|This page is about the British destroyer HMS Eskimo. For other ships of her class, see Tribal (Family).|
The Tribal-Class, HMS Eskimo (F75), 1941 is a rank II British destroyer with a battle rating of 4.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.83 "Masters of the Sea" as part of the British fleet closed beta test.
HMS Eskimo, pennant number F75, part of the Tribal class, was a fleet destroyer finished during December 1938. She was intended to provide counter-destroyer firepower and support the combat flotillas, she served in this role throughout the Second World War.
Following an intermission from the escort destroyer role, the HMS Eskimo offers an offensive hit-and-run approach to the British destroyers; very comparable to the HMS Grafton. Mainly by the superior firepower of six 120 mm main guns, each one firing devastating 3 kg high-explosive shells in quick rate of fire: initially of 12 rounds per minute.
Of course, when regarding destroyers, is not all about firepower but also about the increased top speed; unachieved on the earlier escort destroyer. The now fairly average survivability and auxiliary armaments surely will assist captains in control of this well-balanced combat destroyer.
Painted under a dark grey hull, and a black coloured stripe all around her waterline, the Eskimo's raised freeboard distance and raked bow can be easily highlighted from other latter destroyers. Despite using a fairly conventional main weaponry layout which will be seen in several other British destroyer classes, the Eskimo can be also differentiated by her turret located in the aftmost part of the ship.
The main downside to the Tribal is its vulnerability. Not only is it far from the smallest destroyer, making it a big target, but it's also built out of ammo racks.
Survivability and armour
The Eskimo is lightly armoured overall. anti-fragmentation armour plates no thicker than 12.7 mm protect most of the gun emplacements. While the main turrets are protected by 3.2 mm of anti-fragmentation armour. As seen on the HMS Grafton and previous destroyers, this anti-fragmentation armour is mainly effective in protecting the gun breech versus HE shells. Any other type of shell is likely to go through this type of armour and disable the turret.
Regarding survivability, the Eskimo is packed with a lot of ammunition storages for the quick-firing high calibre main and secondary cannons. The most dangerous zones are the bow and the stern. There is no armour whether above or below the waterline; and the area is not even effectively protected by fuel tanks. This means an accurate enemy salvo is likely to cause ammunition damage or a catastrophic detonation of the ammo magazines. The ammunition storages are not limited within the hull, but as another drawback of the high rate of fire, there are large quantities of ready-use ammo racks near most of the high-calibre cannons. SAP and APCBC shells are likely to cause a lot of damage to all the ammo storages since they are only protected by steel boxes.
Another aspect to consider is the constant loss of the ship's control. The transmission and engine rooms are located in an easily targetable area. There is no fuel tank or armour plates to protect none of them from enemy fire, unlike adversaries as the German destroyer Z25 or the Italian RN Corazziere which are decently protected with fuel tanks in those areas.
A complement of 260 members remains average amongst the majority of destroyers at the rank: average of 267. While it is significantly less than most of the German adversaries, with an average of 325 crew members in their destroyers at the same battle rating. This places the Tribal class at a tactical disadvantage when duelling with all German destroyers.
|Game Mode||Upgrade Status||Maximum Speed (km/h)|
The Eskimo's mobility should be deemed adequate but not perfect. The Tribal class was repurposed as fleet destroyers, and as such, the mobility performs fine enough to attend to the needs of flexible anti-air support for cruisers fleets, or while performing a flanking attack throughout naval engagements. The Tribal class was fitted with three Admiralty three-drum boilers that powered two Parsons geared turbines generating 34,000 hp which translates into 67 km/h, reached in about 28 seconds.
The top speed is averagely on par or in few cases inferior against most German destroyers at ranks II and III. Thus it is likely no real mobility advantage can be played over German counterparts. Versus similarly ranked Japanese or Italian destroyers, the opposite occurs. Though minimal in some instances, the Eskimo might have the upper hand in catching up with enemy destroyers such as IJN Yuudachi, IJN Kiyoshimo and IJN Ayanami.
Do not forget about some other destroyers as the Japanese IJN Shimakaze and the Soviet Tashkent and Moskva: these feature outstanding top speed over 80 km/h. Therefore, it is crucial to quickly assess these mobility disparities when gunnery is leading a successful salvo on such swift enemies.
