An ex-Turkish, Ex-Brazilian battleship
This singular ship with an eventful destiny was originally a dreadnought controlled by Brazil under the name of Rio de Janeiro to counter Argentina who had just ordered in the USA his two dreadnoughts of the class Riachuelo. The two Minas Gerais were in their time the most powerful warships in the world, Brazil wanted to reissue the thing and from the conception the new dreadnought gave in the excess.
Nothing less than 30,000 tons at full load, more than two hundred meters long, and especially a line battery of 14 pieces of 305 mm, four more than the standard of the time. He was commissioned to Armstrong shipyards. However, a change of government took place during the design phase, and the ship was started in September 1911 but canceled by the new majority. In July 1912, the government, which had suffered a serious economic crisis, was trying to sell it.
The ship remained on sale as construction continued. It was launched on January 22, 1913. Finally, the Rio was completed in February 1914, at the same time Turkey emerging from the Balkan War deprived of a number of buildings sought to counter the Greeks with a new battleship. Thus the great ship became Sultan Osman I. In August 1914 it was completed and was requisitioned by the Admiralty for the Grand Fleet. This requisition made the Turkish government furious and participated in their decision to join the triple alliance of central empires. The name was again changed, this time definitely, for HMS Agincourt, named after a famous battle of the hundred years war.
(To come – This article is a starter)
Career of the Agincourt
The Agincourt was singular in more ways than one and was not particularly appreciated by the admiralty. On the one hand, her 14 pieces of 305 mm were of a specific model (and the turrets named according to the days of the week), and not to the standard, which posed problems of maintenance. On the other hand the protection had been sacrificed to avoid overweight, but the speed was only 22 knots. Then, all these openings and these magazines and loading mechanisms weakened the structure of the hull.
In addition, in return for the tremendous volley she could offer, these guns could not be fired at the same time for fear of causing such a roll that the ship might capsize…
The firing officer who commanded the “Gin palace” (nickname of the full broadside in the Royal Navy) shifted slightly their fire, which remained unmatched. In hunting and retreat, four guns of a caliber already exceeded, 12-inches (305 mm) was not a prodigy and remained below the capability of the new contemporary British and German Dreadnoughts.
In the end, the Agincourt remained a prototype, which fought in the Grand Fleet. She was seen in action only in Jutland, firing 144 shells. The German observers believed during her bursts that it was the explosion of a battle cruiser as the light effect of the broadside was striking. She was then modified, equipped with AA while loosing her heavy central bridges and rear tripod mast to regain stability. She was reformed in 1921 and demolished in 1922.
|Dimensions||204.7 x 27.1 x 8.2 m|
|Displacement||27 500 t, 30 250 T FL|
|Propulsion||4 shaft Parsons turbines, 22 B & W boilers, 34,000 hp|
|Speed||22 knots (41.5 km/h)|
|Range||6,680 nautical miles (12,370 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Armor||14 x 305 (7×2), 20 x 152, 12 x 76 (2 AA), 3 x 457mm TTs (stern, flanks).|
Author’s profile of the Agincourt in 1914.