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HMS Duke of York (17) Battleship (1941)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/1/2015

HMS Prince of Wales was part of the force credited with sinking the German battleship KMS Scharnhorst during actions in World War 2.

The King George V-class of battleships proved an important cog in the British war machine of World War 2. Making up the group were HMS King George V (41), HMS Prince of Wales (53), HMS Duke of York (17), HMS Anson (79), and HMS Howe (32) and these represented some of the latest ships in the British fleet. Of the five ships commissioned only a single one lost during the war (HMS Prince of Wales, air attack in the South China Sea during December 1941).

All four of the surviving vessels were scrapped by 1960 - including HMS Duke of York (1958).

HMS Duke of York was ordered on November 16th, 1936 and saw her keel laid down by builder John Brown & Company at Clydebank, Scotland (Yard No. 554) on May 5th, 1937. She was launched on February 28th, 1940 and commissioned on November 4th, 1941. With World War 2 officially beginning in September of 1939, Britain and her allies had been at war for some time before the arrival of HMS Duke of York in 1941 - making her an ultra-important addition to British naval actions moving forward.

The vessel displaced 42,075 tons (long) and showcased a length of 745 feet, a beam of 103 feet, and a draught of 34.3 feet. Her machinery included 8 x Admiralty boilers feeding 4 x Parsons geared turbines generating 110,000 horsepower to 4 x shafts. The warship could make headway at 28 knots out to ranges of 18,000 miles. The ship's profile included two smoke funnels book-ending the gap at midships. The bridge was fitted ahead of the foremost funnel and the second funnel was attached to the aft superstructure.

HMS Duke of York fitted various radar equipment before the end of her career including Type 281 air and Type 273 surface warning radars in addition to the Type 284, Type 285, and Type 282 gunnery ranging sets for her various armament installations. Her armament was led by 10 x 14" (360mm) BL Mk VII main guns fitted across 3 x multi-gunned primary turrets - two turrets mounted fore (one twin-gunned, the other quadruple-gunned) and one (quadruple-gunned) aft of the bridge. 16 x 5.25" (133mm) QF Mk I Dual-Purpose (DP) guns were used to engage both surface warships as well as to bombard land-based targets during amphibious support actions. Some 48 x 2-pounder (40mm) QF Mk VIII guns served as the primary Anti-Aircraft (AA) coverage while these were supported by 6 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns (her original AA protection scheme was improved before the end of the war).


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Specifications for the
HMS Duke of York (17)
Battleship


Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Initial Year of Service: 1941
Operators: United Kingdom


Crew: 1,556


Length: 745 ft (227.08 m)
Beam: 103.1 ft (31.42 m)
Draught: 34.3 ft (10.45 m)
Displacement: 42,500 tons


Machinery: 8 x Admiralty 3-drum small-tube boilers; 4 x Parsons geared turbines delivering 110,300 horsepower to 4 x shafts.

Surface Speed: 28.3 kts (33 mph)
Range: 6,904 miles (11,111 km)


Armament:
10 x 14" (356mm) BL /45 caliber Mark VII main guns (two four-gunned turrets, fore and aft, and one twin-gunned turret forward).
16 x 5.25" (133mm) /50 caliber QF Mk.I Dual-Purpose (DP) guns.
48 x 2-Pounder (40mm) QF Mk.VIII Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns.
6 x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns


Air Arm: 4 x Supermarine Walrus floatplane aircraft (catapult gear removed in early 1944).


Ship Class: King George V-class
Number-in-Class: 5
Ships-in-Class: HMS King George V (41); HMS Prince of Wales (53); HMS Duke of York (17); HMS Anson (79); HMS Howe (32)