|Ship Class||Queen Elizabeth-class Battleship|
|Builder||Devonport Royal Dockyard|
|Laid Down||31 Oct 1912|
|Launched||26 Nov 1913|
|Commissioned||8 Mar 1915|
|Decommissioned||1 Feb 1945|
|Displacement||33,410 tons standard|
|Machinery||24 boilers, 4 direct drive turbines, 4 shafts, 2 oil driven and 2 turbine driven dynamos, 1 reciprocating engine driven dynamo|
|Bunkerage||3,300 tons of oil, 100 tons of coal|
|Power Output||75,000 SHP|
|Range||8,600nm at 12.5 knots, 3,900 nm at 21 knots|
|Armament||4x2 381mm, 12x152mm, 4x2 102mm, 4x8 2-lb AA, 4x4 0.5cal machine guns|
|Armor||4-11in belt, 4-6in bulkheads, 4.25-13in turrets, 4-10in barbettes, 3-11in conning tower, 6in torpedo conning tower, 1-3in deck|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseWarspite was among a WW1-era battleship class whose existance had much to do with the influences of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher and First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Churchill was present when she conducted her first gunnery trials in 1915. In the subsequent months she was damaged twice, first running aground in the Forth then colided with battleship Barham. After repairs, she joined the rest of the 5th Battle Squadron and participated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. She received 15 hits from German capital ships. She lost 14 men and many more were injured while the ship sustained serious damage, plus she was twice hunted by German submarines, but she was eventually able to make it to Rosyth for repairs. Bad luck with collisions and other incidents kept her more so in the shipyards than in battles. At the end of WW1, she was among the ships of the Grand Fleet that received the surrendering German High Seas Fleet.
ww2dbaseWarspite served mostly in the Mediterranean Sea in the years following WW1. Between 1924 and 1926, she was modernized, receiving an array of small caliber guns among other changes. She returned to the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, then spent some time with the Atlantic Fleet. In 1934, she underwent a complete modernization, radically altering her superstructure and adding an aircraft hangar. She returned to active duty in 1937, once again as the flagship in the Mediterranean. In Jun 1939, Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham came abroad as the new commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.
ww2dbaseWW2 began for Britain on 3 Sep 1939, and Warspite was immediately set sail for the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. In Apr 1940, she operated off Norway and on 10 Apr she lent gunfire support at Narvik where British ships sank three German destroyers and damaged 5 others (all 5 were eventually scuttled to avoid capture). Also off Norway, Warspite's Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber sunk German submarine U-64, making it the first U-boat sinking by aircraft in WW2. In the summer of 1940, Warspite returned to the Mediterranean Sea. At the Battle of Calabria on 9 Jul 1940, her shell traveled a distance of 26,000 yards to hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare. At the Battle of Matapan on 28 Mar 1941, battleships Barham, Valiant, and Warspite and other ships sank three Italian cruisers and two destroyers. In May 1941, she was damaged off Crete by German dive bombers.
ww2dbaseBetween Aug and Dec 1941, Warspite received repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the United States. When she left the shipyard on the Pacific coast, it was decided that she would join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean to counter the new enemy power, Japan.
ww2dbaseIn Jan 1942, Warspite became the flagship of Admiral Sir James Somerville of the Eastern Fleet, who relocated the Eastern Fleet's base from Ceylon to the Maldives. In Apr 1942, the Japanese attacked Ceylon in force, sinking cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire and carrier Hermes; Warspite and other ships were dispatched to intercept the Japanese fleet, but they failed to locate it.
ww2dbaseIn Jun 1943, Warspite once again returned to the Mediterranean and joined Force H at Gibraltar. She provided gunfire support during the Sicily invasion in Jul 1943, and on 8 and 9 Sep 1943 bombarded German positions while fending off air attack during the Allied landing at Salerno. ON 10 Sep, she was among the British ships escorting the surrendering ships of the Italian Navy to Malta. She returned to Salerno on 15 Sep to continue the naval bombardment aimed to assist the Allied ground forces ashore. On 16 Sep, she was attacked by a squadron of German aircraft and struck by three FX-1400 guided bombs. Casualties were minor at 9 killed and 14 wounded, but the ship was crippled as one of them pierced the hull. American tugs towed her to Malta then to Gibraltar for emergency repairs, then she sailed on her own back to Rosyth for permanent repairs.
ww2dbaseIn Jun 1944, with the Eastern Task Force, Warspite bombarded German positions on Sword and Gold beaches during the Normandy beaches. On the way back to Rosyth, she set off a magnetic mine, causing heavy damage, but was able to return without further incidents. After repairs, she bombarded Brest, Le Havre, and Walcheren. By Dec 1944, Royal Navy warship involvement in the Atlantic was reduced to very little, and she was decommissioned on 1 Feb 1945 before the European War had ended.
ww2dbaseDespite pleas to convert her into a museum ship, Warspite was sold for scrap in 1947.
