Kil-class sloop

The Kil class was a class of sloops, also referred to as gunboats[citation needed], built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. They were designed for anti-submarine warfare, but were completed too late in the war to be used extensively in that role. They were designed to be double-ended to confuse submarine observers, and were painted in dazzle camouflage. Following the war, the majority of the class were sold off and converted to coastal cargo vessels.

HMS Kildangan, pictured in 1918 with dazzle camouflage
Class overview
Builders George Brown; Hall Russell; Smiths Dock; Cochrane; Cook, Welton & Gemmell
Operators  Royal Navy
Preceded by P-classsloop
Built 1917-1919
Planned 85
Completed 55
Cancelled 30
General characteristics
Type Sloop
Displacement 895 tons
Length 182 ft (55 m)
Beam 30 ft (9.1 m)
Draught 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Installed power 1,400 ihp (1,000 kW)
Propulsion
  • Single shaft
  • Reciprocating steam engine
Speed 13 knots
Complement 57
Armament

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The Kil class were designed to counter the U-boat threat posed by the Imperial German Navy during the First World War. They were designed to be equipped with hydrophones and depth charges to detect and destroy enemy submarines before they posed a threat to allied convoys.[1] The class began to be launched towards the end of 1917. So they could be constructed, an order for 85 anti-submarine trawlers was cancelled across six shipyards in order to free up enough berths for the building of the Kil class. Each ship took around six months to be constructed. Ships in the class were named after villages in Scotland and Ireland beginning with “Kil”.[1]

Similar to the 24-class sloop, the ships were built with a double ended design in order to confuse enemy submarine observers who were trying to work out which direction the ships were due to travel in.[2] They had a single central funnel, and deckhouses both fore and aft were designed to be similar in order to enhance the effect. The class were painted in dazzle camouflage.[1]

The class entered service after the main threat of the U-boats had passed, and therefore their effectiveness in anti-submarine warfare cannot be determined. Only 38 of the 85 ships ordered were completed by the time the Armistice with Germany was signed on 11 November 1918. The ships were put into reserve following the war, and were put up for sale by the Admiralty after the subject of their post-war use was brought up in the House of Commons.[1][3] On 14 February 1920, 48 ships of the Kil class were sold to two different civilian owners for conversion to cargo carriers.[1] Some ships were used as whalers, while others were used as coastal cargo vessels around the United Kingdom.[4]

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