Modifications and economy
The Tribal class was the most modern, largest and heavily armed British destroyer class during the early stages of World War II. This is noticeable in the Eskimo's emphasis on absolute firepower. She is armed with 6 x 4.7 inch/45 Mk.XII cannons in 3 turrets, each one capable of firing 3 kg of explosives in a total broadside at effective distances of around 10 km. Because of the double cannon mountings, the salvo accuracy should be properly preserved under these large distances, despite the gun ballistics not having a nearly flat trajectory.
The initial rate of fire of 12 rounds per minute is reasonably effective during the first moments of a battle, but once the ready-use ammo rack is spent, the fire rate decreases to 10 shots per minute, though this still remains an advantageous rate of fire versus most Japanese, Italian, Soviet and some German destroyers, with their guns firing at a fixed 8 rounds per minute. The Eskimo's firepower generally outmatches in quantity, flexibility, and explosive damage to the majority of German destroyers around her battle rating. But it severely falls back in the rate of fire, to ships such as the German Type 1936 destroyers having an initial fire rate of 18 rounds per minute.
Preferring a heavy calibre armament and anti-air defences over torpedoes, the Eskimo is capable of engaging most destroyers around her rank with HE shells. With some skills and tactics, it can even counter some early light cruisers as the IJN Isuzu and IJN Kuma with the correct use of SAP rounds, although extended duels against cruisers are not advised. Also, the 4-inch dual-mounted gun located towards the aft of the ship can be a nasty surprise for coastal vessels trying to get the jump on the Tribal.
With the multipurpose CPXIX turret mountings, all 6 main guns can provide heavy anti-aircraft fire, when using either the HE-VT or the HE-TF. Yet the flaw of these turret mountings is the insufficient elevation angles of only 40°, an inherited drawback from the previous CPXVII mounting found on the HMS Grafton.
A single 4 inch/45 Mark XVI mounting is present in the auxiliary role.
Although limited in quantity, the dual 102 mm turret is sure to provide a very respectable anti-air defence and supporting fire versus seaborne targets. The Mark XVI can be considered as one of the best support guns available for the British bluewater fleet. This is due to its great initial fire rate of 20 rounds per minute, nearly 90° elevation angles and various shell options; also very intimidating to any small boat because of the hullbreaking stopping power.
The rather limited ammunition and the aftward location of the emplacement will be the weaknesses of this gun. Most of the time players will need to decide, based on their strategy, to load more anti-air shells or load HE and SAP for sea targets. Once researched, HE-VT is recommended for air coverage as it will explode more accurately near the targeted aircraft. The targeting is speed is fairly slow but this could be aided by the mobility of the vessel itself.
The anti-air armament consists of a pair of single mounted 20 mm/70 Oerlikon Mk.II autocannons, each one is located on either side of the bridge. Another 2 mountings of 12.7 mm Vickers Mk.V machine guns are located amidship, in between the funnels. Lastly, a single mounting of a quadruple 40 mm 'pom-pom' gun is located just aftward the torpedo tubes, in a superstructure.
These anti-aircraft guns will create what can be seen as the last layer of air defence for the Eskimo.
Firstly, the 40 mm 'pom-pom' gun will outrange the 12.7 mm Vickers machine guns and 20 mm Oerlikon cannons when attacking air targets; with a range of 4 km. Also helping the auxiliary 102 mm gun when dealing with high altitude threats diving from the air coverage dead zone of the Eskimo. Since the main batteries will be unable to deal with dive bombers as the Ju 87s, the preservation of the ship will be relegated to this quadruple set of 2 pounder guns and the auxiliary gun.
When it comes to range, the Oerlikon guns will be the second to open fire (about 2 km), their stopping power can be arguably good, depending on the armour of the aircraft attacking. The main disadvantage of the mounting is the poor density of fire since only a single gun is available per side. The elevation angle of only 50° is another concern, meaning that any aircraft attacking from high or distant enough, will remain untouched by the 20 mm cannons.
Here is where the seemingly insufficient and obsolete 12.7 mm machine guns can do their part, although limited to only about a 1 kilometre of effectiveness, they bring a dense light anti-aircraft fire with the flexibility to aim up to 75° degrees. They are likely to not cause a lot of instantaneous stopping damage, but their blazing tracer rounds can help to discourage and intimidate reckless enemy pilots - lighting fires is also a possibility, especially on Japanese aircraft as the P1Y1 mod. 11 "Ginga", A6M3 or B7A2 .
Anti-submarine roles were not largely envisaged for the Tribal class, thus the Eskimo is barely equipped with few depth charges and absent of any mine-laying types of equipment. An important contrast from other destroyers such as the Hunt-class destroyers or the River-class frigates, which are heavily equipped with explosive ASW equipment.
