Sentinel-class cruiser

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HMS Sentinel (1904).jpg
Class overview
Name: Sentinel class
Builders: Vickers Limited, Barrow
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Pathfinder class
Succeeded by: Boadicea class
Built: 1903–1905
In commission: 1905–1923
Completed: 2
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics (as built)
Type: Scout cruiser
Displacement: 2,895 long tons (2,941 t)
Length: 360 ft (109.7 m) (p/p)
Beam: 40 ft (12.2 m)
Draught: 14 ft 9 in (4.5 m) (deep load)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 Shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Complement: 289

The Sentinel-class cruiser was a pair of scout cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. Both ships participated in World War I and were scrapped shortly after its end.

Background and design[edit]

In 1901–02, the Admiralty developed scout cruisers to work with destroyer flotillas, leading their torpedo attacks and backing them up when attacked by other destroyers. In May 1902, it requested tenders for a design that was capable of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), a protective deck, a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi) and an armament of six quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 18 cwt guns, eight QF 3-pounder (47 mm) guns and two 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes. It accepted four of the submissions and ordered one ship from each builder in the 1902–03 Naval Programme and a repeat in the following year's programme.[1]

The two ships from Vickers became the Sentinel class; the name for the lead ship was originally intended to be named Inchkeith, but the name was altered prior to construction. Four more 12-pounders were added to the specification in August. The ships had a length between perpendiculars of 360 feet (109.7 m), a beam of 40 feet (12.2 m) and a deep draught of 14 feet 9 inches (4.5 m). They displaced 2,895 long tons (2,941 t) at normal load and 3,100 long tons (3,150 t) at deep load. Their crew consisted of 289 officers and other ranks.[2]

The ships were powered by a pair of four-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam provided by a dozen Vickers-Express boilers. The engines were designed to produce a total of 17,000 indicated horsepower (13,000 kW) which was intended to give a maximum speed of 25 knots.[3] The scout cruisers soon proved too slow for this role as newer destroyers outpaced them. The Sentinel-class ships carried a maximum of 410 long tons (417 t) of coal.[4]

The main armament of the Sentinel class consisted of ten quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 18-cwt guns.[5] Three guns were mounted abreast on the forecastle and the quarterdeck, with the remaining four guns positioned port and starboard amidships. They also carried eight 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[3] The ships' protective deck armour ranged in thickness from .625 to 1.5 inches (16 to 38 mm) and the conning tower had armour 3 inches (76 mm) inches thick.[3]


Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Fate
Sentinel Vickers, Barrow 1903 19 April 1904 scrapped in 1923
Skirmisher 1903 7 February 1905 scrapped in 1920


Both ships served during the First World War but were scrapped after the cessation of hostilities.[6]


  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 99–101
  2. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 100, 294, 301
  3. ^ a b c Chesneau & Kolesnik, pp. 84–85
  4. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 101, 294
  5. ^ Friedman 2011, p. 112
  6. ^ Gardiner & Gray, p. 17


  • Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Corbett, Julian. Naval Operations to the Battle of the Falklands. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents. I (2nd, reprint of the 1938 ed.). London and Nashville, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum and Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-256-X.
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8.
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.

External links[edit]