Canopus Class Battleship (1897)

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Overview of 6 vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Albion Thames Iron Works, Blackwall 3 Dec, 1896 21 Jun, 1898 25 Jun, 1901 Sold 11 Dec, 1919
Canopus Portsmouth Royal Dockyard 4 Jan, 1897 13 Oct, 1897 5 Dec, 1899 Sold 18 Feb, 1920
Glory Laird, Birkenhead 1 Dec, 1896 11 Mar, 1899 1 Nov, 1900 Sold 19 Dec, 1922
Goliath Chatham Royal Dockyard 4 Jan, 1897 23 Mar, 1898 27 Mar, 1900 Torpedoed 15 May, 1915
Ocean Devonport Royal Dockyard 15 Feb, 1897 5 Jul, 1898 20 Feb, 1900 Mined 18 Mar, 1915
Vengeance Vickers, Barrow 23 Aug, 1898 25 Jul, 1899 8 Apr, 1902 Sold 1 Dec, 1921

Contents

Binoculars

In September 1914, the ships were allowed four additional pairs of Pattern 343 Service Binoculars.[1]

Searchlights

In 1907, these ships, along with battleships of the Majestic, London, and Duncan classes, along with armoured cruisers of the Powerful, Drake, Cressy, Monmouth and Devonshire classes were to land their searchlights from their tops and obtain two additional 24-inch models from their dockyards for placement on the shelter or boat deck. These were to be augmented by (or further upgraded to?) a pair of 36-in searchlights when they became available.[2]

Armament

During the war, along with those of other older ships, the eight 6-inch guns casemated on the first deck proved of little use in practical sea states. It was decided to remove the eight casemate guns, plate their ports over and move 4 of them to the upper deck. Four of the twelve 12-pdr guns were also surrendered due to this alteration.[3]

Main Battery

The four 12-in Mark VIII guns were mounted in twin turrets designated "fore" and "aft".[4] Different ships carried different mountings, and those of Goliath and Ocean are not recorded in The Sight Manual, 1916.

In 1906, all had been equipped with Africa type semi-direct center position sights, but the side sighting positions employed vertical column sights.

Vengeance

Vengeance's B. V mountings and sights had the following characteristics.[5]

The mountings could be elevated 13.5 degrees and depressed 5 degrees. The sights could match the 13.5 degree elevation of the mounting to deliver a full charge maximum range of 13,800 yards.

The centre sights had a range gearing constant of 43.33 and range drums provided for full charge at 2350 fps, reduced charge at 1950 fps, as well as for 6-pdr sub-calibre guns and 1-in aiming rifles. There was no means whatever for adjusting M.V.. Their deflection gearing constant for the sights was 72.26, with 1 knot equalling 2.89 arc minutes, calculated as 2350 fps at 5000 yards. Drift was corrected by inclining the sight carrier 2.8 degrees. The sighting lines were 43.08 inches above and 19.56 inches abreast the bore. No explicit mention is made of a temperature corrector or a "C" corrector.

The side sighting positions had vertical column sights in which 1 degree of elevation corresponded to 1.05 inches on the strip. Strips were provided for full charge at 2400, 2375, 2350, 2325, and 2300 fps, and for reduced charge at 2050, 2025, 2000 and 1975 fps, as well as for 12-pdr 8 cwt and 1-in aiming rifles. M.V. was corrected by strip selection. A deflection gearing constant of 147.6 gave 1 knot equal to 2.83 arc minutes, or 2367 fps at 5000 yards. Drift was allowed for by inclining the sight column 2.67 degrees. The sight line was 42.6 inches above the bore; its lateral position is not documented. There was no temperature corrector or a "C" corrector.

Albion and Glory

These ships' B. IV mountings and sights had the following characteristics.[6]

The mountings could be elevated 13.5 degrees and depressed 5 degrees. The sights could match the 13.5 degree elevation of the mounting to deliver a full charge maximum range of 13,800 yards.

The centre sights had a range gearing constant of 40 and range drums provided for full charge at 2350 fps, reduced charge at 1950 fps, as well as for 6-pdr sub-calibre guns and .303-in aiming rifles. M.V. could be adjusted by cam pointer, +/- 75 fps. Their deflection gearing constant was 60.9, with 1 knot equalling 2.89 arc minutes, calculated as 2350 fps at 5000 yards.

Drift was corrected in the centre sight by inclining the sight carrier 2.8 degrees. The sighting line was 43.3 inches above the bore; its lateral position is not documented. No explicit mention is made of a temperature corrector or a "C" corrector.

The side sighting positions had vertical column sights in which 1 degree of elevation corresponded to 1.05 inches on the strip. Strips were provided for full charge at 2400, 2375, 2350, 2325, and 2300 fps, and for reduced charge at 2050, 2025, 2000 and 1975 fps, as well as for 12-pdr 8 cwt and 1-in aiming rifles. M.V. was corrected by strip selection. A deflection gearing constant of 147.6 gave 1 knot equal to 2.83 arc minutes, or 2367 fps at 5000 yards. Drift was allowed for by inclining the sight column 2.67 degrees. The sight line was 46.3 inches above the bore, though this varied in some ships; its lateral position is not documented. There was no temperature corrector or a "C" corrector.

