Light cruiser HMS Bristol

The light cruiser HMS Bristol belonged to the Town class, a ship class of five ships, which should mainly monitor and protect the trade routes of the British Empire.


Launching and design:

The construction of the Town-class ships was decided in Britain in early 1909 to replace older light cruisers. Its main task was to monitor and protect the trade routes that led from Asia and South America to the UK.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the design of the ships was the low freeboard mark. The side-mounted ten 10.2-cm single guns, which were also very low, firing in medium and heavy seas was no longer possible. In the subsequent Weymouth class, this deficiency has been resolved.

The main armament was designed rather weak with two 15.2-cm single guns.

In return, the cruiser with 26.5 knots had a fairly high speed and range.

The launch of the HMS Bristol took place on 23 February 1910, the commissioning in December 1910.



HMS Bristol




History of HMS Bristol:

After commissioning and testing, the ship was assigned to the 2nd Battle Squadron of Home Fleet.

In July 1913, the allocation to the 2nd Light Cruiser squadron followed, in early 1914 the 5th Cruiser Squadron and shortly before the First World War to the 4th Cruiser Squadron in the Caribbean.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock kept the HMS Bristol in the Caribbean, among other British warships, as the two German ships SMS Karlsruhe and SMS Dresden were in the area and the British naval command had the fear that the German Reich would destroy the US merchant ships would serve as auxiliary cruiser.

On August 6, SMS Karlsruhe was discovered while equipping Kronprinz Wilhelm of HMS Suffolk. Cradock pursued the Karlsruhe and radioed to the other British ships the order to cut the German ship's path. The HMS Bristol stopped the trip to Pernambuco and was able to intercept the Karlsruhe, but this had a higher speed and was able to escape the fire of the Bristol. Subsequently, the Bristol drove back to South America.

While Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock continued to search for the German ships with some ships, the Bristol remained on the South American coast. Only when on November 1, 1914 in the naval battle at Coronel off the Chilean coast, the two armored cruiser HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth were lost, also the HMS Bristol was ordered to the Falkland Islands, where the squadron reorganize the search for the German ships should continue.

When, on December 8, 1914, the German squadron came within sight of the Falkland Islands, most of the British warships were still busy with the taking up of coal. Thus, the HMS Bristol and the auxiliary cruiser Macedonia was sent out to raise the nearby three German supply ships. In the afternoon, finally, the ships Baden and Santa Isabell were raised and sunk after the crew had left the ships. The supply ship Seydlitz escaped. By the end of the year, Bristol was still involved in the search for SMS Dresden before it was relocated to the Mediterranean in 1915.

After Italy entered the war on the side of Great Britain in 1916, the Italian navy was supported by British ships. The HMS Bristol belonged to these ships and was entrusted with securing the exit of the Adriatic. There, on 14 May 1917, the Austrian Rapidkreuzer SMS Novara, SMS Saida and SMS Helgoland pushed into the area to sink the watchmen there. In the subsequent battle and the pursuit of the three ships, the HMS Bristol was indeed involved, but could not intervene sufficiently in the battle.

1918, the HMS Bristol was relocated to South America, where it remained until the end of the war.





In June 1919, HMS Bristol returned to Portsmouth, where it was decommissioned.

On May 9, 1921, it was sold to Ward, which scrapped it in Hayle.




Ship data:


HMS Bristol


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Light cruiser




John Brown & Company, Clydebank




February 23, 1910


December 1910


Sold on May 9, 1921 and scrapped in Hayle


138,1 meters


14,3 meters


Max. 4,7 meters


Max. 5.300 tons


411 – 480 men


12 Yarrow steam boilers

2 Brown Curtis steam turbines
on 2 waves


22.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

25 kn




2 × 6 "/ 50 BL Mk XI
(15,2 cm L / 50)

10 × 4 "/ 50 BL Mk VIII
(10,2 cm L / 50)

4 × .303 machine guns

4 × 3 Pdr 1.85 "/ 50 QF
(4.7 cm L / 50)

2 × torpedo tubes
18 "(45,7 cm)

in the war 1 × 3" air defense gun


Deck 50 mm

Slopes 20 mm

Command tower 100 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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