Sunday, 9 August 2009

(1912-1941) Destroyer "Leon II"

Destroyer Leon II probably near Skaramanga, post-refit.Leon II was one of four Wild Beast class destroyers built in the Camell Laird shipyards in Liverpool. They were originally intended for Argentina, but they were bought by Greece for £148,000 each. For the Balkan Wars, these ships were not given torpedoes and were considered scouts rather than destroyers, because the Royal Hellenic Navy had purchased only minimum ammunitions; 3,000 torpedoes for the whole of the fleet. Leon had a lot of bad luck and no major achievements during the wars that it participated in.

Operational History
19 Sep. 1912 - Commissioned in the Royal Hellenic Navy. It will soon participate in the Balkan wars under Lieutenant Commander J. Razikotsikas, while also on board is Squadron Commander D. Papachristos.
Oct. 1916 - Seized by the French. Participates in World War I on their side.
Destroyer Leon II1918 - Returns to escort duty under Greek colours and in the blockades of the coasts of the Black Sea from the Bosphorus to Trebizond.
22 Dec. 1921 - While moored with Ierax in Piraeus harbour, they are both severely damaged by the explosion of a depth charge bomb which the crew of Leon was transporting. Two officers, one petty officer and two sailors are killed on Leon and two sailors on Ierax. Leon completely loses her aft section up to her stern gun.
1925-27 - Undergoes refurbishment.
Destroyer Leon II after its 1925 refit1 March 1935 - During the failed coup attempt of 1935, Leon is briefly captured by the venizelists.
1940 - Leon is commanded by Petros Protopapas during World War 2.
18 April 1941 - During a convoy escort, she collides with passenger ship Ardena and two depth charges explode. As a result, the stern section is cut off and two officers get killed.
15 May 1941 - Sunk by German bombers in Souda Bay (Crete) where she was towed from Salamis Naval Base.

Destroyer Leon IIWild-beast class destroyer "Leon" II

Displacement: (Standard) 880 tons
Length: 89.4 m
Beam: 8.3 m
Draft: 3 m
Range: 530 m
Speed: (before 1925) 31 knots, (from 1925) 32 knots
Complement: 58
Armament: (as completed) 4× Bethlehem 102 mm, 1× 75 mm AA, 6× 533 mm T.T., 3× electric search lights
(from 1925) 75 mm AA removed, 37 mm AA added, four-barrel 40 mm added, 2 mortars added, modified for laying 40 mines

For modellers
Destroyer Leon II - scale model from the National Maritime MuseumThe ship differs significantly before and after its 1925 refit. This scale model represents the pre-1925 version with the five funnels.

For gamers and game designers
Notice that Leon II has no torpedoes during the Balkan wars and can act only as scout. In later years it acts as proper destroyer with torpedoes, depth charges, etc.


  1. I have a photo without 75mm gun and doesn't show any quadruple 40mm. It appears 2x40mm one in each side they appear to be vickers but from distance is difficult to say. I also think it is very dubious have 2 different calibres 37mm and 40mm in same samall ship.

    Thanks for your site.

  2. Could you post the photo please? I agree that the gun choices seem dubious.

  3. I see it is the same as the second you posted above without the colorising. You see there 2 AA guns in a platform side by side. With 4 main guns(2 in front, 1 in center seen between the funnels and one in rear plus 2 triple torpedo banks) there is no more ship space to put some medium AA except in platform. It might have got some single machine guns but i think not more than those 2 AA guns in platform. From distance they appear to be this guns

  4. I am also not aware of any existing quadruple mount in 1925, the vickers 2-pdr
    quadruple mount only appeared for British in 1935 - the only quadruple 40mm AA before war. So if this model was indeed in this ship would have to be in a later upgrade. Do you know what is the date when that photo was taken?

  5. I believe it's from the beginning of WW2, but I don't know for sure.

  6. Thanks. Maybe only official Hellenic Navy papers, (History?) can show the truth.

    I also have a reference for this book but i don't know if it is good:
    Pa├»zis-Paradellis, Constantin. Hellenic Warships, 1829–2001. Athens: Society for the Study of Greek History, 2002.

  7. Yes, I intend to buy it next time I visit Greece. I don't think it's available anywhere other than the maritime museum in Piraeus.

  8. These 4 destroyers, the 4 Dardo class (Italian design) and the 2 Queen Olga class were the only Greek destroyers at the start of WW2 that were not hopelessly outmoded. They did good work in Convoy duty and such.

  9. Hello i am the person that questioned the AA armament, did you went for the Museum?
    Btw nice that you restarted the blog again.

  10. I did, but it was not officially open at the time and although they kindly let me enter the storage rooms, I wasn't allowed to take photos and the shop wasn't operating yet.

  11. Bad luck...:) Thanks for the reply.
    Btw i am looking for information on guns of ex.Austrian Torpedo boats Proussa, Pergamos etc. I have one photo that appears to show an Austro Hungarian 66mm gun in Proussa while sunk but several sources say Hellenic Navy changed to 40mm. Do you have any info on that?

    Photo can be seen here:


  12. What have happened to the wreck?