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Tribal Warfare The 1935 Tribal Class Destroyer Design in Commonwealth Service Dr Ian Pfennigwerth
I gratefully acknowledge the support given to the preparation of this presentation by  the grant under the Tenix HMAS  Per...
HMS  Eskimo Putting cracks in forward hull
HMCS  Haida ,  Commanding Officer’s day cabin
Presentation Outline <ul><li>The origins of the design </li></ul><ul><li>British Tribals </li></ul><ul><li>Australian Trib...
HMAS  Bataan  4.7-inch firing
Origins of the Class <ul><li>Larger and better armed designs began appearing for foreign navies </li></ul><ul><li>Challeng...
IJN  Fubuki  Class destroyer
‘  V leader’ Staff Requirement: Roles Patrol work, shadowing, screening, close support of destroyer flotillas and, in conj...
HMS  Matabele
Initial Characteristics <ul><li>1850 T (treaty limits)  </li></ul><ul><li>4 x twin 4.7-inch mountings, 600 rounds each </l...
HMS  Afridi
British Orders for RN <ul><li>Seven ordered March 1936 </li></ul><ul><li>Nine more ordered June 1936 </li></ul><ul><li>Fir...
Torpedo launch HMS  Afridi
A totally unbiased opinion by a Tribal Commanding Officer Over and above the material facts shone out the appearance of th...
Warramunga  on commissioning
Design Deficiencies <ul><li>Not as stable a gun platform as expected </li></ul><ul><li>AA weaponry inadequate and inaccura...
HMAS  Bataan  refuelling
Some AA Problems ‘ The system worked quite well provided the ship remained steady, the target aircraft flew straight and l...
HMCS  Haida  forward 4-inch guns
Forward ammunition hoists, HMCS  Haida
A Sailor’s View of the Hull Problem You don’t know what it was like, with the cold and the wet and all. Sometimes, every t...
Storm damage in HMCS  Iroquois
HMCS  Haida , forward seamen’s mess
Fixes <ul><li>Modest changes to AA weaponry (Oerlikon and, eventually, Bofors) </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthening of forward ...
Bataan  AA   weapons
Australian Interest in Tribals <ul><li>The complications of working within British Empire totals under naval disarmament t...
HMCS  Haida,  Wardroom
Some Last-Minute Politicking I wish to urge before it is too late, the importance of retaining the Destroyer in the Royal ...
Committee of Imperial Defence December 1938 <ul><li>RAN heavy cruisers to be modernised </li></ul><ul><li>Three light crui...
Australian Acceptance of Tribal Recommendation <ul><li>Ships were appropriate to RAN needs and capabilities, and Defence e...
Arunta  shore bombardment
Australian Construction <ul><li>Contract let with Cockatoo Island (Vickers connection) </li></ul><ul><li>Two ships ordered...
Arunta  on commissioning
Canadian Interest in Tribals <ul><li>RCN had gained little kudos out of WW 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Political and public suppor...
Difficulties <ul><li>No capability in Canada for building such complex vessels </li></ul><ul><li>Skills and material probl...
CNS’ 1939 Statement to Parliament The ultimate objective which the Navy has set out for Canada is to build up to a naval f...
Nelles Overcame the Difficulties By: <ul><li>Persuading the Admiralty to build the first batch of four Tribals in British ...
Two RCN Tribal hulls at Halifax Dockyard
Canadian Tribals Delivery <ul><li>First four built by Vickers Newcastle, ordered April 1940 </li></ul><ul><li>Launched Sep...
The British Tribals’ War 1 <ul><li>Gurkha  &  Afridi  lost to bombs in Norway 1940 </li></ul><ul><li>Great success against...
HMS  Somali  sinking in the Arctic, September 1942 Tartar  in company
British Tribals’ War 2 <ul><li>Sikh  &  Maori  sank two Italian light cruisers Dec ’41 in Mediterranean </li></ul><ul><li>...
HMS  Bedouin  sinking Mediterranean, June 1942
RAN Tribals’ War I <ul><li>Arunta  sank IJN submarine during East Coast operations Aug ’42 </li></ul><ul><li>Both ships en...
HMAS  Arunta  4.7-inch guns crew in action
British-Built RCN Tribals at War  <ul><li>Arctic convoys 1943-44 </li></ul><ul><li>Athabaskan  hit by glide bomb off Franc...
