Hybrid Frigates

A history of Destroyer development is beyond the scope of this site, and covered elsewhere in many places. Destroyers have always captured the imagination: fast, sleek giant killers it is hardly surprising. But the glamour associated with the Destroyer caused the RN considerable problems in both wars.

From it's first design the RN developed the Destroyer to protect the Fleet, at first from Torpedo Boats, then - armed with torpedoes themselves - from other capital ships. Destroyers were also used offensively during WWI both in Fleet actions and operating in Destroyer groups. Older Destroyers were relegated to convoy escort duty, but proved unsuitable, lack of range and poor performance at low speeds meant they were only really effective as coastal escorts.

Inter war the philosophy continued, the Sloop continued to be developed as the convoy escort and the Destroyer remained a high speed unit that would keep up with, and protect the Fleet. Depth charges and Asdic were added but only to add an Anti-Submarine screen for the Fleet.

Japanese and German designs tended to large ships compared to British and American, the RN did rise to this with the Tribal Class, reducing torpedo armament in favour of guns, though disasterously the gun used was the 4.7" L/45 Mk XII which could only elevate to 40 degrees leaving the ships vulnerable to air attack, though that was not considered a threat at the time.

After the Tribals however, and in answer to the build up of the German and Japanese Navy, the RN reversed this decision and went for heavier torpedo armament with the J Class Destroyer.

The J Class is often referred to as being a lot smaller than the Tribal, this is not really the case with less than 200 tons displacement difference and 20 ft length. The J Class, also known as the Emergency Class, though differed fundementaly in design.

The three boilers of the Traditional Destroyer (or four) was reduced to two, improvements in engineering and design meant the J Class could still develop 40,000 HP compared to the 44,000 of the Tribal. Placing the boilers adjacent to each other allowed the use of a single funnel which increased upperdeck space and firing arcs, but left the Class vulnerable to crippling damage.

Longitudinal framing was adopted in addition to the traditional transverse frames, which coupled with Electric Arc Welding made the ships fast and relatively easy to build compared to earlier designs.

With a max load of 30 depth charges in one rack and with two throwers the ships carried the barest minimum of anti submarine weaponry. I mention it because the J Class and those that followed based on the same hull and machinary would form the basic building block for the first post war Frigates to be built, the Type 15 & 16 "Fast Frigates."

In 1939 the Admiralty finaly addressed the need for a Convoy Escort that could be mass produced, not surprisingly the design was based on the Sloops already being produced, the Bittern Class and it's follow ons, lately the Bird Class. But the new class were named as Destroyers, even though they carried no torpodoes, which had become part of the defining factor of an RN Destroyer, like a Destroyer though more attention was given to surface weapons than anti-submarine, and range was sacrificed for speed, which again reflected the old adage about preparing to fight the last war, no consideration was given to the longer range of the new submarines. Though supposedly a dedicated escort the reluctant planners had tried to get the best of both and have a ship that could also double as a Fleet Escort.

Post war saw the RN Destroyer firmly back in it's role as a Fleet defender, in particular as an Aircraft Carrier screening vessel, it was left to the new Frigate Class to deal with the Submarine threat, although confusion was to reign here too, the end of WWII had seen the deployment of Anti-Aircraft escorts as well as anti-submarine, American (and British it should be remembered!) experience in the Pacific showed the immense value of the outer screen of radar pickets to warn a carrier task group of incoming enemy air attacks and for a while the RN would dabble with the idea longer of the idea of the Anti-Aircraft Frigate which had been introduced with the Bay Class modification of the Loch Class.

In 1947 all escort vessels were re-classified as Frigates, the move coincided with the abandonment of attempting to design a catch all escort vessel that would serve as both anti-aircraft and anti-submarine, the bastard Hunts were down graded to Frigates and the few corvettes left bumped up, the Sloops were also gathered into the fold. The Destroyer was firmly back in it's pedigree stable.


The J Class Destroyer design broke many accepted rules of warship design, particularly in the main machinary provision and layout. But it produced a compact, relatively easy to build ship which was produced in large numbers. Built as a Fleet Destroyer they were only reluctantly released for Escort duties and had only the most rudimentary ASW weapon fits. They were to see a new lease of life post war however.

