Valiant between 1930 and 1937
|Laid down||31 January 1913|
|Launched||4 November 1914|
|Commissioned||19 February 1916|
|Out of service||1948|
|Identification||Pennant number: 02|
|Motto||Valiant & Vigilant|
|Fate||Sold for scrap, 19 March 1948|
|General characteristics (as built)|
|Class and type||Queen Elizabeth-class battleship|
|Length||639 ft 9 in (195 m)|
|Beam||90 ft 7 in (27.6 m)|
|Draught||33 ft (10.1 m)|
|Propulsion||4 shafts; 2 steam turbine sets|
|Speed||24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
|Range||5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|General characteristics (1937–1939 refit)|
|Displacement||32,468 long tons (32,989 t) (load displacement)|
|Speed||23 kn (43 km/h; 26 mph)|
|Sensors and |
|Aircraft carried||2 (capacity)|
HMS Valiant was one of five Queen Elizabeth-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. She participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. She saw further action during the Second World War in the Mediterranean and Far East.
The Queen Elizabeth-class ships were designed to form a fast squadron for the fleet that was intended to operate against the leading ships of the opposing battleline. This required maximum offensive power and a speed several knots faster than any other battleship to allow them to defeat any type of ship.
Valiant had a length overall of 639 feet 9 inches (195 m), a beam of 90 feet 7 inches (27.6 m) and a deep draught of 33 feet (10.1 m). She had a normal displacement of 32,590 long tons (33,110 t ) and displaced 33,260 long tons (33,794 t) at deep load. She was powered by two sets of Brown-Curtis steam turbines, each driving two shafts using steam from 24 Babcock & Wilcox boilers. The turbines were rated at 75,000 shaft horsepower (56,000 kW ) and intended to reach a maximum speed of 25 knots (46.3 km/h; 28.8 mph). The ship had a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 km; 5,754 mi) at a cruising speed of 12 knots (22.2 km/h; 13.8 mph). Her crew numbered 919 officers and ratings in 1915 and 1,218 in 1919.
The Queen Elizabeth class was equipped with eight breech-loading (BL) 15-inch (381 mm) Mk I guns in four twin-gun turrets, in two superfiring pairs fore and aft of the superstructure, designated 'A', 'B', 'X', and 'Y' from front to rear. Twelve of the fourteen BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XII guns were mounted in casemates along the broadside of the vessel amidships; the remaining pair were mounted on the forecastle deck near the aft funnel and were protected by gun shields. The anti-aircraft (AA) armament were composed of two quick-firing (QF) 3-inch (76 mm) 20 cwt Mk I guns. The ships were fitted with four submerged 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside.
Valiant was completed with two fire-control directors fitted with 15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinders. One was mounted above the conning tower, protected by an armoured hood, and the other was in the spotting top above the tripod mast. Each turret was also fitted with a 15-foot rangefinder. The main armament could be controlled by 'B' turret as well. The secondary armament was primarily controlled by directors mounted on each side of the compass platform on the foremast once they were fitted in July 1917.
The waterline belt of the Queen Elizabeth class consisted of Krupp cemented armour (KC) that was 13 inches (330 mm) thick over the ships' vitals. The gun turrets were protected by 11 to 13 inches (279 to 330 mm) of KC armour and were supported by barbettes 7–10 inches (178–254 mm) thick. The ships had multiple armoured decks that ranged from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) in thickness. The main conning tower was protected by 13 inches of armour. After the Battle of Jutland, 1 inch of high-tensile steel was added to the main deck over the magazines and additional anti-flash equipment was added in the magazines.
The ship was fitted with flying-off platforms mounted on the roofs of 'B' and 'X' turrets in 1918, from which fighters and reconnaissance aircraft could launch. During her 1929–1930 refit, the platform was removed from 'X' turret and a folding Type EIH catapult was installed on the quarterdeck, along with a crane to recover a floatplane. The platform atop 'B' turret, the catapult and its crane were removed when Valiant was reconstructed in 1937–1939.
