Flotilla Leaders

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Leaders destroyers sunk into history in fact at the end of the Second World War. And the blame in this fact lies entirely on the destroyers. But let’s go in order.

The class itself, or, to be precise, a subclass of torpedo and artillery ships, came up with the British in the years of the First World War. Originally, the term “flotilla leader” sounded like “destroyer flotilla leader.” In those years, the British fleet operated with compounds such as the flotilla of destroyers and torpedo boats. And the leader of the flotilla was usually ship on which was located the flotilla commander and his staff.


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Typically, the role of leader played the first ship in the series. When construction was considered placing it flotilla headquarters, as it carried a crew increase. Together with the commander of the compound destroyers on the same ship housed the headquarters of the fleet, the flagship radio operators, coders, signalmen. And this is no small number of people who had and place, and to provide all necessary.

If you go at the numbers, the standard of the Royal Navy destroyer type “Tribal” had a crew of 183 people. A complete set of “leader” – 223. The rest of the ships were no different from classmates.

Leaders of destroyers: the missing class

Around the same concept adhered to the Germans, having carried out the idea of “divisional destroyer” at the end of the 19th century. They were ships larger than destroyers, and in addition to headquarters bore the supply of repair materials, mine workshops and the infirmary. One such “Divisional destroyer” fell to 5-7 ordinary destroyers.

The Soviet naval classification leader – ship is a subclass of destroyers, but the larger displacement, with greater speed and enhanced artillery weapons. The main purpose – to conclude the attack destroyers and support during the withdrawal.

But in general, the world’s leaders called the ships built to support them and control destroyers and warships are not designed for such tasks.

For example, the French “kontrminonostsy” Italian “scouts”, the German “destroyers”, the British “fighter.” As a result, the leaders were unarmored or lightly armored torpedo and artillery ships, occupies an intermediate position between the destroyers and light cruisers.

By the beginning of World War I and formed a certain task for the leaders. The leader had to implement the following:

1. Serve as a leader flotillas of destroyers. That is, as mentioned above, on the leader housed operational-tactical command of the flotilla.

2. Show your destroyers in the torpedo attack. On the basis of claim 1 is carried out with the leader of the command target designation and adjustment problems.

3. Fight the enemy destroyers. For this leader and had to have more powerful weapons.

United Kingdom

In 1905, the Royal Navy has solved this problem commissioning of light cruisers Scouts. Or leaders. “Sentinel”, “Forward”, “Pathfinder”, “Edvenchur” have a displacement of slightly less than 3,000 tons, a slight reservation, arming of the ten 76-mm guns and a speed of 25 knots. That is comparable to the destroyers of the time. And the appearance of the steam turbine, causing the increase in ship speed, entailed the construction of new leaders.

In the years 1911-13 there were “Boditseya”, “Blonde” and “Active”, the rate of which has increased to 30 knots, and the artillery was the caliber of 102 mm.

British Scouts leaders have caused a wave of imitations in Italy, Austria-Hungary, the United States and other countries. While most British Scouts leaders considered unsuccessful project.

Ships such as “Shakespeare” became the first full-leaders. Having passed a difficult way to create leaders through “Lightfoot” failure of projects, “Grenville” and “Folknor”, the British set up the ships, long become an example to follow.

“Shakespeare” and his “classmates” had a displacement of 2000 tons, speed of 36 knots and a cruising range of 5,000 miles at 15 knots. Weapons were 5 120-mm guns, torpedo tubes.

After the First World War, the construction of destroyers for the British Navy stopped a long time and only in 1928, the British laid the first of a series of post-war destroyers – type A.

It was assumed that for each of the “alphabet” eights destroyer flotilla leader will be built slightly larger and slightly stronger armed. The first British leader of the fleet of the postwar construction was “Codrington.” In comparison with the destroyers of type A, he had nearly 200 tons standard displacement and more per 120-mm gun more, but differed significantly worse maneuverability.

More impressed by the value “Codrington” British began to practice the simple alteration in the leader of the destroyer. For example, the leader of destroyers type B «Kate” lost one of 120-mm guns for the accommodation of staff. On the leader ‘Kempenfelt’ staff rooms housed at the expense of removing anti-armament.

