Warship Wednesday, Febuary 27
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.
– Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, February 27
Here we see the Nelson class battleship HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) of His Majesty’s Royal Navy in 1942. The Rodney and her sister ship Nelson were one of the more unique in modern dreadnought designs. They were constructed with all of their main guns placed well forward. This isn’t for tactical reasons, but more because of compromises put into effect after the 1922 Washington Naval Treaties, which limited new battleships to 35,000-tons.
To keep inside this arbitrary figure, the Nelsons were built kind of like the 1971 Coupe DeVille– all hood and no trunk.
This kept the magazines streamlined over a smaller armored belt. Also the Nelsons were built with a small power plant to save weight. It generated just 45,000 shp, or about the same amount of power as a Oliver Hazard Perry class FFG today. This kept the 38,000-ton (whoops, sorry about that weight gain!) warship down to just 23-ish knots at best top speed. Never the less, with nine 16-inch Mk I guns and 12-14inches of steel armor belt over the good parts, the Nelson’s were the best and brightest ships afloat from 1927 when she was commissioned until the HMS King George V and USS North Carolina were built in 1940/41.
During WWII it was Rodney who dealt the massive German battleship SMS Bismarck most of the damage that sent that leviathan to the deep. In the surface action of 27 May 1941, Rodney fired an amazing 340 16″ shells and 716 smaller six inchers at Hitler’s favorite new bath toy. She also ripped off a dozen torpedoes at the Kreigmarine’s finest with no less than one striking her– possibly one of the only times in history a battleship torpedoed another.
Following that she spent the rest of the war with Force H in Malta, and escorting convoys across the Atlantic before dropping it like it was hot on German shore positions on Normandy Beach at D-Day.
She finished the war as a cripple, with her machinery too worn for fleet operations. Even unable to leave port she was still the flagship of the Home Fleet in Scapa Flow. A broken and battered veteran, she was quietly scrapped in 1948.
Displacement: 33,730 long tons (34,270 t) standard
37,430 long tons (38,030 t) standard (full load)
Length: 710 ft 2 in (216.5 m) overall
Beam: 106 ft (32.3 m)
Draught: 31 ft (9.44880000 m)
Installed power: 45,000 shp (34,000 kW)
8 Admiralty 3-drum oil-fired boilers
Propulsion: 2 shafts
2 Brown-Curtis geared turbine sets
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Range: 14,500 nmi (26,900 km; 16,700 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 1,314 (1,361 as flagship)
Armament: 3 × 3 – 16-inch Mk I guns
6 × 2 – 6-inch Mk XXII guns
6 × 1 – QF 4.7-inch Mk VIII anti-aircraft guns
8 × 1 – 2-pounder anti-aircraft guns
2 × 1 – 24.5-inch (620 mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: Belt: 13–14 in (330–356 mm)
Deck: 4.375–6.375 in (111–162 mm)
Barbettes: 12–15 in (305–381 mm)
Gun turrets: 9–16 in (229–406 mm)
Conning tower: 10–14 in (254–356 mm)
Bulkheads: 4–12 in (102–305 mm)
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