Talk:Revenge-class battleship

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Reference to battle of Tsushima[edit]

"This scheme was chosen since, at the time the Revenges were being designed, it was still believed that any major fleet-to-fleet engagement would take place at relatively close ranges and that, as at the Battle of Tsushima, lighter calibre quick-firing guns would be responsible for most of the damage inflicted upon enemy ships"

As best as I'm aware this statement is completely incorrect. The Battle of Tushima demonstrated that naval battles would be fought at longer ranges than anticipated and that secondary weapons were of no offensive value. The whole point of Dreadnoughts was that they were designed to fight at the longest possible ranges and their secondary batteries were for defence only. The Royal Navy adopted the 6 inch gun to provide extra punch against the larger torpedo boats and destroyers of the day, they would not be able to even scratch the belt armour of a contempory battleship. If no one objects I will remove the offendin sentence. Getztashida 15:51, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

The original statement is saved by the word "relatively"; while Santiago (1898) style 1000-2000 yard engagements, domintated by small-calibre QF fire, were redundant post-Tsushima it was still expected that critical phases of battle would occur at ranges less than 15,000 yards i.e. at ranges where shell descent angles are still low (<15 degrees)and deck armour arrangements of correspondingly low importance, with this thinking in mind the Revenge class seem appropriately protected. Indeed such thinking is largely validated by analysis of WW1 shell hits, the vast majority of shells which hit battleships did so upon the vertical component of armour scheme & the horizontal schemes also seem to have been successful in the limited role asked of them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 24 October 2011 (UTC)


I've altered the link for Ramilles, from the "battle of Cape Teulada" to "the battle of Cape Spartivento"; this is the correct name of the article (Teulada is a link), and Spartivento is the British name for the engagement, which seems appropriate for this article on a British warship on the English wikipaedia. Xyl 54 11:39, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Reverted text on magnetically-detonated torpedoes[edit]

I have reverted the unsourced edit by, namely: well as due to the fact that when she was torpedoed by U-47 the Germans had not yet given up on magnetic detonators and the explosions were directly under the ship rather than against the side.

The recent highly detailed survey of Royal Oak by Adus using their side-scan sonar clearly shows all of Prien's torpedoes impacted the side of the hull, not under the keel, with the exception of the first shot which destroyed part of the bow. You can view these images at [1]. Also [2]. -- 15:54, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

A brilliant set of images. Thanks for finding it. I've replaced the link in HMS Royal Oak which shows one of the less informative images to these though all credit should be yours. JRPG (talk) 10:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Only 2 AA guns ?![edit]

I can't believe a battleship in the 1930s and WWII would have only 2 AA guns... What about the ubiquitous 2 pounder pom-poms ? Rcbutcher (talk) 06:32, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

By WW2 Royal Oak (conflicting information) had either 8xTwin pom-pom or 2xOctuple. From pictures it seems the latter, one each on platforms to each side of the funnel. 2x quad .50 HMG & x2 additonal HA 4" guns fitted also. Her upgrades (lot of horizontal armour, superstructure, FC, TDS & secondary armament), suggest that the Revenge class were no less "upgradeable" than any other 21knot WW1 design.

All of the Revenge-class had their single 4-inch AA guns replaced by 4 twin QF 4 inch Mk XVI naval guns on dual-purpose Mark XIX mountings. From British Battleships 1939-45 (1): Queen Elizabeth and Royal Sovereign Classes by Angus Konstam. Alansplodge (talk) 14:06, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Earlier Revenge Class[edit]

Was there not also a Revenge-Class in the 1860s, screw-propelled wooden battleships ships of about 5500 tons with about 90 guns? Cosal (talk) 15:51, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Class name[edit]

I've just seen this edit [3], which now says
"The Revenge-class battleships (listed as Royal Sovereign Class in Jane's Fighting Ships, 1931 edition)"
Conway (which is the reference used) also refers to these as Royal Sovereign class; and while the text says “Despite sometimes being referred to as the "Royal Sovereign-class", official documents from World War I clearly state that the class was known as the Revenge class" there is no source given for this (I'm asking for a citation).
So, unless there is any foundation for this assertion, why should we not move to Royal Sovereign class? Xyl 54 (talk) 01:58, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

There are many sources which refer to it as the Revenge class, not least being Parkes. It was also customary for the class to be named after the first ship laid down, except in rare cases such as the Invincible class battle cruiser. --Simon Harley (talk | library | book reviews) 13:19, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Parkes I don't know; what's the title? And the first ship of the class to be laid down was Ramilles...Xyl 54 (talk) 00:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

The Royal Sovereign class battleships:- A little more consideration should perhaps be given to "common usage" and "history" before arbitrarily changing the class name by which ships have been known, in this case for close to the last one hundred years ! The reference to Jane's 1931 above is a bit of a clue as to what these ship's class name was in 1931 ! In future can everybody please think twice before inventing new class names for old ships - it confuses me !

