  • Builder: Clydebank, John Brown
  • September 11, 1928: Laid down
  • October 4, 1929: Launched
  • March 27, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • 1941: TSDS, 'Y' gun, 'A' gun, and rear torpedo tube mount removed. 10-pattern depth charging mounts with 70 depth-charges were installed. Hedgehog installed. Radar 271 were installed. Two 20 mm Oerlikons were installed on the bridge wings.
  • 1941: Member of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters
  • May 1941: With HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales during hunt for KMS Bismarck.
  • July 1941: Off Iceland damaged by mine and was towed to Seidesfjord by HMS Anthony
  • September 1941 - March 1942: Repaired at Swan Hunter
  • 1942: Escorted convoys PQ16 and PQ18
  • November 1942: Took part in Operation Torch
  • December 31, 1942: With Convoy JW51B. Sunk by KMS Admiral Hipper in the Barents Sea.

HMS Acheron, H.45

  • Builder: Thornycroft at Parsons, Parsons M.S.T. Company (sub-contractor of Thornycroft)
  • October 29, 1928: Laid down
  • March 3, 1930, March 18, 1930: Launched
  • October 13, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • April 1940: With Home Fleet in Norway operation.
  • November 1940: Member of 1st Destroyer Flotilla.
  • December 8, 1940, December 17, 1940: Sunk by a mine south of St. Catherine's Point, Isle of Wright while out for trials after a refit.

HMS Active, H.14

  • Builder: Hawthorn Leslie
  • July 10, 1928: Laid down
  • July 9, 1929: Launched
  • February 9, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 13th Flotilla at Gibraltar
  • 1941: TSDS, 'Y' gun, and rear torpedo tube mount removed. 10-pattern depth charging mounts with 70 depth-charges were installed. Radar 286F and 290 were installed. Two 20 mm Oerlikons were installed on the bridge wings.
  • 1941: Member of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters
  • 1942: With Force H out of Gibraltar
  • March 1942: Assisted with occupation of Madagascar. With HMS Panther sank the French submarine Monge.
  • August 1942: Sank U179 in South Atlantic
  • March 1943: Radar 286P replaced by radar 291. Twin mount 20 mm guns replaced the single mounts on the bridge wings.
  • 1943: Operated in Sierra Leone convoy routes
  • May 1943: Helped sink the Italian submarine Leonardo Da Vinci
  • November 1943: Sank U340
  • 1944: 'B' gun replaced by twin 6 pdr.
  • 1947, May 20, 1947: Broken up at Troon

HMS Antelope, H.36

  • Builder: Hawthorn Leslie
  • July 11, 1928: Laid down
  • July 27, 1929: Launched
  • March 20, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • February 1940: Off Ireland sank U41.
  • 1941: TSDS, 'Y' gun, and rear torpedo tube mount removed. 10-pattern depth charging mounts with 70 depth-charges were installed. Radar 286F and 290 were installed. Two 20 mm Oerlikons were installed on the bridge wings.
  • 1941: Member of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters
  • May 1941: With HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales during hunt for KMS Bismarck.
  • August 1941: Spitzbergen raid
  • 1942: Operated in Mediterranean. Took part in Operations Harpoon and Operation Pedestal.
  • 1943: Had HF/DF and radar 271 installed. 3" gun removed.
  • June 1943: Helped sink Italian submarine Tritone off Bougie
  • 1944: 'B' gun replaced by twin 6 pdr.
  • 1946, January 31, 1946: Broken up at Blyth

HMS Anthony, H.40

  • Builder: Scotts
  • July 30, 1928: Laid down
  • April 24, 1929: Launched
  • February 14, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • 1941: TSDS, 'Y' gun, and rear torpedo tube mount removed. 10-pattern depth charging mounts with 70 depth-charges were installed. Radar 286F and 290 were installed. Two 20 mm Oerlikons were installed on the bridge wings.
  • 1941: Member of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters
  • May 1941: With HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales during hunt for KMS Bismarck.
  • August 1941: Spitzbergen raid
  • 1942: With Force H out of Gibraltar
  • March 1942: Assisted with occupation of Madagascar
  • 1944: 'B' gun replaced by twin 6 pdr.
  • February 1944: Helped sink U791
  • 1945: With 1st Destroyer Flotilla based in Portsmouth
  • August 18, 1947: Sold
  • 1948, May 1948: Broken up at Troon

HMS Ardent, H.41

  • Builder: Scott's
  • July 30, 1928: Laid down
  • June 26, 1929: Launched
  • April 14, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • April 1940: With Home Fleet in Norway operation.
  • June 8, 1940: Sunk by KMS Scharnhorst and KMS Gneisenau.

