Destroyer HMS Afridi

The destroyer HMS Afridi belonged to the tribal class which consisted of 12 ships and which were the first ships of the Royal Navy, which were equipped with turbine propulsion and oil firing.


Launching and design:

In 1903, the destroyers of the River class were built for the Royal Navy. Shortly after commissioning, it became apparent that the speed of 25.5 kts and the two coal-fired triple expansion engines were no longer up to date. Thus, in November 1904, the First Lord of the Sea John Fisher to the British Navy Ministry, the requirements for the new destroyer. These should have a speed of at least 33 knots and have the new oil-fired steam turbines.

The Department of the Navy blessed the requirements, although some of these problems were evident. So the new destroyers would be longer by the new turbines and thus more susceptible to storms on the high seas. Furthermore, the fuel consumption of the turbines was very high, so that the radius was smaller in which the ships could operate. Despite the upcoming shortcomings, the order was initially granted for five destroyers of the new class to various shipyards. Since the details of the construction were left to the shipbuilders themselves, the individual ships of the Tribal class were different in some details, such as e.g. the number of chimneys. The order for the HMS Afridi received the Armstrong-Whitworth shipyard in Elswick.

Since the shipyards in the details predominantly had freedom of action, the designers of the Armstrong shipyard decided at the HMS Afridi for three short chimneys and five Yarrow water tube boilers for the steam supply of the Parsons turbines. As armament three older twelve-pounder cannons were chosen, mainly for cost reasons. Two of the guns were installed at the bow and one at the rear. However, since this armament of the naval line was too weak, the Afridi received before the commissioning two more twelve-pounder guns.

The launch of the HMS Afridi took place on 8 May 1907, the commissioning on 10 September 1909.



HMS Afridi




History of HMS Afridi:

After the launch, the first test drives showed considerable deficiencies in the drive system, so that they had to be reworked several times. In addition to the bad weather, in which no test drives could be made, also delayed strikes on the shipyard, the work on the ship, so that it could be handed over with a delay of 26 months to the Royal Navy.

Together with the other, in the meantime spiked on 12 ships Tribal class HMS Afridi was assigned to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, which operated mainly with the modern battleships Home Fleet.

As the destroyers of the 1st flotilla were gradually replaced by newer ships, the Afridi was relocated in 1912 in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla to Portsmouth. At this time, the classification of the destroyer as F-class was done, so they had to carry a large F at the bow.

Because of their short range, the ships of the Tribal class were relocated to Dover in February 1914 and summarized there to the 6th Destroyer Flotilla.




Use in the war:

After the outbreak of the First World War, the ships of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla were assigned as Dover Patrol to securing the British coastline. Until the end of the war, the HMS Afridi remained in this task.

On March 24, 1916, the ship was one of those involved in the rescue of the survivors of the canal ferry Sussex. The ferry was previously torpedoed by the German submarine UB-29, when the German Empire declared the unrestricted submarine war for Britain.

Between April and October 1917, the 12-pounder guns were exchanged for stronger 4.7-inch (120mm) rapid-fire guns, as the German Empire stationed their heavily armed torpedo boats in northern Belgium.

On April 22 and 23, 1918, the Royal Navy began attacking the Belgian ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge in order to render them useless for German warships. The involved HMS Afridi protected the ships that were to be sunk in front of the harbor entrance of Ostend. Due to poor navigation, the attack on Ostende failed and the block ships ran aground in a wrong place.





After the war, the HMS Afridi with the last four destroyers of the Tribal class (HMS Cossack, HMS Saracen, HMS Viking and HMS Zubian) moved to Humber and summarized there in February 1919 the 7th Destroyer Flotilla.

Already in March 1919, the ship was decommissioned and offered for sale. The British company F. Wilkinson bought the ship on 9 December 1919 and scrapped it.




Ship data:


HMS Afridi


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Armstrong-Whitworth, Newcastle-Elswick




May 8, 1907


September 10, 1909


Sold on December 9, 1919 and then scrapped


80,31 meters


7,62 meters


Max. 2,29 meters


Max. 992 tons


65 man


5 Yarrow boiler
3 steam turbines with single gears


14.250 PS

Maximum speed:  

33 kn




5 x 12 pdr guns (76 mm L / 40)

From October 1917:
5 x 4,7-inch (120mm) rapid fire cannons

2 x torpedo tubes








You can find the right literature here:


British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One Hardcover – November 15, 2012

This new edition of a classic work on British battleships is the most sought after book on the subject. Containing many new photographs from the author's exhaustive collection this superb reference book presents the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. Beginning with Dreadnought, all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

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The British Battleship: 1906-1946

The British Battleship: 1906-1946 Hardcover – October 15, 2015

Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

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British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

The well-publicized problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament, and armor, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full color. This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.

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British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

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