HMS Invincible (1907)

HMS Invincible was a battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

 of the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, the lead ship
Lead ship
The lead ship or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable military ships and larger civilian craft.-Overview:...

 of her class
Invincible class battlecruiser
The three Invincible class battlecruisers were built for the Royal Navy and entered service in 1908 as the world's first battlecruisers. They were the brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, the man who had sponsored the construction of the world's first "all big gun" warship,...

 of three, and the first battlecruiser to be built by any country in the world. She participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in a minor role as she was the oldest and slowest of the British battlecruisers present. She fired on the light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

 , but did not hit her before Köln was sunk by the battlecruiser . During the Battle of the Falkland Islands
Battle of the Falkland Islands
The Battle of the Falkland Islands was a British naval victory over the Imperial German Navy on 8 December 1914 during the First World War in the South Atlantic...

 Invincible and her sister sank the armoured cruisers and almost without loss to themselves, despite numerous hits by the German ships.

She was the flagship of the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron during the Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only...

. The squadron had been detached from Admiral Beatty
David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty
Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO was an admiral in the Royal Navy...

's Battlecruiser Fleet a few days before the battle for gunnery practice with the Grand Fleet and acted as its heavy scouting force during the battle. She was destroyed by a magazine explosion during the battle after 'Q' turret was penetrated.

General characteristics

Invincible was significantly larger than her armoured cruiser predecessors of the . She had an overall length of 567 ft (172.8 m), a beam
Beam (nautical)
The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point. Generally speaking, the wider the beam of a ship , the more initial stability it has, at expense of reserve stability in the event of a capsize, where more energy is required to right the vessel from its inverted position...

 of 78.5 ft (23.9 m), and a draft of 30 ft (9.1 m) at deep load. She displaced
17250 long tons (17,526.9 t) at load and 20420 long tons (20,747.7 t) at deep load, nearly 3000 long tons (3,048.2 t) more than the earlier ships.

The Invincible class ships were formally known as armoured cruisers until 1911 when they were redesignated as battlecruisers by an Admiralty order of 24 November 1911. Unofficially a number of designations were used until then, including cruiser-battleship, dreadnought cruiser and battle-cruiser.


Invincible had two paired sets of Parsons turbines, each of which was housed in a separate engine-room and drove an outboard and inboard shaft. The high-pressure ahead and astern turbines were coupled to the outboard shafts and the low-pressure turbines to the inner shafts. A cruising turbine was also coupled to each inner shaft; these were not used often and were eventually disconnected. Her three-bladed propellers were 11 feet (3.4 m) in diameter on the inner shafts while the outer propellers were 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. The turbines were powered by thirty-one Yarrow
Yarrow Shipbuilders
Yarrow Limited , often styled as simply Yarrows, was a major shipbuilding firm based in the Scotstoun district of Glasgow on the River Clyde...

 water-tube boiler
Water-tube boiler
A water tube boiler is a type of boiler in which water circulates in tubes heated externally by the fire. Fuel is burned inside the furnace, creating hot gas which heats water in the steam-generating tubes...

s in four boiler rooms, and were designed to produce a total of 41000 shp, but reached nearly 46500 shp during trials in 1908. She was designed for 25 knots (49 km/h), but reached 26.64 knots (52 km/h) during trials.

Invincible carried 2997 long tons (3,045.1 t) of coal, and an additional 738 long tons (749.8 t) of fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 that was to be sprayed on the coal to increase its burn rate. At full fuel capacity, she could steam for 3090 nautical miles (5,722.7 km) at a speed of 10 knots (19.6 km/h). Her electrical power was provided by four 200 kW turbo-generators and motor generators with capacity of 100 kW.


Invincible carried eight BL 12 inches (304.8 mm) Mk X guns
BL 12 inch Mk X naval gun
The BL 12 inch Gun Mark X was a British 45-calibres naval gun which was mounted as primary armament on battleships and battlecruisers from 1906...

 in four twin turret
In architecture, a turret is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification...

s. For evaluation purposes these were electrically driven BIX and BX turrets, two each built by Vickers and Armstrongs. They proved to be a failure despite two lengthy refits in 1909 and 1911 and were converted to hydraulic power during her refit in early 1914 at the cost of £151,200. The situation was so bad during her gunnery trials in October 1908 that the captain of HMS Excellent, the Royal Navy's chief gunnery school, described their operation in the following manner: "When the order was given to train the turret, elevate or run a gun in or out, it was only necessary to push a button, or move a switch, but the result was often a flash of blue flame which seemed to fill the turret."

