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Queen Elizabeth class battleship

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Alpha Tester
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The Queen Elizabeth-class battleships were a class of five super-dreadnoughts of the Royal Navy commissioned in 1915–16. The lead ship was named after Elizabeth I of England. These battleships were superior in firepower, protection and speed to their Royal Navy predecessors of the Iron Duke-class as well as preceding German classes such as the König-class, although the corresponding Bayern-class ships were competitive except for being 2 knots (3.7 km/h) slower. As such, the Queen Elizabeths are generally considered the first fast battleships.

The Queen Elizabeths were the first battleships to be armed with 15-inch (381 mm) guns, and were described in the 1919 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships as "the most successful type of capital ship yet designed." They saw much service in both world wars. Barham was lost to U-boat attack in 1941, but the others survived the war and were scrapped in the late 1940s.




Following the success of the 13.5-inch (340 mm) 45 caliber gun, the Admiralty decided to develop a 15-inch (381 mm)/42 gun to equip the battleships of the 1912 construction programme. The move to the larger gun was accelerated by one or two years by the intervention ofWinston Churchill, now at the Admiralty[citation needed]. Rather than waiting for prototype guns, the entire design was optimized on paper for the new weapon, and construction commenced immediately. In making this decision, the Admiralty ran a considerable risk, as a forced reversion to the 12-inch (305 mm) or 13.5-inch (343 mm) gun would have resulted in a ship with weakened striking power.

The initial intention was that the new battleships would have the same configuration as the preceding Iron Duke-class, with five twin turrets and the then-standard speed of 21 knots (39 km/h). However, it was realised that, by dispensing with the so-called "Q" turret amidships, it would be possible to free up weight and volume for a much enlarged powerplant, and still fire a heavier broadside than the Iron Duke. The original 1912 programme envisaged three battleships and a battlecruiser, possibly an improved version of HMS Tiger named Leopard. However, given the speed of the new ships, envisaged as 25 knots (46 km/h), it was decided that the battlecruiser would not be needed and a fourth battleship would be built instead. When the Federation of Malay Statesoffered to fund a further capital ship, it was decided to add a fifth unit to the class (HMS Malaya).

The Director of Naval Construction (DNC) advised that the concept would be feasible only if the ships were powered solely by oil. Previous classes, including those still in construction, used fuel oil, which was still relatively scarce, as a supplement to coal, of which the UK then commanded huge reserves. However, the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, undertook to guarantee a supply of oil in wartime, thereby allowing the programme to proceed. The oil eventually was guaranteed by the negotiation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Convention.

Meanwhile, an investigation led by Admiral Jackie Fisher had worked through all the logistical problems associated with oil fuel instead of coal, and so oil fuel was installed. Oil has a much greater energy density, vastly simplified refuelling arrangements, requires no stokers, and emits much less smoke to obscure gun laying, and makes the ships less visible on the horizon.

A further ship was authorized in 1914 and would have been named Agincourt (a name later applied to a dreadnought expropriated from Turkey). Although most sources and several official papers in the class's Ships Cover describe her as a further repeat of the Queen Elizabeth design, one historian has suggested that Agincourt would have been built on battlecruiser lines. This design would have kept the Queen Elizabeth armament, but substituted thinner armour [down to 10 inches (254 mm) instead of 12 inches (305 mm), for example] in order to gain a 28-knot (52 km/h) top speed. Whatever the case, Agincourtwas cancelled at the outbreak of war in 1914.

In some respects, the ships did not quite fulfil their extremely demanding requirement. They were seriously overweight, as a result of which the draught was excessive and they were unable to reach the planned top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h). In the event, the combination of oil fuel and more boilers provided for a service speed of about 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph), still a useful improvement on the traditional battle line speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph) and just fast enough to be thought of as the first fast battleships. However, after Jutland Admiral John Jellicoe was persuaded that the slowest ship of this class was good only for about 23 knots (43 km/h), he concluded that, since this should be considered as the speed of the squadron, it would not be safe to risk them in operations away from the main battlefleet.

