HMS Collingwood (1882)

HMS "Collingwood" was an ironclad battleship of the Victorian Royal Navy. She was the first example of the Admiral class, all of which except HMS "Camperdown" were named after famous Naval Commanders.

At the time of her design, she was not considered as being the fore-runner of a class; She was designed by Barnaby as a one-off, as an answer to the French "Formidable" class, which carried three heavy guns on the centre line and a number of smaller pieces on the broadside. He made several proposals to the Board of Admiralty, including an improved "Inflexible", an improved "Dreadnought" and an improved "Italia", all of which were rejected. His final submission, which became "HMS Collingwood", featured breech-loading artillery mounted on the centre-line in barbettes and set the pattern for every British battleship designed thereafter until HMS "Dreadnought".

She was built to a requirement that she should not exceed 10,000 tons displacement. She was also built with sufficient engine power to achieve, with forced draught, a speed of over 16 knots. In order to achieve this speed on the displacement it was found necessary to give her a low freeboard, which meant that when steaming into wind she would bury her bow in the sea and take green water onto her forecastle, negating the extra power of her engines.

The mounting of the main armament in barbettes allowed the guns to be deployed at a height above water of 22 feet, some 10 feet higher than in "Colossus". This gave them a better overall command, and increased their ability to deliver plunging fire onto the decks of enemy ships. As the two pairs of guns were contained in individual, widely spaced armoured redoubts, there was no possibility of a single incoming shell disabling all of the main armament. Each barbette was an eleven-sided polygon, 60 feet long by 45 feet wide, and roughly pear-shaped. The guns, mounted on a turntable, could only be loaded when pointed fore and aft with an elevation of 13 degrees. The 6 inch secondary armament was grouped in a central broadside battery, and the quick-firing tertiary armament was positioned over the broadside battery, on the hurricane deck.

"Collingwood" was the first ship to be equipped with forced draught. This was a system in which air was forced into the furnaces at above atmospheric pressure to increase the rate of fuel combustion and hence the amount of steam produced.

Service history

She was commissioned at Portsmouth on 1 July 1887 for the Jubilee Review, paying off into Reserve in August. She was posted to the Mediterranean, where she served from November 1889 until March 1897. She was coastguard ship at Bantry from March 1897 to June 1903, when she paid off into the reserve, where she remained until sold.


*Oscar Parkes, "British Battleships" ISBN 0-85052-604-3

*Conway, "All the World's Fighting Ships" ISBN 0-85177-146-7

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