Light cruiser HMS Amphion

The light cruiser HMS Amphion belonged to the Active class and was used with its two sister ships as Aufklärungskreuzer. The HMS Amphion was the first British warship lost in the First World War.


Launching and design:

The Active class ships were among the light cruisers of the Royal Navy, which were built and used specifically as a reconnaissance cruiser. However, the three ships of the class were the last reconnaissance cruiser, as these tasks were taken over by larger cruisers.

Just like the predecessors of the Blonde class, the ships in the Active class were only lightly armored, only the engine room had a slightly thicker armor. In the Aufklärungskreuzern more importance was placed on the speed than on armor and armament, especially since these ships were also not intended for battles with other warships.

The launching of the HMS Amphion took place on 4 December 1911, the commissioning in March 1913.



HMS Amphion




History of HMS Amphion:

After commissioning the ship was assigned as flotilla leader of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla. This was stationed in Harwich Force and should guard the eastern English Channel.

The first commander of the ship was the later Admiral Frederic Charles Dreyer, who had great influence on the development of the shooting technique of warships and thus could win with the HMS Amphion also British shooting competitions.




Use in the war:

Shortly after World War I broke out, a British steamer reported to the British High Command on 5 August 1914 that an unknown ship was throwing suspicious objects into the Eastern Channel.

Thereupon the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla ran out in the afternoon to the reported coordinates and started their search for the ship. Shortly thereafter, came with the Great Eastern Railway painting camouflaged Königin Luise in sight, a German auxiliary mines. Four destroyers, including the HMS Amphion took up the pursuit and shot at the German ship. After several hits, the German commander readied the seacocks and got his crew into the lifeboats. The survivors were picked up by British destroyers while Königin Luise sank, including 38 sailors picked up by HMS Amphion.

The search was continued afterwards, whereby a similar ship with German flag was sighted. The British destroyers reopened the fire, but after the ship could be identified as St. Petersburg of the Great Eastern Railway Company, which had the German ambassador on board, the HMS Amphion moved between the ship and the other British destroyers, so that they no longer continued firing.

The search for more ships ended on August 6, 1914 and the destroyers made their way to their home port.





Around 6:30 clock then ran the HMS Amphion on a previously laid by Königin Luise sea mine. The hit damaged the bow gun, the bridge and the front rooms, including the mess deck where breakfast was being served at the time. Although the captain let the engines stop, it was no longer possible to flood the bow areas to extinguish the fire. The other British destroyers then began to take on the crew of the ship, as the Amphion ran at 7:03 clock on another sea mine. The magazine of the ship was hit and exploded. The ship sank within 15 minutes and cost the lives of some 150 British sailors and 18 survivors of Königin Luise.



A drawing of the sinking of the HMS Amphion




Ship data:


HMS Amphion


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Light cruiser
(Scout cruiser)




Royal Dockyard, Pembroke




December 4, 1911


March 1913


Sunk on 6 August 1914 after two mine hits


128,83 meters


12,66 meters


Max. 4,75 meters


Max. 4.000 tons


321 - 325 men


12 Yarrow Boiler

4 Parsons turbines


18.000 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

25 kn




10 × 102 mm L / 50 Mk.VII guns

1 × 76 mm air defense gun

4 × 3-pdr-47 mm guns

2 × 45,7 cm torpedo tubes




Deck: 13-25 mm

Command tower: 102 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 !!