Between 1929 and 1930 anti-torpedo bulges were added, increasing beam to 31.70 m. The two funnels were trunked into one and a single octuple 2-pounder mountings was added. Two of the torpedo tubes were removed, and the aircraft platforms were replaced by a single catapult. These modifications brought the maximum displacement up to 35,970 tons. In 1936 a second octuple 2 pdr mounting was added. Between March 1937 and November 1939 she underwent a complete rebuild at Devonport. The machinery was changed to eight Admiralty 3 drum boilers with four Parsons steam turbines producing a total of 80,000 shp (60,000 kW). Fuel load was 3,393 tons oil, and maximum speed was reduced to 23.5 knots (43.5 km/h; 27.0 mph) despite the increase in power, due to the increase in displacement and draught. Deck armour was increased to 5 inches (130 mm) over the magazines, 2.5 inches over the machinery while the new 4.5" guns had between 1 and 2 inches (51 mm) of armour. The secondary armament was changed to 20 × 4.5 inch Mk I dual purpose guns in 10 twin mountings and the close range anti-aircraft armament consisted of four octuple 2 pdr "pom pom" mountings. The ship's fire control was modernised to include the HACS MkIV AA fire control system and the Admiralty Fire Control Table Mk VII for surface fire control of the main armament. These modifications increased draught to 10 m and maximum displacement to 36,513 tons.
HMS Valiant was laid down at the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan on 31 January 1913, launched on 4 November 1914 and commissioned on 19 February 1916 under the command of Captain Maurice Woollcombe for service in the Grand Fleet.
Upon completion on 19 February 1916, under Captain Maurice Woollcombe, Valiant joined the recently formed Fifth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. In an attempt to lure part of the Grand Fleet out of its ports and destroy it, the German High Seas Fleet, consisting of 16 battleships, 6 battle cruisers, and other ships, left Wilhelmshaven early on the morning of 31 May. The plan called for Hipper to leave Wilhelmshaven with the battlecruisers of the 1st and the light cruisers of the 2nd Reconnaissance Group and push north out of sight of the Danish coast. There he was to provoke a departure of British ships by attacking coastal towns and lure them toward the High Seas Fleet The intelligence Division of the British Admiralty Room 40 had intercepted and decoded German radio traffic containing operational plans. As a result, the Admiralty ordered Jellicoe and Beatty to sail that night with the Grand Fleet from Scapa Flow, Cromarty, and Rosyth to cut off and destroy the High Seas Fleet. After the 5th Battle Squadron departed Rosyth that morning, Beatty ordered a course change to the northeast at 2:15 p.m. to join up with Grand Fleet. At 2:20, Hipper's battlecruisers spotted Beatty's battlecruiser. At 2:32, Beatty ordered a course change to the east-southeast to cut off the Germans' line of retreat. Hipper ordered his ships to turn to starboard and set a southeasterly course. With this turn, Hipper fell back to the High Seas Fleet, which was 97 kilometers behind him. Beatty then also changed course to the east to catch up with Hipper.By 3: 05, the 5th Battle Squadron had reached a distance to attack the German light cruisers. By 3: 08, the 5th Battle Squadron had reached the rear of the German battlecruisers and Valiant opened fire on the SMS Moltke which received one hit. The situation changed when the German battleships came into view at 3: 40. Since Beatty had failed to sufficiently signal his intentions when he turned north, the battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron were on an opposite course past the battlecruisers and headed directly for the approaching main body of the High Seas Fleet. At 3: 48 Scheer opened fire on the British battleships. Valiant managed to avoid hits and in turn fired on three German ships from a distance of 14 to 16 kilometers at 4: 30. Valiant continued to participate in the battle until the enemy came out of sight at a distance of 17 kilometers at about 5:02.
From 1919 to the end of 1924 Valiant was part of the 1st Battle Squadron, Atlantic Fleet after which she was with the 1st Battle Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet until March 1929.On 2 December 1930 she was recommissioned for service in the Atlantic where in 1931 her crew participated in the Invergordon Mutiny. March 1932 saw her transferred to the Home Fleet until in July 1935 she was once again in the Mediterranean.
On 30 November 1939 Valiant was commissioned at Devonport and assigned to the America and West Indies Station. Returning to Britain in December 1939, she escorted Canadian troops across the Atlantic and joined Home Fleet on 7 January 1940. Valiant engaged in escort duty for troop transports and in May 1940 supported the British landing forces in the Norwegian campaign. While there, the battleship narrowly escaped a torpedo fired by U 38.
