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ROYAL NAVY (UNITED KINGDOM)

TORPEDO SHIPS

Laird 33-knot 'special' 1896-1897 orders destroyer (1902)

Express 1902

Name

No

Yard No

Builder

Laid down

Launched

Comp

Fate

Express

D84, D80, D34 629

Laird, Birkenhead

1/12/1896

11/12/1897

2/1902

sold 3/1921

 

Displacement normal, t

465

Displacement full, t

540

Length, m

73.0 oa 71.6 pp

Breadth, m

7.22

Draught, m

3.12

No of shafts

2

Machinery

2 4-cyl VTE, 4 Normand boilers

Power, h. p.

9250

Max speed, kts

31

Fuel, t

coal 130

Endurance, nm(kts)

3000(10)

Armament

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)

Complement

74

Ship project history: As part of the 1896/97 programme the Admiralty decided to order three vessels with the unprecedented contract speed of 33kts. This was mainly a reaction to the 31kts of the French torpedo boat Forban on trial in 1895. In fact that was an exceptional result as none of her immediate sisters reached anything like that speed. In the event, the requirement for 33kts proved too ambitious. The vessels built, with exactly the same armament as the 30-knotters, on longer and more expensive hulls and with more powerful and therefore more expensive machinery, completely failed to make the desired speed. The first two both spent years running acceptance trials testing various propeller shapes and other devices in a vain attempt to reach 33kts, though Thornycroft's Albatross came quite close.
    After their final acceptance it was realised that all they had proved to be were rather more expensive 30-knotters, and so they were not kept apart as a separate class.
    Express began her trials in 1898, was badly damaged during their course, and tried many different variants of propeller shape without real success. Her appearance was unusual because she had 'reverse sheer' (in other words the upper deck was higher amidships than at the ends). Early in her career she had a very poor reputation for reliability, breaking down when she was called on to do any speed.

Modernizations: None.

Naval service: No significant events.

Express

 

 

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