Ferret Class (1895) TBD

The Ferret Class of torpedo boat destroyers was one of three classes of prototypes for this new type of ship. Built by Laird. The others were Havock (1894) and Daring (1895) Classes. Each class of two ships being built by a different shipbuilder.

In operation it was found that the bow torpedo tube area caused problems with excessive spray, the steering position in the armoured conning tower did not give good visibility, and the outside position forward was affected by spray. There were also questions as to the balance of armament between guns and torpedoes.

After several years the light hull also proved susceptible to damage forward when forced into heavy seas.

The prototypes were to be built to a common design with the exception of the machinery needed to reach the design speed. One of the design objectives was for each builder to use their expertise to fit a sufficiently powerful power plant into the small hull size. It was also intended to evaluate if either of the two types of available boiler (locomotive or water-tube) was superior.

With the development of the torpedo; small, fast torpedo boats were developed, able to seriously threaten blockading ships. 

Then in 1888 the French developed torpedo boats capable of crossing the Channel, opening the possibility of a French pre-emptive attack. The torpedo boat destroyer was intended to counter this threat by being capable of catching torpedo boats on the open seas of the Channel, and also protect ships of the Fleet from attack by torpedo boats. They did not need a long range as French Channel ports were close to potential British bases. But a high speed of 26/27kts was required together with a 12pdr gun armament.

Some ships had a lengthy time between launch and completion dates. This was because contracts  specified a speed to be reached, and builders needed time to modify them to reach this speed.     

On 30-Aug-1912 all three prototype and all 27-knotter classes were redesignated 'A Class' for convenience. They were all very similar in performance despite not being of a uniform design.


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This page last edited - 27 November, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.