With the surrender of France on June 22, 1940, the bulk of the French fleet lay at Mers-el-Kébir. Since British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was very worried that the French ships might fall into the hands of the Germans and did not believe the Vichy government's assurances that it would prevent the Germans from seizing the ships, he intended to give the French an ultimatum. On Wednesday, July 3, 1940, Force H under the command of Vice Admiral James Fownes Somerville consisting of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, the battlecruiser Hood, the battleships Valiant,Resolution, and Nelson, and other cruisers and destroyers appeared off the harbor entrance. Somerville radioed Admiral Marcel Gensoul to inform him of the British demands. After the ultimatum expired, the Valiant opened fire along with the Hood and Resolution. The Dunkerque the Provence and the Brittany were hit and heavily damaged the latter exploded and sank. After Somerville had ceased fire to give Gensoul another chance, he overlooked that the Strasbourg together with the five remaining destroyers had escaped into the open sea behind the thick smoke of the explosions. The Strasbourg, along with the destroyers Volta, Tigre and Le Terrible, reached Toulon on the evening of July 4.In September, she joined the carrier HMS Illustrious with the squadron at Alexandria. For the remainder of the year, she sailed security duties in the Mediterranean, primarily on fleet advances. On the night of 18-19 December, together with the Warspite, she shelled the Albanian port of Valona
With the help of an intercepted Luftwaffe radio message decoded by ULTRA, Admiral Cunningham learned that the Italians, under the command of Vice-Admiral Angelo Iachino, intended to attack the British fleet to distract them from transporting German troops to North Africa. After the Italians sortied in a convoy of 22 ships, including the battleship Vittorio Veneto, on 26 March, Cunningham brought all the ships into position, including the Barham. On 28 March, British cruisers encountered the Italian fleet but were forced to retreat by the Vittorio Veneto. Cunningham then ordered an air attack. Multiple air strikes by Formidable's Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers damaged the Vittorio Veneto and crippled the heavy cruiser Pola The Vittorio Veneto escaped westwards as darkness fell. Later that evening. Admiral Iachino, ordered the two other heavy cruisers of the 1st Division to render assistance to Pola in the darkness. The Italian ships and the British arrived almost simultaneously at Pola's location, but the Italians had almost no clue that the British were nearby. On the other hand, the British knew exactly where the Italians were, thanks to their radar-equipped ships. They opened fire at point-blank range and sank the Zara and Fiume.
In May 1941 Valiant operated off Crete, and was struck by two bombs.
On 19 December 1941, Valiant was seriously damaged by limpet mines placed by Italian frogmen of Decima Flottiglia MAS, who entered Alexandria harbor riding two-man "human torpedoes" ("maiali"). Her sister ship Queen Elizabeth was also damaged. Lieutenant Durand de la Penne placed the mines on Valiant. The other two teams attached their mines and escaped, but de la Penne's maiale broke down. De la Penne pushed the maiale under Valiant and left it on the bottom. Then he and his companion Corporal Emilio Bianchi emerged and were captured. They were interrogated by Captain Charles Morgan, but told him nothing. A few minutes before the mines were scheduled to detonate, when it was too late to find and deactivate them, he informed Morgan of their existence (but not their location) to allow the crew onboard to evacuate. They were kept in the locked compartment, which was (unbeknownst to them or Morgan) just above where the mine would explode. Both were injured by the explosion, but survived.The mine attached to Valiant was not actually in contact with her hull, so the damage was far less severe than to Queen Elizabeth. Despite having a heavy trim forward, her decks were above water, and she remained clear of the harbour bottom. Although nearly immobilised she was able, although only for a few days, to give the impression of full battle readiness, at least until she could be repaired. Valiant was repaired in Durban, South Africa, carrying out post-refit trials in July 1942, and took part in exercises with the Eastern Fleet the following month. At the end of August, Valiant took part in Operation Touchstone, an exercise to test East Africa's defences against a seaborne invasion and to conduct a dress rehearsal for Operation Ironclad, the invasion of French Madagascar. She remained in African waters until the end of the year, and returned to Devonport for a refit in January 1943.
On 17 June, Valiant departed Scapa Flow for Gibraltar along with the Nelson, Rodney and Warspite, joining Force H on arrival. Between 2 and 3 September, Valiant and Warspite covered the attack across the Strait of Messina and bombed the Italian coastal batteries at Reggio. She returned home for overhaul in October 1943. Upon completion on 1 December, Valiant was detached to the Eastern Fleet.
In 1944, Valiant was sent to the Far East to join the Eastern Fleet. There she took part in raids against Japanese bases in Indonesia. On 8 August 1944, she was severely damaged in an accident with the floating drydock at Trincomalee, Ceylon. The drydock was being raised with Valiant in it by pumping water from ballast tanks. The tanks were emptied in the wrong sequence for Valiant's weight distribution, which was exacerbated by her full munitions load. As a result, the drydock was over-stressed at its ends, broke its back and sank. Valiant's two inner screws were jammed as well as one of her rudders. Valiant had remained in steam and was able to avoid worse damage or sinking. After the incident, the responsible Naval Constructor was disciplined.
