"B" Class Destroyer (1895)

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The four-funneled subset of the destroyers originally termed the 30 Knotters, twenty-four "B" Class destroyers entered service with the Royal Navy between 1897 and 1898.

Their average cost was £60,000.[1]

They were designated the "B" class on 30 August 1912.[2]

In July, 1918, twenty ships were still in service,[3] and in May 1920, twenty of the ships were still worth documenting as regards their armament.[4]


The ships were used to compare oil firing and coal firing to see what new technology and methods could yield. Surly was fitted with both Holden and Rusden & Eeles oil-fired boilers, but trials in 1898-99 produced a lot of smoke and firing only 82% as efficient as with coal. The boilers were update in 1901, but results were not dramatically improved. In 1902, Kermode and Orde systems were tried, and the Kermode system proved the better, now producing evaporation 14% better than was possible with coal.[5]

Between September, 1905 and January 1905, Surly's oil-firing was compared to Peterel's coal-firing. The vital win was that Surly required just three men rather than six men in her boiler room, but in four different tests, she seemed superior in speed and in fuel consumption by weight, though there was variation and sometimes Peterel had a minor edge.[6]


Like the 27 knotters within the "A" class, the ships mounted:

  • One 12-pdr 12 cwt on a P. I mounting. The gun recoiled 12 inches and the mounting and its sights were capable of 30 degree elevations (9500 yards).[4]
  • Five Q.F. 6-pdr on Mark I* mountings recoiling 5 inches. The mounting could elevate 30 degrees, but the sight only 25 degrees (4000 yards). By 1920, two 6-pdrs had been removed.[7][4]

In late-1913, the 12-pdr mountings were equipped with percussion firing gear.[8]

By 1920, those remaining had also been fitted with a Q.F. 6-pdr on Mark IV H.A. mounting.[4]


Two 18-in single torpedo tubes on the centre line.

In 1905-06, it was decreed that Kangaroo and Myrmidon were to have their 10 cubic foot air compressors replaced by a 20 cubic foot model to be able to pump to 2,500 psi.  In 1906-07, Peterel and Spiteful were to receive the same.[9]

From 1907, the decision was made to standardise the "A" through "D"s with torpedoes set for short range, allotting them the Mark IV S.R..[10]

Other Weapons


Fire Control

Visual fire control system.[4]

Torpedo Control

See Also


  1. Smith. Hard Lying. Table 3.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 18.
  3. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). pp. 10-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Technical History and Index Vol. 4, Part 34, p. 15.
  5. Brown. The Grand Fleet. p. 21.
  6. Brown. The Grand Fleet. p. 21.
  7. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905, p. 93.
  8. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 430 of 1 Aug, 1913.
  9. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1904. p. 75.
  10. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1907. p. 32.


"B" Class Destroyer
Quail Sparrowhawk Thrasher Virago Earnest
Griffon Locust Panther Seal Wolf
Express Orwell Lively Sprightly Success
Spiteful Peterel Myrmidon Syren Kangaroo
  Arab Cobra Albacore Bonetta  
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