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Tiger class Battle-cruiser - HMS Tiger

From SN Guides

Contents

The name Tiger

Tiger is an old established name for the Royal Navy, its first use being recorded in 1546, since that date there have been no less than 14 ships to bear the name with the last use being in 1986.


image:Tiger2.jpg


This is an early image of Tiger in her as built state


  1. Built in 1546 she was a fair sized ship of the day at 150 tons and mounted 22 guns, in 1600 she was cut down into a floating battery and scrapped in 1605
  2. Was a discovery (exploration) vessel of 260 tons and was known to have made a voyage to the Arctic in 1613
  3. Was built at Deptford on the Thames in 1647, L 100 feet beam 30 feet and 457 tons and mounted 32 guns, she was rebuilt at Deptford in 1681 and gain at Rotherhithe in 1701 with a new tonnage of 613, a further rebuilt at Sheerness saw the tonnage rise further to 712 tons, she lasted until the 12th January 1743 when she lost on the reefs of Tortuga in the West Indies.
  4. carried the name of Tiger prize, she was an Algerian vessel captured in March 1678 by the Rupert. In December 1696 she was sunk in the Medway to form part of the foundations for one of the Sheerness forts.
  5. Was a fourth rate ship of the line built in Harwich by Barnards in 1743, L 140 beam 40 feet and of 976 tons mounting 50 guns, she was renamed Harwich shortly after her building and was wrecked on the 04th October 1760 on the Isle of Pines, Cuba.
  6. Was another fourth rate ship, mounting sixty guns she was built by Wells and Stanton 1747 at Rotherhithe on the Thames. L 151 beam 43 feet and of 1,218 tons, she was hulked at Bombay in 1760 and sold on in 1765
  7. Was a Spanish third rate ship of the line mounting 70 guns, L 169 beam 51 feet and 1,886 tons, she was captured on the 13th August 1762 at Havana and sold on in 1784.
  8. Was originally called the Ardent a third rate ship of 64 guns and 1,376 tons built in 1764, she was captured by the French in 1779, retaken by the British in 1782 and renamed Tiger, she was sold on two years later in 1784.
  9. Formerly a Dutch Hoy , a Hoy being a sloop rigged sailing vessel, she was purchased in March 1794, L 68 B16 feet and of just 80 tons she mounted a single 24 pound mortar, she was used as a gunboat until being sold on in 1798
  10. Was another vessel captured off the French , she was taken off the L’Orient River on the 23rd June 1795 she was a third rate ship of the line of 1,887 tons and some 182 feet long, the spelling of the name was slightly different ‘Tigre’ she lasted until scrapping in 1817
  11. Was a former revenue cutter built at Bridport in 1805 and renamed Tiger in 1808, used as a gun-brig she mounted 12 guns and was of 131 tons, she was sold on in 1812
  12. Was a wooden paddle steamer with sloop rig built in 1849 at Chatham Dockyard, 250 feet long with a beam of 36 feet and displacing 1,221 tons she mounted two 10” muzzle loading rifle guns (MLR) and fourteen 32 pounder cannon.

In 1852 she was re-rates as a steam frigate and during action off Odessa ran aground on the 12th May 1854 and fell to the Russians who renamed her Tigr.

  1. Was one of a group of three destroyers built by John Browns on the Clyde, this group was largely based on an earlier destroyer Kestrel built by Thomson (Shortly to be renamed Browns) in 1896-1900. They were speculatively built and as such not really part of a class. Tiger was launched down In May 1900 and completed in June 1901, small by modern standards she was 22 feet long, a little over 20 feet in the beam and drew 9 feet and displaced 425 tons at full load. She was twin screw with two four cylinder triple expansion steam engines developing a total of 6,400 IHP Steam was supplied by four coal fired Normand boilers exhausting into three funnels, the first and third being thin with the centre funnel being much broader, speed 30 knots.