It was decided to sail Valiant to Alexandria, where there were suitable docking facilities. However she could not steer a straight course, and could not make more than 8 knots (15 km/h). She got as far as Suez Bay, but could not attempt the Suez Canal in that condition. Lt Cmdr Peter Keeble, an experienced diver and salvage expert, personally supervised the removal of her two inner screw shafts near the gland. The A-brackets holding the shafts and screws were also cut, dropping both screws and shafts to the bottom. Keeble had perfected available underwater cutting torches by combining British and Italian technology to cut away the thick propeller shafts. She returned to the UK and was decommissioned in July 1945. Valiant formed part of the Imperieuse stoker mechanics' training establishment at Devonport for the rest of her career. She was sold for scrap on 19 March 1948, and left Devonport for the breakers of Arnott Young at Cairnryan on 11 August of that year.
HMS Queen Mary was the last battlecruiser built by the Royal Navy before the First World War. The sole member of her class, Queen Mary shared many features with the Lion-class battlecruisers, including her eight 13.5-inch (343 mm) guns. She was completed in 1913 and participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight as part of the Grand Fleet in 1914. Like most of the modern British battlecruisers, the ship never left the North Sea during the war. As part of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron, Queen Mary attempted to intercept a German force that bombarded the North Sea coast of England in December 1914, but was unsuccessful. The ship was refitting in early 1915 and missed the Battle of Dogger Bank in January, but participated in the largest fleet action of the war, the Battle of Jutland in mid-1916. She was hit twice by the German battlecruiser Derfflinger during the early part of the battle and her magazines exploded shortly afterwards, sinking the ship.
HMS Warrior was a Warrior-class armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was stationed in the Mediterranean when the First World War began and participated in the pursuit of the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and light cruiser SMS Breslau. Warrior was transferred to the Grand Fleet in December 1914 and remained there for the rest of her career. She was heavily damaged during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, after which she withdrew and was later abandoned and sank in a rising sea.
HMS Inflexible was one of three Invincible-class battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy before World War I and had an active career during the war. She tried to hunt down the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau in the Mediterranean Sea when war broke out and she and her sister ship Invincible sank the German armoured cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Gneisenau during the Battle of the Falkland Islands. Inflexible bombarded Turkish forts in the Dardanelles in 1915, but was damaged by return fire and struck a mine while maneuvering. She had to be beached to prevent her from sinking, but she was patched up and sent to Malta, and then Gibraltar for more permanent repairs. Transferred to the Grand Fleet afterwards, she damaged the German battlecruiser Lützow during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and watched Invincible explode. She was deemed obsolete after the war and was sold for scrap in 1921.
HMS Indomitable was one of three Invincible-class battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy before World War I and had an active career during the war. She tried to hunt down the German ships Goeben and Breslau in the Mediterranean when war broke out and bombarded Turkish fortifications protecting the Dardanelles even before the British declared war on Turkey. She helped to sink the German armoured cruiser Blücher during the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915 and towed the damaged British battlecruiser HMS Lion to safety after the battle. She damaged the German battlecruisers Seydlitz and Derfflinger during the Battle of Jutland in mid-1916 and watched her sister ship HMS Invincible explode. Deemed obsolete after the war, she was sold for scrap in 1921.
The Queen Elizabeth-class battleships were a group of five super-dreadnoughts built for the Royal Navy during the 1910s. These battleships were superior in firepower, protection and speed to their Royal Navy predecessors of the Iron Duke class as well as preceding German classes such as the König class. The corresponding Bayern-class ships were generally considered competitive, although the Queen Elizabeth class were 2 knots (3.7 km/h) faster and outnumbered the German class 5:2. The Queen Elizabeths are generally considered the first fast battleships of their day.
HMS Queen Elizabeth was the lead ship of her class of five dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s, and was often used as a flagship. She served in the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet, and participated in the inconclusive action of 19 August 1916. Her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. She and the other super-dreadnought battleships were the first of their type to be powered by oil instead of coal. Queen Elizabeth later served in several theatres during the Second World War, and was ultimately scrapped in 1948.
