This entry in the original builder’s plans series looks at the British battlecruiser HMS Repulse, and is based on her original plans from 1916 and the plans from her major modernisation in 1936. Each set of plans includes deck plans, profiles from the side and sections cut through the ship, so we get every possible view. The level of detail is quite extraordinary, going down as far as individual items of furniture in the officer’s cabins.
The Repulse was one of the last major ships to be inspired by Admiral John Fisher, during his return to the post of First Sea Lord early in the First World War. They marked a return to his original idea of the battlecruiser as fast and heavily armed, with armour a lower priority, but by the time she was ready to enter service that design concept had been discredited by the results of the Battle of Jutland, where several of the British battlecruisers had been destroyed, while the more heavily armoured German battlecruisers had survived heavy damage. The Repulse was thus repeatedly modified, but this didn’t save her from being sunk by Japanese torpedoes during a doomed attempt to intervene in their invasion of Malaya.
As always the great joy in this book is in the details revealed in the plans. With these larger ships they tend to reveal their complexity – the turrets we see above decks are only the tip of the weapons system, with barbettes desending deep into the ship and complex arrangements for the storage of the shells. The space left after all of the weaponry, engines and other essential machinery is installed is crammed with crew quarters, food stores, and a whole world of unexpected spaces – Repulse had a book stall and a soda siphon room, as well as a fully equipped bakery complete with large bread cooling room.
This is another fascinating entry in this series, and gives a good idea of the complexity of this ship, and the modifications carried out in an attempt to keep her a viable member of the fleet.
Decks, As Fitted 1916
Enlarged Profile and Sections, as fitted 1916
Enlarged Profile and Sections, as fitted 1936
Enlarged Decks, as fitted 1936
Author: John Roberts