Invincible class battlecruiser

The three Invincible class
Ship class
A ship class is a group of ships of a similar design. This is distinct from a ship-type, which might reflect a similarity of tonnage or intended use. For example, the is a nuclear aircraft carrier of the Nimitz class....

 battlecruisers were built for the 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...

 and entered service in 1908 as the world's first battlecruisers. They were the brainchild of Admiral Sir John ("Jacky") Fisher, the man who had sponsored the construction of the world's first "all big gun" warship, . He visualised a new breed of warship, somewhere between the armoured cruiser and battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

; it would have the armament of the latter, but the high speed of the former. This combination would allow it to chase down most ships, while allowing it to run from more powerful designs.

This design philosophy would prove to be most successful when the Invincibles were able to use their speed to run down smaller and weaker ships. The classic example was 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...

 where and sank the German armoured cruisers and virtually without loss to themselves despite numerous hits by the German ships. They were least successful when standing in the main line of battle where they faced enemy battleships. An example is the loss of Invincible to a magazine explosion 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...

, although this explosion owed more to flaws in British ammunition handling that exposed numerous cordite charges to the fire in 'Q' turret than any flaws in the design of the ship.

The two surviving ships had an uneventful time for the rest of the war conducting patrols of the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 as 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...

 was forbidden to risk any more losses. They were put into reserve in early 1919 and sold for scrapping on 1 December 1921.


After Admiral Fisher was appointed First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

 on 21 October 1904 he pushed through the Board of 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...

 in early December 1904 a decision to arm the next armoured cruiser with 12 inches (30 cm) guns and that it would have a speed no less than 25.5 kn (31.1 mph; 50 km/h). Shortly afterwards he convened a "Committee on Designs" to investigate and report on requirements for future ships. While nominally independent it served to validate decisions already made and to deflect criticism of Fisher and the Board of Admiralty as it had no ability to consider options other than those already decided upon by the Admiralty. Fisher appointed all of the members of the Committee and himself as President of the Committee. During its last meeting on 22 February 1905 it decided on the outline design of the fast armoured cruiser. This, in turn, was approved by the Board on 16 March with only minor changes, such as the reduction in the anti-torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 armament from twenty to eighteen 12-pdr
QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval gun
The QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun was a common calibre naval gun introduced in 1894 and used until the middle of the 20th century. It was produced by Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick and used on Royal Navy warships, and exported to allied countries...


General characteristics

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.

The Invincibles were significantly larger than their armoured cruiser predecessors of the . They 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. They displaced 17250 long tons (17,526.9 MT) at load and 20420 long tons (20,747.7 MT) at deep load, nearly 3000 long tons (3,048.2 MT) more than the earlier ships.


Early in the design process the "Committee on Designs" had thought to power these ships with the traditional reciprocating vertical triple-expansion steam engines, but were persuaded to adopt Parsons
Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company
Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company was a British engineering company based in Wallsend, North England, on the River Tyne.-History:The company was founded by Charles Algernon Parsons in 1897 with £500,000 of capital, and specialised in building the steam turbine engines that he had invented for...

 steam turbine
Steam turbine
A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam, and converts it into rotary motion. Its modern manifestation was invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884....

s as they required fewer boilers for the same amount of power, were easier to protect from damage as they were more compact than reciprocating engines and could be kept below the waterline. In addition they were significantly lighter and more reliable than the older design. The direct drive turbines then in use did have one significant drawback in that they ran at a relatively high speed which required small-diameter, fine-pitch propellers of a large blade area which adversely affected maneuverability at low speeds. Parsons
Charles Algernon Parsons
Sir Charles Algernon Parsons OM KCB FRS was an Anglo-Irish engineer, best known for his invention of the steam turbine. He worked as an engineer on dynamo and turbine design, and power generation, with great influence on the naval and electrical engineering fields...

 alleviated this problem by his suggestion of fitting more powerful astern turbines on all four shafts which could increase maneuverability by reversing the turbines as needed.

