St. Vincent class battleships

The three ships of the St. Vincent class were very similar to the previous Bellerophon class dreadnoughts, designed with speed of construction in mind in the period after HMS Dreadnought had made all older battleships obsolete. This had reignited the battleship race with Germany by making Britain’s numerical superiority in pre-dreadnought battleships irrelevant.

St. Vincent Class Battleship being Launched
St. Vincent Class
Battleship being Launched

Like HMS Dreadnought and the Bellerophon class, the St. Vincent class ships carried their ten 12in guns in five turrets, three on the central line and two on either side of the superstructure, allowing them to fire a broadside of eight guns. A new higher velocity model 12in gun was adopted for this ships, but the increased velocity reduced the lifespan and accuracy of the guns and they would not be used on later battleships.

A number of minor modifications were made during the First World War. In 1915-16 they were given two 3in anti-aircraft guns, later replaced by a single 4in gun. In 1918 Collingwood was equipped to carry a Sopwith Pup and a Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter.

Prince Albert on HMS Collingwood, 1914
Prince Albert on HMS Collingwood, 1914

The three St. Vincent class ships spent the entire war serving with the Grand Fleet. They were part of the 1st Battle Squadron until soon after the battle of Jutland, and were then moved to the 4th Battle Squadron as the Royal Sovereign class ships entered service. All three ships were present at the battle of Jutland, taking part in the short battleship actions. None suffered any casualties during the battle.

HMS Vanguard exploded while at anchor in Scapa Flow on 9 July 1917. Faulty ammunition was blamed. 804 men were killed in the explosion. HMS Collingwood and HMS St Vincent survived the war, but were scrapped in 1921-22 to comply with the fleet limits set at the Washington conference.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



6,900nm at 10 kts

Armour - deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - turret facings


 - conning tower





Ten 12in MK XI guns
Twenty 4in quick firing guns
Four 3pdr saluting guns
Three 18in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Collingwood
HMS St Vincent
HMS Vanguard

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 November 2007), St. Vincent class battleships ,

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