Destroyer HMS Skate

The HMS Skate was a destroyer of the R-Class which consisted of a total of 62 ships and was commissioned at the beginning of the First World War.


Launching and design:

Due to the First World War and the great need for destroyers, was commissioned in May 1915 by the British Naval Office for the construction of a total of 62 destroyers in the 14 yards were involved.

The destroyers of the R-class differed to the predecessor model of the M-class mainly in the improved drive, whereby a two-shaft drive was driven by transmission turbines and thus the fuel could be used much more efficiently.

Furthermore, the rear gun was placed on a raised platform, which increased the radius.

The launch of the HMS Skate took place on January 11, 1917, the commissioning on February 19, 1917.



HMS Skate




Use in the war:

Shortly after commissioning the HMS Skate was torpedoed on 12 March 1917 by the German submarine SM UC-69. The damage was so severe that the ship had to be towed by HMS Lennox and HMS Lawford to Harwich.

During the reparation work, the ship was also immediately rebuilt as a minelayer and subsequently assigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla.




Use after the war:

After the First World War, the HMS Skate was first put out of service on March 12, 1920 in Portsmouth.

Later it was still used as a training boat for the torpedo school.




Use in the Second World War:

When the Second World War broke out in Europe, the HMS Skate was again prepared as a mine and minesweeper and made operational.

Since at that time, however, escorts for convoys and mine-laying misses, the ship was rebuilt again in January 1940, this time as escort ship.

In February 1940 was the first use in the war while accompanying a mine team in the North Sea. Despite the limited driving possibilities in heavy seas HMS Skate was assigned to the 2nd Escort Group in March.

From September 1940, the ship took over from Iceland from securing tasks for the convoys from Canada to Britain. When on 22 and 24 September, the convoy HX 72 was attacked by German submarines, took on the HMS skate survivor of the Torinia and the Scholar.

On June 18, 1941, survivors had to be resumed when the German submarine U-552 submerged the freighter Norfolk northwest of Malin Head.

On October 24, 1941, the ship participated in securing another convoy. However, the skate was severely damaged by a heavy storm, among other things, the third chimney was demolished. By November, the ship had to be in the yard for the necessary repairs.

From 1942, the HMS Skate was used only in the coastal area northwest of the UK. At the entrance of the Queen Mary, the 10,000 US soldiers to Glasgow had on board, there was an accident. The passenger ship rammed the British cruiser Curacoa, which was split in half and sank. Because of the danger of German submarines, the survivors could only be rescued a few hours later.



HMS Skate 1942





After the Second World War, the HMS Skate was decommissioned, sold and scrapped in July 1947 in Newport.




Ship data:


HMS Skate


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Destroyer, Minelayer and Escort boat




John Brown & Co., Clydebank




January 11, 1917


February 19, 1917


Sold and scrapped in Newport from July 1947


84,1 meters


8,15 meters


2,6 meters


Max. 1.220 tons


90 men


3 Yarrow boiler

2 Brown Curtis turbines


27.000 PS (19.858 kW)

Maximum speed:  

36 kn (67 km/h)




3 x 10,2 cm L/40 Mk. IV Cannons

1 x 2 Pounders Mk.II anti-aircraft gun

4 x torpedo tubes ∅ 53,3 cm


from 1940:

1 x 10,2 cm L/40 Mk.IV Cannon

1 x 76 mm L40 Mk.V anti-aircraft gun

4 x 20 mm Cannons

8 x launcher and 2 drain rails for water bombs








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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