These ships have always been known in the UK as the Royal Sovereign class.

While I appreciate that the Admiralty refers to them in the early years in various internal (ie ADM etc) papers as the "Revenge" class this is presumably because no-one had told them what they ought to be called, and because HMS Revenge had become the "lead ship" as a result of the unintended consequence of a series of political events, that were outside the control of both the UK government and the Admiralty, rather than by any intent on the Government's part - and it is the Government that ultimately makes these kinds of decision - the Admiralty is merely one of a number of government departments, after all.

Which ship becomes the "lead ship"(the ship that generally completes first)is normally dictated, assuming all else is equal, of course, by the dates on which the orders for individual ships are placed with the various yards by the Government (note - not by the Admiralty without the government's express agreement - The Treasury has to be instructed to fund mobilisation etc).

In the UK situation the "Royal Dockyards" are owned by the taxpayer, and because of this the Treasury incurs costs each year regardless of the work that they carry out. Contract yards, on the other hand, only incur costs against public funds for the orders that are placed with them by the Government.

It follows that in the UK there is an incentive to keep the Royal Dockyards busy throughout the year by allocating all the routine work, refits, painting, bottom scraping etc, as well as the more specialist technical jobs such as radar, gunnery etc, to them, and to place the bulk of the "New Construction" general shipbuilding work with Contract yards - In addition, placing New Construction with the Royal Dockyards generally involves tying up a dry dock for three or four years, and there obviously has to be a reserve of available dry docks at all times to cater for unforseen circumstances.

From the financial perspective the orders placed on Royal Dockyards are normally placed earlier in the year than those placed on Contract yards - particularly in this (Liberal) era, as the last thing this particular government wanted to do was spend money on defence - they had a one seat majority in the House of Commons in both of the elections held in 1911 (their first attempt to form a new govt in 1911 failed after a few weeks, this resulting in the 2nd election of 1911), and were a minority government (by about a quarter of a million votes, when compared with the Unionist (Conservative) party) in both cases; they were ultimately kept in power only by a deal done with the Irish Party who had campaigned on a "Home Rule for Ireland" ticket - which was unlikely to improve the Liberal Party's popularity in England (where the vast majority of the voters are) or in Ireland (where the credit for any move towards the policies of the Irish Party would go to the Irish Party).

The British government of the day needed to spend what money it could in popularist ways that would dramatically improve its chances of clinging on to power at the next election - not on defence - and with a one seat advantage in Parliament they could be forced to call the next election by losing a "Vote of Confidence" at any time - the government in power in the UK from 1911-1916 (when a wartime coalition was formed) was living from day-to-day throughout this period.

There was therefore increasing reluctance in this general era to place orders promptly with Contract shipyards, and the dates on which orders were placed with contract yards tended to move towards the end of the Fiscal year as the years rolled by (The UK Fiscal year runs from 6th April one year to 5th April the next - the end of the Fiscal year is both when the Treasury's coffers are (almost) bare - but also when large tax revenues are shortly due to come in).

The same financial considerations do not apply to publicly-owned yards (the Royal Dockyards). In this case failing to place the orders promptly does not affect government cash flow so much - instead it only wastes the resources that are sitting there available in the publicly owned shipyards, which the government (and the taxpayer) will ultimately pay for regardless of whether they are doing any work...

It follows that, while orders on the Royal Dockyards tended to continue to be placed at the "normal" time of year, each year, the reluctance of the government to put its hand in its pocket until the last possible moment, caused the orders on contract yards to "slip" towards the end of the Fiscal year...

The delays caused by the government failing to place orders with contract yards after funds had been voted by Parliament became so bad in 1912 that Winston Churchill (then First Lord of the Admiralty - the Liberal Government Cabinet Member who was responsible for the Admiralty) was asked in Parliament why he needed more money for the heavy ships of the 1912 New Construction Programme (4 ships of the Queen Elizabeth class) when the latest Admiralty progress reports showed that four of the heavy ships of the 1911 Programme (the Iron Dukes plus HMS Tiger) had not even been started yet.

Churchill replied by stating that the the ships in question had been ordered, but the dates he quoted for the four ships in question showed that they had been ordered very close to the end of the 1911 Financial Year (ie very close to 6th April 1912)- hence no progress yet - and in one case, HMS Tiger, the ship had been ordered only within the last 48 hours of the 1911 Fiscal year.