An additional solution was to fit twin balanced rudders behind each inner shaft in contrast to the single central rudder used on earlier ships. This greatly increased the effectiveness of the rudder and substantially decreased the turning circle of the Invincibles in comparison to earlier ships of their size.

The Invincibles had two paired sets of Parsons turbines housed in separate engine-rooms. Each set consisted of a high-pressure ahead and astern turbine driving an outboard shaft, and a low-pressure ahead and astern turbine driving an inner shaft. A cruising turbine was also coupled to each inner shaft, although these were not used often and were eventually disconnected. Each shaft drove a propeller 11 feet (3.4 m) in diameter. The turbines were designed to produce a total of 41000 shp, but reached nearly 47000 shp during trials in 1908. Designed speed was 25 knots (49 km/h), but all three bettered 26 knots (51 km/h) during trials. maintained an average speed of 25.3 knots (50 km/h) for three days during a passage of the North Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 in August 1908.

The steam plant consisted of 31 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...

 (Invincible and Inflexible) or Babcock and Wilcox
Babcock and Wilcox
The Babcock & Wilcox Company is a U.S.-based company that provides design, engineering, manufacturing, construction and facilities management services to nuclear, renewable, fossil power, industrial and government customers worldwide. B&W's boilers supply more than 300,000 megawatts of installed...

 (Indomitable) large-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, arranged in four boiler rooms. Maximum bunkerage was approximately 3000 long tons (3,048.2 MT) of coal, with an additional 725 long tons (736.6 MT) 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...

 to be sprayed on the coal to increase its burn rate. At full fuel capacity, the ships could steam for 3090 nautical miles (5,722.7 km) at a speed of 10 knots (19.6 km/h).


Each carried eight BL 12-inch 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 hydraulically powered BVIII 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, except for Invincible which mounted her guns in two BIX and two BX electrically driven turrets. Two turrets were mounted fore and aft on the centreline, identified as 'A' and 'X' respectively. Two turrets were mounted amidships between the second and third funnels, identified as 'P' and 'Q'. 'P' turret was mounted on the port side and normally faced forward, 'Q' turret was mounted on the starboard side and normally faced aft (rearwards). 'P' and 'Q' turrets were staggered—'P' was forward of 'Q', enabling 'P' to fire in a limited arc to the starboard side and 'Q' to likewise fire in a limited arc towards the port side. These were the same guns as those mounted in the British HMS Dreadnought
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
HMS Dreadnought was a battleship of the British Royal Navy that revolutionised naval power. Her entry into service in 1906 represented such a marked advance in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the "dreadnoughts", as well as the class of...

, the and the s and for a brief period the Invincibles equaled the firepower of any other nations' battleships.

The guns could initially be depressed to −3° and elevated to 13.5°, although the turrets were modified to allow 16° of elevation during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. They fired 850 pounds (385.6 kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

 of 2725 ft/s (830.6 m/s); at 13.5°, this provided a maximum range of 16450 m (17,989.9 yd) with armour-piercing (AP)
Armor-piercing shot and shell
An armor-piercing shell is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate armor. From the 1860s to 1950s, a major application of armor-piercing projectiles was to defeat the thick armor carried on many warships. From the 1920s onwards, armor-piercing weapons were required for anti-tank missions...

 2 crh shells. At 16° elevation, the range was extended to 20435 yd (18,685.8 m) using the more aerodynamic, but slightly heavier 4 crh AP shells. The rate of fire of these guns was 1–2 rounds per minute. The ships had a total of 880 rounds during wartime for 110 shells per gun.

