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Great Britain's Repulse class battlecruisers

Photos

HMS Renown in 1916:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in 1916
US Naval Historical Center, NH-42200

HMS Renown in 1926 after a refit:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in 1926 after a refit
US Naval Historical Center, NH-57145

HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940
©IWM, A-2318

HMS Renown bombarding Genoa on February 9, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown bombarding Genoa on February 9, 1941
©IWM, A-4034

HMS Renown in April 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in April 1941
©IWM, A-3816

HMS Renown firing a 15" salvo on December 1, 1942:
Great Britain's HMS Renown firing a 15" salvo on December 1, 1942
©IWM, A-13013

HMS Renown in Hvalfjord, Iceland:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in Hvalfjord, Iceland
©IWM, A-7322

HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Renown
©IWM, Q-65673

HMS Renown's 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun at Scapa Flow:
Great Britain's HMS Renown's 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun at Scapa Flow
©IWM, A-20421

HMS Renown in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I
©IWM, Q-70603

HMS Renown in World War I at Scapa Flow:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I at Scapa Flow
©IWM, Q-74183
HMS Renown in 1916:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in 1916
US Naval Historical Center, NH-437

HMS Renown in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 24, 1930:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 24, 1930
©IWM, HU-107171

HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940
©IWM, A-2319

HMS Renown bombarding Genoa on February 9, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown bombarding Genoa on February 9, 1941
©IWM, A-4047

HMS Renown in April 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in April 1941
©IWM, A-3824

HMS Renown firing a 15" salvo on December 1, 1942:
Great Britain's HMS Renown firing a 15" salvo on December 1, 1942
©IWM, A-13012

HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Renown
©IWM, A-10214

HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Renown
©IWM, Q-65675

HMS Renown at Scapa Flow:
Great Britain's HMS Renown at Scapa Flow
©IWM, A-18644

HMS Renown in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I
©IWM, Q-75273
HMS Renown in 1916:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in 1916
US Naval Historical Center, NH-57076

HMS Renown in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 24, 1930:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 24, 1930
©IWM, HU-107172

HMS Renown in in the Mediterranean in November 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in in the Mediterranean in November 1940
©IWM, A-2384

HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal in April 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal in April 1941
©IWM, A-4015

HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal and HMS Malaya in 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal and HMS Malaya in 1941
US Naval Historical Center, NH-86393

HMS Renown with the HMS Valiant (rear right) and French Richelieu (rear left) on May 12, 1944:
Great Britain's HMS Renown with the HMS Valiant (rear right) and French Richelieu (rear left) on May 12, 1944
US Navy, 80-G-385067

HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Renown
©IWM, A-20419

HMS Renown at the Battle of Cape Spartivento:
Great Britain's HMS Renown at the Battle of Cape Spartivento
©IWM, A-6412

HMS Renown at Scapa Flow:
Great Britain's HMS Renown at Scapa Flow
©IWM, A-8156

HMS Renown in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I
©IWM, SP-1675
HMS Renown in the Pedro Miguel lock in the Panama Canal on September 13, 1920:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in the Pedro Miguel lock in the Panama Canal on September 13, 1920
US Naval Historical Center, NH-57144

HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Renown south of Sardinia in battle with the Italian Fleet on November 27, 1940
©IWM, A-2317

HMS Renown escorting a convoy to Greece with the HMS Ark Royal and HMS Malaya:
Great Britain's HMS Renown escorting a convoy to Greece with the HMS Ark Royal and HMS Malaya
©IWM, A-2739

HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal in April 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Renown with the HMS Ark Royal in April 1941
©IWM, A-4016

HMS Renown escorting convoys in the North Atlantic and Arctic Circle with the HMS Duke of York:
Great Britain's HMS Renown escorting convoys in the North Atlantic and Arctic Circle with the HMS Duke of York
©IWM, A-7884

HMS Renown with the HMS Formidable:
Great Britain's HMS Renown with the HMS Formidable
©IWM, A-12786

HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Renown
©IWM, A-4057

HMS Renown at Plymouth:
Great Britain's HMS Renown at Plymouth
©IWM, A-29851

HMS Renown in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I
©IWM, Q-18041

HMS Renown in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Renown in World War I
©IWM, SP-1679
HMS Repulse in February 1917:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in February 1917
©IWM, Q-74313

HMS Repulse in 1917:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in 1917
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-525

HMS Repulse with the HMS Renown in the late 1920s:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse with the HMS Renown in the late 1920s
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-57183

HMS Repulse off Oahu on June 12, 1924:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse off Oahu on June 12, 1924
US Navy, NH-57164

HMS Repulse on September 12, 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse on September 12, 1940
©IWM, A-699

HMS Repulse nearing Singapore on December 3, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse nearing Singapore on December 3, 1941
©IWM, A-6792

HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales under Japanese attack on December 10, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales under Japanese attack on December 10, 1941
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-60566

HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales under Japanese attack on December 10, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales under Japanese attack on December 10, 1941
US Navy, 80-G-413520

HMS Repulse in dry dock for a refit:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in dry dock for a refit
©IWM, A-1333
HMS Repulse in the Firth of Forth on April 8, 1917:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in the Firth of Forth on April 8, 1917
©IWM, A-74262

HMS Repulse at the Firth of Forth in 1918:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse at the Firth of Forth in 1918
©IWM, SP-1319

HMS Repulse in 1922:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in 1922
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-525A

HMS Repulse in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 19, 1928:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 19, 1928
©IWM, HU-107169

HMS Repulse undergoing refit in dry dock in 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse undergoing refit in dry dock in 1940
©IWM, A-1328

HMS Repulse nearing Singapore on December 3, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse nearing Singapore on December 3, 1941
©IWM, A-6793

HMS Repulse:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse
©IWM, A-697

HMS Repulse in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in World War I
©IWM, A-18131
HMS Repulse near the Forth Bridge in April 1917:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse near the Forth Bridge in April 1917
©IWM, Q-74265

HMS Repulse at the Firth of Forth in 1918:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse at the Firth of Forth in 1918
©IWM, SP-720

HMS Repulse during its world cruise in 1923:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse during its world cruise in 1923
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-55608

HMS Repulse in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 19, 1928:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in Bangor, Northern Ireland on June 19, 1928
©IWM, HU-111332

HMS Repulse undergoing a refit in dry dock in 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse undergoing a refit in dry dock in 1940
©IWM, A-1334

HMS Repulse in Singapore in December 8, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in Singapore in December 8, 1941
©IWM, A-29069

HMS Repulse:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse
©IWM, Q-65675

HMS Repulse in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in World War I
©IWM, SP-1676
HMS Repulse at Firth of Forth in 1917:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse at Firth of Forth in 1917
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-47372

HMS Repulse during maneuvers off Portland in the late 1920s with the HMS Renown:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse during maneuvers off Portland in the late 1920s with the HMS Renown
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-57181

HMS Repulse during its world cruise in 1923:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse during its world cruise in 1923
US Naval History and Heritage Command, NH-55609

HMS Repulse in May 1936:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in May 1936
©IWM, FL-12340

HMS Repulse in 1940:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in 1940
©IWM, A-51

HMS Repulse in Singapore on December 9, 1941:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in Singapore on December 9, 1941
©IWM, MH-6207

HMS Repulse:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse
©IWM, Q-71911

HMS Repulse in World War I:
Great Britain's HMS Repulse in World War I
©IWM, SP-1778

Design

On December 29, 1914, contractors were being told what the requirements for these battlecruisers would be and that they needed to be completed within 15 months. As the Repulse class would be battlecruisers that meant that they would be lightly armored to allow for greater speed.

Initially the Renown was to be built at Palmers and Fairchild but they didn't have a long enough slipway so John Brown at Clydebank was employed.

Armament

Originally the navy wanted four twin turrets but there were only six available so the design was changed to have three twin turrets.

The main guns were 15" Mk I that had an elevation of 20°.

The secondary armament were shielded 4" BL Mk IX guns in triple mounts.

