Battlecruiser HMS New Zealand

The battlecruiser HMS New Zealand belonged to the Indefatigable class, which originally was to belong to only one ship, by donations from Australia and New Zealand finally three ships were built.


Launching and design:

In the years 1904 and 1905, the British expansion of the Royal Navy was severely restricted by the parliament, so that only one or two large ships could be built and allowed each year. In return, the German Empire built two to four large warships a year.

Since the British naval line thus feared in the long term, no longer able to hold on the oceans, the supremacy began in 1909 led by the naval line, some nationalist publishers and public figures a veritable hate campaign against foreign naval forces, especially against the German Navy. Due to public pressure, Parliament finally had to give in and approved the construction of up to eight large warships each year.

The ship of the class Indefatigable fell in the middle of this restriction by the Parliament, which initially only one ship was planned for this class. Following the public debate, the Commonwealth states of Australia and New Zealand decided to raise money to build two more ships of the class. The money from Australia, however, was conditional on the ship being built to serve in the Australian Navy; New Zealand considered the money as a gift.

First Sea Lord Admiral John Fisher opted for an improved version of the Invincible class in the Indefatigable class, with the improvement being mostly in the heavy gun's field of fire. Again, the 305-mm L / 45 Mk.X guns were used, but the two towers in the middle of the ship were further apart this time to fire better on the opposite side of the ship.

The Mittelartillerie remained the same with 16 10.2-cm guns both in number and in the lineup.

The total weight that was calculated for the armor was also the same. However, since the medium heavy guns were further apart, the ship was inevitably longer than its predecessor. Thus, the armor was also somewhat weaker than the ships of the Invincible class. These were also already considered weakly armored, so that the specifications of the armor were kept under orders of the naval leadership under lock and should not come to the public.

The launch of HMS New Zealand took place on 1 July 1911, the commissioning on 19 November 1912.



HMS New Zealand


View of the front heavy gun of HMS New Zealand




History of HMS New Zealand:

After commissioning and test drives, the ship was first visited and inspected by English King George. This was followed by a 10-month round trip:

  • February 8, 1913 departure from Portsmouth
  • March 1, 1913 Cape Town
  • March 31, 1913 Durban and Melbourne
  • April 12, 1913 Wellington
  • June 25, 1913 Departure from Auckland back to the UK
  • July 13, 1913 Suva, Honolulu
  • July 28, 1913 Vancouver
  • 16 to 18 August 1913 Mazatlán
  • September 8, 1913 Acapulco, Salina Cruz, Panama and Callao
  • September 17, 1913 Valparaíso
  • October 27, 1913 Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • November 3, 1913 Dominica
  • 13th to 18th November 1913 Bermuda
  • 21st to 30th November 1913 Halifax

The round trip was on the one hand a display of British technology in the field of warships, on the other hand so advertising should be made so that continue to provide the Commonwealth of the Royal Navy money for the construction of warships.

After returning to Britain, the HMS New Zealand was assigned on 8 December 1913, the 1st battlecruiser squadrons of Home Fleet. With this squadron the ship visited Brest in February 1914 and in June Riga, Reval and Kronstadt.



Civilians visit HMS New Zealand in Vancouver


Crew members of HMS New Zealand play with a monkey on a visit to Vancouver




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, HMS New Zealand was assigned to the battlecruiser group under Admiral David Beatty. With this group, the ship also participated on 28 August 1914 in the first naval battle near Helgoland. The battlecruisers were to serve as security and intervene as soon as the German High Seas Fleet left and would intervene in the battle. However, as the British destroyers did not retreat as planned, Beatty decided to use the battlecruisers earlier than expected. During the intervention, the ships hit the two German small cruisers SMS Cöln and SMS Ariadne, both of which were sunk.

After the battle, the transfer was made to the 1st Battlecruiser squadron on 15 January 1915 again to be assigned to the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron.

On January 24, 1915, a German federation pushed in the direction Dogger Bank to sink the local British outpost boats. The British, however, were warned by the decoding of the radio traffic and sent its own association of battle cruisers in the area, including the HMS New Zealand. When the German ships saw the British ships, they withdrew. In the subsequent pursuit of the German battleship SMS Blücher fell back and was badly damaged. By improper communication, the British battlecruisers began to focus their fire on the Blücher instead of pursuing the other ships. Although the Blücher could be sunk, the other German battlecruisers escaped.

In the following months, the squadron made several attempts in the North Sea. It came on 22 April 1916 to an accident when the HMS New Zealand rammed in the dense side of her sister ship HMS Australia. Both ships were badly damaged and had to be repaired in the yard. New Zealand was operational again on May 30th.

On the night of 31 May to 1 June 1916, the ship also participated in the Battle of the Skagerrak. The ship received several hits from the German battlecruiser SMS von der Tann, which did not lead to any casualties and injuries but caused serious damage. Even it could achieve hits on the battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein and the battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz.

On November 17, 1917, the HMS New Zealand was also involved in the second battle at Helgoland, but did not intervene in the battle.

In 1918, some reconstructions were carried out while the ship was equipped with aircraft platforms on the two center towers for a reconnaissance aircraft and a fighter plane.

Until the end of the war, some attempts were made in the North Sea, which, however, came to no enemy contact.



The mascot of HMS New Zealand "Pelorus Jack"


The HMS New Zealand during the first naval battle near Helgoland




Use after the war:

From December 1918 to February 1919, the ship was overhauled and made ready for a new round trip and equipped. Under the leadership of Admiral of the Fleet John Jellicoe, this trip was to take stock of the military readiness of the Commonwealth's naval forces and possibly introduce improvements. During the trip were, among others

  • March 14, 1919 Bombay
  • April 30, 1919 Simla
  • May 15, 1919 Albany, Western Australia
  • August 20, 1919 New Zealand
  • November 8, 1919 Canada
  • November 25, 1919 British Columbia
  • January 8, 1920 Key West, USA
  • January 21, 1920 Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • February 3, 1920 Return to Portsmouth, United Kingdom

visited. Overall, the trip took 347 days. However, the proposals of Jellicoe were not implemented because of the high cost, only New Zealand founded in 1921, the New Zealand Division as part of the Royal Navy.



The HMS New Zealand in Dry Dock in Australia, June 1919





After returning to Britain, HMS New Zealand was decommissioned on March 15, 1920 and assigned to the reserve.

Under the terms of the Washington Naval Conference of February 6, 1922, the Royal Navy was forced to evict some of its large warships in order to comply with the restriction of total tonnage. The New Zealand was therefore sold on 19 December 1922 and scrapped in 1923 in Rosyth.




Ship data:


HMS New Zealand


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering, Govan, Schottland




July 1, 1911


November 19, 1912


Sold on 19 December 1922 and scrapped in Rosyth in 1923


179,9 meters


24,4 meters


8,2 meters


Max. 22.130 tons


800 men


32 Babcock & Wilcox cauldrons

4 Parsons steam turbine


44000 PS

Maximum speed:  

25 kn




8 x 305 mm L/45 Mk.X guns

16 x 102 mm L/50 Mk.VII guns

4 x 47 mm guns

2 x 457 mm (underwater) torpedo tubes

from 1915:

2 x 7,62 cm anti-aircraft guns


Belt tanks from 102 to 152 mm

Armored deck 25-51 mm

Towers 178 mm

Barbettes 178 mm

Conning tower 254 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 !!