Tribal-Class Torpedo Boat Destroyer HMS Zubian (D99), (1905, Late model 1908/09, resurrected 1917): From Dover to Ostend, The Undead return to hunt U-boats

[How and where would you like to see HMS Zubian added?]
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
  • Coastal Forces
  • Bluewater Forces
  • No to both
0 voters
  • Tech Tree researchable
  • Premium
  • Squadron Researchable
  • Event Rare
  • No to all
0 voters

As part of the great repopulating of the new suggestions forum with old legacy ones both live, considered, and all but forgotten, allow me to introduce (and vastly, VASTLY improve) one of my very oldest suggestions- way back from the Naval Open Beta Test days of Patch 1.83, specifically October 26th, 2018.



Well I feel old now.



This is the re-suggestion of one of my earliest legacy suggestions: The Tribal-class Torpedo Boat Destroyer of 1905, specifically one of the 3rd Programme (1908/1909) Late-pattern models, more specifically the one featuring one of the most extraordinary beginnings of almost any ship ever built in human history… and somehow actually not clickbait.

This is HMS Zubian (D99), a literal Frankenstein’s Monster of a ship, born from the rear 2/3rds of HMS Nubian combined with the remaining bow of HMS Zulu… all to resurrect an obsolescent ship at just about the only time in history that this would’ve been done; and with a ship small enough to accept the cost- at the height of the War To End All Wars, World War One, in 1917.

HMS Nubian, sometime between 1911-1914. the entire raised bow section would be blown off by a torpedo and replaced by the bow from HMS Zulu years later.


the Tribal-class Torpedo Boat Destroyer, or alternatively the F-class as they were redesignated in 1913… not to be mistaken for the Tribal-class of 1936… nor the F-class of 1934… real imaginative naming there chaps… was a mid-1900s design of ship at right around the time when torpedo boat destroyers were just starting to get big enough and powerful enough that they might start posing a threat to larger ships, AKA dropping the torpedo boat part and just being called Destroyer.

This incarnation of Tribal-class was itself a sign of these changing times- the 1st Programme Early Model ships of HMS Afridi, Cossack, Gurkha, Mohawk, and Tartar had 4 (soon after, 5) 3-inch/76mm QF 12-pounders, meanwhile the middle production 1906-07 2nd programme run of HMS Saracen and Amazon, and 1908-09 3rd programme of HMS Crusader, Maori, Nubian, Viking, and Zulu replaced the 12-pounders with a pair of BL 4-inch cannons- the distinct difference between the first generation of what we’d just call a Destroyer, and the last of the ye olde Torpedo Boat Destroyer and their sub-100mm main guns, like the River-class (redesignated as the E-class in 1913) which the Tribal-class was meant to supplement- showing that the rate of technological improvement even after the turn of the century was still so fast it could obsolete a then-state of the art design in only a few years.
The origin of the Tribal-class comes from November 1904, when First Sea Lord and resident naval mad scientist John “Jackie” Fisher made the proposition of a new class of torpedo boat destroyer with a top speed of at least 33 knots (61 km/h) with the usage of oil-fired boilers and steam turbines as opposed to coal-firing from Vertical Triple Expansion reciprocating steam piston engines as seen on the River-class.
This requirement; as with anything thought up by Lord Fisher; had its wild ups and downs, and the result was an almost oversized ship for its type in order to fit the large turbine engines that provided for a far higher amount of shaft horsepower at 12,500 shp (9300 kW), later up to 14,500 shp depending on the particular ship and its installed machinery vs the late model River-class’s 7,700 shp (5,700 kW)…

…but at the cost of pushing the design to its limits (which Fisher had an alarming habit of causing) by installing what was then cutting edge technology on a platform that wasn’t entirely quite ready- keep in mind this is 1905, this is directly contemporary with the construction of the first turbine-driven battleship, the legendary HMS Dreadnought.

