ae and p

O and P class destroyer

The O and P class was a class of destroyers of the British Royal Navy. Ordered in 1939, they were the first ships in the War Emergency Programme, also known as the 1st and 2nd Emergency Flotilla, respectively. They served as convoy escorts in World War II, and some were later converted to fast second-rate anti-submarine frigates in the 1950s.


The O and P class were based on the hull and machinery of the preceding J class, but with more sheer forward to counter the poor riding qualities of the Js.

O class

The O-class ships were built in two groups of four. The first group had 4.7 in guns in low angle mounts which could only elevate to 40 degrees, therefore they were fitted with a 4 in anti-aircraft gun in place of one set of torpedo tubes. The second group had 4 inch guns in high angle mounts and were fitted to act as minelayers and could be recognised by the flat "beaver tail" stern over which the mines were dropped. When carrying mines they had to land Y gun, their torpedo tubes and depth charges. The designed anti-aircraft armament was a single quadruple QF 2-pounder "pom pom" and a pair of quadruple 0.5 in Vickers A/A machine guns. The latter proved to be practically useless, and were replaced with the 20 mm Oerlikon gun as it became available, with a total of six single mounts eventually being carried.

P class

The P class were repeats of the O class, armed entirely with 4 in guns, in high angle mounts fitted with a new tall design of shield, as such they did not require to lose a set of torpedo tubes to take on further AA guns.


O class

All ships survived the war. Five of the ships were involved in the Battle of the Barents Sea, Onslow being heavily damaged. After the Battle of Barents Sea the ships were refited with tall lattice masts instead of the normal mast.

* = flotilla leader
† = fitted for minelaying

P class

They served mainly in the Mediterranean, where four ships were lost.

* = flotilla leader

See also

  • Type 16 frigate: postwar conversion of some O and P class vessels into second-rate fast anti-submarine frigates


  • Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981, Maurice Cocker, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-1075-7
  • Royal Navy Destroyers since 1945, Leo Marriot, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-1817-0
  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946, Ed. Robert Gardiner, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 0-87021-913-8
  • Destroyers of World War Two : An International Encyclopedia, M J Whitley, Arms and Armour Press, 1999, ISBN 1-85409-521-8.

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