Her secondary armament consisted of sixteen 4 in (10 cm) QF Mk III guns
QF 4 inch naval gun Mk I - III
The QF 4-inch gun Mks I, II, III were early British QF naval guns originating in 1895. They all had barrels of 40 calibres length.-Naval service:The gun was intended to be a more powerful alternative to the 3-inch QF 12 pounder gun....

. During 1915 the turret roof guns were transferred to the superstructure and the total number of guns was reduced to twelve. All of the remaining guns were enclosed in casemate
A casemate, sometimes rendered casement, is a fortified gun emplacement or armored structure from which guns are fired. originally a vaulted chamber in a fortress.-Origin of the term:...

s and given blast shields at that time to better protect the gun crews from weather and enemy action. Her anti-aircraft
Anti-aircraft warfare
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

 armament consisted of a single QF 3 inch 20 cwt
QF 3 inch 20 cwt
The QF 3 inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft gun became the standard anti-aircraft gun used in the home defence of the United Kingdom against German airships and bombers and on the Western Front in World War I. It was also common on British warships in World War I and submarines in World War II...

 AA gun on a high-angle MKII mount at the aft end of the superstructure that was carried between October–November 1914 and from April 1915 onwards. A 3-pounder Hotchkiss gun
Hotchkiss gun
The Hotchkiss gun can refer to different products of the Hotchkiss arms company starting in the late 19th century. It usually refers to the 1.65-inch light mountain gun; there was also a 3-inch Hotchkiss gun...

 on a high-angle MkIc mounting with a maximum elevation of 60° was also mounted in November 1914. Five 18-inch (450-mm)
British 18 inch torpedo
There have been a number of 18 inch torpedoes in service with the United Kingdom. These have been used on ships of the Royal Navy and aircraft of both the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force...

 submerged torpedo tube
Torpedo tube
A torpedo tube is a device for launching torpedoes. There are two main types of torpedo tube: underwater tubes fitted to submarines and some surface ships, and deck-mounted units installed aboard surface vessels...

s were fitted on the Invincibles, two on each side and one in the stern. Fourteen torpedoes were carried for them.


The waterline belt
Belt armor
Belt armor is a layer of heavy metal armor plated on to or within outer hulls of warships, typically on battleships, battlecruisers and cruisers, and on aircraft carriers converted from those types of ships....

 was 6 inches thick roughly between the fore and aft 12-inch gun turrets, but was reduced to four inches from the fore turret to the bow, but did not extend aft of the rear turret. The gun turrets and barbettes were protected by 7 in (178 mm) of armour, except for the turret roofs which used 3 in (76 mm) of Krupp non-cemented armour (KNC). The thickness of the main deck
Deck (ship)
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary deck is the horizontal structure which forms the 'roof' for the hull, which both strengthens the hull and serves as the primary working surface...

 was 1–2 in (25.4–50.8 mm) and the lower deck armour was 1.5–2.5 in (38.1–63.5 mm). Mild steel torpedo bulkhead
Torpedo bulkhead
A torpedo bulkhead is a type of armor common on the more heavily armored warships, especially battleships and battlecruisers of the early 20th century. It is designed to keep the ship afloat even if the hull was struck underneath the belt armor by a shell or by a torpedo...

s of 2.5-inch thickness were fitted abreast the magazines
Magazine (artillery)
Magazine is the name for an item or place within which ammunition is stored. It is taken from the Arabic word "makahazin" meaning "warehouse".-Ammunition storage areas:...

 and shell rooms.


The ship was built at Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Ltd on Tyneside
Tyneside is a conurbation in North East England, defined by the Office of National Statistics, which is home to over 80% of the population of Tyne and Wear. It includes the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside — all settlements on...

. She was laid down on 2 April 1906, and launched at 3 p.m. on 13 April 1907 by Lady Allendale. On 28 December 1907, while still fitting out, she was hit by the collier
Collier (ship type)
Collier is a historical term used to describe a bulk cargo ship designed to carry coal, especially for naval use by coal-fired warships. In the late 18th century a number of wooden-hulled sailing colliers gained fame after being adapted for use in voyages of exploration in the South Pacific, for...

