Royal Navy Destroyers

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mescal
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Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 22 Apr 2009 17:16

Hello,

I'm still working on my compulsive gathering of statistical data on ww2 warships, as I did for example here or there.

This time I focused on the Royal Navy destroyers of the world war 2.
And there are a lot of them !
I have a ship count of 368 ships in commission in sept. 1939 or commissioned before the end of the war. This includes ships of the RAN, RCN, RNZN as well as ships of Norwegian, Netherland ... navies acting under the operational control of the Royal Navy.
It does not include the escort destroyers (Hunt class for example).

As usual, there may be mistakes, inaccuracies, as well as approximations.


Below is a first synthetic table summarizing the geographic deployment of the destroyers for each year, reconstructed from a month-by-month database :
RN_DD_stat_1.jpg
A few precision regarding the areas :
* Atlantic : convoy escort from US East Coast to GB and from Azores to Iceland. Note that the escort based at Greenock or Londonderry, even if geographically in the Home Waters are listed in Atlantic. The ships escorting the WS or HG convoys at the start of their journey are also listed here.
* Home Waters : North Sea, Channel. Includes operations along the Norwegian coast as far north as Narvik, as well as operations in the Bay of Biscaye.
* Gibraltar : ships based here or in transit between the Med and the Atlantic. Includes escorts for WS convoys for the second part of their journey.
* Mediterranean : Alexandria-based ships and Gibraltar-based for the month when they mainly operated in the Med, as well as ships temporary there for a given operation (Pedestal, for example).
* Indian : self explanatory
* West Indies : Caribbean Sea.
* South Atlantic : from Capetown and Falklands to a line Trinidad - North of Dakar.
* East Indies : Singapore-based ships, ABDA Command.
* China : China Station at Hong Kong.
* Australia : From Timor to New Zealand; Solomons excluded.
* Russian Convoys : escort (close or distant) of russian convoys as well as related missions.
* Red Sea : self explanatory
* Pacific : All Pacific Ocean, East Indies & Australia being excluded.


All values are in month.DD, except the line "sunk", which is just a number of ships (the 2+1 on this line means that 2 RN DDs were sunk in 1945 as well as one former RN DD -HMS Churchill- manned by the Soviet Navy in 1945).

What is interesting is the fact that the number of month.DD did not significantly decrease between 1940 & 1944, even though many ships were sunk and some withdrawn from front-line duty : the building yards proved capable to make good the losses -- replacing old ships by newer models in the process.

The table also highlights that even if the main concern of the Royal Navy was the home waters and the Atlantic supply line, it was still possible to invest a lot of resources in more remote areas - even though the far east had to wait for the victory on european seas.
The 1942 columns shows however that it was a year when the RN was really stretched thin, and simultaneoulsy taking heavy losses.


I plan to post charts of availability and geographic location on a DD by DD basis.
However it's a 368*72 matrix, and it will require some time to turn the raw data into user-friendly charts.


As always, all comments and suggestions are welcome.
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by LWD » 22 Apr 2009 18:42

They added almost 1200 active destroyers between 39 and 40? Were a bunch mothballed?

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by Borys » 22 Apr 2009 19:03

Ahoj!
IMO something is wrong. Or I don't understand the table.
In 1939 the RN had c.184 destroyers.
I suspect that number 633 must come from counting the same vessels several times. Same applies to subsequent years.
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 22 Apr 2009 20:18

Oops,

it looks like I've not been clear.

The numeric values are not a number of ships but a number of ships multiplied by the number of month of activity. (or by the nb of month of Training or unavailable or withdrawn for the second part of the table.)
For example, if in 1939 you have 2 ships :
DD1 spent 2 months in home waters, one in Med and one in Atlantic
DD2 spent 1 month in home waters, 2 in south Atlantic and 1 in atlantic,
it will appear in my tables as :
----- 1939
HW : 3
Med : 1
Atl : 2
South Atl : 2

That's why the total for 1939 is so low : there is only 4 months instead of 12.
I went for the month time-unit because the year does not take into account the high mobility of those ships (and even sometimes the month is a too long period).

I also forgot to point that the 50 ex-US lend lease destroyers are counted in these totals.
Olivier

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by Borys » 22 Apr 2009 20:51

Ahoj!
OK - "deployment-months" :)

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by LWD » 23 Apr 2009 02:08

Ok makes more sense now. Remarkable how stable the total number is.

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 24 Apr 2009 12:24

Below are the charts of the availability and location of the RN destroyer during the war.