Aircraft

There was a catapult for the two aircraft carried.

Engines

There were 42 Babcock & Wilcox boilers that were split amongst six boiler rooms.

Ships

HMS Renown

  • Manufacturer: Fairfield
  • Machinery: Cammell Laird
  • Cost: £3,117,294
  • March 4, 1916: Launched.
  • September 1916, September 20, 1916: Completed. Joined 1st Battlecruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet.
  • August - December 1919: Took the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States for a tour.
  • March - October 1920: Tour of Australasia.
  • 1921: Refit.
  • 1922: Took Prince of Wales on tour of India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.
  • July 1926 - September 1926: 6" belt replaced by 9". Extra armor added. 3" replaced by a 4" gun. Two 4" guns added.
  • September 2, 1926: Joined Atlantic Fleet.
  • 1927: Royal Tour to Australasia.
  • March 1932: A 4" triple mount removed.
  • May 1932: 2 pdr 8 barrel pompom added.
  • 1933, May 1933: Catapult added. 4" triple mount removed. 2 pdr added. Two 0.5" MG quad mounts added.
  • 1936 - September 2, 1939: Refit at Portsmouth. Hanger added that could fit two planes.
  • January - May 1936: 2 pdr 8 barrel pompom added then removed.
  • January 1936: Joined Mediterranean Fleet.
  • September 1936, September 1936 - September 2, 1939: Refit at Portsmouth Dockyard. Bridge and superstructure rebuilt. Armor added. Admiralty boilers installed. Funnels placed further aft. 15" increased elevation to 30°. All secondary armament replaced by twenty 4.5" Mk I twin mounts. 2 pdr pompom added. Below water torpedo tubes replaced by eight above water ones. Cross deck catapult added.
  • November 1939, 1939: In the South Atlantic. Hunted KMS Admiral Graf Spee.
  • 1940 - 1941: With Force H.
  • April 1940: Took part in Norway campaign. Under command of Vice Admiral Whitworth.
  • August 1940: Joined Force H in Gibraltar.
  • November 27, 1940: Engaged Italian cruisers.
  • 1941: Six 20 mm guns added.
  • February 9, 1941: Bombarded Genoa.
  • May 1941: Helped in hunt for Bismarck.
  • July 1941: Escorted convoy to Malta.
  • August - November 1941: Refit.
  • October 1941: Great Britain.
  • November 22, 1941: Joined Home Fleet.
  • 1942 - 1944: With the Home Fleet.
  • April 14, 1942: Joined Force W to escort convoy of aircraft to Malta.
  • Autumn 1942: Ten 20 mm guns added. 0.5" machine guns removed.
  • October 1942: Supported landings in North Africa.
  • 1943: Aircraft equipment removed.
  • February - June 1943, February 22 - June 9, 1943: Thirteen 20 mm twin mounts and three 20 mm single mounts were added. Aircraft equipment removed.
  • December 1943, December 1943 - January 1944: A quadruple pompom added. Seven 20 mm twin mounts and one 20 mm single mount was added.
  • 1944, January 27, 1944 : With the Eastern Fleet. Had 64 20 mm guns.
  • April 19, 1944: Support HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga in attack on Sabang.
  • April 30 - May 1, 1944: Bombarded Andaman Islands.
  • May 17, 1944: Surabaya.
  • June 21, 1944: Port Blair.
  • October 17 - 19, 1944: Bombardment of Nicobar Islands.
  • December 1944 - February 1945: Refit at Durban.
  • 1945: In the East Indies. Torpedo tubes and three 4.5" twin mounts were removed.
  • March 1945: Put into reserve.
  • April 1945: Torpedo tubes removed.
  • April 14, 1945: Returned to Scapa Flow.
  • May 15, 1945: Placed in reserve.