Armament consisted of a single 12 pounder gun mounted forwards of and slightly above the bridge, two single 18” torpedo tubes were mounted one between No2 and 3 funnels and the second right aft. Tiger was lost when in collision with the Monmouth class cruiser Berwick (9,800 tons) on the 02nd April 1908 off St Catherine’s IOW.

  1. Was the Battle-cruiser of this article
  2. Was ordered in March 1942 as the Minotaur class light cruiser Bellerophon, renamed Tiger and launched on the 25th October 1945 by Lady Stansgate – whom a well known MP would rather be called Mrs Benn. Owing to the end of the war Tiger went into an unfinished lay-up. Redesigned in 1951 construction on Tiger resumed in 1954 and she finally commissioned in 1959, she decommissioned on the 20th April 1978 and was scrapped in 1986 by Desquaces at Varela in Spain

The name Tiger has since lain dormant

There was another vessel to be called Tiger but she was renamed Grampus in 1802 before commissioning so does not really count

image:Tiger_new.jpg

Another early image of Tiger prior to any major modifications

Class information

Tiger was originally meant to be the lead ship of a class of two ships, the other ship was to have been named Leopard but she was not ordered, it had already become apparent that battle-cruisers were not good value for money, they were inordinately expensive to build and were very vulnerable at the new longer gunnery ranges, Tiger was also the last capital ship built by the RN to burn coal. Of all the first world war battle-cruiser Tiger was without a doubt the best looking ship of them all, gone was the rather odd looking placement of Q turret between the funnels, instead the three tall round funnels were equally spaced given the ship a well balance air of power and style, these good looks were spoilt in 1918 when her topmast was cut down and added to the derrick post to starboard, and just forward of, her after funnel giving a rather odd look.


Building data

Built by John Browns on the Clyde, Tiger was laid down on the 20th June 1912, she was launched 18 months later on the 15th December 1913 and commissioned into the newly formed 1st. Battle-Cruiser Squadron in October 1913.

Basic Details

L 704’00” B 90’ 06” Draft 28’09” Displacement 28,430 tons standard and 35,710 tons full load Crew 1,121 men

Machinery

Tiger, as other capital ships, was driven by Quadruple propellers powered by Brown-Curtis direct drive steam turbines supplied with steam by thirty-nine large tube type Babcock and Wilcox coal fired boilers. The designed power of 85,000 shp was intended to give 28 knots and on trials she attained 28.38 knots on 91,103 shp. She was designed for an overload power of 108,000 shp to give 30 knots and achieved 29.07 knots on 104,635 shp. Her bunker capacity was 2,450 tons of coal and a further 2,450 tons of oil in her double bottom tanks, this use of double bottoms was a trial for the later Queen Elizabeth class battleships which were to be totally oil fuelled. Fuel consumption was high at just over 50,000 shp she burned 1,250 tons a day and almost 3,000 tpd at full speed. At 10 knots she burned a miserly 253 tons a day giving her a range of 4,600 miles. The machinery was in two engine rooms, one forward and one aft separated by a water-tight bulkhead, each engine room contained a pair or turbines with the high pressure ahead and astern turbine on the inboard shafts and a low pressure ahead and astern on the two outboard shafts, the inboard shafts also incorporated an ahead cruising turbine for fuel economy. The port machinery was in the forward engine room and the aft engine room contained the two starboard turbines. I have yet to determine the number of boiler rooms

Armament

Main battery

Referred to as an Improved Queen Mary type Tiger at last saw the end of the poor sighting of Q turret between the second and third funnels, all three funnels were closely grouped together and the third gun turret, still called Q, was sighted aft of the funnels but still forward of the machinery, although still slightly odd this was a great improvement giving Q turret a greatly improved firing arc un-obscured by a funnel. Apart from the Normal training stops to keep the guns away from the superstructure the only turret with a firing arc restriction was B turret, this could not normally fire from right ahead to 30 degrees either side to prevent muzzle flash from injuring the crew in the sighting hoods of A turret over which it super-fired, Q turret was far enough away from Y so as not to affect it. There are stories of Tigers design being due to the Japanese Kongo class which cannot be supported, the design of Tiger was finalised before the Kongo’s design was finalised in fact it is far more likely that the Kongo, the lead ship of the class Kongo and built in Britain by Vickers – the last major warship built outside of Japan, may have been influenced by the Tiger.

