Cleaning funnel on pre-dreadnought battleship

Cleaning funnel on pre-dreadnought battleship

Cleaning funnel on pre-dreadnought battleship

This picture gives some idea of the size of even a pre-dreadnought battleship. This combination of funnel and mast probably comes from either the London/ Bulwark classor Formidable class of pre-dreadnought battleships.

The consequences of an errant shell(story only thread)

Force I, comprising the heavy cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire, were patrolling more in hope than anything else for one of the elusive German raiders known to be at large. Strung out four nautical miles apart, it was Cornwall's lookout that first caught sight of masts, masts that then translated into a distinctive fighting top, a top that was later to prove to be the Deutschland.

The two cruisers were one hundred nautical miles ahead of the small carrier Cavendish, with her air group of six Blackburn Rocs, six Swordfish and six Gladiators.


28 July 1940, 1000 miles South of the Maldives, Indian Ocean

Commodore Percival Manwaring watched his ship HMS Cornwall plow through the sea. He was keeping station on the German pocket battleship, having been joined Dorsetshire. He was keeping her at the extreme range of the pocket battleship, which had steered for the cruiser for a while, before turning away on the appearance of a second ship. He was awaiting the arrival of a strike from Cavendish, some 100 nautical miles away. He had to route his communications via Dorsetshire, his own ships aerial disabled by a near miss for the Germans 11 inch shells that had showered his ship with splinters.

On board the veteran small carrier, feverish preparations had resulted in a strike flying off at 1408, consisting of all six Swordfish and two Gladiators. It was to be followed by another of all six Rocs and three more Gladiators at 1456, the lateness complicated by the need to recover some of the scouting dive bombers.

It was at the same time that Cavendish reported the strike of Rocs airborne and inbound that Cavendish's first strike found the target and commenced their runs. The two R.N cruisers used the raider's distraction to close the range to some 19,500 yards, attempting to hit the German ship for the first time at long range, but without success.

It was to be a disappointing first result, however. The Swordfish of 809 squadron split to form a classic "hammer and anvil" attack and whilst the German ship was able to "comb" the first three tracks, it should, in theory, have left her vulnerable to the remaining three aircraft. However, one was plucked from the sky by a direct hit from a 4.1 inch shell, a second's torpedo passed ahead of the ship. The third hit dead centre, but instead of the expected explosion, the German's crew breathed a sigh of relief at nothing more than a muffled "pwang" sound. It had been a dud.

It was not until 1544 that the Roc's of 808 Squadron arrived. Manwaring knew he would have to follow this strike in with his cruisers. The Cavendish was the only R.N carrier equipped with this aircraft and it's pilots were veterans, both at dive bombing and with the aircraft itself, being operational with it for 18 months. The dive bomber variant had been judged to be less than a success, but the crews had confidence in it.

The first aircraft of Lt Commander Brickhill flipped over in to it's dive on the twisting pocket battleship, releasing it's 500lb bomb directly onto it's target. The first hit near the bridge, setting off some ready service AA shells and causing considerable damage to the bridge and personnel. The second and third aircraft missed, however, the fourth gained a bulls eye to end all bulls eyes. The 500lb bomb went straight down the funnel, detonating half way down on contact with the thin metal screen. It blew the funnel itself drunkenly sideways, raising a plume of smoke and steam and creating a blizzard of splinters in the engine rooms below. The fifth aircraft near missed, killing one man with splinters, before the sixth placed another bomb between the port aft 5.9 inch mounts, smashing one and disabling the other. The Gloster Gladiators used the opportunity to strafe the ship after the dive bombers, something that did little damage and caused one to spin into the sea after an 37mm hit fatally wounded the pilot. The German ship was damaged-it is now up to the R.N cruisers to finish the job.


28 July 1940, 1000 miles South of the Maldives, Indian Ocean

Captain Augustus Agar had suffered the misfortune of being the first British casualty of the engagement aboard HMS Dorsetshire. Before the two heavy cruisers had been able to gain a hit, Dorsetshire had been hit twice in quick succession with 11inch shells from the same salvo, one landing directly on the bridge, killing everyone on the platform except the Executive Officer Robert Stark.

The cruiser had been the recipient of the worst of the engagement, the German ship's fire being directed at Cornwall only on occasions as she presumably struggled to put one of her opponents down before concentrating on the other. The German had been hit more than 25 times, but Dorsetshire had also suffered and was now low in the water, her flooding seemingly uncontrolled. The German ship had knocked out communications at 1643 and with Cornwall also without communications the two British ships had no idea of what was happening on board Cavendish.

Cornwall had also taken four hits, one of which had knocked out Y turret. The German ship's fire had become erratic, however, both 11 inch turrets were still in action, albeit probably under local control. The pocket battleship was lower in the water and ablaze form numerous points, but it seemed impossible to subdue her with gunfire alone. The next 25 minutes both ships exchanged more fire, the Cornwall obtaining five more hits against a near miss from the now erratic German fire. It was not until 1724 that Cornwall was hit again, an 11 inch shell pitching short and tearing a serious hole in the heavy cruiser's hull. As Commodore Percival Manwaring considered withdrawal, his port lookout spotted the shapes droning into sight in the gathering gloom of near twilight.

It was only four Swordfish this time, one being lost and another damaged from the previous strike. They eschewed their previous 'hammer and anvil" attacks of before, heading straight into the now crippled German ship. AA was light and the four Swordfish bored in, this time obtaining two hits from torpedoes that functioned perfectly. Two large gouts of water appeared on the German's port quarter. Within ten minutes the ship had taken a noticeable list to port and her forward turret was silent. Cornwall moved in and within 15 more minutes the range had been closed to 8,000 yards, the German replying only fitfully with one lone 5.9 inch gun. By 1754 the ship lay low and was listing to port, silent and swept by raging fires.

Her flag still flew, however, and Manwaring had Cornwall fire four 21 inch torpedoes. Two solid hits at 1757 resulted in the ship turning back to starboard and slowly sinking by the bow at 1813. It had been a victory, but one not without cost, as HMS Dorsetshire was too badly wounded and had to be scuttled after three more hours of efforts to save her.

The last German raider had been brought to bay after a 77 days career that had resulted in the loss of nine ships, excluding Dorsetshire, totaling 38300 tons.


8 August 1940, OKH, Zossen, German Reich

Walther von Brauchitsch's Eastern Front push had been successful in achieving the breakthrough he desired, at least to the North of the front. To the North, von Bocks Army Group North had finally moved forward, recapturing East Prussia and gaining bridgeheads into Memeland, throwing the Russians back. von Runstedt's Army Group Center had also started to make solid progress, driving the Russian and Polish forces ahead of them and threatening to encircle forces in front of Brest-Litovsk.

It was in the South that there was bad news. Von Leeb's Army Group South had simply not made the progress expected and ground gained had largely been due to the Russians retreating themselves to straighten the line as they withdrew further into Galacia. He was now under pressure to replace von Leeb with Kluge from Hitler. If that was a problem, worse was to come. von Reichenau's Army Group Far South, now renamed Army Group Crimea, was falling way short of it's objective. Dealt a decisive defeat by the BEF, it had failed to make any progress in front of Odessa and, worse still, the mainly Romanian divisions to the North had also been sharply repulsed by the Russian divisions on the BEF's North flank.

Although the Wehrmacht was gradually grinding it's way forward, it was coming at no small cost. Particularly worrying was the loss of "runners' in his tank divisions, with all efforts geared to new production and even an emergency production line being started to convert captured Russian and Polish vehicles for service. There was even some thought given to petitioning Spain to return some tanks left there after the civil war, but he had vetoed that as they would be all older models and likely not worth the trouble.


Front Line 8th August 1940(new front line in brown)


10 August 1940, Admiralty Yard, St Petersburg, Imperial Russia

Olga did the honour herself, christening the ship Ukrania. She was the second and last of the class, her sister ship Roissya already completed some months ago by Vickers and active in the Mediterranean. She represented the final ship made to the British design and was, along with her sister, the most powerful and modern battleship in the Imperial Russian navy.

She may be well be needed all to soon, thought Olga, with the progress the Germans were making, particularly in the North near the Baltic. If they reached the Gulf of Riga, the fleet would need to be committed for evacuations. She had gone via train to Mogliev to discuss with Mikhail Tukhachevsky the situation in person, an unprecedented step, but she thought that she needed to keep abreast of the situation bearing in mind she had started to make regular patriotic broadcasts.

His strategy was simple enough. Trade space for time until the Germans reached the Pripet Marshes, much like 1812. By that stage he hoped to have a substantial reserve of not only the 10 Siberian divisions that had been withdrawn, but at least an additional 10-13 withdrawn from other theaters or raised new. Supplemented by her own Imperial Guard Division, 1-2 punishment divisions and, in addition 6-8 Cat C divisions,Tukhachevsky hoped to launch a decisive operation to attack and cut off part of the German invasion force, trapping it against the marshes.


12 August 1940, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

It had been seven weeks of solid training for the four large fleet carriers. For the men of Howe, Anson, Ark Royal and Illustrious, they could enjoy two days off on leave in Londonderry, thought Vice Admiral Lyster.

All four carriers would sail from Rosyth on the 23rd to conduct Operation Hades, a mass strike at Wilhelmshaven on the night of the 24th.



15 August 1940, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Empire of Korea

Lyuh Woon-hyung waited for his audience with the Emperor. The announcement yesterday of Thailand allowing Japanese basing for aircraft and naval units, as well as a contingent of Japanese marines, was disturbing. It was of course a long way from Korea itself, but it was an announcement that would not please others, in particular the European colonial powers and the United States. It was in effect the start of Japan moving away from any care as to the thoughts of the other major powers and in the mind of Lyuh Woon-hyung represented a definitive step towards war.

It was worrying as the likely first target could only be either Korea and/or Manchuria, who were in an even more unpleasant situation, the Japanese parked directly on their borders. Korea thankfully did not share a direct land border with Japan, only with Russia and Manchuria, however, it would be folly to think the powerful Japanese Combined Fleet could not conduct the necessary amphibious landings.

Korea had come to the verge of being a modern fully industrialised country, with substantial exports of steel and chemicals and was even producing it's own automobiles, trains, ships and aircraft. It was even producing trams for Russian cities.

There was a need to expand the military, and rapidly. His first proposal was to expand the period of military service to two years from one. Secondly, to increase the size of the army from one armoured and 9 infantry divisions to two armoured and 13 infantry divisions, plus investigate plans for rapid mobilisation if required. At this stage he would not recall the brigade fighting in Russia. There were enough Wild Boar light tanks to make a second armoured division, although some troops would have to be equipped with the old T-1 until more were made.

The air force was largely equipped with Russian equipment and the locally made Black Eagle fighter, which was still in production. The navy consisted of one heavy cruiser, three light cruisers, eight destroyers and four submarines, plus four more locally built submarines were under construction, two almost completed. With there being little point in trying to lay down large craft, he had ordered the old Kaiser Class battleship Gwanggaeto the Greatto be reactivated from reserve(where it had lingered, avoiding being scraped as planned when tensions had become higher) and the production of small, fast, torpedo boats.

In the event of any conflict, very close ties would be required with not only Russia, but Manchuria. Unfortunately Manchuria had not been blessed with the same political stability as Korea and it's estimated 34 million population left Manchus in the minority behind Han Chinese, resulting in inevitable conflicts. It had survived with Russian support not because it was not well managed or not corrupt, simply because it was less corrupt and better run than warlord areas of China or Nationalist China and far more stable than both. During the last two years of Japanese occupation a steady stream of refugees had entered the country. It's army was large, some eight cavalry and 15 infantry divisions, but it's equipment was a hodge podge of mainly second line Russian gear, with numbers of Austro Hungarian equipment from the Great War, it's divisions low on artillery and little in the way or mechanisation or even motorisation. It's air force was small, some 150 aircraft, although it had recently ordered 50 B-18 bombers and 75 P-39 fighters from the US. It's navy was also small and consisted of only three old ex German Great War destroyers.

To that end, he was here to talk to the emperor about a possible betrothal of 19 year old Crown Prince Yi Jin to Pu Xinyu's only daughter, 18 year old Pu Taohua. This would hopefully do much to cement ties that may be badly needed soon.


18 August 1940, Henly, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

It was a relief to get a weekend away from it all and spend with Jillie and Jacqie. For Arthur Harris, it had been an interesting week. He had received the telephone call on Friday and was to report to Whitehall on Monday to take up the position as head of RAF Bomber Command.

The policy of bombing Berlin in retaliation for Luftwaffe raids on London and other British cities at night was all very well, but as both the Germans and the RAF themselves developed more effective countermeasures, as indeed was already happening, it was becoming an expensive affair and contributed little to really crippling the enemies war industry. Raids by RAF Wellingtons and the small amount of Russian Pe-8's available may have made Hitler hopping mad but would not win the war.

The Germans had devastated Warsaw with terror bombing and attempted similar things on London. He wanted to go after the German war industry, the Ruhr and other industrial sites. The Germans may have started this war, but he was fucking well going to finish it. The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. He was going to smash that delusion and was already thinking about raids by massed bomber forces.


19 August 1940, near Bendery, occupied Russian Empire

Hans-Joachim Marseille trudged along the road, his head throbbing from the cut in it he had taken from bailing out. That is what you get for getting ahead of yourself, he thought to himself. There would be no rendezvous tonight with Cosmina, a delightful dark eyed Romanian beauty he had become more than friendly with over the last month.

His squadron of 109's had intercepted a British raid on the bridges over the Dniester, as they attempted to block the retreat of German forces and trap them on the East bank. His section had been detailed to attack the bombers, Fairey Battles, whilst the remaining nine machines held of the RAF Spitfires. He had gorged himself on the bombers, shooting down four in under ten minutes, but had been startled by the reappearance of the Spitfires whilst going for a fifth. He had pulled into a tight chandelle and shot down his pursuer, but he was now short on ammunition and could not shake his second opponent, who was obviously seasoned. The 109 had taken a burst in the tail that had disabled the rudder, making the plane almost impossible to fly. After another hit near the cockpit and the start of a fire and he had bailed out of the stricken machine. The five aircraft had taken him to 12, however, he would remember the Spitfire with the green spinner for some time.

Squadron Leader Cedric Williams savored his victory, his eighth, another Me 109. It had been a bad day for the Fairey Battle squadron and his Spitfires, outnumbered 9 to 7, had to work hard to get through to protect the bombers. Much had been in vain and eight of the 12 were lost due to fighters and intense 20mm and 37mm AA fire. He now had the princely sum of one day off, being due back at noon tomorrow. As he cradled the lanky brunette on the comfortable bed of the Londonskaya Hotel he remained stunned by her post coital revelation. Romanov was not an uncommon name in Russia, so he had thought nothing of Xenia Romanov. However, it was really
Princess Xenia Andreevna Romanova, great granddaughter of Alexander III. It was a big thing to take in for a man who's family owned a small chocolate manufacturing business in Wales and had grown up in the North country.


22 August 1940, Hodeidah, Aden

Major General George Vasey's 6th Division was ready for operations. It remained to be seen how long these operations would last against what seemed to be a disintegrating enemy.

Lacking motorised transport for all his force, he had commandeered as many horses and camels as possible to make a mobile scouting and advance force. Many of his troops were "bushies" and experienced riders and these would go ahead of the main body, supported by R.A.F airial reconnaissance. His task was to drive North along the coast to Jeddah and Mecca, whilst British forces pushed South to link up and Armenian forces that had stayed inland and taken Medina.

Whilst this was occurring in the East, Syrian and Iraqi forces would capture Riyadh and the West Coast and the navy continued it's blockade. It would hopefully be a short campaign, as it was planned to eventually deploy to Southern Russia to fight the Germans.


23 August 1940, Rosyth, United Kingdom

The Task Force, consisting of carriers Howe, Anson, Illustrious and Ark Royal had cleared the harbour entrance and was starting to form up. Admiral Lyster hoped the training done had not been in vain. The escort was a heavy one. All three "cats", the 41,260 ton battleships Lion, Tiger and Leopard, heavy cruisers London and Black Prince, light cruisers Belfast and Southampton and AA cruiser Bonaventure as well as 16 destroyers.

The last aerial photos had been taken four days ago by PR Spitfire were not perfect but they had not wanted to do anything to alert the Germans to their possible purpose. The results had been somewhat disappointing, with many of the heavier ships missing, however, the main target, the battleship Tirpitz, was still under construction at Kriegsmarinewerft. Other ships present were a Deutschland Class pocket battleship, a Blucher Class pocket battleship, the old battlecruiser Moltke, the light cruiser Leipzig and a Konigsburg Class cruiser, as well as seven destroyers and smaller ships.

Some 20 nautical miles behind his own task forces would be another, smaller group, consisting of the small carriers Vindictive and Argus, the latter reinstated as an operational carrier in the absence of his own four. Accompanied by the battleships Fisher and Rodney, the light cruisers Ajax and Leander and AA cruiser Cairo as well as nine destroyers, their smaller strike would target Bremerhaven. Their main objectives the two giant liners Europa and Bremen. This operation was under the command of Vice Admiral James Somerville.

All told his aircraft carriers carried 251 aircraft, which should come as a nasty surprise to the Germans. His dive bombers would carry the flares needed to outline the harbour during a strike, whilst the torpedo aircraft conducted the strike, followed by more flares and a final smaller strike by the most experienced only of the dive bombers. It was a much bigger strike package than that of Somerville, which could muster only 35 aircraft in total, yet his targets were not armoured warships.


24 August 1940 30 miles West of Esbjerg, off the Danish Coast

The easiest way to approach the two harbours had been to proceed North-East across the North Sea and then come down on the target from the North, thus avoiding the worst of German aerial reconnaissance and the normal route "home" for their surface forces. Lyster had been blessed by the weather, which, as forecast, had low scudding cloud cover that he had been told should break up over the target. This had allowed the operation to proceed on the nominated date.

They had seemingly not been spotted, particularly by U Boats, which had been Lyster's real concern, and after a final briefing at 2115, the first wave would take off at 2245. He planned to launch at 160 miles for the first wave and 145 miles for the second, for the two waves to have a time over target of 0045 for the first wave and 0200-0215 for the second.

It would then be a question of withdrawing unscathed, not an easy task. If he had not been spotted, and it was still an if in his own mind, then he was confident of surprise. No one had contemplated a night raid on an enemy port by aircraft before, yet after seven weeks training, he had confidence.

Somerville's smaller strike had far less experience and training and for that reason he had given them a "loner", Lt Commander Eugene Esmonde, a vastly experienced pilot, to lead the strike force.

All told his strike aircraft was to consist of:
First Wave:
32 Swordfish(torpedo equipped), 12 Swordfish(1000lb GP bombs), 8 Skuas(Flares), 4 Skuas(500lb AP bombs), 6 Gallants
Second Wave:
30 Swordfish(torpedo equipped), 12 Swordfish(1000lb GP bombs), 7 Skuas(Flares), 2 Skuas(500lb AP bombs), 6 Gallants

plus Somerville's strike against Bremerhaven of:
10 Swordfish(torpedo equipped), 4 Swordfish(flares), 4 Swordfish(1000lb GP bombs), 4 Gladiators

This left his Task Force some 46 Gallants and 48 Gladiators for fleet defense and Somerville 10 Gladiators. Of course, he would need to mix keeping a strong CAP and recovering his own strike, always a tricky business that meant he could never actually have anywhere near that number of fighters in the air at any one time.


24 August 1940, over Bremerhaven, German Reich

Whilst they had flown down the Danish Coast some few hundred meters behind the main strike, Somerville's much smaller raid led by the experienced Lt Commander Eugene Esmonde had arrived at their objective first, with Cuxhaven directly East they made their final turn, heading South-East to Bremerhaven and, splitting from the main body, arrived over the target at 0051. The main body was over land at last, crossing over Butjadingden, leaving them 60 seconds of flying to the South-West, followed by a final turn to the North-West and a 90 second extra flight time to be over target. They would hit Wilhelmshaven at 0053.

At Bremerhaven, the first four Swordfish dropped their flares, bringing night into a ghastly half light, it rapidly became clear to Esmonde what would be the more difficult target. Whilst one ship was moored to the main habour entrance, the second was in the main basin near the Speckenbuttel, leaving only a short expanse of water to drop the torpedo and for it to run to the target.

Esmonde signaled his four accompanying Swordfish to follow him to this target. He led this wave in and determined the best way to launch his "fish" was at a near 45 degree angle, increasing the difficulty of the shot but giving the torpedo more time in the water and a longer approach. For the first time tonight, light AA fire started to snap past the machine and as he avoided a balloon cable he settled onto a run and was immediately successful, a large column of water rising from the slab side of the huge liner as he zoomed away. Unfortunately, the next three pilots were not as experienced and all of their torpedoes were to miss. The final pilot, Lieutenant Watson Wilkins, was also to miss, however, by less than 2 feet and the 18 inch Mk XI passed beyond the bow and impacted on one of the thick pylons of the main pier, creating a massive explosion less than 10 feet from the side of large liner and showering the decks and side of Europa with splinters.

The second group of five aircraft had a much easier target, a moored, unmanned liner and achieved the excellent hit percentage of three hits from five aircraft on the hapless Bremen.

It was finally the turn of the four Swordfish carrying 1000lb GP bombs and these sensibly concentrated on the Europa, the Bremen already looking in grave trouble. Whilst the first two aircraft missed, both bombs dropping harmlessly in the sea, the third scored a direct hit between the first and second funnel of Europa, plunging through decks to explode deep within,causing an immediate fire. The last missed but hit a tender moored alongside, destroying it with a terrific explosion and buffeting the already damaged liner, the shock springing her port-side hull plates. Finally, the four Gladiators, had been each equipped with a 40lb GP bomb which could be jettisoned if enemy fighters were to appear. Seeing no German fighters, these also attacked the ship, gaining a additional small hit near the bow.

One, hit a a 37mm AA shell that killed the pilot, plunged into the sea. It was the only R.N casualty of the raid.

For the 51,656 ton sister ships, it had been a disastrous night. Neither ships were crewed and had received only cursory inspections since the start of the war to determine what may be necessary to convert both to troop transports in the event of Hitler's authorizing Operation Sealion, for which the Fuhrer had demanded a plan be devised. For Bremen, hit by three torpedoes on one side, it was a quick death, the giant ship capsizing at 0121, breaking her cable and turning over. For Europa, the giant 20 ft hole in her side may not normally have been enough to sink her, but the 1000lb bomb hit started extensive fires and this, plus the combination of no crew and the two damaging near misses that had also caused hull leaks was to mean that her fire was only put out when she eventually settled into the harbour floor with only her upper-works showing at 0525. The pride of the German merchant marine lay on the bottom of Bremen's harbour.


24 August 1940, over Wilhelmshaven, German Reich

The two minute warning that Wilhelmshaven could potentially have received by the events of Bremerhaven 13 miles away was insignificant. The initial thought was that the explosions seen were possibly from a level bombing raid, Wilhelmshaven having been raided ineffectually by RAF Hampton bombers twice in this way already. None the less, some crews were starting to spill out of bunks just as the first wave, led by Lt Commander Kenneth Williamson of HMS Howe arrived. The planned 56 aircraft of the first strike had been trimmed to 53 by mechanical issues, including one Swordfish that dropped of the back of the raid, never to be seen gain and another that had to turn back.

After six of the nine flare equipped Skuas dropped their loads, adding to the difficulty of the newly wakened AA crews, the first to attack were nine torpedo equipped Swordfish from Howe, their target the old battlecruiser Moltke, the Kriegsmarine flagship for many years in the 1920s and early 1930's. The barrage balloons and the AA that had commenced, albeit lightly and the torpedo nets around some units were all distractions. Moltke was protected by nets, but Howe's experienced pilots were to put up a good showing, gaining three hits from nine to port of the old ship, which did not have modern underwater protection she started to list almost immediately.

The Fleet Air Arm pilots were to some extent unlucky. The units picked out for Operation Rheinubung had all gone to the Baltic, Bismark, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and all four of the Hipper Class cruisers. They had been followed only the previous day by the pocket battleship Blucher as a reserve ship.

