Glossary Term Torpedo Boat


The earliest torpedo boats were ordinary steam cutters or steam pinnaces fitted with spar torpedoes or in some cases cradles for carrying Whitehead torpedoes and were to be used in protected harbours or roadsteads, or at sea during very fine weather. The Royal Navy divided torpedo boats into two classes, first and second, the former with lengths of 87 to 166 feet being intended for harbour and coast defence, and the latter with lengths of 60 to 66 feet intended for carriage on board large men-of-war.

Related entries

Related Vessels

Published resources


  • Gray, Edwyn, Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004. Details

Journal Articles

  • J. E. Thornycroft, 'Modern torpedo boats and destroyers', Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects, vol. 50, 1908, pp. 59-76. Details

Prepared by: Rebecca Rigby