The result of this was an impressively fast and high-tech design for the mid-1900s, but in the larger picture was debatably a step back in overall practicality compared to the earlier River-class, as the Tribal-class was comparatively lightly built and later was shown to be somewhat fragile during WWI.
The biggest downside to the 1905 Tribal-class was that it was just an absolute PIG of a gas-guzzler. Provided with only 90 tons of fuel oil storage and a very high rate of fuel consumption due to use of 1st generation direct drive steam turbines instead of reciprocating piston VTE Steam Engines, the Tribal-class was shown to be ridiculously uneconomical to the point that they could barely reach beyond the coast.

There’s even a direct quote on the topic that shows just how limited the range was on these proto-Destroyers:

“More alarmingly however, they were only provided with 90 tons of bunkerage, and with high fuel consumption resulting from the unheard of power of 12,500 shp, they were very uneconomical and had a severely limited radius of action; Afridi and Amazon once used 9.5 tons of oil each simply to raise steam for a three-mile (5 km) return journey to a fuel depot.”
at this time, the Royal Navy had a quirky practice with its TBDs, and that was to just let the companies designing each ship work out the little details- in all fairness these were tertiary level warships after all.
As a result, the Tribal-class was a very heterogeneous family, and the details and in some ways appearance could be completely different in some areas… who knows, maybe they were secretly built by the French.

The most notable example is in the funnels… mainly the number of them.

Some had 3 funnels. Totally normal for ships around this time.
Most had 4 funnels. Still okay, these are extreme speed sprinters so the extra exhaust helps.


HMS Viking had 6. And for no understandable reason either.


It’s like a time traveling Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts player got bored and made the biggest mess they could make out of a ship so small.

HMS Viking, 1910.

yes. 6 funnels (two singles, two doubles). on a mid-1900s transitional Destroyer…
…because reasons.

This may come as a shock, but HMS Viking was both the first and last destroyer EVER to use 6 funnels.

Oh as if all that wasn’t enough, in addition to effectively being giant coast guard cutters due to their badly limited range… they were too large to efficiently defend the coast of England. This had to result in an entirely different class of large torpedo boats; the Cricket-class 1st class Torpedo Boat, also of 1905; existing purely because the Tribals had to have SOMETHING as a companion to backstop for coastal defense.

in the long run, the Tribal-class proved to be kind of a failure in all aspects save for brute force performance, and for the following class of destroyer in the Beagle-class of 1908 (redesignated G-class in 1913), the admiralty reverted to a more refined and somewhat less balls-to-the-wall design for the 1908/09 programme… while ordering another 5 Tribals. Because reasons.

Due to the unique creation of HMS Zubian, a brief mention of Nubian and Zulu is required:

HMS Nubian and HMS Zulu were part of the late model Tribal-class production run, with their subclass consisting of HMS Crusader, Maori, Nubian, Viking, and Zulu, and featured the use of two single 4-inch BL Mark VIII guns on P.III mountings, replacing the five single 76mm 12-pounder 12 cwt guns.
With HMS Nubian, The October 26th/27th, 1916, Battle of Dover Strait happened, when a bunch of German torpedo boats swarmed a convoy of British ships in the vicinity of the Dover Barrage; a massive German minefield meant to make merchant shipping in the English channel a total nightmare; and mauled the convoy with little resistance. In the sequence of events for HMS Nubian, the Germans planted a torpedo right underneath the bridge (just behind the first funnel) and very nearly blew Nubian’s entire bow off before retreating. The crippled Nubian was towed for a short time until the tow rope broke and the rest of the crumpled bow fell off, necessitating Nubian to power back up and quickly beach itself, later being towed to Calais after a rushed patch job.

So now you have a faceless ship who’s heart still beat, but about a third of the ship was now somewhere else… that being in a million pieces on the seabed just offshore of Dover.

HMS Nubian, 1916, post-bow beaching on the shores of Dover
meanwhile with HMS Zulu… well… It hit a mine off Dunkirk in November 1916. not nearly the heroic near-death of Nubian, but c’est la vie. This mine went off just beneath the Zulu’s engine room, gutting the amidships third of the ship, and breaking off the entire stern, AKA the rear third, which then sunk… again proving these ships were rather fragile.

the rest of the ship however… which was now mostly the bow and some swiss cheese that used to be the midsection… was towed to Calais.
Later, now in 1917, instead of scrapping two partial ship hulls at the height of WWI and unrestricted submarine warfare, The admiralty decided to just have the bow of Zulu fitted to the missing face of Nubian and just frankenstein them back together, hence the literal and literary portmanteau that was Zubian.