Eight more torpedo bombers from HMS Anson were next, attacking the bulk of Admiral Scheer. Her sister Graf Spee had again proven lucky, departing to Kiel for a dry docking and bottom cleaning two weeks ago after her return from her long cruise. The eight torpedo aircraft achieved two hits, almost keeping up with their compatriots from Howe, considering they lost two aircraft, one to AA fire and another to a collision with a balloon cable. These were to tear a large hole in the pocket battleship's hull.

The seven torpedo aircraft from Ark Royal went for the light cruiser Konigsburg. Recently arrived, she was not protected by nets and of the first five torpedoes launched, three were placed along her starboard side, critically injuring the small ship. The last two aircraft stood off and came around, looking for an alternative target. The found one in the old pre dreadnought battleship Elsass, used a combination icebreaker and target ship. Hit twice by both aircraft, the old pre dreadnought turned turtle almost immediately.

The final batch of torpedo bombers were eight from HMS Illustrious. They were to gain only a somewhat disappointing one hit on the light cruiser Leipzig that never the less started to rapidly fill her port engineering spaces.

Whilst the last three Skuas scattered their flares, it was now the turn of the level bombers. All twelve 1000lb equipped Swordfish targeted Tirpitz, the main prize of the raid. The battleship was further along in construction than the R.N had imagined, making truly critical hits difficult to obtain on the huge bulk that dominated the fitting out basin. However, she was not in commission, with no crew aboard at all aside from two night watchmen. What's more, whilst she carried no munitions, she had evidence of the work aboard her, much of it on deck such as grease, paint, rags, turpentine and so on. The GP bombs were unlikely to penetrate her armour and indeed none were to do so out of the four hits obtained, however, what they did do was start fires. Fires in a large ship which had no crew would be disastrous.

The final four Skuas deposited their 500lb AP bombs on the U Boat slips, two hits wrecking one boat completely, a second U Boat almost blown in two by the last Skua that could not pull out of it's ill judged dive and slammed into the Type VII boat.

The Gallants had lost two of their number whilst vigorously engaging the flak crews both land based and on board ships and the last managed to deposit it's 40lb bomb directly onto the small fire fighting tug R-8, further complicating the problems of the Germans.

As the final aircraft British strike departed at 0118, the harbour was no longer hard to see at night. The first wave had lost six aircraft with four more damaged.


24 August 1940, over Wilhelmshaven, German Reich

Lt Commander Mike Crosley's second wave were to arrive over the target at 0223, a target now alert, even if some of the AA platforms that were previously in the harbour were now on the bottom of it.

The strike was to lose two aircraft on the way, one due to a mechanical defect on the deck, another had to turn back in flight. The second wave changed the tactics applied, coming in at lower altitude and from the North rather than the South-East. Firstly five flares were dropped by the first aircraft, Skuas. If the defenses and the four Me 110's that were now patrolling the harbour, having been scrambled from Strade near Hamburg had not been alert before, now they certainly were.

There were simply far too many aircraft for the four Me-110's, which had no radar and were not dedicated night fighting machines to handle and the first wave of ten torpedo bombers from Anson were unmolested as the attacked the Scheer. This time one was plucked from the air by flak, another so badly damaged it had to abort it's run. However, two more hits impacted on the port side to go with her two previous hits from the Howe's aircrew on the starboard. The stricken pocket battleship sank quickly.

Howe's group separated into two, four targeting the old pre dreadnought Hannover. Moored at the pier with no protection, the old ship was an easy target and three hits simply tore the bottom out of her. The second four aircraft split again, two targeting the destroyer Diether von Roeder, which hit twice, capsized immediately. Her sister Hermann Künne was more fortunate, being missed once and the second aircraft being downed by AA fire.

The six aircraft from Ark Royal's group were the most unfortunate. Picked up by Helmut Lent and Hans Grieber's pair of Me-110's, they lost three Swordfish quickly to the 110's heavy nose firepower and all three launches ran wild. Worse was to follow, one more aircraft each being picked off before a Gallant was to badly damage Grieber's machine, forcing it to break off and later crash land, killing the pilot.

Illustrious's final group of five torpedo armed Swordfish targeted Leipzig and placed another torpedo into the already hit light cruiser, her crew frantically trying to cope with the flooding.

Again the 12 bomb armed Swordfish targeted Tirpitz in the fitting out basin. One fell to AA, a second to a pair of 110's that appeared out of the half light. The presence of the German fighters was to disrupt the attack and only one hit and one near miss was scored on the German ship. Ironically, the near miss was to be the only bomb that pierced her hull, causing a small hole in the port side that filled a second compartment through a faulty watertight door. The hit topside only encouraged the flames already leaping from the large ship.

The final two Skua's swept down on the Moltke, by now settling. One 500lb bomb plowed through the deck armour, detonating inside the already critically damaged ship.

The second strike had cost 14 aircraft all told, with six more damaged. For the Germans the cost was greater. Moltke was to slowly capsize, as had the light cruiser Konigsburg, the destroyer Diether von Roeder and the old target ship Elsass.The light cruiser Leipzig was badly damaged and barely afloat. The pocket battleship Admiral Scheer was sunk, as was the old pre dreadnought Hannover. Two U Boats that were building had been destroyed, a third damaged and small tug sunk plus one Me110 shot down.

Lastly, the Tirpitz had been swept by fires that were not able to be fully extinguished until near 1115. Inspection was to reveal that the repairs required would delay her anticipated commissioning date from the end of 1940/January 1941 to early/middle 1942. With the two 56,400 ton liners sunk, it was effectively a night on which 170,000 tons of shipping were sunk, a disaster of the first order for Raeder and the Kriegsmarine. Telephoned with a preliminary summary of the damage at 0430, he could only hope the Luftwaffe could strike back at daybreak.


Right elevation and deck plan as depicted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1912

After the end of the Russo-Japanese War the Imperial Russian Navy was in a state of confusion. Its leadership, tactics and ship designs had all been cast into disrepute by its repeated defeats by the Japanese at the Battle of Tsushima, Battle off Ulsan and the Battle of the Yellow Sea. The Navy took quite some time to absorb the design lessons from the war while the government reformed the Naval Ministry and forced many of its more conservative officers to retire. It conducted a design contest for a dreadnought in 1906, but the Duma refused to authorize it, preferring to spend the money on rebuilding the Army. Ώ]

The requirements for a new class of dreadnoughts were in a state of flux during 1907, but Vickers Ltd submitted a design that met the latest specifications and was very nearly accepted by the Navy for a 22,000-long-ton (22,000 t) ship with twelve 12-inch (305 mm) guns in triple, superimposed turrets. However rumors of a contract with Vickers raised a public outcry as they had some problems with the armored cruiser Rurik then building in England. The Naval Ministry defused the situation on 30 December 1907 [Note 1] by announcing an international design contest with the ship built in Russia regardless of the nationality of the winning firm. By the deadline of 12 March 1908 a total of 51 designs had been submitted by 13 different shipyards. The winner of the competition was a design from the German firm of Blohm & Voss, but the French protested that they did not want to see any of the money that they had loaned Russia to build up its defenses in German pockets. ΐ] The Russians bought the design for 250,000 rubles and shelved it to placate both sides. A design by the Baltic Works had been the runner-up and was revised for the Navy's updated requirements with a complete design to be presented by 22 March 1909. This was extended by a month to allow the Baltic Works to finalize its contract with the British firm of John Brown & Company for design assistance with the hull form and machinery. Α]

The Naval General Staff believed that a speed advantage over the 21 knots (24 mph 39 km/h) German battle fleet would prove very useful in battle, as demonstrated at the Battle of Tsushima, but use of the heavy and bulky Belleville Water-tube boilers, as insisted upon by the Engineering Section of the Naval Technical Committee, would prevent the new design from exceeding 21.25 knots itself. However, after John Brown indicated that the ship's turbines could deliver 45,000 shp (33,556 kW) if supplied with enough steam and that the hull form could reach 23 knots (26 mph 43 km/h) with 45,000 horsepower, the Naval General Staff took the opportunity to get the speed it desired by using small-tube boilers. It convened a meeting of the Naval Technical Committee to discuss the issue, but packed it with engineers from the fleet who were in favor of small-tube boilers and the Engineering Section was outvoted. Β] The Yarrow small-tube boiler was significantly smaller and lighter than Belleville large-tube boiler, but required more frequent cleaning and repair and their horsepower dropped off more rapidly with use. Γ]

The Russians did not believe that super firing turrets offered any advantage as they discounted the value of axial fire, believed that broadside fire was much more important and also believed that super firing turrets could not fire while over the lower turret because of muzzle blast interfering with the open sighting hoods in the lower turret's roof. They therefore designed the ships with a 'linear' arrangement (lineinoe raspolozhenie) of turrets distributed over the length of the ship. This arrangement had several advantages because it reduced the stress on the ends of the ship since the turrets were not concentrated at the end of the ship, increased stability because the lack of elevated turrets and their barbettes, improved the survivability of the ship because the magazines were separated from each other and gave a lower silhouette. Disadvantages were that the magazines had to be put in the middle of all the machinery, which required steam pipes to be run through or around them and the lack of deck space free from blast. This greatly complicated the placement of the anti-torpedo boat guns which ultimately had to be mounted in the hull, closer to the water than was desirable. Δ]

General characteristics [ edit | edit source ]

The Ganguts were 180 meters (590 ft) long at the waterline and 181.2 meters (594 ft 6 in) long overall. They had a beam of 26.9 meters (88 ft) and a draft of 8.99 meters (29 ft 6 in), 49 centimeters (1 ft 7 in) more than designed. They were completed overweight and their displacement was 24,800 metric tons (24,400 long tons) at load, over 1,500 t (1,500 long tons 1,700 short tons) more than their designed displacement of 23,288 metric tons (22,920 long tons). This reduced their freeboard by about 16 inches (41 cm) and gave them a slight bow trim that made them very wet ships. Ε]

High-tensile steel was used throughout the longitudinally-framed hull with mild steel used only in areas that did not contribute to structural strength. This, plus refinements in the design process, meant that the hull was 19% lighter than that of the preceding Andrei Pervozvanny class pre-dreadnoughts. Ζ] The hull was subdivided by 13 transverse watertight bulkheads and had a double bottom. The engine and condenser rooms were divided by two longitudinal bulkheads. They had two electrically driven rudders on the centerline, the main rudder abaft the smaller auxiliary rudder. Their designed metacentric height was 1.76 meters (5.8 ft). Η]

Propulsion [ edit | edit source ]

Ten Parsons-type steam turbines drove the four propellers. The engine rooms were located between turrets three and four in three transverse compartments. The outer compartments each had a high-pressure ahead and reverse turbine for each wing propeller shaft. The central engine room had two each low-pressure ahead and astern turbines as well as two cruising turbines driving the two center shafts. The engines had a total designed output of 42,000 shaft horsepower (31,000 kW), but they produced 52,000 shp (39,000 kW) during Poltava's full-speed trials on 21 November 1915 and gave a top speed of 24.1 knots (44.6 km/h 27.7 mph). Twenty-five Yarrow Admiralty-type small-tube boilers provided steam to the engines at a designed working pressure of 17.5 atm (1,773 kPa 257 psi). Each boiler was fitted with Thornycroft oil sprayers for mixed oil/coal burning. They were arranged in two groups. The forward group consisted of two boiler rooms in front of the second turret, the foremost of which had three boilers while the second one had six. The rear group was between the second and third turrets and comprised two compartments, each with eight boilers. At full load they carried 1,847.5 long tons (1,877.1 t) of coal and 700 long tons (710 t) of fuel oil and that provided her a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h). ⎖]

Armament [ edit | edit source ]

The forward triple turret of Petropavlovsk

The main armament consisted of a dozen Obukhovskii 12-inch (305 mm) Pattern 1907 52-caliber guns mounted in four electrically powered triple turrets. The guns could be depressed to −5° and elevated to 25°. They could be loaded at any angle between −5° and +15° their rate of fire was one round every 30 to 40 seconds up to 15° of elevation and one round per minute above that. The forward turret had an arc of fire of 330°, the second turret had a total of 280°, the third turret 310° and the aft turret 300°. ⎗] They could elevate at 3–4° per second and traverse at a rate of 3.2° per second. 100 rounds per gun were carried at full load. The guns fired 470.9-kilogram (1,038 lb) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 762 m/s (2,500 ft/s) this provided a maximum range of 23,230 meters (25,400 yd). ⎘]

Sixteen manually operated 4.7-inch (120 mm) 50-caliber Pattern 1905 guns were mounted in the hull in casemates as the secondary battery intended to defend the ship against torpedo boats. ⎙] Because of the lack of freeboard and bow-heavy trim the forward casemates were often washed out in even moderate seas. ⎚] All guns had a firing arc of 125°–30° and at least four could bear on any part of the horizon. Their maximum elevation was 25° and they could elevate at 3.5° per second. They could traverse at six to eight degrees per second. 300 rounds per gun were provided which was increased from 245 rounds during construction. ⎛] As designed they were 15 feet (4.6 m) above the waterline, but this was reduced in service as they were overweight. They had a rate of fire was seven rounds per minute and a maximum range of about 16,800 yards (15,362 m) at 25° elevation with a 63.87-pound (28.97 kg) semi-armor-piercing Model 1911 shell at a muzzle velocity of 792.5 m/s (2,600 ft/s). ⎜]

The Gangut-class ships were completed with only a single 3-inch (76 mm) 30-caliber Lender anti-aircraft (AA) gun mounted on the quarterdeck. ⎛] This had a maximum depression of 5° and a maximum elevation of 65°. It fired a 14.33-pound (6.50 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,929 ft/s (588 m/s). It had a rate of fire of 10–12 rounds per minute and had a maximum ceiling of 19,000 ft (5,800 m). ⎝] Other AA guns were probably added during the course of World War I, but details are lacking, ⎛] although Conway's says that four 75-millimeter (3.0 in) guns were added to the roofs of the end turrets during the war. ⎞] Four 17.7-inch (450 mm) submerged torpedo tubes were mounted with three torpedoes for each tube. ⎛]

Fire control [ edit | edit source ]

Two Zeiss 5-meter (16 ft) rangefinders were fitted on the conning towers and there was also a 4.5-foot (1.4 m) Barr & Stroud instrument, possibly for precise stationkeeping on the master ship when concentrating fire. Two Krylov stadimeters were situated in the lower level of the forward conning tower. ⎛] These would provide data for the central artillery post to calculate with its imported Pollen Argo Mark V Clock, a mechanical fire-control computer, and then transmit the gun commands via the Geisler transmission system for the gun crew to follow. During the winter of 1915–16 the Zeiss rangefinders were transferred to armored hoods on the rear of the fore and aft turrets and, at some point, 18-foot (5.5 m) Barr & Stroud rangefinders were added to the roofs of the middle turrets. Gangut received a 9-foot (2.7 m) Pollen rangefinder in the spring of 1916. ⎟]

Protection [ edit | edit source ]

The armor protection of the Gangut-class ships had to protect against two different threats as revealed during the Russo-Japanese War. Japanese high explosive shells had riddled the unarmored portions of Russian ships and had even sunk several ships with their heavy armor belts unpenetrated. The Russians decided that the entire side of the ship needed to be armored, even though this would limit the thickness of the main belt. They developed a system where the outer armor would break up or at least slow shells down and burst immediately behind the outer armor and an inboard armor bulkhead would stop the splinters and shell fragments from reaching the vitals. ⎠] This system likely would have worked against the German and British armor-piercing shells that performed so badly at the Battle of Jutland, but would have failed against the improved shells introduced afterwards with their redesigned fuses. A related weakness was that the turrets and conning towers lacked the inboard splinter bulkhead even though they used armor thickness roughly equivalent to that of the main belt. ⎛]

The waterline belt, made of Krupp cemented armor (KCA), had a maximum thickness of 225 millimeters (8.9 in), but tapered to about 150 mm (5.9 in) on its bottom edge. It was 117.2 meters (385 ft) long and had a total height of 5 meters (16 ft), 3.26 meters (10 ft 8 in) of which was above the design waterline and 1.74 meters (5 ft 9 in) below. However, the ship's draft was almost 50 to 79 centimeters (20 to 31 in) deeper than intended, which meant that much less was above water. The remaining portion of the waterline was protected by 125-millimeter (4.9 in) plates. The upper belt, which protected the casemates, was 125 mm of KCA over the citadel and 2.72 meters (8 ft 11 in) high. It thinned to a thickness of 75 millimeters (3.0 in) forward of the citadel. The area aft of the citadel was the only unprotected section of the hull. 3.4 meters (11 ft) inboard of the side was a longitudinal splinter bulkhead made of Krupp non-cemented armor (KNC). It was 50 mm (2.0 in) thick at the level of the main belt, but thinned to 37.55 mm (1.478 in) behind the upper belt. The main deck sloped from the bulkhead to the lower edge of the waterline belt and consisted of a 50-mm KNC plate on a 12 mm (0.47 in) mild steel plate. This space was used as a coal bunker, which added extra protection. The main belt was closed off by 100 mm (3.9 in) transverse bulkheads fore and aft and the steering gear was protected by armor 100–125 mm thick. ⎡]

The main gun turrets had a KCA face and sides 203 mm (8.0 in) thick with a 100-mm roof. The guns had 3-inch gun shields to protect against splinters entering the embrasures and they were separated by splinter bulkheads. The barbettes were 150 mm thick above the upper deck, but reduced to 75 mm behind other armor, except for the fore and aft barbettes which only thinned to 125 mm. The conning tower sides were 254 mm (10.0 in) thick with a 100-mm roof. The 120-mm guns had their own individual 3-inch gun shields. The funnel uptakes were protected by 22 mm (0.87 in) of armor. The upper deck was 37.5 mm (1.48 in) of nickel-chrome steel and the middle deck was 25 mm (0.98 in) of nickel-chrome steel between the longitudinal splinter bulkheads, but thinned to 19 mm (0.75 in) outside of them. The lower deck was of 12 mm (0.47 in) mild steel. ⎢]

Underwater protection was minimal as there was only a single watertight bulkhead, presumably of high-tensile steel, behind the upwards extension of the double bottom. This was an extension of the splinter bulkhead and was also 3.4 meters inboard. A more comprehensive system was considered early in the design process but rejected because it would have cost some 500–600 t (490–590 long tons 550–660 short tons). ⎣]

The armor scheme of the Gangut-class ships had some significant weaknesses. The rear transverse bulkhead was unprotected by any other armor but was the same thickness as the forward bulkhead which was defended by the upper belt armor. The thinness of the barbette armor was a serious defect which could have proved fatal in a battle. And the lack of a splinter bulkhead behind the armor of the turrets, barbettes and conning towers left all of those locations vulnerable to main gun hits. But the biggest weakness was the lack of an anti-torpedo bulkhead, which made them highly vulnerable to mines or torpedoes. ⎤]

The great reform and 1900s battleships

Biopic special: Admiral de Lapeyrière

The Courbet class, ordered as part of the ambitious 1912 naval plan.

But presented the right way, this plan in part succeeded, despite delays. Even before him in 1900, his advocacy of reforms and critics of the Young School led the Navy minister to order six large battleships of a very similar design, larger, faster and with a better range than anythig which came before, the Republique/Liberté class, and the first semi-dreadnoughts of the Danton class. Boué de Lapeyrière saw the construction of the Danton as an erros and pressed for the adoption of French’s first dreadnought as soon as possible. He ordered in a row the Courbet, Bretagne class (which all saw action in both wars), and the Normandie and lyon classes. On the cruiser’s side, he could do little as the last were completing when he entered his office, as the Cruiser program was curtailed after the launch of the Dreadnought. But he pressed not only for the adption of battlecruisers (Durant-Viel and Gills studies from 1912) and light scout cruisers as well. He also pushed for the creation of more coherent destroyer and submarine classes, and curtailed torpedo contruction which he considered obsolete
His masterstroke was his 1912 naval program, which should have given France around 1920 24 capital ships (16 dreadnought and 8 battlecruisers) but the Great War aborted the project.

Allied commanders aboard hms queen elisabeth in 1915 – The gallipoli campaign. De Lapeyrière is first from the left, seated next to Ian Hamilton and John de Robeck.

Lapeyrière left the ministry already in 1911. He basically was the last general officer at the head of the ministry before the War, and was appointed by the naval staff in August 1911 as commander of the first line squadron, later called the “first naval army”. He pushed the training of this force to very high standards, in accordance to the Franco-English agreements of 1912. The latter indeed tasked the French to concentrate their forced in the Mediterranean, against the Austro-Hungarian fleet and possible hostility of Italy, allowing the Royal Navy to leave there only two local squadrons, in Gbraltar and Alexandria, concentrating on the Grand Fleet and the north sea. The German fleet was indeed the main opponent. In August 1914, Boué de Lapeyrière became the interallied Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, protecting sea lanes, and the transport to France of the XIXth Army Corps from Algeria, while watching the Austrian fleet. He could not prevent the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau of escaping towards Constantinople. For this he earned the most serious reproaches of his career. His naval force was soon in action on the Adriatic, ready to intercept the Austro-Hungarian fleet. His force sank the cruiser Zenta off Antivari in August 1915, but sorties were rare. His ships however tried to provoke this sortie by bombarding Cattaro and land troops on the Dalmatian Islands, while destroying all semaphores and military structures in the area.

The cruiser Leon Gambetta, unknown origin (wc)

German postcard depicting the sinking of the Leon Gambetta (cc)

Ha also put in place the blockade of the Otranto, came to the aid of Montenegro and managed to adapt his forces to the increasing submarine threat along the way. His strategy however was considered too timid given his much superior forces, notably by Vice-Admiral Bienaimé. Léon Gambetta was sunk in the Adriatic on April 27, 1915 and Lapeyrière was held personally responsible for it as well. Sick of this, Boué de Lapeyrère eventually resigned in October. He joined the reserve in March 1916. After retiring from the navy and brielfy tried politics he retired in Pau where he died on February 1924.

République class (1902)

République, Patrie

Republique – Brassey’s naval annual

The many shortcomings of the previous classes had been highlighted and for the first time, a homogeneous class of battleships had been started, designed in 1899. As a result, the two first ships, République and Patrie were not launched until 1902-03 and completed in December 1906, and were already outdated as HMS Dreadnought had just come out. However, they were a significant improvement over previous classes in many areas, with 1.5 more displacement, better secondary armament in turrets, more conventional main artillery and hull. The next four were basically copies, but there were still enough differences for most historians to place them apart.

Development & design:

The two pre-dreadnought were ordered as part of a naval expansion program to answer German warship construction in 1898. The French program called for six new battleships. The last four became the Liberté class, improved copies of the first. République and Patrie were designed by famous French naval engineer Louis-Émile Bertin. They were a significant improvement over previous designs, carrying four 305 mm (12 in) guns, eighteen 164 mm (6.5 in) guns now mounted in gun turrets and not in casemates. This make their use more flexible as they had a much better arc of fire and were well above the sea, therefore still efficient in heavy weather. The ships also had a more effective armor protection arrangement and calculations were flawless, so when fully loaded they stayed at their opetimal draught, without consequence for their armour belt’s height. Stability was good and additional protections had been done in case of flooding.

In the end, they were better than previous classes, but were a generation late already. They should have been built ten years before. Construction was slow, due to frequent changes to the design while under construction, a typical problem in French naval construction that was only solved shortly before WW1. Because of this, they were completed in December 1906, while Dreadnought was in construction. Added to this, the next Liberté were a copy of the first, so further delaying new constructions until 1904-1907, completed in 1908 while the British, US, Germans already had their own dreadnought classes completed and were building more. To add insult to injury, the class after this, started in 1907, were still pre-dreadnoughts ! (see explanations later)

The République in service:

Both ships entered service with the fleet in 1907, whereas HMS Dreadnought was already commissioned, making all pre-dreadnoughts obsolescent. They became the front-line units in the French fleet for most of their careers, including half of WWI, replaced by the Bretagne class. Their peacetime careers was uneventful, a routine of training exercises and ports visits overseas, naval reviews for French politicians and foreign dignitaries. In August 1914 they were in the Mediterranean naval division, escorting troopships convoys with the French Army from French North Africa to France. Reinforcing the front, they allowed the Marne taxis eposide to take place, saving the day. Republique and patris then joined the main fleet, in faction for any sortie of the the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The only significant action wax the Battle of Antivari in September 1915 when the French caught and sank SMS Zenta.