HMS Repulse

  • Formerly the Resistance.
  • Manufacturer: Clydebank, John Brown
  • Machinery: Clydebank
  • Cost: £2,627,401
  • January 1916, January 8, 1916: Launched.
  • August 1916, August 18, 1916: Completed. Joined 1st Battlecruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet.
  • November 17, 1917: Joined HMS Courageous and HMS Glorious in the Heligoland Bight. Fought the German battleships Kaiser and Kaiserin and light cruisers. Hit the Königsberg.
  • December 1918 - October 1920, December 2, 1918 - January 1, 1921: Refit. Armored 6" belt removed and 9" belt installed. Wider torpedo bulges added. Underwater torpedo tubes replaced by four pairs of tubes placed on upper deck.
  • January 1, 1921: Joined Atlantic Fleet.
  • April 1933, May 1923 - August 1926: Refit. Additional armor added. Amidships superstructure removed and replaced by catapult. Two Swordfish carried.
  • November 1924: A 4" QF Mk V quad mount replaced two 4" BL Mk IXs and two 3".
  • April 1933 - May 1936, April 1, 1933 - spring 1936: Refit at Portsmouth.
  • June 1936 - August 1938: Sent to Mediterranean. In Spanish waters during Civil War.
  • 1938: 4" twin mount replaced by one 4" single mount. Two 0.5" quad mounts added.
  • October 1938 - March 1939: Refit.
  • March 1939, 1939 - 1941: With the Home Fleet.
  • February 1939: Two 4" Mk V replaced the 4" Mk XV.
  • November 1940: A 4" triple mount was replaced by a 2 pdr 8 barrel pompom.
  • 1941: With the Eastern Fleet. Eight 20 mm Oerlikons added.
  • August 1941: Escorted Middle East bound convoy via Cape of Good Hope.
  • August 1941: Walrus replaced Swordfish.
  • October 3, 1941: Joined East Indies Command.
  • November 11, 1941: Joined Special Striking Force.
  • November 28, 1941: Joined Force Z at Colombo.
  • December 2, 1941: Arrived in Singapore with the HMS Prince of Wales.
  • December 10, 1941: Sunk.

Usage

Chasing a Raider

HMS Renown was sent to join Force H when the Admiral Graf Spee was sighted in the Indian Ocean.

Norway Adventure

On April 9, 1940, the HMS Renown saw action against the KMS Scharnhorst and hit the KMS Gneisenau. At 4:17 AM the KMS Gneisenau was hit. Two more hits were registered on the German ships when they ran away into a squall. The HMS Renown was slightly damaged by two or three 11" / 28 cm shells.

Far East Folly

On December 8, 1941, the HMS Repulse sailed with the HMS Prince of Wales to stop the Japanese landings that had been reported on the Malay Peninsula.

On December 10, 1941, the HMS Repulse was sunk by five torpedoes off the northeast cost of Malaya.

 

