Swiftsure Class Battleship

World War 1 Naval Combat

World War 1 Naval Combat

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HMS Swiftsure Swiftsure Class.  As you would expect for a design originally for overseas navy these ships were quite distinctive from the normal British designs with wide spaced funnels and prominent cranes between them, smaller main gun turrets.  The ships were only considered Second Class Battleships in British service.

HMS Swiftsure
Built Armstong, Elswick, laid down February 1902, completed June 1904, cost 957,520.

HMS Triumph
Built Vickers, Barrow, laid down February 1902, completed June 1904, cost 956,596.

Length 462 feet 6 inch waterline 475 feet 3 inch overall, beam 71 feet 2 inches, draught 24 feet 8 inches, displacement 11,740 load 13,432 tons deep.

2 shaft Triple Expansion, 12,500 ihp, 19 knots

Swiftsure 13,469 ihp = 20.04 knots

7-3in belt, 10in barbettes, 10in gun houses, 3-1in decks

4 x 10in 45 cal BL (2 x 2), 14 x 7.5in BL (14 x 1), 14 x 14pounder QF (14 x 1), 2 x 12pounder QF (2 x 1), 4 x 6pounder (4 x 1), 2 x 18in TT

Originally designed by Sir Edward Reed for Chile to counter Argentinean armoured cruisers but owing to financial problems the ships were put up for sale before completion.  The ships were purchased by the British government in December 1903 mainly to prevent their possible sale to Russia.  The design emphasised speed and a heavy secondary armament at the expense of protection and main armament.  Crew 729.

World War 1 Service:
Flagship East Indies Squadron.
November 1914 escorted Indian Convoy.
December 1914 Detached to Suez.
February 1915 joined Dardanelles Squadron.
2 March 1915 attack on forts.
5-9 March 1915 attacks on forts at Smyrna.
18 March 1915 onwards supported landings at Helles.
18 September 1915 unsuccessfully attacked by German submarine (U21?).
18 January 1916 bombardment of Dedeagatch.
February 1916 attached to 9th Cruiser Squadron in the Atlantic.
11 April 1917 paid off at Chatham to release crews.
Mid 1917-February 1918 accommodation ship.
Autumn 1918 prepared for use as block ship but not used before the Armistice.
1920 sold for scrap.

In reserve at Hong Kong at the start of war and re-commissioned there.
Took part in search for Admiral Graf Spee and captured a German collier.
August-November 1914 attached to Japanese Second Fleet for action against German base at Tsingtau.
November 1914-January 1915 under refit at Hong Kong.
February 1915 joined Dardanelles Squadron.
Took part in attacks on forts and supported landings.
18 April 1915 one of her picket boats along with one from HMS Majestic destroyed the grounded British submarine E15 to prevent capture.
25 May 1915 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U21.

HMS Swiftsure.  The two ships had slightly different main guns as they were armed by their respective builders.  They were the only British battleships to mount a 7.5 inch gun although that calibre was used in some cruisers.  Likewise the 14 pounder anti torpedo boat guns were unique to this class. hms swiftsure

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