The guns and turrets themselves were identical to those fitted in Queen Mary, eight 13.5” Mk5H C45 guns in four twin Mk2 turrets designated from forwards A, B, Q and Y. The H in Mk5H signifying the firing of the heavier 1,400 lb shell The shell fired using a little under 300 lbs of MD45 cordite, the MD45 indicating cordite manufactured in rods of .45” in diameter. The maximum range for these guns was about 24,000 yards at 20 degrees elevation with a maximum rate of fire of two rounds per minute ( 2RPM) on trials but in reality this would be nearer 2 rounds in 1 min 20 seconds in actual use, 80 rounds per gun were carried. To explain how these guns worked, a person would have to understand the layout of the guns, when look at the guns on a ship what is seen is the turret, or gun-house with its two guns, this fits into a circular protective sleeve, the barbette, this 9” thick metal cylinder protects the turrets rotating mechanism and ammunition hoists. Immediately under the turret is a circular handling room and below that a circular trunk which runs down to stand on its bearing on the inside of the double bottom of the ship, all of this structure rotates with the turret within the confines of the barbette. Around the base of the turret trunk is the shell handling room around this space is the shell room with water-tight doors leading into the handling space, the shell room contained 160 shells – 80 rounds per gun were carried. The shells on British warships were carried horizontally in bins; the shells were lifted from the bins by grabs travelling on overhead rails. To feed the guns two shells at a time are passed out of the shell room doors and loaded into the lower part of a three layer hoist, there were two hoists, one for each gun. Immediately above the shell rooms lay the magazines, round the turret trunk was a circular handling room and off this were four separate magazines arranged in a square, each separate magazine was closed off from the handling space by a watertight door which led onto a short narrow passageway into the magazine. As a safety precaution only one door to any one room should be open at any time. The cordite charges for the guns comprised four quarter charges each one weighing about 75 lbs and consisted of cordite rods contained in a bag of a type of artificial silk called shallon, shallon burnt rapidly without leaving any burning embers, at the base of each charge was a small igniter charge of fine black powder. The charges were stored in tubular protective cases, two quarter charges to a case so each of the four magazines contained 100 cases with a total of 400 cases or 200 full charges per turret, with four turrets the total for the ship was 1,600 cases or 240,000 lbs of explosive, precautions in working in the magazines required all smoking materials to be left outside, and only cotton clothing and special shoes to be worn. As a demonstration of the need for special shoes and clothing, after a gunnery drill on the Lion the magazine floors were swept and the dust laid out in a trail on deck, a match to one end of this trails caused it to flash off instantly. It should be noted that slightly more full charges than shells were carried. To load the guns only one full charge – four cases should be in the lower handling room at any one time, the charges were removed from their cases and then had loaded into the upper two layers of the main hoist, when completely loaded with a shell and four quarter charges the main hoist would be sent up to the upper handling room passing through a set of flap type flash doors on the way. In the upper handing room the cage would stop opposite the gun loading cage were the shells and cordite would be rammed across into the gun loading cage, and the main hoist sent back down below for the next load, the gun loading cage would then be hoisted up to the gun stopping at the lower layer, the gun at this time would be in the load position with the breech lock in (a type of huge door bolt stopping the gun moving during the loading) the breech itself would be open. The shell would now be rammed into the gun a preset distance so that the copper driving bands at the base of the shell would engage with the rifling in the gun barrel. The rammer would withdraw and the cage move down one level and the first two quarter charges would be rammed home, with the rammer and hoist repeating the operation for the two quarter charges on the upper tray. The loading tray and gun loading cage would now withdraw dropping back into the upper handling room for the next load, the breech would slam shut and rotate to the lock position, and the breech lock would release allowing the gun to elevate to its firing position. Once all the safety interlocks had opened and the gun had been aligned with the direction and elevation dials fed from the main battery director transmitting station the gun ready lights would come on in the main battery and when ready the guns could be fired. It was normal practice in daylight to initially fire salvos, i.e. half the guns – normally all the left guns would fire together, and then wait for the shell to land. Observation of the fall of shot would indicate whether the firing solution was correct, if not it would be adjusted before firing the other four guns. Once on target full broadsides could be fired if required although this was rarely done unless the chance of a hit was an almost certainty, at night because the fall of shot could not be seen it was the usual practice to fire full broadsides. One of the major draw-backs to these guns and their fire-control was that the director system only worked to 15 degrees of elevation, thus limiting the ship to 15,000 yards range, beyond this she had to use her turret control gear, however Tiger was fitted with the enlarged 6 degree prisms allowing the use of the full range of the guns