The Hunt Class was the RN's only attempt at creating a dedicated Escort Destroyer, but a disasterous design defect meant that on the original Type I ships the X gun (on the raised platform aft) had to be omitted. Instead the light quad 2 Pdr pom-pom was moved aft and installed there. Some sources note that the original design called for midship torpedo tubes as well which would justify the term Destroyer. Poor range, doubtful bouyancy and a shift in threat from surface raiders to long range U-Boats effectively confined the Type I to coastal patrols. However the improved Type II & III proved invaluable in the hostile air environment of the Mediterranean although losses were heavy and few Hunts survived the war without receiving major damage during their career.

The Tribal Class, pre WWII Destroyers had been tending to greater size and the RN answered in kind, torpedoes were also reduced in favour of more and heavier gun armaments, but the RN lacked a medium calibre weapon with high angle capability which left them woefully vulnerable to air attack. In the run up to WWII the Tribal was scaled down to the J hull and with smaller dual purpose guns, to compensate for the loss in surface capability additional torpedoes were carried.

HMS Jackel, a J Class Destroyer. Despite the lessons of WWI the RN were still a surface orientated fleet, the best and fastest destroyers were reserved to defend the Fleet, despite the fact that the U-Boat presented a far more effective and active menace than Germany's few surface raiders. Although the Destroyer is potrayed in films as the premier U-Boat fighter in practise they carried relatively few depth charges and did not handle well at low speeds. When assigned to Atlantic Escort duty they usually only escorted out to a set point and then abandoned the convoy, sometimes to pick up an incoming one.

Post war thinking saw the Destroyer firmly hauled back from it's venture into the Anti-Submarine Escort role as in this Daring Class, weapons were guns and torpedoes with a small nod to ASW in a single Squid launcher. A larger version of the Daring, the County Class, would see torpedoes replaced with an AA missile system

Hunt Class Destroyer

I am including some details on the Hunt Class as it was an Escort ship, even if conservatism left it as something of a mix. In the event the ship filled a desperate gap, convoys to Malta were often in reach of air attack and surface attack from the Italian Navy, by good luck and economy the Class had been fitted with 4" guns rather than the preferred 4.7" and so could give a good account of themselves against aircraft and their speed and monouverability increased their chances of survival. But although given the name Frigate post war they were too cramped and too top heavy to be adapted to the new Anti submarine weapons, and their speed fell short of the magic 30 knots demanded of a Fleet Escort.

Although based on the Bittern Sloop and carrying the same main armament the original Hunt design was 8 ft narrower in the beam and had a more powerful engine fit to provide 19,000 giving almost 27 knots compared to 3,300 and 19 knots. Intended as a coastal UK Escort where the bulk of the submarine action was anticipated they actualy ended up playing a large part in the Mediterranean war when France fell. Pre war plans had left the Mediterranean to the French Fleet to defend.

The Hunts were fin stabilised, though this was removed to provide extra fuel space on the Type III, 86 were built, 72 serving in the RN and 14 to the free Greek, Polish, Nowegian and French.

The Hunt had an inauspicious start to life, when being equipped with it's turrets the lead ship promptly heeled heavily and might well have rolled over had it not been in dock. A shocking design fault had made the ship too top heavy to float upright. X turret had to be omitted, reducing the main armament to four guns.

The Hunt would be the RNs only Escort Destroyer and unlike the US the designation did not stick, post war they were officially re-designated Frigates.

Construction of Hunts ceased in 1942, by the end of that year the battle for the Mediterranean had been turned, though there were still battles to be fought there, construction of the more conventional destroyers continued, and heavier destroyers with greater AA ability were being laid down. The RN firmly washed it's hands of the concept of the Escort Destroyer.

Type I
Displacement: 1,000 tons standard, 1,340 tons full load
Length: 280 ft overall, Beam: 29 ft, Draught: 10 ft 9 inch

Speed: 27.5 knots, 26 knots full load
Range: 3,500 nm at 15 knts
Complement: 146
Armament: 4 x 4" Mk XVI on twin Mk XIX mounts, quad 2 Pdr pom-pom, 2 x 20mm, 40 depth charges, 1 rack, 2 throwers. Single 2 Pdr on bow.

The Type II Hunt addressed the stability problems, the beam was increased by 2.5 ft to allow the designed number of guns to be fitted, the Bridge was also modified . Top speed was reduced by half a knot.

