Battleship HMS Valiant

The battleship HMS Valiant belonged to the Queen Elizabeth class, which were put into service during the First World War and belonged to the most modern warships of the time.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Queen Elizabeth class were intended as a successor to the Iron Duke class, but these should exceed in many respects.

So the main armament of the caliber was to be increased 343 mm to 381 mm. Appropriate prototypes of such new guns were still in the testing, but only by the pressure of the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill these were included in the construction, which represents a significant risk, should the guns are not yet mature enough.

Also, the armor was significantly strengthened in the area of the sides and under water, as especially mines and torpedoes could be dangerous to the warships and severe damage, if not the destruction of the ship could result. The cover armor, on the other hand, was not reinforced because it was considered sufficient.

In the subsequent construction program of 1912 initially three battleships of the class were considered, in addition to an improved battle cruiser HMS Tiger, which was intended as HMS Leopard. After the ships were expected at a speed of 25 knots, the Navy Department decided to renounce the Leopard and to build a fourth battleship of the Queen Elizabeth class. Then, when the Federated Malay States promised to finance a fifth battleship, this too was included in the planning.

Criticism from the Director of Naval Construction that such a project could only be realized by using fuels with heavy oil and not in connection with coal was filed by Winston Churchill, who guaranteed oil supply even during wartime as responsible.

The launch of the HMS Valiant took place on 4 November 1914, the commissioning on 19 February 1916.



HMS Valiant




Use in the war:

After the commissioning and the test drives the HMS Valiant was assigned to the 5th battle squadron.

With this squadron, the ship took part in the Battle of the Skagerrak from 31 May to 1 June 1916, but scored and received no hits.

In August 1916, the HMS Warspite collided, damaging the Valiant and requiring it to be repaired at the shipyard. Already in September 1916, the ship was operational again.

By the end of the war, the squadron was still making some forays into the North Sea, but there was no more enemy contact.




Use after the war:

After the First World War, the HMS Valiant was assigned from 1919 to 1923 the 1st Battle Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet, followed by 1929 the 1st Battle Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet.

On March 23, 1929, the ship was decommissioned for extensive reconstruction and modernization measures. In particular, the torpedo protection was reinforced by large torpedo bulge on the hull, new torpedo tubes mounted, partially replaced the drive system and built a new catapult for an aircraft. On 2 December 1930, the ship could be put back into service.

From September 15 to 16, 1931, most of the crew were involved in the Invergordon mutiny when British sailors began to refuse orders and stop serving properly. Background was the world economic crisis and the announced cuts in pay for the soldiers and sailors. The uprising was ended bloodless.

Until March 1937, the ship took part in the annual maneuvers and exercises, followed by another modernization for two years.



HMS Valiant in 1939




Use in the Second World War:

On November 30, 1939, the HMS Valiant could be put back into service after the conversion. In order to test the functions of the ship and familiarize the crew with the ship, it was initially relocated to the West Indies. On the way back to Great Britain, she accompanied a convoy and was subsequently assigned to the 2nd Battle Squadron.

When the fight for Norway began on April 9, 1940, the Valiant was used as a security for troop transports. The only attack on the ship during this operation was carried out by the German submarine U-38, whose shot-down torpedo, however, did not hit the ship.

After France had to surrender on 22 June 1940, shortly after began by the British Navy leadership preparation for the acquisition or sinking of the French warships, which were either already in the British ports or stationed overseas. The HMS Valiant was relocated to the Mediterranean to take over or sink the French ships in the Algerian port of Mers-el-Kébir. After July 3, 1940, the British ultimatum for the French ships had expired, opened the battle cruiser HMS Hood first fire on French Brittany, which sank within a few minutes. Together with the HMS Valiant, HMS Resolution, HMS Nelson and some small cruisers, the battleships Dunkerque and Provence were put out of action afterwards. Only the battleship Strasbourg and the seaplane carrier Commandant Teste escaped.

Until the end of the year, only security tasks in the Mediterranean were carried out after the battle.

On March 28, 1941, there was a battle between the British Mediterranean squadron and the Italian Navy. In the morning the HMS Valiant together with the HMS Warspite could sink the heavy cruiser Fiume. Later the Valiant also scored hits on the heavy cruiser Zara, but the ship was sunk by the Warspite and HMS Barham. After the battle, the ship ran on a sea mine and was easily damaged.

A little later, as of May 20, 1941, the German occupation of the island of Crete began when German parachutists landed on the island and fought against the British troops there. The HMS Valiant was sent to the island in support of the British, but received two hits in the course of battles by German bombers and had to be severely damaged for several weeks in the yard.

Another attack on the ship took place on 19 December 1941 when Italian combat swimmers with manned torpedoes of the type Maiale penetrated into the port of Alexandria and explosives mounted both on the Valiant and the HMS HMS Queen Elizabeth and set fire. At the bow of the ship a large hole was blown up and the front ammunition chamber was full of water. Both ships were damaged by the damage to the bottom of the harbor, but could be lifted after a short time. For a complete repair, the ship moved to the South African port of Durban. Only in May 1943 was the HMS Valiant fully operational again.

From 1944, the HMS Valiant was used in the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean and secured there convoys. When the ship was in the dry dock of Trincomalee from August 8, 1944, the dock collapsed and the ship was heavily damaged again. After a makeshift repair, the ship was to be returned to the UK for full repair. It set on the way in the Suez Canal to ground and had to drive to the elevation over Cape Town to Britain, where it arrived in January 1945.

At the end of the war, the ship was still in the dock.



HMS Valiant during World War II


HMS Valiant during World War II





After the Second World War, the HMS Valiant was used as a housing ship for crews who trained in machine technology.

1948 was then the decommissioning, on 19 March 1948 the sale and from 11 August 1948 in Cairnryan, Scotland the scrapping.




Ship data:


HMS Valiant


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Fairfield Shipbuilders, Glasgow


around 2.500.00 pounds sterling


November 4, 1914


February 19, 1916


Sold on 19 March 1948 and scrapped on 11 August 1948 in Cairnryan, Scotland


195 meters


27,6 meters


Max. 9,3 meters


Max. 33.000 tons


925 - 951 men


24 Babcock & Wilcox cauldrons

4 Parsons turbines


76.074 PS (55.952 kW)

Maximum speed:  

24 kn (44 km/h)




8 x 38,1 cm L/42 Rapid fire guns

12 x 15,2 cm L/45 Rapid fire guns

2 x 10,2 cm L/45 anti-aircraft guns

2 x 76 mm anti-aircraft guns

4 x torpedo tubes ∅ 53,3 cm


Belt: 102 - 330 mm

Citadel: 152 mm

Upper deck: 25 mm

Upper armor deck: 32 - 45 mm

Lower armor deck: 25 - 76 mm

Towers: 127 - 330 mm

Barbettes: 102 - 254 mm

Casemate: 152 mm

Front command tower: 102 - 279 mm

Aft control station: 102 - 152 mm

Transverse bulkheads: 51 - 152 mm

Torpedo bulkhead: 51 mm

Chimneys: 38 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.

Click here!






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