Secondary battery

Along with improvements to the main battery Tiger was also fitted with a greatly improved secondary battery, the four inch guns of earlier battle-cruisers was insufficient to stop the larger torpedo boats being built by her possible opponents so she was fitted with fourteen single Mk7 6” C45 guns, unfortunately one retrograde step was taken with these weapons, due to their extra weight ten of them were mounted in casemates below the foc’sle deck with the final two being mounted in a casemate above the foc’sle deck over the fwd lower guns. These weapons fired a 100 lbs shell to range of about 8 miles (17,000 yards) at a rate of 6 to 7 rounds per minute with 200 rounds per gun being carried.

The AA armament consisted of just two 12 pounder (3”) Mk1 20 cwt guns, four 3 pounder Hotchkiss saluting guns were also fitted which could also supplement the AA guns, in 1915 these were reduced to two guns, in 1919 the battery was reinstated to four guns. In 1923 the 12 pounder AA guns were removed and four 4” Mk4 HA AA guns fitted, in 1924 in a retrograde step two of these new weapons were removed and in 1925 the other pair was replaced with four Mk1 12 pounder / 3” guns. In 1928 she was fitted with two of the new design 2 pounder pompoms. In 1929 the four 12 pounders were replaced with the more modern Mk1 3” HA AA guns


Fire Control equipment

The Tiger was the first battle-cruiser to be fitted with director control of her guns from new and her fire control represented a slight improvement over earlier battle-cruisers but reverted to the Dreyer- Elphinstone clock a retrograde step from the Argo clock retro-fitted in the previous Queen Mary, the fire control table itself being a Mk4 Dreyer table . The Dreyer table was invented by Admiral Sir Frederic Charles Dreyer, the table was in fact a mechanical computer which from a large number of variable inputs such as target and own ships course and speeds, wind direction etc calculated the settings to place on a gun where it’s shell would fall were the target would be predicted to be. On observing the fall of shot the gunnery officer could manually input corrections to the table. The table was contained well down in the ship, below the armoured deck in a space called the ‘transmitting room’, from here feeds to two pairs of dials – bearing and elevation in each turret were taken, thus the trainers and pointers at the guns would follow these pointers and so all guns would be trained and elevated together on the intended target. The Dreyer- Elphinstone clock was a collaboration between Dreyer and Keith Elphinstone from the civil engineering company Elliot Brothers, in simple terms the ‘clock’ was a mechanical calculator for the change of range in two ships, this clock was a development of an earlier device the Dumaresq clock, the data from the clock was one of the many inputs into the Dreyer table. Although not a bad system it was more successful on the Queen Mary due to her Argo clock being better at solving rapid range changes. To give an idea of the complexity of a control table a crew of seven men and a controller was required to feed in the various data on the table which was almost ten feet long by five wide. The inputs to the table being : Target range, Target relative bearing, fall of shot, Owns ship course, own ship speed, apparent wind direction, apparent wind speed, temperature, barometric pressure and finally the firing impulse. Outputs were: Gun Range to the repeaters in the gun houses, bearing and deflection to the repeaters in the gun houses, firing gong, and finally the firing impulse to electrically fire the guns