The ships' secondary armament initially was intended to consist of eighteen 3 inches (7.6 cm) 12-pdr
QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval gun
The QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun was a common calibre naval gun introduced in 1894 and used until the middle of the 20th century. It was produced by Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick and used on Royal Navy warships, and exported to allied countries...

 guns, but firing trials against the old destroyer in 1906 showed that the 12-pdr gun had little chance of stopping a destroyer or torpedo boat before it got close enough to fire its torpedoes.
The originally intended 12-pounder guns were exchanged for 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....

 early in the construction process.
They were positioned in the superstructure and on turret roofs in open mounts as they were not expected to be manned in a ship-to-ship engagement during daylight. During 1914–15 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.

The guns on their PI* mounts had a maximum depression of 10° and a maximum elevation of 20°. They fired 25 pounds (11.3 kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2300–2370 ft/s (701–722.4 m/s); at 20°, this provided a maximum range of 9600 yd (8,778.2 m) using Common pointed shells. Their rate of fire was 8–10 rounds per minute.

These guns were replaced by twelve 4-inch BL MK IX
BL 4 inch Mk IX naval gun
The BL 4-inch gun Mk IX was a British medium-velocity naval gun introduced in 1916 as secondary armament on the Renown class battlecruisers and Glorious class "large light cruisers", but which served most notably as the main armament on Flower class corvettes throughout World War II.-History:The...

 guns on CPI mountings on Inflexible during 1917. They could depress 10° and elevate to 30°. They fired 31 pounds (14.1 kg) shells at a muzzle velocity of 2625 ft/s (800.1 m/s) to a maximum range of 13500 yd (12,344.4 m) at a rate of fire of 10–12 rounds per minute.

The QF Mk III guns were replaced by twelve 4-inch BL MK VII
BL 4 inch naval gun Mk VII
The BL 4-inch gun Mk VII was a British high-velocity naval gun introduced in 1908 as an anti-torpedo boat gun in large ships, and in the main armament of smaller ships...

 guns on PVI mountings on Indomitable during 1917. These guns could depress 7° and elevate to 15°. They fired 31 pounds (14.1 kg) shells at a muzzle velocity of 2864 ft/s (872.9 m/s) which gave a maximum range of 11600 yd (10,607 m). Their rate of fire was 6–8 rounds per minute. An additional gun was fitted on Indomitable in April 1917 as an 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...

 (AA) gun. It was mounted on a MK II high-angle mounting with a maximum elevation of 60°. It had a reduced propellant charge with a muzzle velocity of only 2864 ft/s (872.9 m/s).

Earlier anti-aircraft guns included 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°. Both Invincible and Indomitable carried theirs from November 1914 to August 1917. It fired 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 1873 ft/s (570.9 m/s) at a rate of fire of 20 rounds per minute. This provided a maximum range of 7600 yd (6,949.4 m) at 45°, but the maximum effective anti-aircraft range was only 1200 yd (1,097.3 m).

Each of the Invincibles was also fitted with 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. This had a maximum depression of 10° and a maximum elevation of 90°. It fired a 12.5 pounds (5.7 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2500 ft/s (762 m/s) at a rate of fire of 12–14 rounds per minute. They had a maximum effective ceiling of 23500 ft (7,162.8 m).

Gardiner and Gray quote an additional seven Maxim gun
Maxim gun
The Maxim gun was the first self-powered machine gun, invented by the American-born British inventor Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884. It has been called "the weapon most associated with [British] imperial conquest".-Functionality:...

s, but this cannot be confirmed. 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 mounted on the Invincibles, two on each side and one in the stern and fourteen torpedoes were carried.

Fire control

The spotting tops at the head of the fore and main masts controlled the fire of the Invincibles' main guns. Data from a 9 feet (2.7 m) Barr and Stroud
Barr and Stroud
Barr & Stroud Limited was a pioneering Scottish optical engineering firm, based in Glasgow, that played a leading role in the development of modern optics, including rangefinders, for the Royal Navy and for other branches of British Armed Forces during the 20th century...