 Oden, which resulted in the buckling of beams and frames in the hull and five bottom plates being stove in. She was officially completed on 16 March 1909. On 18 March, she sailed from the Tyne
River Tyne
The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...

 to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

, where she would be commissioned. On the way, she collided with the brigantine
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.-Origins of the term:...

 Mary Ann, and stood by until the lifeboat
Lifeboat (rescue)
A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine...

 John Birch arrived from Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, England. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, east of Norwich.It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the sea...

 to take the brigantine in tow.

Early career

She was commissioned into the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Home Fleet on 20 March 1909 and participated in fleet manoeuvres in April and June 1909, the Spithead Review on 12 June 1909, and the Fleet Review off Southend on 2 July. She was refitted between 17 August and 17 January 1910 in an attempt to cure the electrical problems with her turrets, but they were still unsatisfactory. Another attempt was made to bring her turrets to working order during a refit in the spring of 1911, but this too was unsuccessful and the decision was made the following year to convert her turrets to hydraulic power. This was delayed until after her deployment to join the Mediterranean Fleet at the end of 1912. On 17 March 1913, she collided with the submarine , but the collision was ruled the fault of the submarine. She returned to the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in December 1913 in preparation for a major refit that would finally give her turrets hydraulic power and make her battle-worthy.

Her refit at Portsmouth Dockyard
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

 began in March 1914 and was interrupted by the declaration of war on Germany on 4 August. She'd been formally recommissioned the day prior, but the turret work required another week to complete. Invincible was the first battlecruiser to be fitted with a new fire-control director
Fire-control system
A fire-control system is a number of components working together, usually a gun data computer, a director, and radar, which is designed to assist a weapon system in hitting its target. It performs the same task as a human gunner firing a weapon, but attempts to do so faster and more...

, but this could not be completed in the allotted time and would remain inoperable until she was refitted after the Battle of the Falkland Islands
Battle of the Falkland Islands
The Battle of the Falkland Islands was a British naval victory over the Imperial German Navy on 8 December 1914 during the First World War in the South Atlantic...

. She was declared operational on 12 August, when Rear-Admiral Sir Archibald Gordon Moore, commanding the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, hoisted his flag in her. He was ordered to the Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

, along with the battlecruiser , where he could better support the British ships patrolling the Broad Fourteens
Broad Fourteens
thumb|200px|right|The Broad Fourteens on a map by Delisle The Broad Fourteens is an area of the southern North Sea that is fairly consistently fourteen fathoms deep...


Battle of Heligoland Bight

Invincibles first action was as part of the battlecruiser force under the command of Admiral Beatty
David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty
Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO was an admiral in the Royal Navy...

 during the Battle of Heligoland Bight operation on 28 August 1914. Beatty's ships had originally been intended as distant support of the British cruisers and destroyers closer to the German coast in case large units of the High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet
The High Seas Fleet was the battle fleet of the German Empire and saw action during World War I. The formation was created in February 1907, when the Home Fleet was renamed as the High Seas Fleet. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was the architect of the fleet; he envisioned a force powerful enough to...

 sortied in response to the British attacks. They turned south at full speed at 11:35 AMThe times used in this section are in UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

, which is one hour behind CET
Central European Time
Central European Time , used in most parts of the European Union, is a standard time that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time . The time offset from UTC can be written as +01:00...

, which is often used in German works.
when the British light forces failed to disengage on schedule and the rising tide meant that German capital ships would be able to clear the bar at the mouth of the Jade estuary. The brand-new light cruiser had been crippled earlier in the battle and was under fire from the German light cruisers and when Beatty's battlecruisers loomed out of the mist at 12:37 PM. Strassburg was able to duck into the mists and evade fire, but Köln remained visible and was quickly crippled by fire from the squadron. But Beatty was distracted from the task of finishing her off by the sudden appearance of the elderly light cruiser directly to his front. He turned in pursuit and reduced her to a flaming hulk in only three salvos at close range (under 6000 yards (5.5 km)). At 1:10 PM Beatty turned north and made a general signal to retire. At this time, Invincible, trailing the main body of battlecruisers, opened fire on Köln. She fired 18 rounds, all misses, before Beatty's main body encountered the crippled Köln shortly after turning north and she was sunk by two salvos from .

