Battlecruiser HMS Indomitable

The battlecruiser HMS Indomitable belonged to the Invincible class, in which the characteristics of armored cruisers and battleships were united and thus founded the new type of battlecruisers.


Launching and design:

As early as the beginning of the 20th century, British analysts, led by Admiral Jackie Fisher, began drafting new types of ships. The focus was on the areas of speed and firepower. In 1905, the features of the Minotaur class could be summarized with the heavy armament of the new HMS Dreadnought.

In order to achieve a correspondingly high speed of over 25 knots, two modifications were necessary. For one, it was dispensed with a thick armor. The high range of the large guns should allow the ships to attack enemy warships without being hit themselves. On the other hand, the hull should be extended in order to create more space for boilers and thus achieve a higher performance.

As a field of operation, the reconnaissance and the fight against enemy battleship was intended as the new battlecruisers would have been superior to the armored cruisers of the other naval forces.

As the main armament four turrets were selected, each with two 30.5-cm L / 45 marine cannons. These guns fired armor piercing shells up to 22 kilometers away. The medium artillery consisted of sixteen 10.2-cm guns, this time mounted on the deck and no longer housed in side casemates. This had the advantage that even in medium and heavy swell the guns were operational. In addition, 5 × 21 "torpedo tubes were installed, which were customary in the interior of the fuselage at that time, and thus the entire ship had to be steered and set on course for aiming.

For the propulsion plant and the necessary power, 31 water-tube boilers from the manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox were taken, which powered four Parsons steam turbines with the steam generated, produced an output of around 41,000 HP and thus accelerated the ship to just under 25 knots.

The launching of HMS Indomitable took place on March 16, 1907, the commissioning on June 20, 1908.



HMS Indomitable


HMS Indomitable


HMS Indomitable




History of HMS Indomitable:

After commissioning, the usual test drives and the completion of the recording of the equipment took place. These were briefly suspended on June 20, 1908 in order to participate with the ship at the 300th anniversary of Quebec.

On October 28, 1908, the sister ship HMS Inflexible was incorporated into the Nore Division of Home Fleet. Then, as the last ship of the class, the HMS Invincible was operational, these three ships were assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron.

In the following years, the squadron participated in several maneuvers and exercises. In addition, these were overhauled each year in the shipyards.

On August 27, 1913, the HMS Indomitable was ordered together with the HMS Invincible in the Mediterranean and incorporated into the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron. In July 1914, Indomitable was in Malta at the shipyard for overhaul. Due to the increasing political tensions in Europe, the work was stopped and made the ship operational.




Use in the war:

When the war broke out between France and the German Empire, the British ships in Malta were ordered to supervise the German Mediterranean division. Then the ships ran on 3 August 1914 from Malta from the direction of the Adriatic Sea, since it was assumed that the German would unite with the Austrian ships. After the order was changed and the British ships were sent to Gibraltar to prevent German ships from breaking away, they discovered the ships they were looking for on 4 August and started the pursuit. Because of problems with the boilers, the British ships, except for the HMS Dublin had to stop the pursuit of the SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, even the Dublin lost during the evening contact. When German ships were rediscovered on 6 August, the persecution started again. Although the state of war now prevailed between Britain and the German Empire, the two ships could not be prevented from entering the Dardanelles.

Subsequently, the HMS Indomitable and HMS Indefatigable took over the monitoring of the harbor entrance of the Dardanelles. At the end of September, the French battleships Suffren and Vérité reinforced the two British battlecruisers. On October 29, 1914, the attacks of the Ottoman Empire on the Russian ports of Novorossiysk, Odessa and Sevastopol, which were followed by a declaration of war on France and Russia. Two days before Britain declared war on the Ottoman Empire, the two battlecruisers, together with the French ships, were already firing at the fortifications in the Dardanelles.

In December 1914, HMS Indomitable was withdrawn from the Mediterranean and assigned to the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron in the North Sea.

On January 24, 1915, the ship was involved in the battle on the Dogger Bank, in which German ships had tried to make an advance into the North Sea. Here, the HMS Indomitable participated in the bombardment of the German armored cruiser SMS Blücher, who is then sunk. After that, the heavily damaged HMS Lion had to be towed and brought back to the UK.

After the battle, the ship was assigned to the 3rd battlecruiser squadron, which also the two sister ships were assigned after they had destroyed the German East Asia squadron in the Falkland Islands.

When from 24 to 25 April 1916 German ships fired at the British port cities of Yarmouth and Lowestoft, the 3rd battlecruiser squadron was sent to search for and sink the ships. The search had to be canceled without result on the evening of the 25th.

For artillery exercises, the squadron was temporarily assigned to the Grand Fleet in May 1916. On May 30, all ships were ordered to leave, as it became known that the German High Seas Fleet was planning a push into the North Sea. In the early evening of May 31st the battles between the small German cruisers and some battlecruisers of the British began. Later in the evening, there were also battles with the big German cruisers SMS Lützow, SMS Derfflinger and SMS Seydlitz, where the HMS Indomitable met the Derfflinger three times and Seydlitz once. Shortly thereafter, the sister ship HMS Invincible was destroyed. In the battle with the advancing German ships of the line, could be achieved also some hits on the SMS Pommern.

Due to the loss of three battlecruisers, three armored cruisers and eight destroyers, the outline of the battlecruisers was repositioned so that they should only be used in two squadrons.

The two remaining Invincible-class ships, HMS Indomitable and HMS Inflexible, still received additional armor and were overhauled and partially modernized, but there was no longer any mission in the war for these ships.





After World War I, both HMS Indomitable and HMS Inflexible were decommissioned in 1919.

The Indomitable was finally sold on December 1, 1922 and scrapped in Dover in 1923.




Ship data:


HMS Indomitable


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Fairfield Shipbuilding, Govan




March 16, 1907


June 20, 1908


Sold on December 1, 1922 and scrapped in Dover in 1923


172,8 meters


23,9 meters


7,9 meters


Max. 20.125 tons


784 - 1000 men


31 Babcock-water tube boiler

4 Parsons turbines


41.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

25 kn




8 x 30,5-cm Mk.X guns in twin turrets

16 x 10,2-cm Mk.III guns

5 x 21" underwater torpedo tubes


Belt armour up to 152 mm

Bar beds 178 mm

Battle bridge 254 mm

Gun turrets:

Front 178 mm

Pages 178 mm

Top side 70 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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