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Saturday, 30 June 2018

INFOGRAPHICS #35: HMS Rodney battleship of the Royal Navy

HMS Rodney, Nelson class battleship of the Royal Navy
HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. The ship was named after Admiral Lord Rodney. The Nelsons were unique in British battleship construction, being the only ships to carry a main armament of 16-inch (406 mm) guns (nine guns in three turrets!), and the only ones to carry all the main armament forward of the superstructure (the French followed the British example in 1937 with the commissioning of their Dunkerque class and later with the Richelieu class). They were designed as larger ships but 'cut down' by the Washington Treaty of 1922, the design was limited to 35,000 tons (216 meters overall length) and showed certain compromises. To accommodate 16-inch main guns in three turrets, all of the turrets were placed forward and the vessel's speed was reduced and maximum armor was limited to vital areas. Even with the design limitations forced on the designers by the treaty, Rodney and Nelson were regarded as the most powerful battleships afloat until the new generation of all big gun ships was launched in 1936. Note that they were the only British battleships built between the Revenge class (ordered in 1913) and the King George V class, ordered in 1936. As her superstructure was located aft of midships like RN fleet oilers whose names carried the ...'ol' suffix, she was sometimes derisively referred to as "Rodnol".

HMS Rodney at the Jubilee Fleet Review of 1937
The nine powerful 16in guns
Elevated 16in guns of Rodney
Commissioned in 1927, Rodney served extensively in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. Rodney played a major role in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941. During and after Operation Torch and the Normandy landings, Rodney participated in several coastal bombardments. During the entire war Rodney steamed over 156,000 nautical miles (289,000 km) with no engine overhaul after 1942. Because of the frequent machinery problems, hull defects, and the fact that Rodney had not been upgraded to the extent of her sister Nelson, starting in December 1944 she became the flagship of the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow and rarely left her mooring. In poor condition from extremely heavy use and lack of refits, HMS Rodney was scrapped at Thos W Ward Inverkeithing, starting on 26 March 1948. (source: Wikipedia)
HMS Rodney cutaway, early 1940s. Unknown artist. For high resolution click here.

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