:: ROYAL SOVEREIGN CLASS (1889-1894) ::

Royal Sovereign class battleship (1889-1894) High resolution picture

The Royal Sovereign was a class of British early pre-dreadnought battleships built between 1889 and 1894. In fact these eight ships were the first pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy. They were built with a taller freeboard than previous British battleships because experience had shown that a ship could not make use of her speed without having sufficient freeboard to prevent the waves from breaking on the deck. For the first time it was used steel for the armor, which made possible the construction of a relatively lighter and stronger hull.

The main artillery was heavier than that installed in the French battleship Charles Martel, but the cannons were installed in open mountings. Only the HMS Hood, last ship of the class, was modified with the incorporation of proper turrets. The 343-millimeter cannons fired new projectiles made of cast steel, which could penetrate the thickest armor without breaking themselves. There was also a new type of propellant charge of slow combustion, called cordite, very superior to the traditional powder charges, producing much less smoke. Its combustion was more constant and it generated higher muzzle speed. Finally, there was a good number of lighter pieces for short-range combat, as defense against the torpedo boats that in those years started to be used.

Around 1910 the ships of the Royal Sovereign class were irremediably obsolete, and only one of them, the HMS Revenge, served during the First World War, bombarding the Belgian coast in 1914-1915; she was later renamed Redoubtable in 1915 and finally scrapped in 1919. The rest of the ships of the class were either sunk as target (HMS Empress of India) or blockship (HMS Hood), or scrapped between 1911 and 1914.

Royal Sovereign class: 8 units - Empress of India, Hood, Ramillies, Repulse, Resolution, Revenge, Royal Oak, Royal Sovereign

Type: Battleship

Length: 125.1 meters

Beam: 23 meters

Draught: 8.4 meters

Displacement (standard): 14377 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 2 x vertical triple-expansion steam engine, 8 x boiler, 9000 horsepower

Speed: 15.7 knots (29 kilometers/hour)

Range: 4700 nautical miles (8700 kilometers) at 10 knots

Complement: 712

Armament: 4 x 343-millimeter 30-caliber cannon, 10 x 152-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 12 x 57-millimeter cannon, 12 x 47-millimeter cannon, 6 x 450-millimeter torpedo tube

Armor: 457 millimeters in main belt, 127 millimeters in upper belt, 406 millimeters in fore bulkhead, 356 millimeters in aft bulkhead, 64-76 millimeters in deck, 432 millimeters in barbettes, 152 millimeters in casemates, 356 millimeters in conning tower

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