HMS Barham was one of five Queen Elizabeth-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Completed in 1915, she was often used as a flagship and participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. For the rest of the war, except for the inconclusive action of 19 August 1916, her service generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
HMS Malaya was one of five Queen Elizabeth-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the 1910s. Shortly after commissioning in early 1916, she participated in the Battle of Jutland as part of the Grand Fleet. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the First World War mostly consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
HMS Repulse was one of two Renown-class battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Originally laid down as an improved version of the Revenge-class battleship, her construction was suspended on the outbreak of war because she would not be ready in time. Admiral Lord Fisher, upon becoming First Sea Lord, gained approval for her to resume construction as a battlecruiser that could be built and enter service quickly. The Director of Naval Construction (DNC), Eustace Tennyson-d'Eyncourt, quickly produced an entirely new design to meet Admiral Lord Fisher's requirements and the builders agreed to deliver the ship in 15 months. They did not quite meet that ambitious goal, but the ship was delivered a few months after the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Repulse and her sister ship Renown, were the world's fastest capital ships upon completion.
HMS Centurion was the second of four King George V-class dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s. She spent the bulk of her career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets. Aside from participating in the failed attempt to intercept the German ships that had bombarded Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in late 1914, and the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, her service during the First World War generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
HMS Neptune was a dreadnought battleship built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century, the sole ship of her class. She was the first British battleship to be built with superfiring guns. Shortly after her completion in 1911, she carried out trials of an experimental fire-control director and then became the flagship of the Home Fleet. Neptune became a private ship in early 1914 and was assigned to the 1st Battle Squadron.
HMS St Vincent was the lead ship of her class of three dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. After commissioning in 1910, she spent her whole career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets, often serving as a flagship. Aside from participating in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, during which she damaged a German battlecruiser, and the inconclusive action of 19 August several months later, her service during World War I generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. The ship was deemed obsolete after the war and was reduced to reserve and used as a training ship. St Vincent was sold for scrap in 1921 and broken up the following year.
HMS Collingwood was a St Vincent-class dreadnought battleship built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She spent her whole career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets and often served as a flagship. Prince Albert spent several years aboard the ship before and during World War I. At the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, Collingwood was in the middle of the battleline and lightly damaged a German battlecruiser. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. The ship was deemed obsolete after the war; she was reduced to reserve and used as a training ship before being sold for scrap in 1922.
The Lion class were a pair of battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy before World War I. Nicknamed the "Splendid Cats", the ships were a significant improvement over their predecessors of the Indefatigable class in speed, armament and armour. These improvements were in response to the German battlecruisers of the Moltke class, which were in turn larger and more powerful than the first British battlecruisers of the Invincible class.
HMS New Zealand was one of three Indefatigable-class battlecruisers built for the defence of the British Empire. Launched in 1911, the ship was funded by the government of New Zealand as a gift to Britain, and she was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1912. She had been intended for the China Station, but was released by the New Zealand government at the request of the Admiralty for service in British waters.
HMS Invincible was the lead ship of her class of three battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the first decade of the twentieth century and the first battlecruiser to be built by any country in the world. During the First World War, she participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in a minor role, as she was the oldest and slowest of the British battlecruisers present. During the Battle of the Falkland Islands, Invincible and her sister ship Inflexible sank the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau almost without loss to themselves, despite numerous hits by the German ships.
HMS Indefatigable was the lead ship of her class of three battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the first decade of the 20th Century. When the First World War began, Indefatigable was serving with the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron (BCS) in the Mediterranean, where she unsuccessfully pursued the battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau of the German Imperial Navy as they fled toward the Ottoman Empire. The ship bombarded Ottoman fortifications defending the Dardanelles on 3 November 1914, then, following a refit in Malta, returned to the United Kingdom in February where she rejoined the 2nd BCS.
HMS Tiger was a battlecruiser of the Royal Navy and the eleventh ship to bear that name. She was built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, and launched in 1913. Tiger was the most heavily armoured battlecruiser of the Royal Navy at the start of the First World War, but was not yet ready for service. The ship was assigned to the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron for the duration of the war and participated in the Battle of Dogger Bank in early 1915, though she was still shaking down and did not perform well. Tiger next participated in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, where she was only lightly damaged despite suffering many hits by German shells. Apart from providing distant cover during the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1917, she spent the rest of the war on uneventful patrols in the North Sea.
HMS Nottingham was a Town-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy just before World War I. She was one of three ships of the Birmingham sub-class and was completed in early 1914. The ship was assigned to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron (LCS) of the Home and Grand Fleets for her entire career. Nottingham participated in most of the early fleet actions, including the battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank, and Jutland, helping to sink several German ships during the battles. The ship was sunk by the German submarine U-52 during the Action of 19 August 1916.