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RISE OF THE DREADNOUGHT BATTLESHIP, 1906 to 1914

Note by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net


HMS Dreadnought, following her launch (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge)  
 

Note: Austrian and French pre-dreadnoughts completed after 1906 are included; Dreadnoughts completed after August 1914 are not..

The summary of ship characteristics are all from "Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921" to ensure consistency as measurements usually vary from source to source.

Photos are mainly courtesy Maritime Quest, unless otherwise identified. Some of the photos give an impression of the difficulty of fighting such ships with their dense funnel smoke, gunsmoke, and in heavy seas

 
 

Completions Year-by-Year - 1906-14

 

1906

       

BRITAIN
- First all big-gunned battleship DREADNOUGHT completed for the Royal Navy led to a rapid building race between Britain and Germany, in which other major powers joined.
 


21,845t deep load
21 knots
11in max belt armour
10-12in main armament
695-773 crew
       
1908
       
Britain - 3 Invincible class battlecruisers: INVINCIBLE (right), INDOMITABLE, INFLEXIBLE   20,078t deep load
25 knots
6in max belt armour
8-12in
784 crew
       
1909
       
Britain - 3 Bellerophon class: BELLEROPHON (right), SUPERB, TEMERAIRE   22,102t deep load
21 knots
10in max belt armour
10-12in
733 crew

 

GERMANY -
First German dreadnoughts, 4 Westfalen class: WESTFALEN (right), NASSAU, POSEN, RHEINLAND
 


21,000t deep load
19 knots
12in max belt armour
12-11in
1008 crew (1124-1139 at Jutland)
large armoured cruiser/battlecruiser BLUCHER (right).   17,250t deep load
24 knots
7in max belt armour
12-8.2in
847 crew (1026 at Dogger Bank)
       
1910
       
Austria - 3 Radetzky class pre-Dreadnought battleships, ERZHERZOG FRANZ FERDINAND, with RADETZKY (right) and ZRINYI completed 1911   15,845t deep load
20 knots
9in max belt armour
4-12in and 8-9.4in
876 crew

 
Britain - 3 St Vincent class: ST VINCENT, COLLINGWOOD (right), VANGUARD

 

  23,030t deep load
21 knots
10in max belt armour
10-12in
718 crew

 
Germany - battlecruiser VON DER TANN   21,700t deep load
24 knots
10in max belt armour
8-11in
923 crew (1174 at Jutland)

 

JAPAN - First Dreadnoughts, 2 Satsuma class: SATSUMA, AKI (right)
 


19,700t deep load
20 knots
9in max belt armour
4-12in and 12-10in (shortage of 12in guns)
887 crew

 

U.S.A. - First
4 Dreadnoughts - 2 South Carolina class, SOUTH CAROLINA, MICHIGAN (right - Photo Ships)
 


17,617t full load
18 knots
10in max belt armour
8-12in
869 crew

 

2 Delaware class, DELAWARE (right - Photo Ships), NORTH DAKOTA   22,060t full load
21 knots
11 in max belt armour 10-12in
933 crew
       
1911
       
Britain - NEPTUNE (Photo Ships)   22,720t deep load
21 knots
10in max belt armour
10-12in
759 crew

2 Colossus class: COLOSSUS (right), HERCULES   23,050t deep load
21 knots
11in max belt armour
10-12in
755 crew
First of 3 Indefatigable class battlecruisers: INDEFATIGABLE (right), NEW ZEALAND completed in 1912, AUSTRALIA in 1913.   22,110t deep load
25 knots
6in max belt armour
8-12in
800 crew

 
France - 6 Danton class pre-Dreadnought battleships, CONDORCET (right - Photo Ships), DANTON, DIDEROT, MIRABEAU, VERGNIAUD, VOLTAIRE   19,763t full load
19 knots
10in max belt armour
4-12in and 12-9.4in
681 crew, later 921


Germany - 4 Helgoland class: THURINGEN, HELGOLAND, OSTFRIESLAND (right), OLDENBURG   25,200t deep load
20 knots
12in max armour
12-12in
1113 crew (1284-1390 at Jutland)
2 Moltke class battlecruisers: MOLTKE (right), GOEBEN (transferred to Turkey 1914).   25,300t deep load
25 knots
10.7in max belt armour
10-11in
1053 crew (1355 at Jutland)

 
U.S.A. - 2 Florida class Dreadnoughts, FLORIDA (right - US Naval Historical Center), UTAH   23,033t full load
20 knots
11in max belt armour
10-12in
1001 crew
       
1912
       

AUSTRIA
- First Austro-Hungarian Dreadnoughts, 4 Tegetthoff class: VIRIBUS UNITIS (right, believed firing a forward turret - Photo Ships), TEGETTHOFF completed in 1913, PRINZ EUGEN in 1914, SZENT ISTVAN in 1915.
 