The location code is :
A = Atlantic; HW = Home Waters; G = Gibraltar; MS = Mediterranean Sea; IO = Indian Ocean; WI = West Indies; SA = South Atlantic; EI = East Indies; CH = China; AW = Australian Waters; RU = Russian Convoys; RS = Red Sea; P = Pacific.

The color code is :
Green : available
Light Green : active in another Navy, and not under control of the RN (Greece & Soviet union mainly).
Red : Sunk
Orange : Combat damage
Yellow : Noncombat damage (collision, weather, grounding ...)
Light Blue : Training, shakedown
Purple : under repair/refit/overhaul ... = Unavailable
Brown : Withdrawn from active service
Grey : Building

Part I :the S, T & V classes
that is, old destroyers of the ww1 era.
(V and W classes are split just because of presentation constraints)
RN_DD_11.jpg
RN_DD_12.jpg
RN_DD_13.jpg
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 24 Apr 2009 17:33

The W, Shakespeare and Scott classes

These is the second part of the destroyers commissioned during ww1 or before 1920.
Like the previous classes, they were mostly used as convoy escort, their age preventing them to be very useful in fleet action. Some were converted to long-range escorts for use in the Atlantic, other to anti-aircraft DDs to be used for the escorts in the Channel and on the East coast.

Note that the unavailability figures are underestimated.
For example, a few ships are listed as available during all 72 months, but that's simply because I did not find any info on any significant time period in yard or refit. I thus assumed that the unavailability periods were short and found "remotely acceptable" to list them as permanently available.

RN_DD_21.jpg
RN_DD_22.jpg
RN_DD_23.jpg

More to follow ...
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by JamesL » 25 Apr 2009 00:03

You must have put an immense amount of work into developing these tables.

My congratulations to you, sir.

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 27 Apr 2009 12:09

Thank you James.

Actually, what's the most time-demanding is to read the records of movement (and enter the data in the base) for all ships. But it's also by far the most interesting part -- reading 5 to 10 such records each day really helps to get an intuitive grasp on how the DD flotilla operated.
After that, it's just some data-extraction macros in Excel -- and some Excel art to have a nice output :-).



Part III : post-1920 Fleet Destroyers : The A, B, C and D classes.

Note that there are no ship name beginning with "C" as those ships were transfered to RCN which renamed them.
Even though those ships were more recent, they were progressively relegated to second-line duties and most of the surviving A&B were withdrawn as soon as possible.
RN_DD_31.jpg
RN_DD_32.jpg
RN_DD_33.jpg


More to follow....
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 29 Apr 2009 13:33

The E, F, G & H Classes

These destroyers were recent and modern at the beginning of the war, having been commissionned in 1935-37.
They accordingly saw heavy action at all the hot points during the first few years and suffered accordingly.

RN_DD_41.jpg
RN_DD_42.jpg
RN_DD_43.jpg


Still more to follow ....
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 04 May 2009 13:04

The I, Havant & Tribal Classes

The Havant class destroyers were ships ordered by Brazil but commandeered by the Royal Navy at the beginning of the war. They were technically a subclass of the H class (with one gun mount less and more depth charges). They were used mainly as leaders for the convoy escort groups.
The I and Tribal were fleet destroyers. The ships of the scon batch of the Tribals, commissioned late in the war were used by the RCN and RAN.
RN_DD_51.jpg
RN_DD_52.jpg
RN_DD_53.jpg

Still more to follow ....
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Olivier

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by mescal » 07 May 2009 15:37

The J, K, L, M and N classes

J & K classes were the last pre-war destroyers of the Royal Navy, with some K class being commissioned after the beginning of the war.
The N class was technically a close cousin to the J&K, but those ships were manned by non-british navies (Netherland, Australia & Poland).
L class ships were all under construction during the war and began to enter service in 1941 whereas some of the M-class were laid down only after september 1939.
RN_DD_61.jpg
RN_DD_62.jpg
RN_DD_63.jpg


And there are still many ships left ....
charts coming soon ... (I hope)
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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by Mimbrogno » 07 May 2009 17:40

Jeeze that's a lot of ships!! Nice work mescal! I couldn't help but wonder how many RN analysts it would have taken to compile a similar chart during WWII... Collecting all the records, sorting them out and drawing up the charts on paper without a computer; that would take half a dozen people to do it in the same time, I'd think!

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Re: Royal Navy Destroyers

Post by maxs75 » 09 May 2009 18:04

Very interesting work.
Is it possible to extract from your file, for example, which ships were in the indian ocean in december 1941?
If so, is it possible to have your excedl file once completed?

Best
Max

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