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Sister ships: RODNEY, HOWE, ANSON (all cancelled in 1918)
Pennant Number: 51
Notes: These ships were originally designed as an improvement on the QUEEN ELIZABETH class battleships, but the design was changed when C-in-C Admiral Jellicoe insisted that 30-knot battlecruisers were more useful. Further changes were implemented following the loss of three BC's at Jutland. As a result of war experience, the secondary battery located a deck higher, and hull revised for both improved seakeeping and better use of armor; however, changes to armor only corrected most glaring defects. On 8 February 1917, the War Cabinet decided to proceed with HOOD only, as intelligence showed that the Germans had stopped work on capital ships. HOOD was commissioned in May, 1920 as Flagship, Battle Cruiser Squadron. She saw service world-wide as the most prestigious unit of the Royal Navy, but never received the modernization she needed. Her reputation as the "Mighty HOOD" was largely inflated by the press, who equated fighting power with overall size. During 1929-1931 refit, two 8-barreled "pom-poms" added; a third was added in December, 1937 (and the submerged TT removed). Two 4" AA were added in December, 1937, and two more were added in June, 1938, with two 5.5" guns being removed. In June through August, 1939, all the 4" AA removed and replaced with eight upgraded 4" guns (4x2). In April, 1940, all the remaining 5.5" guns removed and six more 4" guns (3x2) added. Five UP rocket projectors were added in May, 1940.
HOOD served with the Home Fleet and Force "H". With the accompanying battleship PRINCE OF WALES, HOOD saw action against the KM battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN on 24 May 1941 near Iceland. Vice Admiral L. E. Holland, aboard the HOOD, ordered his ships to close on the German units, in order to get within a range where the HOOD's decks were not vulnerable to plunging fire. PRINZ EUGEN scored a hit (or hits) which started a fire amongst the ready-use anti-aircraft ammunition on her shelter deck. When the range had closed to about 14,500 yards, Holland ordered a turn to port to bring HOOD's and PRINCE OF WALES' full broadsides to bear. As the turn was being executed, BISMARCK's fifth salvo arrived; one or two hits penetrated HOOD's armor and exploded in one of the aft magazines, literally blowing the ship apart. HOOD's stern sank almost immediately, followed by the bow within three minutes. Only three members of her crew of 1,407 survived.
* Scratchbuilt by John Youngerman
** Projected refit, had HOOD survived into 1944