Battle of the Falklands

The West Indies Squadron of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock
Christopher Cradock
Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher "Kit" George Francis Maurice Cradock KCVO CB was a British officer of the Royal Navy. He was born at Hartforth, Richmond, North Yorkshire...

 was destroyed by the German German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 commanded by Admiral Graf von Spee
Maximilian von Spee
Vice Admiral Maximilian Reichsgraf von Spee was a German admiral. Although he was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the counts von Spee belonged to the prominent families of the Rhenish nobility. He joined the Kaiserliche Marine in 1878. In 1887–88 he commanded the Kamerun ports, in German West...

 during the Battle of Coronel
Battle of Coronel
The First World War naval Battle of Coronel took place on 1 November 1914 off the coast of central Chile near the city of Coronel. German Kaiserliche Marine forces led by Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee met and defeated a Royal Navy squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher...

 on 1 November 1914. In response, the Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 ordered that a squadron be sent to destroy the Germans. The squadron, under the command of Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee
Doveton Sturdee
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Charles Doveton Sturdee, 1st Baronet, GCB, KCMG, CVO was a British admiral.-Naval career:...

, consisted of Invincible (flag) and Inflexible. They departed on 11 November and rendezvoused with several other cruisers under Rear Admiral Stoddard at Abrolhos Rocks
Abrolhos Marine National Park
The Abrolhos Marine National Park is a Marine Park located in the Abrolhos Archipelago since 1983.The Abrolhos are an archipelago of 5 islands with coral reefs off the southern coast of Bahia state in the northeast of Brazil, between 17º25’—18º09’ S and 38º33’—39º05’ W.-External links:***...

, off the coast of Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 on the 26th. They departed the following day and reached Port Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 on the morning of 7 December.

Spee, making a leisurely voyage back to the Atlantic, wished to destroy the radio station at Port Stanley and sent the armoured cruiser and the light cruiser to see if the harbour was clear of British warships on the morning of 8 December. They were spotted at 7:30 AM, although the pre-dreadnought , grounded in Stanley Harbour to defend the town and its wireless station, did not receive the signal until 7:45. It mattered little because Sturdee was not expecting an engagement and most of his ships were coaling. Furthermore the armoured cruiser and the light cruiser had one or both of their engines under repair. The armed merchant cruiser Macedonian was patrolling the outer harbour entrance while the armoured cruiser was anchored in the outer harbour, scheduled to relieve the Macedonian at 8:00 AM. The Germans were not expecting any resistance and the first salvo from Canopuss guns at 9:20 caused them to sheer off from their planned bombardment of the wireless station and fall back on Spee's main body.

Sturdee's ships did not sortie from the harbour until 9:50, but they could see the retreating German ships on the southwest horizon. The Invincibles, fresh out of dry dock, had a 5 kn (6.1 mph; 9.8 km/h) advantage over Spee's ships which all had fouled bottoms that limited their speeds to 20 kn (24.4 mph; 39.2 km/h) at best. The light cruiser was lagging behind the other ships and Inflexible opened fire on her when the range dropped to 17500 yards (16 km) at 12:55 PM. Invincible opened fire shortly afterwards and both ships began straddling Leipzig as the range closed to 13000 yards (11.9 km). At 1:20, Spee ordered his squadron to separate and ordered his light cruisers to turn to the southwest while his armoured cruisers turned to the north east to cover their retreat. The German ships opened fire first at 1:30 and scored their first hit at 1:44 when hit Invincible, although the shell burst harmlessly on the belt armour. Both sides fired rapidly during the first half-hour of the engagement before Sturdee opened up the range a little to put his ships outside of the effective range of the German guns. British gunnery was very poor during this period, scoring only four hits out of 210 rounds fired. The primary cause was the smoke from the guns and funnels as the British were downwind of the Germans, although one gun of Invincibles 'A' turret jammed at 1:42 and was out of action for thirty minutes.
Spee turned to the south in the hope of disengaging while the British had their vision obscured, but only opened the range to 17000 yards (15.5 km) before the British saw his course change. This was futile as the British battlecruisers gave chase at 24 kn (29.2 mph; 47 km/h). Forty minutes later the British opened fire again at 15000 yards (13.7 km). Eight minutes later Spee turned again to the east to give battle. This time his strategy was to close the range on the British ships so he could bring his 15 cm (5.9 in) secondary armament into play. In this he was successful and the 15 cm guns were able to open fire at 3:00 at maximum elevation. On this course the smoke bothered both sides, but multiple hits were made regardless. Those made by the Germans either failed to detonate or hit in some insignificant area. On the contrary Gneisenau had her starboard engine room put out of action. Sturdee ordered his ships at 3:15 back across their own wakes to gain the windward advantage. Spee turned to the northwest, as if to attempt to cross the British T
Crossing the T
Crossing the T or Capping the T is a classic naval warfare tactic attempted from the late 19th to mid 20th century, in which a line of warships crossed in front of a line of enemy ships, allowing the crossing line to bring all their guns to bear while receiving fire from only the forward guns of...

