Lord Clive class monitors

Lord Clive class monitors

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Lord Clive class monitors

The eight monitors of the Lord Clive class were virtual repeats of the Abercrombie class monitors, but armed with British 12in guns instead of the 14in American guns used on the earlier ships. Their guns were taken from the Majestic class battleships, then the oldest pre-dreadnought battleships still in service. Like the earlier Abercrombie class the Lord Clive class ships were underpowered, with a top speed in service of 6.5kts, but this was not a class of ship that greatly benefited from high speeds.

HMS Earl of Peterborough and HMS Sir Thomas Picton were the only members of this class to see service overseas. In November 1915 they arrived at Mudros, and took part in the final stages of the Gallipoli campaign.

At the end of that campaign, HMS Earl of Peterborough remained in the Aegean, with the Mytilene Squadron (February 1916). She took part in the takeover of the Greek Fleet of August 1916, before being transferred to the Adriatic Squadron (November 1916). There she took part in the 11th battle of the Isonzo, providing artillery support close to the coast.

HMS Sir Thomas Picton went to Port Said in February 1916, guarding the Suez Canal. She later returned to the Aegean, and like the Earl of Peterborough supported the Italian army during the 11th battle of the Isonzo.

The remaining six ships of the class served with the Dover Squadron for all or most of the war. In that role they carried out repeated heavy bombardments of German positions on the Belgian coast. Two of these ships, HMS General Wolfe and HMS Lord Clive had their twin 12in guns replaced by a single massive 18in gun during 1918, but firing tests on the General Wolfe did not begin until August 1918. Amongst the operations supported by the Dover monitors was the mission to block Zeebrugge and Ostend (1918).

Only Lord Clive remained in service for any length of time after the First World War – the other seven members of the class had all been sold off by 1923 and even the Lord Clive was paid off in 1921.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


- belt


- bulkheads


- barbette


- turret faces



335ft 6in


Two 12in Mk VIII guns
Two 12pdr quick firing guns
One 3pdr anti-aircraft gun
One 2pdr anti-aircraft gun

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Sir John Moore (M 5)
HMS Lord Clive (M 6)
HMS General Craufurd (M 7)
HMS Earl of Peterborough (M 8)
HMS General Wolfe (M 9)
HMS Prince Rupert (M 10)
HMS Prince Eugene (M 11)
HMS Sir Thomas Picton (M 12)

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War

HMS Lord Clive (1915)

HMS Lord Clive was the lead ship of the British Lord Clive-class monitors. She was named for Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, a British general of the Seven Years' War who won the Battle of Plassey and became Governor of British India. Her main guns were taken from the obsolete pre-dreadnought battleship Majestic. She spent World War I in the English Channel bombarding German positions along the Belgian coast. She was fitted with a single 18-inch (460 mm) gun in 1918, but only fired four rounds from it in combat before the end of the war. She was deemed redundant after the end of the war and was sold for scrap in 1927.

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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18-inch conversions

Three of the ships, HMS General Wolfe, Lord Clive and Prince Eugene, were to be converted to take the BL 18-inch guns that had originally been allocated to HMS Furious. The guns were mounted aft, permanently arranged to fire over the starboard beam. The mounting consisted of two massive side girders parallel to the barrel, between which the gun was slung. At the forward end was a support about which the gun could train in a limited arc, with a hydraulic cylinder providing ten degrees of traverse each side of the mounting center line. The gun was loaded at the fixed angle of 10 degrees, but firing was only allowed between 22 degrees and 45 degrees of elevation, to distribute the large firing forces evenly between the forward and after supports. The mounting was covered by a large non-traversing half-inch steel plate shield fixed to the deck. [1]

The enormous rounds and charges were transported to the gunhouse on a light railway fixed to the main deck. Work was completed on two of the ships but the end of World War I intervened before Prince Eugene was finished. Both of the converted ships saw action. The original 12-inch turret was left in place on them to maintain stability.

General Wolfe fired on a railway bridge at Snaeskerke , four miles (6 km) south of Ostend, Belgium, on 28 September 1918. The range of 36,000 yards (33 km) made this the greatest range at which a Royal Navy vessel has ever engaged an enemy target using guns. Lord Clive fired a mere four rounds with the replacement gun at enemy targets.

