:: HMS DREADNOUGHT (1906) ::

HMS Dreadnought battleship (1906) High resolution picture

The HMS Dreadnought was a revolutionary British battleship launched in 1906, after which was named the following generation of battleships (dreadnought) and the previous generation (pre-dreadnought) that was outdated with the apparition of the new warship. Rather larger and heavier than the contemporary battleships, the HMS Dreadnought was however faster thanks to her propulsion plant based in turbines instead of alternative engines. This provided a maximum speed during trials of 21.6 knots, in opposition to the 18 knots which was the maximum speed of the existent battleships.

Her armament was revolutionary as well; this one was based in a single caliber design for the main artillery distributed in five twin turrets, which meant ten cannons in opposition to the four cannons generally found in previous designs. These 305-millimeter cannons were not only more numerous, but also of longer caliber, 45 calibers instead of the 35-40 calibers found in previous battleships. Obviously, the increase in range that this brought along with the number of pieces and the high speed meant that the HMS Dreadnought was by far the most powerful warship of her time, even if a very short time.

The main pieces would be accompanied only by over twenty 76-millimeter cannons. The purpose of these small cannons was to face the threat of the small torpedo boats that could quickly approach the ship (military aircraft did not exist then). Only in one aspect the HMS Dreadnought was inferior to the other battleships: the armor. The thickest armor was only 280 millimeters, which was one inch less than that of the battleships of the King Edward VII class built immediately before. Clearly the passive protection was the last concern of the designer.

Another record set by this remarkable ship was the short construction time, not equalled by any battleship ever. Laid the keel the 2nd October 1905, the launching was effectuated the 10th February 1906, and the 2nd October of the same year the HMS Dreadnough was completed. From the very moment that she entered service, every other battleship on the world was outdated. This obviously caused great pressure in the foreign navies, which often rectified on the way the designs of battleships that were already in construction.

However, the other face of the coin was that the HMS Dreadnought was a victim of the very arms race that she started; at the outbreak of the First World War this ship was already irremediably outdated. Immediately after the war she was decommissioned and finally scrapped in 1923. The illustration shows the HMS Dreadnought as she was in 1914; the spars have been turned 90 degrees to show the rigging. Note the 76-millimeter cannons installed over the main turrets and the observation post on the mast located just after the funnel, where it could be easily invaded by the smoke; this unfortunate aspect of the design would be present in a good number of subsequent battleships.

Class: Dreadnought (1 unit - Dreadnought)

Type: Battleship

Length: 160.6 meters

Beam: 25 meters

Draught: 9 meters

Displacement (standard): 18410 tonnes

Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Parsons, 18 x boiler Babcock and Wilcox, 23000 horsepower

Speed: 21.6 knots (40 kilometers/hour)

Range: 6620 nautical miles (12260 kilometers) at 10 knots

Fuel: 910-2950 tonnes of coal and 1140 tonnes of petrol

Complement: 700-810

Armament: 10 x 305-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 27 x 76.2-millimeter cannon, 5 x 457-millimeter torpedo tube

Armor: 102-279 millimeters in belt, 19-76 millimeters in decks, 102-279 millimeters in barbettes, 76-305 millimeters in main turrets, 279 millimeters in conning tower

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