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NAME

HMS. HOOD

CLASS

BATTLE CRUISER

ENT/SERVICE

MARCH 5th 1920

BUILT

JOHN BROWN & CO / CLYDEBANK / SCOTLAND

WEIGHT

41,125 TONS

LENGTH

860 FEET

WIDTH

104 FEET

SPEED

31 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

4 - 3 BLADES

ENGINES

4 - GEARED STEAM TURBINES - 144,000 HP

GUNS

8 - 15 INCH / 12 -.5 INCH / 4 - 21 INCH TORPEDOES

ARMOR

12 INCH SIDE / 3 INCH DECK / 15 INCH TURRET FACES


Hood was the largest warship in the world from the time of her being commissioned in 1920 until battleships built for the Second World War began entering service in 1941. Between November 1923 and September 1924, Hood along with the 26,000-ton battle cruiser Repulse and vessels of the Light Cruiser Squadron participated in an epic journey that became known as the Empire Cruise. Setting out from Devonport/England, they traveled to South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Western Canada, America, through the Panama Canal, Jamaica, Eastern Canada and back to Devonport. The total journey covered 38,152 miles and Hood alone attracted over 752,000 visitors.

HMS Hood

By the late 1930s, the British Admiralty had expressed concern about Hood’s light armor. As many of the First World War naval battles were fought at long range with the shells fired in a high trajectory, they tended to plunge onto the enemy’s lightly armored decks. Hood’s deck armor of between 1.5 and 3 inches offered little protection against the large guns of modern warships. The outbreak of World War Two in 1939 saw Hood deployed on patrols before her armor could be upgraded. Early in May 1941, the British Admiralty received a message from Iceland stating German aircraft were patrolling the area. They believed that was a sign Germany’s recently completed battleship Bismarck was about to be used in attacks on Allied shipping convoys in the North Atlantic. This led to all available British warships being deployed to patrol the Faeroes - Shetland passage and the Denmark Strait.

HMS Hood in port

On May 24th 1941, British cruisers sighted Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen as they attempted to pass through the Denmark Strait. The British capital ships patrolling that area, Hood and the recently commissioned battleship Prince of Wales, were given the task of intercepting Germany’s mightiest warship. Eight minutes into the battle, Bismarck’s 15-inch guns found their range and Hood took several hits. One of the shells penetrated her thin armor causing an explosion in the ammunition stores. The catastrophic damage caused by the explosion resulted in Hood sinking so quick only three of her crew survived, 1,414 officers and men went down with the ship. Prince of Wales took seven hits and hit Bismarck twice before backing off. As Bismarck was leaking fuel after the battle, her captain took the decision to make a run for the German held port of St Nazair/France for repairs. The loss of Hood enraged the British Admiralty so much they ordered every available British warship to track Bismarck down and sink her.

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