Range finding was by a nine-foot base coincident type range finder manufactured by Barr and Stroud. Barr and Stroud’s was founded in 1888 by two inventors, Archibald Barr who became the Professor of Engineering at Glasgow university and William Stroud who was the Professor of Physics at the Yorkshire College Initially working from a small workshop in Glasgow they later moved to a large factory at Anniesland in 1904. The coincidence range-finder consisted of a single eye-piece in the centre of a long tube with two lenses facing the target at either end of the tube, prisms are rotated by a dial and thus range is read off the dial corresponding to the angle of the prisms. Much has been written about the supposed superiority of German range finders which used the Stereoscopic principle, these worked in a similar way but used two eye-pieces, one advantage of the German system was that it did not as absorb as much light as did the British system so it would work better in poor light conditions so on first sighting of each other the German range finders gave the edge over the British units in that they were more likely to obtain an early hit. But once the British had got the range their superior fire control meant that they would keep on hitting with greater frequency.

image:Tiger1.jpg

This image shows tiger with an an aircraft launching platform and canvas hanger on top of Q turret, these were fitted at the end November 1917 but she still has her original topmast, it was moved in 1918 to the top of the derrick post forwards of the after funnel so this image is dated very late 1917 to mid 1918

Torpedo armament

Four submerged 21” torpedo tubes were fitted to Tiger, these were in pairs firing on either beam, and the rooms ran across the vessel and were located between the upper and lower platform decks immediately forwards of A turret barbette for the forward pair and aft of Y turret barbette for the after pair.


Armour Protection

Although there were some improvements on the armoured scheme of the previous Queen Mary Tiger still lacked sufficient armour and was every bit as vulnerable to long range plunging fire as her earlier sisters. The main belt running from Just forward of A to just aft of Y turret and extending from 6 feet below the water line to the first deck above was of 9” thick non cemented armour plate, topping this was a thinner belt of 4” running for the same length and reaching the upper deck aft and the foc’sle deck forwards.

Closing off the armoured citadel at the ends of these belts was an armoured bulkhead of 4” forward and 2” aft, the barbettes protecting the ammunition hoists and rotating element of the gun houses were 9” when outside of other armour but tapering to 1” inside of other armour. The armour deck was of 3” over the machinery and magazines and just 1” elsewhere, proof against light to moderate cruiser fire only and only slightly thicker than earlier battle-cruisers. Turret faces were 9” with 3” on the sides and roof, the control tower was protected by 10” plating


Early Service History

In October 1914 Tiger was hastily completed and sailed in a rush from the Clyde southbound for the English channel on sailing the ship was searched but no trace of her confidential signalling code books could be found, only a parcel wrapped in brown paper marked ‘Top secret do not open’ so no one opened the parcel which contained the missing code books!.

She called at Plymouth but due to enemy activity was sent strait out to sea, still no code books. On passing through the Dover Straits she was challenged by a strange warship and illuminated by her searchlights; thankfully Tiger recognised the French Cruiser and did not open fire. Today the thought of a brand new, expensive and unescorted warship in such a position seems incredulous; she continued her passage up the North Sea to the firth of Forth without further incident after some adventurous soul had opened the secret brown paper parcel. On the 06th November 1914 Tiger joined the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron (1BCS) part of the Grand Fleet and was based on the Firth of Forth life was initially quiet with her time spent on training and drills with an occasional sweep of the North Sea. On the 16th December 1914 Hippers battle-cruiser force of Seydlitz (flagship) Moltke, Von der Tann and Derfflinger along with the armoured cruiser Blucher, four light cruisers and 18 destroyers carried out a bombardment of the east coast towns of Hartlepool and Scarborough. The Admiralty were aware the battle-cruisers were to be at sea for two days but not their purpose and sailed the 2nd Battles Squadron (2BS) consisting of the battleships KGV, Centurion, Ajax, Orion, Monarch and Conqueror, accompanying them were Britain’s only active battle-cruisers, those of Beatty’s 1BCS – Lion, Queen Mary, Tiger and New Zealand plus a weak force of four old armoured cruisers, four light cruisers and just seven destroyers. Although the two forces did not meet they did pass about 10 miles apart with fleeting contact between the two destroyer’s forces, this meeting was sufficient to convince Hipper his destroyers were in contact with the screening destroyers of the entire British Grand Fleet and he immediately made a 180 degree turn at steamed for home at high speed. Unbeknown to the British who expect nothing more than Hippers battle-cruisers Hipper was support by the entire German High Seas Fleet. Had the weaker British 2BS and IBCS actually met the whole of the German fleet this action could well have changed the whole course of the war for this was the very situation Scheer wanted, to isolate and annihilate a portion of the British Grand Fleet thus altering the balance of power in his favour, following this near miss the four battle-cruisers returned to their base.