, but actually to bring Scharnhorsts undamaged starboard guns to bear as most of those on his port side were out of action. The British continued to hit Scharnhorst and Gneisenau regularly during this time and Scharnhorst ceased fire at 4:00 before capsizing at 4:17 with no survivors. Gneisenau had been slowed by earlier damage and was battered for another hour and a half by Inflexible and Invincible at ranges down to 4000 yards (3.7 km). Despite the damage her crew continued to fire back until she ceased firing at 4:47. Sturdee was ready to order 'Cease fire' at 5:15 when an ammunition hoist was freed up and she made her last shot. The British continued to pound her until 5:50, after her captain had given the order to scuttle her at 5:40. She slowly capsized at 6:00 and the British were able to rescue 176 men. Invincible had fired 513 12-inch shells during the battle, but had been hit twenty-two times. Two of her bow compartments were flooded and one hit on her waterline abreast 'P' turret had flooded a coal bunker and temporarily given her a 15° list. Only one man was killed and five wounded aboard the battlecruisers during the battle.

After the battle Invincible made temporary repairs at Port Stanley and headed for Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 where she could be drydocked for more permanent repairs. This took a month and the opportunity was taken to extend the height of her fore funnel by 15 feet (4.6 m) to reduce the amount of smoke blocking visibility from the bridge and spotting top. Invincible sailed to England on 15 February 1915 and joined the Grand Fleet. On 21 February the British battlecruiser force was organised into three squadrons
Squadron (naval)
A squadron, or naval squadron, is a unit of 3-4 major warships, transport ships, submarines, or sometimes small craft that may be part of a larger task force or a fleet...

 of the Battlecruiser Fleet, with the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron
3rd Battlecruiser Squadron (United Kingdom)
The 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron was a short-lived Royal Navy squadron of battlecruisers that saw service as part of the Grand Fleet during the First World War.-Creation:...

 (BCS) that was to consist of the three Invincible class ships once Inflexible arrived from the Mediterranean. She was refitted between 25 April and 12 May to have four worn-out 12-inch guns replaced and the secondary armament reduced and given casemates. Rear Admiral H.L.A. Hood took command of the 3rd BCS on 27 May 1915 and hoisted his flag in Invincible.

The 1st and 3rd BCS had sortied in response to the German bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft
Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft
The Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft was a naval battle fought during the First World War between the German Empire and the British Empire in the North Sea....

 on 24–25 April 1916, but failed to locate the German ships in heavy weather. During the return home, Invincible was rammed by the patrol yacht Goissa at 11:07 PM. Goissas bow was embedded in Invincibles side which partially stoved-in. Invincibles speed was reduced to 12 kn (14.6 mph; 23.5 km/h) through flooding and she was forced to haul out of line and proceed independently to Rosyth
Rosyth is a town located on the Firth of Forth, three miles south of the centre of Dunfermline. According to an estimate taken in 2008, the town has a population of 12,790....

 for repairs which lasted until 22 May 1916.

Battle of Jutland

At the end of May 1916, the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron was temporarily assigned to the Grand Fleet for gunnery practice. On 30 May, the entire Grand Fleet, along with Admiral Beatty's battlecruisers, had been ordered to sea to prepare for an excursion by the German High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet
The High Seas Fleet was the battle fleet of the German Empire and saw action during World War I. The formation was created in February 1907, when the Home Fleet was renamed as the High Seas Fleet. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was the architect of the fleet; he envisioned a force powerful enough to...

. In order to support Beatty, Admiral Hood took his three battlecruisers ahead of the Grand Fleet. At about 2:30 PM Invincible intercepted a radio message from the British light cruiser , attached to Beatty's Battlecruiser Force, reporting the sighting of two enemy cruisers. This was amplified by other reports of seven enemy ships steering north. Hood interpreted this as an attempt to escape through the Skagerrak
The Skagerrak is a strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat sea area, which leads to the Baltic Sea.-Name:...

 and ordered an increase in speed to 22 kn (43.1 km/h) at 3:11 and steered East-Southeast to cut off the fleeing ships. Twenty minutes later Invincible intercepted a message from Beatty reporting five enemy battlecruisers in sight and later signals reporting that he was engaging the enemy on a south-easterly course. At 4:06 Hood ordered full speed and a course of south-southeast in an attempt to converge on Beatty. At 4:56, with no British ships in sight, Hood requested Beatty's course, position and speed, but never received a reply.