A rangefinder is a device that measures distance from the observer to a target, for the purposes of surveying, determining focus in photography, or accurately aiming a weapon. Some devices use active methods to measure ; others measure distance using trigonometry...

 was input into a Dumaresq
The Dumaresq is a mechanical calculating device invented around 1902 by Lieutenant John Dumaresq of the Royal Navy.The dumaresq is an analog computer which relates vital variables of the fire control problem to the movement of one's own ship and that of a target ship...

 mechanical computer and electrically transmitted to Vickers range clock
Vickers range clock
The Vickers Range Clock was a clockwork device used by the Royal Navy for continuously calculating the range to an enemy ship.In 1903, Percy Scott described a device he'd invented which was similar to the Vickers clock. In April 1904, Vickers worked with Scott and patented their device, samples of...

s located in the Transmitting Station located beneath each spotting top where it was converted into range and deflection data for use by the guns. The target's data was also graphically recorded on a plotting table to assist the gunnery officer in predicting the movement of the target. Each gun turret had its own transmission equipment and the turrets, Transmitting Stations, and spotting tops could be connected in almost any combination. Firing trials against in 1907 revealed this system's vulnerability to gunfire as the spotting top was hit twice and a large splinter severed the voice pipe
Speaking tube
A speaking tube or voicepipe is a device based on two cones connected by an air pipe through which speech can be transmitted over an extended distance. While its most common use was in intra-ship communications, the principle was also used in fine homes and offices of the 19th century, as well as...

 and all wiring running along the mast. To guard against this possibility 'A' turret was fitted with a 9-foot rangefinder at the rear of the turret roof and it was equipped to control the entire main armament during refits between 1911 and 1914.

Fire control technology advanced quickly during the years immediately preceding World War I and the development of the Dreyer Fire Control Table was one such advance. It combined the functions of the Dumaresq and the range clock and a simplified version, the Mk I, was fitted to the Invincibles during refits in 1915–16. The more important development was the director firing system. This consisted of a fire control director mounted high in the ship which electrically provided gun data to the turrets via pointers, which the turret crewmen only had to follow. The director officer fired the guns simultaneously which aided in spotting the shell splashes and minimized the effects of the roll on the dispersion of the shells. Invincible was the first battlecruiser to receive this system during her refit from April to August 1914, but its installation was interrupted by the outbreak of the war and it was not fully working until 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...

 in November. Indomitable and Inflexible didn't receive their systems until May 1916, immediately before 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 armour protection given to the Invincibles 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....

 measured 6 inches (152 mm) amidships was only slightly more than half the thickness of 's 11 inches (279 mm). The belt was six inches thick roughly between the fore and aft twelve-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. A six-inch bulkhead
Bulkhead (partition)
A bulkhead is an upright wall within the hull of a ship or within the fuselage of an airplane. Other kinds of partition elements within a ship are decks and deckheads.-Etymology:...

 met the barbette
A barbette is a protective circular armour feature around a cannon or heavy artillery gun. The name comes from the French phrase en barbette referring to the practice of firing a field gun over a parapet rather than through an opening . The former gives better angles of fire but less protection...

 of X turret to fully enclose the armoured citadel. 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 in (25 mm) around the base of barbettes and the crown of the base of the rear conning tower
Conning tower
A conning tower is a raised platform on a ship or submarine, often armored, from which an officer can con the vessel; i.e., give directions to the helmsman. It is usually located as high on the ship as practical, to give the conning team good visibility....

. It was 2 in (51 mm) over the crown of the base of the forward conning tower. The lower deck armour was 1.5 in (38 mm) on the flat and two inches thick on the slope, except aft of the rear turret where it was increased to 2.5 in (64 mm) to protect the steering gear. The front and sides of the forward conning tower were 10 in (254 mm) thick while its rear was 7 in (178 mm). The walls of the rear conning tower were six inches thick. The roof and floor of both conning towers were KNC armour 2 inches thick while their communication tubes were 3 in (76 mm) of KNC. The signal tower immediately aft of the forward conning tower also had three inches of KNC. 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 magazine
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:...

s and shell rooms. Krupp cemented armour
Krupp cemented armour
Krupp Cemented Armour is a further evolved variant of Krupp Armour, developed during the early years of the 20th Century. The process is largely the same with slight changes in the alloy composition: in % of total – carbon 0.35, nickel 3.90, chromium 2.00, manganese .35, silicon .07, phosphorus...

 was used throughout, unless otherwise mentioned.


