Beagle Class Destroyer (1909)

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Sixteen destroyers of the Beagle Class (re-designated the "G" class in October 1913[1]) were ordered as part of the 1908-1909 Naval Programme.

They inaugurated the use of 21-in torpedoes on Royal Navy destroyers.

Between April and October, 1910, they comprised the First Destroyer Flotilla. In 1911, they were sent to the Mediterranean to become the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla during the Dardanelles operation. [2]

They burned coal and were, at 27 knots, about 6 knots slower than the "Tribals".[3]

Performance

Beagle steamed at over 27 knots for 4 hours burning over 11.5 tons of coal per hour, making 2.32 miles per ton — a little below the average for the class. Rattlesnake had the best tactical diameters of 382 yards to starboard and 457 yards to port, while Harpy was worst with 802 and 887 yards. The rudders were 55 square feet, but hull lengths ranged from 266 to 275 feet.[4]

On a patrol exercise with "Tribals", the Tribals returned early as they were short of fuel, whereas the Beagles had 30-40 tons of coal remaining. Similar comparison tests seem to confirm a greater endurance for the Beagles. The ships lacked any heating arrangements and men were unable to sleep in the extreme cold.[5]

In the Dardanelles during February, 1915, Beagle had her boilers lit for 26 consecutive days.

Searchlights

In October 1914, these ships were to have their after searchlight raised and to have the (hydraulic?) control system used in Badger fitted to both fore and aft searchlights. It was noted that Beagle, Bulldog and Foxhound would require addition of a socket to receive the gangway davit that would be required as part of this alteration.[6]

Armament

In late September, 1914, the Admiralty ordered that the guns on the Tribals and later classes were to be given loading lights, initially on temporary circuits.[7]

4-in Gun

The single 4-in gun mounted forward was a 4-in B.L. Mark VIII gun on P. III mounting with 120 rounds (60 common, 60 lyddite, plus 14 practice).[8][9]

The mounting could elevate to 20 degrees and depress to 10 degrees, but though its sight could match the 20 degree elevation, the range dial was only graduated to 9,300 yards (14 degrees 44 arc minutes) at 2,225 fps.

The gear-worked sight had a range gearing contant of 54 and spiral-reading range dials were provided for 2225 fps, 1-in aiming rifle and .303-in aiming rifle. M.V. could be corrected by adjustable pointer to +/- 75 fps.

The deflection gearing constant was 50.69 with 1 knot equal to 3.05 arc minutes, corresponding to 2275 fps at 2000 yards. Drift was corrected by inclining the sight 2 degrees.

Sight lines were 10 inches above the bore, and 16 inches left and 15 inches right. Open sights and temperature correctors were provided.

Percussion firing gear to be fitted as soon as conveniently possible in dockyard was ordered for these guns in April, 1914.[10]

12-pdr Guns

The three 12-pdr guns were mounted two in echelon on the beam and one aft.[11]

They were 12-pdr 12 cwt Q.F. guns on P. V mountings with 100 rounds per gun, all common shell.[12] The mountings could elevate to 20 degrees and depress to 10.

The sights were the only cam-worked 12-pdr sights in the Royal Navy, with range dials for 2150 fps, 1-in and .303-in aiming rifles. They could elevate to 20 degrees but their graduations ended at 19.25 degrees (8100 yards full charge). M.V. was corrected by adjustable pointer, +/- 100 fps.

Deflection gearing constant was 43.76, with 1 knot equalling 3.76 arc minutes, corresponding to a muzzle velocity of 2197 fps at 2000 yards.

Drift was corrected by inclining the sight 2 degrees. Sighting lines on the left were 10.25 inches above the bore and 10 inches left. The trainer's sighting lines were 12.25 inches above the bore and 10 inches right. His sight could be used as a free sight. Open sights were provided (for the layer at least), but there is no sign of temperature correctors.

