Battleship HMS Iron Duke

The battleship HMS Iron Duke belonged to the same class of ships, which consisted of four ships and for the first time had a full-fledged center artillery and anti-ballon guns.


Launching and design:

The planning and construction of the ships of the Iron Duke class were based on the ships of the Orion and Dreadnought class. The most important innovation took place in the arming of the ships.

Since the destroyers and the small cruisers of other naval forces had been significantly strengthened since the turn of the century, both in armament and in armor, the 10.2-cm guns used until then were no longer sufficient, as they had too little penetrating power around the Break armor. Thus, the ships of the Iron Duke class for the first time 12 x 152 mm L / 50 guns were installed, so that the middle artillery received a significant improvement in penetration and could penetrate also recent armor.

Similarly, in the ships for the first time anti-aircraft guns were mounted, which should serve to combat airships. Especially the German Empire sat on these airships, either for reconnaissance or for bombing. So far, the British warships were equipped only with light anti-aircraft guns or machine guns, which lacked either the range or the penetration force. The new balloon defense cannons should remedy this deficiency.

A major weak point continued to be the lack of torpedo bulkheads. Because of the limited capacity of the dry docks, the British warships could not exceed a certain width. To comply with the dimensions was in most cases dispensed with the Scots, which should limit the penetrating water in a torpedo hit and allow in the case of a list hit the counter-flood. The absence of the Scots was in the area of turbine rooms with tank steel tried to compensate, the boiler rooms, however, had only a protection against overwater hits, not against torpedo hits.

As drive system, 18 boilers Babcock & Wilcox were used with coal and oil firing, the ships of the Iron Duke class were the last battleships of the Royal Navy, which were fueled with coal.

The launch of the HMS Iron Duke took place on October 12, 1912, the commissioning on March 10, 1914.



HMS Iron Duke


HMS Iron Duke


HMS Iron Duke


HMS Iron Duke


HMS Iron Duke




Use in the war:

After commissioning and testing, the HMS Iron Duke was used as the flagship of the Grand Fleet at the outbreak of the war.

In this capacity, the ship was also involved from 31 May to 1 June 1916 at the Battle of the Skagerrak, but where it neither gave a shot nor received a hit.

Until the end of the war, the Iron Duke took part in any further use.




Use after the war:

After the First World War, the HMS Iron Duke was first moved to the Mediterranean, then to the Black Sea to fight the Bolsheviks and their positions on the coasts during the Russian Civil War.

From 1926 to 1929, the ship served in the Atlantic Fleet, where several exercises, maneuvers and tours were conducted.

With the London Fleet Agreement of April 22, 1930 parts of the British battlecruisers and battleships had to be demilitarized and could not be used in their actual state. The three sister ships of the HMS Iron Duke were then sold and scrapped, while the Iron Duke had to be converted into a training ship. For this, the gun turrets, the fire control, the torpedo tubes and the entire tank belt were removed and a part of the boiler removed to reduce the speed to a maximum of 18 knots.

In the function as a training ship, the ship remained until the Second World War.




Use in the Second World War:

When World War II broke out in Europe, the HMS Iron Duke was in port at Scapa Flow. This was attacked on 17 October 1939 by several Junkers Ju 88 of the German Air Force, the ship received several hits and had to be beached.

After the attack, the ship was repaired, the remaining armament expanded and used as a depot.

In the course of the war two more air raids were flown to the naval base, with both attacks receiving the HMS Iron Duke hits.





After the war, the HMS Iron Duke was decommissioned, sold in 1946 and scrapped in 1948.




Ship data:


HMS Iron Duke


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Portsmouth Dockyard




October 12, 1912


March 10, 1914


Sold in 1946 and scrapped in 1948


190,2 meters


27,5 meters


9 meters


Max. 30.380 tons


925 - 1.022 men


18 Babcock boiler

4 Parsons steam turbines


29.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

21 kn




10 x Rapid fire gun 343 mm L/45

12 x 152 mm L/50 guns

2 x 76,2 mm anti-aircraft guns

4 x torpedo tubes 533 mm


Belted tank 203 - 305 mm

Pages 63 to 152 mm

Deck 25 - 63 mm

Towers 102 - 279 mm

Barbettes 178 - 254 mm

Casemates 51-152 mm

Control room 51 - 279 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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