Let me open by saying that this is the first spotlight I've written so if anyone has any comments or criticism, I'd love to hear it!
Now, is everyone sitting comfortably? Then let's begin…
This week we are covering the Gallant, a member of the G class of destroyers and appearing in-game as a tier 6 premium destroyer for the Royal Navy. Wargaming's accountants would also like me to point out that she is currently available in the Premium Shop and Armoury.
G class destroyers
The Royal Navy settled on a standard design for Destroyers at the end of WWI: a 2 funneled ship with a high forecastle, single mounted main guns in a superfiring A-B X-Y layout, AA mounts between the funnels and a pair of torpedo launchers between the second funnel and the aft deckhouse. They were medium sized ships in the world of destroyers, weighing between 1200 and 1500 tons, and with a balanced (in the early 1920s) mixture between gun and torpedo armament. All RN destroyers between the wars followed this layout (see Wakeful, Acasta and Icarus in-game) until the Tribal class and smaller classes based on them, such as the J class (Jervis in-game), of the late 1930s.
Ordered in 1933 and with all 8 ships completed in 1936, the G class destroyers were built to the standard design. Although they were a little smaller (and therefore lighter) than the preceding F class in an effort to squeeze more ships out of treaty limitations on the total tonnage of destroyers the RN could build. The class also fitted a new mounting for their 4.7 inch main guns, allowing for an elevation of up to 40 degrees, giving a range advantage over preceding classes. One of the class, HMS Glowworm, was fitted with an experimental quintuple tube torpedo launcher, which was fitted to the following I class destroyers after being judged successful on Glowworm. The class was also fitted with the Two Speed Destroyer Sweep minesweeping equipment which can be seen on Gallant in-game.
The class suffered very heavy losses during the war. Of the 8 ships and 1 flotilla leader of the G class, only 2 (spoiler alert), Garland and Griffin, survived the war, with most of the class lost early in the war during operations in the North Sea and Mediterranean. The most famous of the class is HMS Glowworm who, during operations in the North Sea for the Allied intervention in Norway, encountered the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and 2 escorting destroyers. In the ensuing battle, Glowworm emptied all her torpedo tubes at the Hipper but scored no hits. Badly damaged and burning, Glowworm rammed Hipper before sinking when the cruiser closed in for the kill. Glowworm's captain won the first Victoria Cross awarded in the war for this action.
Gallant was built in Glasgow, launching in September 1935 and completed in February 1936. She joined the 1st Destroyer Flotilla of the Mediterranean Fleet on commissioning. She was to stay in the Mediterranean until the outbreak of war, with her most noticeable activities during this time being non-intervention patrols for the Spanish Civil War.
After the outbreak of war the flotilla was recalled to UK waters and assigned first to escort duty in the South Western Approaches and then, less than a month later, to escort and patrol in the North Sea. Between January and the end of April 1940 she was part of a number of convoy escorts and rescued the crews of 2 sunken merchant ships. In May 1940, when things started to get exciting as the Norwegian campaign went south for the Allies, Gallant participated in escorting the badly damaged HMS Kelly back across the North Sea, taking off some of the damaged ship's crew while Kelly was under tow.
As things got even more exciting in late May with the German invasion of France, Gallant was sent south to Dover (my home town incidentally) to assist in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. She made 2 trips to Dunkirk on the 28th and 29th of May, returning a total of 1466 personnel to Dover. During the return leg of her second trip, Gallant was attacked by dive bombers and sustained damage to her stern. She was sent to Hull for repairs, followed by a refit at Chatham that added extra AA mounts. The version of Gallant in-game is as she appeared during the Dunkirk evacuation, before this refit in Chatham.
After the refit, and an unsuccessful sortie with a large force including HMS Reknown and Repulse into the North Sea hunting for the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, Gallant returned to the Mediterranean, joining Force H at Gibraltar. She was part of a number of operations delivering aircraft to Malta and convoy escort missions, working her way back and forth across the Mediterranean, ending up in Alexandria at the end of 1940.
In early January 1941 HMS Gallant was part of Force A (which also included HMS Warspite and HMS Jervis) operating out of Alexandria as a covering force for a complex series of convoy operations to supply Malta, Alexandria and Greece called Operation Excess. On the morning of the 10th of January Gallant hit a mine which blew off the bow of the ship, killing or wounding nearly half the ship's company. Gallant was towed, stern first, to Malta by HMS Mohawk (a sister ship of Cossack) and repairs were started in Valletta with completion expected in June 1942.
In April 1942, during these repairs in Malta, she was badly damaged by air raids and declared to be beyond economical repair. Gallant was then disarmed and cannibalised for spares.
In 1943 her hulk was sunk as a blockship in St Paul's Bay on Malta's northern coast. Gallant's wreck was broken up 10 years later in 1953.
Gallant is a wonderful platform for teaching the most important lesson for DD captains in the game: when not to shoot. She has good concealment for her tier but low DPM, bad shell ballistics and a low hit-point pool. In open water the low hit-points mean she can be shot out from under you alarmingly quickly while the low dpm and bad ballistics make it hard to kill whatever has found you.
Her good concealment however, particularly when improved with the concealment expert captain perk, lets you spot enemy ships so your team can kill them for you. She is fast enough, with her speed boost consumable, to stay in window where enemy destroyers are spotted but Gallant isnt. This tactic needs to be played carefully however as there are things in her matchmaking spread that outspot her, particularly higher tier DDs which also comfortably out dpm her.
Gallant gets the standard DD smoke consumable, lasting a decent length of time which allows you to walk her very slow shells onto enemies at range. Her guns have terrible ballistics and at long range and you will need the time to line up the shots as the shells disappear off the top of the screen at the peaks of their arcs. Her low dpm is mitigated in these situations by a good (by DD standards) 8% fire chance. You should also avoid engaging other DDs at long ranges as they will prove very difficult to hit. Gallant misses out on the hydro consumable other RN DDs get which makes her vulnerable to torpedoes being fired into her smoke screen while shelling enemy ships.
Gallant's own torpedoes are excellent, boasting a decent speed, good damage and a 2 km stealth firing window when fully equipped for stealth. She can single fire her torps too, allowing you to either create interesting patterns to make it hard for the target to dodge or to knock the nose off bow-tanking battleships. Gallant also has great maneuverability with a quick rudder shift time and a tight turning circle, which can prove the difference between life and death if she is caught in open water. This is also very useful as her torpedo firing angles are limited to "pretty much broadside", allowing you to swing round and drop torps quickly, either while skirting the edge of your detection range or between cruiser salvos.
All in all, Gallant is very fun to play. She has the classic destroyer playstyle where you want to rely on stealth launching your torpedos for most of your damage and playing opportunistically with your main guns, shooting from smoke at large ships and surprising and gunning down low health destroyers in the late game. her good concealment makes her a good early game cap contester, but beware of getting caught by something with more DPM and hit points than you. In these cases discretion is often the better part of valour, so withdraw and let your team shoot up your tormentor.
In closing, and in case it hasn't come across, I love the Gallant. She isn't the best at anything in her tier but she is greater than the sum of her parts, coming together as a solid and versatile destroyer that fits with classic DD playstyle. I also find her a very beautiful ship and her standard green, white and grey camo really does it for me. Hopefully some of you reading this share my enthusiasm for this ship and have found something interesting in this wall of text, and for those of you seeing her in battle I hope you have a better idea of how to deal with a Gallant on the enemy team. Although I realise I may have shot myself in the foot with this…
Thank you for reading!
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