By 1918 the two surviving Invincibles carried a Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Pup
The Sopwith Pup was a British single seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good maneuverability, the aircraft proved very...

 and a Sopwith 1½ Strutter
Sopwith 1½ Strutter
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British one or two-seat biplane multi-role aircraft of the First World War. It is significant as the first British-designed two seater tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun...

 on flying-off ramps fitted on top of 'P' and 'Q' turrets. Each platform had a canvas hangar to protect the aircraft during inclement weather.


The three Invincibles were ordered at the same time as Dreadnought as part of the 1905–06 Naval Programme. The following table gives the build details and purchase cost of the members of the Invincible class. Whilst standard British practice at that time was for these costs to exclude armament and stores, for some reason the cost quoted in The Naval Annual
Brassey's Naval Annual
The Naval Annual was a book that sought to bring together a large amount of information on naval subjects, which had hitherto been obtainable only by consulting numerous publications and chiefly from foreign sources...

 for this class includes armament.
Ship Builder Engine builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Cost according to
Brassey's Naval Annual
The Naval Annual was a book that sought to bring together a large amount of information on naval subjects, which had hitherto been obtainable only by consulting numerous publications and chiefly from foreign sources...

Armstrong Whitworth
Armstrong Whitworth
Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Headquartered in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Armstrong Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.-History:In 1847,...

, Elswick
Elswick, Tyne and Wear
Elswick is a ward of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in the western part of the city, bordering the river Tyne. One of the earliest references to the coal mining industry of the north east occurs in 1330, when it was recorded that the Prior of Tynemouth let a colliery, called Heygrove, at...

Parsons turbines
2 April 1906 13 April 1907 20 March 1909 £1,768,995 * £1,635,739
armament £90,000
John Brown & Co., Clydebank
Clydebank is a town in West Dunbartonshire, in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. Situated on the north bank of the River Clyde, Clydebank borders Dumbarton, the town with which it was combined to form West Dunbartonshire, as well as the town of Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, and the Yoker and...

John Brown,
Parsons turbines
5 February 1906 26 June 1907 20 October 1908 £1,728,229 * £1,677,515
armament £90,000
Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited was a British shipbuilding company in the Govan area on the Clyde in Glasgow. Fairfields, as it is often known, was a major warship builder, turning out many vessels for the Royal Navy and other navies through the First World War and the...

, Govan
Govan is a district and former burgh now part of southwest City of Glasgow, Scotland. It is situated west of Glasgow city centre, on the south bank of the River Clyde, opposite the mouth of the River Kelvin and the district of Partick....

Parsons turbines
1 March 1906 16 March 1907 25 June 1908 £1,761,080 * £1,662,337
armament £90,000

* = estimated cost, including guns

Early career

All three ships entered service from the second half of 1908. Initially, Invincible and Inflexible were assigned to the Home Fleet, while Indomitable took the Prince of Wales
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 (later King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

) to the tercentennial celebrations in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, before also joining the Home Fleet. Invincibles electrically driven turrets 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 enormous 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 gunnery school described their operation thusly: "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."

In 1914, Invincible was refitting in England, while Inflexible and Indomitable, together with the newer formed the nucleus of the Mediterranean Fleet, where Inflexible served as flagship from November 1912. It was in the Mediterranean that the first naval action of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 took place, when the British pursued the German warships and upon the outbreak of war.

Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau

Indomitable, accompanied by Indefatigable, under the command of Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 Sir Archibald Berkeley Milne
Archibald Berkeley Milne
Admiral Sir Berkeley Milne, 2nd Baronet GCVO KCB was a senior Royal Navy officer who commanded the Mediterranean Fleet at the outbreak of the First World War.- Naval career :...

 encountered the battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau on the morning of 4 August 1914 headed east after a cursory bombardment of the French Algerian port of Philippeville, but Britain and Germany were not yet at war so Milne turned to shadow the Germans as they headed back to Messina to recoal. All three battlecruisers had problems with their boilers, but Goeben and Breslau were able to break contact and reached Messina by the morning of the 5th. By this time war had been declared, after the German invasion of Belgium, but an Admiralty order to respect Italian neutrality and stay outside a six-mile (10 km) limit from the Italian coast precluded entrance into the passage of the Strait of Messina
Strait of Messina
The Strait of Messina is the narrow passage between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria in the south of Italy. It connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Ionian Sea, within the central Mediterranean...

 where they could observe the port directly. Therefore Milne stationed Inflexible and Indefatigable at the northern exit of the Straits of Messina, still expecting the Germans to break out to the west where they could attack French troop transports, the light cruiser at the southern exit and sent Indomitable to recoal at Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

 where she was better positioned to react to a German sortie into the Western Mediterranean.

The Germans sortied from Messina on 6 August and headed east, towards Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, trailed by Gloucester. Milne, still expecting Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 Wilhelm Souchon
Wilhelm Souchon
Wilhelm Anton Souchon was a German and Ottoman admiral in World War I who commanded the Kaiserliche Marine's Mediterranean squadron in the early days of the war...

 to turn west, kept the battlecruisers at Malta until shortly after midnight on 8 August when he set sail for Cape Matapan
Cape Matapan
Cape Tainaron , also known as Cape Matapan , is situated at the end of the Mani, Laconia, Greece. Cape Matapan is the southernmost point of mainland Greece. It separates the Messenian Gulf in the west from the Laconian Gulf in the east.-History:...

 at a leisurely 12 knots (24 km/h), where Goeben had been spotted eight hours earlier. At 2:30 p.m. he received an incorrect signal from the Admiralty stating that Britain was at war with Austria — war would not be declared until 12 August and the order was countermanded four hours later, but Milne followed his standing orders to guard the Adriatic against an Austrian breakout attempt, rather than seek Goeben. Finally on 9 August Milne was given clear orders to "chase Goeben which had passed Cape Matapan on the 7th steering north-east." Milne still did not believe that Souchon was heading for the Dardanelles, and so he resolved to guard the exit from the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, unaware that the Goeben did not intend to come out. Indomitable remained in the Mediterranean to blockade the Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

, but Inflexible was ordered home on 18 August.

On 3 November 1914, Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 ordered the first British attack on the Dardanelles following the opening of hostilities between Turkey and Russia. The attack was carried out by Indomitable and Indefatigable, as well as the French pre-dreadnought battleships Suffren
French battleship Suffren
Suffren was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy, launched in July 1899. She was named after French Vice Admiral Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez. The ship was originally intended to be a modified version of the design with more firepower and better armour...

 and Vérité
French battleship Vérité (1907)
The Vérité was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the French Navy.After her trails in June 1908, Vérité departed in 18 August, ferrying President Armand Fallières bound for officials visits to Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Norway....

. The intention of the attack was to test the fortifications and measure the Turkish response. The results were deceptively encouraging. In a twenty minute bombardment, a single shell struck the magazine of the fort at Sedd el Bahr
Sedd el Bahr
Sedd el Bahr is a village at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The village lies east of the cape, on the shore of the Dardanelles...

 at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, displacing (but not destroying) 10 guns and killing 86 Turkish soldiers. The most significant consequence was that the attention of the Turks was drawn to strengthening their defences, and they set about expanding the mine field. This attack actually took place before a formal declaration of war
Declaration of war
A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.The legality of who is competent to declare war varies...

 had been made by Britain against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 which didn't happen until 6 November. Indomitable was ordered to return to England in December where she joined the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron (BCS).

