Emergency War Construction Programme
At the outbreak of war, the Admiralty decided to submit an emergency shipbuilding programme on a specific design, hence the “Admiralty” denomination, largely based on the previous prewar class L. This was, in fact, a “superclass” counting several sub-classes:
-Six prewar “M” ships (which were lighter at 1010 tons and smaller) built at Palmers, Swan Hunter and John Brown;
-Sixteen “M” ordered in September 1914 (John Brown, Thornycroft, White, Fairfield, Swan Hunter)
-Nine other in November (some with “N” names) (same)
-Twenty-two late November (“N” and “O” names) (same)
-Sixteen February 1915 (“N”, “O” an “P” names) (same, but they had raking stems)
-Sixteen in May 1915 (“M” and “P” names) (same, but raking stems)
They were all largely based on preceding L class, all ships had three identical narrow circular funnels, a raised forecastle, three QF 4 in (102 mm) Mark IV guns, on mounting P Mk.IX, one forward, two aft, with the “Y” gun raised on a superstructure, and two twin banks of 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes. Anti-aircraft artillery was also present with two individual QF 2-pounder Bofors “pom-pom” Mk.II. Displacement was about 1000 tonnes (994 light, 1010 standard, 1059 fully loaded). These were propelled by three shafts in direct drive with steam turbines, 25,000 shp (18,642 kW)
which have a top speed of 34 knots (39.1 mph; 63.0 km/h). These were sturdy ships fit for the North Atlantic and North Sea, with a sufficient range due to their 237–298 tons fuel oil carried. The pre-war sub-group only had cruising turbines, the idea was dropped for mass-production. Another difference was the second 4 inch-gun was mounted on a bandstand.
All these ships were quite active during the war. HMS Marmion (1917), HMS Negro (1916), HMS Nessus (1918), HMS Narborough (1918), Narwhal (1916) were lost by collision with other ships or reefs, HMS Mary Rose by cruiser SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse off the Norwegian coast, the HMS Partridge by German destroyers in December 1917, the HMS North Star at Zeebrugge in 1918, HMS Pheasant (mine, 1917 off the Orkney Islands) and more famously the HMS Nestor and Nomad were sunk at the battle of Jutland. The remainder sold for scrap in 1921. During the war, Partridge, Norman, Maenad, Ophelia and Observer all received equipment to operate a kite balloon.
M-class (1915 specifications)
|Dimensions||82 x8,4 x3,2m (269 x27x 10ft)|
|Displacement||994t, 1042t FL|
|Propulsion||3 shafts, steam turbines, 25,000 shp (18,642 kW)|
|Speed||34 knots (39.1 mph; 63.0 km/h)|
|Armament||3 x102 mm Mark-IV QF, 2 x40 mm AA, 2 x2 533mm TT (axial).|
1/750 Profile of a M-class torpedo-boat destroyer.