HMS Arrow, H.42

  • Builder: Vickers Armstrong at Barrow
  • August 20, 1928: Laid down
  • August 22, 1929: Launched
  • April 14, 1930: Commissioned
  • 1939: With 18th Flotilla in the English Channel
  • April 1940: With Home Fleet in Norway operation.
  • 1941: TSDS, 'Y' gun, and rear torpedo tube mount removed. 10-pattern depth charging mounts with 70 depth-charges were installed. Radar 286F and 290 were installed. Two 20 mm Oerlikons were installed on the bridge wings.
  • 1941: Member of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters
  • 1942: With Force R in Indian Ocean
  • Late 1942: Moved to South Atlantic
  • 1943: With 13th Flotilla in Mediterranean
  • July 1943: Invasion of Sicily
  • August 4, 1943: Damaged in an explosion of Fort La Montee (ammunition ship) in Algiers. Not repaired.
  • May 1949: Scrapped at Taranto

HMCS Saguenay, D.79

  • Builder: Thornycroft
  • September 27, 1929: Laid down
  • July 11, 1930: Launched
  • May 22, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1940 - 1942: Member of Escort Group C3 escorting Halifax convoys.
  • 194?: Torpedoed by Italian submarine Argo while escorting HG47.
  • November 1942: Construction total loss
  • December 15, 1942, 1943: Collision with SS Azara off Newfoundland.
  • 1943 - 1945: Used as training ship.
  • June 30, 1945: Scrapped
  • July 17, 1948: Sold for scrap.

HMCS Skeena, D.59

  • Builder: Thornycroft
  • October 14, 1929: Laid down
  • October 10, 1930: Launched
  • June 10, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1940 - 1943: Member of Escort Group C3 escorting Halifax convoys.
  • 1944: Member of 12th Support Group based in English Channel.
  • June 1944: Normandy. Brest.
  • 1944: Member of 11th Support Group.
  • October 25, 1944: Wrecked off Videy Island near Reykjavik.
  • June 1945: Wreck sold to Arsaell Jonasson.
  • 1946: Salvaged and scrapped.

Usage

HMS Active

The HMS Active was based primarily in Gibraltar.

HMS Antelope, HMS Anthony, HMS Arrow

The HMS Antelope, HMS Anthony, and HMS Arrow were used around the Home islands then were moved to Gibraltar and used in the Mediterranean.

HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena

These were built for the Canadian Navy.

The HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena were used in the West Indies until 1940 when they were used for convoy escort in the North Atlantic.

Specifications

  HMS Codrington
Crew 185
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,540 tons
1,564 tonnes
Displacement - Loaded 2,000 tons, 2,012 tons
2,044 tonnes
Length 343'
104.54 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 332'
101.19 m
Beam 33' 9"
10.29 m
Draft - Mean 9', 12' 4"
3.76 m
Draft - Maximum 12' 6"
Performance  
Speed 35 knots
Range at 15 knots 4,800 nautical miles
Armament 5: 4.7" (5 x 1), 4.7" QF Mk IX
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr AA (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers 3, 4: Admiralty 3 drum
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared, Parsons Geared
HP 39,000, 40,000
Oil 425 tons, 500 tons
432 tonnes
  "A" Class
Crew 138
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,337 - 1,360 tons, 1,350 tons
1,371 tonnes
Displacement - Loaded 1,747 - 1,815 tons, 1,773 tons
1,801 tonnes
Length 323'
98.5 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 312'
95.1 m
Length - Water Line 320'
97.5 m
Beam 32' 3"
9.83 m
Draft - Mean 8' 6", 12' 3"
3.73 m
Performance  
Speed 35 knots, 35.25 knots
Range at 15 knots 4,800 nautical miles
Armament 4: 4.7" (4 x 1), 4.7" QF Mk IX
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr AA (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Depth Charges 6
Engines  
Boilers 3: Admiralty 3 Drum
Boilers - HMS Anthony, HMS Ardent Yarrow
Boilers - HMS Acheron Thornycroft
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared, Parsons
Turbines - HMS Acasta, HMS Achates Brown-Curtis
HP 34,000
Oil 380 tons
386 tonnes
  Saguenay class
Crew 138
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,337 tons
1,358 tonnes
Length 320'
97.53 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 309'
94.18 m
Beam 32' 6"
9.91 m
Draft - Mean 10' 6"
3.2 m
Performance  
Speed 35 knots
Range at 15 knots 4,800 nautical miles
Armament 4: 4.7" (4 x 1)
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers 3: Thornycroft
Shafts 2
Turbines Parsons Geared
HP 32,000
Oil 380 tons
386 tonnes
  HMS Saguenay
Crew 138
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,337 tons
Length 321' 3"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 309'
Beam 32' 9"
Draft - Mean 8' 6"
Performance  
Speed 35 knots
Armament 4: 4.7" (4 x 1)
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr AA (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers Thornycroft
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared
HP 32,000
  HMS Skeena
Crew 138
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,337 tons
Length 321' 3"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 309'
Beam 32' 9"
Draft - Mean 8' 6"
Performance  
Speed 35 knots
Armament 4: 4.7" (4 x 1)
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr AA (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers Thornycroft
Shafts 2
Turbines Geared
HP 32,000

Sources:

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  2. Destroyers of World War Two, M. J. Whitley, 1988
  3. Warships of World War II, H. T. Lenton & J. J. Colledge, 1964
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site