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 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, but reduced her to a flaming hulk in only three salvos at a 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, didn't 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 harbor entrance while the armoured cruiser was anchored in the outer harbor, scheduled to relieve the Macedonian at 8:00 AM. The Germans weren't 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 didn't 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 after wards 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 Geneisenau 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 and Inflexible fired 513 and 661 12-inch shells respectively during the battle, but Inflexible had been hit only three times and Invincible 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.

Battle of Dogger Bank

On 23 January 1915, a force of German battlecruisers under the command of Admiral Franz von Hipper
Franz von Hipper
Franz Ritter von Hipper was an admiral in the German Imperial Navy . Franz von Hipper joined the German Navy in 1881 as an officer cadet. He commanded several torpedo boat units and served as watch officer aboard several warships, as well as Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht Hohenzollern...

 sortied to clear the Dogger Bank
Dogger Bank
Dogger Bank is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about off the east coast of England. It extends over approximately , with its dimensions being about long and up to broad. The water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres , about shallower than the surrounding sea. It is a...

 of any British fishing boats or small craft that might be there to collect intelligence on German movements. But the British were reading their coded messages and sailed to intercept them with a larger force of British battlecruisers under the command of Admiral Beatty, which included Indomitable. Contact was initiated at 7:20 AM on the 24th when the British light cruiser Arethusa spotted the German light cruiser . By 7:35 the Germans had spotted Beatty's force and Hipper ordered a turn to the south at 20 kn (24.4 mph; 39.2 km/h), believing that this would suffice if the ships that he saw to his northwest were British battleships and that he could always increased speed to 's maximum speed of 23 kn (28 mph; 45.1 km/h) if they were British battlecruisers.

Beatty ordered his battlecruisers to make all practicable speed to catch the Germans before they could escape. Indomitable managed to exceed 26 kn (31.7 mph; 51 km/h) and Beatty recognized her performance with a signal at 8:55 "Well done, Indomitable" Despite this achievement Indomitable was the slowest of Beatty's ships and gradually fell behind the newer and faster battlecruisers. By 10:48 Blücher had been heavily damaged by fire from all the other battlecruisers and her speed had dropped to 17 kn (20.7 mph; 33.3 km/h) and her steering gear had been jammed; Beatty ordered Indomitable to attack her. But due to a combination of a mistake by Beatty's flag lieutenant in signaling and heavy damage to Beatty's flagship which had knocked out her radio and caused enough smoke to obscure her signal halyard
In sailing, a halyard or halliard is a line that is used to hoist a sail, a flag or a yard. The term halyard comes from the phrase, 'to haul yards'...

s so that Beatty couldn't communicate with his ships caused the rest of the battlecruisers to turn away from Hipper's main body and engage Blücher. Indomitable fired 134 shells at Blücher before she capsized and sank at 12:07 PM. After the end of the battle Indomitable was ordered to tow Lion back to port as one of her engines had been knocked out, the other was failing and she'd been hulled a number of times beneath the waterline. It took over a day and a half at speeds of 7–10 kn (13.7–19.6 km/h).

Dardanelles Campaign

After the Battle of the Falklands Invincible and Inflexible were repaired and refitted at 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...

. Invincible sailed to England and joined the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron while Inflexible arrived at the Dardanelles on 24 January 1915 where she replaced Indefatigable as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. She bombarded Turkish fortifications on 19 February, the start of the Battle of Gallipoli
Battle of Gallipoli
The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...

