War Emergency Programme destroyers

The War Emergency Programme destroyers were 112 destroyers built for the British Royal Navy during World War II. They were based on the hull and machinery of the earlier J-, K- and N-class destroyers. Due to supply problems and the persistent failure by the Royal Navy to develop a suitable dual-purpose weapon for destroyers, they were fitted with whatever armament was available. Recent advances in radar and weaponry were incorporated as they came available. As a result, they were a relatively heterogeneous class incorporating many wartime advances, but ultimately based on a hull that was too small and with an armament too light to be true first-rate vessels equivalent of their contemporaries. As such they are often described as "utility" destroyers. It was not until the Battle-class destroyer of 1944 that the Royal Navy returned to building larger destroyers. Many vessels were transferred to friendly navies.

Ship classes

  • O class "1st Emergency Flotilla"
  • P class "2nd Emergency Flotilla"
  • Q class "3rd Emergency Flotilla"
  • R class "4th Emergency Flotilla"
  • S class "5th Emergency Flotilla"
  • T class "6th Emergency Flotilla"
  • U class "7th Emergency Flotilla"
  • V class "8th Emergency Flotilla"
  • W class "9th Emergency Flotilla"
  • Z class "10th Emergency Flotilla"
  • Ca- class "11th Emergency Flotilla"
  • Ch- class "12th Emergency Flotilla"
  • Co- class "13th Emergency Flotilla"
  • Cr- class "14th Emergency Flotilla"

Design changes

  • The P, and 3 ships of the O, flotilla were fitted with 4-inch guns with a new design of tall gunshield. As a result, they carried only the Rangefinder-Director Mark II(W) for fire control.
  • From the Q and R class onwards a transom stern was incorporated.
  • From the S and T class onwards the bow was revised to a design based on that of the Tribal-class destroyer, to improve sea-keeping.
  • From the Q and R class the main gun calibre returned to 4.7 inches.
  • From the R flotilla onwards the officer's accommodation was forwards, instead of aft as was traditional Royal Navy practice
  • The S flotilla altered the position of the searchlight between the torpedo tubes with the medium anti-aircraft position abaft the funnel. This more logical arrangement gave the anti-aircraft gun improved arcs of fire in the forward field.
  • The S class introduced the new mounting CP Mark XXII for the 4.7-inch guns. This could readily be distinguished from the older mounting CP Mark XVIII of the O, Q and R by its sharply raked face, allowing increased elevation.
  • S-class Savage incorporated the new 4.5-inch gun Mark III, in a prototype twin dual-purpose turret BD Mark IV forward and 4.5-inch gun Mark IV in single mountings CP Mark V aft. The former would be introduced in the Battle-class destroyer.
  • The T flotilla introduced the lattice foremast, to support the ever-increasing weight of masthead electronics.
  • The W flotilla introduced the dual-purpose Director Mark III(W), replacing the low-angle Destroyer DCT and High-Angle Rangefinder-Director Mark II(W) in use since the Q and R class.
  • The Z flotilla introduced the new dual-purpose Director Mark I Type K and the 4.5-inch gun in single mountings CP Mark V as trialled in Savage. These mountings were based on the CP Mark XXII used in the later 4.7-inch gunned ships; there was no obvious difference.
  • The Ch- flotilla introduced the dual-purpose Director Mark VI with full remote-power control (RPC) for gunlaying. As a result, one set of torpedo tubes was removed to counter the increased topweight.
  • All ships used the Fuze Keeping Clock High Angle Fire Control Computer.[1]

See also


  1. Destroyer Weapons of WW2, Hodges/Friedman, ISBN 0-85177-137-8


  • Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981, Maurice Cocker, 1983, Ian Allan ISBN 0-7110-1075-7
  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946, Ed. Robert Gardiner, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 0-87021-913-8
  • Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1978). War Built Destroyers O to Z Classes. London: Bivouac Books. ISBN 0-85680-010-4.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.
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