21,595t deep load
20 knots
11in max belt armour
12-12in
1087 crew

 
Britain - 4 Orion class: ORION (right - Photo Ships), MONARCH, THUNDERER, CONQUEROR   25,870t deep load
21 knots
12in max belt armour
10-13.5in
752 crew
4 King George V class: KING GEORGE V (right - Photo Ships), CENTURION, AUDACIOUS, AJAX

 

  25,700t deep load
21 knots
12in max belt armour
10-13.5in
782 crew
2 Lion class battlecruisers: LION, PRINCESS ROYAL (right - Photo Ships).   29,680t deep load
27 knots
9in max belt armour
8-13.5in
997 crew

 
Germany - 5 Kaiser class: KAISER, FRIEDRICH DER GROSSE, KAISERIN, PRINZ REGENT LUITPOLD, KOENIG ALBERT (right).   27,400t deep load
21 knots
14in max belt armour
10-12in
1084 crew (1249-1278 at Jutland)


Japan - 2 Settsu class: SETTSU (right - Photo Ships), KAWACHI

 

  21,443t normal
20 knots
12in max belt armour
12-12in
986 crew

 
U.S.A. - 2 Wyoming class, WYOMING (right - Photo Ships), ARKANSAS   27,234t full load
20 knots
11 in max belt armour
12-12in
1063 crew
       
1913
       
Britain - battlecruiser QUEEN MARY (Photo Ships)   31,650t deep load
27 knots
9in max belt armour
8-13.5in
997 crew

 

FRANCE - First
Dreadnoughts, 4 Courbet class completed in 1913 and 1914: JEAN BART (right - Photo Ships), COURBET, PARIS, FRANCE
 


25,000t deep load
20 knots
10in max belt armour
12-12in
1085-1108 crew

 
Germany - battlecruiser SEYDLITZ   28,100t deep load
26 knots
12in max belt armour
10-11in
1068 crew (1425 at Jutland)


 

ITALY
- First Dreadnought - DANTE ALIGHIERI

 

 


21,600t deep load
22 knots
10in max belt armour
12-12in
981 crew

 
Japan - 4 Kongo class battlecruisers completed through to 1915: KONGO, HIEI, HARUNA (right), KIRISHIMA   32,200t full load
27 knots
8in max belt armour
8-14in (max calibre)
1221 crew
       

1914

       
Britain - 4 Iron Duke class: IRON DUKE (right), MARLBOROUGH, BENBOW, EMPEROR OF INDIA   29,560t deep load
21 knots
12in max belt armour
10-13.5in
995-1022 (war) crew
ERIN (ex-Turkish Reshadieh).   25,250t deep load
21 knots
12in max belt armour
10-13.5in
1070 crew
AGINCOURT (ex-Turkish Sultan Osman I).   30,250t deep load
22 knots
9in max belt armour
14-12in (max number of main guns)
1115 crew
battlecruiser TIGER   35,710t deep load
28 knots
9in max belt armour
8-13.5in
1121 crew

 
Germany - 4 Konig class: GROSSER KURFURST (right), KONIG, MARKGRAF, KRONPRINZ WILHELM   29,200t deep load
21 knots
14in max belt armour 10-12in
1136 crew (1284-1315 at Jutland)
First of 3 Derfflinger class battlecruisers: DERFFLINGER (right) completed in 1914, LUTZOW in 1915, HINDENBURG in 1917.   30,700t deep load
26 knots
12in max belt armour
8-12in
1112 crew (1391 at Jutland)

 
Italy - 3 Cavour class: GIULIO CESARE (right - Photo Ships), LEONARDO DA VINCI completed, CONTE DI CAVOUR in 1915.   24,250t deep load
22 knots
10in max belt armour 12-12in
1232 crew



RUSSIA (Baltic Fleet)
- First Dreadnoughts, 4 Gangut class: GANGUT (right - Photo Ships), PETROPAVLOSK, POLTAVA, SEVASTOPOL (Black Sea Fleet, included IMPERATRITSA MARIYA launched but not completed until 1915)
 


25,850t full load
23 knots (battleship)
9in max belt armour
12-12in
1126 crew

 

TURKEY -
Two Dreadnoughts building in Britain, but seized on outbreak of war
 

see HMS Erin and Agincourt above


 
U.S.A. - 2 New York class: NEW YORK, TEXAS (right - US Naval Historical Center)   28,367t full load
21 knots
12in max belt armour
10-14in (max calibre)
1042 crew
 
 
 

Summary - Dreadnought Classes Completed or Completing by August 1914

Countries in order of first dreadnoughts - totals exclude German Blucher, French Dantons and Russian Black Sea Fleet dreadnoughts building.

 
Navy Completed/Completing 1914
Lost from Completd/Completing 1914
Britain

34

5 lost

Germany

24

(Blucher lost)

Japan

8

1 lost

U.S.A.

8

-

Austria

4

2 lost

France

4

(Danton lost)

Italy

4

1 lost

Russia

4

(1 Black Sea ship lost)

Total

90
(
50 Allied, 28 Central Powers, 12 later Allies)

9
(plus 3)

 

 see also

Austro-Hungarian Navy

French Navy

Royal Hellenic or Greek Navy

Imperial Japanese Navy

Turkish or Ottoman Navy

United States Navy

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revised  31/07/14


 

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