HMS Implacable (1899)

HMS Implacable (1899)

"HMS Implacable" was a Formidable-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, the second ship of the name.

Technical Description

HMS "Implacable" was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 13 July 1898 and launched on 11 March 1899 in a very incomplete state to clear the building way for construction of battleship HMS "Bulwark". "Implacable" was completed in July 1901. [Burt, pp. 162, 172]

"Implacable" and her sisters were similar in appearance to and had the same armament as the "Majestic" and "Canopus" classes that preceded them. She and her sister ships are often described as improved "Majestic"s, but in design they really were enlarged "Canopus"es; while the "Canopus" class took advantage of the greater strength of the Krupp armor employed in their construction to allow the ships to remain the same size as the "Majestic"s with increased tonnage devoted higher speed and less to armor without sacrificing protection, in the "Implacable" Krupp armor was used to improve protection without reducing the size of the ships. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36] "Implacable" and her sisters thus were larger than the ships of the two preceding classes, and enjoyed both greater protection than the "Majestic"s and the higher speed of the "Canopus" class. "Implacable's" armor scheme was similar to that of the "Canopus"es, although, unlike in the "Canopus"es, the armor belt ran all the way to the stern; it was 215 feet (65.5 meters) long and 15 feet (4.8 meters) deep and 9 inches (229 mm) thick, tapering at the stem to 3 inches (76.2 mm) thick and 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep and at the stern to 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) thick and 8 feet (2.4 meters) deep. The main battery turrets had Krupp armor, 10 inches (254 mm) on their sides and 8 inches (203 mm) on their backs. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

"Implacable" and her sisters improved on the main and secondary armament of previous classes, being upgunned from 35-caliber to 40-caliber 12-inch (305-mm) guns and from 40-caliber to 45-caliber 6-inch (152-mm) guns. The 12-inch guns could be loaded at any bearing and elevation, and beneath the turrets the ships had a split hoist with a working chamber beneath the guns that reduced the chance of a cordite fire spreading from the turret to the shell and powder handling rooms and to the magazines. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

"Implacable" and her sisters had an improved hull form that made them handier at high speeds than the "Majestic"s. They also had inward-turning screws, which allowed reduced fuel consumption and slightly higher speeds than in previous classes but at the expense of less maneuverability at low speeds. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905", p. 36]

Like all predreadnoughts, "Implacable" was outclassed by the new dreadnought battleships that began to appear in 1906. The cost of this ship was £1,063,616.

Operational History

HMS "Implacable" commissioned at Devonport Dockyard on 10 September 1901 for Mediterranean Fleet service. During her Mediterranean service, she underwent refits at Malta in 1902, 1903-1904, and 1904-1905. [Burt, p. 172] She suffered a fatal accident on 12 July 1905 when a boiler explosion killed two men, and suffered another boiler explosion on 16 August 1906. [Burt, p. 167-168] She entered Chatham Dockyard in the United Kingdom in 1908 for another refit. [Burt, p. 172]

When her Chatham refit ended in February 1909, "Implacable" transferred to the Channel Fleet, then to the Atlantic Fleet on 15 May 1909. Following a fleet reorganization on 1 May 1912, "Implacable" transferred to the 5th Battle Squadron in the Second Home Fleet at the Nore on 13 May 1912. [Burt, p. 172]

When World War I began in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was assigned to the Channel Fleet and based at Portland. "Implacable" was attached temporarily to the Dover Patrol in late October 1914 to bombard German Army forces along the coast of Belgium in support of Allied forces fighting at the front, then returned to the Channel Fleet. [Burt, p. 172] On 14 November 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was transferred to Sheerness in case of a possible German invasion attempt, but it returned to Portland on 30 December 1914. [Burt, p. 170]

In March 1915, "Implacable" was transferred to the Dardanelles for service in the Dardanelles Campaign. She left England on 13 March 1915 and arrived at Lemnos on 23 March 1915. She supported the main Allied landings at X Beach at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915, and thereafter supported the campaign until May 1915, [Burt, p. 172] distinguishing herself with the very close support she gave on 25 April 1915 and thereafter. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8]

"Implacable", along with battleships HMS "London", HMS "Prince of Wales", and HMS "Queen", was detached from the Dardanelles on 22 May 1915 to become part of a new 2nd Detached Squadron in the Adriatic Sea to reinforce the Italian Navy after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary. "Implacable" arrived at Taranto, Italy, her base for this duty, on 27 May 1915. [Burt, p. 172]

In November 1915, "Implacable" transferred to the 3rd Detached Squadron. Based at Salonika, this squadron was organized to reinforce the Suez Canal Patrol and assist the French Navy in blockading the Aegean coasts of Greece and Bulgaria. She shifted her base to Port Said, Egypt, later in November 1915. [Burt, pp. 172-173]

"Implacable" departed on 22 March 1916 for a refit in the United Kingdom, arriving at Plymouth Dockyard on 9 April 1916. When her refit was complete, she returned to the 3rd Detached Squadron and was based at Salonika. In June 1917, "Implacable" was at Athens during the abdication of King Constantine I of Greece. [Burt, p. 173]

In July 1917, "Implacable" returned to the United Kingdom and paid off at Portsmouth to provide crews for antisubmarine vessels, [Burt, p. 173] and four main-deck casemates on either side were replaced by two 6-inch (152-mm) guns on her battery deck. ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] She was laid up until March 1918, when she was selected for service as a depot ship with the Northern Patrol at Lerwick, Kirkwall, and Buncrana. [Burt, p. 173]

In November 1918, "Implacable" was placed on the disposal list, [Burt, p. 173] , paid off in 1919, ["Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921", p. 8] and on 4 February 1920 was placed on the sale list. She was sold for scrapping to the Slough Trading Company on 8 November 1921. Resold to a German firm, she was towed to Germany for scrapping in April 1922. [Burt, p. 173]



* Burt, R. A. "British Battleships 1889-1904". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
* Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds., "Conway's All The Worlds Fighting Ships, 1860-1905", London: Conway Maritime Press, 1979. ISBN 0-85177-133-5.
* Dittmar, F. J. & Colledge, J. J.. "British Warships 1914-1919", Lodon: Ian Allen, 1972). ISBN 0-7110-0380-7.
* Gibbons, Tony. "The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day". London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
* Gray, Randal, Ed. "Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921." Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0870219073.

External links

* [ Maritimequest HMS Implacable Photo gallery]

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