Royal NavyPreceded by:
Majestic classSucceeded by:
General characteristics Type:
13,150 long tons (13,360 t; 14,730 short tons)}Length:
430 ft (130 m)Beam:
74 ft (23 m)Draught:
26 ft (7.9 m)Installed power:
15,400 ihp (11,500 kW)Propulsion:
2 shafts, water-tube boilers
vertical triple expansion steam enginesSpeed: 18.0 knots (33.3 km/h; 20.7 mph)Endurance: 4,500 mi (7,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)Complement: 750Armament:
4 × 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes (submerged)Armour:
Decks: 1–2 inches (25.4–51 mm) |} The Canopus class was a group of six pre-dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy which were designed by Sir William White for use in the Far East and entered service between 1899 and 1902. The lead ship was HMS Albion, which was followed by Canopus, Glory, Goliath, Ocean and Vengeance. The class had primary armament consisting of four 12 inch (305 mm) 35 calibre long guns and six 6-inch (152 mm) 40 calibre long guns. The introduction of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 rendered the class, and all other pre-dreadnought battleships, obsolete only a few years after the last-of-class entered service in 1902. The class saw service across the globe: in home waters, on the China Station, in the Mediterranean Fleet, in the Atlantic, in Africa, at Archangel, and in the Mediterranean where HMS Goliath and HMS Ocean were sunk during the Dardanelles campaign. The four surviving ships were reduced to subsidiary duties late in World War I and were scrapped in the early 1920s.
The Canopus-class battleships were designed for use in the Far East to counter the expanding Japanese navy and were required to be able to pass through the Suez Canal. They were designed to be smaller, lighter and faster than their predecessors, the Majestic-class battleships, although at 421.5 ft (128.5 m) they were slightly longer.
The armoured belt, situated at the waterline of the vessel, was 6 inches (152 mm) thick.
To save weight the Canopus class carried less armour than the Majestics, but a change from Harvey armour in the Majestics to Krupp armour in the Canopus class meant that the protective capability of the armour was maintained.[nb 1] Part of their armour scheme included the use of a special 1 in (25 mm) armoured deck over the armour belt to defend against plunging fire by the howitzers that France had reportedly planned to install on its ships, although this report proved to be false.
Like the Majestics, the Canopus class ships had four 12-inch (305 mm) guns mounted in twin turrets fore and aft. The final ship, Vengeance, had an improved mounting that allowed loading at any elevation; her turret gunhouses differed from those of her sisters in being Krupp-armoured and flat-sided (Krupp armour plates were difficult to form into curves). The ships mounted twelve 6-inch (152 mm) guns[nb 2] in armoured casemates as well having some smaller guns and four submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.
The Canopuses were the first British battleships with water-tube boilers, which generated more power for their weight when compared with the cylindrical boilers used in previous ships. The new boilers led to the adoption of fore-and-aft funnels, rather than the side-by-side funnel arrangement used in many previous British battleships. The Canopus-class ships proved to be good steamers, consuming 10 short tons (9.1 t) of coal per hour at full speed. At 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph) they were fast for battleships of their time, a full 2 kn (2.3 mph) faster than the Majestics. The Canopuses were able to reach 4,500 mi (7,200 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) with a full load of coal.
|HMS Albion||Thames Iron Works||3 December 1896||21 June 1898||June 1901||Scrapped 1920|
|HMS Canopus||Portsmouth Dockyard||4 January 1897||12 October 1897||December 1899||Scrapped 1920|
|HMS Glory||Laird, Birkenhead||1 December 1897||11 March 1899||October 1900||Scrapped 1922|
|HMS Goliath||Chatham Dockyard||4 January 1897||23 March 1898||March 1900||Sunk May 1915 by torpedo|
|HMS Ocean||Devonport Dockyard||15 February 1897||5 July 1898||February 1900||Mined March 1915|
|HMS Vengeance||Vickers, Barrow||23 August 1898||25 July 1899||April 1902||Scrapped 1921|
HMS Dreadnought made all pre-dreadnought battleships, like those of the Canopus class, obsolete. Before World War I the class saw service in home waters, on the China Station and in the Mediterranean Fleet. After the war began they saw service around the world, including home waters, the Atlantic, Africa, northern Russia and the Mediterranean where two were sunk during the Dardanelles campaign. The careers of the ships were very similar. The four surviving ships were reduced to subsidiary duties late in the war and were scrapped in the early 1920s.
HMS Albion served in the Home Fleet during 1907 alongside Canopus and Goliath which served there during 1907–1908 and Glory during 1906–1907. Ocean also served there in 1910–1914, along with Vengeance in 1908–1914. Goliath served there again during 1909–1914, through the renaming of the Home Fleet as the Channel Fleet in 1914.
