Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
HMS Hood (51)
|Ordered:||7 April 1916|
|Laid down:||1 September 1916|
|Launched:||22 August 1918|
|Commissioned:||15 May 1920|
|Fate:||Sunk by German battleship Bismarck on 24 May 1941|
|Length:||860 ft 7 in (262.3 m)|
|Beam:||104 ft 2 in (31.7 m)|
|Draught:||33 ft 1 in (10.1 m)|
|Propulsion:||Geared oil fired turbines, 4 shafts, 144,000 shp|
|Complement:||c. 1,200 peacetime, c. 1,400 wartime|
|Armament:||8 x 15 inch (381 mm), 12 x 5.5 inch (140 mm), 8 x 4 inch (102 mm), 24 x 2 pounder (907 g), 20 x 0.5 in (12.7 mm) calibre guns|
|Aircraft:||1 fitted from 1931 1932|
|Motto:||Ventis Secundis (Latin: "With the Winds Favourable")|
HMS Hood (pennant number 51) was a battlecruiser of the Royal Navy. She was one of four Admiral-class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916 under the Emergency War Programme , but her sisters were never completed, and Hood was Britain's last battlecruiser. She was named after the 18th century Admiral Samuel Hood.
Construction of Hood began at the John Brown & Company shipyards in Clydebank, Scotland, on 1 September 1916. Following the loss of three British battlecruisers at the Battle of Jutland, 5,000 tons of extra armour and bracing was added to Hood's design. The intention behind this change was to give her protection against 15 inch guns, such as her own - in theory moving her to the status of a true battleship. This has led to some describing her as the first fast battleship . To add to confusion, Royal Navy documents of the period often describe any battleship with a speed of over 24 (or so) knots as a battlecruiser, regardless of the amount of protective armour.
However, the re-working was hurried and flawed. Only the forward cordite magazines were moved below the shell rooms—cordite explosions destroyed the RN battlecruisers lost at Jutland. The combination of the deck and side armour did not provide continuous protection against shells arriving at all angles. Most seriously, the deck protection was flawed—spread over three decks, it was designed to explode an incoming shell and then absorb the damage. The development of effective time delay shells at the end of the WWI made this scheme worse than useless. In addition she was grossly overweight compared to her original design, making her a wet ship with a highly stressed structure. It was seriously suggested that she should be scrapped before she was launched - the post war economy drive made replacing her impossible, however.
Construction on her sister ships Anson, Howe, and Rodney was stopped in March 1917, but work continued on Hood. Two factors were at work regarding this decision. Firstly, the German ships that the class were a response to were never completed. Secondly, the flaws in her protection and design were apparent - the repeated redesigns of the sister ships did not solve them. Instead, a series of studies leading to the N3 and G3 battleship and battlecruiser designs was started.
She was launched on August 22, 1918 by the widow of Admiral Sir Horace Hood , a Jutland casualty and distant relative of the famous Lord Hood for whom the ship was named. After fitting out and trials, she was commissioned on May 15, 1920 under Captain Wilfred Tomkinson and became flagship of the British Atlantic Fleet 's Battle Cruiser Squadron. She had cost £6 million.
In the inter-war years she was the largest warship in the world at a time when the British public felt a close affinity with the Royal Navy. Her name and general characteristics were familiar to most of the public, and she was popularly known as the Mighty Hood. Because of her fame, she spent a great deal of time on cruises and "flying the flag" visits to other countries. In particular she took part in a world-wide cruise between November 1923 and September 1924 in company with Repulse and several smaller ships. This was known as the Cruise of the Special Service Squadron and it was estimated that 750,000 people visited Hood during that cruise. In 1931 her crew took part in the Invergordon Mutiny.
She was given a major refit in 1930 and was due to be modernised in 1941 to bring her up to a standard similar to other modernised World War I-era capital ships. The outbreak of war made it impossible to remove her from frontline service, and so she never received the scheduled update.
Hood was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in late 1936. In June 1939 she joined the Home Fleet's Battle Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow; when war broke out later that year, she was employed principally in patrolling the vicinity of Iceland and the Faroes to protect convoys and intercept German raiders attempting to break out into the Atlantic. As the flagship of Force H, she took part in the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir in July 1940. In August she rejoined the Battle Cruiser Squadron and resumed patrolling against German raiders.
During the Battle of the Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941, she was hit by a shell fired by the German battleship Bismarck which caused the catastrophic explosion of her aft magazines. Of the 1,418 aboard, only three survived.
The exact cause of her loss was never ascertained. The Royal Navy's war-time Board of Inquiry concluded that her loss was:
- due to a hit from BISMARCK's 15-inch shell in or adjacent to HOOD's 4-inch or 15-inch magazines, causing them all to explode and wreck the after part of the ship
but no determination was made as to exactly how such a shell penetrated Hood's armour to reach the magazines. A recent lengthy technical analysis has confirmed that conclusion, and also discovered several paths by which a lucky hit might have reached the magazines. Interestingly, it reveals that the much-maligned deck armour was almost certainly not a factor.
The dramatic loss of such a well-known symbol of British naval power had a great effect on many people; some later remembered the news as the most shocking of World War II.
The wreck of Hood was discovered in 3,000 metres of water in July 2001 by an expedition funded by UK-based Channel Four Television and ITN, and led by shipwreck hunter David Mearns. In 2002 the United Kingdom government designated the site a war grave.
- See HMS Hood for other ships of this name.
- Ernle Bradford, The Mighty Hood (World, Cleveland, 1959) An overall history, including her peace-time career.
- Alan Coles, Ted Briggs, Flagship Hood: The Fate of Britain's Mightiest Warship (Robert Hale, 1985) Ted Briggs was one of the three survivors of Hood's loss.
- Maurice P. Northcott, Hood: Design and Construction (Bivouac, London, 1975) A shorter work giving technical details of her construction.
- John Roberts, Anatomy of the Ship: The Battlecruiser Hood (Conway Maritime, London, 1989) A lengthy work giving great detail on her construction.
- David Mearns, Rob White, Hood and Bismarck: The Deep Sea Discovery of an Epic Battle (Channel 4, London, 2001) Describes the expedition to find the wreck of the Hood, as well as its current state.
- Report on the Loss of H.M.S. Hood (Admiralty record ADM116-4351, London, 1941)
- William J. Jurens, The Loss of HMS Hood: A Re-Examination (originally published in Warship International No. 2, 1987) A modern technical analysis of Hood's loss.
- H.M.S. Hood Association
- Hunt for the Hood Includes colour photographs and a log of the expedition.
- Blue Water Recoveries The Hood page at the deepsea exploration company which found her.
- HMS Hood 1920 Official Royal Navy page.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details