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NAME

HMS. ROYAL OAK

CLASS

BATTLESHIP

ENT/SERVICE 

MAY 1916

BUILT

DEVONPORT DOCKYARD / ENGLAND

WEIGHT

28,150 TONS

LENGTH

624 FEET

WIDTH

88 FEET

SPEED

23 KNOTS - GEARED TURBINES - FOUR PROPELLERS

GUNS

8 - 15 INCH / 14 - 6 INCH / 4 - 21 INCH TORPEDOES

ARMOR

13 INCH SIDE / 3 INCH DECK / 13 INCH TURRET FACES


Their were five battleships in this class built for the British Royal Navy, the others being Royal Sovereign, Revenge, Resolution and Ramilles. These battleships were an improved version of the previous and more famous Queen Elizabeth class. Royal Oak and Revenge were involved in the Battle of Jutland in 1916 with both receiving no damage. All ships saw little action during the remainder of WWI as the German fleet rarely left port after Jutland. Also, the British Admiralty kept their largest warships in safe ports, they were only to be used in large battles as they were seen to be too valuable to be lost to mines or submarines.

In the first few weeks of World War Two, Germany planned a daring raid by submarine on Britain's main warship base at Scapa Flow. With the war in its early days and the defenses around Scapa Flow incomplete, U-47 managed to enter the flow undetected October 13th 1939. Luckily for the British, their modern warships had been relocated to Loch Ewe on the west coast of Scotland a few days earlier.

HMS Royal Sovereign

Moored to the west of Scapa Flow near Lyness were a few supply ships and the old battleship Iron Duke serving as the bases headquarters. The aging seaplane carrier Pegasus and Royal Oak with her considerable anti aircraft guns were moored near Netherbutton to provide air cover for the radar station. U-47 picked Royal Oak as her target and fired three torpedoes, one of which hit the battleships bow. Royal Oak’s crew of around 1200 were unaware they were under attack at that time, as they thought the explosion had occurred onboard the ship. This gave U-47 time to reload and fire another three torpedoes. With all three hitting Royal Oak, she turned on her side and sank within 15 minutes. U-47 made her escape while survivors were being rescued. Although Royal Oak sank in only 90 feet of water, she has been allowed to remain undisturbed to serve as a memorial for the 833 crewmembers lost with the ship. The other ships in this class survived the war only to be scrapped between 1948 and 1949.

HMS Royal Oak

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