- Bastock, John
- None noted
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1971 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Displacement: 33,950 tons
Length: 710 feet
Beam: 106 feet
Armament: Nine 16-in., twelve 6-in. and six 4.7-in. guns. Over 100 smaller AA weapons. Two 24½-in. above-water torpedo-tubes.
Protection: Belt and bulkheads to 14-in. thick. Turrets 16-in. Deck 6.25-in.
Machinery: Geared turbines. Twin Screws. DHP 45,000. Speed 23 knots.
HM Ships Nelson and Rodney were built between the wars under the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty. Their massive armament of nine 16-in. guns was the heaviest ever mounted in a British battleship. They were the first British vessels to carry their heavy guns in triple turrets, and the first to have a tower mast. The 16-in. gun fired a projectile weighing 2,461 lbs.
The secondary armament was carried in small twin turrets mounted well aft to minimise blast effects when the 16-in guns were fired on an after bearing. The 24½-in. torpedo-tubes were the largest ever mounted in a British ship.
Both ships served with hard-hitting distinction during World War II. They will be remembered not so much for their good looks as for their toughness. Although Nelson was mined twice and torpedoed once, and Rodney was damaged by bombs and attacked by torpedo and shellfire, both survived to meet their ends in the shipbreaker’s yard.
The Nelson’s were not beautiful, but tough and business-like with their great 16-in guns all mounted before the bridge. Nelson and Rodney were the first flush-decked British battleships since the Agamemnon and Lord Nelson of 1906.