Type II
Displacement: 1,050 tons standard, 1,430 tons full load
Length 280 ft overall, Beam: 31 ft 6 inch, Draught: 8 ft 3"
Speed: 27 knots, 25.5 knots full load
Range: 3,600 nm at 14 knots
Complement: 164
Armament: 6 x 4" Mark XVI on Mk XIX mounts, quad pom-pom, 2 x 20mm, 40 depth charges on 1 rack and 2 throwers.

The Type III betrayed the RN's unease with this strange Destroyer, the Y gun was removed and replaced with a pair of 21" torpedo tubes.

Type III
Displacement: 1,050 tons standard, 1,430 tons full load
Length 280 ft overall, Beam: 33 ft 4", Draught: 8 ft 3"
Speed: 27 knots, 25.5 knots full load
Range: 2,350 nm at 20 knots
Complement: 168
Armament: 4x 4" Mark XVI on Mk XIX mounts, quad pom-pom, 2 x 20mm, 110 depth charges on 3 racks and 2 throwers, twin 21" torpedo tubes.

The Type IV were an alternate design put forward by Thornycroft, only two were built, but the hull design was optimised for cruising instead of sprinting and proved much more efficient and stable, lengthening the forecastle further aft improved internal space and provided better weather protection for crews at action stations.

Type IV
Displacement: 1,175 tons standard, 1,561 tons full load
Length 296 ft overall, Beam: 31 ft 6", Draught: 7 ft 9"
Speed: 26 knots, 25.5 knots full load
Range: 1,175 nm at 25 knots
Complement: 170
Armament: 6 x 4" Mark XVI on Mk XIX mounts, quad pom-pom, 2 x 20mm, 40 depth charges on 1 rack and 2 throwers, triple 21" torpedo tubes, 4 x Vickers machine guns, replaced with 4 Oerlikons later.

Radar fits varied over time and availability, but generally 271 sea search (3 GHz), 285 which was the Director radar with a range of 15 miles and gave range and bearing. Type 286 air warning was fitted to the formast, later 291. A few had their midships searchlight replaed with Type 272 centimetric target indication.

Althouth the Type I carried a bow chaser those Type II and Type III which were assigned to East Coast Convoy escorts also mounted the 2 Pdr against E Boats.

HMS Atherstone which almost sank when her turrets were lowered into place. X turret has been removed and replaced with the quad 2 Pdr pom-pom intended for further forward. The Type I also had to carry 50 tons of extra ballast. An unusual bow chaser - a single 2 Pdr pom-pom - was added and was intended to help combat E-Boats.

HMS Blankney, the stability problems of the Type I were corrected by widening the hull to 2 ft 6"; X gun is now back in place on this Type II Hunt, the quad pom-pom has been moved back to it's original design position aft the funnel, which did restrict it's firing arcs. The Hunts saw a lot of action in the Mediterranean where their restricted range was not such a problem as it was in the Atlantic theatre.

HMS Limbourne, Type III Hunt Class. In this variant the Hunt trully becomes an Escort Destroyer. The stern turret has been removed and the depth charge load increased. Two 21" torpedo tubes are now fitted midships. The torpedoes were to combat the Italian Navy which sortied out against the convoys the Hunts shepherded through the med, the removal of the stern turret also allowed a greatly increased depth charge load to be carried.

HMS Melbreak, a Type III Hunt Class Destroyer. The Americans studied the design and produced their own version which was not only sold to Britain as the Captain Class Frigate, but went on to be produced in large numbers for the Pacific theatre, but the Americans did not sacrifice range, with nearly double that of the Hunt the Evarts and the follow on DDE classes were highly successful except when used as Fleet Destroyers where they were heavily out gunned by Japanese ships.

HMS Brissenden Type IV Hunt, a civilian (Thornycroft) design that sought to improve low speed performance and stability by modifying the hull design, although successful the Hunts were by now at the end of their building life as the RN switched it's resources to building bigger Destroyers with heavier gun armament.


