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HMS Revenge (1915)


HMS Revenge (1915)

HMS Revenge was a Revenge class battleship built by Vickers-Armstrong, laid down on 22nd December 1913 under the name Renown, launched 29th May 1915 and commissioned on the 1st February 1916.

The Revenge-class battleships (listed as Royal Sovereign class in several editions of Jane's Fighting Ships, and sometimes also known as the "R" class) were five battleships of the Royal Navy, ordered as World War I loomed on the horizon, and launched in 1914–1916. There were originally to have been eight of the class, but two were later redesigned, becoming the Renown-class battle cruisers, while the other, which was to have been named HMS Resistance, was cancelled.

HMS Revenge had a displacement of 29,150 tons standard, 33,500 tons full load. Length: 624 ft (190 m), Beam: 88.5 ft (27.0 m), Draught: 28.6 ft (8.7 m) Her propulsion was provided by Steam turbines, driving 4 shafts, fed by 24 boilers, giving 26,500 shp (20 MW) She had a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h) and range of 5,000 nmi (9,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h) Her Ships Complement was 997–1,150 officers and ratings. Armament consisted of 8 × 15 in /42 guns (381 mm), 14 × BL 6-inch (152.4 mm) Mk XII guns, 2 × QF 3-inch (76.20 mm) 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns, 4 × 47 mm guns and 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (submerged). Armour Belt was 13 in (330 mm) amidships; 4–6 in (102–152 mm) ends. Deck: up to 5 in (127 mm). Turrets: 13 in (330 mm) faces; 5 in (127 mm) sides; 5 in (127 mm) roof Barbettes: up to 10 in (254 mm) and citadel: 11 in (279 mm).

Revenge was in action at The Battle of Jutland under the command of Captain E. B. Kiddle. The day before the Grand Fleet departed their base to confront the surrendering German High Seas Fleet in Operation ZZ, a visit was made by senior members of the British Royal Family: King George V, Queen Mary and Edward, Prince of Wales. The King and his son visited USS New York, HMS Lion and Revenge. Queen Mary had tea in Revenge.

In 1919, at Scapa Flow, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order to the now interned German High Seas Fleet to scuttle the entire fleet of 74 ships to prevent their use by the victorious Allies. After the incident, von Reuter was brought to the quarterdeck of Revenge, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sydney Fremantle and accused of breaching naval honour. Von Reuter replied to the accusation, "I am convinced that any English naval officer, placed as I was, would have acted in the same way." No charges were brought against him.

In January 1920, the 1st Battle Squadron was detached to the Mediterranean due to crises in the region. While there, Revenge supported Greek forces and remained in the Black Sea, due to concerns about the Russian Civil War until July, when she returned to the British Atlantic Fleet. In 1922, Revenge, with her sister ships Ramillies, Resolution and Royal Sovereign, was again sent to the Mediterranean due to further tension in the area, in no small part due to the forced abdication of King Constantine I of Greece. Revenge was stationed at Constantinople and the Dardanelles throughout her deployment. She rejoined the Atlantic Fleet the following year.

In January 1928 she was paid off for refit at Devonport Dockyard; this included her 3-inch anti-aircraft guns being replaced by 4-inch guns and a control system was installed to direct them from a station on the foremast. Two of the 6-inch guns were removed from the foc’sle deck. She was recommissioned in March 1929 into the British Mediterranean Fleet. A further minor refit in May 1931 added two platforms for the new eight-barrelled 2-pounder pom-pom anti-aircraft guns, although only the starboard set of guns was actually fitted due to a shortage. On 16 July 1935, Revenge was part of the Naval Review of 160 warships at Spithead in celebration of George V's Silver Jubilee. Later that year she was stationed at Alexandria due to potential dangers posed by the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

In 1936 she was paid off for another refit. She was recommissioned a year later into the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. Early in 1939, her single 4-inch guns were replaced with four twin Mark XVI 4-inch guns and the fire control system was upgraded with a second system being added astern. She finally received the port multiple 2-pounder pom-pom and two four barrelled Vickers .50 machine guns were fitted on either side of the control tower. On 9 August 1939 she was part of another Fleet Review, that was observed by George VI. Revenge was now becoming rather antiquated and slow, but she was still used a great deal throughout the war, being assigned to the North Atlantic Escort Force, together with her sister-ship Resolution.

John Doran

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