The battleships patrolled the southern end of the Adriatic Sea until the Otranto barrage was set in place. However like for the Italians, repeated attacks from Austro-Hungarian U-boats forced them to be sent at a safer place. Patrie participated in the Gallipoli campaign, in May 1915. She was followed by République in January 1916, cover the Allied evacuation. The two battleships intervened in Greece, assisting the coup against the pro-German Greek government. République and Patrie were sent in Mudros to guard from any sortie of the Germans in Constantinople in the aegean. They saw no further action and by January 1918, République saw two of her 12 in guns removed and sent to the army while she became a schoolship. Patrie was also converted as a training ship after the war. The first was decommissioned in 1921, BU in Italy, and Patrie was maintained until 1936 before decommission and sold in 1937.


Dimensions: 14,605 tons st., 133.81 x 24.26 x 8.41 m
Propulsion: 3 shafts, 24 Niclausse boilers, 18,000 shp, 19 knots.
Armor: belt 280, turrets 350, CT 300, turrets sec. 152 mm
Armament: 4 x 305, 18 x 162, 25 x 47 mm, 2 TT 457 mm aw.
Crew: 825

Liberté class (1904)

Liberté, Justice, Démocratie, Vérité

Battleship Liberté 1904, colorized by Irootoko Jr.

Design development

The Liberté class were pre-dreadnought ordered as part of the same naval expansion program as the prevous République. During construction of the first two, adoption of heavier secondary batteries for the last pre-dreadnoughts (called “semi-dreadnoughts”) prompting the French to re-design them to carry a more powerful secondary battery with 194 mm (7.6 in) guns in turrets, so making a new class called the Liberté class. These heavies guns were in six single turrets, the remainder four in casemates. They were still not true “semi-dreadnoughts” compared to the Danton class as they were still equipped with VTE engines, lacking turbines. Armour wise, it was the same scheme with the only difference being the barbettes bases, 3.5 to 5.5 inches thick. Justice was about 400 tonnes heavier, and Liberté had a mixed anti-torpedo armament, with 9-pdrs of a new pattern.
These ships were built at Brest (Démocratie), La Seyne (Justice), Ch. de la Loire (Liberté) and Ch. de la Gironde (Vérité) between 1902 and 1908, launched in 1904 to 1907. Much too long compared to international standards and all obsolete when commissioned.

The Liberté class in service

Their peacetime careers were largely uneventful. Like the previous ones, they were first line and alternated time between training exercises, ports visits, and naval reviews. In 1909, Liberté, Justice, and Vérité made a noted visit to the United States, marking their participation to the Hudson–Fulton Celebration. Liberté never saw WWI: She was destroyed by an accidental explosion, caused by unstable propellant charges in the port of Toulon in 1911. The result of the enquity prompted the naval staff to enforce strict constrols and handling procedures for the storage of nitrocellulose propellant, and notably better cooling. The three other ships escorted troop convoys from North Africa in August 1914, and joined their sister-ships of the Liberté class in the armée naval posted south of the Adriatic Sea. Despite attempts to bring the Austro-Hungarian Navy out to battle, this never happened. They participated in the Battle of Antivari but were later retired from the area due to the threat of submarines. Vérité was sent to the Dardanelles in September 1914 and shelled Ottoman coastal defenses.

In 1916, the three sisters came to Greece, pressuring the neutral government to join the Allies, and assisted a coup overthrewing the king, bringing the country to war. They were then based in Corfu mostly inactive due to coal shortages. After the war, Justice and Démocratie joined the Black Sea dueing the recolution, monitoring German forces and demilitarization of Russian warships seized. Vérité also was sent to Constantinople, overseeing the Ottoman surrender. By mid-1919 they sailed back to France, Vérité decommissioned and the other two in 1920, sold for BU in 1921.


Dimensions: 14,500/14,800 tons standard, same dimensions
Propulsion: 3 shafts, 22 Belleville boilers, 18,500 shp, 19 knots, coal 1800 t.
Armor: same
Armament: 4 x 305mm, 10 x 193mm, 13 x 65mm, 10 x 47mm, 2 TT 457 mm aw.
Crew: 769-840

Danton class: First and last semi-dreadnoughts (1909)

Danton, Condorcet, Mirabeau, Vergniaud, Diderot, Voltaire

Battleship Danton, colorized by irootoko jr.

Design & construction:

These were the last French pre-dreadnoughts, designed by chief engineer Lhomme for the 1906 program. They had the misfortune of being ordered in various yards from June 1907, even as HMS Dreadnought was commissioned, and successors in construction. The 1900 naval plan went on however as these ships were much faster, having turbines, but were still too limited by their displacement to adopt an all 305 mm armament became true dreadnoughts. These 6 ships were all completed in 1911, while the Courbets were started. Obsolete, the Dantons nevertheless were much larger and faster than their predecessors with 18,300 tons instead of 14,800, using also the first turbines installed on a French battleship. With 19.5 knots (20.6 knots in tests). Some had Niclausse (Condorcet, Vergniaud, Diderot) and others Belleville boilers, and based on 22,500 shp they reached between 19.2 and 19.4 knots, while carrying up to 2030 tonnes of coal in wartime. This allowed them a radius of 3370 nm at cruiser speed of 10 knots, down to 1750 at 18 knots.

They were still not fast enough as the first Dreadnought and its successors (21 knots), but there again, because of their limited dislacement. A larger size would have ensured to cram more boilers, but they would have perhaps gained only one knot, as they were bad steamers, with high consumption and small range. Based in the Mediterranean, this was less a problem though. Their secondary armament progressed considerably, from 196 to 240 mm (10 inches), which were still fast-firing and had almost the same range as the 305 mm. So they are recoignised as France’s only semi-dreadnoughts, transitional battleships.
They also used the new British Barr & Stoud firing control system found in HMS Dreadnought allowing a theoretical range for their 240 guns from 13,700 to 18,000 meters. Their rate of fire was also very good, firing tests proving the validity of this weapon combination. Armor however did not progressed much, but tertiary armament was much reinforced at the start of WWI. They obtained 12 additional 3-in guns (75 mm) mounted on the turrets with high elevation mounts enabling AA fire. All these ships were completed in 1911, already obsolete. They were the last pre-dreadnought built in any navy.

Model of Danton at the Paris maritime museum

Wartime career:

Their career was not spectacular, and Danton was the only lost during the war, torpedoed by the U-64 in south of Sardinia. Voltaire survived in 1918 after being torpedoed by UB-18. These battleships were presed into the 1st armée navale, roamed the adratic for a short time, and later were sent to Greece, fired warning shots against the Greek government in Athens, to force it to swap side to the allies. Diderot, Vergniaud, Voltaire and Mirabeau formed later with the ships of the Liberté class the Aegean Sea squadron. They deployed against the Austro-Hungarian fleet close to the otranto barrage, ready for any sortie of the fleet in Pola. On November 13, 1918, they were stationed in Constantinople as a way of pressure during peace negociations. Vergniaud and Mirabeau left the Crimea in 1919, shelled Sebastopol by now in the hands of the “reds”. Mirabeau suffered a storm was grounded. She was refloated and towed away in 1919. Never repaired, she became as an experimental pontoon. The others underwent some modernizations to serve in the interwar, starting in 1922-25. Underwater protection in particular was overhauled. Condorcet, Diderot and Voltaire spent the rest of their careers as training ships. Condorcet was the last one still extant during WW2, she was scuttled in Toulon in November 1942, and sunk by the Germans in 1944 during Operation Anvil Dragoon. More on these on the upcoming post on French WW2 battleships.

Author’s rendition of the Danton class.


Displacement: 18,320t standard, 19,760t Fully loaded
Dimensions: 146.6 x 25.8 x 9.20 m
Propulsion: 4 shafts Parsons turbines, 26 Belleville or Niclausse boilers, 22,500 hp. 19.6 knots
Armor Protection: 45-300 mm
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 240, 16 x 75, 10 x 47, 2 x 457 mm TTs bd sub
Crew: 681

British Pre-dreadnoughts of WW1

From this section, all the battleships presented were active in WW1, in some form or another. Indeed, some were in reserve, other used as training ships or depot ships, ans some were reactivated due to the numerous tasks found for them. Since this was a world war and dreadnoughts and battlecruisers were kept in the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow to face any sortie of the mighty Hochseeflotte, British pre-dreadnought had to care for all other theaters of operation, starting with the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. For example, HMS Albion was detached at the Falklands. Pre-dreadnoughts in 1914 represented a considerable force of 50 battleships, way above many navies of the time, and they still possessed 12-in guns and a substantial secondary battery for any operations. But their limitations were well understood. Their poor speed made them unable to match the new admiralty standards of the Grand fleet, while their limited ASW protection (or total lack thereof) made them easy targets for submarines. More than these old battleships, the admiralty was more weary of loosing experienced crews in times of war.

Majestic class (1895)

Majestic, Caesar, Hannibal, Illustrious, Jupiter, Magnificient, Mars, Prince George, victorious

HMS Mars

When they entered service in 1895, HMS Majestic and Magnificent were the largest battleships ever built. From the program developed by Mr. Spencer in 1893, they combined the Royal Sovereign base with the progress recorded on the second class battleship HMS Renown. The new 305 mm Mk VIII guns were faster to load and had a greater range than the previous old 343 mm, while allowing to save weight, used to increase the light artillery.

They were adopted for all subsequent British battleships for almost 30 years. The vertical armor was made of Harvey steel, like on the Renown. The combined belts were of the same thickness everywhere and the guns had barbettes and were protected by integral turrets. Also was moved back the bridge, fixed around the forward military mast, a configuration which increased forward vision from the command tower and its protection against a possible fall from the mast. The barbettes of the first 2 vessels had a fixed loading system, and necessitated having to replace them in position for loading.

Seaworthy and stable ships, only showing a slight roll, these battleships quickly formed the basis of a long line of capital ships imitated around the world and formed the bulk of the Grand Fleet for years. With the appearance of fuel oil in 1905, HMS Mars was provided with an oil reserve of 400 tonnes, replacing 200 tonnes of coal, but with a certain benefit for autonomy, followed in 1908 by the other ships.

With their VTE and coal-burning boilers alone, all exceeded their expected speeds, even reaching 17.6 to 18.7 knots with forced draught. But in operation this oscillated between 16 and 17 knots. They spend their entire career in the Home Fleet before the war, except for HMS Victorious and Caesar which made two stays in the Mediterranean and Far East stations.

HMS Caesar
In 1914, officiated in the Home Fleet (Channel’s 7th BB squadron), then left to North America to carry out patrols in the Atlantic until 1918. She then went to the Mediterranean, passed the Dardanelles after the armistice and came to support the “whites” in the Black Sea.

HMS Hannibal was used as a coast guard and then disarmed in 1914 for the benefit of monitors Prince Eugene and Sir John Moore. Converted into a troop carrier, it served from 1915 in the Mediterranean, then in the East Indies and Alexandria until 1919.

HMS Illustrious served as coast guard in 1914, based on Loch Ewe, Lough Swilly, Tyne and Humber, and in 1915 she was decommissioned and converted to an ammunition carrier based in Portsmouth.

HMS Jupiter was in 1914 based in the 7th line squadron which kept the channel. She then opened the route for a convoy as icebreaker towards Arkhangelsk, with a record: The first ship arrived so early in the year – January. She then operated back in the English Channel, then in the Mediterranean, Alexandria, Red Sea and the West Indies until 1919.

HMS Majestic was at 7 LS in 1914. She also served in the North Atlantic as an escort in 1915, then joined the “Dover patrol”, shelling the Belgian coast. She then served in the Dardanelles, hammering the sea with her cannons to blow up mines. While carrying out a bombardment to support troops, she was it by 2 torpedoes crosswise from U21 off Gaba Tepe and capsized on May 27, 1915, bringing 40 men with her.

HMS Magnificient served with the 9th line squadron based on the Humber in 1914. She was then assigned to Scapa Flow as coastguard and then sent in 1915 to Belfast to be disarmed for the benefit of the monitors HMS General Crawfurd and Prince Eugene. She was then sent to the Dardanelles as a troop transport, notably to Suvla Bay. She then returned to mainland France as a utility pontoon. In 1918 she was stationed at Rosyth as a floating ammunition depot.

HMS Mars served as coast guard on the Humber in 1914. She then joined the harland & Wolff shipyard (Belfast, the builders of the Titanic) to be disarmed for the benefit of monitors HMS Earl of Petersborough and Sir Thomas Picton. She then served as a troop transport in the Mediterranean, participating in landing operations of the ANZACs at the Dardanelles and at the evacuation at Cap Helles in 1916. She was then converted into a supply ship at Invergordon.

HMS Prince Georges suffered a serious manoeuver collision with the armored cruiser hms Shannon in 1909. In 1914 she served with the 7th Line Sqn on the English Channel. She was then sent to the Dardanelles to clean up minefields with her artillery, and then shell Turkish forts. She was hit several times, quite seriously, and joined Malta for long repairs. She participated in the evacuations in January 1916 at Cape Helles, and was hit by a torpedo (a dud). At the end of 1916 she was based in Chatham, served as a utility pontoon, and in June 1918 renamed Victorious II. Removed from the lists in 1921, she sank during her transfer for demolition to Germany.

HMS Victorious served as coast guard on the Humber in 1914. In February 1915, she was sent to the Elwick shipyards to be disarmed for the benefit of monitors Prince Rupert and General Wolfe. From May 1916 she served as a workshop ship and was based at Scapa Flow until 1919.

Author’s illustration of the Majestic class

Technical specifications

Displacement: 14,600 – 14,800 t, 15,730 – 16,000 t FL
Dimensions: 124.3 x 22.8 x 8.2 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts 3-cylinder VTE, 8 boilers, 10-12,000 hp. 16-17 knots max.
Armor: Blockhouse 343, belt 220, internal bulkheads 343, turrets 254, barbettes 343, bridges 102 mm.
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 152, 16 x 76, 12 x 47, 5 x 457 mm TTs.
Crew: 672

Canopus class (1897)

Canopus, Albion, Glory, Goliath, Ocean, vengeance.

Five ships of a new class of battleships were ordered in the 1896 naval plan. A sixth was in the 1897 plan. They were defined as faster versions of the Majestic, and at the same time to operate in the Far East, to counterweight especially the growing weight of the Russian and Japanese Navies (this was befoe the anglo-japanese naval alliance). A true quadrature of the circle was also carried out, by reducing the thickness of the armor and the total weight by 2000 tonnes, by using Krupp steel rather than Harvey. Their armor and artillery layout remained modelled on those of the Majestic.

Their “turrets” were in fact relatively light barbettes composed of Krupp steel plates. But they innovated with their loading system allowing to operate wit the guns left at all angles. They were also the first British battleships to have water tube boilers. The latter, Belleville models were hardly heavier than the old ones but pressure was now at 300 bars, versus 155.
The layout of these new boilers also meant that they were placed in tandem and not side by side, a layout later kept for future battleships.

On trials, their powerplant reached 13,500 hp and the speed reached, 18.5 knots. As expected, their careers began with a long sojourn in the Far Eastern squadron, which ended after the Japanese victory over Russia in 1905 and a cautious military alliance with the Japanese Empire. As a result, freed from this threat, the British repatriated a number of vessels, including these battleships into the Home Fleet, to counter the growing threat from the Hochseeflotte.

HMS Albion was active until 1906 in the grand fleet, before having an overhaul in Chatham in 1907. She was assigned to the Home Fleet in Portsmouth, and to Atlantic fleet. During the Great War, she was sent to South Africa. She was assigned to the Mediterranean, shelling the Turk forts at the Dardanelles. She was hit in return and after repairs, carried troops to Salonika. Finally, she was stationed as coastguard of the Southeast fleet from the fall of 1915 until 1918. She was then assigned to Devonport, decommissioned and used as an armed utility pontoon until 1922.

HMS Canopus served in the Mediterranean, French coast and channel, before moving to Port Stanley in the Falklands at the end of 1914. She could not take part in the Cradock fleet defeated by Von Spee’s squadron, but her guns fired later against approaching German cruisers without results. She then joined the Dardanelles, blockaded Smyrna, and returned in 1916 to Chatham, placed in reserve, and sold in 1920.

HMS Glory was operating off North America, and East Indies as a flagship. She then operated in the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean, defending the Suez Canal. She then joined Archangelsk and remained there as coastguard until 1919 before sale and demolition.

-HMS Goliath was in Scotland in 1914. It covered troops landings in Belgium (Ostend), served in the East Indies, and in November 1914 it was on the Rufiji River in Africa, taking care of the Königsberg. She was sent in 1915 to the Dardanelles, supporting operations at Cape Helles, and hit twice. In the night of May 13, she was torpedoed and sunk by the Turkish destroyer Muavenet, sinking quickly, carrying with her 570 men.

-HMS Ocean was based in the Mediterranean, in the Home Fleet and was in Pembroke when the war broke up for a refit. She was sent to Queenstown, Jamaica, and the East Indies. In November, she was stationed in the Persian Gulf, served in the Mediterranean, and fought in the Dardanelles from February to March 1915. By march 18, she struck a mine which destroyed her powerplant. She drifted under large Turkish caliber range and sank in three hours, leaving almost all of its surviving crew to evacuate.

-HMS Vengeance served in the English Channel, and the Home Fleet. Unlucky during her career, she collided with a freighter, and ran aground in the Thames, colliding with the destroyer Biter in 1910. In 1914 she served as a training ship for gunners. She then served in the Atlantic with the 8th line BS and in November 1914, was supporting operations in Cameroon, a German colony. She was sent to Egypt (Suez canal), and to Cape Verde. She was Admiral De Robeck’s flagship at Gibraltar, departing to the Dardanelles. She shelled forts at Cape Helles, covered the landings, before returning to Egypt. She was sent to the East Indies, then back to Egypt and operated on the East African coast and later in South Africa. In 1917 she returned to Devonport and was rearmed, kept there as an orderly state, struck off the lists in 1919, and BU in 1921.

Author’s illustration of the Canopus class

Technical specifications

Displacement: 13 150t, 14 300 T FL
Dimensions: 128.47 x 22.56 x 7.98 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts VTE, 20 Belleville boilers, 13,500hp. 18 knots.
Armour: Belt 152, Battery 254, Barbettes 305, turrets 203, CT 152, decks 51 mm.
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 152, 10 x 76, 6 x 47, 4 x 457 mm TT (sub).
Crew: 682

Formidable class (1898)

Formidable, Irresistible, Impacable.

These were a three-ship class designed by Sir William White armed with the usual battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns, top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h 21 mph). They definitely adopted the lighter Krupp armour in British battleship designs. This class formed the basis for the nearly identical London class and they are sometimes included in the larger Formidable class. They were built between 1898 and 1901 at the Portsmouth, Chatham, and Devonport Dockyards.

They served in the Mediterranean Fleet early in their careers, and served in the Home Fleet and Channel Fleet in 1914, then Atlantic Fleet. By 1912, they served with the 5th Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet until August 1914, patrolling the English Channel, escorting troopships with the British Expeditionary Force.
On the night of 31 December 1914 to 1 January 1915 while on patrol in the Channel, the 5th Squadron was crossed by a German U-boat which torpedoed and sank HMS Formidable.

-hms Irresistible was sent to the Dardanelles in February 1915. She shelled forst but later struck a naval mine and sank, one of the famous minefield left by the converted tug Nusret, the “battleship killer”.

-hms Implacable joined the Dardanelles in March 1915 and covered landings at Cape Helles in April 1915. She was withdrawn in May 1915 to reinforce the Italian fleet (Adriatic) and covered operations at Salonika in November 1915. She was back home in July 1917, converted into a depot ship, Northern Patrol. She was sold for scrap in 1921, BU in 1922.

Technical specifications

Displacement: 14,500 t, 15,900 t FL
Dimensions: 131.6 x 22.9 x 8 m (431 ft 9 in x 75 ft x 26 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shafts 3-cylinder VTE, 20 Belleville WT boilers, 15,000 hp. 18 knots.
Armor: 330 CT, belt 230, citadel 305, turrets 280, casemates 152, 60 mm decks.
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 152, 16 x 76, 6 x 47, 4 x 457 mm TTs.
Crew: 714

London class (1899)

London, Bulwark, Venerable, Prince of Wales, Queen

These 6 battleships were very close to the Formidable, varying only in armor details. The forward protection was lowered in favor of the belt armored reinforced and shortened aft. On the other hand, the thickness of the main deck was increased over the entire length of the ship, but intermediate decks armor was reduced. The ships differed significantly between them: HMS Queen and Prince of Wales had an open battery for their 3-in guns unlike the others. In addition, boilers of the same HMS Queen were Babcock and Wilcox, not Belleville. They were operational in 1902-1904. Their careers were first carried out in the Mediterranean, then these 6 ships returned to territorial waters.

HMS Bulwark operated as part of 5th BS Sqn patrolling the English Channel in 1914. In November 26, when unloading ammunition a load of black powder exploded, the bunkers ignited and exploding in turn. The ship was literally disintegrated, there were only survivors.

-HMS London was assigned to 5th BS Sqn and conducted seaplane launch tests. In 1914 she patrolled the Channel but was sent to the Dardanelles and in May 1915 was in the Adriatic multinational fleet supporting the Italians. She remained in Taranto until the end of 1917, when she became a minelayer. In January 1918 she served there until the armistice.

HMS Venerable served with the 5th Sqn until 2015, shelled the Belgian coast. She relieved HMS Queen Elisabeth in the Dardanelles and from 14 to 21 she participated in the Suvla operation. She rallied the Adriatic, supporting Italian troops and returned in 1918 to UK before being setn in reserve and BU.

HMS London used as a minelayer in 1918, camouflaged

-HMS Prince of Wales patrolled the English Channel with the 5th BS Sqn, then joined the Dardanelles in 1915. She supported ANZAC landings on April 25 and in May she was sent to the Adriatic, until early 1918. On her return to mainland France, she was reduced to harbor service at anchor, like her companions.

-HMS Queen was assigned to the 3rd BS Sqn, 1st Fleet in 1914. She served in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. After patrolling the English Channel, she was like the Prince of Wales sent to the Dardanelles, covering ANZAC landings. She then was assigned to the Adriatic fleet, waiting for any sortie of the Austro-Hungarians. In Taranto, four of her 6-in guns were removed and transferred to the Italian navy. She then returned to UK, served as atraining vessel before being demobilised, placed in reserve in 1918 then sold.

Author’s illustration of the London class

Technical specifications

Displacement: 14,500 t, 15,400-15,700 t FL
Dimensions: 131.6 x 22.9 x 7.9 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts 3-cylinder VTE, 20 Belleville boilers, 15,000 hp. 18 knots.
Armor: 330 CT, belt 230, citadel 305, turrets 280, casemates 152, 60 mm bridges.
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 152, 16 x 76, 6 x 47, 4 x 457 mm TTs.
Crew: 714

Duncan class (1901)

Duncan, Ablemarle, Cornwallis, Exmouth, Montagu, Russel

The six Duncan class battleships were ordered in response to Russian Peresvet-class battleships planned for the far east. The British admiralty falsely believed they were capable of 19 knots so the Director of Naval Construction William Henry White was ordered to work on a suitable answer. She submitted it by February 1898, but the Board of Admiralty thought many revisions would be necessary, so in emergency they asked for a modified Formidable class, incorporating some aspects of White’s design: They would have been given a revised armour protection layout, and the heavy transverse bulkhead were dropped, instead side armour was lengthened to the stern, and at reduced thickness, giving the London-class battleships. White’s revised version came out on 14 June 1898 and she chose to make the ships 1,000 tonnes (980 long tons) lighter.

Ordered in 1898, the Duncan class were revised Formidable, smaller and faster, sacrificing size and armor, arranged as on the London class. The four-cylinder VTE were to provide 3000 hp more than the Formidable class, and the hull shapes revised for better top speed, 19 knots being the lowest estimation as requested. They passed their sea trials while reaching all 19 knots, HMS Cornwallis 19, 56 knots, served in the Mediterranean and the Home Fleet.

