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HMS Vanguard (23)

United Kingdom (1946)
Picture of HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship
Picture of HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship Picture of HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship
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HMS Vanguard was the last of the Royal Navy battleships to be constructed.


Detailing the development and operational history of the HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship.  Entry last updated on 8/14/2017; Authored by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

HMS Vanguard (23) a British Battleship was being built late into World War 2 and when the war in Europe ended come May of 1945, the decision was to complete her in case the war in the Pacific against the Empire of Japan dragged on. As such, Vanguard was launched in 1944 but not formally commissioned until August 9th, 1946. She was completed larger than the preceding King George V battleship - heavier, bigger and with greatly increased armament capability. The King George V-class of battleships each held 14-inch main guns and, with the development and use of 16-inch guns by the United States and Japanese navies, the King George V-class was suddenly viewed as under-armed. The British Admiralty looked at 16-inch guns but the time needed for development and manufacture of such new rifles made the decision mute.

Britain had a number of 15-inch guns available so it seemed the best fit for a new design with the war winding down in Europe. Many publications originally indicate the 15-inch guns were removed from HMS Courageous and HMS Glorious and that these vessels were then converted to aircraft carriers. However, the Admiralty kept strict documentation on each gun and new reviews have come to indicate the guns came from five battleships and one monitor: two from HMS Queen Elizabeth, two from the HMS Ramillies, one from HMS Royal Sovereign, one from HMS Resolution, one from the monitor HMS Erebus, and the last from the famous HMS Warspite.


Picture of the HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship
Picture of the HMS Vanguard (23) Fast Battleship


The 15-inch guns were doubled across four turret emplacements, these held as two forward and two aft installations. The new Vanguard had 16 x 5.25-inch heavy secondary guns for close-in fighting, these situated as 8 x double mounts, four fitted to port side and four along the starboard. The Vanguard had the most anti-aircraft guns onboard than any other ship in the British Navy, counting 73 x 40mm Bofors type cannons. Despite this formidable array, the Vanguard would never fire her guns in anger throughout the remainder of the war.

In 1947, she became a Royal Yacht, taking the Royal Family of King George VI to South Africa. A poor historic note for a mighty ship was in having a badminton net set up on her battle deck for a bit of Royal Family fun. Nevertheless, she did participate in a number of NATO duties during the Cold War before going into reserve.

Some in her crew had requested Vanguard be saved as a museum ship since she was the last British battleship build and the last such class of vessel built anywhere in the world. The gesture was not received fondly and she ultimately sold for scrapping in 1960, bringing an end to the rather quiet career of the powerful HMS Vanguard.


National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United Kingdom
Service Year / Commissioned: 1946
Classification Type: Fast Battleship
Ship Class: Vanguard-class
Number-in-Class: 1
Global Operators:
United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Operating Weights:

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1,500

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Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
814.5 ft


Meters
248.26 m


Dimension
BEAM


Feet
107.6 ft


Meters
32.80 m


Dimension
DRAUGHT


Feet
30.5 ft


Meters
9.30 m


Displacement
SURFACE


Tons
44,500 t

Installed Power / Machinery - Standard Day Performance:
8 x Admiralty 3-drum, water-tube boilers; 4 x Parsons single reduction steam turbines developing 130,000 shaft horsepower; 4 x shafts.

Performance
SPEED


Knots
30 kts


Miles-per-Hour
35 mph


Performance
RANGE


Nautical Miles
9,000 nm


Miles
10,357 mi


Miles
16,668 km

Armament / Air Wing:

8 x 15-inch (381mm) BL Mk I main guns in four twin mountings.
16 x 5.25-inch (133mm) QF Mk I guns in eight twin mountings.
60 x 40mm /60 Bofors anti-aircraft cannons in ten sextuple mountings.
2 x 40mm /60 Bofors anti-aircraft cannons in twin mountings.
11 x 40mm /60 Bofors anti-aircraft cannons in single mountings.
4 x 3-pdr (47mm) QF saluting cannons.

Aircraft:
None.
Ships-in-Class (1):

HMS Vanguard (23)
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