Last Major Revision: Apr 2007
Battleship Warspite Interactive Map
Warspite Operational Timeline
|8 Mar 1915||Warspite was commissioned into service.|
|13 Apr 1940||At Narvik, Norway, a British naval force consisted of battleship HMS Warspite and 9 destroyers under the command of Vice Admiral William Whitworth entered Ofotfjord; in the Second Battle of Narvik, Warspite's Swordfish torpedo bomber sank German submarine U-64 with bombs, while surface vessels sank 3 destroyers, with another 5 German ships scuttled by their own crews after suffering extensive damage; three British ships were damaged in the battle; without their ships, 2,600 German sailors went on land and served as infantrymen; Whitworth radioed London, noting that German forces at Narvik were now stranded, and a single brigade could defeat them. Meanwhile, off Trondheim, Norwegian cruiser-minelayer FrĂ¸ya was damaged by German warships while defending the Agdenes fortress; German submarine U-34 scuttled FrĂ¸ya to prevent salvage.|
|9 Jul 1940||At 1515 hours, 50 miles south of Italy, heavily escorted Italian convoy for Benghazi, Libya ran into an equally powerful British convoy for Malta. British battleship HMS Warspite hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare at the range of 24 kilometers, making it one of the longest naval gun hits of the war. Although Italian ships withdrew first, Italian aircraft forced the British ships back by 1700 hours.|
|12 Jul 1940||In the Mediterranean Sea, Italian bombers attacked British battleship HMS Warspite and cruiser HMS Liverpool between 0850 and 1150 hours. HMS Liverpool was hit by a dud, but it still killed 1 and wounded 2. One Italian bomber was shot down by a Sea Gladiator carrier biplane fighter from HMS Eagle.|
|8 Oct 1940||The British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to escort a supply convoy to Malta. The fleet consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Valiant, battleship HMS Malaya, battleship HMS Ramillies, aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, 12 cruisers, 16 destroyers, and 6 submarines; they escorted four British transport ships.|
|19 Dec 1940||British battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Warspite shelled Italian defensive positions at VlorĂ«, Albania overnight in support of Greek advances.|
|20 Dec 1940||The British Royal Navy battleship, HMS Warspite, arrived at Malta's Grand Harbour to a rapturous welcome from the islanders.|
|3 Jan 1941||At 0530 hours, the British artillery barrage began, hitting Italian defensive positions at Bardia, Libya. At 0600 hours, Australian 6th Division began its assault from the west, clearing anti-tank obstacles for the 23 tanks of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment that began attacking at 0650 hours. Between 0810 and 0855 hours, battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, and HMS Barham, along with destroyers, monitors, and gunboats, bombarded Bardia with 244 15-inch shells, 270 6-inch shells, 250 4.5-inch shells, and many smaller caliber shells. The ground forces would penetrate 2 miles into the Italian lines.|
|7 Jan 1941||Admiral Cunningham's Mediterranean Fleet, consisted of battleship HMS Warspite, battlesip HMS Valiant, aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, and 7 destroyers departed Alexandria, Egypt, to meet the Excess convoy.|
|27 Mar 1941||Battleship HMS Warspite, battleship HMS Barham, battleship HMS Valiant, carrier HMS Formidable, and nine destroyers of the British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria, Egypt to hunt for an Italian fleet known to have departed bases in Italy. Four cruisers and four destroyers also departed from Piraeus, Greece, launching spotter planes to search for the Italian fleet, locating it at noon.|
|28 Mar 1941||150 miles off Cape Matapan, Greece at 0635 hours, Italian seaplane spotted a group of four Allied cruisers, and three Italian cruisers moved in to attack, engaging in combat at 0812 hours, to be joined by the big guns of Italian battleships at 1055 hours; after the morning's exchange of shellfire, all four Allied cruisers were damaged by near misses. At 1200 and 1509 hours, Allied torpedo bombers from HMS Formidable attacked, putting battleship Vittorio Veneto out of action for about 90 minutes at the cost of one aircraft. At 1936 hours, HMS Formidable's aircraft returned, joined by land-based aircraft from Crete, Greece, putting cruiser Pola out of action, but failed to catch Vittorio Veneto as she had received temporary repairs and was already en route back to Taranto, Italy. After dark, British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite moved in within 3.5 kilometers of the Italian cruisers undetected, opening fire at 2330 hours on the unsuspecting Italians.|
|29 Mar 1941||British battleships HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite continued to shell the Italian fleet off Cape Matapan, Greece. Italian cruiser Fiume, cruiser Zara, destroyer Alfieri, and destroyer Carducci were sunk, while destroyer Oriani was heavily damaged. At 0400 hours, British destroyers HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian approached damaged Italian cruiser Pola, captured her crew, and sank her with torpedoes. British ships rescued 905 Italian sailors but hurriedly departed at daybreak, fearing Luftwaffe attack; the Royal Navy would provide coordinates of remaining survivors to Italian ship Gradisca to continue to rescue. The Battle of Cape Matapan would close with 5 Italian warships lost, killing 2,303 men; the British suffered only 3 killed, the air crew of a single torpedo bomber lost on 28 Mar 1941.|
|22 May 1941||Before dawn, British warships searched for an Axis convoy off the Greek island of Milos; after sunrise, German aircraft spotted the ships, damaging HMS Naiad (6 killed), HMS Calcutta (14 killed), and HMS Kingston (1 killed) at 1000 hours. At 1200 hours, HMS Greyhound was sunk (76 killed) and HMS Warspite was damaged (43 killed). Shortly after, HMS Gloucester (722 killed) and HMS Fiji (257 killed) were also sunk. Meanwhile, at Crete, Greece, Australian and New Zealand troops counterattacked at Maleme at 0330 hours, but German 5. GebirsgĂ¤ger Division troops repulsed the attack. During the day, additional Ju 52 aircraft brought two more battalions of troops to Maleme. Australian and New Zealand troops were pulled back from Maleme to Suda Bay to protect the main supply point while regrouping for another counterattack.|
|2 Sep 1943||The British Royal Navy battleships HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant bombarded Reggio Calabria at the southern tip of Italy, eliminating a six gun battery.|
|1 Feb 1945||Warspite was decommissioned from service.|
|23 Apr 1947||The battleship HMS Warspite was wrecked on the rocks of Mounts Bay, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, while being towed to the breakers.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945