Enjoy the third part of a new category of articles where all the significant and interesting facts in naval history as well as "strange" and unique features of naval combattants' equipment, are described in brief.
1. HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy
|HMS Hood, 17 March 1924|
HMS Hood was a fast and very beautiful warship, a steel giant of 262m, about 47,000tons displacement and armed with eight 15in guns, but with serious design limitations. She was the pride of Royal Navy for more than two decades. As one of the largest and most powerful warships in the world, her prestige was reflected in her nickname ‘The Mighty Hood’. On 24 May, 1941 Hood with the newly commissioned Prince of Wales intercepted the German battleship Bismarck, one of the largest battleships ever built, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait. The pride of Royal Navy was lost quickly that day. The fifth salvo of the German battleship Bismarck sank the mighty Hood splitting the ship in two; the ship sank in three minutes! In only eight minutes of firing, Hood had disappeared, taking all but three of her crew of 1,419 men with her...
|HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy|
2. The battleship with the seven main gun turrets!
|HMS Agincourt with her seven (7) gun turrets!|
|HMS Agincourt in 1918|
|Agincourt's aft gun turrets|
3. The last battleship in service with a European Navy
|Richelieu class battleship Jean Bart its modernization|
|The impressive 15in quad gun turrets|
|Front view of Jean Bart|
The two elegant and powerful Richelieu class battleships (Richelieu, Jean Bart) were the last and largest battleships of France. When they entered in service they ships were equipped with the state of the art technology and armament (unusual though arrangement of all the main guns in two quadruple turrets in forward superfiring positions). Fast, powerful, well-armed and of heavy displacement (post-war Jean Bart was 50,000 tons) they remained in service in different roles until the late '60s. Jean Bart was incomplete when France surrendered to Germany in June 1940. She sailed from Saint-Nazaire to Casablanca just before the Armistice. She was sunk in harbor in 1942. After the war she was re-floated, completed with an updated anti-aircraft battery, radars and fire control systems, and entered service in 1955. She had a very short career: Jean Bart was put into reserve in 1957, decommissioned in 1961, and scrapped in 1969. She was the last European battleship in service and she is the largest ever French-built warship till present (the R91 Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is approximately 42,500tons at full load). The battleship will be analyzed in a future Warships of the Past article (extensively as it is one of my all-time favorites). Stay tuned!
|Jean Bart with her plethora of anti-aircraft gun turrets|
4. The smallest vessel with the largest anti-aircraft missiles
|P228 Gorz launching a Mehrab SAM|
|Gorz with Mehrab canister opened|
|Ready to launch the SAM|
The eighth of the total twelve (12) Iranian La Combattante II class (known in Iran as Kaman class) fast attack missile craft (FACM), Gorz (P228), is armed with two Mehrab, a reverse engineering of SM-1 surface-to-air missile (SAM). With the SM-1 being about 4.5m length and Gorz being only 47 meters, this Iranian missile boat is definitely the smallest warship in the world today operating such missiles!
|Gorz, the smallest vessel with the largest anti-aircraft missiles|
5. The supercarriers
|CVN-69 Dwight D. Eisenhower supercarrier|
|Information about Abraham Lincoln|
|Nimitz sailing through Canadian waters|
The United States Navy Nimitz class consists of ten (10) nuclear-powered supercarriers. These aircraft carriers with an overall length of 333m and full-load displacements of over 100,000 long tons, they have been the largest warships built and in service! As a result of the use of nuclear power, the ships are capable of operating for over 20 years without refueling and are predicted to have a service life of over 50 years. The carriers can accommodate a maximum of 130 F/A-18 Hornets (!) or 85–90 aircraft of different types, but typically they carry about 60-70. Slight structural differences, improvements, upgrades, new technologies and differences in the electronic equipment among the vessels in the class distinguish them unofficially in three subclasses: the Nimitz subclass (CVN-68 to CVN-70), Theodore Roosevelt subclass (CVN-71 to CVN-75) and the Ronald Reagan subclass (CVN-76 to CVN-77).
|USS Nimitz, lead ship of the class|