The second dreadnought-type serie
The St Vincent were built in record time, compared to the previous Bellerophon which differed in many details from the Dreadnought. However, they still had their share of own differences: Higher upper masts, improved engines, a slightly longer and larger hull which was also shallower and more hydrodynamic, but also 650 tons more in displacement. Moreover, their guns were the new 305 mm Mk.XI, caliber 50. They also received three torpedo tubes and no less than eighteen four-inch (102 mm) Mark III 50-calibre quick-firing (QF) guns. These ships were nonetheless criticized afterwards for their propensity for excessive rolling, which did not helped the watch’s work. Critics were the same about the positioning of the second mast, handicapped by the smoke from the first chimney, which was eventually suppressed.
Entry into service and modifications
The St Vincent, like the Collingwood, was launched in 1908, and the Vanguard in 1909. They were operational in May 1909 and February-April 1910 for the other two. In 1914, the height of the upper pole was reduced, and the two top guns of the front turret removed. In 1916, their anti-torpedo nets were removed and they received two smoke deflectors on their chimneys. In 1915 all three also received two 76 mm AA guns, themselves replaced by 102 mm AA in 1917. In addition, their stern TT was removed, and two platforms for Sopwith Strutter and Sopwith Pup in were added on their turrets 1918.
Their career was relatively insignificant, if not for the loss of the Vanguard in 1917 because of a cordite explosion. The Collingwood was badly damaged in 1911 following the collision with a reef off the coast of Ferrol, Spain. She will participate in the Battle of Jutland and will be transferred to the reserve in 1918, serving as a training ship before being demolished in 1922. The St. Vincent had a similar career. The Vanguard also participated in the Battle of Jutland, without damage or loss. However, it was anchored July 9, 1917 at Scapa Flow where mishandling of shells turned to tragedy. A huge explosion broke up and pulverized its hull and the vessel sank in a short time, taking with her whole crew, 804 souls.
St Vincent specifications
|Dimensions||163,4 x25,6 x8,5 m|
|Displacement||19 560t, 23 030t FL|
|Propulsion||4 screws, 4 Brown-Boveri turbines, 18 Wagner boilers, 24,500 hp|
|Speed||21 knots (xx km/h; xx mph)|
|Range||6,900 nmi (12,800 km; 7,900 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)|
|Armament||10 x305mm (5×2), 20 x102mm, 3 TT 457mm (sub sides and poop)|
|Armor||Belt 250, Battery 200, Barbettes 230, turrets 280, blockhaus 280, bridge 75 mm.|