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T3, R5, Prng 156: Majestic Class (Britain) vs King Edward VII Class (Britain)

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  • T3, R5, Prng 156: Majestic Class (Britain) vs King Edward VII Class (Britain)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    108: Majestic Class

    In January 1892, the Director of Naval Construction, William Henry White, submitted a design for a 12,500 tonne (12,300 long ton) ship armed with four 12in guns and protected with a 9in (229mm) thick armored belt. Work on the new 12in gun was taking longer than predicted, so construction was delayed to the 1893 program. By that time, the third ship of what was to be the Majestic class was redesigned as a second-class battleship, Renown, leaving only two ships to be laid down under the 1893 estimates. By August 1893, however, the public perceived the strength of the Royal Navy to have fallen relative to its traditional rivals, France and Russia. John Spencer, the First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a large naval expansion plan, including 7 more Majestic class battleships to soothe public opinion. With nine units commissioned, they were the most numerous class of battleships in history. The ships – Majestic, Caesar, Hannibal, Illustrious, Jupiter, Magnificent, Mars, Prince George and Victorious – were built between 1894 and 1898. This continued the naval re-armament initiatives begun by the Naval Defence Act 1889.

    The Majestics were among the most successful warships of their time and were widely copied. Indeed, the Japanese Shikishima class and the battleship Mikasa were based directly on them. They were also the first British ships to incorporate Harvey armor, which allowed them to carry a much more comprehensive level of protection. Due to the greater resilience of this armor, less of it could be used for the same level of protection, allowing for significant weight reduction. As a result, the protection scheme was stronger and more comprehensive than in the Royal Sovereigns, while minimizing increased displacement.

    The Majestics were 390ft (120m) long between perpendiculars and 421ft (128m) overall. They had a beam of 75ft (23m) and a draught of 27ft (8.2m). They displaced up to 16,060t (15,810 long tons; 17,700 short tons) at full combat load. The ships had a freeboard of 25ft (7.6m) forward, 17ft 3in (5.26m) amidships, and 18ft 6in (5.64m) aft. Their hulls were divided into numerous watertight compartments; 72 inside the armored citadel and 78 outside. A double bottom extended for much of the length of the hull.

    The BL 12-inch Mark VIII gun was the first large-caliber weapon in the Royal Navy to use smokeless propellant, which made it superior in almost all respects to earlier, larger guns. This would become the standard for all British battleship classes built for the next fifteen years. In terms of ballistics and strength of the weapon itself, it was a significant improvement on the 13.5in (343mm), which had been fitted on the Admiral and Royal Sovereign classes, as well as being significantly lighter. It had a muzzle velocity of 2,500 feet per second (760 m/s) - a significant increase over the 13.5in gun - and could fire an 850-pound (390kg) shell with a range of 13,900 yards (12,700m).

    The saving in weight allowed the Majestics to carry a secondary battery of 12 QF (quick-firing) 6in 40-calibre guns, a larger secondary armament than in previous classes. These were mounted in casemates amidships and fired a 100lb (45kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,205 ft/s (672 m/s). Elevated at 15 degrees, they could hit targets out to 10,000 yards (9,100m). The ships also carried 16 QF 12-pounder and 12 QF 2-pounder Mk I guns, as well as five 18in (450mm) torpedo tubes.

    The armored belts consisted of 9in (229mm) Harvey steel, which extended 220ft (67m) along the hull, covering 5ft 6in (1.68m) above the waterline and 9ft 6in (2.90m) below. The belts were connected by a 14in transverse bulkhead forward and a 12 in bulkhead aft. Deck armor was 3in (76mm) on the central portion, with 4in (102mm) sloped sides that connected to the bottom edge of the belt. This meant that any shell penetrating the belt also had to pass through the deck before it could reach the ship's vitals. The deck armor was reduced to 2.5in (64mm) toward the bow and stern.

    Propulsion came from 2 x 3-cyl triple expansion engines, each driving a single 4-bladed screw. There were 8 coal-fired, single-ended Scotch marine boilers, trunked into a pair of funnels placed side by side. The engines were rated at 10,000 indicated horsepower (7,500 kW) at normal draught, for a top speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). 1,100 tonnes (1,100 long tons; 1,200 short tons) of coal was normally carried, with additional spaces for up to 1,900 tonnes (1,900 long tons; 2,100 short tons) extra. With the installation of new boilers, oil storage of 400-500 tonnes (390-490 long tons; 440-550 short tons) was added. At 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), the ships could steam for 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km; 8,100 mi). At 14.6 knots (27.0 km/h; 16.8 mph), cruising radius fell to 4,420 nmi (8,190 km; 5,090 mi).

