Sharpshooter Class Torpedo Gunboat (1888)

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The thirteen vessels of the Sharpshooter Class set the pattern for the remainder of the Royal Navy's torpedo gunboats. Of the thirteen Sharpshooters, four were built by Armstrong Mitchell for duties on colonial stations, with Boomerang and Karakatta for the Australian Station, and Assaye and Plassey being built for the Royal Indian Marine. Five survived long enough to serve as minesweepers in the First World War.

Overview of thirteen vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Boomerang Armstrong Mitchell 17 August, 1888 24 July, 1889 14 February, 1890 Sold 11 July, 1905
Gleaner Sheerness Dockyard 21 January, 1889 9 January, 1890 21 December, 1891 4 April, 1905
Gossamer Sheerness Dockyard 21 January, 1889 9 January, 1890 16 June, 1891 Sold 30 March, 1920
Karakatta Armstrong Mitchell 17 August, 1888 27 August, 1889 February 1891 Sold 11 January, 1905
Salamander Chatham Dockyard 23 April, 1888 31 May, 1889 8 July, 1891 Sold 15 May, 1906
Seagull Chatham Dockyard 23 April, 1888 31 May, 1889 1 December, 1890 Collision 30 September 1918
Sharpshooter Devonport Dockyard 13 January, 1888 30 November, 1888 August, 1889 Hulked c. 1904
Sheldrake Chatham Dockyard 4 July, 1888 30 March, 1889 8 July, 1890 Sold 9 July, 1906
Skipjack Chatham Dockyard 4 July, 1888 30 April, 1889 8 July, 1891 Sold 23 April, 1920
Spanker Devonport Dockyard 12 April, 1888 22 February, 1889 17 October, 1890 Sold 20 March, 1920
Speedwell Devonport Dockyard 18 April, 1888 15 March, 1889 1 July, 1890 Sold 20 March, 1920
Assaye Armstrong Mitchell 19 November, 1888 11 February, 1890 January 1892 Sold May 1904
Plassey Armstrong Mitchell 19 November, 1888 5 July, 1890 February 1890 Sold 17 May, 1905

Construction

Machinery

Armament

The Sharpshooters were meant to carry the same gun armament as the previous Grasshoppers, viz:

  • One 4-inch BL gun
  • Six 3-pounder guns
  • Five 14-inch torpedo tubes and eight torpedoes

During construction, however, tests at Elswick of a new 4.7-inch quick-firing gun showed it was markedly superior to the old 4-inch breach-loader, being able to fire ten rounds in a minute instead of only twice. The new gun was promptly introduced into the design, with a second 4.7-incher being added for good measure in place of two 3-pounders. Torpedo armament remained unchanged.[1] Thus the Sharpshooter's armament as built was:

  • Two 4.7-inch quick-firing guns
  • Four 3-pounder guns
  • Five 14-inch torpedo tubes and eight torpedoes

Conversions

Sharpshooter was hulked in 1904 for instructional duties and renamed Northampton. In 1908 the five survivors (Gossamer, Seagull, Skipjack, Spanker, and Speedwell) were taken in hand for conversion to minesweepers.[2]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.

Bibliography


Sharpshooter Class Torpedo Gunboat
Royal Navy Ships
Boomerang Gleaner Gossamer Karakatta Salamander
  Seagull Sharpshooter Sheldrake  
  Skipjack Spanker Speedwell  
Royal Indian Marine Ships
  Assaye Plassey  
<– Grasshopper Class Torpedo Gunboats (UK) Alarm Class –>