Battlecruiser HMS Lion

The battle cruiser HMS Lion belonged to the same ship class, which consisted of a total of three ships and were built in response to the Moltke and Kaiser class of the German Empire.


Launching and design:

1909 were begun in the German Empire with the construction of the ships of the Moltke and Kaiser class, which would have been superior to the British warships at that time. In response to this, the British naval command prepared for the construction of a battlecruiser, which should be equal to, if not superior to, German armies in armament and speed.

In order to unite these requirements, the weapons were used on the 34.3 cm caliber guns already used in the Orion class. These were used when it became known that the ships of the Kaiser class used 30.5-cm caliber guns.

Top speed was set at 27 knots, as it was assumed that the Moltke-class ships had a maximum speed of 25 knots. Thus, the British ships should either be able to catch up with the German ships or escape them.

To be able to drive at such a heavy main armament at such a high speed, had to be installed on the ship instead of the Orion Class 5 only 4 twin towers. These were placed on a line above the keel, with two towers at the bow, one at the bow and one at the bow. For the drive, instead of the otherwise used 18 water-tube boilers, 42 were installed to achieve the required power. For this the length had to be set at 213.4 meters, which meant that the ships were significantly longer than the battleships of the Orion class. Further armor was reduced to save weight, which meant that the battlecruisers would be more prone to hit.

The launching of the HMS Lion took place on August 6, 1910, the commissioning on June 4, 1912.



HMS Lion




Use in the war:

Shortly after the commissioning and the test drives in Europe, the first world war broke out.

On 28 August 1914, the first battle took place at Helgoland, where the HMS Lion in the early afternoon, the German small cruiser SMS Cöln sunk without even greater damage.

On the morning of January 24, 1915, an advance of the German ships took place north of the Dogger Bank. The British naval command was already forewarned, as they could decipher the radio messages of the Germans and thus knew about the activities of the ships. Accordingly, the British ships were able to intercept the German ships. As the leading ship of the squadron, the HMS Lion first opened the fire on the German battleship SMS Blücher. After the other ships of the squadron had unlocked, they gradually took over the shelling of the Blücher. The Lion then turned first to SMS Derfflinger, then to SMS Seydlitz. Around noon, the German ships began to focus their fire on the HMS Lion, which resulted in the ship receiving several heavy hits, the speed dropped to 15 knots and the ship had to leave the battlefield. The hits resulted in addition to the failure of the machinery also to a dead and 20 injured. Since the ship could not drive by itself, it had to be towed by HMS Indomitable to Rosyth.

After a makeshift repair, the transfer to Devonport, where the ship remained over two months for complete repair.

During the Battle of the Skagerrak from May 31 to June 1, 1916, the HMS Lion received a hit by the German cruiser SMS Lützow at the beginning of the battle. The middle turret was hit directly, resulting in the deaths of 98 crew members. Only by the rapid flooding of the ammunition chamber could a large explosion be prevented, which would probably have destroyed the ship. In the further course of the battle, the ship received another 13 hits, with another crew member died and a total of 51 were wounded.

After the Battle of the Skagerrak, the Lion had to repair the shipyard again. The destroyed turret had to be replaced, which led to a stay of several months in the shipyard.

Until the end of the war, only a few patrols were carried out, in which there was no more enemy contact.



The damaged turret of the HMS Lion after the Battle of the Skagerrak





After the First World War, the HMS Lion 1920 was decommissioned and assigned to the reserve fleet.

According to the provisions of the Washington Naval Agreement of 6 February 1922, the ship was no longer used in the Royal Navy. Thus, it was sold in 1924 and then scrapped.




Ship data:


HMS Lion


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth




August 6, 1910


June 4, 1912


Sold and scrapped in 1924


213,4 meters


26,9 meters


Max. 8,8 meters


Max. 29.680 tons


997 men


42 steam boiler

4 Parsons turbines


73.800 PS (54.280 kW)

Maximum speed:  

27 kn (50 km/h)




8 x 34,3 cm Rapid fire guns L/45 Mk V

16 x 10,2 cm Rapid fire guns L/45 Mk VII

2 x 53,3 cm torpedo tubes under water


Belt 102-229 mm

Deck 25-64 mm

Towers up to 229 mm

Barbettes 229 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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!



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.

Click here!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!