Hood continued on course until 5:40 when gunfire was spotted in the direction to which his light cruiser had been dispatched to investigate other gunfire flashes. Chester encountered four light cruisers of Hipper's 2nd Scouting Group and was badly damaged before Hood turned to investigate and was able to drive the German cruisers away from Chester. At 5:53 Invincible opened fire on and the other two Invincibles followed two minutes later. The German ships turned for the south after fruitlessly firing torpedoes at 6:00 and attempted to find shelter in the mist. As they turned Invincible hit Wiesbaden in the engine room and knocked out her engines while Inflexible hit once. The 2nd Scouting Group was escorted by the light cruiser and 31 destroyers of the 2nd and 9th Flotillas and the 12th Half-Flotilla which attacked the 3rd BCS in succession. They were driven off by Hood's remaining light cruiser and the five destroyers of his escort. In a confused action the Germans only launched 12 torpedoes and disabled the destroyer with gunfire. Having turned due west to close on Beatty's ships, the Invincibles were broadside to the oncoming torpedoes, but Invincible turned north, while Inflexible and Indomitable turned south to present their narrowest profile to the torpedoes. All the torpedoes missed, although one passed underneath Inflexible without detonating. As Invincible turned north, her helm jammed and she had to come to a stop to fix the problem, but this was quickly done and the squadron reformed heading west.

At 6:21, with both Beatty and the Grand Fleet converging on him, Hood turned south to lead Beatty's battlecruisers. Hipper's battlecruisers were 9000 yards (8.2 km) away and the Invincibles almost immediately opened fire on Hipper's flagship and . Indomitable hit Derfflinger three times and Seydlitz once, while the Lützow quickly took 10 hits from , Inflexible and Invincible, including two hits below the waterline forward by Invincible that would ultimately doom her. But at 6:30 Invincible abruptly appeared as a clear target before Lützow and Derfflinger. The two German ships then fired three salvoes each at Invincible and sank her in 90 seconds. At least one 305 mm (12-inch) shell from the third salvo struck her midships 'Q' turret. The shell penetrated the front of 'Q' turret, blew off the roof and detonated the midships magazines, which blew the ship in half. The explosion possibly ignited 'A' and 'X' magazines. Of her complement, 1026 officers and men were killed, including Rear-Admiral Hood. There were only six survivors picked up by . The names of the survivors are:

  • Commander Hubert Edward Dannreuther
    Hubert Edward Dannreuther
    Rear-Admiral Hubert Edward Dannreuther, DSO was a British admiral and one of six survivors of the sinking of HMS Invincible during the battle of Jutland.-Early life:...

    , RN (1880–1977)
  • Lieutenant Cecil. S. Sandford, RN
  • Chief Petty Officer P. T. I. Thompson
  • Yeoman (Signals) Walter Maclean Pratt
  • Able Seaman Ernest George Dandridge
  • Gunner Private Bryan Gasson, RMA

After the war, the wreckage was located by a minesweeper at 57-02-40 North Latitude, 06-07-15 East Longitude, 180 feet (55 m) down.

Invincible Today

Her wreck was first located by the Royal Navy in 1919. Invincible was blown in half by the midships explosion, and the pieces of the ship rest on a sandy bottom near each other, the stern right-side up and the bow upside-down. The roof of the aft 12 inch turret is missing, the guns still loaded. Photos of the explosion show flame and smoke erupting from 'X' turret and, coupled with the missing turret roof, implies that 'X' magazine also had a low-order explosion. Surveys of the site carried out by nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney in 2000-2003 have shown that the bow half of the wreck is upsidedown. "P" and "Q" turrets were located some 50 metres behind the stern section of the wreck and clearly fell out when the ship exploded. She is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986
Protection of Military Remains Act 1986
The Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom which provides protection for the wreckage of military aircraft and designated military vessels. The Act provides for two types of protection: protected places and controlled sites. Military aircraft are...

. Mount Invincible in the Canadian Rockies
Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range. They are the eastern part of the Canadian Cordillera, extending from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA...

was named after the battlecruiser in 1917.

External links

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