Armoured cruiser HMS Carnarvon

The Armoured cruiser HMS Carnarvon belonged to the Devonshire class, which was still in the county class and was built at the beginning of the 20th century for the Royal Navy.


Launching and design:

The construction of the six armored cruisers of the Devonshire class was commissioned in 1901 by the British Navy Ministry. Responsible for the construction of the ships was Sir William Henry White, who already constructed the predecessor ships of the Monmouth class, County Class 1.

In the first county class, the weak armament was criticized, because of the second assembly was slightly larger and better armed. A reduced speed was accepted.

The main armament was thus extended by 4 x 7.5 inches of guns, the average artillery for reduced from 14 to 6 x 6 inches guns. In addition, the middle artillery was housed in low casemates, which were no longer used in medium and heavy seas.

In the drive system, all six ships of the class received different types, designs and number. This should provide comparative values for later ships, but had the disadvantage that none of the propulsion systems was really mature enough and after a short time first problems came up. HMS Carnarvon installed 17 Niclausse water tube boilers and six cylindrical boilers. In addition to the rapid wear and the coal consumption was higher in the ships, in contrast to other cruisers.

The launch of the HMS Carnarvon took place on 7 October 1903, the commissioning on May 29, 1905.



HMS Carnarvon


HMS Carnarvon




History of HMS Carnarvon:

After the commissioning and the test drives the ship was assigned to the 3rd Kreuzergeschwader and ordered to the Mediterranean. There it took part in round trips to Piraeus and Malta.

In June 1907, the ship was assigned to the 2nd cruiser squadron and participated in a demonstration tour to South Africa and South America, which lasted until the end of 1908.

In early 1909, all the armored cruisers of the Devonshire class, with the exception of the HMS Argyll of the 3rd Division of Home Fleet, were assigned a home port in Devonport. As of March 1912, the HMS Carnarvon was flagship of the 5th cruiser squadron.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the ships of the 5th cruiser squadron were used to secure the North Sea. The HMS Carnarvon brought it on 24 August 1914 the German mail steamer Professor Woermann and escorted it to Freetown.

After the lost naval battle at Coronel on 1 November 1914, the Carnarvon was ordered to the South Atlantic to compensate for the British losses. There, the ship should first go to the Falkland Islands and unite there with the remaining British ships to fight against the German cruiser squadrons.

When the German ships came into sight on the morning of December 8, 1914, the guard ship HMS Kent first ran out, as most other British ships were still busy loading coal. The HMS Carnarvon had already completed the loading and ran shortly after the HMS Kent from the port to pursue the German ships. As the other British warships ran out, they could quickly overtake and overtake the Carnarvon. The ship fell back quickly because of its low speed. Even as the squadron throttled the speed to unlock the Carnarvon, the ship fell further back. The squadron then ran with full force, so that the Carnarvon could intervene late in the battle. The SMS Scharnhorst was already sinking, so that only the SMS Gneisenau was shot at. After this German ship had sunk, the Carnarvon participated in the rescue of the survivors.

After the battle in the Falkland Islands, the ship remained to secure in South America. When it left the Abrolhos Rocks station on February 22, 1915, it crashed into a non-mapped underwater rock and was badly damaged. The repair had to be done in Rio de Janeiro and lasted until the end of the year.

Following the HMS remained Carnarvon in the security service until the United States in 1917 entered the war against the German Empire. Then the ship was used to secure the American convoys until the end of the war.





After the First World War, the HMS Carnarvon 1919 was used as a cadet training ship and 1920 for a trip to Norway.

In March 1921 then took the decommissioning, the sale to the company Slough Trading Co. and the scrapping in Germany.




Ship data:


HMS Carnarvon


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Armoured cruiser


(County-Class 2)


Beardmore, Dalmuir


around £ 850,000


October 7, 1903


May 29, 1905


Sold in March 1921 and scrapped in Germany


144,32 meters


20,88 meters


Max. 7,32 meters


Max. 10.850 tons


655 man


17 Niclausse water pipe boiler

6 cylindrical steam boilers

2 four-cylinder triple expansion machines


21.000 PSi

Maximum speed:  

22,25 kn


4 × 191 mm Mk.I guns

6 × 152 mm Mk.VII guns

6 × 102 mm Mk.V guns

2 × 12-pdr 76 mm rapid-fire guns

18 × 47-mm 3 pounder guns

2 × 45,7-cm torpedo tubes under water


Belted tank 51 - 152 mm

Casemates 152 mm

Deck 51 mm

Command tower 305 mm

Barbettes 127 - 152 mm






You can find the right literature here:


British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One Hardcover – November 15, 2012

This new edition of a classic work on British battleships is the most sought after book on the subject. Containing many new photographs from the author's exhaustive collection this superb reference book presents the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. Beginning with Dreadnought, all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

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The British Battleship: 1906-1946

The British Battleship: 1906-1946 Hardcover – October 15, 2015

Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

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British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

The well-publicized problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament, and armor, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full color. This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.

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British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

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