HMS Albrighton, Type III Hunt Class Destroyer
Launch Date
Type I      
Atherstone L05 12-12-1939 Scrapped 1957
Berkeley L17 29-1-1940 9-8-1944 sunk by aircraft off Dunkirk
Blencartha L41 6-8-1940 Scrapped 1957
Brocklesby L42 30-9-1940 Scrapped 1968
Cattistock L35 22-2-1940 Scrapped 1957
Cleveland L46 24-4-1940 28-6-1957 wrecked on route to breaker yard
Cotswold L54 18-7-1940 Scrapped 1957
Cottesmore L78 5-9-1940 1950 sold to Egypt as Port Siad, served as a training ship until 1980
Eglington L87 28-12-1939 Scrapped 1956
Exmoor L61 25-1-1940 25-2-1941 torpedoed by E boats
Fernie L11 9-1-1940 Scrapped 1956
Garth L20 11-2-1940 Scrapped 1958
Hambledon L37 12-12-1939 Scrapped 1957
Holderness L48 8-2-1940 Scrapped 1956
Liddesdale L100 19-8-1940 Scrapped 1948
Mendip L60 9-4-1940 Loaned to China 1948 as Lin Fu, recovered by RN in 1949 at about the time of the Yangtze incident, sold to Egypt 1950 as Mohamed Ali El-Kebir, renamed Ibrahim El-Awal 1951, captured by Israel 1956 and renamed Haifa, sunk as target for Gabriel missiles 1968.
Meynell L82 7-6-1940 Sold to Equador 1954 as Presidente Velasco Ibarra
Pytchley L92 13-2-1940 Scrapped 1956
Quantock L58 22-4-1940 Sold to Ecuador in 1954 as Presidente Alfaro
Quorn L66 27-3-1940 3-8-1944 sunk by Marder human torpedo off Normandy
Southdown L25 5-7-1940 Scrapped 1956
Tynedale L96 5-6-1940 12-12-1943 sunk by U-Boat off Bougie
Whaddon L45 16-7-1940 Scrapped 1959
Type II      
Avon Vale L06 23-10-1940 Scrapped 1958
Badsworth L03 17-3-1941 To Norway in 1946 as Arendal
Beaufort L14 9-9-1941 To Norway 1946 as Haugesund
Bedale L26 23-7-1941 1942 Free Polish Navy as Slazak, sold to India 1953 as Godavari
Bicester L34 5-9-1941 Scrapped 1956
Blackmore L43 2-12-1941 To Denmark 1952 as Esbern Snare, scrapped 1966
Blankney L30 19-12-1940 Scrapped 1959
Bramham L51 29-1-1942 To free Greek Navy in 1943 as Themistocles, scrapped 1966
Calpe L71 28-4-1941 To Denmark in 1952 as Rolfe Krake
Chiddingfold L31 10-3-1941 To India in 1953 as Ganga
Cowdray L52 22-7-1941 Scrapped 1959
Croome L62 30-1-1940 Scrapped 1957
Dulverton L63 1-4-1941 13-11-1943 sunk by aircraft off Kos Island
Eridge L68 20-8-1940 29-8-1942 hit by tropedo from Italian MTB, damaged beyond repair, served as a Base Ship in Alexandria until scrapped in 1946
Exmoor L08 7-6-1940 Laid down as HMS Burton, renamed after lost Exmoor before commissioning, sold to Danish Navy 1952 as Valdemar Sejr, scrapped 1966
Farndale L70 30-9-1940 Scrapped 1962
Grove L77 29-5-1941 12-6-1942 sunk by U-Boat off Sollum
Heythrop L85 30-10-1940 20-3-1942 sunk by U-Boat off Sollum
Hursley L84 25-7-1941 To Free Greek Navy in 1943 as Kriti, scrapped 1960
Hurworth L28 10-4-1941 22-10-1943 sunk by mine off Kalymnos
Lamerton L88 14-12-1940 Sold to India in 1953 as Gomati
Lauderdale L95 5-8-1941 Sold to Greece 1946, scrapped 1960
Ledbury L90 27-9-1941 Scrapped 1958
Middleton L74 12-5-1941 Scrapped 1957
Oakley L72 30-10-1940 To Free Polish in 1941 as Krakowiak, sunk 16-6-1042 my mines off Malta
Oakley L98 15-1-1942 Laid down as HMS Tickham, sold to Germany in 1958 as Gneisenau
Puckeridge L108 6-3-1940 6-9-1943 sunk by U-Boat off Gibralter
Silverton L115 4-12-1940 To Free Polish as replacement for Krakowiak, scrapped 1959
Southwold L10 29-5-1941 24-3-1942 sunk by mine off Malta
Tetcott L99 12-8-1941 Scrapped 1956
Wheatland L122 7-6-1941 Scrapped 1959
Wilton L128 17-10-1941 Scrapped 1959
Zetlans L59 7-3-1942 Sold to Norway 1954 as Tromso, scrapped 1965
Type III      
Airedale L07 12-8-1941 15-6-1942 sunk by aircraft off Sollum
Albrighton L12 11-10-1941 Sold to Germany in 1958 as Raule
Aldenham L22 27-8-1942 14-12-1944 sunk by mine
Belvoir L32 18-11-1941 Scrapped 1957
Blean L47 15-1-1942 11-12-1942 sunk by U-Boat off Oran, 89 killed
Bleasdale L50 23-7-1941 Scrapped 1956
Bolebroke L65 5-11-1941 To Free Greek Navy in 1942 as Pindos, scrapped 1960
Border L67 3-2-1942 To Free Greek Navy in 1942 as Adrias, damaged beyond repair 22-10-1942 off Kalymnos
Catterick L81 22-11-1941 Sold to Greece in 1946 as Hastings, scrapped in 1963
Derwent L83 22-8-1941 Scrapped 1947
Easton L09 11-7-1942 Scrapped 1953
Eggesford L15 12-9-1942 Sold to Germany 1958 as Brommy
Eskdale L36 16-3-1942 Free Norway in 1942, 14-4-1943 sunk by E Boat in the English Channel
Glaisdale L44 5-1-1942 Sold to Norway 1946 as Narvik, scrapped 1962
Goathland L27 3-2-1942 Damaged beyond repair 24-7-1944 by mines off Normandy, scrapped 1946
Haldon L19 27-4-1942 To Free French 1942 as La Combattante, 23-2-1945 sunk by midget submarine in North Sea
Hatherleigh L53 18-12-1941 To Free Greek Navy in 1942 as Kanaris, scrapped 1960
Haydon L75 2-4-1942 Scrapped 1958
Holcombe L56 14-4-1942 12-12-1943 sunk by U-Boat off Bougie
Limbourne L57 12-5-1942 23-10-1943 sunk by E Boats off French coast
Melbreak L73 5-3-1942 Scrapped 1956
Modbury L91 13-4-1942 To Free Greek Navy in 1942 as Miaoulis, scrapped 1960
Penylan L89 17-3-1942 3-12-1942 sunk by E Boat torpedo in the English Channel
Rockwood L39 13-6-1942 11-11-1943 damaged beyond repair by glider bomb, scrapped 1946
Stevenstone L16 23-11-1942 Scrapped 1959
Talybont L18 3-2-1942 Scrapped 1961
Tanatside L69 30-4-1942 Sold to Greece in 1946 and named Adrias, scrapped 1964
Wensleydale L86 20-6-1942 Damaged beyond repair in collision Nov 1944, scrapped 1946
Type IV      
Brecon L76 27-6-1942 Scrapped 1962
Brissenden L79 15-9-1942 Scrapped 1963

