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HMS Audacious


Superdreadnought Battleship


United Kingdom | 1913



"HMS Audacious was lost to a German naval mine on October 27th, 1914 during World War 1."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/14/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Naval warship design was rewritten with the arrival of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 for the British Royal Navy. This supremacy on the water continued into World War 1 (1914-1918) as the service remained one of the more potent fighting forces on the planet. Before entering into Total War, a slew of other vessels arrived to strengthen British firepower at sea and this included HMS Audacious.

HMS Audacious was a battleship of the King George V-class which numbered four-strong. She was the third behind HMS King George V and HMS Centurion and arrived before HMS Ajax. The vessels were adopted to replace the aging Orion-class battleships, another four-strong group that were built as "super-dreadnoughts".

Super-dreadnoughts represented an evolution of the dreadnought fighting types appearing no more than six years prior. The Orion-class marked the first super-dreadnoughts to enter service in the British Navy and a 2,000 increase in displacement marked the primary difference when compared to typical dreadnought warships of the period. Additionally, the ships carried 13.5" main gun batteries and all of the guns were arranged along centerline - offering a considerable broadside shot.

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HMS Audacious was completed with a length of 598 feet, a beam of 89 feet and a draught of 28 feet. Displacement was 23,400 tons (long) and power served through 4 x Parsons turbines driving 4 x shafts under stern. Maximum speed in ideal conditions reached 21 knots. A typical crew complement numbered 900 men. Her armament suite was led by the primary battery made up of 10 x 13.5" Mk V series guns. This was supported by 16 x 4" BL Mk VII guns as well as 3 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes.

The ship was ordered in 1910 as part of the British shipbuilding program leading up to World War 1 and constructed by Cammell Laird Limited of Birkenhead, Merseyside. Her keel was laid down during March 1911 and she was launched on September 14th, 1912, formally commissioned in August of 1913. Audacious and Ajax were both given larger tripod masts form the start, King George V and Centurion revised from a pole-type foremast only later. While there were many similarities to the preceding Orion-class battleships, the King George V-class featured foremasts situated ahead of the foremost smoke funnel. Two smoke funnels were featured on the class' profile in all. The ten main guns were set across five primary turrets - two along the forecastle, one amidships and the remaining two towards the stern. This arrangement gave the first two and last two turrets relatively clear firing arcs when compared to the midships mounting - which had to contend with the forward and aft superstructures as well as the smoke funnels.

In terms of protection, armor on Audacious was kept in accordance with preceding British designs which focused more on speed and thus beams (widths) were constrained which weakened protection at the belt and hull against underwater threats such as torpedoes. Up to 12" protected the lower belt.

Her first service call came with assignment to the 2nd Battle Squadron in October of 1913 and it was in this position that she remained when World War 1 began in July of 1914. She then joined her sisters and several other warships for gunnery training off the Irish coast in October. It was here, on October 27th, 1914, that she caught a German naval mine under her hull which caused considerable flooding, forcing a list to port - made all the more perilous by high seas present. Her speed slowed to a crawl as only her starboard engine remained in play until flooding knocked out all propulsion. Her captain was under the suspicion that the warship had been attacked by an enemy submarine and took appropriate action - however, this caused her more powerful accompanying ships to keep their distance for fear of falling under the same threat.

Lesser warships and civilian-minded vessels came to her aid as the abandonment order was given. The ship, now emptied, rolled over and sunk - but not before her B-magazine caused an explosion, its debris killing a sailor aboard HMS Liverpool - rather amazingly the only recorded death of the entire event. The ship's loss was kept secret by the British government for as long as possible though the German's registered her fate as soon as November and updated their lists accordingly. Her loss was not officially revealed to the British public until November 14th, 1918 - after the war had ended for the Armistice was signed days prior on the 11th.

Her hulk still remains underwater to this day (2015).

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for HMS Audacious.
4 x Parson geared turbines developing 31,000 shaft horsepower to 4 x shafts.
Propulsion
21.0 kts
24.2 mph
Surface Speed
6,541 nm
7,527 miles | 12,114 km
Range
Structure
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of HMS Audacious.
782
Personnel
Complement
598.0 ft
182.27 meters
O/A Length
89.0 ft
27.13 meters
Beam
29.0 ft
8.84 meters
Draught
25,700
tons
Displacement
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of HMS Audacious.
10 x 343mm (13.5") Mk V main guns (5x2)
16 x 102mm (4") BL Mk VII cannons
3 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes
Ships-in-Class (4)
Notable series variants as part of the HMS Audacious family line as relating to the King George V-class group.
HMS King George; HMS Centurion; HMS Audacious; HMS Ajax
Operators
Global operator(s) of the HMS Audacious. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
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Image of the HMS Audacious
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
BLUE WATER SERVICE
OFFSHORE BOMBARDMENT
LAND-ATTACK
MARITIME PATROL
AIRSPACE DENIAL
FLEET SUPPORT
FLAG / CAPITAL SHIP
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
HMS Audacious Superdreadnought Battleship appears in the following collections:
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