Dreadnought Class Battleship

World War 1 Naval Combat

World War 1 Naval Combat

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dreadnought-line.gif (14597 bytes) HMS Dreadnought.  The move to an all big gun main armament from the mixed calibres of previous designs was prompted by the increasing range of battles where a uniform calibre was needed to facilitate spotting, an essential aspect of fire control at longer ranges.

HMS Dreadnought
Built Portsmouth Dockyard, laid down October 1905, completed December 1906, cost 1,785,683.

Length 520 feet waterline 527 feet overall, beam 82 feet 1 inch, draught 26 feet 6 inches (normal), displacement 18,120 tons normal 20,730 tons deep

4 shaft Parsons turbines, 23,000 shp, 21kts.

Trials:    24,712 shp = 21.05 knots

11-4in belt, 11in barbettes, 11in turret faces, 3-1.5in decks

10 x 12in 45cal MK X (5 x 2), 24 x 12 pounder (24 x 1), 5 x 18in TT

When Admiral Sir John Fisher became First Sea Lord in October 1904 one of the first things he did was to set up a Design Committee to consider possible all big gun designs. The switch from the mixed armament of previous battleships to a uniform main calibre main gun and a light anti-torpedo boat defensive armament was controversial but soon copied by those navies that were not already thinking along similar lines.  Just as revolutionary was the adoption of steam turbines which enabled higher speeds for less weight and volume of machinery as well as causing less vibration.  Protection was slightly less than the last British pre-Dreadnoughts but better than most pre-Dreadnoughts and considered adequate.  The slight reduction was necessary in order to provide better underwater protection with greater sub-division and the introduction of partial anti-torpedo bulkheads (screens) which protected the ships magazines against underwater explosions.   Crew 700.

World War 1 Service:
4th Battle Squadron Grand Fleet as flagship.
December 1914 flag transferred to HMS Benbow.
18 February 1915 rammed and sank German submarine U29.
April 1916 refit at Portsmouth
May-June 1916 transferred to 3rd Battle Squadron at Sheerness.
14 June 1916 failed attempt to ram submarine off Dunnet Head.
Late June 1916 rejoined 3rd Battle Squadron as flagship.
March 1918 rejoined 4th Battle Squadron.
August 1918 placed in reserve.
1921 Sold for scrap.

Although Dreadnought was the first of the "all big gun" battleships some other nations were thinking along similar lines independently of the British.  Both the USA and Japan had plans for their own version before details of the British ship became known but the fast building times of British shipyards and Admiral Fisher's drive to gain a lead over other nations paid off. HMS Dreadnought

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