Type 16 Frigate

Even before the end of the second world war the need was identified for faster ASW ships. The German's had developed boats that could match or even outrun the Frigates and Corvettes that made up the Escort Fleet. These boats were introduced too late and in too few numbers to effect the outcome but to the rising horror of the Western Alliances they saw captured German technology taking shape on the slipways of the Soviet Union.

Doenitz had had a clear battle plan to defeat Britain, and it might well have worked had he not been betrayed by Hitler who had promised he would not go to war until the means to fight it were in place. Stalin was of an entirely different metal, he would not be rushed, the lessons of Britain's near defeat were not lost on him either, he observed the two great navies of the west, the USN and the RN and knew he could not hope to match them ship for ship, but if his plans to spread Communism across the globe was to succeed then he needed a counter. Russia already had an impressive submarine fleet, now he ordered the new Whiskey Class boats to add to it - by the hundred.

The Whiskey had a range of 13,500 miles, 6,000 without even surfacing, speed of 18.5 knots surfaced, 13 knots submerged on batteries and 7 knots cruising on snorkel.

Western thinking was that an attacked Whiskey would simply outrun escort vessels and return again and again to wipe out a convoy, conventional thinking was that you needed to be faster than your enemy to beat him. The truth of that has never been tested, there is much to cast doubt on it: a submarine travelling at speed sacrifices the greatest strength of the submarine: stealth, it would also be unlikely to achieve a good firing solution and even the fastest submarine could not outrun an aircraft; and German U-Boats had been faster than the average convoy, and still they had been defeated.

