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BRITANNIA

 

Nationality:

Britain

Type: B
Class: KING EDWARD VII - eight in class
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Completed: September, 1906
Displacement: 15,885 tons

Dimensions: (in feet and inches)

453' 9" x 78' x 25' 8"

Armor:
PLACEMENT THICKNESS
Belt: 8" - 9"
Bulkheads: 8" - 12"
Barbettes: 12"
12" Gun houses: 8" - 12"
9.2" Gun houses: 5" - 9"
6" battery: 7"
Decks: 1" - 2.5"
CT: 12"
Machinery: 2-shaft, 4-cyl. VTE; 12 Babcock and Wilcox plus three cylindrical boilers; 18,000ihp.  Coal:  2,200 tons.  Range:  7,000nm at 10 knots
Speed: 18.5 knots
Armament:
NUMBER SIZE MOUNTS
4 12" BL 2x2
4 9.2" BL 4x1
10 6" QF 10x1
14 12-pdr. 14x1
14 3-pdr. 14x1
4 18" TT submerged
Compliment: 777

 

 

Sister ships:  AFRICA, COMMONWEALTH, DOMINION, HIBERNIA, HINDUSTAN, KING EDWARD VII, NEW ZEALAND (renamed ZEALANDIA in 1911)

 

 

Notes:  The eight ships of the KING EDWARD VII class were ordered in three separate groups in the period 1901-1904.  They were the first Royal Navy battleships to mount the 9.2" gun in their secondary armaments.  As it turned out, this jump to 9.2" guns proved to be problematic in action, as the difference in splashes between the 12" guns of the main battery and the 9.2" guns of the secondary was very small, which made gunlaying corrections very difficult.  This difficulty gave impetus to the development of the "all-big-gun" type both in England and in other navies.  They were also the first class to have fire control positions on both masts, in place of the "fighting tops" found in the older ships.

 

The KING EDWARD VII class was over 1,000 tons heavier than the preceding DUNCAN class.  This increase in weight was not only due to increased size, but also due to an increase in the armor; the casemate protection of the 6" guns was abandoned in favor of a central battery layout.  The armor here was 7" thick, and increased the area covered by one deck higher than in the DUNCAN class.  The machinery installed in the eight ships differed greatly, as the entire class served as "test beds" for varying combinations of boilers.  However, they all exceeded their design speeds on trials.  They had very good turning circles (noted as being as little as 340 yards at 15 knots).  But their balanced rudders (the first installed in front-line ships since the 1870's) did not function as desired; it proved to be difficult to steer a steady course, and the subsequent, nearly-constant corrections that had to be made earned the class the nickname "The Wobbly Eight".  The KING EDWARD VII class were noted as being good gun platforms, but with a lower freeboard, they were noted as being wet ships in heavy weather.

 

Upon her commissioning, BRITANNIA first saw service with the Atlantic Fleet. She was transferred to the Channel Fleet in February, 1907, then joined the 2nd Division of the Home Fleet as Flagship of the Vice Admiral in April, 1909.  While serving with the 2nd Division, BRITANNIA joined the Mediterranean Fleet for a short period of time before returning to home waters.  At the beginning of World War I, BRITANNIA was serving with the 3rd Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet.  In September, 1916 through February, 1917, she served in the Adriatic.  Following a two-month long refit at Gibraltar, BRITANNIA was attached to the 9th Cruiser Squadron, mainly based at Sierra Leone.  She went though another refit in May, 1917 at Bermuda.  BRITANNIA was the last Royal Navy vessel to be lost during World War I when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB-50 off Cape Trafalgar on 9 November 1918.  40 of her crew were killed.

 

Pictures

navis_111_africa_b_1905_-_01.jpg (27849 bytes)

Navis 111

(as AFRICA)

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navis_111n_africa_b_1905_-_01.jpg (19561 bytes) Navis 111n
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navis_111n_africa_b_1905_-_03.jpg (19837 bytes) Navis 111n
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navis_111n_africa_b_1906_-_201.jpg (20646 bytes) Navis 111n
navis_111n_africa_b_1906_-_202.jpg (21908 bytes) Navis 111n