- HMS Vengeance during the Great War -
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1st July 1914 HMS Vengeance
HMS Vengeance (1899 - 1921) was built at Vickers, Barrow, laid down on 23rd August 1898, launched on 25th July 1899, Commissioned in April 1902 and Scrapped in 1921.
One of the Canopus class of pre dreadnought battleships designed by Sir William White for use in the Far East and entered service between 1899 and 1902.
The lead ship was HMS Albion, which was followed by Canopus, Glory, Goliath, Ocean and Vengeance.
The class had primary armament consisting of four 12 inch (305 mm) 35 calibre long guns and six 6-inch (152 mm) 40 calibre long guns.
The introduction of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 rendered the class, and all other pre-dreadnought battleships, obsolete only a few years after the last-of-class entered service in 1902. The class saw service across the globe: in home waters, on the China Station, in the Mediterranean Fleet, in the Atlantic, in Africa, at Archangel, and in the Mediterranean where HMS Goliath and HMS Ocean were sunk during the Dardanelles campaign. The four surviving ships were reduced to subsidiary duties late in World War I and were scrapped in the early 1920s.
List of Ships in Canopus Class
- HMS Albion
- HMS Canopus
- HMS Glory
- HMS Goliath
- HMS Ocean
- HMS Vengeance
The Canopus-class battleships were designed for use in the Far East to counter the expanding Japanese navy and were required to be able to pass through the Suez Canal. They were designed to be smaller, lighter and faster than their predecessors, the Majestic-class battleships, although at 421.5 ft (128.5 m) they were slightly longer.
The armoured belt, situated at the waterline of the vessel, was 6 inches (152 mm) thick.
To save weight the Canopus class carried less armour than the Majestics, but a change from Harvey armour in the Majestics to Krupp armour in the Canopus class meant that the protective capability of the armour was maintained. Part of their armour scheme included the use of a special 1 in (25 mm) armoured deck over the armour belt to defend against plunging fire by the howitzers that France had reportedly planned to install on its ships, although this report proved to be false.
Like the Majestics, the Canopus class ships had four 12-inch (305 mm) guns mounted in twin turrets fore and aft. The final ship, Vengeance, had an improved mounting that allowed loading at any elevation; her turret gunhouses differed from those of her sisters in being Krupp-armoured and flat-sided (Krupp armour plates were difficult to form into curves). The ships mounted twelve 6-inch (152 mm) guns in armoured casemates as well having some smaller guns and four submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.
The Canopuses were the first British battleships with water-tube boilers, which generated more power for their weight when compared with the cylindrical boilers used in previous ships. The new boilers led to the adoption of fore-and-aft funnels, rather than the side-by-side funnel arrangement used in many previous British battleships. The Canopus-class ships proved to be good steamers, consuming 10 short tons (9.1 t) of coal per hour at full speed. At 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph) they were fast for battleships of their time, a full 2 kn (2.3 mph) faster than the Majestics. The Canopuses were able to reach 4,500 mi (7,200 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) with a full load of coal.
First World War Service
On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Vengeance was assigned to the 8th Battle Squadron, Channel Fleet, for patrol duties in the English Channel and Atlantic transferring to the 7th Battle Squadron on 15 August 1914 to relieve battleship Prince George as flagship. She covered the landing of the Plymouth Marine Battalion at Ostend, Belgium, on 25 August 1914.
In November 1914 she transferred to West Africa for operations, against German Kamerun, then to Egypt to relieve armored cruisers Black Prince and Warrior as guard ship at Alexandria, then moved on to the Cape Verde-Canary Islands Station to relieve Albion as guard ship at Saint Vincent.
On 22 January 1915, Vengeance was selected to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. She stopped at Gibraltar that month to embark Admiral John de Robeck and become second flagship of the Dardanelles squadron, and arrived at the Dardanelles in February 1915.
Vengeance participated in the opening bombardment of the Ottoman Turkish entrance forts on 18 February and 19 February 1915, suffering some damage to her masts and rigging thanks to gunfire from the forts. She also took part in the main attack on the Narrows forts on 18 March 1915, supporting the main landings at Cape Helles in the Morto Bay area on 25 April 1915, and supported the ground troops during the Turkish attack on Allied positions at Anzac Cove on 19 May 1915. A submarine attacked her on 25 May 1915 without success.
By July 1915, Vengeance had boiler defects that prevented her from continuing combat operations, and she returned to the United Kingdom and paid off that month. She was under refit at Devonport until December 1915.
Vengeance recommissioned in December 1915 and left Devonport on 30 December 1915 for a deployment to The Cape and East Africa. While there, she supported operations leading to the capture of Dar es Salaam in 1916.
In February 1917, Vengeance returned to the United Kingdom and paid off. She was laid up until February 1918, when she recommissioned for use in experiments with anti-flash equipment for the fleet's guns. She completed these in April 1918, and then was partially disarmed, with four 6-inch (152-mm) main-deck casemate guns removed and four 6-inch (152-mm) guns being installed in open shields on the battery deck. She became an ammunition store ship in May 1918.
Vengeance was placed on the sale list at Devonport on 9 July 1920, and was sold for scrapping on 1 December 1921. She had an eventful trip to the scrapyard. After she departed Devonport under tow on 27 December 1921 en route Dover, her tow rope parted in the English Channel on 29 December 1921. French tugs located her and towed her Cherbourg, France. From there she was towed to Dover, where she finally arrived for scrapping on 9 January 1922.John Doran
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