Whatever, the perception was that any Escort would have to match and better the speed of the enemy submarine. In the RN the problem was exacerbated by the avoidance of using Destroyers as submarine screens, that meant ASW ships had to be developed that could keep up with a carrier task group, the magic figure was 30 knots and it would remain the all consuming grail of the Cold War, even after the submarine went nuclear and reached speeds no surface ship could hope to match.

Britain had no suitable escort, and could not produce one in time or in the numbers needed to avoid the balance of power swinging hopelessly over to the Soviets. Money too was a problem, and that with a capital P. Labour had won a landslide victory on the back of promises to create the welfare system and full employment, with memories fresh of the austerity after WWI the public and military voted for them and turned their backs on Churchill. Now Labour had to deliver, but the country was broke, worse it was hugely in debt to the USA and yet forced to go and plead for more to meet the election promises. There was no money to spare for new ships, the Navy mothballed all it's battleships and most of it's cruisers just to keep the carriers and destroyers and escorts running, huge cuts were being made and among them were the Emergency Class Destroyers, those based on the J Class hull, 112 in total.

Mindful of it's promise not to execute huge redundancies in the ship yards as had happened after WWI the Government approved the conversion of nearly half of these Destroyers into Escort Ships, utilising their hull and machinary they were refitted as Fast Frigates, the Type 15 was a dedicated Anti-Submarine vessel and the Type 16 a more conservative general purpose ship.

The Type 16 was based on the hulls of the O & P Class Destroyer, these were J Class hulls and machinary but with a greater sheer on the forward hull to improve sea keeping.

O & P Class
Displacement: 1,540 tons standard, 2,400 tons overall
Legnth: 345 ft overall, Beam: 35 ft, Draught 13.5 ft
Machinary: 2 x Admiralty 3-drum boilers, Parsons geared steam turbines giving 40<000 shp on two shafts.
Speed: 31.25 knots sea speed, designed speed 37 knots max
Range 1,700 NM at 20 knots with full load of 430 tons of oil.
Complement: 170

Armament: 4 x 4" guns in single turrets on P class and Type I "O" class, 4 x 4.7" in single turrets on remainder of O Class. All ships carried quad pom-pom, up to 6 x 20mm Oerlikon in single mounts, 4 throwers and 2 racks with 70 depth charges. 4.7" armed ships carried 1 x quad 21" torpedo tubes and a 4" high angle in place of aft tubes, 4" ships 2 x quad 21" torpedo tubes.

The 4" armed ships were from the bitter lessons of the Mediterranean, swapping the 4.7" guns with their lack of high angle firing for faster firing high angle 4".

T Class
Displacement: 1710 tons standars, 2,350 tons full load
Length: 356 ft overal, Beam: 35 ft 92, Draught 14 ft 6"ft

Speed: 37 knots max
Range: 2,800 NM at 20 knots with full load of 580 tons oil.

4 x 4.7" Mk X11 guns in single mount type XXII high angle, twin 40mm Hazemeyer mount, 2 x twin and 2 x single 20mm Oerlikon, 2 x Quad 21" torpedo tubes.

Type 16 Conversion
Displacement: 1,800 tons standard, 2,300 tons full load
Length: 362.75 ft overall, Beam 37.75 ft, Draught 14.5 ft
Propulsion: unchanged, 40,000 shp
Speed: 31.25 knots at full load
Range: 1,700 for O & P class, 2,800 for T class at 20 knots
Complement: 175
Armament: 1 x twin Mk19 4", 1 x twin 40mm Hazemeyer mount, 5 x single mount Mk 9 Bofors 40mm, 2 x trible barrelled Squid, 1 x Quad 21" torpedo tubes
Radar: 293Q Target Indication, 974 Navigation, 1010 Mk 10 IFF
Sonar: 146B Search, 147 Depth Finder, 162 bottom search, 174 attack.

Teazer, Terpischore and Tumult are fitted with higher, lighter and squarer new bridges.


The Whiskey Class boat, developed from German break throughs in design and experience were to the western allies like some dreadful ghost rising from near defeat in the Atlantic, post war strategy against the Soviet Union relied on rapid reinforcement across the Atlantic. The Whiskey Class made the Mk VII and Mk IX U-Boats that almost closed the Atlantic in 1942 look like bath time toys.

HMS Teazer, Post war the RN looked to dispose of the Emergency Class Destroyers based on the J Class hull, compromises in design and a lack of size made them appear sub-standard compared with the later model large Fleet Destroyers.

