BRITISH MONITORS OF WW1
Code - 3MGB1
Description - BRITISH MONITORS OF WORLD WAR 1
Admiral John Fisher, the First Sea Lord and Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty cherished ideas of coastal bombardment operations early in the First World War. Although they proposed large numbers of craft for these operations the main difficulty was obtaining the necessary guns, and mountings, rather than the actual hull which could be built quite quickly. Early in 1914 they were offered four twin 14 guns and mountings by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of America, originally built for the Greek Battlecruiser Salamis then building in Germany. With the British blockade of German ports there was no possibility of the guns being delivered, and they were therefore sold to the Royal Navy along with 4000 rounds of ammunition. The hulls for all four ships, initially numbered M1-M4 were laid down in December 1914, and all four completed by June 1915. In February 1915 they were named Farragut then Admiral Farragut, General Grant, Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson as a compliment to the Americans who had supplied the guns. This was not well received as America was trying to show its neutrality and the source of the guns, together with an order for 20 submarines placed with the Bethlehem works was a decided embarrassment. Accordingly on 19 June 1915 they were renamed Abercrombie, Havelock, Lord Raglan and Earl Roberts. By 22 June the first pair had changed their names again to the shortened forms of Raglan and Roberts.
In December 1914 8 more vessels were ordered, and this time the guns were to come from disarming four of the old Majestic class of Battleships Mars, Magnificent, Hannibal and Victorious. The new Monitors, originally numbered M5- M12, were named Sir John Moore, Lord Clive, General Craufurd, Earl of Peterborough, General Wolfe, Prince Rupert, Prince Eugene and Sir Thomas Picton. All were laid down by January 1915 and completed by November of that year. The first three were in action on 22 August 1915. Throughout the War the secondary armament on the monitors varied from time to time, but in 1918 three 18 guns from the Light Battleruiser Furious had become available and it was decided to mount these on Lord Clive, General Wolf and Prince Eugene. The guns were to be mounted in a fixed mounting facing starboard with a maximum elevation of 45° giving the guns a maximum range of 40,000 yards. Both Wolf and Clive received their 18 gun, Prince Eugene was on her way to Portsmouth to be fitted when the Armistice was signed, and the refit was cancelled.
The next source of mountings came from the decision to build Repulse and Renown as Battlecruisers with 6 x 15 guns, rather than Battleships with 8 x 15 guns. This released two twin 15 mounts and monitors M13 and M14 were designed to carry them. As the guns were designed for battleships, rather than shallow draft monitors, the barbette had to project 17 above the deck. The ships were completed in June and August 1915 and named Marshal Ney and Marshall Soult. It had been decided to power the ships with Diesel engines intended for two oilers building at Pembroke, and while both ships were under powered, Marshal Ney was little short of a disaster. She was refitted in October 1915, but even then proved to be a liability, and in January 1916 the Admiralty decided to transfer her main armament to a new monitor. Soult continued in service throughout the war, and then served as a turret drill until 1940, when her main armament was transferred to the new Monitor Roberts.
With the failure of Marshal Ney the Admiralty decided to build two new Monitors, Erebus and Terror to use the main armament of the two ships. However, when Marshal Soult appeared to be much more satisfactory than the Ney it was decided to retain her, and therefore was necessary to obtain two more 15 guns and these were obtained by finishing one of the 15 gun turrets being prepared for H.M.S. Furious in case her 18 guns did not live up to expectations. These two vessels proved much more satisfactory than their predecessors and both served, as monitors, in World War 11.
The Admiralty continued to look for guns to be mounted on monitors, and decided to use various marks of 9.2 gun, four of which had been held as spares for armoured cruisers and 10 which had previously been mounted on Edgar class cruisers. One was mounted on each of 14 small monitors numbered M15 to M28. The final group of monitors obtained their guns from the decision to remove four main deck 6 guns from each of the five Queen Elizabeth class battleships. Whilst two of the guns were mounted higher in each ship, this left ten 6 guns available, and M29 to M33 were built to carry two each.
As well as the vessels specially built as monitors, the Admiralty were able to take over three gunboats built for Brazil, the Javary, Solimυes and Madeira, which were renamed Severn, Humber and Mersey. These vessels had been completed in February 1914, but Brazil had been unable to pay for them and they were put up for sale. Two other vessels were building in Britain at the outbreak of war, namely the Norwegian coast defence vessels Nidaros and Borgvin. These were purchased from Norway in early 1915 and renamed Glatton and Gorgon.
Pack of all 40 British Monitors built during WW1 plus 3 ships with 18 gun added. 9 Different types - 43 models.
N1704 GENERAL WOLFE x 3
N1704A LORD CLIVE x 8
N1705 TERROR x 2
N1706 MARSHAL NEY x 2
N1708 MERSEY CLASS x 3
N1709 GLATTON x 2
N1723 M15 CLASS x 14
N1731 RAGLAN x 4
N1738 M29 CLASS x 5