, to little effect, and again on 15 March, with the same results. She was part of the first line of British ships on 18 March as they attempted to suppress the Turkish guns so the minefields could be swept. She was moderately damaged by Turkish gunfire, but was seriously damaged by a mine, probably about 100 kg (220.5 lb) in size, that blew a large hole in her starboard bow and flooded the forward torpedo flat, drowning 39 men. She had to be beached at the island of Bozcaada (Tenedos
Tenedos or Bozcaada or Bozdja-Ada is a small island in the Aegean Sea, part of the Bozcaada district of Çanakkale province in Turkey. , Tenedos has a population of about 2,354. The main industries are tourism, wine production and fishing...

) to prevent her sinking, as she'd taken in some 1600 LT of water, but she was temporarily repaired with a cofferdam
A cofferdam is a temporary enclosure built within, or in pairs across, a body of water and constructed to allow the enclosed area to be pumped out, creating a dry work environment for the major work to proceed...

 over the 30 by 26 ft (9.1 by 7.9 m) hole. She sailed to Malta, escorted by and on 6 April. She nearly foundered when her cofferdam worked loose in heavy weather en route and had to be towed stern-first by Canopus for six hours while the cofferdam was repaired. She was under repair at Malta until early June before she sailed for home. She reached the U.K.
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...

 on 19 June where she joined the 3rd BCS.

Towards the end of the year, 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...

, with the 3rd BCS consisting of the three Invincible class ships under the command of Rear Admiral H.L.A. Hood 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, Rear 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. A 305  mm (12-inch) shell from the third salvo struck Invincibles midships 'Q' turret, flash detonated the magazines below, and the ship blew up and broke in two, killing all but six of her crew of 1,032 officers and men, including Rear-Admiral Hood.

Inflexible and Indomitable remained in company with Beatty for the rest of the battle. They encountered Hipper's battlecruisers only 10000 yards (9.1 km) away as the sun was setting about 8:19 and opened fire. Seydlitz was hit five times before the battlecruisers were rescued by the pre-dreadnought battleships of Rear Admiral Mauve and the British shifted fire to the new threat. Three of the predreadnoughts were hit before they too were able to turn into the gloom.

Post-Jutland career

The loss of three battlecruisers at Jutland (the others were Queen Mary
HMS Queen Mary
HMS Queen Mary was a battlecruiser built by the British Royal Navy before World War I, the sole member of her class. She was similar to the s, though she differed in details from her half-sisters. She was the last battlecruiser completed before the war and participated in the Battle of Heligoland...

 and ) led to the force being reorganised into two squadrons, with Inflexible and Indomitable in the 2nd BCS. However, after Jutland there was little significant naval activity, for the Invincibles, other than routine patrolling, thanks to the Kaiser's order that his ships should not be allowed to go to sea unless assured of victory. The end of the war saw the end for many of the older vessels, not least the two remaining Invincible class ships. Both were sent to the Reserve Fleet in 1919, and were paid off in March 1920.

After the end of the war, Chile began seeking additional ships for its navy. In April 1920, Chile bought Canada
Chilean battleship Almirante Latorre
Almirante Latorre, named after Juan José Latorre, was a super-dreadnought battleship built for the Chilean Navy . She was the first of a planned two-ship class that would respond to earlier warship purchases by other South American countries...

 and four destroyers, all of which had been ordered by Chile prior to the war's outbreak and requisitioned by the British for the war. Further planned expansion included Inflexible and Indomitable, but when the secret negotiations to acquire them were leaked to the press, a major uproar erupted in Chile. The most visible dissension came from a block of officers in the navy, who publicly opposed any possible purchase and instead promoted a "New Navy" which would acquire submarines and airplanes. They argued that these weapons would cost less and give the country, and its lengthy coastline, better protection from external threats. The ships were not bought for reasons of cost, but neither were the airplanes its supporters had been hoping for. Both were sold for scrap
Ship breaking
Ship breaking or ship demolition is a type of ship disposal involving the breaking up of ships for scrap recycling. Most ships have a lifespan of a few decades before there is so much wear that refitting and repair becomes uneconomical. Ship breaking allows materials from the ship, especially...

on 1 December 1921.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.