Liner HMS Canopus

The battleship HMS Canopus belonged to the same class of ships and consisted of six standard liners, which were built for the Royal Navy.


Launching and design:

At the end of the 19th century, the Japanese Empire began to upgrade its navy, which Britain increasingly regarded as a danger. Thus, on behalf of the Navy Department of Sir William Henry White ships were planned, which, although based on the experience of the previous Majestic class, but of their dimensions should be lower in order to drive through the Suez Canal.

So it came that the ships were altogether narrower, but longer. To save weight, the new water tube boilers were used instead of the usual cylinder boilers, on the other hand, the armor was narrower. Thus, the weight fell to the Majestic class by 2,000 tonnes, in turn, the speed increased.

The main armament served four 12-inch (305 -mm) L / 35-Mk.VIII guns in two twin towers, which were each housed at the end of the ship.

The launching of the HMS Canopus took place on October 13, 1897, the commissioning on December 5, 1899.



Launched the HMS Canopus in Portsmouth


HMS Canopus




History of HMS Canopus:

After commissioning the ship was assigned to the Mediterranean fleet, but was until May 1905 mainly for overhaul in the yard and in the reserve.

On May 9, 1905, the Canopus was sent to the Pacific to replace the HMS Centurion at China Station. Along the way, Britain and Japan renewed their alliance, which made it possible to downsize the China Station and eliminate the need for so many warships on the ground. The Canopus was therefore ordered back to the UK before arrival back.

Until 1908, the ship changed between the Channel Fleet and the Home Fleet until it was relocated on April 28, 1908 in the Mediterranean.

From December 1909 to the First World War, overhauls alternated in the shipyard and service in the Home Fleet.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the HMS Canopus was first assigned to the 8th Battleship Squadron of the Channel Fleet. On 1 September 1914, the transfer to the South America Station, where the ship arrived on 22 September and should serve as a guard ship for the coal station.

After it became known that the German cruiser squadron of Admiral Graf Spee was on its way to the South Atlantic, the Canopus was ordered to the Falkland Islands to guard the local coal charging station. In order to build up another coal station, the fleet chief Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock issued the expiry with two supply vessels to the island of San Félix. When the British ships were defeated in the naval battle of Coronel on 1 November 1914, HMS Glasgow sailed south to escape any German pursuers. On November 6, the Glasgow met on the Canopus, both ships then drove to the Falkland Islands where they arrived on 12 November. As the drive system of the Canopus collapsed, the ship was grounded in the harbor and should serve as a defense battery against the German ships. When the German cruiser SMS Gneisenau and the small cruiser SMS Nürnberg of the German squadron came into view on December 8, the Canopus opened the fire while HMS Kent left the harbor. After the battle, the ship was made operational again and relocated to the Brazilian island group Abrolhos Rocks.

After the war entry of the Ottoman Empire against Great Britain, the British High Command intended a landing company on the Dardanelles. For the operation, the HMS Canopus was relocated to the Mediterranean. From March 2, 1915, the second attack was carried out, the Canopus shelled the Ottoman coastal fortifications and served as a backup for other British warships. By hits of the Ottoman artillery thereby the main mast as well as the rear chimney were damaged.

When the breakthrough by the Dardanelles failed, the Canopus had to haul the heavily damaged HMS Inflexible into the port of Malta. In addition, she was involved with securing the troop transports to the Gallipoli Front when the main attack began on April 25, 1915. After landing at Gallipoli failed the ship remained until April 1916 in the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron to hedge the eastern Mediterranean against the Ottoman Navy. Then the ship arrived on April 22, 1916 in British Plymouth.





After the HMS Canopus was put out of service in Chatham in May 1916, took place in late 1916 and early 1917 overhaul, the ship still received some additional guns.

Already in 1917 was foreseeable that the German and the Ottoman Navy was no longer capable of large operations, the Canopus was rebuilt in late February 1918 as a dwelling ship.

After the war, it was offered for sale in April 1919, bought on February 18, 1920 and scrapped in Dover.




Ship data:


HMS Canopus


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Royal Dockyard,




October 13, 1897


December 5, 1899


Sold on February 18, 1920 and scrapped in Dover


131,45 meters


22,27 meters


Max. 7,9 meters


Max. 12.950 tons


750 man


20 Belleville steam boilers

2 triple expansion steam engines


15.400 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

18 kn




4 × 305-mm L / 35 naval guns

12 × 152-mm L / 40 guns

10 × 12-pdr QF 76,2-mm guns

6 × 3-pdr QF 47-mm guns

4 × 457 mm torpedo tubes




Tank belt 152 mm

Armored bulkhead 152-254 mm

Barbettes 305 mm

Towers 203 mm

Casemates 152 mm

Command tower 305 mm

Deck 25-51 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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