Imperieuse-class cruiser

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Hms-warspite-1884.jpg
Class overview
Name: Imperieuse class
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Nelson class
Succeeded by: Orlando class
Completed: 2
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics
Type: Armoured cruiser
Displacement: 8,400 tons
Length: 315 ft (96 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draught: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Installed power: 8,000 indicated horsepower (6,000 kW)
Propulsion:
  • Coal-fired steam, twelve boilers.
  • Two shafts with three-cylinder inverted compound reciprocating engines.
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)
Range: 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 555
Armament:
Armour:

The Imperieuse-class cruiser was a class of two armoured cruisers launched between 1883 and 1884 for the Royal Navy.

Description[edit]

Starboard elevation and deck plan, from Brassey's naval annual 1888-9
HMS Imperieuse in 1896 showing the later single central pole mast

In an 1886 magazine article,[1] Sir Edward Reed complained that these ships did not deserve to be called "armoured", as they were not armoured at bow or stern, only along the middle 140 feet (43 m) of each side. This armor belt was additionally only 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, and as designed would have extended 3 feet 3 inches (0.99 m) above the waterline. As completed, the two ships were overweight, with the result that the belt was completely submerged, leaving them armoured in name only.

The layout of the main armament was unusual for the time, having one gun each forward and aft, and another gun mounted on either beam – in a lozenge arrangement similar to that employed by the French. The original secondary battery comprised ten 6-inch (152mm) guns, but the overweight condition of these ships forced the elimination of four of these weapons.

Intended for prolonged deployments on distant foreign stations, the ships were sheathed with wood and copper to prevent marine growth on the hull, and were originally fitted with a brig sailing rig to economize on coal. After trials showed them to be sluggish under sail, the masts and yards were removed and replaced by a single pole mast between the funnels. This reduction in rig and the weight saved thereby allowed the reinstallation of two 6-inch guns, for a total of eight.

Ships[edit]

Building Programme[edit]

The following table gives the build details and purchase cost of the members of the Imperieuse class. Standard British practice at that time was for these costs to exclude armament and stores.[2] In the table:

  • Machinery meant "propelling machinery".
  • Hull included "hydraulic machinery, gun mountings, etc."[3]
Ship Builder Maker
of
Engines
Date of Cost according to
Laid Down Launch Completion (BNA 1895)[4] (BNA 1903)[5] Parkes[6]
Hull Machinery Total
excluding
armament
Imperieuse Portsmouth Dockyard Maudslay 10 Aug 1881 18 Dec 1883 Sep 1886 £417,437 £113,377 £530,814 Details of cost
incomplete
£543,758
Warspite Chatham Dockyard Penn 25 Oct 1881 29 Jan 1884 Jun 1888 £415,546 £113,786 £529,332 £653,072 £538,797

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sir Edward Reed, "The British Navy", Harper's Monthly Magazine (European edition), February 1886
  2. ^ Note that the costs quoted in the 1895 edition and the 1903 edition are not the same. There seems to have been a revision of the costs quoted for British warships in The Naval Annual between the 1902 and 1903 editions, and a further revision between the 1905 and 1906 editions. (The 1906 edition costs cannot be quoted for the Imperieuse class because the class is not listed in the 1906 edition.)
  3. ^ The Naval Annual 1895 , p192-200
  4. ^ The Naval Annual 1895, p192-200
  5. ^ The Naval Annual 1903, p236-243
  6. ^ Parkes, Oscar, British Battleships, p307-313.

References[edit]

External links[edit]