125 Footer Class Torpedo Boat (1885)

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Britain built fifty-eight first-class torpedo boats called 125 Footers in reaction to the war scare with Russia. Three were lost to accidents, one was sunk in the Great War. The remainder were sold or broken up at various dates, mostly after the war.

T.B. 25 built by Thornycroft served as the prototype.

Common Characteristics

A single bow-mounted tube for 14-in Whitehead torpedoes. By the early 1900s, this had been removed.[1]

Two 3-pdrs and two 2-barrel Nordenfelt M.G.s (some of these, possibly just the Nordenfelds, were replaced by 0.45-in 5-barrel M.G.s)[2]

An alternative armament permitted them to land the 3-pdrs for two pairs of deck torpedo tubes, making an estimable five tubes.[3] When fitted out in this torpedo-heavy manner, they were referred to as "torpedo boat destroyers" – a precocious use of the term.[4] The practice of providing for alternative armaments along these lines was abolished in 1888, at least for new construction.[5]

In mid-1904, the Royal Navy ordered the replacement of two 5-barrel .45-in Nordenfelt machine guns with .45-in Maxim guns on each of 57 first-class torpedo boats. This figure must have included the remaining numbers of this class.[6]

T.B. 25

The ship featured a fixed torpedo tube in a "bull-nose" bow equipped with a ram. This shape was glaringly unsuccessful and she had to be altered to a straight bow which caused her to lose her tube.[7]

Thornycroft Boats

Thornycroft produced two batches of four and twenty vessels. Power levels of 700-750 I.H.P. delivered speeds ranging from 19.5 to 21.5 knots. All eventually had the bull-nose of T.B. 25 removed, which cost them their bow tube.[8]

Yarrow Boats

Yarrow produced two batches of four and eighteen vessels.[9]

White Boats

White built five boats ranging from 60 to 66 tons in displacement. They could make 18-19 knots. The stern was "cut-up" in a curve to improve steering.

T.B. 79

T.B. 79 was built by Yarrow to slightly different specs. She was 128 feet overall and displaced 25% more at 75 tons. She had V.T.E. engines and two funnels rather than one. Lastly, a reshaped hull form was intended to improve poor steering in the previous Yarrow 125 Footers.[10]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 103.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 103.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 103.
  4. The First Destroyers. p. 8.
  5. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1888. p. 9.
  6. Principal Questions Dealt with by the Director of Naval Ordnance, 1904. pp. 327-331.
  7. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 102.
  8. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 102.
  9. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 103.
  10. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 103.

Bibliography


125 Footer Class First-class Torpedo Boat
Prototype
  T.B. 25  
Thornycroft Boats
T.B. 26 T.B. 27 T.B. 28 T.B. 29 T.B. 41
T.B. 42 T.B. 43 T.B. 44 T.B. 45 T.B. 46
T.B. 47 T.B. 48 T.B. 49 T.B. 50 T.B. 51
T.B. 52 T.B. 53 T.B. 54 T.B. 55 T.B. 56
  T.B. 57 T.B. 58 T.B. 59 T.B. 60  
Yarrow Boats
T.B. 30 T.B. 31 T.B. 32 T.B. 33 T.B. 61
T.B. 62 T.B. 63 T.B. 64 T.B. 65 T.B. 66
T.B. 67 T.B. 68 T.B. 69 T.B. 70 T.B. 71
T.B. 72 T.B. 73 T.B. 74 T.B. 75 T.B. 76
  T.B. 77 T.B. 78  
White Boats
T.B. 34 T.B. 35 T.B. 36 T.B. 37 T.B. 38
Yarrow Special
  T.B. 79  
<– H.M. T.B. 81 Torpedo Boats (UK) H.M. T.B. 80 –>
<– H.M. T.B. 81 First-class Torpedo Boats (UK) H.M. T.B. 80 –>