Specifications

  Repulse class
Crew 1,181, 1,250
Crew - Flagship 1,205
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 26,500 tons, 32,000 tons
Displacement - Loaded 30,835 tons
Length 794', 794' 3"
241.9 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 750'
228.5 m
Length - Water Line 787' 9"
240 m
Beam 90'
27.42 m
Draft / Height 26' 9", 29' 3"
8.91 m
Performance  
Range at 12 knots 4,700 nautical miles
Armament 15" twin turrets: 3
4.5" dual purpose: 20
4" triple mounts: 3, 5
4": 2
Anti-Aircraft 3": 2
4": 8
Torpedo Tubes - Below Water 21": 2
Aircraft 0, 4
Armor  
Belt - Main 3" - 9", 3" - 6"
Bulkheads 3" - 4"
Deck 2.5" - 4"
Deck - Lower 2.5"
Deck - Main 1"
Turrets 7" - 11"
Turrets - Front 9"
Turrets - Rear 11"
Turrets - Side 7"
Turrets - Top 4.25"
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 42
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared
Brown-Curtis direct-drive
HP 112,000
Oil 4,200 tons
  Repulse class 1939
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 36,750 tons
Displacement - Loaded 36,080 tons
Performance  
Speed 30.75 knots
Range at 18 knots 6,580 nautical miles
Armament 15" twin turrets: 3
4.5" dual purpose twin turrets: 10
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr pompom: 3
0.5" MG quad mount: 4
Torpedo Tubes 0
Aircraft 2
Armor  
Deck - Main 5"
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Parsons single reduction geared
HP 120,000
Oil 4,613 tons
  HMS Renown
Crew 1,181 - 1,205, 1,200
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 30,750 tons, 32,730 tons
Displacement - Loaded 36,080 tons
Displacement - Loaded - 1944 37,000 tons, 38,395 tons
Length 794', 794' 1.5"
242 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 750'
Length - Water Line 787' 9"
Beam 90', 102' 8"
27.4 m
Draft / Height 26' 9", 30' 6"
14.4 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 30' 3"
Performance  
Speed 29 knots, 29.5 knots
Range 3,650 nautical miles
Armament 15" L/42: 6
4.5" dual purpose: 8
4.5" dual purpose twin turrets: 10
Armament - 1944 15", 38.1 cm: 6
Anti-Aircraft 2 pdr pompoms: 3, 24
Anti-Aircraft - 1944 4.5" DP, 11.4 cm DP: 20
2 pdr pompom: 28
20 mm: 64
Torpedo Tubes 21", 53.3 cm: 8
Aircraft Supermarine Walrus: 2
Armor  
Barbettes 7" - 9"
17.8 cm - 22.9 cm
Belt 9"
22.9 cm
Deck 2" - 4"
5.1 cm - 10.2 cm
Turrets 7" - 9"
17.8 cm - 22.9 cm
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Geared steam, Parsons geared
HP 108,000, 120,000
Oil 4,289 tons
  HMS Renown 1926
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - Loaded 37,150 tons
Beam 102' 4"
31.19 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 31' 3"
9.53 m
Performance  
Speed 30.25 knots
Armament 15"
4" BL Mk IX triple mounts: 5
Anti-Aircraft 4" QF Mk V: 4
Armor  
Belt 2" - 9"
Deck - Main 1" - 4"
  HMS Renown 1939
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - Loaded 36,080 tons
Draft / Height - Maximum 30' 6"
9.3 m
Performance  
Speed 30.75 knots
Range  
Armament 15" / 38.1 cm twin turrets, 15" Mk I L/42 twin turrets: 3
Anti-Aircraft 4.5" / 11.4 cm twin mounts, 4.5" QF Mk I or Mk III L/45 twin turrets: 10
2 pdr 8 barrel pompoms, 2 pdr pompoms: 3
12.7 mm quad mounts: 4
Torpedo Tube - above water 21": 8
Aircraft Supermarine Walrus: 2
Armor  
Machinery +2"
+5.1 cm
Magazines +4"
+10.2 cm
Engines  
Boilers Admiralty: 8
Shafts 4
Turbines Parsons Geared
HP 120,000
Oil 4,613 tons
  HMS Repulse
Crew 1,181 - 1,205
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 32,000 tons, 37,490 tons
Displacement - Loaded 37,400 tons
Length 794' 2.5"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 750'
Beam 102' 8"
Draft / Height - Maximum 31' 9"
Performance  
Speed 30 knots
Range 3,650 nautical miles
Armament 15" L/42: 6
4" L/40: 15
Anti-Aircraft 4": 4
4" twin mounts: 2
4" single: 4
2 pdr pompoms: 2
3 pdr: 4
Torpedo Tubes 21": 8
Torpedo Tubes - below water 21": 2
Torpedo Tubes - above water 21": 8
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox: 42
Shafts 4
Turbines Brown-Curtis direct drive
HP 110,000 - 120,000, 120,000
Oil 4,243 tons
  HMS Repulse 1936
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement - Loaded 38,300 tons
Draft / Height - Maximum 32' 2"
9.8 m
Performance  
Speed 28.3 knots
Armament 15"
4" BL Mk IX triple mount: 4
Anti-Aircraft 4" QF Mk XV twin mount: 2
2 pdr pompom: 2
Torpedo Tubes - above water 21": 8
Aircraft 2

Sources:

  1. Warships of World War II, H. T. Lenton and J. J. Colledge, 1964
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. Battleships of World War Two an International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1998
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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