Incidentally funnily enough in a little side note this confused the hell out of the German admiralty when word got back to them, since there was no ship of that name having been built, but here this ghost ship was.
As for Zubian… she made no token effort either.
After being commissioned in 1917, Zubian with her new pennant number of D99 joined… rejoined?.. the other Tribal-class TBDs in 6th Flotilla; a subdivision of the fearsome Harwich Force; and their task: hunting U-boats.

On February 4th, 1918, HMS Zubian encountered a surfaced U-boat.
This turned out to be SM UC-50 of Type UC II-class of minelaying submarines, the most successfully homicidal submarine class in human history by way of recorded confirmed kills- not to be confused for tonnage sunk, just outright ships and boats sunk.

Type UC II-class submarines, circa 1916

Zubian then went for the incredibly ballsy move given her inherent fragility of trying to ram UC-50, though UC-50 crash dived just in time… for the follow up depth charging.
And thus, the revenant ship that was HMS Zubian; a ship frankensteined from the wreckage of two dead ships and brought back into service as an undead submarine hunter, scored a later- confirmed kill on a until-then highly successful German submarine.
With that moment of glory past, Zubian would later be part of Operation ZO; AKA the First Ostend Raid; on the night of April 23rd-24th 1918. This action was intended to bottle up and close the occupied Belgian ports and; oh hey!; U-boat bases of Ostend and Zeebrugge and then sink some old cruisers as blockships at the harbor entrances of Ostend… only for the cruisers to run aground in a completely wrong area and make the whole raid a total waste. Oh well.

The rest of the war would be inconsequential to Zubian.

Once peace were declared, Zubian’s post-post-mortem days were numbered. After 5 years of peacetime service, and then 4 years of very heavy wartime usage… and you know… the stresses of GETTING KILLED once, the once-cutting edge machinery and hull of Nubian/Zulu/Zubian was on its last legs anyways.

HMS Zubian (D99) would be quickly sold in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Great War, and by the end of 1919 was broken up for scrap.


~1,020 long tons at any given time, though mainly with an intact bow

85.4 m (280 ft) (Nubian and Zulu were about the same length)

8.14 m (27 ft) (Nubian was slsightly thinner than Zulu)

3.05 m (9.8 ft) (rough average for the entire class)
6 Thornycroft Three-Drum Boilers, feeding into 3 sets of direct drive Parsons Steam Turbines, producing ~14,000 shaft horsepower, going to 3 sets of propellers, producing 33 knot speeds


Alongside the switch from 3-inch guns to 4-inch guns on the late production Tribals, the 18-inch torpedoes were updated from the Mk.V to the model 1907 Mk.VII and almost immediately supplemented with the Mk.VII*, which had both speed settings slightly slower than the Mk.VII, but conversely slightly greater range

2x1 4-inch/102mm BL Mark VIII guns on P.III mountings, one fore , one aft
ammo count was 120 rounds per gun- featuring an HE shell, and a common shell

The P.III mounting could elevate and depress from +20 to -10 degrees, but though its sight could match the 20 degree elevation, the range dial was only graduated to 9,300 yards from a muzzle velocity of 2,225 fps.
2x1 18-inch Mark VII and Mark VII* from two tubes on the centerline.
6 torpedoes were carried, two ready in the tubes plus 2 reloads each

Mark VII:
30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) for 6,000–7,000 yd (5,500–6,400 m)
41 knots (76 km/h; 47 mph) for 3,000 yd (2,700 m)

Mark VII*:
29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph) for 7,000 yd (6,400 m)
35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph) for 5,000 yd (4,600 m)

Torpedo Warhead:
320 lb (150 kg) TNT across the Mk.VII family

British 18-inch torpedo - Wikipedia*



individual ships (from wikipedia so some pages are kind of useless:)

Tribal type destroyers (COSSACK) (13, 1908 - 1910) ( Dreadnoughtproject actually has quite a lot of useful, original, and especially detailed information.

