fighting ships of the world



Vickers 30-knotters, 1895-96 orders destroyers (1897-1900)

Otter 1906

Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Avon D02, D45, D08   Vickers, Barrow 17/2/1896 10/10/1896 2/1899 sold 7/1920
Bittern D03, D5A, D10   Vickers, Barrow 18/2/1896 1/2/1897 4/1897 collision 4/4/1918
Otter     Vickers, Barrow 9/6/1896 23/11/1896 3/1900 sold 10/1916


Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

65.3 oa 64.0 pp

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 4-cyl VTE, 4 Thornycroft boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 86

Endurance, nm(kts) 3000(10)


1 x 1 - 76/40 12pdr 12cwt QF Mk I, 5 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 x 1 - 450 TT (4)



Ship project history: The successful trials of the first destroyers, particularly Daring, showed that higher speeds than the Admiralty had at first thought possible could be obtained, and in 1894 Thornycroft, Yarrow and Laird were all asked to submit designs for destroyers capable of 30kts, though at that stage orders could not be placed immediately. The first orders went to Thornycroft and Laird, and later other firms produced their own designs and built to them. Yarrow, however, thanks to conflicts with the Admiralty over their 27 knotter destroyers, did not receive any more destroyer orders from the Admiralty for several years, and concentrated on building for foreign navies instead.

    As with the 27-knotters all the firms built to their own designs, the only common feature being the complement of 63 and the standard armament of 1 76mm and 5 57mm guns, plus 2 450mm TT. All except Thornycroft used triple expansion engines, whilst Thornycroft continued with their four cylinder compounds. Hulls were lengthened and the machinery was more powerful than the 27-knotters, but fundamentally the 30-knotters were only enlarged versions of the earlier destroyers.

    As with the 27-knotters the high trial speeds were never achieved in service, or even in subsequent trials. Sea speed was more often around the 25kts mark, if that. The light structure of these destroyers caused some trouble with leakage and fractures, though in fact it stood up remarkably well to the strains of wartime service between 1914 and 1918 when these by then elderly vessels were mainly used for coastal patrol work. Many had their funnels raised in an attempt to minimize smoke and cinders at deck level.

    Though quite a few of these vessels were delayed in their entrance into the service by difficulties in reaching the contract speed, more delay was caused with the later groups of vessels by the severe labour troubles in the late 1890s in the shipbuilding trades.

    When these vessels were ordered the builder was known as the Naval Construction & Armaments Co but became Vickers before they were completed. Otter was ordered slightly later than the first pair.

Modernizations: 1916-1917, Avon, Bittern: + 2 DCR

Naval service: Bittern was sunk in the collision with s/s Kenilworth in the English Channel 4/4/1918.


Navypedia, 2020