HMCS  Haida
Huge Canadian Building Delays <ul><li>Nearly a year taken to assemble drawing set before start made </li></ul><ul><li>Only...
HMCS  Micmac  Launch September 1943
HMCS  Athabaskan  II Commissioned January 1948
RN Tribals Finish Their War <ul><li>Operation Torch and aftermath ’42-’43 </li></ul><ul><li>Sicily and Salerno landings </...
HMS  Tartar Post modernisation, 1944
RAN Tribals Finish Their War <ul><li>Amphibious assaults from Papua to Lingayen Jan ’44 – Jan ’45 </li></ul><ul><li>Good r...
HMAS  Warramunga   firing after 4.7-inch
RCN Post-War Tribal Employment <ul><li>Standardised on 4-inch mounts, and underwent ASW conversion  </li></ul><ul><li>Most...
Canadian GG Inspecting 3-inch/50 mount in RCN Tribal
HMCS  Micmac pre-conversion
HMCS  Nootka  after ASW conversion
RAN Post-war Tribal Employment <ul><li>Part of BCOF </li></ul><ul><li>Arunta  into reserve, then ASW modernisation </li></...
HMAS  Bataan  cuddled up to HMAS  Vengeance
The  Naval Battlefield  in Korea 1950-53
HMCS  Cayuga
Tribals in Korea <ul><li>RCN sent two from West Coast, and then rotation of all except  Micmac  to Korea </li></ul><ul><li...
HMCS  Haida,  Bridge view of action plot
Cold weather for  Bataan  in Korea
RAN Tribal Last Days <ul><li>Bataan  not modernised and paid off 1954 </li></ul><ul><li>Warramunga  modernised and with  A...
HMAS  Warramunga post-modernisation
End of the Road for RCN Tribals <ul><li>Returned to exercises and training </li></ul><ul><li>Iroquois  had a role in Cuban...
HMCS  Haida  Artificers’ Mess
A Successful Destroyer Class? <ul><li>Did the job they were designed to do, but the staff requirement was quickly overtake...
HMS  Nubian post-modernisation She gained no fewer than thirteen battle honours
Thank you for your attention I’d be happy to take any questions you may have
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Session 5 - Tribal Warfare

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Session 5 - Tribal Warfare

  1. 1. Tribal Warfare The 1935 Tribal Class Destroyer Design in Commonwealth Service Dr Ian Pfennigwerth
  2. 2. I gratefully acknowledge the support given to the preparation of this presentation by the grant under the Tenix HMAS Perth Award 2008-10, which has been honoured by the successor organisation, BAe Maritime Systems, and by the Visiting Fellowship offered me by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW@ADFA.
  3. 3. HMS Eskimo Putting cracks in forward hull
  4. 4. HMCS Haida , Commanding Officer’s day cabin
  5. 5. Presentation Outline <ul><li>The origins of the design </li></ul><ul><li>British Tribals </li></ul><ul><li>Australian Tribals </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Tribals </li></ul><ul><li>WW2 service Atlantic </li></ul><ul><li>WW2 service Pacific </li></ul><ul><li>Korea </li></ul><ul><li>Last days </li></ul>
  6. 6. HMAS Bataan 4.7-inch firing
  7. 7. Origins of the Class <ul><li>Larger and better armed designs began appearing for foreign navies </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Fubuki Class </li></ul><ul><li>1934 - Admiralty decision to build ‘V leaders’ </li></ul><ul><li>1935 - design settled upon </li></ul>
  8. 8. IJN Fubuki Class destroyer
  9. 9. ‘ V leader’ Staff Requirement: Roles Patrol work, shadowing, screening, close support of destroyer flotillas and, in conjunction with cruisers, reconnaissance and escort duties. It is further required, though not as a primary function, that the V leader be able to contribute to the AA defence of the Fleet, convoys and harbours
  10. 10. HMS Matabele
  11. 11. Initial Characteristics <ul><li>1850 T (treaty limits) </li></ul><ul><li>4 x twin 4.7-inch mountings, 600 rounds each </li></ul><ul><li>Light AA weapons, 4 x torpedoes, depth charges </li></ul><ul><li>3 boilers, machinery not unitised = 36kts, 5,000nm at 20kts </li></ul><ul><li>Sonar, MF/DF </li></ul>
  12. 12. HMS Afridi
  13. 13. British Orders for RN <ul><li>Seven ordered March 1936 </li></ul><ul><li>Nine more ordered June 1936 </li></ul><ul><li>First of class, HMS Afridi commissioned May 1938 </li></ul><ul><li>Seven yards involved in contract </li></ul>
  14. 14. Torpedo launch HMS Afridi
  15. 15. A totally unbiased opinion by a Tribal Commanding Officer Over and above the material facts shone out the appearance of the ship. Whichever way you looked at a Tribal class destroyer, she was not just handsome – she was beautiful. The balance between hull and superstructure and the proportions of her two funnels were perfect
  16. 16. Warramunga on commissioning
  17. 17. Design Deficiencies <ul><li>Not as stable a gun platform as expected </li></ul><ul><li>AA weaponry inadequate and inaccurate </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient AA ammunition anyway </li></ul><ul><li>Proved to have shorter ‘legs’ than desirable </li></ul><ul><li>Design and material problems with forecastle , especially at critical speeds: 20-25 knots </li></ul>