Dogger Bank Action

On the 24th January 1915 Lion took part in the second major fleet action of the world war one, the so called battle of the Dogger bank.

Admiral Franz von Hipper, commander of the German battle-cruiser squadron the 1st Scouting group (1SG) : Seydlitz (flag), Moltke, and Derfflinger and two flotillas of destroyers had planned to attack the British fishing fleet and it’s protective forces on the Dogger bank in the central North Sea, as his forces were rather weak due to one of his battle-cruisers, Von der Tann, being in dry-dock it was decided to include the armoured cruiser Blucher, this was a grave error, Blucher had been conceived as a response to the Invincible and Indomitable class battle-cruisers when their true size and gun power was hidden beneath a layer of propaganda. Blucher displaced just over 15,000 tons standard and was armed with 8.2” guns although a rather good gun for the time it was no match for the 12” and 13.5” guns of the British battle-cruisers nor could her top speed of just 23 knots match even her own fleet let alone the faster British ships.

Opposing them and sailing in good time to protect the fishing fleet and supporting forces was Rear Admiral David Beatty with the 1BCS : Lion (flag) Tiger ( new and not yet fully worked up) and the Princess Royal, and Rear Admiral Archibald Moore’s 2BCS : New Zealand (flag) and Indomitable, also with Beatty was Goodenough from Harwich with four light cruisers – Southampton, Birmingham, Lowestoft and Nottingham plus two and a half flotilla’s of destroyers. At 0700 on the 24th January 1915 Beatty was positioned 40 miles north of the Dogger bank and maintaining strict radio silence, stationed 40 miles to the NW as a covering force and to prevent Hipper approaching from a more northerly course was Vice Admiral Bradford’s 3rd battle squadron ( 3BS) comprising seven pre-dreadnought battleships. Shortly after 0700 first contact with the German fleet was made when the cruiser Kolberg was sighted, she was on the port flank of Hippers main force, fire was opened between the opposing cruiser forces, Beatty expecting this contact moved in at high Speed on a SSE course with his battle-cruisers whilst Hipper took a more cautious line as he could see the heavy smoke to the NW and had to be wary that this was not a large part of the British Grand Fleet, on sighting Beatties battle-cruiser force Hipper performed an almost 180 degree turn to the SE, his position was not good, almost 200 miles from base with no help, he increased to the maximum speed of Blucher – 23 knots with Beatty setting off in chase keeping clear to starboard of the wake of the German ships in case of dropped mines and steadily building up to 28 knots. At 0900, Lion in the van, and at 20,000 yards commenced firing at the rear of the German line – Blucher, the two fleets now manoeuvred so that the Germans were in En-echelon and could return fire from their after starboard guns and the British their forward port guns. Shortly after 0900 all the British ships were concentrating on the rear of the German line and the Blucher was hit frequently, a hit on the water-line reduced her speed so that the two slower battle-cruisers of Moore’s 2BCS were within range. As with all the British ships concentrating on the nearest ship so were the German ships on the Lion, at 0928 she was hit on the water-line causing some flooding of her bunker spaces but did not penetrate past them. At 0935 Indomitable was ordered to engage Blucher whilst Beattie’s ships and New Zealand engaged opposite numbers in Hippers battle-cruisers with Lion engaging Seydlitz, Tiger mistakenly also engaged Seydlitz, instead of her intended target the Moltke, leaving Moltke to fire at Lion unchallenged, Princess Royal engaged Derfflinger. All three German ships maintained their fire on Lion which inevitably began to receive quite heavy damage. Although under heavy fire Lion almost immediately hit the Seydlitz a devastating blow, at a range of 17,500 yards she hit the deck abreast the after turret, D on German ships, this hit penetrated the decks and hit the barbette of D guns, although this only made a small hole red-hot splinters of armour sprayed round the upper handling