Despite these problems, most of which were mitigated in service, the ships were well received and proved outstandingly successful in combat. The savings in weight, cost and manpower made possible by oil fuel only were convincingly demonstrated, as were the benefits of concentrating a heavier armament into fewer mountings.

The class was followed by the Revenge-class, which took the Queen Elizabeth configuration and economized it back down to the standard 21-knot (39 km/h) battle line.

The intended successor to the Queen Elizabeths was to be an unnamed fast battleship with high freeboard, with secondary armament mounting clear of spray, a shallow draught and a top speed of at least 30 knots (56 km/h); however, First Sea Lord Fisher changed it to an even faster but less armoured battlecruiser. Out of the class of four ships, only HMS Hood was completed. Though armour was hastily added during construction that would have made her theoretically on a par with the Queen Elizabeths, the Royal Navy were well aware of the flawed reworking and always considered Hood a battlecruiser and not a fast battleship.



Armour protection was modified from the previous Iron Duke-class, with a thicker belt and improved underwater protection.[2] The scale of deck armour was less generous, though typical of contemporary practice. However, four of the ships survived a considerable pounding at the Battle of Jutland while serving as the 5th Battle Squadron, so it should be judged as sufficient for its time.


Main Armament

The 15-inch (381 mm) gun turned out to be a complete success in service. It was reliable and extremely accurate, being able to drop tight groups of shells at 20,000 yards (18,000 m). Poor shell design reduced its effectiveness at the Battle of Jutland, but this was addressed with the arrival of the superior "Green Boy" shells in 1918. The gun even remained competitive in World War II after receiving further shell upgrades and mountings with greater elevation, and HMS Warspite would eventually record a hit during the Battle of Calabria which to this day is one of the longest-range naval gunnery hits in history.

The guns could elevate to 20° and to depress to −5°, but the turret sights could only elevate 15°, effectively limiting the range that could be achieved unless firing under director control. The sights were equipped to permit the guns to fire at full charge or with 34 charge.


Secondary armament

As designed, and implemented on Queen Elizabeth, the 6-inch Mk XII guns were mounted in hull casemates, with six guns under director control on each side in casemates on the upper deck between B turret and the second funnel and two more in hull casemates on each side on the main deck aft below X and Y turrets, for a total of sixteen guns.

The mounting of the 6-inch (152 mm) secondary armament in hull casemates drastically reduced the reserve of buoyancy, since the casemates could take on water if submerged. In practice, the casemates would be flooded even in normal steaming if the sea was heavy.[11]In addition, the ammunition supply arrangements for the 6-inch guns were relatively exposed; during the Battle of Jutland this resulted in an ammunition fire aboard Malaya that nearly resulted in the loss of the ship.

The aft four casemate guns in Queen Elizabeth were soon found to be of little use and were removed and the casemates plated over, and the other ships were completed without them. The aft casemates were replaced in all ships with two guns protected by shields mounted on theforecastle deck, one on each side. The ten guns which were hence no longer required for the Queen Elizabeths (two from each ship) were used in 1915 to arm the five M29 class monitors.

The forecastle-mounted guns were removed in late 1916, leaving the final configuration as twelve 6-inch guns in hull casemates until the 1930s. The secondary armament of the five ships received differing degrees of modernisation in the 1930s


Operational history

World War I


In World War I, Queen Elizabeth was detached from the squadron and took part in the Dardanelles Campaign, but missed Jutland as she was undergoing dock maintenance.

At the Battle of Jutland, four of the ships formed Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas's 5th Battle Squadron, and in the clash with the German 1st Scouting Group under Admiral Franz von Hipperthey "fired with extraordinary rapidity and accuracy" (according to Admiral Scheer, commander of the High Seas Fleet), damaging SMS Lützow and Seydlitz and a number of other German warships. These battleships were able to engage German battlecruisers at a range of 19,000 yards (17,400 m), which was beyond the maximum range of the Germans' guns. Three of the Queen Elizabeths received hits from German warships during the engagement, yet they all returned home. Warspite was the most heavily damaged, with her rudder jammed and taking fifteen hits, coming close to foundering.