  18. 18. HMAS Bataan refuelling
  19. 19. Some AA Problems ‘ The system worked quite well provided the ship remained steady, the target aircraft flew straight and level, the guns did not have to fire at more than 40 º elevation, and that the attacks did not total more than five minutes, otherwise all the AA ammunition would have been used up’.
  20. 20. HMCS Haida forward 4-inch guns
  21. 21. Forward ammunition hoists, HMCS Haida
  22. 22. A Sailor’s View of the Hull Problem You don’t know what it was like, with the cold and the wet and all. Sometimes, every time you jumped out of your hammock you’d land in water up to your knees. You were cold and tired and wet and hungry and scared and sick. You were always being thrown about
  23. 23. Storm damage in HMCS Iroquois
  24. 24. HMCS Haida , forward seamen’s mess
  25. 25. Fixes <ul><li>Modest changes to AA weaponry (Oerlikon and, eventually, Bofors) </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthening of forward hull by emergency repair, during modernisation or in construction (RAN, RCN) </li></ul><ul><li>Widening of bilge keels </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive fitting of radar and AIO </li></ul>
  26. 26. Bataan AA weapons
  27. 27. Australian Interest in Tribals <ul><li>The complications of working within British Empire totals under naval disarmament treaties, and their impact on the RAN </li></ul><ul><li>Government suspicion (justified) that the RAN CNS and the Admiralty were dealing behind its back </li></ul><ul><li>The need for modern ships to meet the threat of the IJN </li></ul>
  28. 28. HMCS Haida, Wardroom
  29. 29. Some Last-Minute Politicking I wish to urge before it is too late, the importance of retaining the Destroyer in the Royal Australian Navy. The Destroyer is by far the best type of craft wherein to instil the qualities of leadership and command in young Officers and Petty Officers, besides providing the best schooling in seamanship and weapon technique in young officers and men alike RACAS 16 June 1936
  30. 30. Committee of Imperial Defence December 1938 <ul><li>RAN heavy cruisers to be modernised </li></ul><ul><li>Three light cruisers to be retained </li></ul><ul><li>RAN to equip and man three AMCs </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Up to eight destroyers with good gun armament to be built as soon as practicable. It is suggested that the Tribal class should be adopted for the first four of these’. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Australian Acceptance of Tribal Recommendation <ul><li>Ships were appropriate to RAN needs and capabilities, and Defence expenditure </li></ul><ul><li>They could be built in Australia </li></ul><ul><li>They were capable (allegedly) of giving a good account of themselves in battle with the anticipated IJN raiding force </li></ul><ul><li>‘ State of the art’ not WW1 cast-offs </li></ul>
  32. 32. Arunta shore bombardment
  33. 33. Australian Construction <ul><li>Contract let with Cockatoo Island (Vickers connection) </li></ul><ul><li>Two ships ordered October 1939, a third in February 1940 </li></ul><ul><li>Keels laid November ’39 and February ’40 </li></ul><ul><li>Arunta commissioned April 1942, Warramunga December 1942 </li></ul><ul><li>Third ship laid down March 1942. Name later changed from Kurnai to Bataan </li></ul>
  34. 34. Arunta on commissioning
  35. 35. Canadian Interest in Tribals <ul><li>RCN had gained little kudos out of WW 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Political and public support for a Canadian fleet was weak </li></ul><ul><li>Naval Service HQ determined that it needed to create a fleet too significant to be discarded by the politicians when the next war stopped </li></ul><ul><li>CNS Nelles: ‘I want those for my Navy!’ </li></ul>
  36. 36. Difficulties <ul><li>No capability in Canada for building such complex vessels </li></ul><ul><li>Skills and material problems </li></ul><ul><li>Admiralty unwilling to encourage migration of skills from British yards </li></ul><ul><li>Weak support from Canadian Government </li></ul><ul><li>The ASW imperative upon RCN </li></ul>
  37. 37. CNS’ 1939 Statement to Parliament The ultimate objective which the Navy has set out for Canada is to build up to a naval force of eighteen destroyers, nine on each coast; eight anti-submarine vessels, four on each coast; eight motor torpedo boats, to be used on the east coast only. (These figures were wildly inaccurate compared with the eventual WW2 strength of the RCN, which briefly had over 90,000 men and women and was the third largest navy in the world.)