-HMS Ablemarle served in the firth of forth, Atlantic, and was based in Gibraltar. She then returned to Portsmouth in 1910 and was assigned to the Northern Patrol, with the Grand Fleet in 1914. She then operated on channel with the 6th BS Sqn. While carrying heavy loads of ammunition she was badly damaged during a storm at the Pentland Firth, Scotland. After repairs, she departed Scapa Flow for Arkhangelsk, to serve an an icebreaker for convoys to Russia. In May 1916, she returned home, was partially disarmed and stayed in reserved by 1917 in Devonport, BU in 1919.

-HMS Cornwallis served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and Home Fleet with the 4th BS Sqn. She was transferred to the 6th in 1914, patrolling the North Atlantic, then she was sent to the Dardanelles, the first entente ship to fire on the Turkish Ottomon fortifications. She covered all operations until the end. In 1917 she was operating from Malta when she was hit by three torpedoes launched by U 32 but sank slowly, only 7 men were lost.

-HMS Duncan served in the English Channel, the Atlantic, before running aground on a reef in an attempt to save the shattered HMS Montagu. Repaired, she was based in the Atlantic again, then joined the Mediterranean, served there for a long time before joining the Home Fleet in 1912 with the 4th BSSqn, 1st fleet. In 1914 she operated in the North Sea, then was based in Dover after Portland. She was then sent to the Dardanelles but little employed. She returned in 1917 and was placed in reserve to release seamen available for other ships, and BU in 1920.

-HMS Exmouth was the flagship of the Home Fleet in the Channel at Portsmouth in 1906, before becoming the flagship of the Atlantic fleet. In 1908 she was the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet at Gibraltar. She then returned to the Home Fleet, bearing the mark of the rear admiral, 4th Wing. She was then assigned to the gunners instruction in devonport, before returning to the 6th line squadron at the start of hostilities. She went on patrol trips to the North Sea before coming to Portland and joining the Channel fleet.
She bombarded the Belgian coast in May and November 1915, and was sent to operate at the Dardanelles. She became Nicholson’s flagship in front of Kefalonia, the only battleship available after the torpedoing of the other three. Her heavy protective nets affixed before her departure had much to do with it. She then returned to the reserve in 1917 and was BU in 1920.

-HMS Montagu had a very short career. Operating in the Channel in 1906, she had the misfortune of running aground on the rocky island off Lundy on May 30, 1906 in thick fog. Despite the assistance of several ships, including hr sister-ship Duncan who tried to tow her, but was herself grounded she was estimated non-salvageable as too damaged. Her artillery was recovered and the hull was BU on site in 1907.

-HMS Russel the last of these 6 battleships, served as her sister-ships in the channel, then Atlantic fleet, then Gibraltar. In 1912 she was back in the Home Fleet, and in 1914 joined the English Channel fleet in Portland. She participated in the shelling of the Belgian coast and was sent in early 1915 to the Dardanelles. She remained on the second line in front of Mudros with HMS Hibernia, participating in the evacuation in January 1916. She hit a mine off Malta on April 27, 1916 and sank with 126 crew members.

HMS Cornwalllis firing on Gallipoli, 1915

Technical specifications

Displacement: 13 150t, 14 300 T FL
Dimensions: 128.47 x 22.56 x 7.98 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts, three VTE, 20 Belleville boilers, 13,500hp. 18 knots.
Armor: Belt 152, Battery 254, Barbettes 305, turrets 203, blockhouse 152, bridges 51 mm.
Armament: 4 x 305, 12 x 152, 10 x 76, 6 x 47, 4 x 457 mm TTs (sub).
Crew: 682

King Edward class (1903)

HMS King Edward VII, Dominion, Africa, New Zealand, Britannia, Commonwealth, Hibernia, Hindustan

They were the penultimate British pre-dreadnoughts battleships and the last important class, with two sets of three ships and a pair. They were started in 1902-1904 and accepted in service in 1905-07, so even after HMS Dreadnought was launched. Their great innovation consisted in a wider beam and larger dimensions overall, making it possible to adopt a large intermediate caliber in the form of four additional 9.2 in (234 mm guns) in turrets. With this configuration the King Edward class approached the concept of single-caliber battleship then under study. The armour scheme was also revised to become a central battery arrangement, raising the lateral protection to the bridge.

The rest of the protection was modelled on that of the London class, with some modifications such as the belt separated into two overlapping plates of 220 to 203 mm. Their mixed guns were later criticized, in particular on the fact that the 234 mm secondary guns posed problems for rangefinder adjusters. The water plums provoked by the 12-in being almost similar to the 9-in and caused confusion.

Their machines differed from each other, but they were considered to be good walkers, achieving better speeds than expected, having good handling with a new helm system. On the contrary, this new system made them difficult to hold the line, and they were quickly ironically nicknamed “the eight stooges”. They also had a raised metacentric point and faster roll but remained good firing platforms. Their career was quite rich due to their powerful artillery and their relative modernity:

-HMS Africa served for a long time in the Home Fleet before leaving in 1913 for the Mediterranean. She then returned with the 3rd Line Wing to the Home Fleet and then joined Scapa Flow in 1916. In 1917 she underwent an overhaul, her 6-in guns from the battery deck being landed for the benefit of four more relocated on the upper deck to avoid spray in heavy weather. From April 1917 to November 1918 she was based with the 9th Line Wing before retired, struck in 1919 and BU.

King Edward VII’s side turret

-HMS Britannia also served with 3rd battleship squadron Gibraltar in 1913 before returning to the mainland. In January 1915 she struck a submerged reef (off Inchkeith, Scotland) during a storm by night and was badly damaged. Her repairs completed, (and rearmed like HMS Africa) she continued to serve in the North Sea and in the Channel before joining the Mediterranean. She was torpedoed at Cape Trafalgar by UB50 on November 9, 1918, one of the last major losses of the Royal Navy of the war. She sank in three quarters of an hour, letting her crew evacuate, but many died in toxic fumes caused by the massive fire.

-HMS Commonwealth suffered two accidents during her service. She left with the 3rd squadron in the Mediterranean in 1913 but underwent a short overhaul in December 1914-February 1915. The rest of her career took place in Scapa Flow, without note. She was disposed of at the beginning of 1918, repaired and completely rebuilt with tripod mast, new firing director, and ASW ballasts and from 1919 until 1921 served as a gunner’s training ship at Invergordon.

-HMS Dominion was also part of the 3rd squadron in the Mediterranean, and became the flagship of the rear admiral until 1915, then returned to the mainland and was torpedoed in front of the Thames estuary by an U-boat, which missed. She remained on site until 1918 and was sent in Chatham, until BU in 1921.

-HMS Hibernia had a quiet career in the home fleet. She was used for the first takeoff of an airplane on a British warship, on May 4, 1912. She was later equipped with a platform on the front turret. She was also the flagship of the 3rd squadron in Gibraltar and in August 1914 returned home. She was back to the Mediterranean in November 1915 at the Dardanelles as flagship of Admiral Fremantle. Later she was anchored off Kefalonia. In 1917, her armament was partly removed and she joined Scapa Flow, remaining there until the end of her career in 1921.

-HMS Hindustan also served in Gibraltar with the 3th BS Sqn before returning home, same unit. She was assigned to the North Sea until May 1916, then returned to Scapa Flow. She assisted as a supply vessel which participated in the Zeebrugge and Ostend raids in 1918.

-HMS King Edward VII performed the same service in the Mediterranean as her sister ships, then returned to the home fleet as flagship of 3th BS Sqn (Vice-Admiral Bradford). Dominion resumed her role. On January 6, 1916 she had the misfortune to hit a mine off Cape Wrath. Her two machines were quickly submerged but her watertight doors had played their role: She did not sink until 12 hours later, leaving the crew to evacuate.

-HMS New Zealand served in the Atlantic and the English Channel, and was renamed Zealandia in 1912 (as a battlecruiser took the name), joining the 3rd squadron in the Mediterranean in 1913. Returning home, she made a brief stay in the home fleet before departing again for the Mediterranean in November 1915, fighting in the Dardanelles. She was taken over in early 1918 for a reconstruction similar to HMS Commonwealth, but without ballasts. Partly disarmed, she was anchored in Portsmouth in 1919 and remained there until her demolition in 1921.

Author’s illustration of the KE VII class

Technical specifications

Displacement: 15,585 t, 17,290 t FL
Dimensions: 138.5 x 23.7 x 7.7 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts VTE machines 4 cyl., 15-16 mixed boilers, 18,000 hp. 18.5 knots.
Armor: CT 305, belt 230, citadel 305, turrets 305, battery 160, 60 mm decks.
Armament: 4 x 305, 4 x 234, 10 x 152, 14 x 76, 14 x 47, 4 x 457 mm TTs.
Crew: 777

Swiftsure class -2nd class (1903)

HMS Swiftsure, Triumph

HMS Swiftsure and Triumph were originally two battleships ordered by Chile, named Constitution and the Libertad. Export and finance oblige, they were designed by chief engineer of Armstrong-Elswick, Sir Edward Reed, like “budget” battleships. They were specifically ordered by the Chilean government to counter the latest Garibaldi class Argentinian cruisers. They were thus regarded as “second class battleships”.

Their pre-main armament rested on 10-in (254 mm) guns, and they had a powerful secondary battery comprising no less than fourteen 7.5-in (190 mm) guns and a singular tertiary battery also comprising 80 mm guns. They were comparatively lightly armored, had a long and narrow hull (conditioned by the largest Chilean Docks) and a speed higher than battleships of the time, managing 14,000 hp and and 20 knots. In theory, they could outperform any cruiser and thus were considered with mild interest by the Royal Navy.

In December 1903, when Swiftsure was launched and before her handover to the Chilean government, peculiar events stepped in. Rumors were spread over a covered sale, the Tsar being the real customer (Chile’s finances were bad at the time). The same scenario happened with the Minas Gerais class. The press and popular pressure forced the British government to seize them. When they were completed in June 1904, they were therefore both integrated into the Royal Navy under their new names.

The Chilean government retired any payment, including design study cost, if not for those of pre-order and the matter was closed. Not for the Royal Navy however for which these two “second class battleships”, as classified were not fitting any need. They would serve first in the channel, then in the Mediterranean until 1913. Swiftsure was sent to the East Indies, and Triumph in China.

In 1914 the Swiftsure was escorting convoys of Indian troopships from Bombay to Aden in the Red Sea. She joined the Alexandrian squadron, shelling Turkish positions at Kantara. She then went to the Dardanelles and supported the landings, pounding Turkish forts. She was torpedoed in September 1915 by an U-Boote, but survived and resume her escort mission of troopships during the retreat.

Back in 1917 to Chatham, she was disarmed in order to convert her as a blockship for occupied Belgian ports. The operation never took place and in 1918 she was used as a balloon depot ship. HMS Triumph, was in reserve in Hong Kong when the war started. She was quickly provided with a fresh crew issued from various gunboats, and joined a small composite squadron dominated by the Japanese who besieged Tsing Tao. In January 1915 she joined the Mediterranean squadron, and in February, was in the Dardanelles. In May, she was shelling Gaba Tepe’s positions when U21 torpedoed her and she sank in 30 minutes, with 73 casualties.

Author’s illustration of the Swiftsure class

Technical specifications

Displacement: 11,800 t, 11,985 T FL
Dimensions: 146.2 x 21.6 x 7.7 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE, 3 cyl., 12 Yarrow boilers, 12,500 hp. 19 knots.
Armor: Belt 180, Battery 152, Barbettes 254, turrets 254, CT 280, decks 47 mm.
Armament: 4 x 254 (2ࡨ), 14 x 190, 14 x 80, 2 x 76, 4 x 47, 2 x 457 mm TTs (sub)
Crew: 800

Lord Nelson class (1906):

British Semi-dreadnoughts ?

HMS Lord Nelson and the Agamemnon, started in 1905, were the last English pre-dreadnoughts battleships. Based on the King Edward VII, their tonnage had been increased to further increase their intermediate artillery made up of 234 mm pieces in four double and two single turrets. One of the criticisms concerning the uselessness of the 152 mm battery had been heard and it had been removed in favor of this configuration giving them a status of “almost monocaliber”.

The secondary armament had however been as always relegated to the central battery in broadside configuration, favouring in line engagement, as learnt from Tsushima. The secondary armament consisted of 76 mm rapid-fire Vickers guns firing from a elevated battery, well-protected flying bridge. The two 3-pdr (47 mm) were still not capable of AA but could be used for saluting.

For the first time, a tripod mast was adopted. The weight of the fire management positions and their high position had caused this choice. Heavier but remaining limited in size, they were wider and had a stronger draft, with a hull design in the shape of a rhombus, thanks to a refocusing of the artillery, improving their hydrodynamic penetration and their speed.

In this regard their performances were worthy of praise: They were fast, stable, manageable and very marine. However the problems related to the mix of their artillery re-emerged in exercises: The sheaves caused by the impacts of 234 mm were too close to those of the 305 mm pieces, which forced the shooting officers to systematically adopt undifferentiated broadside, despite the differences in range of the 234 and 305 mm, to the detriment of the latter, underemployed.

Armor scheme of the Lord Nelson class

This fact was further aggravated by the new 45-caliber model adopted for the heavy guns, which were not delivered until 1908, delaying even further the acceptance into service of these ships, after HMS Dreadnought. They were also assigned to the Home Fleet when they entered service and throughout the war.

HMS Lord Nelson was assigned to the 2nd Line Wing in the Channel in 1914. She became the flagship at the declaration of war, covering among others the convoys of the BEF (French Expeditionary Force) of Lord French, then switched to the Mediterranean in 1915. She bored the “flagship” mark of Admiral Wemyss, then in 1916 of Admiral De Robeck. She was also the flagship of the Alexandria and Aegean fleets. After the armistice, she crossed the Dardanelles to support the White Russians, naturally becoming the flagship of the English Black Sea fleet. Lord Nelson was decommissioned in Sheerness in 1919.

HMS Agamemnon served with the 5th BS squadron in 1914 on the English Channel, then moved in February 1915 to the Mediterranean with the Lord Nelson to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. During the initial operation one she sent thousands of heavy shells of Turkish forts, for 50 hits in return. On May 5, 1916 in the Aegean Sea, one of her gunners crew downed Zeppelin LZ 85 in front of Salonika with a 3-pdr mm DP gun. She then remained assigned to Mudros then Salonica, guarding the Aegean from a sortie of the Battlecruiser Yavuz (ex-Goeben), which happened in 1918. After her return home, HMS Agamemnon ended her career as a controlled target in 1926.

Author’s illustration of the Lord Nelson

Technical specifications

Displacement: 16,100t, 17,600-17,800 t FL
Dimensions: 135.2 x 24.2 x 7.9 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE 4 cyl., 15 boilers, 16,750 hp. 18 knots
Armor: CT 330, belt 305, citadel 203, turrets 305, barbettes 305, decks 102 mm.
Armament: 4 x 305, 10 x 234, 24 x 76, 2 x 47, 5 x 457 mm TTs sub.
Crew: 800

Cleaning funnel on pre-dreadnought battleship - History

One of the most famous ships in the world, Potemkin lived a short but colorful life. During barely 13 years of service it had 4 names and carried at least 5 flags. Named after the great Russian statesman of the 18th century, Kniaz Potemkin-Tavricheskii was laid down in 1898 in Nikolaev Admiralty. At the time the construction was started it was a thoroughly modern pre-dreadnought battleship. It displaced 12,900 tons and carried a heavy armament of four 12"/40 caliber guns, sixteen 6"/45 caliber guns and fourteen 75mm/50 caliber guns. It was armored with a 9" belt and had top speed of 16.5 knots. Unfortunately at the time, the Black Sea basin was not very industrialized and most of the construction materials had to be shipped from St. Petersburg, which coupled with design changes let to the inevitable delays in construction. It was launched in 1900 and was transferred from Nikolaev to Sevastopol in 1902 for final fitting out. While trials began in 1903, the ship only became operational in spring 1905. By that time the era of the pre-dreadnoughts war coming to the end and it seemed that the ship was destined for a quiet service like its predecessors.

That was not to be. Barely a month after commissioning, on 14 June 1905, the ship was anchored near Tendra Gulf for gunnery practice, when the crew fed up with rotten meat they were getting, mutinied. Thus began one of the most famous chapters in Russian maritime history. The mutiny has been well covered in the literature, so I won't go into details. It led the ship and entire Black Sea Fleet on a chase through the western part of Black Sea, to Odessa and ended in Constanza, Romania, on 25 June 1905. There the mutineers disembarked and the ship was interned by the Romanians. For several days it flew a Romanian flag and thus became the only capital ship of the Romanian navy ever. The ship was towed back to Sevastopol five days later and in October 1905 was renamed Panteleymon, after one of the saints of the Orthodox church to erase any remainders of the mutiny. Several quiet years followed until in 1909 during maneuvers the ship rammed and sank submarine Kambala, killing 16 men. Then in 1911 during a visit to Constanza, Romania Panteleymon ran aground and was stuck for several days. In 1910-11 the ship underwent a refit during which the large bridge above the conning tower was removed along with weapons platforms on both masts. 12" guns were upgraded to increase the rate of fire. You can see the photo of Panteleymon after refit here.

Quiet life resumed until October 1914, when German battlecruiser Goeben under Turkish flag bombarded Russian coastal cities and hence caused Russia to declare a war on Turkey. Russian Black Sea dreadnoughts were still a year away from the completion, so the job of contesting the command of the Black Sea mainly fell on Panteleymon and her half sisters Evstafii and Ioann Zlaoust. First actions happened very soon after the war started, when on November 5, 1914 Russian fleet returning from patrol ran into Goeben near Cape Sarych (about 80 miles from Sevastopol). During that engagement Russian flagship Evstafii managed to hit Goeben with a first salvo causing ammunition fire in the secondary battery, and damaging the ship severely enough to cause it to break off. Evstafii received four 11" hits losing 34 killed and 24 wounded. Goeven lost 15 people. Panteleymon was third in the column behind Ioann Zlaoust, and didn't see Goeben due to smoke interference. You can read an excellent article on the battle by Steven McLaughlin here. Numerous combat sorties followed, where Panteleymon covered minelayers and shelled Turkish coast defenses. Soon thereafter on 27 April 1915 a second meeting with Goeben followed. Russian squadron consisting of Evstafii, Ioann Zlaoust, Panteleymon and Tri Svyatitelya encountered Goeben near Bosporus. In the following engagement Goeben was hit two times and retired back to the protection of the coast defenses, while not achieving any hits in return. Sources differ on who achieved those hits. One credits Panteleymon with both, while other says that the remaining three ship achieved those hits. After the battle the ship received a paravane and two 57mm anti-aircraft guns. Combat sorties continued throughout 1915. After first Russian Black Sea dreadnought Imperatritsa Maria was commissioned, the pressure on the pre-dreadnoughts lessened and they started to get assigned to secondary duties. Thus Panteleymon was assigned to provide gunfire support to Russian troops in the Batum-Trapezund area. from January to April 1916. After Imperatritsa Maria was lost to the magazine explosion in October 1916, Panteleymon was reassigned back to the battleship squadron. In February 1917 the ship went in for a much needed refit.

It was during the refit the ship met the momentous events that shaped the rest of its and whole Russia's history. On March 4th 1917, "March" revolution happened and Tsar abdicated. Soon after the ship was renamed Potemkin-Tavricheskii, and then a month later it was changed again to Borets Za Svobodu (Fighter for freedom) due to he demands of the crew. Refit lasted until June and soon after the ship was again taking part in combat operations. Its last combat sortie was on November 2-5 1917, two days before the Bolshevik revolution. Soon the army and the navy started to fall apart and indignities of once proud ship began. The ship was placed in reserve in March 1918. In April 1918 advancing German troops entered Sevastopol, and while more modern ships of the fleet tried to escape capture, old pre-dreadnoughts were abandoned to them. Thus German flag was raised over the veteran ship. In November 1918, after the armistice, Germans withdrew and turned over all of the captured ships to the British, who raised their flags on them. The ship languished in obscurity until April 1919, when in an act of betrayal the retreating British forces blew you the machinery on all of the Russian pre-dreadnoughts. Now immobile the ship was subsequently abandoned by the whites when they evacuated from Crimea in November 1920. A red flag of the Soviet Union was raised over the ship. By that time the condition of the ship was extremely poor and it was decided to scrap it. Scrapping began in 1923 and was finished in 1924.

Most of the publications usually give only one number for ship's length. Usually it it given as a overall length. However it is really hard to use to determine the scale of the ship using it, since it usually includes the underwater ram bow. A lot of people forget that. It seems that whoever drew the plans that Kombrig used used the overall length of the ship 115.36m as a waterline length. Kombrig kit scaled out almost perfectly is you use this figure - 115.36m / 700 = 165 mm. In other dimensions Kombrig kit is correct. Deck detail is somewhat sparser than a WSW kit, but more stuff is given as separate parts. The cross deck planking is not simulated. Casting quality is very good. Everything is sharp and sides of the hull are smooth and will not require any cleanup. The casemates have detailed covers, and the placement of the casemates and the size of the central superstructure coincides very well with the Gangut plans, but not with M-K plans. In general looking at the plans it is obvious that Kombrig used plans either from or similar to the ones published in Gangut.

Now the negatives. The biggest problems on the kit are the bow and the stern. They are both too long (bow about 2mm and stern 3mm) and are too sharp. The waterline of the ship is also wrong, with the hull sides being nearly vertical in the bow area, compared to the much finer waterline shape of the WSW kit.

WSW obviously used the plans published in Modelist-Konstruktor in 1985. Their model fits almost perfectly to those plans. The casemates and deck shape is exactly the same as those plans show. The hull offers more details than Kombrig kit, including a very nice touch of the stairs going down into the hull. The deck planking is simulated as are the metal fittings that held the deck together. The deck edge also has a beautifully raised border. The splinter shielding is well simulated. Boat skids are much better cast than the Kombrig ones. The light hatches on the deck are also of the correct shape, with the square covers, instead of the round holes shown on the Kombrig kit.

Now on to the negatives. The hull is to high (about 2mm higher than Kombirg, which has correct height). The hull sides have a rough texture to them, which will need cleaning, which in turn will probably destroy that nice detail on the sides. The superstructure sides are also rough and will also need clean up, which is a shame considering very fine detail cast into the sides of it. However the biggest problem in my example of the kit was that it was warped, not the usual, easy to correct height wise (being banana shaped from the sides), but rather very hard to correct lengthwise (being banana shaped looking at it from the top). For the kit of that price I consider it unacceptable and it reflects very poorly on the company.

Putting two main caliber turrets next to each other is quite a shock. The are very different. WSW turret is wider, longer and more round. Comparing to M-K's plans it seems that Kombrig's turret is the accurate one and scales out perfectly ins size and in shape. It even has the lip of the barbette that protruded from the sides of the turrets. The guns in the turret are of the correct length (once you cut off the last part of the gun beyond the last joint), but sit slightly too close. On the WSW turret, it is completely wrong, being too wide, too long, too round. Guns look anemic and sit too far apart.

On the subject of smaller guns Potemkin was armed with sixteen 6" guns (all in casemates), sixteen 75mm guns (12 in casemates, 4 on the superstructure) and six 47 mm guns. Of these Kombrig kit provides barrels for all sixteen 6" guns and six 47mm guns, while completely omitting the 75mm guns. WSW kit doesn't give any 6" or 75mm barrels, but does provide four 75mm guns that were placed in the open positions. Unfortunately it only provides two 47mm guns. According to the drawings I have the ship carried 5 or 6 searchlights. Kombrig kit includes five (on the photo one was lost by me), and WSW has six.

Stacks on both kits fit their respective drawings pretty well. Both of them are about 1mm too tall, but on the Kombrig that comes from the bottom, were they can be shortened without destroying any detail, while on the WSW it comes from the top, where any attempt to shorten them will damage the delicate funnel cap. On the other hand WSW stacks are beautifully cast to include the ventilators and superstructure tops integral, so there will be no problems with alignment and seams. Kombrig provides separate ventilators.

