HMS Collingwood (1908)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Collingwood.
HMS Collingwood.jpg
HMS Collingwood
Name: HMS Collingwood
Namesake: Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
Builder: Devonport dockyard
Laid down: 3 February 1908
Launched: 7 November 1908
Commissioned: April 1910
Fate: Sold for scrap, 12 December 1922
General characteristics
Class & type: St. Vincent-class dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 19,250 tons
Length: 536 ft (163 m)
Beam: 84 ft (26 m)
Draught: 26.8 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons turbines, 24,500 shp
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)

HMS Collingwood was a St. Vincent-class dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy. Her design was essentially similar to the design of the previous ships, the Bellerophon class. The Admiralty perceived in the planned building of German dreadnoughts a potential threat to the naval security of Great Britain, and saw the need to construct a significant modern battle fleet as fast as possible. Building to an existing concept clearly saved time. It was intended that there should be initially a core battle-fleet of eight similar battleships; HMS Dreadnought, three Bellerophon class, three St. Vincent class and one further unnamed ship, later authorised as HMS Neptune.[1]

Design and Appearance[edit]

As compared to the previous Bellerophon class, the displacement was increased by 650 tons; the length was increased by ten feet and the beam by eighteen inches. A more powerful main armament gun was shipped; the armour protection of the hull was minimally improved; total fuel capacity was marginally increased; and the design speed was increased.[1]

She could be distinguished in appearance from the previous class only by minor changes in the bridge and foremast structure, by the re-positioning of the main-topmast from the front of the after control position to the back, and by the unequal width of the funnels, the forward one being narrower that the after one.[2]

Collingwood carried a white painted band around her after funnel.[3]


The main armament consisted of ten 12-inch (305mm) Mark XI 50-calibre guns carried in five 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.[4]

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 fire over the bow of some 270 degrees. "P" and "Q" turrets were placed, one on either beam, on the maindeck at a level between the funnels; each had a nominal arc of fire 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 firing across the deck on the opposite beam, and in practice firing 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 fire of some 110 degrees on either beam, with no ability to fire either astern or ahead. "Y" turret, on the quarterdeck at main deck level, had an uninterrupted arc of fire over the stern of some 300 degrees.[5]

The secondary, or anti-torpedo armament, comprised eighteen four-inch (102mm) Mark III 50-calibre quick-firing (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.[6] The guns on "A" turret were removed in 1911.[6] 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 finished the war with a total of thirteen guns of this size, including one anti-aircraft gun placed between the funnels.[7]

One 12 pounder (three-inch) anti-aircraft gun was fitted, 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.[8]


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.[8] 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 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.

A transverse bulkhead of five-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.

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 three-quarters 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 five inches to nine inches. Protection here varied according to the degree of protection afforded 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.[9]


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.[5] 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.[2]


Collingwood was ordered on 26 October 1907. She was laid down at Devonport dockyard on 3 February 1908; launched on 7 November 1908 and completed in May 1910.[8] On 3 May 1910, she was commissioned at Portsmouth into the first division of the Home Fleet.

With other members of the fleet she took part in regular peacetime exercises and in February 1911 damaged her bottom plating on an uncharted rock off Ferrol, needing dockyard repair.[10] On 24 June 1911 she was present at the Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead. On 1 May 1912 the first division was renamed the First Battle Squadron. She underwent an extensive refit in 1912–1913 and recommissioned on 21 April 1914 as flagship of the second-in-command, first battle squadron.

Between 17 and 20 July 1914, she took part in a test mobilisation and fleet review. There were more dreadnought-class battleships present at this review than at any review before or since.[11] On 29 July 1914 she sailed to the war station of the fleet at Scapa Flow. She was based briefly (22 October to 3 November 1914) with the greater part of the fleet at Lough Swilly while the defences at Scapa were strengthened.

Collingwood was in the battle line at the Battle of Jutland, being the twentieth ship from the head of the line after deployment. She engaged a König-class dreadnought between 18.54 and 19.26 and claimed hits on her.[11] During the charge of the German battle cruisers she engaged SMS Derfflinger. Prince Albert (the future King George VI) was a sub-lieutenant commanding "A" turret and he is reported as having sat in the open on the turret roof to watch the action.[12] The ship saw no other action during World War I except for routine patrolling and exercises but was present in the Southern line of the Grand Fleet at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918.

In March 1919 she was reduced to reserve, becoming for a short time a gunnery training ship at Portsmouth. In March 1921 she was placed on the disposal list; on 1 December she was sold to Stanlee Shipbreaking Company and in March 1922 she was towed to Dover and broken up.[11]


  1. ^ a b Burt (1986), p. 75.
  2. ^ a b Parkes (1966), p. 504.
  3. ^ Burt (1986), p. 80.
  4. ^ Parkes (1966), pp. 504–505.
  5. ^ a b Jane (1968), p. 39.
  6. ^ a b Jane (1968), p. 38.
  7. ^ Parkes (1966), p. 505.
  8. ^ a b c Burt (1986), p. 76.
  9. ^ Parkes (1966), pp. 503–504.
  10. ^ Parkes (1966), p. 506.
  11. ^ a b c Burt (1986), p. 86.
  12. ^ Gordon, pp. 454, 459.


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