In the future, the British still have returned to the practice of building a reinforced fleet leaders. So there ‘Exmouth’, ‘Folknor “,” Grenville “and” Hardy “. With a slight increase in the tonnage they got fifth, additional cannon caliber 120 mm. The last leader of the flotilla, built on a special project was “Inglefild”.

Since J-type leaders fleets have not been built on special projects, and were equipped destroyers of the standard and differ only in the volume space for officers. Therefore, the composition of a typical fleet was reduced to eight units, and ships “leader” subclass is not built in the UK.


The Italians picked up the idea of British colleagues, but given her a thread of light cruisers reconnaissance. Originally, the ships of the “Carlo Mirabello” (1917) were designed specifically as destroyers leaders. Displacement in the nearly 2,000 tons, speed of 35 knots and a cruising range 2300 miles at 15 knots with a very respectable arsenal of 8 102-mm artillery shells quite allowed to talk about success.

These ships could not spoil even the installation of 152-mm guns instead of two 102-mm bow. But in fact, their leader cruiser Italians was unsuccessful.

In addition, the Italians simply did not give Romanians were built on the order of four destroyers and brought them to their fleet as the leaders of the “Aquila”. “Aquila” was 200 tons displacement is less than the “Carlo Mirabello”, I had almost the same speed, but slightly less (1,700 miles) distance running.

But these ships the Italians were able to push the battery from the 3 guns, 152 mm and four auxiliary 76-mm. It turned out some hard, and after the First World War, the leaders of all the Italian got a 120-mm gun.

Further development of the Italian leaders, type “Leone”, which entered the Italian Navy during World War II, were not very prominent ships. Displacement in the 2650 m, speed the same 35 knots, cruising range of 2000 miles at 15 knots. Armament consisted of 8 (4×2) guns of 120 mm, there was anti-aircraft artillery (2 40mm machine, 2×2 20 mm), 2 twin-TA and 60 minute barrage.


By the beginning of the war ships virtually obsolete, but took part in the fighting all three leaders ( “Lion”, “Panther” and “Tiger”) crews were flooded in April 1941 in the Red Sea.


In the future, the Italian fleet, experiment with destroyers class “Navigator”, rejected the idea of leaders, with an emphasis on light cruisers.


observing the evolution of the German destroyers, it’s hard to say whether they have leaders at all. In general, the German shipbuilding idea developed by some to their canons and gave the world a few ships, which many years later there are disputes about their ownership. This was true of “pocket battleships”, the same applies to the destroyers.

Speaking of the German destroyers leaders, is to start a conversation with the S-113 project. It was a real German response to the appearance of the eternal enemies of the British destroyers increased tonnage.

For 1916 it was a masterpiece ships. Displacement 2500 t, travel speed 36 knots, cruising range 2,500 miles at 20 (!) Sites. By arming at the time the ships had no analogues. 4 guns 150 mm torpedo tubes 4 600-mm mines.

Yes, in the ship design had a lot of shortcomings, noted difficulties with the firing of 150-mm artillery shells at the sea conditions. However, caught in France in 1920 as a trophy, “the S-113”, has become a model in the development of tactical and technical specifications for the design of the first French large kontrminonostsa like “Jaguar”.

Further development of the German destroyers took place under the sign of “more and more.” And it is worth noting that in its parameters ships which began to build Germany after Hitler came to power, more consistent with the leaders, rather than destroyers.

Series 1934. Z-1 “Leberecht Maas”. Displacement 3150 tons, speed 38 knots, cruising range 1,900 miles at 19 knots. Armament: 5 127 mm guns, air defense (2 × 2 – 37 mm, 6 × 1 to 20 mm), 2 four-pipe 533 mm torpedo tubes.

1936V series, Z-43. Displacement 3507 tons, speed 38 knots, cruising range 2,900 miles at 19 knots. Armament 5 guns 127 mm, air defense (2 × 2 – 37 mm, 16 × 1 20 mm), 2 four-pipe torpedo tubes 533 mm, 4 mortars, 30 deep bombs and 76 minefields.

If you look at the German destroyers, you realize that it is quite suited to the leaders, “hipper” and “Scharnhorst”. What, in fact, was the place to be.


