SHIP CLASS: Revenge-class
SHIPS-IN-CLASS (5): HMS Revenge (06); HMS Royal Sovereign (05); HMS Ramilles (07); HMS Resolution (09); HMS Royal Oak (08)
OPERATORS: United Kingdom; Soviet Union (as Arkhangelsk)
PROPULSION: 18 x Water-tube boilers feeding 4 x steam turbines developing 40,000 shaft horsepower to 4 x shafts.
Detailing the development and operational history of the HMS Royal Sovereign (05) Battleship.
Entry last updated on 8/14/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Revenge-class battleships of the British Royal Navy were ordered during the run-up to World War 1 (1914-1918). The class was to have eight total warships but one was eventually cancelled (HMS Resistance) and the other two were redrawn to form the new Renown-class. Thus only five of the original Revenge ships were constructed - including HMS Royal Sovereign (05).
HMS Royal Sovereign was built at the Portsmouth Royal Dockyard and saw her keel laid down on January 15th, 1914. She was launched on April 29th, 1915 - as World War 1 raged - and commissioned into service during May 1916. She went on to survive the conflict, steamed on into the interwar years and saw World War 2 (1939-1945) service with both the Royal Navy and the Soviet Navy (the latter as "Arkhangelsk") from 1944 onward. She was returned to the Royal Navy in early-1949 and scrapped shortly thereafter.
As completed, Royal Sovereign held a displacement of 30,450 tons and featured a length of 620.6 feet, a beam of 88.5 feet and a draught of 33.6 feet. Power stemmed from 18 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 4 x steam turbines developing 40,000 horsepower to 4 x shafts. Performance included speeds nearing 23 knots and a range out to 8,000 miles when cruising at 10 knots. Her crew numbered 1,240 personnel. Armor protection reached 13" at the belt and up to 4 inches along the deck. The barbettes were covered in up to 10" of armor and the gun turrets saw protection reach 13 inches. The conning tower held up to 11 inches and the bulkheads were reinforced up to 6 inches.
Installed armament featured 8 x 15" main guns arranged as four twin-gunned turrets. There were 14 x 6" guns positioned at single-gunned turrets about the superstructure and 2 x 76mm 20 cwt guns (in single-gunned mountings) were used for Anti-Aircraft (AA) service. 4 x 3-pounder guns were carried as were 4 x 21" torpedo tubes.
During World War 1 HMS Royal Sovereign was not yet ready for primetime service so she missed out on actions in the Battle of Jutland - the largest naval confrontation of the war. After the war she lost her 3" guns in favor of 2 x QF 4" Mk V guns and served with the Atlantic Fleet into 1926 before being placed in reserve. During this downtime she was refitted (1929) which included the removal of some 6" guns and addition of more 4" guns. She joined the Mediterranean Fleet and was modernized for the new decade, gaining "pom-pom" guns in 1932 and losing some of her torpedo-launching capability. In 1937, work began on deleting the remaining torpedo armament.
During her World War 2 service, her armament was once-again revised. In 1941, 10 x 20mm Oerlikon guns were installed to improve her AA protection. More pom-pom guns were installed the following year and, in 1943, she gained even more 20mm weapons. Her initial contributions were in the convoy escort role as part of the Home Fleet. She was relocated to the Mediterranean as the war progressed and based at Alexandria. She participated in the Battle of Calabria (July 1940) but claimed no foes. In August 1940, she survived an Italian submarine attack before returning to the Atlantic. From there she was assigned to the Pacific Theater to thwart any Japanese advance on British interests.
Having survived her service in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Middle East, she was returned to British home waters. On May 30th, 1944 she was officially transferred to the Soviet Navy as her usefulness in the Royal Navy ranks had all but ended for the tired ship. She served as Flag Ship for her new owners and was used to protect inbound Allied convoys attempting to reinforce the Soviet supplies - this ended her tenure in World War 2. On February 4th, 1949, she was handed back to the British. Her condition was such that there was no saving the steel beast and she was struck from the Naval Register, officially retired and sold for scrapping.