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St Vincent-class battleship

The three St Vincent-class battleships were built for the

Royal Navy in the rst decade of the 20th century. They
were St Vincent, Collingwood, and Vanguard. Vanguard
was destroyed in an ammunition explosion, probably due
to bagged cordite.[1] The other two were quickly rendered
obsolete by rapid advances in naval technology, and spent
most of their career in routine patrols or as training ships,
before being sold for scrap in the 1920s.

between the funnels; each had a nominal arc of re of

180 degrees, being from dead ahead to dead astern. As
these two turrets were positioned symmetrically on the
ship there was no possibility of ring across the deck on
the opposite beam, and in practice ring too close to the
long axis of the ship caused unacceptable damage to the
superstructure. X turret was positioned between the after funnel and the after superstrucure, at maindeck level.
The guns of this turret had an arc of re of some 110 degrees on either beam, with no ability to re either astern
or ahead. Y turret, on the quarterdeck at main deck
level, had an uninterrupted arc of re over the stern of
some 300 degrees.[4]

Background and description

The design was a slightly enlarged version of the previous Bellerophon-class battleships. The Admiralty saw a
potential threat to the naval security of Great Britain in
the building programme of German dreadnoughts, and
decided to construct a signicant modern battle eet as
fast as possible. Building to an existing concept clearly
saved time. It was intended that there should be initially a
core battle-eet of eight similar battleships; HMS Dreadnought, three Bellerophons, three St Vincents and one further unnamed ship, later authorised as HMS Neptune.[2]

The secondary, or anti-torpedo armament, comprised

eighteen four-inch (102 mm) Mark III 50-calibre quickring (QF) guns. Pairs of these guns were installed in
unshielded mounts on the roofs of A, P, Q and X
turrets, and the other ten were positioned in single mounts
at forecastle-deck level in the superstructure.[5] The guns
on A turret were removed in 1911.[5] In 1917, when
it became necessary to arm merchant ships as a defence
against German submarines, a number of smaller guns
were removed from capital ships to meet the need. All
guns were removed from the turret roofs but some were
replaced in new positions in the forward superstructure
and at the base of the after funnel. Collingwood nished
the war with a total of thirteen guns of this size, including
one anti-aircraft gun placed between the funnels.[6]

In comparison to the Bellerophon class, the displacement

of the St Vincents was increased by 650 long tons (660 t);
the length was increased by 10 feet (3.0 m) and the beam
by 18 inches (46 cm). A more powerful main armament
gun was shipped; the armour protection of the hull was
slightly improved; total fuel capacity was marginally inOne 12 pounder (three-inch) anti-aircraft gun was tted,
creased; and the design speed was increased.[2]
and four three-pounder saluting guns were also carried.

There were three torpedo tubes of 18-inch (457 mm) calibre, one on either beam and one astern. All were designed
to discharge their torpedoes underwater; a total of nine
torpedoes were carried.[7]


The main armament consisted of ten 12-inch (305 mm)

Mark XI 50-calibre guns carried in ve twin turrets.
The increase in length over earlier ships, from 45-calibre
to 50-calibre, produced an increase in muzzle velocity
from 2,850 to 3,101 feet/second for the same weight of
armour-piercing shell. This produced an increase in armour penetration of about half an inch at a range of 3,000
yards but muzzle wobble reduced accuracy, with salvoes
being spread over a greater area than had been the case
with previous ships.[3]

3 Armour
The main waterline belt was of armour ten inches thick
and ran from a point level with the forward point of A
barbette to a point level with the after point of Y barbette. The lower edge extended, at normal draught, to
four feet eleven inches below the waterline.[7] Above the
main deck running for the same length, was an upper belt
of eight inches thickness which reached to a height of
eight feet seven inches above the normal draught waterline. Forward of A barbette the main belt was extended,
with armour seven inches thick, approximately one third

The turret arrangement was the same as in all earlier

British dreadnoughts. A turret was positioned on the
forecastle deck, with an unobstructed arc of re over the
bow of some 270 degrees. P and Q turrets were
placed, one on either beam, on the maindeck at a level

of the distance to the bow. From this point and from the
after end of the belt to the stern, the waterline was protected by two-inch armour only.

[6] Parkes (1966), p. 505.

A transverse bulkhead of ve-inch armour ran from beam

to beam across the forward part of the ship from the ends
of the seven-inch part of the armour belt: it extended
from the level of the lower deck to the maindeck. The
after bulkhead ran straight across the ship from the after ends of the ten-inch main belt. It also extended from
lower deck to maindeck level and was eight inches thick.

[8] Parkes (1966), pp. 503504.

There were three armoured decks. The maindeck had armour varying between three-quarters of an inch and one
and a half inches; the middle deck was one and threequarters inches and the lower deck was one and a half to
three inches thick. The thickness of the decks was determined by the presence or absence of nearby armoured
structures and by the relative importance of structures being protected. Maximum protection was given to magazines and machinery.
The main turret faces were protected by armour eleven
inches thick and their barbettes by armour of ve inches
to nine inches. Protection here varied according to the
degree of protection aorded by surrounding structures
and by the armoured decks.
The conning tower received armour of eight inches to
eleven inches, the more vulnerable aspect again getting
the greater protection.[8]



[7] Burt (1986), p. 76.

[9] Parkes, p. 504

7 Bibliography
Burt, R. A. (1986). British Battleships of World War
One. Arms and Armour. ISBN 978-0-85368-7719.
Gordon, Andrew (2005). The Rules of the Game:
Jutland and British Naval Command. John Murray.
ISBN 978-0-7195-6131-3.
Jane, Fred T. (1968). Janes Fighting Ships 1914.
David & Charles Publishers. ISBN 978-0-71534377-7.
Parkes, Oscar (1990) [1966]. British Battleships:
Warrior 1860 to Vanguard 1950: A History of
Design, Construction and Armament. Cooper. ISBN

8 External links
Dreadnought ProjectTechnical material on the
weaponry and re control for the ships
World War 1 Naval Combat

Four shafts were directly driven by four Parsons turbines,

supplied with steam by eighteen Yarrow large-tube boilers with a normal working pressure of 235 pounds/square
inch (PSI). The designed shaft horse-power (SHP) was
24,500 and the designed maximum speed was 21 knots.[4]
The normal load of coal was 900 tons but up to 2,700 tons
could be carried, together with 850 tons of fuel oil. The
radius of action at 10 knots was 4,690 nautical miles using coal only or 6,900 nautical miles when oil was sprayed
onto the coal. The radius at 18.7 knots was 4,250 miles.[9]



[1] St. Vincent class battleships.

[2] Burt (1986), p. 75.
[3] Parkes (1966), pp. 504505.
[4] Jane (1968), p. 39.
[5] Jane (1968), p. 38.

St. Vincent class battleships on Navypedia

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