Published Resources Details Journal Article

Torpedo boat destroyers
The Engineer
Description of Work
vol. 76, 15 December 1893, pp. 575-576

Accession No.275


The Editor of The Engineer was of the opinion that the solution to defending the Channel against the large number of French torpedo boats stationed on the opposite side of the Channel was a vessel somewhat larger and swifter than a torpedo boat, armed with guns instead of torpedoes. Britain had not produced a vessel specially designed and suitably armed for overcoming torpedo boats. The Rattlesnake class commonly called "catchers" were supposed to be for that purpose, but that was not their origin. They were an answer to the demand from torpedo officers for a sea-keeping torpedo vessel to accompany a fleet, and in action, to attack the enemy's ships under the cover of the smoke and confusion of battle. Speed, and the least dimensions consistent with being able to keep the sea were their principle defence against gunfire. The Scout and Fearless were produced to meet this demand, but they did not comply with the condition of small dimensions because the displaced fifteen hundred tons. The French built the Bombe a vessel of 400 tons that embodied what the British Government was seeking. The British Government responded with the Rattlesnake, Grasshopper, Sandfly and Spider, of 525 tons. They had four torpedo tubes, a 4-inch gun forward, and six 3-pounder quick-firing guns. Successive additions to this class were increased in size culminating in the Hussar, with a displacement of 1,070 tons, armed with two 4.7-inch guns. In the Editor's opinion the Havock (length 185 feet overall, 180 feet between perpendiculars, beam 18 feet 6 inches, draught 7 feet 3 inches; displacement 275 tons) armed with one fixed bow torpedo tube, two single torpedo tubes on deck, one 12-pounder gun, and three 6-pounder guns was the closest that the British Government had got to the problem of solving the problem of providing an adequate defence against torpedo attack.

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