18-inch Monitor

In the new year of 1918, Wolfe was selected to be converted to take an 18-inch (457 mm) gun along with Lord Clive and Prince Eugene. [17] The mounting for the gun, the largest in service with any navy, was named the "15-inch B C.D.". "15-inch B" was the code name for the 18-inch gun itself, and C.D., for "Coast Defence" reflected the possible usage of the mount on land. The mounting was designed and produced by the Elswick Ordnance Company and although ordered in October, 1917, due to labour troubles it was not completed until May, 1918 and finally arrived in Portsmouth for installation on Wolfe on 20 June. [18] Wolfe had been taken in hand by Portsmouth Dockyard on 5 April for the structural modifications required to take the weight of the 18-inch gun and mounting on her quarterdeck. [17] The total weight of the mounting was 384 tons, not including the weight of sixty shells and seventy-two full charges of cordite. [18] The gun itself, which was fixed to starboard, had been intended for "A" turret of the large light cruiser HMS Furious and was fitted on 9 July. [17]

A component of the work rushed for completion by August was the adaptation of her director to a one specialised to bombardment and suitable to the new gun. [19] Wolfe was ready for gun trials on 7 August, which took place off the Isle of Wight and were completed successfully. The mounting, with its large box-shaped shield so disfigured the stern of the ship that it earned Wolfe the nickname of "Elephant and Castle". [20]

On 15 August Wolfe returned to the Dover Patrol the first of the 18-inch monitors to re-enter service. She had a new commanding officer, Commander S.B. Boyd-Richardson. The rest of August and most of September she saw no action. In coöperation with Allied forces advancing on the coast of Belgium, the monitors were used in protracted shore bombardment from late September onwards. In the night of 27/28 September, the seven monitors available to the Patrol bombarded targets near Ostend and Zeebruge, using their sub-calibre (smaller) guns, to trick the Germans into thinking that a night landing by Allied forces might be made there (following the earlier Ostend and Zeebrugge Raids in April).

By dawn the monitors had arranged themselves in three division off the West Deep, where they could harass German lines of communication far inland. Wolfe was in Division III with the new-completed coast defence ship Gorgon. [21] Wolfe was anchored parallel to the coastline, and at 0732 opened fire on the railway bridge at Snaeskerke (four miles south of Ostend) at a range of 36,000-yard (32,918 m) away. She therefore fired the heaviest shell from the largest gun at the longest range up to that time, and at the longest range any Royal Navy ship has fired in action. During the rest of the day Wolfe fired fifty-two 18-inch shells out of her supply of sixty at Snaeskerke, all landing close to the target. [22]

For the next two weeks, Wolfe and the other monitors of the patrol kept up an intermittent bombardment of the Belgian coast, interrupted by bad weather or lack of air support for spotting the fall of shot. In Mid-October the Germans evacuated the Belgian coast and the monitors returned to Sheerness when the Armistice was signed. Wolfe paid off on 19 November, 1918. [23]


"The 18inch Gun in British Monitors" article in "Warship Volume III" and "Big Gun Monitors: The History of the Design, Construction and Operation of the Royal Navy's Monitors" both by Ian Buxton
"Jutland: An Analysis of the Fighting" and "British Super Heavy Guns Part 3" article in "Warship Volume III" both by John Campbell
"The Big Gun: Battleship Main Armament 1860-1945" by Peter Hodges
"Battlecruisers" by John Roberts
Special Help from Daniel Muir and Anthony G. Williams

Small Craft [ edit | edit source ]

Torpedo Boats [ edit | edit source ]

torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other slow and heavily armed ships by using speed, agility, and the power of their torpedo weapons. A number of inexpensive torpedo boats attacking en masse could overwhelm a larger ship's ability to fight them off using its large but cumbersome guns. An inexpensive fleet of torpedo boats could pose a threat to much larger and more expensive fleets of capital ships, albeit only in the coastal areas to which their small size and limited fuel load restricted them.

Midget Submarines [ edit | edit source ]

midget submarine (also called a mini submarine) is any submarine under 150 tons. [1]  Typically operated by a crew of one or two but sometimes up to 6 or 9, with little or no on-board living accommodation, they normally work with mother ships, from which they are launched and recovered, and which provide living accommodation for the crew and other support staff.

Both military and civilian midget submarines have been built. Military types work with surface ships and other submarines as mother ships. Civilian and non-combatant military types are generally called submersibles, and normally work with surface ships.

