The Weapon class was a class of destroyers built for the British Royal Navy towards the end of World War II. They were the smaller counterpart to the Battle class (which followed them) and were the first new destroyer designs for the Royal Navy since the Second World War Emergency Programme. 20 ships were planned, of which only 13 were laid down and 7 were launched, but the cessation of hostilities resulted in only 4 being completed for service. 2 of the ships had been previously ordered as part of the planned C class, or 15th Emergency flotilla, of 1944, but the orders were changed to the new design.
A criticism of the older designs was the use of adjacent boiler rooms. This had been adopted to allow for a single funnel, to lower the silhouette and increase the deck space of the relatively small hull. However, this made the ship vulnerable to being disabled by a single hit amidships. To remedy this, the Weapon class adopted the "unit" system, of side-by-side boiler and engine rooms with alternate port/starboard arrangement. This was standard practice in United States Navy ships, but these were generally far larger than their Royal Navy counterparts. The unit arrangement meant that 2 funnels were needed. The forward funnel was trunked up through the foremast and there was a small stump funnel between the torpedo tubes. This led to an unusual and rather unbalanced appearance, similar to that of the Daring class, and the Weapons were not the most attractive of ships.
The main improvement over earlier ships was to remedy the woefully inadequate arrangements for anti-aircraft defence. To this end, three twin 4-inch Mark XIV mountings were carried, remotely controlled by a Type 275 Radar equipped Mark VI(M) director, allowing full blind-fire against aircraft targets. The light battery consisted of 2 of the new STAAG (Stabilised Tachymetric Anti-Aircraft Gun) mounts for twin Bofors 40 mm guns and two single weapons on Mk. II mounts in the bridge wings. The STAAGs were carried on either side aft, and each had its own Type 262 Radar and predictive fire control computer, allowing for automatic blind-fire engagement of targets. The STAAGs were excellent weapons on paper and the firing range, but when exposed to the vibration of a naval gun mounting and the rigour of the elements they were less than reliable. Coupled with a mounting weight of 17 tons, they were something of a disappointment and their post-war service was limited. Type 293 Radar was carried on the lattice foremast for target indication.
To increase the anti-submarine capability of the class, it was decided to reduce the number of 4-inch mounts to 2, and to instead carry 2 "Squid" anti-submarine mortars. In Battleaxe and Broadsword, these replaced 'B' gun, in the others it was 'X' that was lost. The latter arrangement was in fact preferable for the location of the "squid", but less so for gunnery, as it meant that the main weapons were unable to fire aft, which was a criticism also levelled at the Battle class.
All four ships were plagued by their machinery, as the steam turbines had numerous design flaws. The problems were remedied by removing the steam feed to the lower half of the reversing turbine, but this halved reversing power, and as a consequence these ships were slow to decelerate and handled rather sluggishly. This problem proved fatal for Battleaxe, when she was unable to manoeuvre quickly enough to prevent herself being rammed by the frigate HMS Ursa in the Clyde in 1962. The damage was so catastrophic that it was beyond economical repair and she was written off as a total loss and scrapped.
The Weapons were never an entirely satisfactory design, and were criticised for their light gun armament and overly heavy torpedo outfit. Perhaps best thought of as fast fleet frigates, they undoubtedly possessed a quantum increase in fighting efficiency over the wartime emergency ships, and were more than capable of facing the increased threat of the enemy submarine and aircraft. It is possible that the mysterious G or Gael class design, which possessed 2 twin 4.5-inch semi-automatic Mark. VI guns was an attempt to remedy some of the deficiencies of the Weapons.
|HMS Battleaxe||G18, later D118||Yarrow and Company, Scotstoun||April 22 1944||June 12 1945||October 23 1947||Broken up, 1964|
|HMS Broadsword||G31, later D31||Yarrow and Company, Scotstoun||July 20 1944||February 4 1946||October 4 1948||Broken up, 1968|
|HMS Cutlass||G74||Yarrow and Company, Scotstoun||unknown||March 20 1946||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945, broken up at Troon, 1946|
|HMS Dagger||G23||Yarrow and Company, Scotstoun||March 7 1945||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Crossbow||G96, later D96||John I. Thornycroft and Company, Woolston||August 26 1944||December 20 1945||March 4 1948||Broken up, 1972|
|HMS Culverin||G28||John I. Thornycroft and Company, Woolston||April 27 1944||March 1946||not completed||Broken up at Grays, 1946|
|HMS Howitzer||G44||Thornycroft, Woolston||February 26 1945||not launched||not completed||Cancelled October 5 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Longbow||G55||Thornycroft, Woolston||April 11 1945||not launched||not completed||Cancelled September 25 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Scorpion (ex-Tomahawk, ex-Centaur)||G64, later D64||J. Samuel White, Cowes||December 16 1944||August 15 1946||September 17 1947||Broken up, 1971|
|HMS Sword (ex-Celt)||G85||J. Samuel White, [owes||unknown||not launched||not completed||Cancelled October 5 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Musket||G85||J. Samuel White, Cowes||unknown||not launched||not completed||Cancelled October 5 1945|
|HMS Lance (ex-Rapier)||none allocated||J. Samuel White, Cowes||not laid down||not launched||not completed||Cancelled October 5 1945|
|HMS Carronade||G82||Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Greenock||unknown||April 1946||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945, broken up at Troon, 1946|
|HMS Claymore||G34||Scotts , Greenock||unknown||not launched||not completed||Cancelled September 25 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Dirk||G02||Scotts , Greenock||not laid down||not launched||not completed||Cancelled September 25 1945|
|HMS Grenade||G53||Scotts , Greenock||not laid down||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945|
|HMS Halberd||G99||Scotts , Greenock||not laid down||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945|
|HMS Poniard||G06||Scotts , Greenock||not laid down||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 23 1945|
|HMS Rifle||G21||William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton||June 30 1944||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 27 1945, scrapped on slip|
|HMS Spear||G30||Denny, Dumbarton||September 29 1944||not launched||not completed||Cancelled December 27 1945, scrapped on slip|