Royal Sovereign Class (1892) BB

The Royal Sovereign Class of Battleships represents a consolidation of the design lessons learned during the previous decade.

Earlier ships had suffered from their low freeboards which made the guns difficult to work effectively in rough weather, and also slowed the ships down when running into a head sea because of the weight of water running across the decks.

The Royal Sovereigns had an extra deck fitted which came almost up to the top of the barbettes. This made the guns look as if they were mounted lower, but in fact they were mounted at similar heights to previous classes.

Steel armour was stating to come into service and the Royal Sovereigns were the first to be fitted with it. Hence the mix of both compound and steel.

Maximum speed could only be reached with forced draught supplying the air to the boilers. In practice this did not work well and they normally propelled in natural draught, which reduced them to 15 knots.

They were considered fine ships which set the standard for battleships for the following decade.


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Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.

This page last edited - 03 April, 2013.