Superstructure on both kits is almost identical to each other, and both probably came from the same source - M-K. WSW bridges are somewhat more finely cast, and the forward bridge has simulated planking that Kombrig bridge does not. Both forward bridges match each other and the plans perfectly, while aft bridge on the Kombrig matches the M-K plans better than the one on WSW, which also has a strange border around it - it is too low to be splinter shielding, and too tall to be a coaming. The WSW aft bridge also comes in two parts and has a strange circular cutout in the middle. Conning tower is also included separately in the Kombrig kit, while it is case integral with the hull on the WSW one.

The masts on both kits are very well done and fit their respective drawings excellently. WSW masts include a very nicely done platforms that are cast integral with masts, and would be much easier to build than Kombrig ones. They also have the correct number of platforms, while Kombrig is missing a couple. Kombrig kit provides resin masts and yardarms, which are nice but useless, while WSW provides brass rod and instructions on how to build your own.

The ship carried 18 to 20 boats and cutters. Kombrig provides 14 of them, while WSW has all 18 of them. Both companies provide nice boat davits and and the distinctive US style boat cranes are will cast in both kits.

WSW provides a cool torpedo boat for free with their kit. It is #267 that was involved in the mutiny, of the Izmail class (strangely named #107 Narva, which served in the Baltic, through her sistership #267 Izmail is the more relevant subject). It is a very nice gesture.

Final Design of the Minas Geraes

São Paulo in WW1 – wikimedia commons via Flickr

In a few lines, the Minas Geraes (Or ‘Gerais’) were not only the largest and mightest battleships in the world on paper at that time, they innovated in some ways, by using for the very first time on a battleships superfiring turrets. This was a brand new arrangement that sparked a lot of interest and fears. The rest of the artillery was placed in echelon, like on the Colossus and Neptune. The latter also had superfiring rear turrets, but only after the confirmation of the Minas Geraes fire trials. The ship indeed gave the opportunity to the Royal Navy to test these ideas without taxpayer money.

The Brazilian dreadnoughts displacement was established at 18,976 long tons (19,281 tonnes (t)) normal, 20,900 long tons (21,200 t) at full load, about the same as the St Vincent, with the benefit of one more turret. The hull was longer at 543 ft (165.5 m) overall versus 536 ft (163.4 m) but slightly narrower at 83 ft (25.3 m) versus 84 ft 2 in (25.7 m) on the St. Vincent.


The minas Gerais and São Paulo were propelled by two shaft mated on Vickers vertical triple expansion engines, fed by 18 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, rated for a total of 23,500 shp (17,500 kW). This was not as advanced than the turbines rated for 24,500 shp (18,300 kW) on the St Vincent four shafts, which provided a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h 24 mph), the same on Minas Gerais. It proved that a dreadnought could stick to traditional VTE engines and still do quite well. However in practice overtime it often fell short of this, because substandard maintenance and neglect. Range was 10,000 nmi (12,000 mi 19,000 km) at 10 knots (12 mph 19 km/h) larger than the St Vincent’s 6,900 nmi.


The main armor belt was made with Krupp cemented armor, nine inches (230 mm) thick. It was rduced to six and three inches (150 and 76 mm) on both ends. Barbettes had nine-inch armor, while the main turret were protected by a 12-in (300 mm) front plate and 8-in (200 mm) side plates, and 2-3-in (51 to 76 mm) on top. The conning tower was only protected by 12-in (305 mm). Multiple deck armor levels ranged from 1, 1/2 to 2 in (38 to 51 mm). These figures were all better than the St Vincent class, which had substandard armor thickness.


Certainly the strongest point, these battleships wre the best armed of their time. The design main innovation, superfiring turrets, was the only way to preserve realistic hull lenght. There were still many interrogations though, related to the superfiring concept itself (as shown by the USS Kearsage before, which radically “empiled” turrets). In short it was by then only studied by another Nations, the USA, for their initial dreadnought, the South Carolina But the minas Gerais “washed the plaster” on this anyway. The configuration seemingly weakened the hull integrity where the large barbettes has been pierced through, but allowed a chase and retreat fire of eight guns.

The guns themselves were the standard 12-inch/45 caliber produced by Eslwick, 1906 pattern. Dozens were made for many Dreadnought classes, and exported. The Bore was 45 feet (13.716 m) (45 cal), they fired a shell of 850 pounds (385.6 kg), for a caliber of 12-inch (304.8 mm). Muzzle velocity was between 2,700 feet per second (823 m/s) and 2,800 feet per second (853 m/s) depending on the round (HE or AP), with a maximum firing range of 18,850 yards (17,240 m).

The secondary armament was a bit unusual, a battery of twenty-two 4.7 (120 mm)/50 cal. guns. It was still better than the weaker 4-inch (102 mm) guns of the St Vincent introduced with the previous Bellorophon as the Dreadnought was seen as too radical. This caliber was kept until the Iron Duke class, which introduced the famous 6-in (125 mm) caliber. These 4.7 in guns were placed in barbettes along the main deck, and in superfiring positions in the casemate, foward and aft.
The tertiary battery comprised eighteen 3-pounder (47 mm) guns and eight 1 pdr (37 mm) guns to deal with torpedo boats They were placed by pairs on the roof of main turrets B, X, and the echelon turrets, along the funnels, and bridges. There were no torpedo tubes.

The crew was around 900 men. The total cost of the two ships was considerable already for a great power, more so for Brazil, at an estimated $8,863,842. £6,110,100, without ammunition (£605,520) and upgrades to docks (£832,000). And this already staggering amount was nothing compared to maintenance costs, about 60% of the initial cost for just the first five years of service. This certainly explain the lack of maintenance both ships suffered and which condemned in particular São Paulo to a service punctuated by long inactivity. Despite it all, the two battleships stayed in service until 1953, so for 43 years.

Specifications of Minas Gerais (WW1)


Dvenadsat Apostolov was originally ordered as one of a pair of battleships for the Black Sea Fleet, but the second ship was awarded to a firm on the verge of bankruptcy and they made no significant progress. Her initial armament was planned to be eight 9-inch (230 mm) guns, four in two twin-gun turrets and four in the central casemate. However, the final form of the turrets and machinery layout was not decided upon, even after construction of the hull began in early 1888. The following September the Naval Technical Committee decided to increase the thickness of the waterline armour belt from 13 inches (330 mm) to 14 inches (356 mm) at the cost of 75 long tons (76 t). It also decided to move the forward turret back 7 feet 8 inches (2.3 m) because it thought that the ship might be bow-heavy. They also decided against the original armament and fixed on four 12-inch (305 mm) guns in twin-gun barbettes at each end of the ship with four 6-inch (150 mm) guns in a shortened central battery, although it added over 100 long tons (100 t) of additional weight to the ship. Ώ]

General characteristics [ edit | edit source ]

She was 335 feet 6 inches (102.3 m) long at the waterline and 342 feet (104.2 m) long overall. She had a beam of 60 feet (18.3 m) and a draft of 27 feet 6 inches (8.4 m). Her exact displacement was never measured, but has been estimated at 8,710 long tons (8,850 t), over 600 long tons (610 t) more than her designed displacement of 8,076 long tons (8,206 t). ΐ]

Her hull was generally similar to that of the Imperator Aleksandr II class although her ram was 4 feet (1.2 m) longer. It was subdivided by eleven transverse and one centreline longitudinal watertight bulkheads and she had a complete double bottom 35.4 inches (900 mm) deep. She had a metacentric height of 2.62 feet (0.80 m). She demonstrated better seagoing qualities than the older Ekaterina II class during a storm in October 1894, although she rolled badly and leaked through her ports and hatches. Α] She was assessed as a considerably better fighting ship that the Imperator Aleksandr II class. Β]

Propulsion [ edit | edit source ]

Dvenadsat Apostolov had two 3-cylinder vertical triple expansion steam engines built by Baltic Works and had a total designed output of 8,500 indicated horsepower (6,338 kW). Γ] Eight cylindrical boilers, four single-ended and four double-ended, provided steam to the engines, which drove two 5.26-metre (17 ft) screw propellers. Δ] On trials, the powerplant produced 8,758 ihp (6,531 kW) and a top speed of 15.15 knots (28.06 km/h 17.43 mph). After her initial engine trials her funnels were raised by 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) to improve their draft and to keep the superstructure clear of funnel gases. She carried 710 long tons (720 t) of coal at full load that provided a range of 1,900 nautical miles (3,500 km 2,200 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph). She had six Siemens dynamos with a total output of 540 kW. Ε]

Armament [ edit | edit source ]

Plan and side view diagram with the main guns labeled 'A' and the secondary guns as 'D'

The main armament of Dvenadsat Apostolov were two pairs of 12-inch (305 mm) Obukhov Model 1877 30-caliber guns mounted in twin barbette mounts forward and aft. They had a maximum elevation of 15° and could depress to −5° and could traverse 270°. 66 rounds per gun were carried. ΐ] They fired a 731.3-pound (331.7 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,870 ft/s (570 m/s) to a range of 5,570 yards (5,090 m) at an elevation of 6°. Ζ] The rate of fire was one round every five minutes, but the loading machinery would not work if the ship was heeled more than 5°. Α]

The four 6-inch (152 mm) Model 1877 35-caliber guns were mounted on pivot mounts in the central casemate. The sides of the hull were recessed to give them axial fire. They could traverse a total of 100°. Each gun had an arc of fire of 130°. The ship carried 130 rounds for each gun. Α] The guns could elevate to a maximum of 8.5° and depress to −8°. They fired a 'heavy' shell that weighed 119–123.5 lb (54.0–56.0 kg) at a velocity of 1,896 ft/s (578 m/s) or a 'light' shell that weighed 91.5 lb (41.5 kg) with a muzzle velocity of 2,329 ft/s (710 m/s). A 'light' shell had a maximum range of 8,170 yards (7,470 m) when fired at an elevation of 12°, although the casemate only permitted a maximum elevation of 8.5°. The guns could fire one round per minute. Η]

Her ten 47-millimetre (1.9 in) Hotchkiss guns were mounted in embrasures in the hull or superstructure. They fired a 3.3-pound (1.5 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,476 ft/s (450 m/s) at a rate of 20 rounds per minute to a range of 2,020 yards (1,850 m). ⎖] Two 37-millimetre (1.5 in) Hotchkiss revolving cannon were mounted at the forward end of the superstructure and two on the platform just abaft the second funnel. They fired a 1.1-pound (0.50 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s) at a rate of 32 rounds per minute to a range of 3,038 yards (2,778 m). ⎗] Six single-barrelled versions, with a rate of fire of only twenty rounds per minute, were carried in the fighting top on the foremast and two were in small embrasures at the after end of the superstructure. The location of the other two guns is unknown. Α]

Dvenadsat Apostolov carried six above-water 15 in (381 mm) torpedo tubes. One tube was in the bow, two tubes on each broadside and a tube in the stern. ⎘]

Protection [ edit | edit source ]

Compound armour was supplied by Charles Cammell of Sheffield, England and comprised the bulk of the armour used in Dvenadsat Apostolov. The main waterline belt had a maximum thickness of 14 inches (356 mm) abreast the machinery spaces, but thinned to 12 inches abreast the magazine and was only 7–8 inches (178–203 mm) thick at its lower edge. It was 228 feet 8 inches (70 m) long and 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) high, most of which (4 ft 3 in (1.30 m)) was below the waterline as actually completed because she was overweight. The belt tapered to eight inches at the lower edge. Bulkheads nine to twelve inches thick provided transverse protection for the ship's vitals. The lower casemate armour was 214 feet (65 m) long and twelve inches thick. Above it was the casemate armour for the six-inch guns that consisted of 5 inches (127 mm) of steel armour. The barbette armour was 10–12 inches (254–305 mm) thick. Initially the barbette was open-topped, but a 2.5-inch (64 mm) thick protective hood was added later, possibly in 1893. The conning tower had eight-inch sides of steel armour. ⎘]

Cleaning funnel on pre-dreadnought battleship - History

The British guns were ranging. Those deadly waterspouts crept nearer and nearer. The men on deck watched them in strange fascination. Soon one pitched close to the ship and a vast watery pillar, a hundred metres high one of them affirmed,
fell lashing on the deck. The range had been found. Damn aber ging’s los!
” ( With the Battle Cruisers , Naval Institute Press, Annapolis Maryland 1986, by Filson Young, at page 213)

If the Dreadnought marked a watershed from previous battleship designs, the new armored cruiser design selected by the committee was an even greater change from prior armored cruiser designs in that it incorporated all big guns in the design but
of 12-inch battleship caliber, far larger than the 9.2-inch guns of previous designs. The chief constructor Phillip Watts was in favor of a uniform armament of 9.2-inch guns for the new design, making them an armored cruiser equivalent to the
Dreadnought design but Jackie Fisher insisted on the 12-inch gun as main armament. By weight of his personality and position of 1st Sea Lord he got his way and the HMS Invincible class was created. At first they were still called armored cruisers
but the novelty of having a uniform 12-inch gun armament on ships faster and larger than previous cruiser designs actually created a new type of warship, the battle cruiser. Although details for the new Dreadnought design were published, Fisher
chose to employ a deception operation in regard to the Invincible design. It was deliberately leaked that the new armored cruiser design would have 9.2-inch guns, rather than 12-inch guns. The German navy swallowed the bait and accordingly
designed a new armored cruiser with uniform cruiser armament of 8.2-inch guns. This was SMS Blucher . When the German navy finally tumbled to the truth, it was too late. They were committed to a design that was not only significantly slower
than the Invincible but also far weaker in armament. They had also lost valuable time and as the Royal Navy added three more battle cruisers of the Indefatigable design, they finally responded with their first battle cruiser SMS von der Tann .

As Tiger took out after Blucher , all the others followed. “ The eight-point turn to port had enabled the New Zealand and Indomitable to cut off a corner and to fall in astern, although a long way astern, of the Princess Royal. She and the Tiger
now proceeded to circle round the Blucher, firing all the time and the other two ships fell in line astern of them. The doomed Blucher, already shot to pieces and in act of dissolution, might well have been left to the squadron of light cruisers and
the flotillas of destroyers which were rapidly closing her but her actual destruction seems to have been a kind of obsession with the captains of the two British battle cruisers. The psychological effects attendant upon ‘blooding of the pack’ must
be ignored.
” ( With the Battle Cruisers , Naval Institute Press, Annapolis Maryland 1986, by Filson Young, at pages 201-202)

The Blucher hull is very graceful, something not normally associated with an armored cruiser. It does have the lines of a battlecruiser, especially the von der Tann . Casting is very sharp from the knife-edge cutwater to the stern. There were no defects
or breakage. About the only clean up involved is the removal of the casting ridge from the waterline. Hull side detail starts with the very graceful cutwater with jack staff fittings at the top of the prow. The port side has two anchor hawse fittings, which
have a fairly deep interior. There is one anchor hawse fitting on the starboard side. The lines of port holes, three on the bow and two at the stern, have the individual port holes drilled fairly deep, so there is no need to drill them out. The differences in
the armor belt, which runs from the cutwater to almost the stern, is clearly delineated as to the different thicknesses. On each side forward are two tertiary gun positions with individual gun shutters with hinge detail and a locater hole for the gun barrel.
The forward pair are in sponsons overhanging the hull sides, while the aft pair are inset into the hull. Another two of these tertiary positions are on both sides at the stern but in their case, they are in sponsons, overhanging the hull sides. The 5.9-inch
secondary guns are in inset casemates amidships. Each position has a fine opening with gun barrel locater hole and a sighting port. Other side detail includes two doors with hinge and dog detail opening onto the narrow casemate main deck on each side.
Side detail ends with a curved stern that cuts back near the waterline. My only real complaint is that the hull sides lack location points or fittings for the booms for the torpedo nets. In 1:350 scale I think these should have been provided.

A thin resin sheet contains 17 platforms and decks. The largest of these is the deck attached to the top or the aft funnel structure. It has wings on each side, and three ventilation structures on the deck. The sheet also has a separate catwalk that
connects this deck with the top of the forward funnel structure. The second largest parts is the bottom platform with deck house for the forward superstructure searchlight tower. There is a long catwalk that connects the aft funnel structure with the
aft superstructure. Other platforms included on the sheet are for searchlight platforms, forward and aft navigation platforms, forward superstructure navigation wings, main mast top platform, and crane bases.

Naval/Maritime History 22nd of June - Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History

Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1790 – Launch of HMS Brunswick, a 74-gun third rate ship-of-the-line of the Royal Navy, at Deptford.

HMS Brunswick
was a 74-gun third rate ship-of-the-line of the Royal Navy, launched on 30 April 1790 at Deptford. She was first commissioned in the following month under Sir Hyde Parker for the Spanish Armament but was not called into action. When the Russian Armament was resolved without conflict in August 1791, Brunswick took up service as a guardship in Portsmouth Harbour. She joined Richard Howe's Channel Fleet at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War and was present at the battle on Glorious First of June where she a fought a hard action against the French 74-gun Vengeur du Peuple. Brunswick was in a small squadron under William Cornwallis that encountered a large French fleet in June 1798. The British ships were forced to run into the Atlantic and narrowly avoided capture through a combination of good fortune and some fake signals.

After a five-year spell in the West Indies, Brunswick returned home and was refitted at Portsmouth. In 1807, when Denmark was under threat from a French invasion, Brunswick was part of a task force, under overall command of James Gambier, sent to demand the surrender of the Danish fleet. When the Danes refused to comply, Brunswick joined in with an attack on the capital, Copenhagen. She returned to the Baltic some months later, following the Treaty of Tilsit and, while attached to Richard Goodwin Keats' squadron, she helped with the evacuation of 10,000 Spanish troops from the region. From 1812 Brunswick was on harbour service, and in 1826 she was broken up

HMS Brunswick fighting the Achille and Vengeur du Peuple simultaneously

Construction and armament
Brunswick was a 74-gun, third-rate ship-of-the-line ordered on 7 January 1785. She was the first of her type built following the American Revolutionary war and was significantly larger than previous 74s. The Admiralty approved the design on 10 January 1785 and work began in May 1786 when her keel, of 145 feet 2 inches (44.2 m) was laid down at Deptford. When finished, she was 176 feet 0 inches (53.6 m) along the gun deck, had a beam of 48 feet 8 inches (14.8 m) and a depth in the hold of 19 feet 6 inches (5.9 m). She was 1,82872⁄94 tons burthen and drew between 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m) and 16 ft 7 in (5.05 m).

The ship was initially designed to carry a main battery of twenty-eight 32-pounder (15 kg) guns on the lower deck and thirty 18-pounder (8.2 kg) on the upper deck, with a secondary armament of twelve 9-pounder (4.1 kg) guns on the quarter deck and four on the forecastle. She was launched on 30 April 1790 and taken down the Thames to Woolwich where she was fitted-out between 17 May and 18 June. Her build and first fitting cost the Admiralty£47,781.0.0d.

In December 1806, Brunswick's armament was changed so that all her guns fired a 24-pounder (11 kg) shot. This meant that the guns on the lower deck were downgraded while those on the upperdeck were upgraded. The guns on the forecastle were replaced with two 24-pounder long guns and four 24-pounder carronades, and on the quarter deck, the twelve 9-pounders were removed to make way for two long guns and ten carronades, all 24-pounders. The great guns on the upper decks were mounted on Gover carriages which enabled them to be handled by fewer men.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan with stern board outline, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth for building Brunswick (1790), a 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile for Brunswick (1790), a 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker, built at Deptford Dockyard

Brunswick (centre), following her engagement with Vengeur du Peuple (left) and Achille (right), on 1 June 1794

HMS Brunswick (1790) - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1815 - HMS Rivoli (74) captured Melpomene (1812 - 44) off Ischia

Melpomène was a 44-gun frigate of the French Navy, designed by Sané. She was launched in 1812. In 1815 HMS Rivoli captured her. The Royal Navy never commissioned Melpomène and in 1821 sold her for breaking up.

Clorinde, sister-ship of French frigate Melpomène (1812)

Melpomène was commissioned on 1 June 1812 in Toulon under Commander Charles Béville.[2] She took part in the Action of 5 November 1813, where she sustained light damage and had one wounded.

She was decommissioned on 21 February 1814, but reactivated in January 1815 under Captain Joseph Collet, at Toulon.

On 24 April, during the Hundred Days, she was sent to Napoli to transport Letizia Ramolino. Six days later, at 6a.m. on the 30th, she encountered the 74-gun HMS Rivoli off Ischia, commanded by Captain Edward Stirling Dickson. After a 35-minute fight, Melpomène struck to the ship of the line.

Although a key French source states that Melpomène was scuttled, she was not. The Royal Navy sailed her to Portsmouth, where she arrived on 28 December 1815. There she was laid up. She was not commissioned and was not fitted for sea. She was sold on 7 June 1821 at Portsmouth to a Mr. Freake for £2,460.

In May, the frigate Dryade brought Ramolino to France, along with Prince Jérôme Bonaparte.

1/40th scale model of Rivoli fitted with seacamels.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showng the body plan, stern board outline, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth for 'Rivoli' (1812), a captured French Third Rate, as taken off at Portsmouth Dockyard after fitting as 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker. Signed by Nicholas Diddams [Master Shipwright, Portsmouth Dockyard, 1803-1823]

Rivoli was built in Venice, whose harbour was too shallow for a 74-gun to exit. To allow her to depart, she was fitted with seacamels.

On her maiden journey, under Jean-Baptiste Barré, the British 74-gun third rate HMS Victorious intercepted her on 22 February 1812. Her crew was inexperienced, and in the ensuing Battle of Pirano, the British captured Rivoli after some 400 men of her crew of over 800 were killed or wounded.

The Royal Navy subsequently recommissioned her as HMS Rivoli. On 30 April 1815, under Captain Edward Stirling Dickson, she captured the frigate Melpomène off Naples.

Capture of the Rivoli, 22 Feb 1812


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1857 - The Novara Expedition (1857–1859) under command of Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair, the first large-scale scientific, around-the-world mission of the Austrian Imperial navy, begins in Triste

SMS Novara
was a sail frigate of the Austro-Hungarian Navy most noted for sailing the globe for the Novara Expedition of 1857–1859 and, later for carrying Archduke Maximilian and wife Carlota to Veracruz in May 1864 to become Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

SMS Novara was a frigate that circumnavigated the earth in the course of the Austrian Imperial expedition of 1857–1859, during the reign of (Kaiser) Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. It was a sailing ship with three masts of sails and six decks, outfitted with 42 cannons, and had a water displacement of nearly 2,107 tons.

Between 1843 and 1899 SMS Novara had several different names and configurations: originally named Minerva when the lengthy construction started in Venice during 1843, the partially completed frigate was renamed Italia by Venetian revolutionaries in 1848, finally launched with the name Novara in 1850, and converted to a steam cruiser during 1861–1865.

The name Novara originated with the Battle of Novara in March 1849: following the Austrians' retaking of Venice in August 1849, Field Marshal Radetzkyvisited the shipyard there, and the officers petitioned him to have the nearly-completed Italia renamed in honour of his victory over King Charles Albert at the Italian town of Novara.[4] The ship was subsequently christened "Novara" in 1849, and construction restarted in earnest under Austrian supervision. The hull left the slipway the following year, in November 1850.

The circumnavigation of the earth from April 1857 through August 1859 by Novara was one of the most important journeys for what became the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. A number of eminent natural scientists joined the voyage, including Georg Ritter von Frauenfeld, curator in the invertebrate department of the Imperial museums. The material collected during the expedition was voluminous and prominent scientists continue to examine and write it to the present day

Novara Expedition
The Novara Expedition (1857–1859) was the first large-scale scientific, around-the-world mission of the Austrian Imperial navy.

Authorized by Archduke Maximillian, the journey lasted 2 years 3 months, from 30 April 1857 until 30 August 1859.

The expedition was accomplished by the frigate Novara, under the command of Kommodore Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair, with 345 officers and crew, plus seven (7) scientists aboard. Preparation for the research journey was made by the "Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna" and by specialized scholars under direction of the geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter and the zoologist Georg von Frauenfeld. The first coca plant (cocaine) investigations, in particular on St. Paul Island, the Nicobar Islands, and on New Zealand (first geological mapping by Hochstetter), created the bases for future geological research. The oceanographic research, in particular in the South Pacific, revolutionized oceanography and hydrography.

