Liner HMS Bulwark

The battleship HMS Bulwark belonged to the Formidable class and was one of eight battleships, which was still put as a pre-dreadnought type in the service of the Royal Navy.


Launching and design:

The construction of the Formidable class was decided at the end of the 19th century and was based on the experience of the Majestic class.

The ships designed by Sir William White were to be improved especially in the areas of armor by the new Krupp steel and equipped with new water tube boilers as a drive system.

The main armament was selected as four 305mm Armstrong 12 "L/40 guns and twelve 152mm Vicker's 6" L/45 guns laterally embedded in casemates.

After the first three ships of the class were already completed, some changes were made to the subsequent ships. In order to reduce the draft a bit, the cover armor was reduced at the Bulwark.

The launching of the HMS Bulwark took place on 18 October 1899, the commissioning on 11 March 1902.



HMS Bulwark




History of HMS Bulwark:

After commissioning the ship replaced on May 1, 1902 HMS Renown as the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet. By 1904, all eight ships were assigned to the formidable class of the Mediterranean fleet.

From 1905 to 1906, the first overhaul of the technology took place in Malta.

On February 12, 1907, the Bulwark was assigned as the flagship of the Nore Division of Home Fleet, where it was on October 26, 1907 in a maneuver in the North Sea to an accident when the ship ran aground. Until 1908, the repair work continued.

From October 3, 1908, the Bulwark was assigned to the Channel Fleet, which was renamed by restructuring on March 24, 1909 to the 2nd Division of Home Fleet.

Due to the rapid development of the Dreadnought class and its alliance obligations with France, the Royal Navy concentrated the big battleships in the North Sea. So it happened that the already obsolete ships of the formidable class were allocated to the reserve.

After the IndienstsBis to the allocation in the 5th Battle Squadron in June 1912, the HMS Bulwark still participated in some maneuvers and was temporarily overhauled and modernized.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the ships of the 5th Battle Squadron were assigned to the Channel Fleet and stationed in Portland. From there they should monitor the English Channel and attack German ships.

Since at that time an invasion of Great Britain by German troops was feared, most ships of the 5th battle squadron were transferred on 14 November 1914 to Sheerness.





At around 7:50 am on November 26, 1914, HMS Bulwark, off Sheerness, suffered a severe explosion that completely destroyed the ship, killing all but 12 crew members.

The cause of the explosion was the overheating of cordite propellants, which led to an explosion.




Ship data:


HMS Bulwark


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth


around £ 1,000,000


October 18, 1899


March 11, 1902


On November 26, 1914 sunk by an explosion in the ammunition chamber


131,4 meters


22,9 meters


Max. 7,9 meters


Max. 15.955 tons


750 man


20 Belleville water-tube boilers

Two triple expansion engines


15.355 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

18 kn




4 × 305 mm 12 "Mk.IX guns in twin towers

12 × 152-mm 6 "Mk.VII guns

16 × 76-mm 12-pounder 12-cwt guns

2 × 12-pounder boat and field guns

2 × machine guns

4 × 457 mm torpedo tubes under water


Belted up to 231 mm

Deck 25-65 mm

Armored partition 231-305 mm

Towers 203-254 mm

Barbettes 305 mm

Casemates 152 mm

Command tower 360 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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