Battlecruiser HMS Princess Royal

The battle cruiser HMS Princess Royal belonged to the Lion 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 launch of the HMS Princess Royal took place on April 29, 1911, the commissioning in October 1912.



HMS Princess Royal


The HMS Princess Royal and the Russian cruiser Admiral Makarov in June 1914 in Kronstadt




Use in the war:

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

At this time, the HMS Princess Royal was assigned to the 1st battlecruiser squadron of the Grand Fleet, with which the ship also participated on August 28, 1914 at the first naval battle near Helgoland. The ship scored neither hit nor received it one.

After British ships suffered a defeat in the waters off Coronel on 1 November 1914 against the German East Asia Squadron, the HMS Princess Royal was withdrawn from the Grand Fleet and relocated to the Caribbean, to prevent passage of the German squadron through the Panama Canal. However, when the German squadron was destroyed on 8 December 1914 in the naval battle in the Falkland Islands, the HMS Princess Royal returned to Britain.

On January 24, 1915, the ship again led with the 1st battlecruiser squadron a battle with German ships. These carried out on the Dogger Bank an advance against British outpost ships. However, the British Admiralty knew in advance the plans, as the radio traffic could be decrypted. During the battle, the HMS Princess Royal was one of the ships that sank the German battleship SMS Blücher.

From May 31 to June 1, 1916, the Princess Royal also participated in the Battle of the Skagerrak. In the course of the battle, the ship received several hits resulting in 22 dead crew members and another 81 injured.

After the Battle of the Skagerrak, the squadron made some forays into the North Sea, but there was no more enemy contact.





After the First World War, the HMS Princess Royal was decommissioned, sold in 1922 and then scrapped.




Ship data:


HMS Princess Royal


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness


2.076.222 pounds


April 29, 1911


October 1912


Sold and scrapped in 1922


213,4 meters


26,9 meters


Max. 8,8 meters


Max. 29.680 tons


997 men


42 Yarrow steam boiler

4 Parsons turbines


78.600 PS (57.810 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,5 kn (53 km/h)




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

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

2 x torpedo tubes 53,3 cm 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.

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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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