    The Majestics were considered good seaboats, in large part due to their high freeboard, with an easy roll and good steamers; although they suffered from high fuel consumption. They were nevertheless very maneuverable. They served in a variety of roles throughout their careers; primarily in the Channel Fleet, though several took rotations in the Mediterranean Fleet and Victorious served on the China Station in 1900–02. No longer frontline ships by the outbreak of World War I, the vessels were used to protect the crossing of the British Expeditionary Force and various points on the British coast.

    In early 1915, Majestic and Prince George took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, bombarding Ottoman positions until May, when Majestic was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-21 off Cape Helles. The ships continued mainly in secondary and support roles with occasional active service. For example, Caesar served in the Adriatic Squadron in September 1918, and then in the Aegean Squadron in October. After the war, she supported the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea as a depot ship. She was the last British pre-dreadnought to serve overseas in any capacity. The ships were scrapped between 1920-22.

    General characteristics

    Displacement – 16,060t (15,810 long tons; 17,700 short tons)
    Length – 421ft (128m)
    Beam – 75ft (23m)
    Draft – 27ft (8.2m)
    Power – 2 x 3cyl triple-expansion steam engines, 8 boilers, 2 screws
    Armament (primary) – 4 x BL 12in (305mm) Mk VIII guns
    Complement – 672 officers and men

    Majestic class drawings

    Majestic class diagrams.jpg



    Prince George after 1904 refit

    Prince George after 1904 refit.jpg

    112: King Edward VII Class

    The King Edward VII class was a group of 8 pre-dreadnought battleships laid down from 1902-04. Their principal new feature was a heavier secondary battery of four 9.2in (234mm) guns. The change was prompted by foreign battleships such as the Italian Regina Margherita class and the American Virginia class, which had a secondary battery of 8in (203mm) guns. The new ships were named King Edward VII, Commonwealth, Dominion, Hindustan, New Zealand, Britannia, Africa and Hibernia and they were ready for service between January 1905 and February 1907. These were among the last British pre-dreadnoughts and they would be rendered obsolescent by HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

    The King Edward VIIs were 425ft (130m) long between perpendiculars and 453ft 9in (138.3m) overall. Their beam was 75ft (23m) with a draft of 25ft 8in (7.82m). They were more than 1,000 tons heavier than earlier battleships, displacing 15,585 to 15,885 long tons (15,835 to 16,140t) normally and up to 17,009 to 17,290 long tons (17,282 to 17,567t) fully loaded. Complement generally varied; usually from 755 to 815 officers and men.

    Primary armament was four 12-inch 40-calibre Mk IX guns in twin-gun turrets fore and aft, with a range of elevation from -5 to +13.5 degrees. With a muzzle velocity of 2,610fps (796m/s) they could penetrate 12in of Krupp armor at 4,800yds (4,400m). Maximum range was 15,300 yards (14,000m). Commonwealth and Zealandia later had their mounts modified for elevation to 30 degrees, extending range to 26,514 yd (24,244 m).

    The secondary battery of four 9.2 in (234 mm) guns had elevation from -7 to +15 degrees, allowing for a maximum range of 15,500yds (14,200m). Muzzle velocity was 2,735 to 2,751 ft/s (834 to 839 m/s). The large secondary guns added considerable weight high in the ship, and they took up space on the deck, forcing the designers to compromise on other aspects; particularly regarding placement for the ten 6in (152mm) 45-calibre guns. These had a muzzle velocity of 2,536ft/s (773m/s) and could penetrate 6in of Krupp armor at 2,500 yards (2,300m). Previously carried in casemates, in the King Edward VII class they were relocated to a central box battery, requiring less armor. However, they were also mounted closer to the waterline. Combined with a greater metacentric height, the lower freeboard made these ships prone to excessive rolling and shipping water in heavy seas; rendering those guns unusable in anything but relatively calm conditions.

    For defence against torpedo boats, there were 14 x 12pdr 3in (76mm) guns and 14 x 3pdr 47mm (1.9in) guns dispersed in pivot mounts around the ship. The ships were also equipped with five 18in (457mm) torpedo tubes.