HMS Tenacious, Type 16 T Class conversion rsulted in only minor changes to the hull and superstructure, the raised X Turret structure was turned into a mount and reload bay for two triple barrelled Squids, these were now mounted astern instead of on the bow in the case of the Loch Class Frigates and fired over and ahead of the ship. The sternmost Y gun was also removed and forward quad torpedo launcher. The bow guns were replaced with a single twin high angle 4" gun. The weight and space saved were used to install new radar and sonar systems.

HMS Pathfinder, there was little real difference between the Emergency Class Destroyers which made them ideal for conversion as one set of plans covered all. The Type 16 conversion was relatively minor, top weight was stripped and updated sensors fitted, in particular the sonars that allowed Squid to pinpoint and engage a target.

HMS Paladin post converion. Cost was kept to a minimum, much of the equipment was taken from other ships being decommissioned. The end result was very similar to the Loch Class but with the speed of a Destroyer. However, the refit did not address the fundemental problems of using a Destroyer as an escort: range and handling at low speed, they did however provide valuable screening for carrier task groups, which had become the central theme of Naval strategy, and gained a valuable breathing space in which to address future designs, and provide much needed experience in operating at high speed in an ASW role.

Orwell F98 1952 Converted to Minelayer, date unknown. Scrapped 1965
Paladin F169 1954 Sep 1959 converted to Minelayer, carried 30 mines. Scrapped 1962
Petard F56   Scrapped 1967
Teazer F23 1953-1954 Scrapped 1965
Tenacious F44 1951-1952 Scrapped 1965
Termagant F189 1952-1953 Scrapped 1965
Terpischore F19 1953-1954 Scrapped 1966
Tumult F121 1949-1950 Scrapped 1965
Tuscan F156 1949-1950 Scrapped 1966
Tyrian F67 1951-1953 Scrapped 1965

Type 15 Frigate

HMS Ulsses, a typical example of the 112 Emergency Class Destroyers produced during WWII, all based on the J Type hull and machinary. Their small size, cramped interior and vulnerable engines and boilers meant they had no place in the post war Navy which would see Destroyers increasing in size to Cruiser proportions due to the space demands for modern systems. But they were to provide a stopgap solution to the high speed submarines the Soviets began to produce until new Escort ships could be designed and built. Though limited in range and designed for high speed they nevertheless served for many years and proved highly capable ASW ships within those limits. All were classed as Second Rate Frigates.

The Type 15 conversion was much more than the weapons make over of the Type 16. The hulls of U, R, W, V and one T & Z Class were used. The ships were stripped down to deck level and beyond, all machinary was overhauled and then the ship built back up, fuel bunkarage was increased to improve range.

The hull was increased in height and integrated into the superstructure, forming the "cheekbone" effect that would become a feature of the next generation of Frigates. Interior space was greatly increased, allowing for not only additional equipment, but an Operations Room in which to co-ordinate attacks with other units. Accomodation was also greatly improved, an important factor, post war sailors were no longer prepared to put up with being left to find some damp noisy corner of the ship in which to sling a hammock while the officers slept in the comfort of their cabins. Despite huge cuts the Navy was haemorraging men at an unsustainable rate and the new equipment needed trained and skilled men to operate it, conditions had to improve and now, "Jam tomorrow" the old hands sneered at promises of better conditions to come.

The new ships were being built around the Limbo Mortar, a development on the Squid. But where the Squid was fixed and needed the ship to manouvre to aim it the Limbo could fire over 360 degrees out to a mile, it meant for the first time a ship was free to manouvre while still engaging a submarine, a huge advantage, a submarine captain could no longer predict when and where the depth charges would fall by the position of the attacking ship.

Like the Squid the Limbo had it's own dedicated sonar, the 170 attack that combined the depth and bearing sonars used in the Squid. Depth setting and even firing was automatic, two Limbos would fire a pattern of six charges above and below a submarine and crush it between the converging shock waves.

The Limbo was mounted astern and muzzle loaded with hydraulic bomb handling gear, it could be loaded and ready in seconds.

The ship's also mounted a twin 4" gun midships and a twin 40mm Bofors Mk V and a varying number of 20mm Oerlikons.

The classes used as "donors" were all very similar to those for the Type 16, being based on the J Class hull and machinary with four single mount 4" or 4.7" guns and 1 or 2 quad torpedo launchers.

