User:Sturmvogel 66/Ironclads/BroadsideList

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The broadside ironclad duplicated the traditional armament arrangement of wooden warships with most of the guns mounted on the sides of the ship, only a few mounted as bow or stern chasers.

Reed designed the first ship (HMVS Cerberus) at the request of the Colony of Victoria; the India Office then ordered another of the same design (HMS Magdala) as well as a less expensive version (HMS Abyssinia). The four Cyclops-class ships, enlarged versions of Cerberus, were ordered in 1870 for local defence of English ports.[1]

HMS Glatton was derived from the design of the first breastwork monitors, but sacrificed the rear turret for thicker armour and larger guns with which to attack enemy ports. She was given a deep draught to improve her seaworthiness, but her low freeboard meant that she had very little ability to weather head seas.[2] HMS Hotspur was similar in layout to Glatton, but she was given more freeboard by the addition of an unarmoured structure above her waterline armour belt. Designed as a ram, Hotspur was given a fixed turret with four gun ports as a rotating turret was not thought capable of withstanding the shock of impact. HMS Rupert was an enlarged version of Hotspur, but used a Glatton-type turret instead of the fixed turret and thicker armour than the older ship. The two Conqueror-class ships were enlarged versions of Rupert with heavier guns, thicker armour and a steel hull.[3]

With the exception of Cerberus, all of these ships were sold off for scrap during the first decade of the 20th century.[4] Cerberus was sold in 1924 and used as a breakwater; her wreck still exists off Half Moon Bay in Australia.[5]


Main guns The number and type of the main battery guns (as built)
Armour Waterline belt thickness
Displacement Ship displacement
Propulsion Number of shafts, type of propulsion system, and top speed generated
Service The dates work began and finished on the ship and its ultimate fate
Laid down The date the keel began to be assembled
Commissioned The date the ship was commissioned or completed

Warrior class[edit]

HMS Warrior, the only surviving broadside ironclad, on 3 October 2002

The two Cerberus-class ships were the first breastwork monitors to be built. Cerberus was ordered in 1866 by the Colony of Victoria to supplement the shore-based fortifications of Port Philip Bay and to defend the colony in the event of a Russian attack.[5] The India Office ordered a sister ship to defend the approaches of Bombay.[6] Magdala was rearmed with four 8-inch (203 mm) breech-loading guns in 1892 while Cerberus had a number of small quick-firing guns added to her superstructure for defence against torpedo boats.[7]

Both ships were fitted with three temporary masts for their delivery voyages, although only Cerberus had her freeboard raised with the addition of temporary bulwarks.[8] The ships spent the bulk of their service lives in reserve and rarely, if ever, left their home port. Magdala was sold in January 1903,[9] but Cerberus was hulked in 1900[10] and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy when it was formed in 1911. She was renamed HMAS Platypus II in 1918 and sold in 1924. Stripped of all salvageable material, she was scuttled in 1926 as a breakwater, and her remains are still visible today.[5]



Ship Main guns[11] Armour[11] Displacement[11] Propulsion[12] Service
Laid down[11] Completed[11] Fate
HMS Warrior 26 × Smoothbore (SB) 68-pounder guns
10 × 7 in (178 mm) Rifled breech loaders (RBL)
4 × RBL 40-pounder guns
4.5 inches (114 mm) 9,210 long tons (9,360 t) 1 screw, 1 Trunk engine,
14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)
25 May 1859 24 October 1861 Extant museum ship
HMS Black Prince 12 October 1859 12  September 1862 Sold, 1923[13]

Defence class[edit]

HMS Abyssinia was a smaller and cheaper version of Cerberus designed by the Dudgeon shipyard when the India Office ran out of money after it ordered HMS Magdala. She was intended as a partner for the larger ship in the defence of Bombay and had the same armament but one less inch of armour, and she was one knot slower. The ship was rearmed with eight-inch breech-loading guns in 1892 before being sold for scrap in 1903.[14]

Ship Main guns[11] Armour[11] Displacement[11] Propulsion[15] Service
Laid down[11] Completed[11] Fate
HMS Defence 10 × SB 68-pounder guns
8 × RBL 7-inch guns
4 × RBL 5-inch (130 mm) guns
4.5 inches (114 mm) 9,210 long tons (9,360 t) 1 screw, 1 Trunk engine,
10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
May 1859 4 December 1861
HMS Defence 10 × SB 68-pounder guns
6 × RBL 7-inch guns
2 × SB 32-pounder guns
2 July 1862 Sold, 1898

