Town Class Destroyer

Town Class Destroyer

The Town class destroyers were warships transferred from the United States Navy to the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy in exchange for military bases in the Bahamas and elsewhere, as outlined in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement between Britain and United States, signed on 2 September 1940. They were known as "four-pipers" or "four-stackers" because they had four smokestacks (funnels). Later classes of destroyers typically had one or two.

Some went to the Royal Canadian Navy at the outset. Others went on to the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and the Soviet Navy after serving with the Royal Navy. Although given a set of names by the Commonwealth navies that suggested they were one class they actually came from three classes of destroyer: Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson. Town class refers to the Admiralty renaming these ships after towns common to the United States and the British Commonwealth. Ships initially commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy, however, followed the Canadian practice of giving destroyers the names of Canadian rivers. The rivers selected for the town class were on the border between Canada and the United States, with the exception of the Nova Scotia river sharing the name of the United States Naval Academy location.

One of the Towns achieved lasting fame: HMS Campbeltown (ex-USS Buchanan). In the Commando raid Operation Chariot, Campbeltown, fitted with a large demolition charge, rammed the Normandie Lock at Saint-Nazaire, France. The charge detonated on 29 March 1942, breaching the drydock and destroying Campbeltown, thus destroying the only drydock on the Atlantic coast capable of accepting the German battleship Tirpitz. This exploit was depicted in the 1950 Trevor Howard film The Gift Horse, which starred HMS Leamington (ex-USS Twiggs) after her return from service in Russia.

Read more about Town Class Destroyer:  Characteristics, Ships By World War II Navy

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