Battleship HMS Agincourt

The battleship HMS Agincourt was originally commissioned by Brazil, later sold to the Ottoman Empire and finally used by the Royal Navy itself during World War I.


Launching and design:

At the beginning of the 20th century, an arms race was launched by the maritime forces of the South American countries Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Since Brazil itself was unable to build any large warships, the country ordered them in Britain and had the ships built there as well. Thus, the two capital ships of the Minas Geraes class were built by the Armstrong shipyard in Elswick.

1910 was the contract for the construction of a battleship. After negotiating for months on the specifications of the ship, agreed in mid-1911, the contractors. As the main armament twelve 35,6cm guns and a strong armor were selected. After a change of government in Brazil, however, the information was withdrawn and changed to 14 x 30.5 cm guns in seven twin towers. The background was that even the ships of the Minas Geraes class used this caliber, the financial situation in Brazil became more difficult and even the Imperial Navy of the German Reich also used this caliber. The construction could then begin on September 14, 1911.

The launch of the Rio de Janeiro (Brazilian and first name of the ship) took place on January 22, 1913, a commissioning, however, did not take place.



HMS Agincourt


HMS Agincourt


HMS Agincourt and HMS Erin 1918




History of HMS Agincourt:

After the market for natural rubber collapsed and Brazil could no longer pay the built warship, it offered this end in 1913 for sale.

On January 9, 1914, it bought the navy of the Ottoman Empire, read it in the name of Sultan Osman I renamed and the final production could be completed.




Use in the war:

On August 3, 1914, the official surrender of the Sultan Osman I together with the battleship Reshadije was considered. However, as a result of the outbreak of the First World War, the two ships were seized by the British Navy on 2 August 1914 and placed under the name of HMS Agincourt and HMS Erin in the service of the Royal Navy.

At the time of confiscation, HMS Agincourt was already outdated. The caliber of the heavy guns was too small, the armor too weak and the breakthroughs for the seven gun turrets were considered to be flaws, since the watertight lockable compartments were too small to protect the ship sufficiently. Thus, the ship brought the Royal Navy no significant added value, but made sure that the German Empire could move with the sale of the cruiser SMS Goeben and the small cruiser SMS Wroclaw the Ottoman Empire a short time later to the war.

After incorporation into the Royal Navy, the HMS Agincourt was assigned together with the HMS Marlborough, HMS Revenge and HMS Hercules the 6th Division of the 1st Battle Squadron. In this association, the ship also took part from May 31 to June 1, 1916 at the Battle of the Skagerrak. Although the ship fired several times, but landed no hit, but also received none.

Until the end of the war, the association still participated in individual attacks in the North Sea, but had no enemy contact during this time.





Immediately after the end of the war, the HMS Agincourt was retired for cost reasons. In the next two years, the armor was strengthened and rebuilt the propulsion system, in order to subsequently offer it for sale again Brazil. These rejected the offer in 1921, however.

The plan to convert the ship to a depot ship was begun in late 1921, but the Washington Fleet Agreement in February 1922 prevented the project from being implemented because the ship was no longer allowed to be used.

In 1924 it was finally scrapped in Rosyth.




Ship data:


HMS Agincourt


Great Britain

Ship Type:  



Single ship


Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle upon Tyne




January 22, 1913


August 20, 1914


Scrapped in Rosyth in 1924


204,5 meters


27,1 meters


Max. 8,2 meters


Max. 27.500 tons


1.115 - 1.267 men


22 coal and oil fired boilers from Babcock & Wilcox

2 sets of Parsons steam turbines on 4 waves


40.000 shp (29 MW)

Maximum speed:  

22,4 kn




14 × 30,5 cm L / 45 cannons in twin towers

20 × 15,2 cm L / 50 guns, mostly in casemates

10 × 7,62 cm individually

3 × 53,3 cm torpedo tubes




Pages up to 229 mm
Deck up to 38 mm
Towers up to 203 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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