HMS Arbuthnot (1942)

HMSAS Lake Victoria (DDE-1942)


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The Captain class destroyer escorts resulted from the Union policy of pay as you go from 1939 to 1942. The Royal Navys most pressing need was for escorts and it enquired of the Union Navies Bureau of design if they had a 300 foot escort that would suit being used in the North Atlantic. The USN showed the RN designs they had for the Evarts class and others with engine types and layouts being the difference. The RN placed an order in 1940 for 30 ships of the Evarts type to which the RN would supply the armament.  This would keep the cost to a reasonable level. A further order was placed in 1942 under Lend-Lease at which stage the Southern Africans also ordered some. Most merchant ships travelling from UK to US/Canada were empty so a few were filled with the appropriate weaponry and dispatched.

Twin 4" fore and aft were the main armament (replacing the single 3"of the US design), with a quad pom pom for the heavy AA (replacing the original 1.1") and the single 20mm were retained as being the same as those fitted in RN ships. A triple set of torpedo tubes gave the ships teeth for use against bigger opponents. The final change was the fitting of a hedgehog spigot mortar ASW weapon in A position. This gave the ships a very good all round armament for use against either surface, air, or subsurface targets.


The ships make an interesting comparison to the Hunt and River Class ships which were of a size with these vessels.


Displacement 1250 tons std, 1600 tons full load.
Length 306 ft
Breadth 35 ft
Draught 9 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Steam turbines, 13,000shp
Speed 24 knots
Range 5000 miles at 15 knots
Armour nil
Armament 4 x 4" (2x2)

4 x 2pd (1x4)

9 x 20mm (9x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 3 x 21" (1x3)
Complement 185


In that other time line the Royal Navy received a lot of Evarts and Cannon class Frigates under lend-lease. One of the things that bugged the Americans about this was that the Royal Navy then went through a 90-100 point list of changes that had to be made to the ships prior to acceptance to the RN. This sort of thing was done to all the different classes of ships received by the RN under lend-lease from the Escort Carriers to the Algerine class minesweepers and other escorts. If you have the time it is worthwhile having a look at the list of changes shown in Wiki for the Captain Class Frigates. Of course this delayed the use of the ships from 1-3 months at a time when the RN was desperate for escorts.


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