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HMS Neptune (1909)
HMS Neptune (Royal Navy battleship).jpg
Class overview
Name: Neptune-class battleship
Preceded by: St. Vincent class
Succeeded by: Colossus class
In commission: 1911–1918/1919
Completed: 1
Name: HMS Neptune
Namesake: Neptune, Roman god of the sea
Ordered: 1908 Naval Estimates
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: 19 January 1909
Launched: 30 September 1909
Commissioned: 11 January 1911[1]
Fate: Scrapped in September 1922
General characteristics
Type: Dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 19,900 tons (22,000 full load)
Length: 546 ft (166 m)
Beam: 85 ft (26 m)
Draught: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion: Parsons steam turbines, direct drive on four shafts, 25,000 shp, 18 Yarrow boilers
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
Range: 6,330 nm at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 756
  • Belt: 10 inches (254 mm)
  • Upper Belt: 8 inches (203 mm)
  • Bulkheads: 5 and 8 inches (203 mm)
  • Conning tower: 11 inches (280 mm)
  • Turrets: 11 inches (280 mm)
  • Barbettes: 9 inches (229 mm)
  • HMS Neptune was a Royal Navy dreadnought battleship, intended to be the lead ship of three Neptune-class battleships, but the subsequent two ships had slightly thicker belt armour and were reclassified as the Colossus class.


    Arrangement of main gun turrets, bows pointing right

    She was the first Royal Navy battleship that differed in her gun turret layout from Dreadnought. She had two wing turrets staggered en echelon so that all five turrets could shoot in broadside, although in practice the blast damage to the superstructure and boats made this impractical except in an emergency.

    To achieve this staggering firepower with such a small increase in hull length, the ship was equipped with superfiring rear turrets; arranged so that one would fire over the other when shooting towards the stern. She was the first Royal Navy ship to have a superfiring main armament (the American battleship USS South Carolina, launched in 1908, was the first battleship anywhere to have superfiring main turrets). However, the upper of the two turrets could not fire within 30 degrees of the stern without the lower turret being damaged by blast through its sighting hoods.[2]

    A further saving in length was achieved by siting the ship's boats on a flying deck over the two midships turrets to reduce the length of the vessel. However, had the flying deck been damaged during action, they may have fallen onto the turrets, immobilising them. The bridge was also situated above the conning tower, which risked similarly being obscured if the bridge collapsed.[2]

    She was one of the first battleships to be built with director gun-control and was used for trials of this then-novel system.[3]

    Service history

    King George V and Admiral Callaghan on board HMS Neptune.

    She was flagship of the Home Fleet from May 1911 until May 1912 when she was transferred to the 1st Battle Squadron, where she remained until June 1916, just after the Battle of Jutland.[4] She was accidentally struck by SS Needvaal in April 1916 but no serious damage was done. She was present at the Battle of Jutland as part of Admiral Jellicoe's Battle Fleet. She fired only 48 12 inch (305 mm) shells but is credited with scoring several hits on the German battlecruiser Lützow. Her captain was Vivian Bernard.

    After the war she was quickly transferred to the reserve fleet and subsequently scrapped.

    External Sources


    1. The Times (London), Wednesday, 11 January 1911, p.7
    2. 2.0 2.1 DK Brown (2003). The Grand Fleet, warship design and development 1906–1922. Caxton Editions. pp. 38–40. ISBN 1-84067-531-4. 
    3. "Neptune Class Dreadnought Battleship". World War 1 Naval Combat. Retrieved 4 February 2007. 
    4. "HMS Neptune". Retrieved 4 February 2007. 


    • Burt, R. A. (1986). British Battleships of World War One. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-863-8. 
    • Campbell, John (1998). Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting. Lyons Press. ISBN 1-55821-759-2. 
    • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1922. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
    • Hythe, Viscount, ed. The Naval Annual 1914. 
    • Massie, Robert (2004). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany and the winning of the Great War. Random House. ISBN 0-224-04092-8. 
    • Roberts, John (1997). Battlecruisers. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-068-1. 

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