In some of these ships, the aft 12-pdr was landed to accommodate depth charges.[13]

In late 1913, the P. Mark V and VI gun mountings had percussion firing gear ordered for them.[14]

Other Guns

Although not originally equipped, by 1920 some or all of the ships had been provided a Vickers 3-pdr Q.F. gun on a Mark III H.A. mounting.[15][16]

Torpedoes

Storage of Spare Torpedoes, 1909[17]
  • two single 21-in tubes on the centreline (one right aft), firing the short 18.5-foot Mark I torpedo.[18]

Most ships could fire the forward tube from 35 degrees on either side of the beam, but small differences in construction limited the arcs of fire for the forward tube in Racoon, Renard, Wolverine to 25 degrees abaft the beam.[19]

As of 1912, these were the only ships carrying the Mark I torpedoes.[20]

Some of the ships were equipped with Fore Bridge Firing Gear, either upon completion or prior to 1911.[21]

In 1917, it was decided that the ships could migrate to using S.L. 21-in Mark II torpedoes and later models within that Mark, but that all ships would require some alteration to make this possible. It was noted that the differing flight curves would further restrict their arcs of fire as follows, and the Rattlesnake needed her forward tube elevated 9 inches to achieve any arc at all):[22]

  Forward Tube, degs forward/aft After Tube, degrees forward
Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound 26/28 40.5
Grampus 13/16 39
Pincher 23/26 40
Racoon, Renard, Wolverine 13.5/16 43.5
Savage 22/25 40
Basilisk, Harpy 21.5/25 41
Scorpion, Grasshopper, Mosquito 24/28 41.5
Scourge 24/27.5 44
Rattlesnake* 25/26 35.5

Other Weapons

In mid-March 1916, Type D depth charges were fitted on either side of Scorpion's stern. In June 1918, Harpy had two Thornycroft depth charge throwers, 16 carriers, 2 runners and 50 depth charges, adding to 18 tons additional weight.[23] The addition of depth charges obligated some ships to land their aft 12-pdr gun.[24]

Fire Control

Voice Control Equipment[25]

The ships were probably completed with the Navyphone and Telaupad circuitry outlined in the Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909[26] for control of gunnery, searchlights and torpedoes. It was powered by six Pattern 1453 cells.

Each gun, torpedo tube and searchlight had a set of telaupads, and there were navyphones on fore bridge (a Pattern 863) and in the aft steering position (a Pattern 2140A). The commander of Bulldog had many complaints about the ship, including that "navy-phones no good."[27]

The C.O.S. on the fore bridge had two positions:

  1. Fore bridge Navyphone tied to after steering position Navyphone
  2. both Navyphones in communication with all Telaupads

By 1915, at least, these ships also had fixed voice pipes installed between decks with the last lengths being flexible (one voice pipe for gunnery, one for torpedoes) fitted between bridge and guns, torpedo tubes, and searchlights. A third voicepipe, entirely flexible, ran from bridge to the forward gun.[28]

A 1-m base rangefinder was supplied to all destroyers of the "Tribal" class and later around 1916, but this was later withdrawn.[29]

The Technical History and Index indicates that destroyers prior to the Acorn class relied on a visual system for transmitting fire control information.[30]

By mid-1918, these destroyers were among several earlier classes for which "alarm circuits" were to be fitted.[31]

Torpedo Control

In 1917, it was approved that "D" through "G" class destroyers should receive firing gongs at the tubes, operated from the bridge. Additionally, the Beagles were to be equipped with Fore Bridge Firing Gear.[32]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 73.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 73.
  3. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 11.
  4. March. British Destroyers. p. 106.
  5. March. British Destroyers. p. 106.
  6. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 441 of 2 Oct, 1914.
  7. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 416 of 29 Sep, 1914.
  8. March. British Destroyers. p. 101.
  9. The Sight Manual, 1916. pp. 4, 88, 108, Plate 42.
  10. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 1045 of 24 Apr, 1914.
  11. The Sight Manual, 1916. pp. 4, 96, 108, Plate 46.
  12. March. British Destroyers. pp. 101, 104.
  13. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 14.
  14. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 718 of 12 Dec, 1913.
  15. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 74.
  16. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 15.
  17. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1909. Plate 14.
  18. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1909. p. 32.
  19. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 91.
  20. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1912. p. 36.
  21. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 31.
  22. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 91.
  23. March. British Destroyers. p. 108.
  24. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 14.
  25. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. Plate 55.
  26. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. p. 52, Plate 55.
  27. March. British Destroyers. p. 107.
  28. Manual of Gunnery, Vol. III., 1915., p. 150.
  29. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 31, 32.
  30. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. pp. 15-16.
  31. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 232.
  32. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 211. (A.L. G. 57852/17; C.I.O. 1705/17; C.I.O 3318/17.).

Bibliography


Beagle Class Destroyer
Beagle Bulldog Foxhound Pincher Grasshopper
Mosquito Scorpion Scourge Racoon Renard
  Wolverine Rattlesnake Nautilus  
  Savage Basilisk Harpy  
<– Tribal Class Destroyers (UK) Acorn Class –>