Obviously, if the Government makes public announcements about what it intends to do, takes the funds from the Treasury after they have been voted by Parliament, and then fails to place the orders in the year for which the funds have been made available, then that government can expect to find itself in a whole heap of trouble - both in Parliament and in terms of their reputation with the general public - In a similar case in Germany involving some of the early large protected cruisers, when the German govt was requesting funding for the 2nd year of construction while their progress reports showed that no progress had been made in year one, I believe the Reichstag not only failed to provide the funding for the 2nd year, but demanded the money for the 1st year be returned as well !

So in 1912, the year before the (1913 Programme)Royal Sovereign class ships were funded, the orders for Contract-built ships were being delayed to the very end of the Fiscal year.

In this case two of the ships (Royal Sovereign and Royal Oak) were to be ordered from the Royal Dockyards, with the remaining ships to be ordered from Contract Yards.

In parallel with all this, the government was also seeking to avoid costs being placed on the (British) Treasury by encouraging the Dominions and other members of The Empire to play a greater part in funding Imperial Defence (this resulting in the funding, in this general era, for HMS/HMAS Australia, HMS New Zealand and HMS Malaya, each of which were funded by those states for which the ships were named, and in the Australian govt also funding HMAS Sydney and her two (Australian) sisterships, HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Brisbane (?) (the Australian Chatham class light armoured cruisers built in the UK) - and later resulted in HMAS Adelaide being built at Sydney - the first major warship to be built in Australia.

In 1913 the Canadian (Conservative) government agreed to make a very significant financial contribution towards Imperial Defence - sufficient to fund three additional Queen Elizabeth class battleships and a lot more besides - but unfortunately the (Canadian) Liberal party controlled the (Canadian) Senate at the time, and vetoed this proposed contribution.

This lead to Churchill being asked in Parliament, a few weeks later in the same year (1913), how he proposed to make good the shortfall of three battleships caused by the withdrawal of the proposed Canadian government funding. The best he could come up with in response was to state that the (British) government would accelerate the construction of the (British) 1913 Programme battleships by bringing forward the orders to be placed on Contract yards - ie the orders for all the Royal Sovereign class ships would be brought forward by a few months, except for the nameship HMS Royal Sovereign, and HMS Royal Oak, which would remain as before, to be ordered from the Royal Dockyards at the usual time.

And that is how HMS Revenge got to be the "lead ship" (so called) of this class - the entirely unintended consequence of a series of essentially political events !

Neither the original nor the (actual) revised order dates for these ships appear to be on the web, but no doubt with the government changing its mind at such a late stage the keel laying dates for these ships would reflect the yard's ability to free up resources to meet the revised order dates (ie would depend on whether the slipways etc were currently in use for anything else, as well as the provision of manpower & materials - so the fact that Ramillies was laid down first, again implies no intent on the Government's part, and is merely the unintended consequemce of the same set of political events.

As things turned out, HMS Revenge completed first, only by a couple of weeks, ahead of HMS Royal Oak, with HMS Royal Sovereign delayed by (I suspect turbine) problems during her trials, HMS Resolution followed (perhaps delayed by industrial action at her yard), with HMS Ramillies last, as she was modified while on the slip to include anti-torpedo bulges (for the first time in a British battleship), and was then damaged while launching as she shot across the river and embedded her rudder in the opposite bank - this causing additional delays in her case.

Details of UK election results can be found in Wiki (and a damn fine job they have done of them too! - I just wish I could make some sense out of the French and German political content on Wiki...)

References to the Canadian funding / dreadnought issue, the acceleration of the 1913 ships, and the delays to ordering Tiger etc are all in Hansard, the UK Parliamentary record.

My personal preference as to how these ships should be named is "Royal Sovereign (1913) class", with the earlier class to be renamed as the "Royal Sovereign (1889) class" - both dates reflecting the year of the Annual Estimates which instigated the construction of the class - but I appreciate that this might set a precedent that requires a knowledge of govt programmes that would be challenging if it was to be adopted across all classes of Royal Navy ships buit in the last few hundred years...

Apologies for using up so much precious space on this page - but I hope it helps clarify how Revenge became the "lead ship", which I hope will also help to get the class name corrected on these ships. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

This will not get the article changed. Our naming conventions require using the "lead ship" regardless of how that ship became the lead ship. Since Revenge is the lead ship, this article is accordingly named as such. -MBK004 15:32, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
On the other hand, the present name not being backed by a reliable source, while the alternative name is, ought to get it changed, don't you think?
And "Revenge was the lead ship"; doesn't that sort of beg the question? Revenge was neither the first to be ordered, nor laid down, nor launched, and wasn't pennanted first in the sequence; what makes you so sure she was the lead ship? Also, naming classes by the lead ship is a pretty US-centric approach; the RN seemed to be a lot more flexible in this regard. Xyl 54 (talk) 12:38, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I just had a look at the actual Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921. p. 35. The late Antony Preston was pretty emphatic. "Although a later generation knew them as the Royal Sovereign class, Admiralty papers of the 1914-1918 period always refer to the 1913 Programme battleships as the Revenge class."

