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Great Britain's "B" class destroyers

Photos

  • HMS Basilisk destroyer
  • HMS Beagle destroyer
  • HMS Blanche destroyer
  • HMS Boadicea destroyer
  • HMS Boreas destroyer
  • HMS Brazen destroyer
  • HMS Bulldog destroyer

Design

HMS Keith

In July 1928 the B-class leader was to have an extended after deck house to provide more accommodations. This however meant that there would be no "Y" gun nor TSDS gear. This design was about £30,000 less than the HMS Codrington, the A-class leader. The design was accepted in October 1928.

In June 1929 it was decided to mount a total of four 4.7" guns, asdic, and echo sounder. These added 23 tons to the overall displacement.

"B" Class

The B class ships were to carry more powerful torpedoes than the A class vessels.

The HMS Bulldog had experimental 60° 4.7" guns on CP XIII mounts. This was proved to not work well.

Ships

 

HMS Basilisk, H.11

  • Builder: Clydebank, John Brown
  • August 19, 1929: Laid down
  • August 6, 1930: Launched
  • March 4, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Home waters
  • 1940: With the 19th Flotilla.
  • April 1940: Norway
  • June 1, 1940: Sunk by bombs off La Panne.

HMS Beagle, H.30

  • Builder: Clydebank, John Brown
  • October 11, 1929: Laid down
  • September 26 , 1930: Launched
  • April 9, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Member of Home Fleet.
  • 1941: 'A' gun replaced by Hedgehog. Two 20 mm Oerlikon guns installed on bridge wings. Rangefinder and DCT replaced by radar 271.
  • 1941 - 1945: Western Approaches.
  • May 1942: While escorting Convoy QP11 fought against German destroyers.
  • January 15, 1946: Sold
  • 1946, June 1946: Broken up at Rosyth

HMS Blanche, H.47

  • Builder: Hawthorn Leslie
  • July 31, 1929: Laid down
  • May 29 , 1930: Launched
  • February 19, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939: Home waters
  • November 13, 1939: Sunk by mines.

HMS Boadicea, H.65

  • Builder: Hawthorn Leslie
  • July 12, 1929: Laid down
  • September 23, 1930: Launched
  • April 7, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Member of Home Fleet.
  • 1941: 'Y' gun removed. Added radar 286 and more depth charges.
  • 1941 - 1944: Western Approaches.
  • November 1942: Damaged by French torpilleurs off Oran.
  • June 13, 1944: Sunk by air borne torpedo off Portland.

HMS Boreas, H.77

  • Builder: Palmers
  • July 22, 1929: Laid down
  • July 18, 1930: Launched
  • February 20, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1941: Home waters
  • June 1940: Operation Dynamo. Received direct hit on bridge.
  • 1941: 'Y' gun removed. Added radar 286 and more depth charges.
  • 1941 - 1942: South Atlantic
  • November 1942: Operation Torch.
  • 1943 - 1944: Mediterranean
  • 1942 - 1943: Based in Gibraltar with 13th Flotilla.
  • 1944?: Refit in Liverpool.
  • 1944, April 1944: Loaned to Greece and became RHN Salamis.
  • 1944 - 1951: Used by Greece.
  • 1941: Returned to Royal Navy at Malta.
  • November 23, 1951: Sold for scrap.
  • April 1952: Scrapped at Troon

HMS Brazen, H.80

  • Builder: Palmers
  • July 22, 1929: Laid down
  • July 25, 1930: Launched
  • April 8, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Home waters
  • April 1940: With 19th Flotilla in Norway. With HMS Fearless sank U49.
  • July 20, 1940: Damaged by bombs off Dunkirk.
  • July 21, 1940: Sunk while under tow off Dover.

HMS Brilliant, H.84

  • Builder: Swan Hunter at Wallsend
  • July 9, 1929: Laid down
  • October 9, 1930: Launched
  • February 21, 1931: Commissioned
  • June 1940: Operation Dynamo.
  • 1941: 'Y' gun removed. Added radar 286 and more depth charges.
  • ?: Home waters
  • 1941 - ?: South Atlantic. Helped capture blockade runners.
  • ?: Gibraltar
  • November 1942: Operation Torch. Sank the French sloop La Surprise off Oran.
  • Late 1944 : Home waters. Based at Portsmouth with the 1st Flotilla.
  • 1947: Broken up
  • August 18, 1947: Sold
  • April 1948: Scrapped at Troon

HMS Bulldog, H.91

  • Builder: Swan Hunter at Wallsend
  • August 10, 1929: Laid down
  • December 6, 1930: Launched
  • April 8, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Mediterranean and East Indies
  • 1941: 'A' gun replaced by Hedgehog. Two 20 mm Oerlikon guns installed on bridge wings. Rangefinder and DCT replaced by radar 271.
  • 1941 - 1945: Home waters. Escort in Western Approaches.
  • May 1942: While escorting Convoy QP11 fought against German destroyers.
  • 1944: 2 pdr bow chaser added.
  • January 15, 1946: Sold
  • 1946, March 1946: Broken up at Rosyth

HMS Keith, "B" Class leader, D.06

  • Builder: Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow
  • October 1929: Laid down
  • July 10, 1930: Launched
  • June 9, 1931: Commissioned
  • 1939 - 1940: Home waters
  • May 23, 1940: Operation Dynamo. While in Boulogne the Commanding Officer was killed by shore gunfire.
  • June 1, 1940: Flagship of Admiral Wake-Walker. Sunk by bombs off Dunkirk.

Usage

HMS Blanche

The HMS Blanche was the first destroyer lost by the British in World War II. She hit a mine in the Thames estuary that had been lain the night of November 12 - 13, 1939 by the German destroyers Heidkamp, Künne, Lüdemann, and Galster.

Specifications

  HMS Keith
Crew 175
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,400 tons
1,442 tonnes
Displacement - Loaded 1,821 tons
1,850 tonnes
Length 323' 2"
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 12' 3"
3.73 m
Performance  
Speed 35.26 knots
Range at 15 knots 4,800 nautical miles
Armament 4: 4.7" QF IX
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers 3: Admiralty 3 drum
Shafts 2
Turbines Parsons geared
HP 34,000
Oil 390 tons
395 tonnes
  "B" Class
Crew 138
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 1,337 - 1,360 tons, 1,360 tons
1,381 tonnes
Displacement - Loaded 1,747 - 1,815 tons, 1,790 tons
1,818 tonnes
Length 323'
97.53 m, 98.4 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 312'
94.18 m, 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
Draft - Mean Deep Load 12' 3"
3.73 m
Performance  
Speed 35 knots, 35.25 knots
Range at 15 knots 4,800 nautical miles
Armament 4: 4.7"/45 QF Mk IX (4 x 1), 4.7" (4 x 1)
Anti-Aircraft 2: 2 pdr pompoms (2 x 1), 2 pdr AA (2 x 1)
Torpedo Tubes 8: 21" (2 x 4)
Engines  
Boilers 3: Admiralty 3 Drum
Shafts 2
Turbines Parsons geared, Geared
Turbines - HMS Basilisk, HMS Beagle Brown-Curtis
HP 34,000
Oil 380 tons, 390 tons
396 tonnes
  HMS Boadicea configured as escort destroyer
Armament 1: 3" HA
2: 6 pdr Hotchkiss
  HMS Bulldog configured as escort destroyer
Armament 2: 4.7" (2 x 1)
Anti-Aircraft 6: 20 mm
Torpedo Tubes 4: 21" (1 x 4)
Hedgehog and Depth Charges 125

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site