HMS Implacable (1899)

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HMS Implacable
HMS Implacable after the addition of fire control platforms to her foremast and mainmast.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Implacable
Ordered: 1897 Programme
Builder: Devonport Dockyard
Laid down: 13 July 1898
Launched: 11 March 1899
Completed: July 1901
Commissioned: 10 September 1901
Decommissioned: 1919
Fate: Sold for scrapping 8 November 1921
General characteristics
Class and type: Formidable-class pre-dreadnought battleship
  • 14,658 tons load
  • 15,805 tons deep
  • 411 ft (125 m) waterline
  • 431 ft 9 in (131.60 m) overall
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draught: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Propulsion: Water tube boilers, 2 × vertical triple expansion engines, 2 shafts, 15,500 ihp (11.6 MW)
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h)
Range: 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km) (approx) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 780
  • Belt 9 inches (230 mm)
  • Bulkheads 12–9 inches (300–230 mm)
  • Barbettes: 12 inches (300 mm),
  • Gunhouses: 10–8 inches (250–200 mm)
  • Casemates: 6 inches (150 mm)
  • Conning tower: 14 inches (360 mm)
  • Deck: 1–3 inches (25–76 mm)
Notes: Cost £1,122,636
HMS Implacable

HMS Implacable was a Formidable-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, the second ship of the name. Commissioned in September 1901, she was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet and served with the fleet until 1908. After a refit, she transferred to the Channel Fleet, then onto the Atlantic Fleet in May 1909. By now rendered obsolete by the emergence of the dreadnought class ships, she was assigned to the 5th Battle Squadron and attached to the Home Fleet in 1912.

Upon the outbreak of World War I, Implacable, along with the squadron was assigned to the Channel Fleet. After operations with the Dover Patrol, she served in the Dardanelles Campaign, in support of the Allied landings at Gallipoli. Apart from a brief spell in England in March/April 1916 for a refit, she remained in the Mediterranean until June 1917, supporting firstly the Italian Navy and then the French Navy. Returning to England, she was laid up until March 1918, and then served as a depot ship for the Northern Patrol. After the war, she was decommissioned and eventually sold for scrap in 1921.

Technical Description[edit]

HMS Implacable was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 13 July 1898 and launched on 11 March 1899 in a very incomplete state to clear the building way for construction of battleship HMS Bulwark. Implacable was completed in July 1901.[1]

Implacable and her sisters were similar in appearance to and had the same armament as the Majestic and Canopus classes that preceded them. She and her sister ships are often described as improved Majestics, but in design they really were enlarged Canopuses; while the Canopus class took advantage of the greater strength of the Krupp armour employed in their construction to allow the ships to remain the same size as the Majestics with increased tonnage devoted higher speed and less to armour without sacrificing protection, in Implacable Krupp armour was used to improve protection without reducing the size of the ships.[2] Implacable and her sisters thus were larger than the ships of the two preceding classes, and enjoyed both greater protection than the Majestics and the higher speed of the Canopus class. Implacable's armour scheme was similar to that of the Canopuses, although, unlike in the Canopuses, the armour belt ran all the way to the stern; it was 215 feet (66 m) long and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep and 9 inches (230 mm) thick, tapering at the stem to 3 inches (76 mm) thick and 12 feet (3.7 m) deep and at the stern to 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick and 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. The main battery turrets had Krupp armour, 10 inches (250 mm) on their sides and 8 inches (200 mm) on their backs.[2]

Implacable and her sisters improved on the main and secondary armament of previous classes, being upgunned from 35-calibre to 40-calibre 12-inch (305-mm) guns and from 40-caliber to 45-caliber 6-inch (152-mm) guns. The 12-inch guns could be loaded at any bearing and elevation, and beneath the turrets the ships had a split hoist with a working chamber beneath the guns that reduced the chance of a cordite fire spreading from the turret to the shell and powder handling rooms and to the magazines.[2]

Implacable and her sisters had an improved hull form that made them handier at high speeds than the Majestics. They also had inward-turning screws, which allowed reduced fuel consumption and slightly higher speeds than in previous classes but at the expense of less manoeuvrability at low speeds.[2]

Like all pre-dreadnoughts, Implacable was outclassed by the new dreadnought battleships that began to appear in 1906. The cost of this ship was £1,063,616.

