WEAPON (BATTLEAXE) CLASS
The nineteen ships of the Weapon Class were ordered in the 1943 war Programme in order to make full use of building capacity in shipyards too small to build the Battle Class. The end of the war, together with design modifications to make them fast anti-submarine ships, resulted in the cancellation of all but four. Three ships were launched and sent straight to the breakers (CARRONADE, CULVERIN, CUTLASS), six were scrapped on the stocks (DAGGER, HOWITZER, LONGBOW, RIFLE, SPEAR, SWORD) and the other six were never laid down (CLAYMORE, DIRK, GRENADE, HALBERD, MUSKET, PONIARD) Only BATTLEAXE, CROSSBOW BROADSWORD and SCORPION were completed.
HMS Crossbow entering Grand Harbour 1962/63 (courtesy Malcolm Perkins)
The four ships entered service between October 1947 and October 1948. After the turmoil of the manning crisis the Weapons made up the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in the Home Fleet. With BATTLEAXE as leader they were the Navy's only fast A/S escorts until the advent of the Type 15/16 destroyer conversions in 1951. The squadron of identical ships was first disrupted in 1953 when BROADSWORD went into reserve (replaced by COMET).
A similar change took place two years later when CROSSBOW was succeeded by CONTEST. The squadron then converted from Home Fleet service to the new General Service. BATTLEAXE and SCORPION completed one such commission in the Home and Mediterranean Fleets (deployed to the latter station April 1955-March 1956). In the summer of 1956 the remaining two Weapons went into Reserve being relieved by CAVENDISH and CARYSFORT.
HMS Scorpion entering Portsmouth 1950/51 (courtesy Ramon Little)