HMS Glatton[edit]

Engraving of HMS Glatton

The design of HMS Glatton was also derived from that of Cerberus, although she exchanged one turret for heavier guns and armour. She was given a deeper draught for better seakeeping abilities, but retained the low freeboard of the older ships to make her a smaller target, making it difficult to weather head seas in heavy weather. While nominally intended for coast defence, she was designed to attack the defences of deep-water ports like Brest and Cherbourg.[2]

Glatton was immediately assigned as tender to HMS Excellent upon completion and remained in Portsmouth for the bulk of her career. She participated in a gunnery trial in 1872 where HMS Hotspur fired on her turret at a range of 200 yards (180 m). Neither of the 12-inch (305 mm) shells that hit her turret penetrated although some rivets were dislodged.[16] She was mobilised in 1878 for service with the Particular Service Squadron. In 1881 she received 14-inch (356 mm) torpedo launchers as well as three small quick-firing guns for use against torpedo boats later in the decade. Glatton participated in the 1887 fleet manoeuvres, but she returned to reserve afterwards. She was sold in 1903 for breaking-up.[17]

Ship Main guns Armour Displacement Propulsion Service
Laid down Completed Fate
HMS Glatton 2 × 12-inch (300 mm) rifled muzzle loaders[18] 12 inches[18] 4,912 long tons (4,991 t)[18] 2 screws, 2 steam engines, 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)[18] 10 August 1868[18] 24 February 1872[18] Sold 1903[17]

HMS Hotspur[edit]

Engraving of HMS Hotspur, showing the turret between the foremast and the funnel

HMS Hotspur was inspired by a series of French coast-defence ships with the ram as their primary weapon. The layout of Glatton was modified with a fixed turret and her freeboard was increased over that of the older ship. The single 12-inch gun was mounted on a turntable and could pivot at each gun port to maximise its arc of fire. It was nominally capable of firing forward, but this proved to damage the upper deck.[19]

Hotspur remained in reserve until 1876 after she was commissioned. She served with HMS Rupert in the Sea of Marmara during the Russo-Turkish War of 1878. Hotspur was reconstructed between 1881 and 1883 with the substitution of a new turret with two 12-inch guns protected by the newly developed compound armour. The ship's breastwork was removed and replaced by side armour with transverse armoured bulkheads to form an armoured citadel. Her only active service thereafter was with the Particular Service Squadron of 1885. She was guard ship at Holyhead until 1893, then in reserve again until 1897, and then relieved HMS Scorpion as guard ship at Bermuda. Hotspur remained there until sold in August 1904.[20]

Ship Main guns Armour Displacement Propulsion Service
Laid down Completed Fate
HMS Hotspur 1 × 12-inch (305 mm) rifled muzzle loader[21] 11 inches (279 mm)[21] 4,331 long tons (4,400 t)[21] 2 screws, 2 steam engines, 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)[21] 2 October 1868[21] 17 November 1871[21] Sold August 1904[20]

HMS Rupert[edit]

HMS Rupert was an enlarged version of Hotspur with a rotating turret, two smaller guns, and heavier armour. Her machinery was unsatisfactory and she could only make 12 knots rather than her designed 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph). The ship was comprehensively reconstructed in 1891–93 when her old muzzle-loading guns were replaced by breech-loading 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns, her machinery was replaced and a number of light quick-firing guns were added for torpedo boat defence.[22]

Rupert was sent to the Mediterranean after she was commissioned and served there from 1876 to 1880. She was thereafter held in reserve at Portsmouth until being mobilised for the Particular Service Squadron during the Russian war scare from April to August 1885. She was then assigned as guard ship at Hull until 1890. After reconstruction she became guard ship at Pembroke Dock until 1895, then at Gibraltar between 1895 and 1902, and finally relieved Hotspur as guard ship at Bermuda until her sale in 1907.[23]

