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Queen Elizabeth Class, British Battleships


Photograph of HMS Barham, a Queen Elizabeth class battleships

Naval History and Heritage Command #NH 63077


Specifications:


Tonnage 31,300 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 646' by 104' by 33'5"
196.90m by 31.70m by 10.19m
Maximum speed       24 knots
Complement 1224
Aircraft 1 catapult
2 seaplanes
Armament 4x2 15"/42 guns
8 6"/45 guns
4x2 4"/45 dual-purpose guns
4x8 2pdr AA guns
13 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
Protection 13" (330mm) belt tapering to 8" (203mm)
6" (152mm) extensions of belt towards ship ends
6" (152mm) upper belt
6" (152mm) bulkheads closing main belt
4" (102mm) bulkheads closing belt extensions
3.5"/5"/3" (89mm/127mm/76mm) armor deck machinery/magazines/slope
3" (76mm) armor deck extension towards ship ends
2" (51mm) second deck
13"/11"/5" (330mm/280mm/127mm) turret face/side/roof
10"/7" (254mm/178mm) barbette sides/ends
11" (279mm) conning tower
2" (51mm) torpedo holding bulkhead
Torpedo protection depth was 20' (6.1m) and designed against a 740 lb (335 kg) explosive charge.
Machinery
4-shaft Parsons single-reduction geared turbine (80,000 shp)
8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers (6 for Warspite)
Bunkerage 3400 tons fuel oil
Range 7500 nautical miles (13,900 km) at 13 knots
Sensors
Type 271 surface search radar
Type 281 air search radar
Type 284 fire control radar
Modifications
1942: Warspite upgraded to 15 20mm guns. Valiant arrived with Type 273, 281, and 282 radar and armament of 4x2 15" guns, 10x2 4.5"/45 dual-purpose guns, 4x8 2pdr guns, 10 20mm guns, and 4x4 0.50 machine guns.
1943: Warspite upgraded to 16 20mm guns and catapults removed. Valiant added  6x2, 25x1 20mm guns and landed her machine guns and aircraft.
1944:-6 Warspite removed 6" guns, upgraded fire control radar to Type 274, and increased light antiaircraft to 4x2, 27x1 20mm guns. Queen Elizabeth arrived with armament of 4x2 15" guns, 10x2 4.5"/45 dual-purpose guns, 4x8 2pdr guns, and 4x2, 30x1 20mm guns.
1945: Valiant has light antiaircraft armament of 6x8, 5x4 2pdr and 16x1 40mm Bofors AA guns, and 7x2, 2x1 20mm guns. Queen Elizabeth has 20x2, 14x1 20mm guns.


The Queen Elizabethswere completed during the First World War and were modernized repeatedly between the wars.  They were armed with the superb 15"/42 gun, which was still untested when the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, took the considerable risk of ordering five ships armed with the new weapon. Churchill also ordered that the ships be designed to use fuel oil rather than coal

The ships were heavily modernized in the late 1930s and thereafter showed considerable variation in their armament, armor, and equipment.

The ships gave good service during the Second World War.  Warspite had the distinction of scoring the longest-range hit ever recorded for a battleship's guns in battle.  Their greatest liability was probably their low speed compared with more modern battleships.


Units in the Pacific:

Warspite

Arrived 1942-2

Valiant

Arrived 1942-7

Withdrawn 1943-1

Returned 1944-1

Queen Elizabeth      

Arrived 1944-1

References

Gogin (2010; accessed 2013-3-23)

Worth (2001)



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