  38. 38. Nelles Overcame the Difficulties By: <ul><li>Persuading the Admiralty to build the first batch of four Tribals in British yards in a ‘corvettes for destroyers’ deal </li></ul><ul><li>Working on British yards to second skilled personnel to Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Refusing to take ‘No’ for an answer, even at the expense of urgent ASW construction </li></ul><ul><li>Manipulating regional tensions to have the contract to build four more let in Halifax </li></ul>
  39. 39. Two RCN Tribal hulls at Halifax Dockyard
  40. 40. Canadian Tribals Delivery <ul><li>First four built by Vickers Newcastle, ordered April 1940 </li></ul><ul><li>Launched Sep & Nov ’41, June & Aug ’42 </li></ul><ul><li>Iroquois commissioned Nov ’42, others Feb, July & Aug ’43 </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian build contract let June 1941, first two keels laid May 1942, third in September 1943. </li></ul>
  41. 41. The British Tribals’ War 1 <ul><li>Gurkha & Afridi lost to bombs in Norway 1940 </li></ul><ul><li>Great success against German weather ships in 1941 </li></ul><ul><li>Six involved in hunt for Bismarck , but Mashona lost </li></ul><ul><li>Torpedoes took Mohawk and Cossack in 1941 </li></ul>
  42. 42. HMS Somali sinking in the Arctic, September 1942 Tartar in company
  43. 43. British Tribals’ War 2 <ul><li>Sikh & Maori sank two Italian light cruisers Dec ’41 in Mediterranean </li></ul><ul><li>Maori & Bedouin lost on Malta runs 1942 </li></ul><ul><li>Somali & Matabele sunk on Arctic convoys 1942. Punjabi sunk in collision with KGV </li></ul><ul><li>Sikh & Zulu sunk off Tobruk Sep ’42 </li></ul><ul><li>And then there were four </li></ul>
  44. 44. HMS Bedouin sinking Mediterranean, June 1942
  45. 45. RAN Tribals’ War I <ul><li>Arunta sank IJN submarine during East Coast operations Aug ’42 </li></ul><ul><li>Both ships engaged in ’43 preparatory work for MacArthur’s advances </li></ul><ul><li>Fighting commenced in earnest on Boxing Day 1943 at Cape Gloucester </li></ul>
  46. 46. HMAS Arunta 4.7-inch guns crew in action
  47. 47. British-Built RCN Tribals at War <ul><li>Arctic convoys 1943-44 </li></ul><ul><li>Athabaskan hit by glide bomb off France Aug ’43 but repaired </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-invasion sweeps along Biscay coast saw Athabaskan torpedoed and lost April ’44 </li></ul><ul><li>Two in D-Day operations, then back to the Arctic </li></ul><ul><li>Surviving three in Canada on VJ Day </li></ul>
  48. 48. HMCS Haida
  49. 49. Huge Canadian Building Delays <ul><li>Nearly a year taken to assemble drawing set before start made </li></ul><ul><li>Only two building ways at Halifax </li></ul><ul><li>Grave shortage of skilled personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing demand for repairs and refits of ASW force and merchant shipping </li></ul><ul><li>First ship not commissioned until September 1945, last in January 1948 </li></ul>
  50. 50. HMCS Micmac Launch September 1943
  51. 51. HMCS Athabaskan II Commissioned January 1948
  52. 52. RN Tribals Finish Their War <ul><li>Operation Torch and aftermath ’42-’43 </li></ul><ul><li>Sicily and Salerno landings </li></ul><ul><li>Arctic convoys </li></ul><ul><li>Refits and ‘tropicalisation’ </li></ul><ul><li>Dispatched to join Eastern Fleet </li></ul><ul><li>Nubian in Tokyo Bay 2 September 1945 </li></ul><ul><li>All placed in reserve and scrapped </li></ul>
