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EREBUS (ordered as M.15)
Sister ship: TERROR (ordered as M.16)
Pennant Number: I.02 (flag superior changed to "F" in 1940)
Notes: The urgent need for heavy bombardment ships to replace battleships in the Dardanelles led to an order being placed for four 15"-gunned monitors in May, 1915, to supplement the MARSHAL NEY class. Turrets were to be re-allocated from the battleship ROYAL OAK. However, after the Admiralty Board reviewed priorities early in June, 1915, it was decided that the battleship program could not be delayed, so the four monitors were cancelled on 10 June 1915.
The trials of the MARSHAL NEY class took place in August, 1915 -- and they were a severe disappointment to the Admiralty. Her diesel engines were very "balky" to start, and once started, the MARSHAL NEY could only make 6 knots instead of her designed speed of 9 knots. And due to both being underpowered and being very wide for her length, the MARSHAL NEY also proved almost impossible to steer. As a result of these trials, EREBUS and TERROR were re-ordered. They were to be armed with the turrets from MARSHAL NEY and her sister ship, MARSHAL SOULT. However, the latter's trials were deemed satisfactory, and she was commissioned into service. MARSHAL NEY's turret was installed in TERROR, and MARSHAL NEY was later completed with different armament. The turret installed in EREBUS was originally earmarked for FURIOUS, in case of failure of her newly-designed but untested 18" guns -- but as those guns proved quite satisfactory, one of the 15" turrets was installed in the EREBUS.
However, the lessons from the disastrous trials of the MARSHAL NEY were incorporated into the design of EREBUS and TERROR; the hull was lengthened by nearly 50' to accommodate the machinery needed for the design of 12 knots speed; in addition, this lengthening also improved the hull form, and made steering much more acceptable. A proper bridge was fitted, and the single funnel was both moved far enough aft and heightened, so that smoke interference on the bridge was eliminated. TERROR made 13 knots on trials, and made 12 knots in service. EREBUS was accepted in service in September, 1916, and was assigned to the Dover Patrol. She took part in numerous bombardments off the Belgian coast. On the night of 28 October 1917 while on a bombardment mission off Zeebrugge, EREBUS was struck by a German "Linsen" explosive motor boat. However, her outer bulges provided good protection, and she was not seriously damaged. In 1918, both ships had their 6" guns removed, and they were replaced by eight single 4" Mk. IX mounts.
Between the wars, EREBUS served as a gunnery training ship. She was taken in for a refit in 1939, and her 3" guns were removed and replaced by six 4" Mk. V HA guns; seven 20mm AA guns were also added. Her deck armor was increased to 4" over the machinery, and a minimum of 2" elsewhere. During World War II, EREBUS' anti-aircraft armament was augmented; by the end of the war, she was carrying three quadruple 2-pounders, a single 2-pounder, a single 40mm Bofors and 15 - 20mm AA guns. In July, 1943, EREBUS was damaged by an Axis air attack while involved in the support of Operation Husky, the Allied landings on Sicily (while operating with the monitors ABERCROMBIE and ROBERTS). Following repairs, EREBUS operated in support of the D-Day landings at Normandy in June, 1944, and thereafter in support of Allied forces in France and the Netherlands through November, 1944. EREBUS was broken up at Inverkeithing in July, 1946