Arrogant class second class cruisers

The Arrogant class cruisers were designed to act as rams in support of the battle fleet. By the late 1890s the resurgence of the ram that had begun during the American Civil War had faded away in the face of improved long range gunnery, and the Arrogant class ships seem a rather odd aberration. The First World War would seen a number of ramming incidents, but they were normally attacks on U-boats.

The Arrogant class ships were well designed for their role. In order to increase their manoeuvrability they were made shorter but wider than the previous Eclipse class and given a second rudder. As a result their turning circle was half that of the Astraea class. The bow was formed into an armoured ram, protected by 2in of armour stretching back for 40ft from the front. The conning tower was given heavy armour to protect its crew against gun fire from their target. They were given Belleville water tube boilers, which increased the available power enough to make up for their less streamlined shape.

They were not a particularly successful class. Seven of the eight Eclipse class ships saw active service during the First World War. In contrast, of the four Arrogant class ships only HMS Vindictive was still at sea in 1914. HMS Gladiator had been sunk in 1908. HMS Arrogant served as a submarine depot ship. HMS Furious was laid up from 1913 to 1915. She was then used as a hulk.

HMS Vindictive had a far more active career. She began the war with the 9th Cruiser Squadron on the Finisterre station. From 1915 into 1916 she was on the South East Coast of America station. From 1916 until early 1918 she served in the White Sea. Finally, in 23 April 1918 she was used as an assault ship during the attack on Zeebrugge, before being sunk as a block ship at Ostend on 10 May.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

19kts forced draft

Armour – deck


 - side plating for ram


 - conning tower


 - gunshields


 - engine hatch




Armaments as built

Four 6in quick firing guns
Six 4.7in quick firing guns
Eight 12pdr guns
Three 3pdr quick firing guns
Five machine guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Main guns after 1903-4

Ten 6in quick firing guns
Nine 12pdr guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Arrogant
HMS Furious
HMS Vindictive

Lost before 1914

HMS Gladiator

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 November 2007), Arrogant class second class cruisers ,

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