United Kingdom (1908)
St Vincent, Collingwood, Vanguard

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.

HMS Vanguard 1909
HMS Vanguard 1909.

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.

HMS Vanguard aft guns
HMS Vanguard aft guns, probably where the tragic explosion took place in 1917.

Career

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.

Links

The St Vincent on wikipedia
St Vincent class on dreadnoughtproject.org
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

St Vincent specifications

Dimensions 163,4 x25,6 x8,5 m
Displacement 19 560t, 23 030t FL
Crew 758
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.

Video: Tragedy of the Vanguard

Gallery

HMS Collingwood 1912
HMS Collingwood 1912

St Vincent 1908HMS CollingwoodCollingwood - rear

St Vincent class battleship
HMS St Vincent in 1910.

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