The loss of the HMS Glatton, an "interesting little ship".

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The loss of the HMS Glatton, an "interesting little ship".

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 17 mei 2012, 20:01

The sister ships HMS Glatton and HMS Gordon are included in Anthony Preston's "Battleships of World War I", apparently because they were, as he describes them, "interesting little ships". I too found them to be interesting, and was intrigued by the loss of the Glatton due to accidental explosion in 1918.

Though hardly capital ships, they were well-armed vessels that served as coastal bombardment ships. Originally ordered by Norway from Armstrong's Elswick yard, the pair was intended as coast defense ships, mounting 2*9.45, 4*5.9, and 6*3.9-inch guns along with 2 torpedo tubes. With a decent strake of 7-inch armor on the sides, 2 inches of armor on their decks, and 8 inches of armor on the main turrets and conning tower, they were designed for 15 knots.

When the war started, the yard first slowed and then suspended work on the ships, so that they could concentrate on British warships. Norway was none too pleased, having already paid 246,000 pounds of the 375,000-pounds each purchase price. Churchill and Fisher arranged to have the money refunded to Norway, and paid the yard to complete the ships to a modified design for use as coast bombardment monitors.

Huge bulges were added to the hulls as protection against torpedoes and mines, additional armor was added to the decks as protection against shore batteries, and the armament was set as 2*9.2, 6*6, and 3*3-inch guns, along with 3 and 2 pound AA guns. The 9.2 and 6-inch guns were in fact the original Norwegian guns, with new liners to allow them to take British standard size shells. Overall speed was reduced to 13 knots by the modifications. Thanks to modified high-elevation mounts and specially designed shells, the main guns could reach an astounding 39,000 yards and fire 2 shells a minute.

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