    Much of the heavier protection was Krupp cemented armor, including most of the hull’s belt, the main and secondary turrets & their barbettes, and the conning tower. The main portion of the belt was 9in (229mm) thick; the transverse bulkhead on the aft end being 9-12in (229-305mm). Aft of the bulkhead, the side was protected with 2in (51mm) of Krupp non-cemented plate. Forward of the fore barbette, the belt reduced to 7in (178mm), then tapered in steps to 3in (76mm) at the extreme end of the bow. The armored deck was 2in of mild steel, apart from the central portion where it reduced to 1in (25mm) to minimize topweight; being raised to the roof of the central battery. The ships' main battery turrets had sides 8-12in thick, mounted atop 12in barbettes. The 9.2in guns had thinner protection, with 5-9in sides. Their barbettes were only 4in (102mm) thick, reduced in height on the assumption that the side armor provided sufficient protection; and the likelihood of a shell exploding below the barbette in the ammunition hoists was very small. The conning tower had 12in sides.

    The ships were powered by a pair of 4-cylinder triple-expansion engines driving two inward-turning screws, with steam provided by water-tube or fire-tube boilers of various types. The boilers were trunked into two funnels located amidships. Primarily powered by coal, all except New Zealand had oil sprayers installed during construction; the first time this had been done in British battleships. These allowed steam pressure to be rapidly increased, improving acceleration of the ships. This led to the decision to adopt all oil-fired boilers in the Queen Elizabeth class super-dreadnoughts.

    The King Edward VIIs had a top speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph) from 18,000 indicated horsepower (13,000 kW), though some of the ships exceeded 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) on speed trials. Using only coal, the ships had a cruising radius of about 5,100 nmi (9,400 km; 5,900 mi) at an economical speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and with the supplemental fuel oil, their range increased to 6,700 nmi (12,400 km; 7,700 mi).

    The ships had varied and quite eventful careers. They served with the Atlantic and Home Fleets from 1905 to 1909. Africa and Hibernia were involved in experiments with seaplanes in 1912, and that year all members of the class were assigned to the 3rd Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet; later being sent to the Mediterranean Sea to respond to the First Balkan War. In the early part of WW1, while serving with the Grand Fleet, the Squadron was tasked with conducting operations around Scotland and the North Sea as part of the Northern Patrol. They were involved in further patrols through mid-1915, including in response to the German raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914 and to support the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron during the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915. They did not see action against German forces during this period, however. In January 1916, King Edward VII struck a German mine and sank, though her crew was safely evacuated.

    By mid-1916, the surviving ships were no longer suitable for front-line fleet service, so they were dispersed to other tasks, including coastal defence with the Nore Command. Africa was sent to the Atlantic Patrol in 1917 and Britannia was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat two days before the end of the war; one of the last British warships to be sunk in the conflict. The surviving members of the class were all sold for scrap in the early 1920s.

    General characteristics
    Displacement – 15,585 – 15,885 long tons (normal); 17,009 – 17,290 long tons (full load)
    Length – 425ft (130m) p/p; 453ft 9in (138.3m) o/a
    Beam – 75ft (23m)
    Draft – 25ft 8in (7.82m)
    Power – 2 x 4cyl triple expansion steam engines, 2 screws, 16 boilers (typical)
    Armament – 2 x 2 BL 12in (305mm) Mk IX guns (primary); 4 x BL 9.2in (234mm) Mk X; 10 x BL 6in (152mm) Mk VII
    Complement – 755 to 815 officers and men

    Drawings showing important features of the King Edward VII class

    King Edward Class drawings.jpg

    King Edward VII passing New Brighton, Canada

    King Edward VII passing New Brighton Canada.jpg



    Which candidate is most worthy to make the Final?
    Majestic class or King Edward VII class?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).

    108: Majestic Class (Britain)
    112: King Edward VII Class (Britain)
    Last edited by panther3485; 25 Nov 19, 00:34.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    King Edward class. The heavier secondary batteries and greater acceleration due to the early oil fired boilers which were the forerunners of coal-less power plants.
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


    • #3
      More medium guns and a better propulsion plant is why I went King Eddie VII.

      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
        More medium guns and a better propulsion plant is why I went King Eddie VII.

        How can you go beyond the ' King' ??. This series has bought to mind the Landing craft crews song and I must repeat it to you, as follows.
        " This is my story, this is my song,
        We've been in commission too bloody long,
        roll on the 'Nelson' the 'Rodney, Renown',
        These flat bottomed Ba------s are getting me down! lcm1
        'By Horse by Tram'.

        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
        " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"


        • #5
          Everything said above regarding the King Edward VII class looks quite true to me.
          However, IMO while the Majestic class was somewhat less developed (being an earlier design), for their time I think they were arguably more influential. So I'm going for the Majestics; even though the King Edwards have clearly won this particular pairing.
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


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