The J-Class Destroyer are along with the latter K and N class are 8 ships that were built after the Tribal class. As the previous destroyer class - the Tribal class - were very much larger than all other existing British destroyers, with a correspondingly greater cost to build. The J class was intended to be a compromise, smaller and cheaper than the Tribal class and yet with comparable speed and armament.
The J class were fitted with a total of six main guns and 10 torpedo tubes, compared to the Tribal class with eight main guns and four torpedo tubes. This increase in torpedo tubes represented a significant improvement in the capabilities of the ship over the Tribal class, giving them a bigger punch against capital ships. The reduction in main guns from eight to six was in practice not significant, and as most British destroyers were only armed with four guns the J class were considered to be heavily armed.
The J-Class mainly served in the Mediterranean, and were fitted with improved anti-aircraft armament compared to all previous British destroyers. Nevertheless, (as with all small ships) they were extremely vulnerable to air attack and later fleet destroyers tended to have anti-aircraft armament that was better still. Only two ships survived the war, with five being sunk before the end of 1942.
Despite the heavy losses of J class it was generally accepted that the design was sound, and formed the basis for the ‘emergency’ designs that followed. A total of 124 ships entered service as variations on the J class design, although 28 of these were completed after the end of hostilities.
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