HMS Repulse (1892)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Repulse.
British battleship HMS Repulse
Career
Name: HMS Repulse
Builder: Pembroke
Laid down: 1 January 1890
Launched: 27 February 1892
Completed: April 1894
Commissioned: 25 April 1894
Decommissioned: February 1911
Nickname: The Royal Sovereign-class battleships were called the "Rolling Ressies"[1]
Fate: Sold for scrapping 11 July 1911
General characteristics [2]
Class & type: Royal Sovereign-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 14,190 t; 15,580 t full load
Length: 410 ft 5 in (125.10 m) overall
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draught: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Propulsion: Twin coal-fired Humphreys & Tennant 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, two screws; 9000ihp
Speed: 15.7 kt max
Complement: 712
Armament: 4 × BL 13.5-inch (342.9 mm) guns (2 × 2)

10 × QF 6-inch (152.4 mm) guns (10 × 1)
10 × 6-pounder (57 mm) guns (10 × 1)
12 × 3-pounder (47 mm) guns (12 × 1)

6 × 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes (4 above water, 2 underwater)
Armour:
  • Main belt: 14–18 in (356–457 mm)
  • Upper belt: 3–4 in (76–102 mm)
  • Forward Bulkheads: 16 in (406 mm)
  • After bulkhead: 14 in (356 mm)
  • Barbettes: 11–17 in (279–432 mm)
  • Casemates: 6 in (152 mm)
  • Conning Tower: 14 in (356 mm)
  • Deck: 2.5–3 in (64–76 mm)

HMS Repulse was a Royal Sovereign-class pre-dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy. She was the tenth ship to bear the name HMS Repulse. Laid down in 1890, Repulse was completed in 1894, becoming one of the world's top fighting ships at launch. Repulse was 410 feet long and had a maximum cruising speed of 17 knots. Her armament included four 67-ton 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns and several smaller-calibre guns.

Attached to the Channel Squadron, she completed a series of annual manueovres, and the Fleet review during Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, before redeploying in 1902 to the Mediterranean Fleet. She served there until December 1904, when she returned to Plymouth for an extensive refit. From then until sold for scrap in 1911, Repulse formed part of the Royal Navy Reserve, having been made obsolete almost overnight by the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

Technical Characteristics[edit]

HMS Repulse was ordered under the Naval Defence Act Program of 1889. Laid down at Pembroke on 1 January 1890 and launched on 27 February 1892, she was completed in April 1894.

Repulse was 410 feet long and had a maximum cruising speed of 17 knots. Her armament included four 67-ton 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns and several smaller-calibre guns.

HMS Repulse
An interior view of the starboard side of Repulse '​s after 13.5-inch (343 mm) barbette. The breech of the barbette '​s starboard 13.5-inch (343 mm) gun, its breech block removed, can be seen through the opening at far left. Levers controlling the barbette '​s hydraulic system are in the foreground. Thin splinter plating covers the top of the barbette, through which two sighting ports protruded; the sailor at rear has his head partially through the starboard sighting port.

The Royal Sovereign-class battleships were designed by Sir William White and were the most potent battleships in the world when they were commissioned, and they were front-line ships until HMS Dreadnought rendered them obsolete overnight in 1906. In their day, the Royal Sovereigns embodied revolutionary improvements in firepower, armour, and speed. The main armament of four 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns was housed in two barbettes, rather than turrets, at either end of the ship which allowed a high freeboard, greatly increasing their capacity for fighting in rough weather; however, they tended to roll heavily in certain conditions, and after Resolution rolled badly in heavy seas in 1893, the Royal Sovereign class was nicknamed the "Rolling Ressies." While fitting out, Repulse was fitted experimentally with bilge keels, which solved the rolling problem; bilge keels were installed on the other ships of the class, but the nickname stuck.[1] The secondary armament was designed to provide potent, quick-firing support for the main battery. Despite their greatly increased weight, thanks to a main armour belt which ran for two thirds of their length, they were the fastest capital ships in the world in their time.

In 1906, the Royal Sovereigns, like every other battleship in the world, were made obsolete with the launch of the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought, the first all-big-gun battleship.

Operational history[edit]

HMS Repulse commissioned at Portsmouth on 25 April 1894 to relieve battleship HMS Rodney in the Channel Squadron, and was attached to Chatham Dockyard. She participated in annual maneuvers in the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean in August 1894 as a unit of the "Blue Fleet." From 19 June 1895 to 24 June 1895, she was part of the Royal Navy squadron that visited Germany for the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. In July and August 1895, she again took part in the annual maneuvers, as she did yet again in July 1896, when they were held in the Southwest Approaches and she was a unit of "Fleet A."[3]

On 26 June 1897, Repulse was present at the Fleet Review at Spithead for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.[3]

In July 1897, Repulse took part in annual maneuvers, this time held off the coast of Ireland. In July and August 1899, when the annual maneuvers were held in the Atlantic, she participated as a unit of "Fleet A".[3]

Repulse suffered a mishap on 4 February 1900 when a strong tide forced her to collide with an anchored barge as she departed Sheerness. In August 1900, she again was involved in annual maneuvers in the Atlantic, this time as a unit of "Fleet A1." On 27 October 1901, she grounded in mud while under tow to her moorings, but was refloated undamaged two hours later.[3]

Repulse departed England on 5 April 1902 for service with the Mediterranean Fleet,[4] and arrived at Malta two weeks later.[5] In the Mediterranean, she took part in combined exercises of the Mediterranean Fleet, Channel Fleet, and Cruiser Squadron off Cephalonia and Morea between 29 September 1902 and 6 October 1902. Completing her Mediterranean service, she departed Malta on 29 November 1903, arriving at Plymouth on 10 December 1903. She then paid off at Chatham Dockyard on 5 February 1904 for an extensive refit.[3]

The refit complete, Repulse recommissioned at Chatham on 3 January 1905 for service in reserve with a nucleus crew. She recommissioned there with a fresh nucleus crew for continued reserve service on 6 June 1905. In July 1905 she took part in Reserve Fleet maneuvers.[3]

On 24 March 1906, Repulse recommissioned at Chatham with a new nucleus crew for further reserve service. She transferred that crew to battleship HMS Irresistible on 27 November 1906 and recommissioned to continue reserve service at Chatham with yet another new nucleus crew.[3]

On 25 February 1907, Repulse departed Chatham for Devonport, to serve there as a special service vessel. Battleship HMS Majestic relieved Repulse of this duty on 2 August 1910. In December 1910, Repulse moved to Portsmouth, where she paid off in February 1911. She was sold for scrapping on 11 July 1911, and arrived at Morecambe for scrapping on 27 July 1911.[3]

Commanding officers[edit]

  • Captain R. F. O. Foot, CMG - in early 1900[6]
  • Captain Spencer H. N. Login - in 1901[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Burt, p. 66
  2. ^ Chesneau, Koleśnik & Campbell 1979, p. 32.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Burt, p. 82
  4. ^ "Naval and Military intelligence" The Times (London). Monday, 7 April 1902. (36735), p. 8.
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Thursday, 17 April 1902. (36744), p. 7.
  6. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Tuesday, 23 January 1900. (36046), p. 12.
  7. ^ "Naval and Military intelligence" The Times (London). Thursday, 28 February 1901. (36390), p. 6.

References[edit]

  • Burt, R. A. British Battleships 1889–1904. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-061-0.
  • Chesneau, Roger; Koleśnik, Eugène M.; Campbell, N.J.M. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5.