Armoured cruiser HMS Natal

The armored cruiser HMS Natal belonged to the Warrior class, which consisted of four ships and should be an improved version of the Duke-of-Edinburgh class.


Launching and design:

With the British fleet construction program of 1903 and 1904, four ships were ordered, which should be derived from the Duke-of-Edinburgh class, but should have Yarrow boiler and not those of the company Babcock & Wilcock.

The main armament continued to consist of six 23.4 -inch guns, each with a gun at the front and back of the midship line, two each were front and rear offset a little further back. As medium artillery were now four 19.1-cm guns instead of the previously used ten 15.2-cm guns of the predecessor class.

The launch of the HMS Natal took place on 30 September 1905, the commissioning on March 5, 1907.



HMS Natal




History of HMS Natal:

After commissioning and testing, HMS Natal, along with the other three Warrior-class ships, was assigned to the 5th Home Cruiser Squadron.

In December 1909, the ship changed to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, where it remained until the First World War.




Use in the war:

When World War I broke out in Europe, HMS Natal, along with its two sister ships, HMS Cochrane and HMS Achilles, was assigned to the Grand Fleet's 2nd Cruiser Squadron and took over security duties on the British coast.





On December 30, 1915, at around 1520, Cromarty off Scotland, several strong explosions occurred on the ship, causing the ship to sink within minutes.

Later investigations came to the conclusion that the explosive on board Kordit had ignited itself and subsequently brought an ammunition magazine to the explosion.

The accident cost between 390 and 421 crew members the life.



The wreck of HMS Natal in the Cromarty Firth around 1916




Ship data:


HMS Natal


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Armoured cruiser




Vickers Ltd., Barrow-in-Furness


250,000 pounds sterling


September 30, 1905


March 5, 1907


Declined on December 30, 1915 after an explosion of ammunition


154,03 meters


22,4 meters


Max. 8,4 meters


Max. 13.550 tons


743 men


19 Yarrow steam boiler and
6 cylinder boiler

2 four-cylinder steam engines


23.500 PSi

Maximum speed:  

22,9 kn




6 x 234 mm L/47 Mk X guns

4 x 191 mm L/50 Mk II guns

26 x 47 mm QF guns

3 x 457 mm torpedo tubes


Belt 152 mm

Pages 76-102 mm

Deck 19-38 mm

Towers 152-203 mm

Barbettes 178 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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