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Formidable-class battleship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Formidable-class battleship
HMS Implacable Spithead 1909 Flickr 4793355702 4792e59389 o.jpg
HMS Implacable at Spithead in 1909.
Class overview
Name: Formidable-class battleship
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Canopus class
Succeeded by: London class
Built: 1898–1904
In commission: 1901–19
Completed: 3
Lost: 2
Retired: 1
General characteristics
Class and type: Formidable, London, and Queen classes
Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship
  • Formidable class: 15,800 long tons (deep)
  • London class: 15,700 tons (deep)
  • Queen class: 15,400 tons (deep)
Length: 431 ft (131.4 m) overall
Beam: 75 ft (22.9 m)
  • Formidable class: 25 ft 11 in (7.90 m)
  • London and Queen classes: (26 ft 0 in (7.92 m)
  • 20 Belleville water tube boilers
  • 2 × 3-cylinder vertical triple-expansion engines
  • 2 shafts
  • 15,000 ihp (11.6 megawatts); on trials Formidables averaged 15,500 ihp
Speed: 18.0 kn (33.3 km/h); on trials Formidables averaged 18.2 knots
  • Formidable class: 780
  • London and Queen classes: 714
  • Belt: 9 inches (229 mm)
  • Bulkheads: 9–12 inches (229–305 mm)
  • Barbettes: 12 inches (305 mm)
  • Gunhouses: 8–10 inches (203–254 mm)
  • Casemates: 6 inches (152 mm)
  • Conning tower: 14 inches (356 mm)
  • Deck: Formidable class: 1–3 inches (25.4−76.2 mm)
  • London and Queen classes: 1–2.5 inches (25.4−64 mm)

The Royal Navy's Formidable-class battleships were an eight-ship class of pre-dreadnoughts designed by Sir William White and built in the late 1890s. The class formed the basis for the nearly identical London class of five ships.

Technical characteristics

Right elevation and deck plan as depicted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1906
Right elevation and deck plan as depicted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1906

The Formidables were similar in appearance to and had the same armament as the Majestic and Canopus classes that preceded them. The Formidables are often described as improved Majestics, but in design they really were enlarged Canopuses; while the Canopus class took advantage of the greater strength of the Krupp armour employed in their construction to allow the ships to remain the same size as the Majestics with increased tonnage devoted to higher speed and less to armour without sacrificing protection, in the Formidables Krupp armour was used to improve protection without reducing the size of the ships.[1] The Formidables thus were larger than the two preceding classes, and enjoyed both greater protection than the Majestics and the higher speed of the Canopus class. The Formidables' armour scheme was similar to that of the Canopuses, although, unlike in the Canopuses, the armour belt ran all the way to the stern; it was 215 feet (66 m) long and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep and 9 inches (229 mm) thick, tapering at the stem to 3 inches (76 mm) thick and 12 feet (3.7 m) deep and at the stern to 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick and 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. The main battery turrets had Krupp armour, 10 inches (254 mm) on their sides and 8 inches (203 mm) on their backs.[1]

Right elevation of 12 inch gun turret & ammunition hoists
Right elevation of 12 inch gun turret & ammunition hoists

The Formidables improved on the main and secondary armament of previous classes, being upgunned from 35-calibre to 40-calibre 12 inch (305 mm) guns and from 40-calibre to 45-calibre 6 inch (152 mm) guns. The 12 inch guns could be loaded at any bearing and elevation, and beneath the turrets the ships had a split hoist with a working chamber beneath the guns that reduced the chance of a cordite fire spreading from the turret to the shell and powder handling rooms and to the magazines.[1]

The Formidables had an improved hull form that made them handier at high speeds than the Majestics. They also had inward-turning screws, which allowed reduced fuel consumption and slightly higher speeds than in previous classes but at the expense of less manoeuvrability at low speeds.[1]

Operational history

The ships saw peacetime service in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and home waters. With the appearance of the new dreadnought-type battleships and battlecruisers beginning in 1906, predreadnoughts such as the Formidables, Londons, and Queens were consigned to less demanding roles for much of the First World War, during which two were lost in action and a third was destroyed by an accidental explosion. Early war service in home waters was followed by duty in the Mediterranean including the Dardanelles campaign. The survivors were discarded soon after the war ended.

Service history

HMS Formidable

HMS Formidable served in the Mediterranean Fleet (1904–08), Channel Fleet (1908), Home Fleet (1909), Atlantic Fleet (1909–14), and Home Fleet again (1912–14). Her World War I service was in the Channel Fleet (1914–15). She was torpedoed by German submarine U-24 off Portland Bill while on patrol in the English Channel on 1 January 1915 with the loss of 547 of her 750 complement.[2]

HMS Irresistible

HMS Irresistible served in the Mediterranean Fleet (1902–1908), Channel Fleet (1908–1910), and Home Fleet (1911–1914). Her World War I service was in the Channel Fleet (1914–1915), and at the Dardanelles in 1915. She hit a mine on 18 March 1915 during the Dardanelles campaign and sank three hours later.[3]

HMS Implacable

HMS Implacable served in the Mediterranean Fleet (1901–1909), Atlantic Fleet (1909–1912), and Home Fleet (1912–1914). Her World War I service was in the Channel Fleet (1914–1915), the Dardanelles campaign (1915), the Adriatic (1915), and the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean (1915–1917), and then in subsidiary duties in home waters. She was sold for scrap in 1921.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, p. 36
  2. ^ Burt, pp. 170–172
  3. ^ Burt, pp. 173–174
  4. ^ Burt, p. 172–173


  • Burt, R. A. (1988). British Battleships 1889–1904. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-061-0.
  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Gibbons, Tony. The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day. London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
  • Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-907-3.
  • Parkes, Oscar (1990). British Battleships (reprint of the 1957 ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-075-4.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 November 2018, at 21:14
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