:: HMS HOOD (1918) ::

HMS Hood battlecruiser (1918) High resolution picture

HMS Hood battlecruiser (1918) High resolution picture

The HMS Hood, launched in 1918, was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy; she was the only unit built from four that had been planned. In 1914 the restrictions posed by the size of the British shipyards were overcome and hence it became possible to project large ships. After considering a number of different combinations of armament, armor and speed, in the late 1915 the Admiralty decided to adopt a project based on the same main armament installed in the battleships of the Queen Elizabeth class, but with a comparatively lighter armor in a much longer hull to achieve a speed of 33 knots. The machinery used would be able to provide about 30 percent more power than that of the same weight installed in the battlecruisers of the Renown class.

However even before the Battle of Jutland it was seen that the protection was insufficient, so the final project had 5100 tonnes added to it. When the HMS Hood was completed, she was the largest and most powerful warship of the Royal Navy. She was in fact a fast battleship, built with an inclined armor belt that theoretically should be equivalent to the thicker vertical armor used in the contemporary British battleships. She had also a new system of underwater protection that used tubes inside the bulges to absorb the impact from a torpedo. The HMS Hood was well armored for that time, but the protection would have been certainly better if the ship were not so long. This made very difficult to distribute the armor in an effective way.

The appearance of the HMS Hood was impressive and she was widely used as flagship during the interwar period. Characterized by her excellent navigability, she had however a problem: the extra armor added during the final project reduced the freeboard and caused the deck to be often flooded during harsh sea conditions. In 1939 there was intention to deeply modernize the HMS Hood, including the increase of protection in the horizontal, vertical and underwater areas; but since the state of war was urgent and these works would have taken about two years they were never carried.

In May 1941, the HMS Hood faced in the gelid waters of the North Atlantic the controversial German battleship Bismarck. This one, armed with longer cannons and fitted with radarized rangefinders, was able to hit the British battlecruiser after only five minutes, causing a fatal explosion in the aft powder magazines. With only three survivors, the sinking of the HMS Hood caused commotion in the morale of the British. The upper illustration shows the HMS Hood as she was in 1941; note the Unrotated Projectile mounting in the roof of the main turret B. The lower illustration shows the HMS Hood as she was just after her completion, with the 140-millimeter cannons that were later suppressed.

Class: Admiral (1 unit - Hood)

Type: Battlecruiser

Length: 262.3 meters

Beam: 31.8 meters

Draught: 9.8 meters

Displacement (standard): 41860 tonnes in 1920; 42770 tonnes in 1941

Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Brown-Curtis, 24 x boiler Yarrow, 151280 horsepower

Speed: 32.07 knots (59.4 kilometers/hour) in 1920; 28.8 knots (53.3 kilometers/hour) in 1941

Range: 5950 nautical miles (11000 kilometers) at 18 knots in 1920

Complement: 1169 in 1920; 1421 in 1941

Armament (in 1920): 8 x 381-millimeter 42-caliber cannon, 12 x 140-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 4 x 102-millimeter cannon, 6 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube

Armament (in 1941): 8 x 381-millimeter 42-caliber cannon, 14 x 102-millimeter cannon, 24 x 40-millimeter cannon, 8 x 12.7-millimeter machine gun, 5 x 20-barrel Unrotated Projectile mounting, 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube

Armor: 127-305 millimeters in belt, 127-152 millimeters in ends, 38 millimeters in forecastle deck, 19-25 millimeters in upper deck, 38-76 millimeters in main deck, 25-51 millimeters in lower deck, 127-305 millimeters in barbettes, 279-381 millimeters in main turrets, 229-279 millimeters in conning tower

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