Ship Main guns Armour Displacement Propulsion Service
Laid down Completed Fate
HMS Rupert 2 × 10-inch (254 mm) rifled muzzle loaders[24] 11 inches (280 mm)[24] 5,440 long tons (5,527 t)[24] 2 screws, 2 steam engines, 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)[24] 6 June 1870[24] 1 July 1874[24] Sold 1907[11]

Cyclops class[edit]

Right elevation plan from Brassey's Naval Annual 1888–1889

The Cyclops-class ships were slightly larger versions of Cerberus, and one knot faster, that were ordered to satisfy demands for local defence during the war scare of 1870. While ostensibly for coast defence purposes, the Admiralty planned to use them to attack enemy ports and for operations in the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea.[25] The pace of construction was initially quite fast, but the fitting-out work slowed drastically as the perceived threat of war declined. The ships spent most of their careers in reserve and were finally sold off in 1903.[26]

Ship Main guns Armour Displacement Propulsion Service
Laid down Completed Fate
HMS Cyclops 4 × 10-inch rifled muzzle loaders[27] 8 inches (200 mm)[27] 3,480 long tons (3,536 t)[27] 2 screws, 2 steam engines, 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)[27] 10 September 1870[27] 4 May 1877[27] Sold 7 July 1903[28]
HMS Gorgon 5 September 1870[27] 19 March 1874[27] Sold 12 May 1903[28]
HMS Hecate 24 May 1877[27]
HMS Hydra 31 May 1876[27] Sold 7 July 1903[28]

Conqueror class[edit]

Gun turret and superstructure of HMS Conqueror, viewed from the bow

The Conqueror-class monitors were enlarged versions of HMS Rupert with improvements based on suggestions from one of Rupert's captains. The useless foremast was removed, and breech-loading guns and heavier compound armour were added. The rear superstructure was enlarged to better accommodate the crew and secondary armament. Six 14-inch torpedo tubes were fitted above water.[29]

Both ships were assigned as tenders to the gunnery schools in Devonport and Portsmouth, although Conqueror did participate in Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Fleet review in July 1887. Each ship remained in reserve except to participate in the annual fleet manoeuvres, although this ceased after 1894. Conqueror was placed in reserve in 1902 and sold in April 1907. Hero became a target ship in November 1907 and was sunk in February 1908.[30]

Ship Main
Armour Displacement Propulsion Service
Laid down Completed Fate
HMS Conqueror 2 × 12-inch breech loaders[31] 12 inches[31] 6,200–6,440 long tons (6,299–6,543 t)[31] 2 screws, 2 steam engines, 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)[31] 24 April 1879[31] March 1886[31] Sold April 1907[30]
HMS Hero 11 April 1884[31] May 1888[31] Sunk as target 18 February 1908[30]


  1. ^ Brown, pp. 56–57
  2. ^ a b Brown, pp. 57–58
  3. ^ Gardiner, pp. 22, 24, 28
  4. ^ Gardiner, pp. 21–22, 24, 28
  5. ^ a b c Heritage Division, p. 21
  6. ^ Brown, p. 57
  7. ^ Gardiner, p. 21
  8. ^ Parkes, p. 169
  9. ^ Silverstone, p. 249
  10. ^ Silverstone, p. 223
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Parkes, p. 16
  12. ^ Parkes, pp. 16–17
  13. ^ Parkes, p. 24
  14. ^ Gardiner, p. 22
  15. ^ Parkes, pp. 16–17
  16. ^ Brown, p. 58
  17. ^ a b Parkes, p. 174
  18. ^ a b c d e f Parkes, p. 171
  19. ^ Parkes, pp. 178–79
  20. ^ a b Parkes, p. 181
  21. ^ a b c d e f Parkes, p. 177
  22. ^ Gardiner, p. 24
  23. ^ Parkes, p. 186
  24. ^ a b c d e f Parkes, p. 182
  25. ^ Beeler, p. 102
  26. ^ Parkes, pp. 212, 215
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Parkes, p. 213
  28. ^ a b c Parkes, p. 215
  29. ^ Gardiner, p. 28
  30. ^ a b c Parkes, p. 296
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h Parkes, p. 293


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  • Beeler, John (2001). Birth of the Battleship: British Capital Ship Design 1870–1881. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-213-7. 
  • Brown, David K. (2003). Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Development 1860–1905 (reprint of the 1997 ed.). London: Caxton Editions. ISBN 1-84067-529-2. 
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  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0.