Before the First World War the French fleet had no ships of this class. After the war, the main “potential enemy” was considered Italy and the main theater – the Mediterranean Sea.

Given the fact that the Italian fleet has a significant number of destroyers, surpasses the available time of the French ships of this class and the emergence of the Italians ships such as “Sierra Leone”, the decision was made to develop a counterweight.

Since the construction of new cruisers were essentially limited to the terms of the Washington Treaty, it was decided to create a new class of torpedo and artillery ships, called “kontrminonostsy” or “fighters destroyers” that were supposed to act homogeneous connections – divisions of three units and squadrons on two divisions. They are not intended for the destroyers of leading. They were assigned the task of exploration, combat forces of the lungs and torpedo battleships attack.

Learning German trophy S-113 and led to the emergence of a class “Jaguar” ships.


Displacement 3050 tons, speed 35 knots, cruising range 2,900 miles at 16 knots. Armament 5 guns 130 mm, 2 anti-aircraft guns 75 mm, 2 triple-tube torpedo 550 mm unit.

It is not that the first French ships kontrminonostsy were successful. At the same time to build “clean” the French destroyers “Burrask” with a standard displacement of 1,500 tons carried slightly less powerful weapons. Nevertheless, the “Jaguar”, “Panther”, “Lynx”, “Leopard,” “The Jackal” and “Tiger” played a role in the development of a new class of ships.

A further development was the type of “Cheetah”. Six ships were built, “Bison”, “Cheetah”, “Lion”, “Valmy”, “Vauban”, “Verdun.” All ships of this type were lost during the war, and only “Bison” was killed in combat, while the remaining five were scuttled in Toulon November 27, 1942 in the course of self-destruction of the French fleet.


displacement of 3200 tons, speed 35 knots, cruising range of 3000 nautical miles at 14 knots. Armament 5 implements 138-mm anti-aircraft machine 4 37 mm 2 coupled machine gun 13.2 mm, 2 triple-tube torpedo 550 mm unit.

This was followed by the type of “Aigle”. Ships of this class have been much better “Cheetahs”.


Displacement 3140 tons, speed 36 knots, cruising range of 3500 nautical miles at 18 knots. Armament 5 implements 138-mm anti-aircraft machine 4 37 mm 2 coupled machine gun 13.2 mm, 2 triple-tube torpedo 550 mm unit.

Better ships, however, their fate was sad. He survived the war only “Albatross”. “Aigle”, “Zherfo” and “Vautour” were flooded crews in Toulon in 1942, and “Eperve” and “Milan”, damaged in combat Anglo-American squadron, have been washed ashore in the Casablanca region.

Leaders’ Vokelen “type, the development of the leaders of the” Aigle “. A total of six units built, “Vokelen”, “Tart”, “Quercy”, “Maya Breze”, “Cassar”, “Chevalier Paul”. In fact, the performance characteristics are not different from those of the “Aigle”, with the exception of reducing the cruising range to 2,800 miles at 14 knots.

“Maya Breze”

“Maya Breze” was killed in an explosion own torpedoes in 1940, “Chevalier Paul” June 16, 1941 British torpedo sank near Latakia, others were flooded in Toulon.

The leaders of the “Le Fantask.” Development of the “Vokelen” leaders. Total built six units in the series: “Le Triomfan”, “Le Fantask”, “Le Malen”, “L’Odase”, “Le terrible of”, “L’Endomtabl”. Also known as the leaders of the “Le terrible of.”

These larger, and what to say, beautiful ships have become the pinnacle of French kontrminonostsev and a kind of “calling card” of the French fleet. The combination of high firepower with excellent driving characteristics made them extremely dangerous for the Italian destroyers and serious opponents for the Italian light cruisers. As the torpedo and artillery of the ships can be assessed very highly.

The disadvantage of these leaders was that they were intended only for the battle with enemy surface. Anti-submarine warfare was for them practically impossible, due to lack of means for their detection and air defense ships was too weak. Nevertheless, it was a good ship.

Displacement 3380 tons, speed 37 knots, cruising range of 4000 nautical miles at 17 knots. Armament 5 implements 138-mm anti-aircraft machine 4 37 mm 2 coupled machine gun 13.2 mm, 3 triple-tube torpedo 550 mm unit, release gear and 16 depth charges.

