Destroyer HMS Viking

The destroyer HMS Viking belonged to the Tribal class, which consisted of a total of 12 ships and the first destroyers of the Royal Navy were equipped with turbine propulsion and oil firing.


Launching and design:

1903, the destroyers of the River class was introduced in the Royal Navy. These had a top speed of 25.5 knots and were powered by two coal-fired triple-expansion engines.

At the insistence of the First Sea Lord John Fisher new demands were placed on the next destroyer class in November 1904. These should now be able to run a top speed of 33 knots. In order to reach this speed, oil-fired steam turbines were to be installed in destroyers for the first time, since these could bring the required performance. Previously, only the ships HMS Viper, HMS Cobra, HMS Velox and the HMS Eden were equipped for experimental purposes with such a drive.

Since the installation of the new drive would have extended the ships accordingly, the designs went to the then feasible limits of technology. In order to be able to compensate for the drive, some areas had to be changed accordingly, so that the seaworthiness of the ships altogether became worse than with the preceding class. In addition, the ships could carry only up to 216 tons of fuel with them and the high consumption, the range of the ships was also significantly lower than the ships of the River class.

The first five ships of the Tribal class had five 3-inch guns mounted, which meant an increase from a gun. From the sixth ship, the guns were replaced by two 4-inch guns, which were each slightly raised at the bow and stern.

Seven yards were involved in the construction of the 12 ships of the class. Since the builders of the shipyards had many liberties in the construction of the ships, it happened that the individual ships of the class were sometimes significantly different from each other. So there were ships with three chimneys and also with five or six, with the HMS Viking was the only ship with six chimneys.

The launch of the HMS Viking took place on September 14, 1909, the commissioning on June 13, 1910.



HMS Viking




History of the HMS Viking:

After the commissioning and the test drives the ship was assigned together with all others to the class of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla.

After the death of King Edward VII on May 6, 1910, his son George V took over the crown of Great Britain. At the coronation ceremony on June 22, 1911 in Westminster Abbey, the HMS Viking participated in the accompanying fleet parade.

From 1911, the new destroyer of the Beagle class began to replace older destroyers. the ships of the Tribal class therefore changed in 1912 in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla. Through a reform, these ships were awarded the mark F in October 1912, as this ship class was officially renamed.

Because of the short range of the ships they could no longer keep up with the new ships of Home Fleet and was therefore assigned in February 1914 the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and relocated to Dover.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the ships of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla were used to protect the English Channel to prevent the penetration of German ships and to control merchant ships.

In October, the ships of the squadron were relocated to the Belgian coast to bombard the German troops. It came on 20 October to an accident on the HMS Viking, when the gun at the bow of the ship exploded and two crew members were seriously injured. The mission had to be stopped and the ship for repair in the shipyard with the gun was replaced by a stronger 152 mm Mk.VII cannon. Subsequently, security tasks were again carried out in the English Channel.

In one of the patrols, the ship discovered on March 4, 1915 in the Strait of Dover a surfaced German submarine. After the Viking opened the fire, the submarine submerged. Only when more destroyers arrived and forced the U-boat to emerge with explosives towed over the seabed, the crew could be captured and the submarine sunk.

On 29 January 1916, when the ship was on its way back to Britain, it sailed at Boulogne on a sea-mine and was badly damaged. The explosion occurred at the level of the officers' mess where the officers of the ship sat together at lunch. Among the 10 dead was thus also the commander of the ship. The sister ship HMS Zulu managed to pull out the brand-new HMS Viking from the squadron, with the incoming seawater extinguishing most of the fire. The HMS Ure was then able to record the crew, as shortly thereafter tore the tow and the Viking drifted off. Only when the tug Lady Brassey arrived from Dover, the Viking could be taken back in tow. The HMS Tartar helped, so that the ship could be brought in the evening in Dover in the dock.

After repairing the damage, the HMS Viking again took over security tasks in the English Channel. When German torpedo boats attacked the Dover barrier on the night of October 26-27, 1916, the Viking took the lead as the pilot of the six alarm destroyers. Already after the first shot of the gun at the bow this fell out due to technical problems, thus the ship could not continue to fight the German ships and had to pull back.

In a patrol before Folkestone in the southeast of England, it came on February 3, 1918 to a collision with another destroyer, the Viking was damaged again.



The damage of HMS Viking after the mine hit





After the First World War, the HMS Viking was assigned together with the destroyers of the tribal class HMS Afridi, HMS Cossack, HMS Saracen and HMS Zubian in February 1919 the 7th Destroyer Flotilla.

Just a month later, in March 1919, the ships were decommissioned and offered for sale.

The Viking was finally sold in December 1919 and then scrapped.




Ship data:


HMS Viking


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Palmers Shipbuilding,
Jarrow at Newcastle




September 14, 1909


June 13, 1910


Sold and scrapped in December 1919


86,9 meters


8,14 meters


2,9 meters


Max. 1.210 tons


71 men


6 Yarrow boiler

3 steam turbines with single gears


14.000 PS

Maximum speed:  

33 kn




2 x 10,2 cm L/40 cannons

2 x 45 cm torpedo tubes

1 x 15,2 cm L/45 cannon as replacement

End of 1916:
2 x 10,2 cm L/45 cannons in exchange for old guns








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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.

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