Almirante Williams Class
DclassDDsmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 421.5
Beam 45 ft
Draft 14.0 feet
Displacement 3,160 tons
Performance Speed (max) 34.5 knots
Speed (cruising) 16 knots
Endurance 6,500 nm @ 16 knots
Armament Guns 4 4 inch L62 Mark XXIV Mod.1, 8 35mm

Background

The Daring class owed their origins to the decision by Chile to order a squadron of six new destroyers to replace the old Serrano class ships. The contract was awarded to the British Vickers yard in 1954 with a firm order for two destroyers and options for four more. These options were exercised in 1955 so that all six ships were on order. The first pair, Almirante Williams and Almirante Riveros, were laid down in 1954. At that point problems quickly began to emerge. The Vickers yard had been devastated during the Second World War and the occupation. Being on the west coast, it had suffered particularly badly from American air strikes. Not only was the yard itself in very bad condition but much of its skilled workforce had dispersed to other yards. As a result, work proceded slowly and the four 1955 ships were not laid down until 1956/57. The first pair were supposed to have been delivered in 1957 but were only launched in that year and were not completed until 1959. By then, the Chilean Navy was regretting its decision to order the ships that already appeared dated in comparison with the new Indian and Australian ships then entering service. Accordingly, in 1958, they cancelled the order for the remaining four ships. At that point, the British Ministry of Defence stepped in and purchased the four incomplete hulls, taking over the contracts for their construction. This arrangement saved the Chilean Navy from having to pay cancellation charges on those four ships, and allowed the Royal Navy to acquire four new destroyers at a quarter of their construction cost. They became the Daring Class

Although they had a superficially modern appearance, the Almirante class were really only enlarged versions of the pre-war British H class. They were armed with four four inch Mark XXIV Mod.1 guns, the Mod.1 being identical with the Mark XXIV Mod.0 used on the Boadicea and Cleopatra classes except for a larger gunhouse. They were also equipped with four single 40mm anti-aircraft guns and a five-tube bank for 21 inch torpedoes. They were powered by two sets of Yarrow machinery totalling 60,000 shaft horsepower, giving them a speed of 34.5 knots.

The ships, along with the cruisers they were intended to escort, were obviously obsolete by the time they entered service. The quadron was relegated to secondary duties including patrolling the coast of Chile in the deep south regions and undertaking sovereignty patrols through the Beagle Channel and around Tierra del Fuego. The destroyers were too small for this purpose and they served most of their lives in and around Valparaiso as training ships. After a life of relative obscurity, both ships were scrapped in 1979. In his book "A History Of Chilean Sea Power", Admiral Contreras summarized them as being fine ships that were built 15 year too late. It is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Almirante Williams 1954 1954 1957 1959 Decommissioned and scrapped 1979
Almirante Riveros 1954 1954 1957 1959 Decommisisoned and scrapped 1979
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