The battleship HMS London belonged to the formidable class and was one of the 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 launch of the HMS London took place on 21 September 1899, the commissioning on June 7, 1902.
History of HMS London:
After the commissioning and the test drives the HMS London was first used on 16 August 1902 as a flagship to participate in the fleet parade for the coronation of King Edward VII in Spithead.
After the coronation, the ship was relocated to the Mediterranean, where until 1904, the remaining ships followed the Formidable class.
In addition to the usual maneuvers and exercises, the London in Malta in the years 1902, 1903 and 1906 was overhauled in the shipyard.
In March 1907 followed the move to the Nore Division of Home Fleet, later on June 2, 1908 in the Channel Fleet.
For extensive modernization measures, the ship was put out of service on April 19, 1909. The conversion work was finally completed on 8 February 1910 and HMS London was re-launched as flagship of the Atlantic Fleet.
Use in the war:
When the First World War broke out, HMS London, as well as the other Formidable-class ships, were in Portland, subordinate to the 5th Battle Squadron of the Channel Fleet.
With the beginning of the British landing companies in the Dardanelles, the HMS London was sent in March 1915 in the Mediterranean to support the troops.
After the last mission on April 25, 1915 at Gallipoli was transferred to the 2nd Detached Squadron Adriatic to support the Italian Navy against the warships of Austria-Hungary. The support ended in October 1915, after which the ship was brought to Gibraltar to be overhauled there.
To obtain crews for the submarine hunt, the outdated HMS London was decommissioned in October 1916 and there remained only a fuselage crew on the ship.
From February to April 1918, the ship was converted to a mine-laying facility. For this purpose, the rear large gun was completely removed, removed in the front tower, the guns and parts of the center artillery to make room for the mines and their dropping constructions. After completion of the conversion, the ship was assigned on May 18, 1918 the 1st Mine Squadron of the Grand Fleet and participated in the installation of mine barriers in the northern exit of the North Sea.
After the First World War, HMS London was finally decommissioned in 1919 and sold on June 4, 1920 for scrapping.
From 18 May 1918:
Portsmouth Dockyard, Portsmouth
September 21, 1899
June 7, 1902
Sold on June 4, 1920 for scrapping
Max. 7,9 meters
Max. 15.955 tons
20 Belleville water-tube boilers
Two triple expansion engines
15.000 ihp (PSi)
4 x 305 mm Mk.IX guns in double turrets
12 x 152 mm Mk.VII guns
16 x 76 mm guns
2 x 12 pounds boat and field guns
2 x machine guns
4 x 457 mm torpedo tubes under water
Belt armour up to 231 mm
Deck 25 - 65 mm
Bulkheads 231 - 305 mm
Towers 203 - 254 mm
Bar beds 305 mm
Casemates 152 mm
Command tower 360 mm
You can find the right literature here:
British Battleships of World War One
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.
The British Battleship: 1906-1946
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.
British Battlecruisers 1905-1920
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.
British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)
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.