Operational history[edit]

Pre-World War I[edit]

HMS Implacable was commissioned at Devonport Dockyard by Captain Prince Louis of Battenberg on 10 September 1901 for service on the Mediterranean Station,[3] and left Plymouth for the Mediterranean 29 September, arriving at Malta 8 October 1901.[4] In June 1902 she was in Alexandria for the scheduled coronation festivities,[5] and in September that year she visited Nauplia in the Aegean Sea.[6] During her Mediterranean service, she underwent refits at Malta in 1902, 1903–1904, and 1904–1905.[7] She suffered a fatal accident on 12 July 1905 when a boiler explosion killed two men, and suffered another boiler explosion on 16 August 1906.[8] She entered Chatham Dockyard in the United Kingdom in 1908 for another refit.[7]

When her Chatham refit ended in February 1909, Implacable transferred to the Channel Fleet, then to the Atlantic Fleet on 15 May 1909. Following a fleet reorganisation on 1 May 1912, Implacable transferred to the 5th Battle Squadron in the Second Home Fleet at the Nore on 13 May 1912.[7]

World War I[edit]

When World War I began in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was assigned to the Channel Fleet and based at Portland. Implacable was attached temporarily to the Dover Patrol in late October 1914 to bombard German Army forces along the coast of Belgium in support of Allied forces fighting at the front, then returned to the Channel Fleet.[7] On 14 November 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was transferred to Sheerness in case of a possible German invasion attempt, but it returned to Portland on 30 December 1914.[9]

Dardanelles campaign[edit]

In March 1915, Implacable was transferred to the Dardanelles for service in the Dardanelles Campaign. She left England on 13 March 1915 and arrived at Lemnos on 23 March 1915. She supported the main Allied landings at X Beach at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915, and thereafter supported the campaign until May 1915,[7] distinguishing herself with the very close support she gave on 25 April 1915 and thereafter.[10]

Mediterranean operations[edit]

Implacable, along with battleships HMS London, HMS Prince of Wales, and HMS Queen, was detached from the Dardanelles on 22 May 1915 to become part of a new 2nd Detached Squadron in the Adriatic Sea to reinforce the Italian Navy after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary. Implacable arrived at Taranto, Italy, her base for this duty, on 27 May 1915.[7]

In November 1915, Implacable transferred to the 3rd Detached Squadron. Based at Salonika, this squadron was organised to reinforce the Suez Canal Patrol and assist the French Navy in blockading the Aegean coasts of Greece and Bulgaria. She shifted her base to Port Said, Egypt, later in November 1915.[11]

Implacable departed on 22 March 1916 for a refit in the United Kingdom, arriving at Plymouth Dockyard on 9 April 1916. When her refit was complete, she returned to the 3rd Detached Squadron and was based at Salonika. In June 1917, Implacable was at Athens during the abdication of King Constantine I of Greece.[12]

Decommissioning and subsidiary duties[edit]

In July 1917, Implacable returned to the United Kingdom and paid off at Portsmouth to provide crews for anti-submarine vessels,[12] and four main-deck casemates on either side were replaced by two 6-inch (152-mm) guns on her battery deck.[10] She was laid up until March 1918, when she was selected for service as a depot ship with the Northern Patrol at Lerwick, Kirkwall, and Buncrana.[12]


Ironically, in November 1918, Implacable was placed on the disposal list,[12] paid off in 1919,[10] and on 4 February 1920 was placed on the sale list. She was sold for scrapping to the Slough Trading Company on 8 November 1921. Resold to a German firm, she was towed to Germany for scrapping in April 1922.[12]


  1. ^ Burt, pp. 162, 172
  2. ^ a b c d Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 36
  3. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36557). London. 11 September 1901. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36581). London. 9 October 1901. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36801). London. 23 June 1902. p. 6.
  6. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36866). London. 6 September 1902. p. 8.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Burt, p. 172
  8. ^ Burt, p. 167-168
  9. ^ Burt, p. 170
  10. ^ a b c Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921, p. 8
  11. ^ Burt, pp. 172–173
  12. ^ a b c d e Burt, p. 173


  • Burt, R. A. British Battleships 1889–1904. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-061-0.
  • Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds., Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905, London: Conway Maritime Press, 1979. ISBN 0-85177-133-5.
  • Dittmar, F. J. & Colledge, J. J. "British Warships 1914–1919", London: Ian Allen, 1972). ISBN 0-7110-0380-7.
  • Gibbons, Tony. The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day. London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
  • Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3.

External links[edit]