HMS Bellerophon (1865)

HMS Bellerophon (1865)

HMS "Bellerophon" was a Victorian central battery ironclad battleship of the Royal Navy; she was a major step forward in design technology as compared to previous classes in terms of engine power, armament, armour, hull design and seaworthiness.Fact|date=February 2007

In this ship, designed by Sir Edward Reed, the power-to-weight ratio was increased; the long rows of guns on the broadside were replaced by a small number of guns, centrally placed, of the largest possible calibre; the armour was increased in thickness but reduced in length, and a sharp beak ram was combined with a classical style plough bow.

For the first time since the construction of HMS "Warrior" the basic method of construction of her hull was altered. The usage of longitudinal girders to impart strength and resistance to the hull was discarded, and a "bracket frame" system devised by Nathaniel Barnaby was adopted. This system allowed for the inclusion into the ship of a double bottom, with clear survival implications if damaged, while at the same time allowing for a saving in weight so that convert|100|ft|m of the hull of "Bellerophon" weighted 1,123 tons, as against 1,303 tons for convert|100|ft|m of HMS "Black Prince". This double bottom had the added advantage of allowing the engine to be carried higher, raising the centre of gravity of the whole ship and making her thereby a steadier gun platform.Fact|date=May 2007 Unlike earlier classes, "Bellerophon"'s bow and stern had a "U" shaped profile, giving increased buoyancy at the ends noticeably absent in some earlier battleships.Fact|date=February 2007

"Bellerophon" carried the first balanced rudder in Royal Navy service. Full helm could be applied by eight men in about 27 seconds, whereas in HMS "Warrior" it took forty men 90 seconds to perform the same manoevre.Fact|date=February 2007

She was the first ironclad to carry the convert|9|in|mm|sing=on muzzle-loading rifle, and the only broadside ironclad to have the entire muzzle-loading armament replaced by breech-loaders.Fact|date=February 2007

ervice history

She was commissioned at Chatham, and served in the Channel Fleet until 1871. She collided with HMS "Minotaur" in 1868 with minimal damage. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet from 1871 to 1872, and then paid off for refit. She was flagship on the North America station until 1881. An extensive refit, including new boilers and new armament was followed by a further period on the North America station until 1892, when she paid off at Plymouth. She was re-commissioned as port guardship at Pembroke until 1903. "Bellerophon" was converted into a stokers' training ship in 1904, and re-named HMS "Indus III". When sold in 1922 she had completed 56 years service.


* Roger Chesneau and Eugene M. Kolesnik, ed., "Conway's All The Worlds Fighting Ships, 1860-1905", (Conway Maritime Press, London, 1979), ISBN 0-85177-133-5

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