The collections of botanical, zoological (26,000 preparations), and cultural material brought back enriched the Austrian museums (especially the natural-history museum). They were also studied by Johann Natterer, a scientist who collected Vienna museum specimens during 18 years in South America. The geomagnetic observations made throughout the whole expedition significantly increased the scientific knowledge in this field. Finally, the expedition's introduction of coca plant leaves made it possible to isolate cocaine in its pure form for the first time in 1860.

The results of the research journey were compiled into a 21-binder report of the Viennese Academy of Sciences, titled "Reise der österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde (1861–1876)" ("journey of the Austrian frigate Novara around the earth"). Also published were many woodcuts under the same title (in 3 volumes, by K. Scherzer 1864–1866).

The Novara-Expedition report included a drawing of the frigate SMS Novara surrounded by an oval border with the names of locations visited: Gibraltar, Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, St. Paul island, Ceylon, Madras, Nicobar Islands, Singapore, Batavia, Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Puynipet Island, Stewart Island or Stuart Island (16-17 October 1858), Sydney (5 November 1858), Auckland, Tahiti, Valparaíso, Gravosa, and Triest (returning on 26 August 1859).

    Novara, the original hull in cross-section

  • 1861 vs 1862 hulls compared

  • Novara in 1864 at Martinique

  • New and different figurehead

From Novara Expedition: Coca-plant

Over 3 years later, upon the capture and execution of Maximilian I of Mexico, by the revolutionary Mexican government (of Benito Juárez), Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff was sent with Novara to bring Maximilian's body home to Austria, arriving in the port of Trieste on 16 January 1868.

Battle of Lissa
SMS Novara saw active service during the Battle of Lissa which took place on 20 July 1866 in the Adriatic Sea near the island of Vis (Italian: Lissa). SMS Novara belonged to Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff's 2nd Division, commanded by Baron Anton von Petz, which consisted mainly of wooden steam warships. 'Novara's commander, Erik af Klint, was killed in the engagement. The battle was a decisive victory for an outnumbered Austrian Empire force over a superior Italian force. It was the first major sea battle between ironclads and one of the last to involve deliberate ramming.

SMS Novara has left such a legacy behind that a depiction of her was selected for a commemorative coin: the 20 euro S.M.S. Novara coin minted on 16 June 2004. The obverse shows the frigate SMS Novara under sail during her circumnavigation of the globe in 1857-1859. Novara was the first Austrian ship in the Austro-Hungarian Navy to circumnavigate the world. In the background, there is a representation of the Chinese coast. Seagulls, showing the nearness to land, circle the ship.

Approximately 30,000 copies of Karl von Scherzer's book on the circumnavigation of the world of the frigate Novara were sold, a huge number in that era. It is considered the second most successful popular scientific work in the German language in the 19th century second only to Alexander von Humboldt's 5-volume Cosmography. An English edition was published shortly after, printed by Saunders, Otley and Co. in London in three volumes 1861-1863, containing more than 1200 pages. The complete title of the book is: Karl von Scherzer: "Narrative of the Circumnavigation of the Globe by the Austrian Frigate "Novara" (B. von Wullersdorf-Urbair,) Undertaken by Order of the Imperial Government, Under the Immediate Auspices of His I. and R. Highness the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Commander in-Chief of the Austrian Navy."


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1904 - german Christian Huelsmeyer applied for a patent for his 'telemobiloscope' , the first Radar

On the 30th April 1904, Christian Huelsmeyer in Duesseldorf, Germany, applied for a patent for his ' telemobiloscope' which was a transmitter-receiver system for detecting distant metallic objects by means of electrical waves. The telemobiloscope was designed as an anti-collision device for ships and it worked well. His interest in collision prevention arose after observing the grief of a mother whose son was killed when two ships collided. After a period teaching in Bremen, where he had the opportunity of repeating Hertz's experiments, he joined Siemens.

In 1902 he moved to Duesseldorf to concentrate on his invention. He became acquainted with a merchant from Cologne, was given 5,000 marks and founded the company 'Telemobiloscop-Gesellschaft Huelsmeyer und Mannheim'. The first public demonstration of his 'telemobiloscope' took place on the 18th May 1904 at the Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne. As a ship on the river approached, one could hear a bell ringing. The ringing ceased only when the ship changed direction and left the beam of his 'telemobiloscope'. All tests carried out gave positive results. The press and public opinion were very favorable. However, neither the naval authorities nor industry showed interest. In June 1904 he was given the opportunity by the director of a Dutch shipping company to display his equipment at various shipping congresses at Rotterdam. His was detecting ships at ranges up to 3,000 m, and he was planning a new 'telemobiloscope' which would function up to 10,000 m. He received a fourth patent on the 11th November 1904 in England. In 1955, he was honored at a congress in Munich on Weather and Astro-Navigation (Flug-Wetter-und Astro Funkortungs-Tagung). His 'telemobiloscope' operated on a wavelength of 40-50 cm. The transmitter used a Righi-type spark gap (part of which was immersed in oil) from an induction coil. The radiated pulses were beamed by a funnel-shaped reflector and tube which could be pointed in any desired direction. The receiver used a coherer detector and a separate vertical antenna, which, because of a semi-cylindrical movable screen, was also directional. Basically, the apparatus was designed to detect the presence of an object in a particular direction. The question of determining distance was later solved, by a modification which aimed at beaming the radiation at any desired angle of elevation. Knowledge of the height of one's own transmitting antenna above the surface of the water and of the angle of vertical elevation at which an object was detected would, by simple calculation, give the range of the object. Perhaps the most ingenious aspect of the inventor's later apparatus was his awareness that the equipment might respond to other than its own transmissions and his safeguarding against it by a time limiting electromechanical mechanism. The receiver responded to a first transmission's signal only if, after a predetermined interval, it received the signal from a second transmission.
Some claims are made that Heulsmeyer had built a second set, a much larger demonstration unit which he is supposed to have build in two month and is claimed did not work! There is no support for this claim. His unit worked and it was in competion with the Marconi spark transmitters. The Marconi Wireless Company had the control of the Navel communication industry in those days and would not tolerate any competition.

Above, Huelsmeyer's "telemobiloscope" on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. At left is the antenna, in the middle the receiver, and at right the transmitter. After 90 years (1904) the unit was connected to a battery and it still worked flawlessly. Range is 3000 m. A description in English on how his radar system worked is detailed in his US patent 810,150 dated Jan. 16, 1906.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1904 – Launch of French Démocratie, a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the French Navy in the mid-1900s.

Démocratie was a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the French Navy in the mid-1900s. She was the fourth member of the Liberté class, which included three other vessels and was a derivative of the preceding République class, with the primary difference being the inclusion of a heavier secondary battery. Démocratie carried a main battery of four 305 mm (12.0 in) guns, like the République, but mounted ten 194 mm (7.6 in) guns for her secondary armament in place of the 164 mm (6.5 in) guns of the earlier vessels. Like many late pre-dreadnought designs, Démocratie was completed after the revolutionary British battleship HMS Dreadnought had entered service, rendering her obsolescent.

On entering service, Démocratie joined the Mediterranean Squadron, based in Toulon. She immediately began the normal peacetime training routine of squadron and fleet maneuvers and cruises to various ports in the Mediterranean. She also participated in several naval reviews for a number of French and foreign dignitaries. Following the outbreak of war in July 1914, Démocratie was used to escort troopship convoys carrying elements of the French Army from French North Africa to face the Germans invading northern France. She thereafter steamed to contain the Austro-Hungarian Navy in the Adriatic Sea, taking part in the minor Battle of Antivari in August. The increasing threat of Austro-Hungarian U-boats and the unwillingness of the Austro-Hungarian fleet to engage in battle led to a period of monotonous patrols that ended with Italy's entry into the war on the side of France, which allowed the French fleet to be withdrawn.

In mid-1916, she became involved in events in Greece, being stationed in Salonika to put pressure on the Greek government to enter the war on the side of the Allies, but she saw little action for the final two years of the war. Immediately after the end of the war, she was sent to the Black Sea, first to oversee the surrender of German-occupied Russian warships there, and then as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. In May 1919, she carried the Ottoman delegation to France to sign the Treaty of Sèvres. The ship was placed in reserve in 1920, stricken from the naval register in 1921, and broken up later that year.

Main article: Liberté-class battleship

Line-drawing of the Liberté class

The Liberté-class battleships were originally intended to be part of the République-class battleship, but the construction of the British King Edward VII-class battleships, with their heavy secondary battery of 9.2-inch (230 mm) guns, prompted the French Naval General Staff to request that the last four Républiques be redesigned to include a heavier secondary battery in response. Ironically, the designer, Louis-Émile Bertin, had proposed such an armament for the République class, but the General Staff had rejected it since the larger guns had a lower rate of fire than the smaller 164 mm (6.5 in) guns that had been selected for the République design. Because the ships were broadly similar apart from their armament, the Libertés are sometimes considered to be a sub-class of the République type.

Démocratie was 135.25 meters (443 ft 9 in) long overall and had a beam of 24.25 m (79 ft 7 in) and an average draft of 8.2 m (26 ft 11 in). She displaced up to 14,900 metric tons (14,700 long tons) at full load. The battleship was powered by three vertical triple-expansion steam engines with twenty-two Belleville boilers. They were rated at 17,500 metric horsepower (17,300 ihp) and provided a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h 21 mph). Coal storage amounted to 1,800 t (1,800 long tons 2,000 short tons), which provided a maximum range of 8,400 nautical miles (15,600 km 9,700 mi) at a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph). She had a crew of 32 officers and 710 enlisted men.

Démocratie's main battery consisted of four 305 mm (12.0 in) Modèle 1893/96 guns mounted in two twin-gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of ten 194 mm (7.6 in) Modèle 1902 guns six were mounted in single turrets, and four in casemates in the hull. She also carried thirteen 65 mm (2.6 in) Modèle 1902 guns and ten 47 mm (1.9 in) Modèle 1902 guns. The ship was also armed with two 450 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes, which were submerged in the hull on the broadside.

The ship's main belt was 280 mm (11.0 in) thick in the central citadel, and was connected to two armored decks the upper deck was 54 mm (2.1 in) thick while the lower deck was 51 mm (2.0 in) thick, with 70 mm (2.8 in) sloped sides. The main battery guns were protected by up to 360 mm (14.2 in) of armor on the fronts of the turrets, while the secondary turrets had 156 mm (6.1 in) of armor on the faces. The casemates were protected with 174 mm (6.9 in) of steel plate. The conning tower had 266 mm (10.5 in) thick sides.

Over the course of 1912 through 1914, the navy tried to modify Démocratie and her sister Vérité to allow the 305 mm guns to be aimed continuously Tests to determine whether the main battery turrets could be modified to increase the elevation of the guns (and hence their range) proved to be impossible, but the Navy determined that tanks on either side of the vessel could be flooded to induce a heel of 2 degrees. This increased the maximum range of the guns from 12,500 to 13,500 m (41,000 to 44,300 ft). New motors were installed in the secondary turrets in 1915–1916 to improve their training and elevation rates. Also in 1915, the 47 mm guns located on either side of the bridge were removed and the two on the aft superstructure were moved to the roof of the rear turret. On 8 December 1915, the naval command issued orders that the light battery was to be revised to eight of the 47 mm guns and ten 65 mm (2.6 in) guns. The light battery was revised again in 1916, with the four 47 mm guns being converted with high-angle anti-aircraft mounts. They were placed atop the rear main battery turret and the number 7 and 8 secondary turret roofs. In 1912–1913, the ship received two 2 m (6 ft 7 in) Barr & Stroud rangefinders.

Liberté in New York City in September 1909

The Liberté class was a group of four pre-dreadnought battleships of the French Navy. The class comprised Liberté, the lead ship, Justice, Vérité, and Démocratie. The ships were in most respects repeats of the previous République class, and the major difference was the adoption of 194-millimeter (7.6 in) guns for the secondary battery, rather than the 164 mm (6.5 in) guns of the République class. Due to their similarity, the two classes are sometimes treated as one basic design. The four Liberté-class ships were built between 1903 and 1908 they were completed over a year after the revolutionary British HMS Dreadnought, which rendered the French ships obsolete before they entered service.

In September 1909, three of the ships, Liberté, Justice, and Vérité visited the United States for the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. Two years later, Liberté's forward magazines exploded in Toulon harbor, destroying the ship and killing approximately 250 of her crew. The three surviving ships saw action early in World War I at the Battle of Antivari, and spent the remainder blockading the Austro-Hungarian Navy in the Adriatic and were later stationed at Mudros in the Aegean. They were stricken from the naval register in 1921–1922 and broken up for scrap. Liberté was left on the bottom of Toulon harbor until 1925, when she was raised and broken up for scrap.

Justice at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in September 1909

French battleship Démocratie - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1904 – Launch of SMS Erzherzog Friedrich (German: "His Majesty's ship Archduke Friedrich"), a pre-dreadnought battleship built by the Austro-Hungarian Navy in 1902

SMS Erzherzog Friedrich
(German: "His Majesty's ship Archduke Friedrich") was a pre-dreadnought battleship built by the Austro-Hungarian Navy in 1902. The second ship of the Erzherzog Karl class, she was launched on 30 April 1904. She was assigned to the III Battleship Division.

For most of World War I, Erzherzog Friedrich remained in her home port of Pula, in present-day Croatia, except for four engagements. In 1914, she formed part of the Austro-Hungarian flotilla sent to protect the escape of the German ships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau from the British-held Mediterranean she advanced as far as Brindisi before being recalled to her home port. Her sole combat engagement occurred in late May 1915, when she participated in the bombardment of the Italian port city of Ancona. She also took part in suppressing a major mutiny among the crew members of several armored cruisers stationed in Cattaro between 1–3 February 1918. She also attempted to break through the Otranto Barrage in June of that year, but had to retreat when the dreadnought SMS Szent István was sunk. After the war, Erzherzog Friedrich was awarded to the French as a war prize in 1920.

Right elevation and plan of the Erzherzog Karl class

Erzherzog Friedrich displaced 10,472 long tons (10,640 t). She was 414 feet 2 inches (126.2 m) long, had a beamof 71 feet 5 inches (21.8 m) and a draft of 24 feet 7 inches (7.5 m). She was manned by 700 men. She and her sisters were the last and largest pre-dreadnought class built by the Austro-Hungarian Navy, surpassing the Habsburg class by approximately 2,000 tonnes (1,968 long tons). She was propelled by two two-shaft, four cylinder vertical triple expansion steam engines. On trials, they developed 18,000 ihp (13,423 kW), which propelled the ship at a speed of 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h 23.6 mph).

Erzherzog Friedrich carried a primary armament of four 24-centimeter (9.4 in)/40 caliber guns in two twin turrets on the centerline. These guns were an Austro-Hungarian replica of the British 24 cm/40 (9.4") Krupp C/94, which was used on the Habsburgs. Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 19 cm (7.5 in)/42 caliber guns, also made by Škoda, mounted in eight single casemates on either wing of the ship and two twin turrets on the centerline.[3] shell 20,000 metres (22,000 yd) at maximum elevation with a muzzle velocity of 800 metres per second (2,600 ft/s). The gun weighed 12.1 tons and could fire three rounds per minute. The ships had a tertiary armament for protection against torpedo boats in the form of the 7 cm (2.8 in)/45 caliber gun, also manufactured by Škoda. Anti-aircraft and airship protection was covered by the four 37-millimeter (1.5 in) Vickers anti-aircraft guns on the ship bought from Britain in 1910 and mounted onto Erzherzog Karl. After 1916-17 refits four Škoda 7 cm L/45 BAG anti-aircraft guns were installed. Erzherzog Karl was also fitted with two above water 45-centimeter (17.7 in) torpedo tubes, although rarely used.

SMS Erzherzog Friedrich underway.

At the outbreak of World War I, Erzherzog Friedrich was in the III division of the Austrian-Hungarian battle-fleet. She was mobilized on the eve of the war along with the remainder of the fleet to support the flight of SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau. The two German ships were attempting to break out of Messina, which was surrounded by British troops, and make their way to Turkey. The breakout succeeded. When the flotilla had advanced as far south as Brindisi in south eastern Italy, the Austro-Hungarian ships were recalled. In company with other units of the Austro-Hungarian navy, Erzherzog Friedrich took part in the bombardment of Ancona on 24 May 1915. There she and her sisters expended 24 rounds of 240 mm armor-piercing shells at signal and semaphore stations as well as 74 rounds of 190 mm shells aimed at Italian gun-batteries and other port installations.

A major mutiny among crews of the armored cruisers stationed in Cattaro, including Sankt Georg and Kaiser Karl VI, began on 1 February 1918. Two days later, Erzherzog Friedrich and her two sister ships arrived in the port and assisted with the suppression of the mutiny. Following the restoration of order in the naval base, the armored cruisers Sankt Georgand Kaiser Karl VI were decommissioned and Erzherzog Friedrich and her sisters were stationed in Cattaro in their place. For the morning of 11 June, Admiral Miklós Horthy planned a major assault on the Otranto Barrage the three Erzherzog Karls and the four Tegetthoff-classbattleships were to provide support for the Novara-class cruisers. The plan was intended to replicate the success of the raid conducted one year earlier. Horthy's plan was to destroy the blockading fleet by luring Allied ships to the cruisers and lighter ships, which were protected from the heavier guns of the battleships, including the guns of the Erzherzog Karl class. However, on the morning of 10 June, the dreadnought Szent István was torpedoed and sunk by an Italian torpedo boat. Horthy felt that the element of surprise had been compromised, and therefore called off the operation. This was to be the last military action Erzherzog Friedrich took part in and she spent the rest of their career at port in Pula. Following the end of World War I in November 1918 and the surrender of Austria-Hungary, Erzherzog Friedrich was ceded as a war reparation to France in 1920. She was later scrapped in 1921.

Erzherzog Karl-class battleship - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1908 - the Japanese cruiser Matsushima, while returning from a training cruise and anchored at Mako in the Pescadores islands off of Taiwan, had an accidental explosion occur in her ammunition magazine. Matsushima rolled over onto her starboard side and then sank stern-first. 206 of her 350 crew were lost.

Forming the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Navy during the First Sino-Japanese War, the Matsushima-class cruisers were based on the principles of Jeune École, as promoted by French military advisor and naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin. The Japanese government did not have the resources or budget to build a battleship navy to counter the various foreign powers active in Asia instead, Japan adopted the radical theory of using smaller, faster warships, with light armor and small caliber long-range guns, coupled with a massive single 320 mm (12.6 in) Canet gun. The design eventually proved impractical, as the recoil from the huge cannon was too much for a vessel of such small displacement, and its reloading time was impractically long however, the Matsushima-class cruisers served their purpose well against the poorly equipped and poorly led Imperial Chinese Beiyang Fleet.

Matsushima differed from her sister ships primarily in the location of her main gun, which was situated behind the superstructure instead of in the bow.

Matsushima had a steel hull with 94 frames constructed of mild steel, and a double bottom, divided into waterproof compartments, with the area between the bulkheads and armor filled with copra. The bow was reinforced with a naval ram. The vital equipment, including boilers and ammunition magazines, were protected by hardened steel armor, as were the gun shields. The main armament consisted of one breech-loading 320-mm Canet gun mounted in behind the superstructure of the ship, which could fire 450-kg armor-piercing or 350-kg explosive shells at an effective range of 8,000 metres (8,700 yd). The maximum rate of fire was two rounds per hour, and the ship carried 60 rounds. Secondary armament consisted of twelve QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I–IVArmstrong guns, with a maximum range of 9,000 metres (9,800 yd) and maximum rate of fire of 12 rounds/minute. Ten were mounted on the gun deck, five to each side, with the remaining two guns located in upper deck embrasures on either side of the bow. Each gun was equipped with 120 rounds. Tertiary protection was by six QF 6 pounder Hotchkiss mounted in sponsons on the upper deck, with a maximum range of 6,000 metres (6,600 yd) and rate of fire of 20 rounds/minute. Each gun had 300 rounds. In addition, eleven QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss were mounted at various locations, with range of 2,200 metres (2,400 yd) rate of fire of 32 rounds/minute and 800 rounds per gun. Each ship in the class also had four 356-mm torpedo tubes, three in the bow and one in the stern, with a total of 20 torpedoes carried on board. The weight of this weaponry made the design dangerously top-heavy, and armor was sacrificed in an attempt to lower the weight.

The ship was driven by two horizontal triple expansion steam engines. The seaworthiness of the design was poor, and the designed speed of 16.5 knots(30.6 km/h 19.0 mph) was seldom possible.

Service record
Matsushima arrived in Sasebo Naval District on 19 October 1892. As part of her shakedown cruise, from June to November 1893, Matsushima, Takachihoand Chiyoda made a 160-day, 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km 8,100 mi) navigational training cruise off the shores of China, Korea and Russia.

First Sino-Japanese War
After the start of the First Sino-Japanese War, Matsushima was the flagship of Admiral Itō Sukeyuki. She played a central role in the Battle of the Yalu River, as a part of the Japanese main body with Hashidate, Chiyoda and Itsukushima. During the battle, the shortcomings of her design soon became evident - she was able to fire her Canet gun only four times, knocking out one of the guns on the Chinese gunboat Pingyuan. During the battle, one of the 259-mm shells from Pingyuan struck Matsushima in her unarmored starboard side, destroying her torpedo tubes, and killing four crewmen, but the shell failed to explode. However, two of the 305-mm shells from the ironclad Zhenyuan also struck Matsushima. One failed to detonate, and passed through both sides of the hull. The other exploded, destroying the No.4 120-mm gun on the gun deck as it was being loaded, killing 28 crewmen and wounding 68 others. The fire from this explosion knocked three other guns out of commission, and only the quick action by a non-commissioned officer who stuffed his uniform into cracks in a bulkhead prevented the fire from spreading to an ammunition magazine. Matsushima also took numerous hits from smaller caliber artillery, damaging her smokestack, masts, and deck equipment, forcing her withdrawal from combat. In all, Matsushima lost 57 men (including three officers) and 54 wounded (including four officers) in the battle – more than half of the Japanese casualties during the entire battle. Admiral Itō was forced to transfer his flag to Hashidate as Matsushima returned to Kure Naval Arsenal for repairs.

With crews working around the clock, Matsushima was able to return to active duty after 26 days, participating in the Battle of Lushunkou and the Battle of Weihaiwei. While engaged in shore bombardment of the land fortifications of Weihaiwei harbor, Matsushima was hit by two shells from the defenders. One shell destroyed her chart house and damaged her smokestack, and the other exploded on her deck armor, wounding two crewmen. At the end of the battle, representatives from the Beiyang Fleet arrived on the deck of Matsushima to sign documents of surrender.

Matsushima was among the Japanese fleet units that took part in the invasion of Taiwan in 1895, and saw action on 3 June 1895 at the bombardment of the Chinese coastal forts at Keelung.

Matsushima in action, with her Canet gun. Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1894

Interwar years
Matsushima was among warships anchored in the Seto Inland Sea off Nagahama, Shikoku, Japan, when a strong gale struck on 29 October 1897. The central battery ironclad Fusō′s anchor chain broke, and Fusō drifted across the harbor, collided with Matsushima′s ram, then struck her sister ship Itsukushima before sinking in shallow water on a reef. Fusō later was refloated, repaired, and returned to service.

Matsushima was reclassified as a second-class cruiser on 21 March 1898. Prince Arisugawa Takehito was later appointed captain, followed by future admiral Uryū Sotokichi.

From 3 May 1898 to 15 September 1898, Matsushima was assigned to patrolling the sea lanes between Taiwan and Manila, during the period of heightened tension between Japan and the United States during the Spanish–American War.

In April 1900, Matsushima participated in large-scale naval maneuvers, and later that year escorted Japanese transports to China during the Boxer Rebellion. She underwent renovation at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal from February 1901, during which time her six boilers were replaced by eight more reliable Belleville boilers. Her smaller guns were also upgraded by replacement with additional 76-mm guns and 18 QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss 47-mm guns.

In 1902, Matsushima was dispatched to Minami Torishima, in an armed response to American claims that the island was American territory.

In 1903, Matsushima made the first of its long distance navigational training voyages, visiting Southeast Asia and Australia.

Officers of Matsushima.

