- Bastock, John
- None noted
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1971 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Displacement: 44,500 tons
Length: 814 feet
Beam: 108 feet.
Armament: Eight 15-in., sixteen 5.25-in., and eleven twin 40 mm. AA guns, and four 3- pounders.
Protection: Belt 14-in. Turrets 13-in. Bulkheads 15-in. Decks and secondary turrets 6-in.
Machinery: Geared turbines. Four screws. SHP 130,000. Speed 30 knots.
Vanguard, last of the British battleships, was built under the Emergency War Programme of 1940. In the interests of expediency, she was armed with ‘second- hand’ guns and mountings, these having been landed from the cruisers Courageous and Glorious on their conversion to aircraft carriers in the 1920s.
Main-armament-wise, therefore, Vanguard could hit no harder than the Queen Elizabeths, but her sophisticated control systems, her internal protection and her increased speed rendered her an infinitely more powerful fighting ship than her 15-in. gunned predecessors. With her ample freeboard, wide beam and flared bow, she was extremely seaworthy and steady in the heaviest weather. She never fired a round in anger, and she went quietly to the breaker’s yard in 1960, just a century after the Warrior had slid down the ways.
Vanguard’s passing marked the end of a colorful era – an era in which the power of a nation, or of an empire, was measured in terms of the number and size of the guns of its fighting ships.