Cocker, Maurice. Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981. Ian Allan, 1983. ISBN 0-7110-1075-7

Friedman, Norman. British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. PDF page 231-233

Gardiner, Robert and Gray, Randal. Conway’s All The World’s Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. PDF page 82

March, Edgar J. (1966). British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953. London: Seeley Service & Co. Limited.

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Certainly a cool ship, but if implemented this would just be really shit and unfun to play, so personally i would not want to see it in-game unless equivalents were added for all other nations, and there were, i guess, more br brackets for all the ww1 destroyers.

how so?
in terms of gameplay the late model Tribal-class TBDs are basically halfway between high tier coastal forces and entry level bluewater forces, having nearly the same speed as the various Clemsons and only one less 4-inch gun for effective firepower, while conversely being small enough that coastal tech tree boats and ships can take them apart in short enough time to not just be free XP pinatas for Zubian.

if anything, Zubian is like a halfway point between the HMCS Terra Nova at 4.0, and HMS Whitby/Blackpool at 3.7, having 4-inch pre-WWI guns instead of Cold War-era 3-inch guns or WWII 4.5-inch guns, with slightly greater speed… all on a less capable hull only about 40% of the tonnage of either of them, meaning that boats with the BR spread can actually fight it.

its survivability is low enough you could place it at with 3.7 for a tier 5 trio because of its armament or place it at 3.3 to backstop the Brave Borderer because of its limited survivability. either way, both the 3-inch and 4-inch gunned 1905 Tribals would fit in easily if added today, while adding some goofy flair to the 2nd least interesting and 3rd most sparsely populated coastal tree ingame.

The british clemsons were taken away from being reserve vehicles for the british bluewater tree, anything less capable or as capable would not fit into the bluewater tree. I should reword what i said, you very well may be able to have fun in the vehicle, but it would not be very effective. if it was even at 3.3 in bluewater it would not be able to beat any reserve ship in any other tree. If you were to put it into bluewater, it would most likely struggle against any of the more modern frigates as they do not have the same DM as destroyers, even something like the Peacock would be able to fairly easily dismantle Zubian with its single gun, by disabliong the guns and then finishing the ship off while it is unable to retaliate. If you put it at 3.3 then it can fairly easily nuke any of the PT Boats at that BR. If you look at similarly armed ships like the River class HMS Spey, it is at 3.3 because of the armament, but struggles because of its speed, however upping the speed of the Spey would not really make it any more capable against the 3.7’s. IMO it would not fit well into the game right now, i think it would fit much better if you added contemparies in other nations and extended the bluewater brackets to facilitate such vehicles, which i would be massively in favour of, and then i would be massively in favour of adding the Zubian

i don’t think it’s quite as powerful at coastal 3.3 as you may think. the 4-inch guns (which have a fire rate of 10 to 7.5 seconds) are on open mounts, the bridge is very prominent and totally exposed, and the 275 foot-long and thin-skinned hull is pretty close to that of HMS Spey sans structural staying power… so yeah it’s functionally like a better Spey in various minor aspects + 8 extra knots of speed, but without any secondary armament or high-performance torpedoes that would otherwise elevate it to 3.7. Zubian would have to rely entirely on a 1-2 punch, before having to withdraw or outlast being shredded by a fusillade of 20-40mm shells.

but yeah i absolutely agree there needs to be more contemporaries added- especially since most 3.7+ coastal ships are from the cold war, have vastly superior armament to anything below 3.7, and are clearly going to need to be decompressed eventually.

as for sub-3.7 bluewater- there’s literally 1890s/1900s-era cruisers weak enough to sit at or below a Wickes or Clemson (let alone room for the Clemsons to move down a spot). there’s plenty of room if Gaijin ever wants to deal with that gaping hole.