Canopus

Canopus's B. III mountings and sights were as in Cæsar and Illustrious and generally the same as those for the B. IV ships above, except that the centre sight line was 40 inches above the bore, and the side column sight line was 39.6 inches above the bore.[7]

Secondary Battery

Other Guns

Twelve 12-pdr guns, later reduced to eight when the 6-in casemate guns were relocated.

Torpedoes

The ships carried four 18-in submerged tubes.[8]

  • two forward, depressed 1 degree and angled directly abeam, axis of tube 10 foot 11 inches below load water line and 2 foot 5 inches above the deck.
  • two aft, depressed 1 degree and angled at 22.5 degrees abaft the beam; axis of tube 10 foot 4 inches below load water line and 2 foot 5 inches above the deck.

Fire Control

Though it may have little relevance given the age difference, the general system of wiring between the TSes in ships prior to Lord Nelson class is illustrated in Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914.[9]

Rangefinders

Evershed Bearing Indicators

It is unlikely that this equipment was ever provided.[Inference]

Directors

These ships never received directors for main or secondary batteries.[10]

Gunnery Control

The ship's guns were organized in 3 control groups:[11]

  1. Two 12-in turrets
  2. Starboard 6-in guns ('A' & 'X')
  3. Port 6-in guns ('B' & 'Y')

Local Control in Turrets

There was no provision in these ships for local turret control wherein the receivers in the turret could be driven by transmitters in the officer's position at the back of the turret.[12]

Transmitting Stations

These ships likely had fore and aft T.S.es.[13][Inference]

A C.O.S. allowed[Inference] control options of

  1. Fore
  2. After
  3. Separate

Each control group had transmitters with a pair of receivers, one wired directly to the transmitter as a tell-tale, and the other fed off the wires going to the distant guns (i.e., the aft guns for the fore TS and vice-versa) as a repeat. "These repeat receivers are necessary to keep the idle transmitters in step; when changing back from separate control they are required to enable both halves of the group to be set alike before being paralleled on to one transmitter."[14]

Dreyer Table

These ships never received Dreyer tables.[15]

Fire Control Instruments

By 1909, all were equipped with Siemens gongs and bells and Siemens Mark I Fire Control Instruments for range, orders and deflection, except Glory which had Mark II equipment.[16][17]

The Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909 lists the Mark I equipment for (Mark II in Glory) as:[18]

  • Range: 6 transmitters, 32 receivers
  • Orders: 8 transmitters, 18 receivers
  • Rate: 4 transmitters, 12 receivers
  • Deflection: 6 transmitters, 32 receivers

Additionally, the entire class had the following Siemens equipment:[19]

  • Group Switches: 3
  • Turret fire gongs: 8 (6 in Vengeance) with 2 keys
  • Fire Gongs: 12 with 4 keys
  • Captain's Cease Fire Bells: 18 with 1 key

These ships lacked Target Visible and Gun Ready signals.[20]

Torpedo Control

Radio

It appears likely that the entire class was completed with or soon received a Jackson or Marconi W/T kit soon after completion, based on a 1901 push to equip older battleships.[21][Inference]

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 331 of 8 Sep, 1914.
  2. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1907. p. 35. The location for each ship type was placement stipulated in C.N.2 11884/13066, 13.12.1906.
  3. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 36. p. 9.
  4. Manual of Gunnery in H.M. Fleet (Volume I), 1907, p. 2.
  5. The Sight Manual, 1916. pp. 4, 48, 52, 105, 108-109. Plates 17 and 20.
  6. The Sight Manual, 1916. pp. 4, 49, 52, 105, 108-109. Plates 18 and 20.
  7. The Sight Manual, 1916. pp. 4, 49, 52, 105, 108-109. Plates 18 and 20.
  8. Torpedo Manual, Vol. III, 1909. p. 265.
  9. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 50 & Plates 50 and 54(I).
  10. Director Firing Handbook, 1917, pp. 142-3.
  11. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 8.
  12. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 50.
  13. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 50 & Plates 50 and 54(I).
  14. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. pp. 50-1.
  15. Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. p. 3.
  16. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. p. 56.
  17. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1906. p. 82.
  18. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. p. 59.
  19. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. p. 59.
  20. Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. p. 11.
  21. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1901. pp. 111-112.

Bibliography

  • Admiralty, Technical History Section (1920). The Technical History and Index: Alteration in Armaments of H.M. Ships during the War. Vol. 4, Part 34. C.B. 1515 (34) now O.U. 6171/20. At The National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1914). Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1914. G. 01627/14. C.B. 1030. Copy 1235 at The National Archives. ADM 186/191.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1917). The Director Firing Handbook. O.U. 6125 (late C.B. 1259). Copy No. 322 at The National Archives. ADM 186/227.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1918). Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. C.B. 1456. Copy No. 10 at Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • H.M.S. Vernon. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1902. Copy 268 at The National Archives. ADM 189/22.



Canopus Class Pre-dreadnought
  Albion Canopus Glory  
  Goliath Ocean Vengeance  
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