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L class destroyer HMS Lightning (G55)

The L and M class was a class of sixteen destroyers ordered for the Royal Navy. They were the first Royal Navy destroyers to have completely enclosed gun houses. At the outbreak of World War II, they were considered the Royal Navy's most advaned destroyer class.

Design and ArmamentEdit

The L and M class were designed to escort the new King George V class battleships. Since the King George V class was faster than previous classes, the Admiralty specified the need for completely enclosed gun houses. The gun houses, designated Mk.XX HA/LA, were not considered turrets since the ammunition hoist was separate to the gun mounting. Each ship of the class mounted six 4.7inch guns in three Mk.XX HA/LA gun houses in positions A, B and X. The ships also mounted four 40mm Anti-Aircraft guns on a single Mk.VII mount, eight Vickers 50. machine guns on two Mk.III mounts and eight torpedo tubes firing the 21inch Mark II torpedo.

Each ship of the class had a single funnel. The hight of the new gun houses gave the ships a distinctive look and as a result meant that the wheelhouse was raised further.

Wartime ModificationsEdit

Wartime modifications meant that the now outdated Vikers 50. machine guns were replaced by up to five Oerlikon 20mm guns. A single QF 4inch MK V naval gun was also added to boost Anti-Aircraft performance. The ships torpedo capability was reduced with the removal of four of the original eight torpedo tubes.

World War IIEdit

During the Second World War the L and M class were primarily used to escort larger ships and supply convoys. Out of the original sixteen ships, nine were lost in combat.


The L classEdit

  • Laforey - Completed 26 August 1941. Lost on 30 March 1944.
  • Lance - Completed 13 May 1941. Lost on 9 April 1942.
  • Gurkha (originally named Larne) - Completed 18 February 1941. Lost on 17 January 1942.
  • Lively - Completed 20 July 1941. Lost on 11 May 1942.
  • Legion - Completed 19 December 1940. Lost on 26 March 1942.
  • Lightning - Completed 28 May 1941. Lost on 12 March 1943.
  • Lookout - Completed 30 January 1942. Broken up 1948.
  • Loyal - Completed 31 October 1942. Broken up 1948.

The M classEdit

  • Milne - Completed 6 August 1942. Transferred to Turkey 1959 as Alp Arslam.
  • Mahratta - Completed in 1943. Lost 25 February 1944.
  • Musketeer - Completed 5 December 1942. Broken up 6 December 1955.
  • Myrmidon - Completed 5 December 1942. Lost 8 October 1943.
  • Matchless - Completed 26 February 1942. Transferred to Turkey 1959 as Kilicali Pasha.
  • Meteor - Completed 12 August 1942. Transferred to Turkey 1959 as Piyale Pasha.
  • Marne - Completed 2 December 1941. Transferred to Turkey 1959 as Maresal Fevzi Cakmak.
  • Martin - Completed 4 August 1942. Lost on 10 November 1942.

See alsoEdit

Preceded by: J, K, and N class
Succeeded by: O and P class

External linksEdit

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