The torpedo weaponry is quite reduced since the Tribal class was meant to favour heavy artillery power rather than a lightly armed torpedo-carrying destroyer. Also the torpedoes lack the speed of more contemporary torpedoes, though they do pack a big punch if they score a hit.
Usage in battles
While the Tribal can fill numerous roles (and works well as a general all-rounder destroyer), it excels best as a gunnery ship. Thanks to the hefty calibre of its shells, as well as the accuracy of the guns, the Tribal can give other destroyers a good beating even from a distance. In addition, the concentration of 2/3rds of the Tribal's guns at the front of the ship means the Tribal can still pump out a good amount of damage while keeping a small profile. Still, if the Tribal's position is relatively safe from being shot at, don't be afraid to swing the rear turret around and let rip.
Combined with its fast speed and adequate auxiliary armament, this can make the Tribal an excellent support/escort ship during uptiers or higher ranked battles. Keep in mind the ship's 4.7-inch guns will begin to struggle against cruisers so they should maybe be repurposed towards air defence or fast attack craft, all trying to keep the Tribal away from close quarters fighting.
|HMS Eskimo might suffer at close quarters, due to poor main gun traverse speed, no armour and average crew size.|
The Tribal class possessed heavy armament and decent mobility, as such, it was used for the most intense battles and because of this same reason, they suffered a lot of casualties. This illustrates how to engage in battles more safely, heading to a new concept for British destroyers in the Bluewater fleet: Accurate gunnery.
The act of accurate gunnery means a lot in the Tribal class, mainly based on the unarmoured ship and reduced crew complement in pro of increasing the offensive capabilities of the class. Inside the Tribal class, Eskimo is the precise definition of gunnery thanks to the six devastating main calibre cannons, therefore her playstyle should be based on outranging other destroyers, while Eskimo lands accurate fire from the safety of distance. Ideally, the way to do this is to reach for the farthest areas of the map, where the enemy's poor gunnery skill will be given away.
It is important to tame this distant gunnery gameplay since it will be crucial for all other Royal Navy's destroyers with similar capacities such as HMS Nepal, HMS Kelvin, HMS Jervis, and HMCS Haida. All of those destroyers will share similar endurance, crew complement, main firepower, and mobility.
Pros and cons
- Numerous auxiliary and anti-air weaponry, as well as some torpedoes (4) and depth charges
- Primary guns have great precision even at long ranges (~10 km)
- Dual purpose guns; HE-VT shells for primary and secondary guns makes it easy to destroy aircraft
- 3 kg of explosive in the HE shells is great versus other destroyers and small vessels
- Top speed is average, but amongst the fastest Bluewater ships on the British Naval Tree
- The destroyer with the largest crew complement of the British rank II
- Ammo racks are easily detonated by SAP or APCBC shells near the waterline; no armour present in the area
- Crew size remains below average versus German, American and Soviet destroyers
- Limited torpedo count may be ineffective versus heavier fleets due to small quantity
- Outmatched in most combat aspects versus early light cruisers as Köln, Leipzig or IJN Agano
Despite the Tribal class being originally designed to be light cruisers, HMS Eskimo quickly find herself outmatched in the everchanging battle for naval supremacy. Consequently, she was recategorized as a destroyer, with a fleet support role in mind. She was laid down in 1936 and was ready for service in March 1939. Her service life was challenged with a lot of battles and situations through which opportunely, she outlived all, unlike many sister ships of her class.
Her first taste of battle came at home, during her stance at Royal Navy base Scapa Flow. She was being repaired of turbine problems, when on 17th October, the Luftwaffe undertook the first bombings in British territories, this time directed to the naval base and the ships stationed there, Eskimo amongst them. During the air raid, she supported bringing down an aircraft. After the attack, she ran in support of HMS Iron Duke which was damaged by the attack.
This brief confrontation with four Ju 88 bombers of the Kampfgeschwader 1/30 proved an invaluable experience since it was then acknowledged how ineffective the elevation angles of the main calibre guns were against aircraft. This lead to later modifications such as the unmounting of one of the main twin 4.7 in guns and replacing it with a set of 4 inch/45 Mark XVI 102 mm guns and additional 20 mm Oerlikon cannons, amongst other search radar and rangefinding technologies for enhanced anti-air defence.
After patrol and escort duties near the Home Fleet, Eskimo had another major trial of fire, this time, the Second Battle of Narvik, in April 1940. She was appointed escort as part of a task force comprising numerous ships, such as HMS Repulse, Rodney, and Valiant. This campaign in Norwegian waters proved to be as fierce as the First Battle of Narvik, and arguably the gravest moment for the Eskimo and her crew.