Of the six leaders who took part in World War II, “L’Odase” (May 7, 1943 sunk in the port of Bizerte Allied aircraft) and “L’Endomtabl” (March 7, 1944 sunk in the port of Toulon American aviation) have not lived up to the end war.

Type “Mogador”. The last series of French leaders really built. Two ships were built, “Mogador” and “Volta”. Both were scuttled in Toulon, although before that took part in the battles against the English fleet in North Africa.

Displacement 4018 tons, speed 39 knots, cruising range of 3000 miles at 20 knots. Armament 8 guns 138 mm (4×2), 2 twin anti-aircraft machine 37mm, 2 twin machine gun 13.2 mm, 3 triple-tube torpedo launchers and 2 twin-TA-550 mm.

The leaders of the “Mogador” created a very concrete strategic task – to act as a scout in the composition of the shock-intelligence group led by the battlecruisers of the “Dunkirk”. It should be recognized that the idea failed. Without on-board radar and seaplanes, “Mogador” had modest possibilities to find the enemy.

If you compare the “Mogador” and “Volta” with similar ships of foreign navies, then those typed a bit. In fact, it is the Soviet leader “Tashkent” and Italian cruisers reconnaissance of the “Captain Romani”. All of them were trying to create a kind of “interim” spaceship, between classes of destroyers and cruisers. But the attempt on the “Mogador” was successful.

Russia / USSR

attempt to implement the concept of kontrminonostsa or destroyers leader was still in the construction of the Imperial Russian destroyers series such as “Izyaslav”.

Ships of this type were the most powerful armament and the largest among Russian Navy destroyers that time, were in fact the leaders, although officially this class of ships in the pre-revolutionary Russia did not exist.

Displacement 1400 tons, speed 35 knots, cruising range 1,880 miles at 21 node. Armament 5 implements 102-mm anti-aircraft gun 1 76 mm, 3 triple-tube torpedo tubes 457 mm.

The experience of the First World War, in which the destroyers of the “Novik” is often played the role of light cruisers, became the basis of the program of creation of the Soviet leader destroyers. In addition, the inability of modern light cruisers built in the early 30-ies have predetermined the increased interest to the leaders.

The design of the first Soviet leader Quest issued in 1930. A new project was created “from scratch”, without any prototype constructors, who had a serious experience in the design of such large ships. Leaders “Project 1” was laid in 1932 as destroyers and reclassified into the lead in the course of construction.

Tests showed that the seaworthiness and stability 1 project leaders totally insufficient buoyancy is very small, high vibration at full speed, and the body was so weak that he could break in, even with a slight sea state. It was supposed to build six units, but in relation to identify deficiencies, it was decided to build these ships for advanced project.

So in order of the Soviet Navy entered “Leningrad”, “Moscow” and “Kharkiv”

Displacement 2582 tons, speed 40 knots, cruising range 2,100 miles at 18 knots. Armament 5 guns 130 mm, 2 anti-aircraft guns 76 mm, 2 anti-aircraft guns 45 mm, 2 four-pipe torpedo tubes 533 mm.

The leader of the “Moscow” was killed during a raid naval strike group of four ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the USSR in Constanta June 26, 1941.

The leader of “Kharkiv” was killed October 6, 1943 on the actions of the German air raid during the detachment of Soviet ships and boats on the South Coast of Crimea.

“Leningrad” participated in combat operations in the Baltic Sea Fleet.

Next was a series of project leaders 38. They shipbuilders tried to eliminate the least obvious design flaws 1. In fact, the changes were limited mainly to the abandonment of the most negative features of the predecessors. Leaders have a solid artillery and torpedo armament, a high speed. At the same time, their body was fragile, seaworthiness and cruising range is insufficient, and anti-aircraft weapons are extremely weak.

TTX project leaders 38 were no different from the project 1.

The leader of the “Minsk” took part in the fighting of the Baltic Fleet.

The leader of the “Baku” (founded in Komsomolsk-on-Amur as “Kiev”, renamed “Ordzhonikidze”, then to “Baku” in 1940) was the first in the Pacific Fleet, and when in May 1942 the Supreme Command was made the decision to transfer from the Pacific ocean to the Northern fleet more modern warships, made the transition from Vladivostok to the Strait of Ugra Bowl, thereby becoming one of the first Soviet warships have made the transition the Northern sea Route from the east to the west.