Conversion included the novelty of an enclosed Bridge, unheard of in smaller vessels, most were equipped with a half round Bridge but three: Troubridge, Ursa and Ulster, were fitted with an experimental shape that would be later used on the early Type 12 Frigates.

Type 15
Displacement: 2,300 tons standar, 2,700 tons full load
Length: 358 ft overall, Beam: 37.75 ft, Draught: 14.5 ft
Propulsion: 2 x Admiralty three drum boilers, steam turbines, 2 shafts 40,000shp giving 31 knots fully loaded.
Range: Optimum speed 20 Knots, range at that is:
Z class and Troubridge: 3,000 NM with 600 tons oil
W, V & P class: 2,800 NM with 580 tons oil
Complement: 174
Armament: 2 x Limbo Mortar, 1 x twin 40mm Bofors Mk V, 1 x twin 4" Mk XIX, all ships fitted for 8 anti submarine torpedo tubes but only Ulster carried them, 4 tubes each side, Undaunted was fitted with three on the starboard side only.
Radar: Type 293Q target Indication, later 993, Type 277Q surface search, Type 974 Navigation, Type 262 fire control on CRBDF, Type 1010 Cossor IFF
Sonar: Type 174 search, Type 162 bottom search, Type 170 Limbo Attack.

HMS Virago, although a Type 15 it is here shown equipped with Squid in place of the Limbo, the Limbo was not available on the first ships to be converted, I have no record if they were ever retro-fitted. This shot nicely shows the line of the old ship's hull and the extent to the additional superstructure and hull which was added during the conversion to Type 15 Frigate.


HMS Vigilant post Type 15 conversion. The hull has been extended up to the Bridge in what will become a classic cheekbone fashion, another deck has also been added reaching from the former forecastle break at about the foremast level aft almost to the stern. The Bridge itself is enclosed and the ship is equipped with an Operations Room.

HMS Undaunted post conversion, the main armament of the ship is now the two triple Limbo mortars recessed into the aft end of the new raised section. The ship shows the cleaner lines of the Frigate compared to the Destroyer, instead of the fight occurring on the upperdeck more and more the battle is being fought from within the ship with radar, sonar, radio and automatic weapons.

HMS Undaunted sporting a flight deck, she flew over a thousand sorties with the Wasp Helicopter during trials with the new helicopter. Above the flight deck to the right can be seen the starboard Limbo in the stowed position, the other is hidden in it's well port and further forward.

HMS Undaunted, left the 4" and behind it the CRBFD radar director.

Anyone could be forgiven for mistaking the shot of HMS Ursa as a Type 12 or Type 12I, apart from the upswept bow there is little to tell them apart. Althouh the lineage of the Frigate goes from the Loch and Bay class to the Type 12 which was the next to be built post war I think this shot clearly demonstrates the Type 15 was hugely influential in the design.
Grenville R97 / F197 1953-1956 Scrapped 1981 Actualy a U Class named for a G Class sunk earlier in the war.
Rapid H32 / F138 1952-1953 Sunk as target 3-9-1981
Relentless H85 / F185 1949-1951 Scrapped 1971
Rocket H92 / F193 1949-1951 Scrapped 1967
Roebuck H95 / F195 1952-1953 Scrapped 1968
Troubridge R00 / F09 1955-1957 Scrapped 1970, Type 12 Bridge fitted
Ulster D83 / F83 1953-1956 Training ship from 1977, scrapped 1981, Type 12 Bridge layout
Ulysses D169 / F17 1952-1953 Scrapped 1970
Undaunted R53 / F53 1953-1954 Sunk as target 1982
Undine F141 1954 Scrapped 1965
Urania F08 1954 Scrapped 1965
Urchin F196 1952-1954 Scrapped 1966
Ursa R22 / F200 1953-1954 Scrapped 1967, Type 12 Bridge
Venus F50 1952-1954 Scrapped 1972
Verulam R28 / F29 1952 Scrapped 1972
Vigilant R93 / F93 1951-1952 Scrapped 1965
Virago F76 1951-1952 Scrapped 1972
Volage F41 1952-1953 Scrapped 1965
Wakeful F159 1952-1953 Scrapped 1971
Whirlwind F187 1953-1954 Scrapped 1981
Wizard F42 1954 Scrapped 1967
Wrangler F157 1951-1952 Sold to South Africa 1957 as Vrystaat, sunk as a target 1976
Zest F102 1954-1956 Scrapped 1970