Russo-Japanese War
During the Russo-Japanese War, the hopelessly obsolete Matsushima and her sister ships were assigned to the 5th squadron of the reserve IJN 3rd Fleet, together with the equally outdated ironclad battleship Chin'en under the command of Admiral Shichiro Kataoka. She was based out of the Takeshiki Guard District on Tsushima island for patrols of the Korea Strait in early February 1904. In May 1904, she assisted in the escort of transports carrying the Imperial Japanese Army 2nd Army, and at the end of the month was present at the blockade of Port Arthur.

During the Battle of the Yellow Sea of 10 August, Matsushima shadowed the Russian fleet, but was unable to close to combat distance. After the end of the Battle of Port Arthur, Matsushima was reassigned to Hakodate for patrols of the Tsugaru Strait. During this time, she captured the British-flagged steamship Istria with a cargo of contraband coal attempting to run the Japanese blockade into Port Arthur, but her capture was overturned in a Japanese prize court. On 28 February, she was briefly trapped in sea ice off of the island of Kunashir, but managed to break free, losing her right propeller and damaging some of her armor plating. She was repaired from March–April 1905 at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal.

At the final Battle of Tsushima, Matsushima was assigned to the 5th Division of the Japanese fleet. At the end of the first day of the battle, she was able to attack the cruisers Oleg and Aurora, but took a hit in return which damaged her steering and put her out of action until repairs could be completed. The following day, she covered the surrender of the remnants of the Russian fleet by Admiral Nebogatov. After the battle, she continued in patrols of the Korea Strait.

Later Matsushima was assigned as flagship of Admiral Dewa Shigeto in the IJN 4th Fleet, which was formed for the Japanese invasion of Sakhalin in July and August 1905. She was overhauled at Sasebo Naval Arsenal in September and October.

Final years

Original 1908 memorial to the cruiser Matsushima pictured. Modern park memorial in Magong City, Penghu County, Taiwan.

After the end of the war, Matsushima reverted to her former role as a training vessel, making long distance navigational training cruises with Imperial Japanese Naval Academy cadets to Southeast Asia and Australia in 1906, 1907 and 1908.

On 30 April 1908, while anchored at Mako in the Pescadores islands off of Taiwan while returning from a training cruise, an accidental explosion occurred in her ammunition magazine. Matsushima rolled over onto her starboard side and then sank stern-first at 23°32′N 119°34′ECoordinates:

23°32′N 119°34′E. The accident killed 206 of her 350-member crew, including 33 Midshipmen of the newly graduated 35th Class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy.[9] She was struck from the navy list on 31 July 1908. Later, her wreckage was raised and scrapped.

A memorial to the Matsushima-class ships in general, and Matsushima in particular is located at the temple of Omido-ji in Mihama, Aichi prefecture. The memorial contains one of Matsushima's 320 mm shells, weighing 450 kg, and standing 97.5 cm tall. There is also a modern park memorial to replace the 1908 memorial (pictured) in a Magong City park on the bay in Penghu County, Taiwan near the spot where the ship went down.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1937 - Alfonso XIII was a Spanish dreadnought battleship, the second member of the España class, struck a mine and sank most of her crew was taken off by the destroyer Velasco.

Alfonso XIII was a Spanish dreadnought battleship, the second member of the España class. She had two sister ships, España and Jaime I. Alfonso XIIIwas built by the SECN shipyard she was laid down in February 1910, launched in May 1913, and completed in August 1915. Named after King Alfonso XIII of Spain, she was renamed España in 1931 after the king was exiled following the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic. The new name was the namesake of her earlier sister ship, the España that served in the Spanish fleet from 1913 to 1923.

Alfonso XIII served in the Spanish fleet from 1915 to 1937. Spain remained neutral during World War I, and so Alfonso XIII and her sisters were the only European dreadnoughts to avoid the war. She and her sisters participated in the Rif War, where they provided gunfire support to Spanish Army forces. The ship was seized by General Francisco Franco at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. While steaming off Santander on 30 April 1937, she struck a mine and sank most of her crew was taken off by the destroyer Velasco.

Technical characteristics
Main article: España-class battleship
Alfonso XIII was 132.6 m (435 ft) long at the waterline and 140 m (460 ft) long overall. She had a beam of 24 m (79 ft) and a draft of 7.8 m (26 ft) her freeboard was 15 ft (4.6 m) amidships. Her propulsion system consisted of four-shaft Parsons steam turbines and twelve Yarrow boilers. The engines were rated at 15,500 shaft horsepower (11,600 kW) and produced a top speed of 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h 22.4 mph). Alfonso XIII had a cruising radius of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km 5,800 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph). Her crew consisted of 854 officers and enlisted men.

Line-drawing showing the disposition of the main battery

Alfonso XIII was armed with a main battery of eight 305 mm (12.0 in) /50 guns, mounted in four twin gun turrets. One turret was placed forward, two were positioned en echelon amidships, and the fourth was aft of the superstructure. This mounting scheme was chosen in preference to superfiring turrets, as was done in the South Carolinas, to save weight and cost. Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 102 mm (4.0 in) guns mounted in casemates along the length of the hull. They were too close to the waterline, however, which made them unusable in heavy seas. She was also armed with four 3-pounder guns and two machine guns. Her armored belt was 203 mm (8.0 in) thick amidships the main battery turrets were protected with the same amount of armor plate. The conning tower had 254 mm (10.0 in) thick sides. Her armored deck was 38 mm (1.5 in) thick.

Operational history
Alfonso XIII was laid down at the Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval shipyard in Ferrol on 23 February 1910. She was launched on 7 May 1913, and completed on 16 August 1915. After their completion, Alfonso XIII and her sisters, España and Jaime I, the three battleships formed the 1st Squadron of the Spanish fleet. Spain remained neutral after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, so Alfonso XIII and her sisters were the only European dreadnoughts to avoid the war. In August 1917, Alfonso XIII assisted in the suppression of general strikes in Vizcaya and Bilbao. After the end of the war, Alfonso XIII conducted cruises to show the flag, including a visit to Annapolis, Maryland, in 1920, during which USS Reina Mercedes, a former Spanish Navy cruiser captured by the United States during the Spanish–American War in 1898, flew the Spanish flag to honor her visit.

Throughout the early 1920s, she provided fire support to the Spanish Army in its campaigns in Morocco during the Rif War. On 17 September 1921, she and España bombarded Rif positions south of Melilla while Spanish Foreign Legion troops assaulted the positions. In August 1923, she participated in the first aerial, naval, and land combined arms operation in Spanish military history.[8] In September 1925, she provided fire support for the Al Hoceima landings, a decisive Franco-Spanish operation there, she served as the flagship of the Spanish naval contingent.

Illustration of España (formerly Alfonso XIII) in 1937

In April 1931, after the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, Alfonso XIII became part of the Spanish Republican Navy and was renamed España, the name previously held by her sister ship España, which had been wrecked in 1923 while engaged in combat operations at Cape Tres Forcas. By 1934, the renamed España was laid up at Ferrol awaiting disposal. That year, the Spanish Navy considered rebuilding the ship and Jaime I into analogues to the German Deutschland-class cruisers, with new oil-fired boilers. The ships' hulls would have been lengthened, and the main battery turrets rearranged so they would all be on the centerline. The ships' secondary batteries would have been replaced with dual-purpose 120 mm (4.7 in) guns. The plan was nevertheless abandoned. In 1936, the Navy again proposed a modernization for the two ships. It was a less radical plan, and called for additional anti-aircraft guns, modern fire control equipment, oil-fired boilers, and an increase to the elevation of the main guns.

At the time of General Francisco Franco's coup in July 1936 the battleship was still laid up in Ferrol. As detachments of the army, including some coastal artillery units around the harbor, sided with Franco's Nationalists, sailors who supported the Republican government took control of the ship with the intent of resisting the coup. Along with the crew of the cruiser Almirante Cervera, España engaged in an artillery duel with the shore batteries and the Nationalist-controlled destroyer Velasco. The engagement lasted several days and resulted in considerable destruction in the harbor, while Velasco was also heavily damaged before the crews of España and Almirante Cervera were convinced to surrender. España was then refitted and fought on the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War, operating as part of a naval task force along with Almirante Cervera and Velasco, which captured or drove back a number of Republican and foreign merchant ships. España seized the Republican freighter Mar Báltico with a cargo of iron ore on 13 February 1937, and on 30 April she prevented the entry of the British steamer Consett to Santander by firing her main guns across the freighter's bows. According to Nationalist sources the Consett and other blockade-runners were escorted at the time by the destroyer HMS Forester. Later that day the España accidentally struck a mine laid by her own side and sank three hours later off the coast near Santander, while assisting the destroyer Velasco in turning away the British merchantman Knistley. While the ship was sinking, Republican aircraft attacked her. All her crew, with the exception of five seamen, were rescued by the Velasco.

Spanish battleship Alfonso XIII - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1940 - SS Nerissa – The passenger and cargo steamship was torpedoed and sunk on 30 April 1940 by the German submarine U-552. She was the only transport carrying Canadian troops to be lost in World War II. 207 people, soldiers and civilians, were killed.

The SS Nerissa was a passenger and cargo steamer which was torpedoed and sunk on 30 April 1941 during World War II by the German submarine U-552 following 39 wartime voyages between Canada and Britain. She was the only transport carrying Canadian troops to be lost during World War II.

Nerissa was the final ship built for the Bowring Brothers' "Red Cross Line" service between New York City, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and St. John's, Newfoundland. Due to the arduous winter conditions to be expected on her routes, Nerissa was designed with a strengthened hull to cope with ice floes and an icebreaker style sloping stern.

She was built in Port Glasgow by the shipbuilding company William Hamilton & Company Ltd in a remarkably short time her owners only signed the contract for her construction on 3 November 1925, yet she was launched on 31 March 1926 in time for the 1926 sailing season. After preliminary trials she departed on her maiden voyage to New York on 5 June 1926.

The Red Cross Line relied mainly on American tourist traffic and this was much affected by the Depression,[clarification needed] until by 1927 it was decided to abandon the service, and at the end of 1928 the Line along with its three ships Nerissa, Rosalind, and Silvia was sold to Furness Withy.

The ships then became part of the Bermuda & West Indies Steamship Co. Ltd., and the Nerissa continued on the New York, Halifax and St. Johns route until 1931 when she was switched to the New York to Bermuda run and also made voyages to Trinidad and Demerara.

Wartime service
In late 1939 Nerissa was modified as an auxiliary transport with accommodation for 250 men and was fitted with a 4-inch gun and a Bofors gun, with gun crews drawn from the Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery. Due to her capability to steam at a higher speed than the usual 9 kn (17 km/h 10 mph) of escorted convoys, Nerissa sailed alone, since she was considered capable of outrunning enemy submarines.
On 7 September 1940, she left Liverpool bound for Halifax, with 34 evacuated children under the Children's Overseas Reception Board, their final destination was British Columbia.

By April 1941 Nerissa had made 39 wartime crossings of the North Atlantic. Her 40th crossing began on 21 April 1941 at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Carrying 145 Canadian servicemen along with RAF and Norwegian Army Air Service personnel, Northern Electric technicians, members of the press, and a number of civilians she sailed as part of a Britain bound convoy. At 10:15 she separated from the convoy to make her crossing alone, and arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland on 23 April, where her captain received his Admiralty orders and she sailed for Britain in the evening.

On 30 April she entered the area patrolled by the aircraft of the Royal Navy's Coastal Command. A Lockheed Hudson aircraft flew over her at nightfall and signalled that the area was clear of enemy submarines at 11:30 she was struck amidships by a torpedo fired from U-552, 200 mi (320 km) from her destination of Liverpool. The lifeboats were manned and in the process of being lowered when an explosion split the ship in two, destroying the unlowered boats. U-552 had fired an additional two torpedoes to ensure the ship's sinking which had struck together three minutes after the first.

In the short time between the two impacts the ship's radio operator was able to send a Mayday signal along with the ship's position and at first light a Bristol Blenheim of Coastal Command circled the scene. The British destroyer HMS Veteran arrived an hour later at 07:50 and picked up the 84 survivors, who were transferred to the Flower-class corvette HMS Kingcup and landed at Derry.



Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 April 1943 – World War II: Operation Mincemeat
The British submarine HMS Seraph surfaces near Huelva to cast adrift a dead man dressed as a courier and carrying false invasion plans.

Operation Mincemeat
was a successful British deception operation of the Second World War to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily. Two members of British intelligence obtained the body of Glyndwr Michael, a tramp who died from eating rat poison, dressed him as an officer of the Royal Marines and placed personal items on him identifying him as the fictitious Captain (Acting Major) William Martin. Correspondence between two British generals which suggested that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia, with Sicily as merely the target of a feint, was also placed on the body.

Part of the wider Operation Barclay, Mincemeat was based on the 1939 Trout memo, written by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the Director of the Naval Intelligence Division and his personal assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming. With the approval of the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill and the military commander in the Mediterranean, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the plan began by transporting the body to the southern coast of Spain by submarine and releasing it close to shore, where it was picked up the following morning by a Spanish fisherman. The neutral Spanish government shared copies of the documents with the Abwehr, the German military intelligence organisation, before returning the originals to the British. Forensic examination showed they had been read and Ultra decrypts of German messages showed that the Germans fell for the ruse. Reinforcements were shifted to Greece and Sardinia before and during the invasion of Sicily Sicily received none.

The effect of Operation Mincemeat is unknown, although Sicily was liberated more quickly than anticipated and losses were lower than predicted. The events were depicted in Operation Heartbreak, a 1950 novel by the former cabinet minister Duff Cooper, before one of the agents who planned and carried out Mincemeat, Ewen Montagu, wrote a history in 1953. Montagu's work formed the basis for the 1956 British film The Man Who Never Was.

. read the whole interesting story in detail at wikipedia .

Operation Mincemeat WWII deception prior to invading Italy by Ian Fleming

HMS Seraph (Pennant number: P219) was an S-class submarine built for the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Completed in 1942, she carried out multiple intelligence and special operations activities during World War II, the most notable of which was Operation Mincemeat.

She was afterwards assigned to the 8th Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean on 25 August she found herself selected to carry out special operations duties. Of the missions she carried out, three stand out among the rest.

Design and description

Schematic drawing of a S-class submarine

The S-class submarines were designed to patrol the restricted waters of the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The third batch was slightly enlarged and improved over the preceding second batch of the S-class. The submarines had a length of 217 feet (66.1 m) overall, a beam of 23 feet 9 inches (7.2 m) and a draught of 14 feet 8 inches (4.5 m). They displaced 865 long tons (879 t) on the surface and 990 long tons (1,010 t) submerged. The S-class submarines had a crew of 48 officers and ratings. They had a diving depth of 300 feet (91.4 m).

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 950-brake-horsepower (708 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 650-horsepower (485 kW) electric motor. They could reach 15 knots (28 km/h 17 mph) on the surface and 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph) underwater. On the surface, the third batch boats had a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km 6,900 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph) and 120 nmi (220 km 140 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h 3.5 mph) submerged.

The boats were armed with seven 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. A half-dozen of these were in the bow and there was one external tube in the stern. They carried six reload torpedoes for the bow tubes for a grand total of thirteen torpedoes. Twelve mines could be carried in lieu of the internally stowed torpedoes. They were also armed with a 3-inch (76 mm) deck gun. It is uncertain if Seraph was completed with a 20-millimetre (0.8 in) Oerlikon light AA gun or had one added later. The third-batch S-class boats were fitted with either a Type 129AR or 138 ASDIC system and a Type 291 or 291W early-warning radar.

Operation Flagpole
Seraph first saw action in support of Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa her first combat mission, under the command of Lieutenant Norman "Bill" Jewell, was carrying out a periscope reconnaissance of the Algerian coast during the last two weeks of September 1942.

Upon her return to Gibraltar, Seraph was assigned to Operation Flagpole, the carrying of General Dwight Eisenhower's deputy, Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, to North Africa for secret negotiations with Vichy French officers. Loaded with collapsible canoes, submachine guns, walkie-talkies, and other supplies, the submarine carried Clark, two other United States Army generals, United States Navy Captain Jerauld Wright, several other officers, and three British Commandos.

Seraph then sailed to the Algerian coast on 19 October 1942. On the night of 20 October her passengers disembarked ashore. The operation was very important as it helped to reduce French opposition to the Torch landings (although the French were not informed that the troop ships were already on their way and the landings were due in just a few days).

General Clark and his party were then picked up on 25 October by the submarine after some inadvertent delays. After an uneventful return journey, Seraph landed her party in Gibraltar on 25 October.

Operation Kingpin: "the ship with two captains"
On 27 October, Lt Commander David Jewell was ordered to set sail again to the coast of southern France for a secret rendezvous. Seraph was ordered to patrol up and down the coast until she received a signal giving her the name of the port from which she was to pick up her passengers. On the night of 5 November she finally arrived at a location some 20 miles (32 km) east of Toulon, as arranged to secretly take aboard French General Henri Giraud, his son, and three staff officers for a meeting with Eisenhower in Gibraltar, with the intention to enlist the support of the pro-Vichy forces at Oran and Casablanca to the Allied cause.

In picking up the general's party, a bit of legerdemain was needed: because Giraud flatly refused to deal with the British, and there was no US boat within 3,000 miles (4,800 km), HMS Seraph briefly became the "USS Seraph", flying the US Navy ensign. Nominally the sub came under the command of Captain Jerauld Wright, who was earlier involved in the Flagpole operation, although Jewell took care of actual operations. In the spirit of things the British crew affected American accents that they imitated from the movies. However, it fooled nobody — including Giraud, who had been told of the deception by Wright.

After the pick-up, on 7 November Seraph transferred her charges to a PBY Catalina flying boat that was sent from Gibraltar to search for her after they lost contact with the sub due to a problem with her main radio.

On 24 November, Seraph sailed on her first war patrol in the Mediterranean. She was soon called upon to join other submarines in carrying U.S. and British Commandos for reconnaissance operations in the area. On 2 December 1942 she torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant ship Puccini. Later that month, on 23 December she rammed and damaged a U-boat, sustaining sufficient damage herself to necessitate repairs and refit back in Britain.

In 1944 Lt Commander Trevor Russell-Walling was in command.

The officers of HMS Seraph, the submarine selected for the operation, on board in December 1943

Operation Mincemeat
Main article: Operation Mincemeat
Seraph returned to Blyth, northern England, for a much needed overhaul and leave on 28 January 1943. A few weeks later, Jewell was briefed at the Admiralty on Operation Mincemeat, to be carried out during Seraph's return to the Mediterranean. This mission was part of Operation Barclay, a plan to convince the Germans that the Allies intended to land in Greece and Sardinia, and not Sicily.

She set sail again on 19 April, carrying a special passenger. This was a corpse in a metal canister, packed in dry ice, and dressed in a Royal Marines uniform. Attached to the corpse was a briefcase containing faked "secret documents" designed to mislead the Axis.

In the early hours of 30 April Seraph surfaced off the coast of Spain, near the port of Huelva. Jewell and his officers launched the body and briefcase in the water, disposing of the canister in deeper waters. Jewell then radioed the signal "MINCEMEAT completed" while the submarine continued to Gibraltar. The body was picked up by the Spanish, who decided it was a courier killed in an aircraft accident. The false documents were passed to the Germans and led them to divert forces from the defence of Sicily.

The corpse of Glyndwr Michael, dressed as Martin, just prior to placement in the canister

Other missions
By late April 1943 Seraph was back in the Mediterranean operating east of Sardinia and on 27 April she fired a salvo of three torpedoes at a merchant ship off the Strait of Bonifacio but was not successful. Again on the last two days of that month she made similar attacks but none of these was successful, and Seraph ended up being depth-charged each time. She was not damaged during these engagements, with no lives lost.

In July, during the Allied invasion of Sicily, she acted as a guide ship for the invasion force.

For the remainder of 1943 the Seraph operated against German and Italian forces in the Mediterranean theater and attacked several convoys, but her performance in that area was lacklustre, sinking only a few small ships.

The head of HMS Seraph's search (navigation) periscope

In December 1943, she sailed to Chatham for a much needed refit, after which she operated in the eastern Atlantic and Norwegian Sea, until she carried out her final patrol in the English Channel, serving as a guide ship to the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, before her conversion as a training boat for anti-submarine warfare operations.

The Admiralty had received intelligence in early 1944 about new U-boats which were reported to be able to achieve a top speed of around 16 knots (30 km/h) underwater, compared to the 9 knots (17 km/h) of the fastest existing U-boats. As these new XXI-class U-boats were considered to pose a major threat, Seraph was modified at Devonport as a matter of urgency to have a high underwater speed so that trials and exercises could be carried out against a submarine having a similar underwater speed for example in developing new tactics.

The submarine was streamlined by careful attention to the attachments on the outside of the hull, the size of the bridge reduced, the gun was removed along with one of the periscopes and the radar mast, and torpedo tubes blanked over. The motors were upgraded and higher-capacity batteries fitted along with replacement of the propellors with the coarser pitched type used on the larger T class submarines.[6]

After the war
Seraph remained in active service after the war. In 1955 she was fitted with armour plating and used as a torpedo target boat. She was attached to a squadron commanded by her first skipper, now Captain David Jewell. Also during this time, Seraph appeared as herself in the British film The Man Who Never Was (1956), which details her exploits during Operation Mincemeat. Her identifying marks are visible in a number of scenes during the film.

She remained in commission until 25 October 1962, 21 years to the day after her launching.

When she arrived at Briton Ferry for scrapping on 20 December 1962, parts from her conning tower and a torpedo loading hatch were preserved as a memorial at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, where General Clark served as president from 1954–1965. This monument is the only shore installation in the United States where the Royal Navy ensign is authorised to be permanently flown by the British Admiralty. It flies alongside the US flag to commemorate Anglo-American cooperation during World War II.

Operation Mincemeat WWII deception prior to invading Italy by Ian Fleming

The Man Who Never Was (1956) - Trailer

Operation Mincemeat - Wikipedia

HMS Seraph (P219) - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
Other Events on 30 April

1659 - Small running battle between Dutch and Danes against Swedes

1697 - Medway Prize 50 (1697) – ex-French privateer, captured 30 April 1697 and then purchased for the Navy 20 August 1697, hulk 1699, scuttled as a foundation 1712.

1724 – Launch of HMS Sunderland , a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built to the 1719 Establishment at Chatham Dockyard,

HMS Sunderland was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built to the 1719 Establishment at Chatham Dockyard, and launched on 30 April 1724.
On 25 December 1742 Sunderland was ordered to be taken to pieces for rebuilding as a 58-gun fourth rate to the 1741 proposals of the 1719 Establishment at Portsmouth Dockyard, from where she was relaunched on 4 April 1744.
Sunderland sailed from Portsmouth on 6 May 1758, bound for Madras. She sailed in convoy with the 74-gun HMS Grafton and the East Indiaman Pitt.
On 1 January 1761, Sunderland was caught in a cyclone off Pondicherry, India, and foundered. She had been anchored and attempted to go out to sea, but was unable to and so reanchored. The storm overwhelmed her and she foundered six miles north of the anchorage 376 of her crew died and 17 survived. The same storm claimed four other warships as well. HMS Duc D'Aquitaine foundered in much the same manner as Sunderland, and with a similar outcome. HMS Newcastle, HMS Queenborough, and HMS Protector were all driven onshore and wrecked.