HMS Prince Eugene, British Lord Clive class monitor, one of four ships named after Austrian General Prince Eugene of Savoy 1923 [800x444]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Prince_Eugene British Lord Clive class monitor and smallest of four ships named after 18th century Austrian Habsburg General Prince Eugene of Savoy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Eugene_of_Savoy. Interestingly four ships were built by four different European navies, Austro-Hungarian dreadnought in WW1, German cruiser that escorted Bismarck, Italian light cruiser from ww2 and this one

HMS Prince Eugene

HMS Prince Eugene was a First World War Royal Navy Lord Clive-class monitor named after Prince Eugene of Savoy, an important commander of the War of the Spanish Succession who fought with the Duke of Marlborough.

She is the only ship of the Royal Navy to be named after the general. Her 12" main battery was stripped from the obsolete battleship HMS Hannibal.

The Lord Clive class monitors were built in 1915 to engage German shore artillery in occupied Belgium during the First World War.

Prince Eugene of Savoy

Prince Eugene of Savoy (French: Eugène, German: Eugen von Savoyen, Italian: Eugenio 18 October 1663 – 21 April 1736) was a general of the Imperial Army and statesman of the Holy Roman Empire and the Archduchy of Austria and one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history, rising to the highest offices of state at the Imperial court in Vienna.

Born in Paris, Eugene grew up around the court of King Louis XIV of France. Based on his poor physique and bearing, the Prince was initially prepared for a clerical career, but by the age of 19 he had determined on a military career. Following a scandal involving his mother Olympe, he was rejected by Louis XIV for service in the French army.

First years in India

At Madras, Clive was moody and quarrelsome he attempted suicide and once fought a duel. He found solace in the governor’s library, where he virtually educated himself. Hostilities between the British and French East India companies and their competitive support of rival Indian princes drew Clive into military service and gave him a chance to demonstrate his ability. In 1751 Chanda Sahib, an ally of the French, was besieging his British-connected rival, Muḥammad ʿAlī, in the fortress of Trichinopoly (now Tiruchchirappalli). Clive offered to lead a diversion against Chanda’s base at Arcot. With 200 Europeans and 300 Indians, he seized Arcot on August 31 and then successfully withstood a 53-day siege (September 23–November 14) by Chanda’s son. This feat proved to be the turning point in a contest with the French commander, Joseph-François Dupleix. In the next months Clive established himself as a brilliant exponent of guerrilla tactics.

In March 1753 he left Madras with his bride, Margaret Maskelyne, and something of a fortune, having been appointed in 1749 a commissary for the supply of provisions to the troops. In 1755, after unsuccessfully standing for Parliament, he was sent out again to India, this time as governor of Fort St. David and with a lieutenant colonel’s commission in the Royal Army. With him went troops intended to expel the French from India. On the way, at the request of the government in Bombay (now Mumbai), he stormed the pirate stronghold at Gheriah on the western coast.

Reaching Madras in June 1756, Clive immediately became involved in the affairs of Bengal, with which, henceforward, his fate was to be linked. Hitherto Bengal had been ruled by viceroys of the figurehead Mughal emperor, and it was under their protection that the British East India Company carried on its trade. The principal city, Calcutta (now Kolkata), had come to rival Madras as a trading centre, and its commerce was the most valuable in India. In 1756 a dispute with the British about fortifying the city caused the new nawab ( Mughal viceroy) of Bengal, Sirāj al-Dawlah, to attack and capture the fort there.

United States [ edit | edit source ]

During the Vietnam War, the US Navy's Brown Water Navy, operated its Monitors as part of their River Assault Flotilla One, which "initially" consisted of four River Assault Divisions (RAD) with RAD 91 containing 3 Monitors, RAD 92 having 2 Monitors, RAD 111 having 3 Monitors, and RAD 112 operating 2 Monitors. ΐ]

The Vietnam Monitors were divided into two programs program 4 would consist of the 40mm gun Monitors, while the later program 5 would entail the eight Monitor (H) Howitzer versions, and the six Monitor (F) Flamethrower models. Α] All of the Monitors were converted from World War II 56' long all steel Landing Craft Mechanized (LCMs) Mk 6's. Β] When completed, they were 60' long, 17' wide, with a draft of 3 1 ⁄2 ', had two screws driven by two Gray marine model 64NH9 diesel engines, could do 8.5 knots and were manned by usually 11 or more crewmen. Γ] The fielded Monitors normally averaged about ten tons of armor on them.

A Mobile Riverine Force monitor using napalm in the Vietnam War. Δ]

Watch the video: Roberts-class monitor