Battle at Narvik
Attached to the battleship HMS Warspite and other eight destroyers, the battlegroup was tasked to clean up the German destroyer presence in the Ofotfjord inlet, all the way past Narvik town.
On 13th April, around midday, the combat group of Warspite including Eskimo made their entrance into the Norwegian fjord. The stakes were high as it was unknown the number of submarines in the area, originally thought to be one but in reality more than five. The eight German destroyers in the area seem stranded, likely low on fuel. After passing Baroy, Eskimo and the other British destroyers took the lead of the advance, waiting for a sure German ambush. Warspite's Swordfish planes were dispatched to scout all corners of the fjord. The first German destroyer to be spotted was Hans Lüdemann; everyone involved in the battle was now advised of the action to unfold.
The fjord soon became full of torpedoes as Eskimo and the British warships advanced, more German destroyers were meeting up the fight. The aircraft carrier HMS Furious sent more Swordfish support, which greatly helped in evading torpedoes. After gunnery duels, the German ships were running low on ammunition. Eskimo was busy pursuing Hermann Künne deeper in the fjord when the destroyer Erich Giese noticed her passing and launched torpedoes, which missed. Some of the allied destroyers were having a rough time dealing with damage thus they decided to retreat. Eskimo continued the pursuit along with HMS Forester until Hermann Künne beached in Herjangsfjord, where Eskimo torpedoed her; by then all the crew had already abandoned the ship and no casualties occurred.
Around 2 p.m., Eskimo and Forester advanced steadily into the Rombaksfjord. Signalled by Swordfish surveillance, Eskimo was told about more enemy ships further in the fjord. Eskimo and Forester decided to proceed and brawl with the destroyers rather than waiting for the other destroyers to link up. The narrower inlet became a problem to the British ships as the torpedoes became harder to dodge. Georg Thiele was nearly out of torpedoes but as last luck, her last torpedo hit directly on the bow of Eskimo. The badly damaged Eskimo kept fighting with the remaining turrets but then retreated in reverse due to the vast damage, with the help of Forester.
Valiantly leading and surviving the whole naval assault on Narvik, she was sent off for repair. She spent the majority of 1940-1942 as escort for the bigger ships of the Home Fleet or as escort of convoys, without major incidences.
On 12th July 1943, while part of Operation Husky, she was attacked by German dive bombers. A small bomb landed directly on the Eskimo, causing damage to the gear room and fires on the ship. 19 crewmembers perished while another 22 were injured. After the ship was brought to sailable conditions she was towed to base for repair and armament refits. This proved once more how the limited dual-purpose design of the CPXIX mounting could be used by enemy aircraft diving from above the blind spot of the Eskimo.
|Of the twelve Tribal class destroyed, six were sunk by aerial strike, two more were damaged.|
Her life would event rather quietly until June 1944, where she took part in minor surface engagements versus German destroyers, near Isle de Bas. She sank the ZH1 and helped in the attack of other German destroyers. A few days later along with HMCS Haida, she attacked the submarine U-971 on the English channel. The submarine was first spotted and attacked by a Czech Liberator bomber, who then voiced over the location to the two ships. Once at the scene, Eskimo released depth charges which effectively made the submarine rise to the surface, just to be met by the heavy fire of the ships. The submarine sustained heavy damage and was evacuated by the crew which was taken onboard the ships.
In the last year of the war, she was appointed to serve in the Far East theatre, where she worked alongside other Australian Tribal classes in dealing with the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy. After the end of the war in Europe, she was sent home on 4th November 1945.
Having a very respectable survivor status as one of the four Tribal classes remaining from the total 16 built, Eskimo was sold for scrapping on 27th June 1949.
Shared operational history
Analogues on other nations
- [Devblog] Tribal-class destroyer
- Full service record of HMS Eskimo - Naval History.net
- British Destroyer vs German Destroyer: Narvik 1940, David Greentree, David Campbell, 2018.
- British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War and After, Norman Friedman, 2006.
|Town-class||HMS Churchill · HMS Montgomery|
|V-class||HMS Vega · HMS Verdun|
|G-class||HMS Grafton · ORP Garland|
|Hunt-class||HMS Calpe · HMS Brissenden|
|Tribal-class||HMCS Haida · HMS Eskimo · HMS Mohawk|
|Battle-class||HMS Armada · HMAS Tobruk|