HMS Revenge (1892)

HMS Revenge (1892)

HMS "Revenge" was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the "Royal Sovereign" class of the British Royal Navy. She was renamed HMS "Redoubtable" in 1915.

Technical Characteristics

"Revenge" was laid down by Palmers on 12 February 1891, launched on 3 November 1892, and completed in March 1894. She was 410 feet long and had a maximum cruising speed of 17 knots. Her armament included four 67-ton 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns and several smaller calibre guns.

The "Royal Sovereign" class battleships were designed by Sir William White and were the most potent battleships in the world until HMS "Dreadnought" rendered them obsolete overnight in 1906. In their day the "Royal Sovereign"s had also embodied revolutionary improvements in firepower, armour and speed. The main armament of four 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns was housed in two barbettes, rather than turrets, at either end of the ship which allowed a high freeboard, greatly increasing their capacity for fighting in rough weather; however, they tended to develop a heavy roll in some conditions, and after HMS "Resolution" rolled badly in heavy seas in 1893, the entire class was nicknamed the "Rolling Ressies," which stuck even though the problem was quickly corrected by the fitting of bilge keels. [Burt, p. 66] The secondary armament was designed to provide potent, quick firing support for the main battery. Despite their greatly increased weight, thanks to a main armour belt which ran for two thirds of their length, they were the fastest capital ships in the world in their time.

In 1906, the "Royal Sovereigns", like every other battleship in the world, were made obsolete with the launch of the revolutionary HMS "Dreadnought", the first all-big-gun battleship. Of the "Royal Sovereign" class, only "Revenge" survived to see the outbreak of World War I.

Operational History

Upon completion in March 1894, HMS "Revenge" commissioned into reserve at Portsmouth, United Kingdom. On 14 January 1896 she commissioned there as flagship of the Particular Service Squadron, soon renamed the Flying Squadron; she was flagship of the squadron , which was attached to the Mediterranean Fleet briefly in the middle of 1896, throughout its existence. When the squadron was disbanded, "Revenge" paid off at Portsmouth on 5 November 1896, and recommissioned the same day to relieve battleship HMS "Trafalgar" as flagship of the second-in-command of the Mediterranean Fleet. [Burt, p. 83]

From February 1897 to December 1898, "Revenge" served in the International Squadron blockading Crete during the Greco-Turkish uprising there. During this duty, she landed a force of Royal Marines on Crete to seize Fort Tzeddin, and in September 1898 she went to Candia to support the British garrison there. [Burt, p. 83]

On 15 December 1899, "Revenge" recommissioned at Malta to continue Mediterranean Fleet service. In April 1900, battleship HMS "Victorious" relieved her and she returned to the United Kingdom, paying off into Fleet Reserve at Chatham. [Burt, p. 83]

On 18 April 1901, "Revenge" commissioned at Chatham to relieve HMS "Alexandra" as both coast guard ship at Portland and flagship of Admiral Superintendent Commanding Reserves. In early 1902 she went under refit. Later in 1902, she commissioned to serve as flagship of the Home Squadron upon its creation. [Burt, p. 83]

In April 1904, "Revenge" and her sister ship HMS "Royal Oak" both struck a submerged wreck off the Scilly Isles while serving with the Home Fleet. "Revenge" suffered bottom damage. [Burt, p. 82]

In July 1905, "Revenge" participated in maneuvers with the Reserve Fleet. She paid off at Portsmouth on 31 August 1905, then recommissioned on 1 September 1905 in the Portsmouth Reserve Division. [Burt, p. 83]

In June 1906, "Revenge" relieved battleship HMS "Colossus" as gunnery training ship at Portsmouth and as tender to shore establishmentHMS "Excellent". [Burt, p. 83]

On 13 June 1908, "Revenge" collided with the merchant ship SS "Bengore Head". In October 1908, she tested a new model of 13.5-inch (343-mm) gun in firing and explosives tests against battleship HMS "Edinburgh". On 7 January 1912 she suffered hull damage when, during a gale a Portsmouth, she broke from her moorings and collided with battleship HMS "Orion". She was relieved as gunnery training ship by battleship HMS "Albemarle" and paid off on 15 May 1913. She went ito reserve, and then wwas laid up at Motherbank, awaiting disposal. [Burt, p. 83]

Unlike her sister ships, "Revenge" was given a reprieve from the scrapyard by the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. It was decided to bring her back into service for use in coastal bombardment duties off the coast of Flanders. In September and October 1914, she was refitted at Portsmouth for this mission, including the relining of her 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns to 12-inch (305-mm) caliber. Her refit completed, she was ordered on 31 October 1914 to stand by to relieve battleship HMS "Venerable" as flagship there. [Burt, p. 83]

"Revenge" was declared ready for service on 5 November 1914, and formed the Channel Fleet's new 6th Battle Squadron with battleships HMS "Albemarle", HMS "Cornwallis", HMS "Duncan", HMS "Exmouth". and HMS "Russell". Plans for the squadron to participate in an attack on German submarine bases were cancelled due to bad weather on 14 November 1914, and instead "Revenge" and battleship HMS "Majestic" left Dover, England, for Dunkirk, France. [Burt, p. 83]

"Revenge" took her first action of the war when she joined gunboat HMS "Bustard", six British and four French destroyers and a French torpedo boat in bombarding German troops from off of Nieuwpoort, Belgium, on 22 November 1914. She was recalled to Dover the same day.

On 15 December 1914, "Revenge" returned to her bombardment duties, joining "Majestic" in searching for and bombarding German heavy artillery sites. She took two 8-inch (203-mm) shell hits, one of which penetrated her hull below the waterline and caused a serious leak. She again bombarded the Flanders coast on 16 December 1914. [Burt, p. 83]

In April and May she underwent a refit at Chatham in which she had antitorpedo bulges fitted, the first ship to be fitted with them operationally. [Burt, p. 80] In August 1915, she was renamed HMS "Redoubtable". [Burt, p. 83]

On 7 September 1915, she returned to combat, joining gunboats HMS "Bustard" and HMS "Excellent" in bombarding German troops at Ostend and German barracks and gun positions at Westend, inflicting much damage on the Germans. [Burt, p. 83] One of her antitorpedo bulges was deliberately flooded to impart a list that would increase the range of her main battery. [Burt, p. 83]

"Redoubtable" underwent another refit from October to December 1915. Afterwards, she was not recommissioned, instead serving as an accommodation ship at Portsmouth until February 1919. [Burt, p. 84]

The last surviving member of her class, "Redoubtable" was sold for scrapping in December 1919. [Burt, p. 84]

ee also

* List of battleships of the Royal Navy

Notes

References

*Burt, R. A. "British Battleships 1889-1904". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
*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.
* Dittmar F.J and Colledge J.J. "British Warships 1914-1919, Ian allen, London, 1972. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7


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