HMS Acasta

Royal Navy's A-class destroyers were the first new design for ships in this class to be commissioned in the UK after the end of World War 1.

The A and B Classes
The Royal Navy learned a great deal about operating destroyers - then very much an unknown quantity, still - during World War 1, and during the four years that conflict lasted, switched from building ships of a thousand tons and less standard displacement to constructing vessels around thirty per cent bigger. The A's and B's, which were virtually identical, continued this trend. They were built in seven different yards, and were not precisely uniform as a result (and two, built for Canada, were marginally shorter), but the chief differences between them lay in their machinery and armament. Acasta was constructed by John Brown on the Clyde. Laid down late in 1928, she was launched on 8 August 1929 and completed the following year.

A Traditional Destroyer
As completed, Acasta and the rest of the ships in the class were "traditional" destroyers, armed to take on surface ships - with just a hint of a nod towards protecting them against aircraft - with four of the newly-introduced 4.7in (119mm) quick-firing Mark IX guns and eight 21in (533mm) torpedo tubes in two quad mountings (and two single 2pdr vickers "pom-pom" heavy machine guns). At a time when other navies were experimenting with high-pressure steam, they had low-pressure boiler (though Acheron was given an instillation that worked at 500psi instead of the standard 300 (35 atmosphers instead of 21 atmosphers), and were reckoned to have an inadequate radius of action as a result, though their powerplants were undeniably reliable and easy to maintain.