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HMS Royal Oak (08)

From Academic Kids

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HMS_Royal_Oak_(08).jpg
HMS Royal Oak in 1937

Career RN Ensign
Ordered:
Laid down: 15 January 1914
Launched: 17 November 1914
Commissioned: 1 May 1916
Fate: Sunk on 14 October 1939
General Characteristics
Displacement: 29,000 tons
Length: 189 m
Beam: 32 m
Draught: 33 feet 7 inches
Propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons geared turbines, 18 Yarrow boilers, 40,000 shp (30 MW)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km)
Complement: 1,040 to 1,146
Armament: Eight 15 inch (380 mm) guns
Twelve 6 inch (150 mm) guns
Eight 4 inch (100 mm) guns
Sixteen 2 lb (900 g) anti-aircraft guns
Four 21 inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes.
Aircraft:
Motto:

HMS Royal Oak was a Revenge-class battleship of the Royal Navy, sunk early in World War II.

She was laid down at Devonport, Devon on 15 January 1914 and launched on 17 November of that year. She was commissioned on 1 May 1916 having cost almost £2.5 million, the eleventh Royal Navy vessel to bear the Royal Oak name, replacing a pre-dreadnought that had been scrapped in 1914. She fought in the battle of Jutland, in line behind the Iron Duke of John Jellicoe.

She was refitted from 1922 to 1924, the main changes being the removal of torpedo tubes and a general upgrading of her anti-aircraft defences. She was modified again in 1934 at a cost of £1 million, much of the money being spent on upgrading her hull armour and torpedo bulges. She was assigned to the Mediterranean for most of the inter-war period and was accidentally struck by an anti-aircraft shell in February 1937 off the coast of Spain. She returned to the Home Fleet in 1938 and was made the flagship of the Second Battleship Division. She was preparing for another 30 month tour in the Mediterranean when World War II began. She was assigned to Scapa Flow and took part in a fruitless search for the German battlecruiser (or light battleship) Gneisenau in October 1939, in heavy seas her poor top speed left her out of contact for much of the time.

She was the first of the three Royal Navy battleships sunk in World War II. On 14 October 1939 she was moored within the defences of Scapa Flow. In a daring operation, the U-boat U-47, commanded by GŁnther Prien, entered the anchorage through Kirk Sound at high tide, passing over the sunken block ships with barely 1.5 m to spare. Most of the fleet was out to sea and Royal Oak was the only capital ship present. U-47 attacked her twice. The first salvo, fired at 01:04, did little damage, but the second salvo of three torpedoes at 01:22 was successful. Royal Oak, struck amidships, rolled onto her side and sank in around 15 minutes. 833 crew were killed, with 375 survivors. 386 crew were rescued by the tender Daisy 2. U-47 escaped the anchorage an hour before the nets were raised and returned safely to Germany.

Initially the British believed that sabotage was the cause of the sinking, when a submarine attack was realised the anchorage was sealed, hours too late. Despite having warned of the paucity of anti-submarine defences, Sir Wilfred French, Admiral Commanding Orkney and Shetlands, was blamed for the loss and forcibly retired. The eastern approaches to Scapa Flow were sealed with extensive concrete walls, the Churchill Barriers, linking Lamb Holm, Glimp Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay to Orkney Mainland. Anti-aircraft defences were also significantly strengthened.

See HMS Royal Oak for other ships of this name.

Revenge-class battleship
Revenge | Royal Sovereign | Ramillies | Resolution | Royal Oak

List of battleships of the Royal Navy
de:HMS Royal Oak (1914)

pl:HMS_Royal_Oak

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