After the transfer of ships EON-18, the order of the commander of the fleet heads from 24 October 1942 the brigade of destroyers was established in the Northern Fleet of the three divisions, and the leader of the “Baku” led the 1st Division.

During the service in the Northern Fleet “Baku” was accompanied by the Allied transports and convoys, participated in raiding operations on the enemy’s communications, was part of the escort ships, which provided the wiring convoys. March 6, 1945 by the Decree of the Presidium of the “Baku” of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

“Tbilisi” was a leader during the Great Patriotic War, the only leader of destroyers in the Pacific Fleet. Combat operations were limited to a landing operation.

We should “Tashkent” in the list of leaders. Built by the Italians, the ship differ from domestic peers powerful weapons, comfortable conditions for the crew, high speed and solid cruising range. In his drawings we were planning to build factories in the Soviet another three ship, but the incompatibility of Soviet technology to the Italian did not allow it to carry out.

Displacement 4175 tons, 43 knots, cruising range 5,030 miles at 20 knots. Armament 6 guns 130 mm (3×2), 2 anti-aircraft guns 76 mm anti-aircraft machine 6 37-mm anti-aircraft machine guns 6 12.7-mm, 3 triple-tube torpedo tubes 533 mm.

Lider “Tashkent” has passed 27,000 miles, escorted lossless 17 transports perevёz 19,300 people, 2,538 tons of ammunition, food and other goods. Spent 100 firings of the main fire, silencing 6 batteries, and damaged one airfield. Shot down and damaged 13 enemy aircraft. Flood torpedo boat.

He died July 2, 1942 in Novorossiysk as a result of a raid by German aircraft.

Results and conclusions of

the beginning of World War II, leaders were regarded as an intermediate between the light cruisers and destroyers class high-speed artillery and torpedo ships, the purpose of which was:

suppression of enemy leaders and destroyers.

Ensuring the protection of their ships from torpedo attack enemy forces.

Withdrawal of its destroyers into the attack against the enemy forces.

Tactical intelligence.

Using torpedoes.


However, in the course of military actions were no cases of breeding destroyers leaders in the torpedo attack. Really battles with torpedo destroyers occurred either between themselves destroyers or cruisers with. We do not show these ships itself as expected, and as superesmintsev.

If the French kontrminonostsy were quickly withdrawn from the war capitulation of France, and the Soviet leaders and Italian scouts decided, basically, is not provided for these tasks, the German heavily armed destroyers attempted to conduct naval battles with enemy surface, but not proven themselves on the positive side. Especially characteristic was the fight in the Bay of Biscay December 28, 1943, when two British light cruisers, one of which was obsolete, confidently defeated the German compound superesmintsev five and six destroyers, without incurring any losses.

By mid-war destroyers turned from small ships to escort shock combat units to protect the main body of the fleet from the air and underwater threats. However, they could take part in the battle of heavy vehicles, but this is not their main objective.

History Division leaders was short-lived. The experience of combat employment has shown that neither the First nor the Second World War leaders do not have to display the destroyers to the attack. And what happened is, without overwhelming advantage over the destroyers, the leader and probably could not do it.

But the main reason for the disappearance of the leaders of the classification of warships was the change in the very nature of naval warfare. Fighting between surface forces gradually lost its importance, destroyers, torpedo attacks have become rare and more the result of a successful combination of circumstances. Class destroyers turned primarily to escort ships and antisubmarine defense, and so destroyers leaders were no longer needed. Sources: Dashyan AV, SV Patyanin, Mitukov NV, Barabanov M. Navy World War II. Platonov AV, Apalkov Yu Martial German ships 1939-1945.Patyanin SV leaders, destroyers and destroyers of France in World War II. Kofman VL The leaders of the “Mogador”. Kachur PI, Maureen AB flotilla leader of the Soviet Navy. Kachur PI “Canes Venatici” Red Fleet. “Tashkent”, “Baku”, “Leningrad”. Rubanov OA squadron destroyers of England in World War II.

Author: Roman Skomorokhov topwar.ru