Ian Sturton, in Conway's All the World's Battleships 1906 to the Present p. 77., chooses to call the class the Royal Sovereign class, even though his opening paragraph is a re-hash of Preston's. "Admiralty papers of the 1914-1918 period always refer to the 1913 programme battleships as the Revenge class, although the general public knew them as the Royal Sovereign class, the name given in 1913." Regarding his last point, I'm struggling to find any mention of a class name in The Times of 1913, a newspaper with good naval coverage. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 11:03, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Well, that’s a citation for Revenge class, at least. Conway’s 1922-46 has Royal Sovereign class (which squares with the “later generation” comment); but Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War I (a reprint from 1919) also has Royal Sovereign, so I don’t know how early the later generation starts.
So, where do we go from here? I'm thinking there's a common name argument to be made here. Xyl 54 (talk) 22:27, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
PS: I've also seen them described as "R-class battleships", but I can't put my hands on the source just now. Have you come across that one? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:29, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Here's a quick google books-search: 43 for "revenge class battleship", no hits for "royal oak class battleship" and 54 for "r class battleship". That is of course, only one variation on the search. Parsecboy (talk) 15:17, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
<facepalm> There's no hits for "royal oak" because that's not what anyone calls them...For "Royal Sovereign", there are 86 hits in google books. Parsecboy (talk) 16:28, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Pb, for doing the search.
I notice the hits for Revenge class all seem to be in the same source, ie Websters; is that what you found? OTOH some of the hits for Royal Sovereign seem to refer to the previous (1891) class.The surprise to me was the number of hits for R-class; I only saw it once, and didn’t think it was that significant a use.
So, again,where do we go from here? I think there is a case for moving the page, under common name, with a note about the Admiralty thing, rather than leaving it here, at a name which is familiar to no-one (except maybe 96 yr old Admiralty clerks). What does anybody think? or should I just be bold and move it? Xyl 54 (talk) 10:39, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
"a name which is familiar to no-one (except maybe 96 yr old Admiralty clerks)." Except readers of such major, popular works as Breyer, Parkes, Conway's, and Preston's book on WWI battleships? --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 19:01, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough, it was a bit OTT; but the name is the still least common of the three. Also, Conway's is ambivalent; and who is Parkes? I didn't see him in the search (above). Xyl 54 (talk) 22:23, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Parkes was editor of JFS from 1918 to 1935, served in the Naval Intelligence Division during the First World War. His book on British Battleships in the '50s was the first major study of the topic, and was reprinted by Pen & Sword twenty years ago. Among the historians I know it's still well-regarded. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 06:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Ahh! There it was on page 8 (JFS/WWI) all the time!. Thanks!
Still, doesn’t that create the same ambiguity we have with Conways? Also, aren’t we in the situation of preferring a “technically correct but rarer form” (viz “the official or original name”) rather than the “common usage in reliable sources”? Xyl 54 (talk) 22:17, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Here's a few sources I have on hand: Halpern's A Naval History of World War I refers to them as Royal Sovereign class; Campbell's Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting oddly calls them Royal Oaks (and the QE class as the Barham class); Tarrant's Jutland: The German Perspective calls them Royal Sovereigns, as does Hore's Battleships of World War I (though the first sentence reads "Although known as the Royal Sovereigns, the British Admiralty referred to these ships as the Revenge class, and in fact Ramillies was the first ship to be laid down.") Parsecboy (talk) 12:56, 4 September 2010 (UTC)


In the "Service" section, it says (without reference): "Moreover, the Revenges were scheduled to be replaced by the new Lion-class capital ships as they came into service". My understanding is that the Revenges were due to be replaced by the King George V-class and it was the Queen Elizabeths that were due to be replaced by the Lions. I can't find a reference to support this at the moment - can anybody else help? Alansplodge (talk) 13:37, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Can we delete this?[edit]

I'd like to call attention to the 3rd paragraph of the "Service" section. The 3rd sentence in particular:

"Churchill writes that (WHICH SHIPS? OLDER BATTLESHIPS GENERALLY?) were a constant anxiety, and he witnessed the Admiralty keep as many thousands of miles between them and the enemy as possible"

The words inside the brackets seem to be... not important, rather distracting and generally not in context. I would like to re-write this as

"Churchill wrote that they were a constant anxiety, and witnessed the Admiralty keep them as many miles between them and the enmy as possible"

I don't know where this info comes from anyway, and it isn't sourced, so removing it as well could be a possibility.

Thoughts? (talk) 15:35, 16 April 2014 (UTC)