German large torpedo boats after 1916
1. Großes Torpedoboot 1916 and 1917
Germany had ordered a big bunch of Type 1913 torpedo boats in 1914 (S49 through G96), and as long as these kept being fed to the fleet in 1915, 1916 and early 1917, replacement the significant losses was reasonably secure. In 1915, the yards were working three shifts round the clock, and no additional destroyers were ordered. By 1916, the German naval command had realized that their current destroyers were underarmed, and the next major class that was ordered comprised of twelve huge ships with 150mm guns (S113 through B124). Being twice as big as a standard destroyer, they also took twice as long to build; by late 1916, it became painfully clear to the German naval administration that they were not going to receive any new destroyers during most of 1917. This was even more painful when considering that Britain's destroyer building programme would yield several dozen M- and R-class vessels in 1917, which easily were individual matches for the German Type 1913 ships even if upgunned. More hulls were obviously needed.
In order to avoid delays associated with designing a completely new type, the 1916 boats would be virtual repeats of the underarmed, but otherwise thoroughly satisfying 1913s, although with some improvements. All would receive the new standard armament of three 105mm guns and six 500mm torpedo tubes, and their hulls would be slightly increased in size. The most visible change was the provision of a forecastle extending all the way to the aft end of the bridge, with the forward-firing torpedo tubes placed on both sides of the forefunnel. The main mast would be significantly reduced in size, while the foremast became higher. The net effect of these changes also considerably improved the boats' appearance.
The Krupp Germania yard was tasked with preparing the improved design, and the last unit of the 1913 type, G96, was used as a prototype for the new hull shape; she however retained the high mainmast of the 1913 type. She was completed in December 1916, but lost after a few months.
The other destroyer yards adapted the design; there were sundry external differences. The first batch of Vulcan boats (V125 through V130) were shorter than the Germania boats and looked more austere due to the smaller bridgework. They were completed between August 1917 and February 1918. As these most modern fleet destroyers were assigned to the high seas fleet, which was largely inactive in the last 18 months of the war, they saw little service and all became allied prizes after the war. V130 was commissioned into the French Navy as Buino, the rest were broken up. Of the five identical boats laid down in 1917 (V140 through V144), only 140 was completed, days before the war was over. She was broken up under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
Schichau's variant more resembled the Krupp original size-wise. Nine units (S131 through S139) were commissioned between August 1917 and July 1918. Their service record was similarly empty as that of the Vulcan boats. All became allied prizes. S133 through 135 and S139 were commissioned by the French Navy as Chastang, Vesco, Mazare and Deligny, respectively.
The Krupp Germania yard, preoccupied as it was with submarine production, licensed three units to the Howaldt yard in Kiel which had no previous experience with destroyers. Although these boats represented the series version of G96, they were externally very similar to the Schichau boats. Two units (H145 and H146) were completed in the second half of 1918; a third one (H147) was completed for the French Navy in 1920. H146 and H147 became the French Rageot de la Touche and Marcel Delage, respectively. H145 was scrapped.
When the 1916 boats were under construction, the design was slightly revised, yielding the Type 1917 subclass. They had their forecastles raised by 50cm and their freeboard aft by 30cm to improve seakeeping; to simplify the design, they dispensed with the boat handling crane and placed the boats in derricks. Six units were ordered from Schichau (S152 through S157),
eight from Vulcan (V158 through V165)
and eight of the Germania design, of which only three (G148 through G150) were built by Germania, however; one (Ww151) was licensed to the imperial yard Wilhelmshaven (and no, I don't know what the second 'w' means, either) and four (H166 through H169) to Howaldt.
None of the 1917 type were completed.
2. Großes Torpedoboot 1918
While the 1916 and 1917 type were good destroyers, reports about new, larger and faster British ships - what would become the V-class, the first of which were commissioned in mid-1917 - suggested that they might no longer be up to date. For the first time since 1913, the Germans designed an all-new fleet destroyer type, of which a large number were ordered in 1918. Only sixteen were actually laid down, however: V170 through 177, S178 through S185 plus H186 and H187. By that time, the Krupp Germania yard was out of the destroyer business entirely, building only submarines. These vessels for the first time had geared turbines, were two and a half knot faster than the 1916/7s (35 knots top speed) and carried a fourth 105mm gun. Their gun arrangement was old-fashioned, without superfiring guns, and their brutish appearance lacked the elegance of the 1916/7s (although I can only be sure of that with the Vulcan boats; I have not found plans of the Schichau- and Howaldt-boats, which would probably have featured some visible differences). None of them proceeded much on slips, and all but four were broken up. After the war, the four remaining hulls (S178, S179, H186 and H187) were converted to merchant service (the former actually became four-mast sailing ships, no idea how they looked like), but did not last very long in their new guise. Another 36 units (H188 through H202, V203 through V210 and S211 through S223) were ordered, but not begun before the war was over.
And that's... IT. Whoever wants to try his mettle at the earlier large torpedo boats from S90 onwards, is perfectly welcome to them. Otherwise, people will have to wait till I muster enough energy, some time in 2017 probably.