I would be absolutely down for more ww1 era cruisers and destroyers as well late 1800’s ships to be added, predreadnought armoured cruisers, predreadnought battleships and early torpedo boats, im not sure how it would all fit but there is plenty to add in volume, which means that there most likely could be some semblance of balance to be had. The only issue with naval is that gaijin has to spend a lot of money to get the naval models made, and they have to make that back for it to be profitable, and for naval to be something they want to continue expanding, so i can understand why they are focusing on the more well known ships right now to grab attention and expand the naval playerbase.

While I would personally adore seeing Frankenstein ships like this Tribal class TBD & to some extent the hodgepodge Project 7/ Project 30, I can personally say this should blue a bluewater TT ship as no way in hell should this be coastal especially with the devs track record for those poxy TT’s unless they stuck it at either Rank I or II but no higher of that tree if stuck there but for bluewater as a Rank I.

With it’s light armament it could be 3.3 or lower if we’re being realistic but somehow with the devs doing it would be a 3.7 like other current torpedo boats & destroyers are (odd fact we’ve got four torpedo boat designs in game although classified as other ship types).

Hopefully we someday get an extension of great war & pre great war ship that aren’t cruisers upwards added to this game even if it fills up the ranks with slightly pointless additions but I dare say it the HMS Zubian would be a TT Rank I BR 3.0 ship imo.

the Tribal-class TBDs have max range of 1000 nautical miles only with the eventual late stage maximum fuel load of 170-210 tons of fuel oil, let alone their initial/peacetime fuel load of 90 tons for roughly half that range.
keep in mind that the Tribal-class TBDs are really the first ships to begin moving away from the Torpedo Boat design lineage- there’s another 7 years of developments in the Royal Navy before the main branch of Destroyer development got to the Acasta/K-class having three 4-inch guns (on par with the Wickes/Clemsons), and 9 before the Miranda/M-class that is exactly on par with the Clemson-class starter ships for the USN.

either way the Tribal-class TBD pretty solidly fail to be bluewater vessels in practice and historically as they had to stay fairly close to the coastline.
also keep in mind I am going under the assumption that Gaijin are probably never going to have a 1.0-3.0 bluewater area (it’s been 5 years after all), and if the 1905 Tribals are deemed bluewater by Gaijin, that basically means this is going nowhere.

Like mate I get all that the historical backings & the fuel range of the design but with the devs track record we’ll likely see this put into the coastal TT but thing will likely cost between 80 000-390 000 rp/ have a +15000 sl repair (ie the Project 2) for something that’ll be bashed up by superior free destroyer designs and we already have a similar example in game the Chidori class TB.

This is my greatest fear for small Pre WWI era warships is them being place in that TT with those costing, I honestly have no faith in the devs to put it in Rank I or Rank II of that tree as a good example is the Attack class PB being placed at Rank IV (through everyone agreed it should’ve been Rank I or II) even for something that’s a BR 2.7 (should probably be lower since it’s armament is less than a SC-497 class) with these examples the idea just stinks.

Plus even if historically the vessel stayed within mostly coastal regions (between the coastline & 12 nmi of sea) the TT isn’t purely limited to coastal ships since afterall we’ve got ocean going Corvettes (ie Flower orPeacock classas) & Frigates (ie River/Tacoma classes or Type 12/ Type 41) hell even a full blown Destroyer that the devs incorrectly classified as a frigate in game (Ayanami class Destroyer), So a ships historical service area & range clearly doesn’t bother the devs placement of ships within TT’s.

Either way no matter the TT I’ll still research a Tribal class TBD even if it ends up being a suffer boat, (Ohh how I wish these TT’s were never split in the first place).

A definite yes from me! As for the debate on where these would go, I’m currently dealing with a similar issue with my tech tree rework project. So far I’ve decided just to put the Torpedo Boat Destroyers in the Coastal Tree as part of a dedicated Torpedo boat line for the moment.

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This is a hard no for me, the way it would be implemented in small coastal would be a 270k plus rp road block no one would ever play. If its worse then hms Churchill there is no point adding it to the game, as no one will ever play it, which is the issue where the naval meta is so compressed, if its not a daring or a battle there is no point unlocking and spading it ;)

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