HMS Albion served on the China Station during 1901–1905 and in the Channel Fleet in 1905–1906, the Home Fleet in 1907, the Atlantic Fleet in 1907–1909, and Home Fleet again during 1909–1914. At the beginning of World War I she was in the Channel Fleet and served in the Atlantic, in South Africa and West Africa 1914–1915, and in the Mediterranean 1915–1916 where she saw combat against Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles campaign. She performed guard ship duty in Ireland and England during 1916–1918 before being reduced to subsidiary service in late 1918. She was scrapped in 1920.
HMS Canopus served in the Mediterranean Fleet 1899–1903, Atlantic Fleet 1905–1906, Channel Fleet 1906–1907, Home Fleet 1907–1908, Mediterranean Fleet again in 1908–1909, and Home Fleet again during 1909–1914. She began World War I in the Channel Fleet in 1914, then served in the Atlantic and on the South America Station. While on the South America Station she was guard ship at Stanley, Falkland Islands, when Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee's German squadron arrived there on 8 December 1914. The German squadron was destroyed in the Battle of the Falklands at the hands of the British battle-cruiser squadron. Canopus served in the Mediterranean in 1915–1916 and saw action against Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles campaign. She was decommissioned in 1916 and was scrapped in 1920.
HMS Glory saw service on the China Station 1900–1905, and in the Channel Fleet 1905–1906, Home Fleet 1906–1907, and Mediterranean Fleet 1907–1909, Home Fleet again 1909–1914, and the Channel Fleet upon the outbreak of World War I. She served on the North America and West Indies Station August 1914 – May 1915, and was then transferred to the Mediterranean where she served until 1916, including offering support during the Dardanelles campaign. She served in northern Russia in 1916–1919 and on her return to the United Kingdom was renamed HMS Crescent, performing subsidiary duties. She was sold for scrap in 1922.
HMS Goliath served on the China Station 1900–1903, in the Mediterranean Fleet 1906–1907, Home Fleet 1907–1908, Mediterranean Fleet again 1908–1909, and Home Fleet 1909–1914. At the outbreak of World War I she was in the Channel Fleet. She transferred to the East Indies Station and saw action in German East Africa in 1914–1915, including operations against the German light cruiser SMS Königsberg. She was transferred to the Mediterranean in 1915, where she saw action against Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles campaign. She was torpedoed and sunk on 13 May 1915.
HMS Ocean served in the Mediterranean Fleet 1900–1901, on the China Station 1901–1905, in the Channel Fleet 1906–1908, in the Mediterranean Fleet again 1908–1910, and in the Home Fleet 1910–1914. She was in the Channel Fleet at the beginning of World War I. She performed guard ship duty in Ireland, served on the East Indies Station, and transferred to the Mediterranean before the end of 1914. In 1915 she joined the Dardanelles campaign where she struck a mine and sank while also under fire from Ottoman shore batteries on 18 March 1915.
HMS Vengeance served in the Mediterranean Fleet 1902–1903, on the China Station 1903–1905, in the Channel Fleet 1906–1908, and in the Home Fleet 1908–1914. She began her World War I service in the Channel Fleet, then served in Egypt and the Atlantic in 1914–1915 before being transferred to the Mediterranean where she saw action against Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles campaign of 1915. She served in East Africa 1916–1917 and then in subsidiary duties in home waters. She was scrapped in 1922.
- Pears, p.20, states that only the last Canopus-ship Vengeance had Krupp armour.
- Sponson mounting allowing some of them to fire fore and aft.
- Gray, p. 36
- Hore, p. 79
- Gray, pp. 7–8, 35
- Burt, pp. 154–160
- Gray, p. 35
- Gray, pp. 35–36
- Gibbons, p. 145
- Hore, pp. 78–79
- Preston, p. 101
- Burt, pp. 159–160
- Burt, pp. 156–158
- Burt, pp. 154–156
- Burt, pp. 158–159
- Greger, p. 90
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- Greger, René (1993). Battleships of the World. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-069-X.
- Hore, Peter (2005). The World Encyclopedia of Battleships. London: Hermes House. p. 256. ISBN 1-84681-278-X.
- Parkes, Oscar (1990 (reprint of the 1957 edition)). British Battleships. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-075-4.
- Pears, Randolph (1957). British Battleships 1892–1957. London: Godfrey Cave. ISBN 0-906223-14-8.
- Preston, Anthony (1972). Battleships of World War I. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0211-1.
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