Between The Wars

Between the wars, the ships received considerable upgrades, including new machinery, small-tube boilers, deck armour upgrades, torpedo belt armour, trunked funnels, new secondary armament and anti-aircraft armament, and many gunlaying and electronics upgrades. Queen Elizabeth, Valiant, and Warspite were the most modernized, receiving the new "Queen Anne's mansion" block superstructure for the bridge, and dual-purpose secondaries in turret mountings.


World War II

By World War II, the class were showing their age, and the battleship was becoming increasingly obsolescent in the face of air power.

Barham and Malaya, the least-modernized of the class, were at a disadvantage compared to modern battleships. In spite of this, Malayaprevented an attack on a transatlantic convoy by the modern German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau by her presence.[15]Queen Elizabeth, Warspite, and Valiant, the more modernized of the class, fared better. With her modern fire control equipment, Warspite scored a hit on an Italian battleship during the Battle of Calabria at a range of more than 26,000 yards, one of the longest range naval artillery hits in history.

Modern torpedoes outclassed their torpedo belt protection: in November 1941, Barham, the least modernized of the quintet, was torpedoed by a U-boat and sank in five minutes, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, when her magazines detonated. Warspite survived a direct hit and two near-misses by a German glider bomb, while Queen Elizabeth and Valiant were repaired and returned to service after being badly damaged by limpet mines placed by Italian frogmen during a raid at Alexandria Harbour in 1941.



27,500 tons standard

36,500 tons full load


Length:645 ft 9 in (196.82 m)  

Beam: 90 ft 6 in (27.58 m)

Draught:30 ft 2 in (9.19 m)


Propulsion:Parsons direct drive steam turbines

24 boilers

4 shafts

75,000 shp,


Bunkerage: 3,400 tons oil


Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)

Range: 5,000 nmi (9,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)

Complement: 950–1300

Armament: As built:

8 × Mk I 15-inch/42 guns (4 x 2)

16 (Queen Elizabeth) or 14 (other ships) × single Mk XII 6-inch guns

2 × single 3-inch anti-aircraft guns

4 × single 3-pdr (47 mm) saluting guns 4 × 21-inch (530 mm) submerged torpedo tubes


Armour: As built armour:

Belt: 13 inch tapering to 6 inch forward and 4 inch aft

Upper belt: 6 inches

Bulkheads: 6 inch and 4 inch forward; 6 in ch and 4 inch aft

15 inch Turrets: 11 inch sides; 13 inch faces; 4.25 inch top

Barbettes: 10 to 7 inches above belt; 6 to 4 inches below belt

6 inch guns: 6 inch

Conning tower: 11 inch side; 3 inch roof; 4 inch revolving hood

Conning tower tube: 6 inches to upper deck; 4 inches below

Torpedo conning tower: 6 inch

Torpedo conning tower tube: 4 inches to upper deck

As built protective plate:


Torpedo bulkheads: 1 inch + 1 inch

Magazine-end bulkheads: 1 inch + 1 inch (extra 1 inch layer added after Battle of Jutland)

Funnel uptakes: 1.5 inches


Forecastle: 1 inch over 6 inch battery

Upperdeck 2 to 1.25 inches from A–Y barbettes

Main deck: 1.25 inches at forward and aft ends

Middle deck: 1 inch (2 inches after Battle of Jutland)

Lower deck: 3 inches at extreme ends; 2.25 inches over steering gear; 1 inch forward

Edited by madmanthan21

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Alpha Tester
2,216 posts
22,931 battles
Beta Testers
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Beautiful Ships  :Smile_great:. This is the class of British BBs I look forward to playing  :Smile_glasses:...whenever they come out  :Smile_smile:

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