Destroyers in the First World War

Destroyers were small, fast warships that were developed as defence for battlefleets against the new threat of torpedo boats. Destroyers built just before 1914 were between 500-800 tons and were armed with four to twelve torpedoes. They were generally deployed in flotillas (4 to 20 ships) that accompanied battleships and battlecruisers. Destroyers were also used for anti-submarine work and as minelayers.

During the First World War nearly 450 destroyers served with the British Navy. Destroyers grew steadily larger and by the end of the war most of the new ships were over 1,000 tons.