1765 – Launch of Spanish San Carlos 80 (launched 30 April 1765) - Converted to 112-gun 3-decker in 1801, BU 1819

San Carlos class. Built (all at Havana) as 80-gun (Third Rate) ships, with a length of 197 Burgos feet (180 British feet), these ships were later reconstructed as 94-gun Second Rates, and in the case of the San Carlos, as a First Rate (three-decker) of 112 guns.
San Carlos 80 (launched 30 April 1765) - Converted to 112-gun 3-decker in 1801, BU 1819
San Fernando 80 (launched 29 July 1765) - Stricken 8 October 1813 and sold 1815
San Luis80 (launched 30 September 1767) - Stricken 4 August 1789 and BU

1767 – Launch of Spanish Santa Isabel 70 (launched 30 April 1767 at Cartagena) - BU 1803

Velasco class all ordered 1762-64 at Cartagena, 68/70 guns
Velasco68 (launched 18 August 1764 at Cartagena) - stricken 4 September 1796
San Genaro 68 (launched 23 December 1765 at Cartagena) - transferred to France on 24 July 1801, renamed Ulysse, later renamed Tourville, stricken 1822
Santa Isabel 70 (launched 30 April 1767 at Cartagena) - BU 1803

1796 HMS Agamemnon (64), Cptn. Horatio Nelson, and squadron captured six vessels at Oneglia.

HMS Agamemnon was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. She saw service in the Anglo-French War, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and fought in many of the major naval battles of those conflicts. She is remembered as being Nelson's favourite ship, and was named after the mythical ancient Greek king Agamemnon, being the first ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth for Raisonnable (1768), and later for Agamemnon (1781) and Belliqueux (1780), all 64-gun Third Rate, two-deckers. Signed by Thomas Slade [Surveyor of the Navy, 1755-1771], and John Williams [Surveyor of the Navy, 1765-1784]

HMS Agamemnon (1781) - Wikipedia

1797 HMS Indefatigable (44), Sir Edward Pellew, & others captured French privateer brig La Basque (8) in the Channel

HMS Indefatigable was one of the Ardent class 64-gun third-rate ships-of-the-line designed by Sir Thomas Slade in 1761 for the Royal Navy. She was built as a ship-of-the-line, but most of her active service took place after her conversion to a 44-gun razee frigate. She had a long career under several distinguished commanders, serving throughout the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. She took some 27 prizes, alone or in company, and the Admiralty authorised the issue of four clasps to the Naval General Service Medal in 1847 to any surviving members of her crews from the respective actions. She was broken up in 1816.

Fight of the Indefatigable (left) and Droits de l'Homme, as depicted by Léopold le Guen (1853)

HMS Indefatigable (1784) - Wikipedia

1798 - Congress establishes the Department of the Navy as a separate cabinet department. Previously, naval matters were under the cognizance of the War Department. Benjamin Stoddert is named as the first Secretary of the Navy.

1822 - USS Alligator, commanded by Lt. W.W. McKean, captures the Colombian pirate schooner Ciehqua near the Windward Islands.

The third USS Alligator was a schooner in the United States Navy.
Alligator was laid down on 26 June 1820 by the Boston Navy Yard launched on 2 November 1820 and commissioned in March 1821 — probably on the 26th — with Lieutenant Robert F. Stockton in command. On 6 June 1996, the site of its wreck was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

USS Alligator (1820) - Wikipedia

1843 April 30 - Texans under Commodore Edwin Ward Moore draws with Mexicans under Thomas Marin near Campeche

Texans under Moore destroy Mexican fleet. This marks the only time in history a Sail Navy defeated a Steam Navy in battle.

Edwin Ward Moore (July 15, 1810 – October 5, 1865), was an American naval officer who also served as Commander-in-chief of the Navy of the Republic of Texas.

1851 -Launch of HMS Valorous was a 16-gun, steam-powered paddle frigate of the Royal Navy built at Pembroke Dockyard and launched on 30 April 1851.

HMS Valorous (1851) - Wikipedia

1904 – Launch of HMS Devonshire was the lead ship of her class of six armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

HMS Devonshire was the lead ship of her class of six armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet upon completion in 1905 and was transferred to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet in 1907. She was assigned to the reserve Third Fleet in 1909 and then to the 3rd Cruiser Squadron of the reserve Second Fleet in 1913.

Upon mobilisation in mid-1914 her squadron was assigned to the Grand Fleet Devonshire did not see combat before she was transferred to the Nore in 1916. At the end of that year she was assigned to the North America and West Indies Station and spent the rest of the war escorting convoys. She was sold for scrap in 1921.

Box of folded ships plans pertaining to Devonshire class First Class Armoured Cruisers. Name sequence: Argyll (1904) - Roxburgh (1904)

HMS Devonshire (1904) - Wikipedia

1941 - Lampo – On 16 April 1941 the Italian destroyer Lampo was disabled and grounded during the Battle of the Tarigo Convoy. 141 of her 205 crew were killed. The ship was later refloated and repaired, only to be sunk by aircraft on 30 April 1943.

1943 - Leone Pancaldo – An Italian destroyer sunk by Allied air strikes on 30 April 1943, while carrying German troops to Tunis. 124 of her 280 crew and 75 of the 247 German troops aboard were killed.

1945 - USS Thomas (DE 102), USS Bostwick (DE 103), USS Coffman (DE 191) and frigate Natchez (PF 2) sink German submarine U 548 off the Virginia Capes.

1945 - Navy patrol bombers PB4Y (VPB 103) and a PBY-5A Catalina aircraft flown by Lt. Fredrick G. Lake from VP 63 sink two German submarines off the coast of Brest, France.

2012 – An overloaded ferry capsizes on the Brahmaputra River in India killing at least 103 people.

On 30 April 2012, a ferry carrying about 350 passengers capsized in the Brahmaputra River in the Dhubri district of Assam in Northeast India.[3] The disaster killed at least 103 people.

According to officials, the incident occurred when a packed steamer carrying over 300 passengers was caught in a storm and subsequently capsized. The incident occurred near the Fakiragram village in the Dhubri district, about 350 km (220 mi) west of Guwahati. The Superintendent of Police, Pradip Saloi, told The Hindu: "The ferry, originating from Dhubri and going towards Hatsingimari, capsized near Fakirganj. We are not sure about the actual number of passengers. We have been told that there were 250–300 passengers. However, there were reports of many swimming to safety." Reuters reported that a police officer had said that the ferry had neither lifeboats nor life jackets and was overloaded with people and goods. Most of the passengers were farmers and farm families from the local area.

A survivor said passengers had begged the skipper to beach the ferry on a sandbar when the storm hit midstream, but he refused. "Then the storm became more intense and the boat split into two parts before sinking," Ali was quoted as saying by Channel 4 .

Death toll
According to India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the bodies of 103 victims were recovered by the NDRF personnel and the Border Security Forcenear Jaleswar. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the death toll was likely to rise. The dead bodies have been kept at the Dhubri Civil Hospital.

Assam ferry sinking - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1730 – Birth of Joshua Rowley, English admiral (d. 1790)

Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley , 1st Baronet (1734–1790) was the fourth son of Admiral Sir William Rowley. Sir Joshua was from an ancient English family, originating in Staffordshire (England) and was born on 1 May 1734 in Dublin Rowley served with distinction in a number of battles throughout his career and was highly praised by his contemporaries. Unfortunately whilst his career was often active he did not have the opportunity to command any significant engagements and always followed rather than led. His achievements have therefore been eclipsed by his contemporaries such as Keppel, Hawke, Howe and Rodney. Rowley however remains one of the stalwart commanders of the wooden walls that kept Britain safe for so long.

The Battle of Quiberon Bay, Nicholas Pocock, 1812. National Maritime Museum


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1735 – Birth of Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, Dutch admiral and philanthropist (d. 1819)

Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen
(1 May 1735 – 24 May 1819), or Count of Doggersbank, was a Dutch naval officer. Having had a good scientific education, Van Kinsbergen was a proponent of fleet modernization and wrote many books about naval organization, discipline and tactics.

In 1773, he twice defeated an Ottoman fleet while in Russian service. Returning to the Dutch Republic in 1775, he became a Dutch naval hero in 1781, fighting the Royal Navy, and gradually attained the position of commander-in-chief as a lieutenant-admiral. When France conquered the Republic in 1795 he was fired by the new revolutionary regime and prevented from becoming Danish commander-in-chief, but the Kingdom of Holland reinstated him in 1806, in the rank of fleet marshal, and made him a count. He was again degraded by the French Empire in 1810 after the liberation the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1814 honoured him with his old rank of lieutenant-admiral.

Van Kinsbergen, in his later life a very wealthy man, was also noted for his philanthropy, supporting poor relief, naval education, the arts and the sciences.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1751 – Launch of HMS Dolphin, a 24-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

HMS Dolphin
was a 24-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1751, she was used as a survey ship from 1764 and made two circumnavigations of the world under the successive commands of John Byron and Samuel Wallis. She was the first ship to circumnavigate the world twice. She remained in service until she was paid off in September 1776, and she was broken up in early 1777.

HMS Dolphin at Tahiti 1767

Built to the 1745 Establishment, Dolphin was originally ordered from the private yard of Earlsman Sparrow in Rotherhithe (under contract dated 7 October 1747). Following Sparrow's bankruptcy in 1748, the order was moved to Woolwich Dockyard. In order to reduce the likely incidence of shipworm, Dolphin's hull was copper-sheathed ahead of her first voyage of circumnavigation in 1764.

Early service
Not long after her commissioning, the hostilities of the Seven Years' War had escalated and spread to Europe, and in May 1756 Britain declared war on France of the Ancien Régime. Dolphin was pressed into service throughout the conflict, and was present at the Battle of Minorca in 1756 when a fleet under Admiral John Byng failed to relieve Port Mahon, Britain's main base in the Western Mediterranean (as a result of which Byng was later court-martialled and shot).

First circumnavigation
With Britain's successful conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763, her attentions turned towards consolidating her gains and continuing to expand her trade and influence at the expense of the other competing European powers. The Pacific Ocean was beginning to be opened up by exploratory European vessels, and interest had developed in this route as an alternate to reach the East Indies. This interest was compounded by theories put forward which suggested that a large, hitherto-unknown continental landmass (Terra Australis Incognita) must exist at southern latitudes to "counterbalance" the northern hemisphere's landmasses.

No longer in a state of war, the Admiralty had more funds, ships and men at her disposal to devote to exploratory ventures. Accordingly, an expedition was soon formed with instructions to investigate and establish a South Atlantic base from which Britain could keep an eye on voyages bound for the Pacific. Another purpose was to generally explore for unknown lands which could then be claimed and exploited by the Crown, and to reach the Far East if necessary. The Dolphin was selected as lead vessel for this voyage, and she was to be accompanied by the sloop HMS Tamar.

Her captain was Commodore John Byron, a 42-year-old veteran of the sea, and younger brother to the profligate William Byron, 5th Baron Byron. Between June 1764 and May 1766 HMS Dolphin completed the circumnavigation of the globe. This was the first such circumnavigation of less than 2 years. During this voyage, in 1765, Byron took possession of the Falkland Islands on behalf of Britain on the grounds of prior discovery, and in so doing was nearly the cause of a war between Great Britain and Spain, both countries having armed fleets ready to contest the sovereignty of the barren islands. Later Byron visited islands of Tuamotus, Tokelau and Nikunau in the Gilbert Islands, putting them on European maps for the first time (in European circles, Nikunau went by the name "Byron Island" for over 100 years) and visited Tinian in the Northern Marianas Islands.

Second circumnavigation

Memorial to Samuel Wallis and the crew in Truro Cathedral

Dolphin circumnavigated the world for a second time, under the command of Samuel Wallis. Her master's mate, John Gore, was among a number of the crew from Byron's circumnavigation who crewed with Wallis. The master on this voyage, George Robertson, subsequently wrote a book The discovery of Tahiti a journal of the second voyage of H.M.S. Dolphin round the world under the command of Captain Wallis, R.N., in the years 1766, 1767, and 1768, written by her master. Dolphin sailed in 1766 in the company of HMS Swallow, under the command of Philip Carteret, who had served on Byron's circumnavigation.

Dolphin dropped anchor at the peninsula of Tahiti Iti ("small Tahiti", aka Taiarapu) on 17 June 1767 but quickly left to find a better anchorage. Wallis chose Matavai Bayon 23 June. Although the Spanish had visited the Marquesas Islands in 1595, some 170 years earlier, Wallis officially took possession of Otaheiti, which he named "King George III Island". (About a year later, French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville landed at Hitiaa on the opposite side of Tahiti and unaware of Wallis's earlier visit, claimed it for the King of France.)

Early on a large canoe approached Dolphin and at a signal its occupants launched a storm of stones at the British, who replied with grapeshot. Dolphin's gunnery cut the canoe in two, killing most of its occupants. Wallis then sent his carpenters ashore to cut the eighty-some canoes there in half. Eventually, friendly relations were established between the British sailors and the locals. The relationships became particularly friendly when the sailors discovered that the women were eager to exchange sex for iron. This trade became so extensive that the loss of nails started to threaten Dolphin's physical integrity.

Scale 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines with inboard detail and longitudinal half breadth for Dolphin (1751), a 1745 Est 24-gun ship, as approved by the Flag Officers in 1745. Later amendments may relate to the refit in 1770 for the circumnavigation of the globe

Scale 1:96. Plan showing the Awning (poop deck), quater deck, forecastle, upper deck, lower deck and fore and aft platforms for Dolphin (1751), a 1745 Establishment 24-gun ship, repairing and fitted at Deptford Dockyard for Captain Byron and Captain Wallis/Wallace's voyage to 'the South Seas'


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1781 - Action of 1 May 1781
HMS Canada captures the Spanish frigate Santa Leocadia

The Action of 1 May 1781 was a minor naval engagement nearly 210 miles off the Port of Brest in which HMS Canada, a 74-gun third rate of the Royal Navy under Captain George Collier chased, intercepted and captured the 40-gun Spanish frigate Santa Leocadia, captained by Don Francisco de Wenthuisen.

On 30 April, the 74-gun ship HMS Canada, Captain Sir George Collier, having been detached by Vice-Admiral George Darby, commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet, to watch the port of Brest, discovered a squadron of small ships. The squadron dispersed on her approach, upon which Canada chased the largest, the Santa Leocadia. After a pursuit of 210 miles (340 km), the Canada overtook the Santa Leocadia on the morning of 1 May.

After a running fight, which lasted up to an hour and a half, and in heavy seas which prevented the Canada from opening her lower deck ports, the frigate surrendered. She had suffered heavy casualties, with 80 men killed and 106 wounded (nearly half her complement), including her captain, Don Francisco de Wenthuisen, who lost an arm. The Canada had one of the trunnions of a lower deck gun shot off and suffered ten casualties.

What was remarkable about Santa Leocadia is that she was noted before the battle as being a remarkably fast-sailing ship. The discovery that she was coppered when she was captured came in some ways as a surprise. It was now known to the British Admiralty that other navies had decided to copper their ships as well as the Royal Navy. The Santa Leocadia was the first in the Spanish service that was coppered, and she was added to the British navy under the same name.

HMS Canada was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 17 September 1765 at Woolwich Dockyard.

On 2 May 1781, Canada engaged and captured the Spanish ship Santa Leocadia, of 34 guns.
In 1782, Canada was under the command of William Cornwallis, when she took part in the Battle of St. Kitts. Later that year she participated in the Battle of the Saintes.
She took part in the Action of 6 November 1794 under Charles Powell Hamilton and managed to avoid capture.

HMS Captain, pictured, was from the same Canadaclass as HMS Canada

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan with sternboard outline, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth for building 'Canada' (1765), a 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker, at Woolwich Dockyard. Signed by William Bately [Surveyor of the Navy, 1755-1765]

Napoleonic Wars
In 1807, Canada was in the Caribbean in a squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Alexander Cochrane. The squadron, which included HMS Prince George, HMS Northumberland, HMS Ramillies and HMS Cerberus, captured Telemaco, Carvalho and Master on 17 April 1807.

Following the concern in Britain that neutral Denmark was entering an alliance with Napoleon, in December 1807 Canada sailed in Cochrane's squadron in the expedition to occupy the Danish West Indies. The expedition captured the Danish islands of St Thomas on 22 December and Santa Cruz on 25 December. The Danes did not resist and the invasion was bloodless.

Canada became a prison ship from 1810, and was broken up in 1834.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan with stern board decoration for Canada (1765), a 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1795 - HMS Boyne (98), bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Peyton, Cptn. George Grey, caught fire at Spithead burned and exploded.

HMS Boyne
was a 98-gun Royal Navy second-rate ship of the line launched on 27 June 1790 at Woolwich. She was the flagship of Vice Admiral John Jervis in 1794.

В ночь с 30 апреля на 1 мая 1795 года в Спитхеде на борту HMS Boyne возник пожар. Его не удалось потушить и корабль взорвался.

Invasion of Guadeloupe
In 1793, Boyne set sail on 24 November for the West Indies, carrying Lieutenant-general Sir Charles Grey and Vice-admiral Sir John Jervis for an invasion of Guadeloupe. On the way, Yellow fever ravaged the crew. Still, the British managed to get the French to surrender at Fort St. Charles in Guadeloupe on 21 April of the following year. The capture of Fort St. Charles, the batteries, and the town of Basse-Terre cost the British army two men killed, four wounded, and five missing the navy had no casualties.

Boyne caught fire and blew up on 1 May 1795 at Spithead. She was lying at anchor while the Royal Marines of the vessel were practicing firing exercises. It is supposed that the funnel of the wardroom stove, which passed through the decks, set fire to papers in the Admiral's cabin. The fire was only discovered when flames burst through the poop, by which time it was too late to do anything. The fire spread rapidly and she was aflame from one end to the other within half an hour.

As soon as the fleet noticed the fire, other vessels sent boats to render assistance. As a result, the death toll on Boyne was only eleven men. At the same time, the signal was made for the vessels most at danger from the fire to get under way. Although the tide and wind were not favourable, all the vessels in any danger were able to escape to St Helens.

Because the guns were always left loaded, the cannons began to 'cook off', firing shots at potential rescuers making their way to the ship, resulting in the deaths of two seamen and the injury of another aboard Queen Charlotte, anchored nearby. Later in the day, the fire burnt the cables and Boyne drifted eastward till she grounded on the east end of the Spit, opposite Southsea Castle. There she blew up soon after.

The wreck presented something of a hazard to a navigation and as a result it was blown up on 30 August 1838 in a clearance attempt. Today the Boyne buoy marks the site of the explosion. A few metal artifacts from the ship remain atop a mound of shingle.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth for 'Boyne' (1790), and later for 'Prince of Wales' (1794), both 98-gun Second Rate, three-deckers. Signed by Edward Hunt [Surveyor of the Navy, 1778-1784]

The Boyne -class ships of the line were a class of two 98-gun second rates, ordered in 1783 and designed for the Royal Navy by Sir Edward Hunt.

Image of the Boyne engulfed in flames, as the crew jump into the sea, some of them being helped onto boats or hanging onto floating ship fragments.The Boyne was in action in the West Indies in 1894 and after her return was accidently set on fire Hand-coloured. Poem in English below image (see Inscriptions)

Scale: 1:96. Plan showing sections through the roof, the profile above the waterline illustrating the roof frames, and the longitudinal half-breadth of the roof outline for Prince of Wales (1794), a 98-gun Second Rate, three-decker while building at Portsmouth Dockyard. The roof was to cover the ship from the weather and was so fitted to be moved when the ship was docked or being repaired

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the profile of the starboard bow and beakhead for Prince of Wales (1794), a 98-gun Second Rate, three-decker building at Portsmouth Dockyard

HMS Boyne (1790) - Wikipedia


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
1 May 1804 – Launch of HMS Royal Sovereign, the Royal Yacht of British King George III.

HMS Royal Sovereign
was the Royal Yacht of British King George III.

From 31 August 1812 to 2 April 1814, she was under the command of William Hotham.

The embarkation of his most Gracious Majesty George the Fourth at Greenwich, August 10th, 1822 for Scotland

This is a model of HMS Royal Sovereign that was launched in 1804 under the reign of King George III. The model was built ca. 1804 and is made of boxwood and fruitwood. The deck comes off and the interior is very lavish with carpet, fabric wall coverings, paintings, embellished furniture and little figurines in period dress. The model is currently in the collection at The Mariners' Museum.

The yacht Royal Sovereign with the Duchess of Clarence on board, leaving Portsmouth to view the visiting Russian squadron anchored in Spithead, 8 August 1827
This painting was formerly (to July 2014) titled 'HMY "Royal Sovereign" and the experimental squadron leaving to inspect the Russian squadron'. However, it is either the original for, or more probably an oil replication of, a plate (see PAD8010) in Moses' series entitled 'Visit of William the Fourth when Duke of Clarence, as Lord High Admiral, to Portsmouth In the year 1827, with Views of the Russian Squadron'. In that set it is simply captioned 'The Yacht ['Royal Sovereign'] sailing from Portsmouth with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Clarence on board to view the Russian Squadron, Augt. 8th 1827'. The print itself is dated 1830 and the series bears dates up to 1837, although the subjects are all during the Duke's visit to Portsmouth in late July and early August 1827: it was also only apparently published as a set later, since its engraved title plate is dated 1840. One of the other plates shows HMS 'Columbine' of the Experimental Squadron returning to Portsmouth, but it is the only example which expressly mentions this. The Duke visited a number of ships at Portsmouth (as shown in other plates) apart from the Russian Squadron, which arrived while he was there, and the present image relates solely to that aspect of the occasion. The yacht is heading out of Portsmouth Harbour with the Royal Standard at the main, signifying the presence of the Duchess on board.The painting was acquired in 1940 with BHC3611, which shows another episode also replicated in the Moses prints, though they are not strictly a pair since this one is slightly shorter, but of the same width. Henry Moses (1782 - 1870) was born in London and died in Cowley, Middlesex. He was a fine engraver of paintings and images of Classical antiquities, especially but not solely from a long connection with the British Museum, in which line his most important work was a 'Selection of Ornamental Sculptures' from the Louvre. How he became interested in marine work is unknown, but in that area he did views at Ramsgate (1817), 'Sketches of Shipping' (1824), the views of Clarence's visit to Portsmouth (as above), and six of the 'Columbine' and the Experimental Squadron (1830). The sheer difference of these from his other engraved work, suggests they may have been a more personal (albeit also commercial) interest. This painting and its pair (BHC3611) are the only two attributed to Moses in British public collections and very few others have ever been seen at auction, especially anything signed. This scarcity poses the question as to whether he really was an oil painter: these two, which replicate two of his prints, might be copies by another hand (and a skilled one, though who remains to be clarified) and others might be similarly misattributed

A royal yacht is shown in starboard-broadside view, hove-to off a harbour believed to be Weymouth, with King George III and members of his family on board. It is flying the Royal Standard and the Union flag together with the fouled anchor, thus signifying the presence of the sovereign on board. It also flies the red ensign from the stern. There are several men-of-war to the left, and other shipping can be seen in the bay beyond. In the foreground the artist has shown the edge of a harbour, with several groups of people either waving to the departing yacht or occupied with various tasks. An anchor lies on the jetty. In the distance on the left, the chalk cliffs of Dorset are clearly recognizable. It is not clear which royal visit the painting marks but Weymouth was a favourite watering place for George III. He first visited Weymouth in July 1789 hoping that sea bathing would improve his health. He visited again in July 1801, and his last visit was believed to be in 1805. The King can be seen on board the yacht raising his hat towards Weymouth, and other members of his family have also been shown standing on the deck. If the painting records the 1801 visit, the yacht is probably the 'Royal Charlotte' rather than the 'Royal Sovereign'. A related watercolour in private hands appears to show a similar scene in September 1804, but with the Aeolus where Serres here has the royal yacht. John Thomas was the son of Dominic Serres, and although he began his career as a landscape painter, he followed the pattern of that of his father and had a similar though distinctive style. He travelled to Paris, Rome and Naples before succeeding his father as Marine Painter to George III in 1793. After becoming Marine Draughtsman to the Admiralty in 1800, he made drawings and elevations of the west coasts of France and Spain in the Mediteranean, publishing many (and British coastal views) in his book 'The Little Sea Torch' (1801). In 1805, he also published 'Liber Nauticus', a treatise on marine draughtsmanship containing engravings of his father's drawings. At the end of his life he was imprisoned for debt caused by the extravagance of his life, the self-styled Prince of Cumberland', where he created a set of large watercolours recording the event. This painting may have been a commission from the King and is signed and dated 1809

This painting by an unknown artist is an illustration of George IV's visit to Greenwich. The royal yacht can be seen in the centre with another sailing ship to the left, surrounded by smaller rowing boats carrying passengers. The image has also been described as a visit of George III, on 30th October 1797, and William IV, in August 1830. The picture’s stylistic rendering exemplifies the lasting influence Dutch 17th-century painting had on British maritime art until the early 19th century

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