  53. 53. HMS Tartar Post modernisation, 1944
  54. 54. RAN Tribals Finish Their War <ul><li>Amphibious assaults from Papua to Lingayen Jan ’44 – Jan ’45 </li></ul><ul><li>Good results against kamikaze , although Arunta slightly damaged </li></ul><ul><li>Arunta at battle of Surigao Strait </li></ul><ul><li>Tribals supported Borneo landings </li></ul><ul><li>Warramunga & Bataan in Tokyo Bay </li></ul>
  55. 55. HMAS Warramunga firing after 4.7-inch
  56. 56. RCN Post-War Tribal Employment <ul><li>Standardised on 4-inch mounts, and underwent ASW conversion </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly employed on training and NATO exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Retained in service pending introduction of St Laurent class ASW frigates </li></ul><ul><li>Vindication of Nelles </li></ul>
  57. 57. Canadian GG Inspecting 3-inch/50 mount in RCN Tribal
  58. 58. HMCS Micmac pre-conversion
  59. 59. HMCS Nootka after ASW conversion
  60. 60. RAN Post-war Tribal Employment <ul><li>Part of BCOF </li></ul><ul><li>Arunta into reserve, then ASW modernisation </li></ul><ul><li>Retained to cover gaps in lagging RAN destroyer reequipment program </li></ul><ul><li>Not seen as ‘front-line’ </li></ul>
  61. 61. HMAS Bataan cuddled up to HMAS Vengeance
  62. 62. The Naval Battlefield in Korea 1950-53
  63. 63. HMCS Cayuga
  64. 64. Tribals in Korea <ul><li>RCN sent two from West Coast, and then rotation of all except Micmac to Korea </li></ul><ul><li>RAN sent Warramunga & Bataan, pending delivery of Battle Class </li></ul><ul><li>Convoy and high value unit escort work </li></ul><ul><li>Bombardments, evacuations, ‘trainbusting’ on East coast, raids. </li></ul><ul><li>Tempo and warfare nature suited Tribals </li></ul>
  65. 65. HMCS Haida, Bridge view of action plot
  66. 66. Cold weather for Bataan in Korea
  67. 67. RAN Tribal Last Days <ul><li>Bataan not modernised and paid off 1954 </li></ul><ul><li>Warramunga modernised and with Arunta saw service in Far East Strategic Reserve, and Malayan Emergency </li></ul><ul><li>Arunta paid off 1956, scrapped 1969 </li></ul><ul><li>Warramunga paid off 1959, scrapped 1961, having steamed 500,000nm </li></ul>
  68. 68. HMAS Warramunga post-modernisation
  69. 69. End of the Road for RCN Tribals <ul><li>Returned to exercises and training </li></ul><ul><li>Iroquois had a role in Cuban missile crisis 1962 but paid off afterward and was scrapped in 1966 </li></ul><ul><li>Huron paid off 1963 and was scrapped 1965 </li></ul><ul><li>Nootka , Micmac & Cayuga paid off 1964 and Athabaskan II in 1966 </li></ul><ul><li>Haida remains as a museum ship at Hamilton Ontario </li></ul>
  70. 70. HMCS Haida Artificers’ Mess
  71. 71. A Successful Destroyer Class? <ul><li>Did the job they were designed to do, but the staff requirement was quickly overtaken by the actuality of WW2 </li></ul><ul><li>Hull design problem took a lot of time and effort to fix, only resolved in RAN and RCN builds </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated a capacity for stretching the design with effective modernisation and role adjustment in the post-war period </li></ul><ul><li>Much loved by their owners and operators, and that’s hard to beat </li></ul>
  72. 72. HMS Nubian post-modernisation She gained no fewer than thirteen battle honours
  73. 73. Thank you for your attention I’d be happy to take any questions you may have

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