room inside the barbette and ignited two sets of charges in the gun loading cages waiting to be loaded into the guns, the white hot flames from the rapidly burning charges killed all the men in the gun house and tragically also shot down the turret trunk into the lower handling room were two more sets of charges were waiting to be sent up to the handling room for the following load, these two sets ignited as well killing all the crew in the lower handling spaces, in their desperation to escape the lower handling space crews opened the doors from D magazine to the magazine spaces for the super-firing C turret, tragically the flames passed from D to C magazine spaces and incinerated all the crews there as well, in all 159 men died and the loss of the ship was only prevented by the rapid flooding of the two after magazines, had Seydlitz been using the same type of propellant as the British she would almost certainly have been lost, the connecting doors were there to pass ammunition between turrets should one run out of ammunition, following this hit a re-assessment was made of German propellant handling, some statements that additional flash protection arrangements were made following this battle are wrong, the German ships simply made sure less propellant was removed from its protective cases and those that were correctly conveyed to the guns. Tiger at this time was still firing at Seydlitz but was mistakenly spotting the fall of shot on Lion’s shells; in fact her own shells were landing 3,000 yards over (past) the Seydlitz. Lion was hit on A turret roof just before 1000 hrs putting one of the guns out of action, just after 1000 an 11” shell from Seydlitz hit on the water line penetrating the 9” side armour belt and flooding the engineers workshops and disabling two of the ships dynamo’s, the after fire control was also disabled by this hit. At 1018 Derfflinger hit the Lion with two 12” shells one flooded the torpedo flat the other the port bunkers , Lions speed now began to fall, Beatty and his staff stood out on the open bridge were soaked from near misses,. At 1052 Lion was hit in the boiler rooms and caused flooding to the feed tank, this shortly stopped the port turbines due to salt in the boiler water and flooding reducing her speed to 15 knots, also as the list developed to about 10 degrees her third and final dynamo failed thus she could now only signal by flags. Being left behind Beatty could only watch as the rest of the ships sped past in pursuit of the German ships which were taking as great a punishment as the Lion, at this moment a submarine was supposedly sighted and Beatty signaled a turn to port to the NE across the wake of the German ships a second signal was then hoisted ‘attack the rear of the enemy’ meaning the rear of Hippers ships but due to a signaling blunder this was hauled down at the same time as the signal for a NE course and was thus interpreted as ‘attack the enemy to the NE’ so the remaining four British battle-cruisers attacked the luckless Blucher which now badly damaged by the Indomitable and new Zealand lay to the NE. A further signal meant to be Nelsonian in style ‘engage the enemy more closely’ ended up with the nearest modern equivalent Keep nearer to the enemy’. Beatty realising he had lost control of the battle and what was happening now transferred his command to the destroyer Attack but all was in vain, to the NE 4 British battle-cruisers turned the Blucher into a living hell, Tiger separated from the Princess Royal, New Zealand and Indomitable for a time as she had to alter course to fight a serious fire which had broken out, with the fire extinguished she used her superior speed to catch up and join in the bombardment of the Blucher. Blucher bravely returned fire until at 1210, hit by torpedoes she turned over and capsized, her losses were very high but she had bought time for Hipper to flee back to Germany. Blucher laid bottom up for a few minutes and 260 of her brave crew were rescued by British destroyers and the cruiser Arethusa, tragically a German sea-plane arrived on the scene and bombed the British ships which may have prevented the rescue of more men, the German admiralty heavily criticised his decision to attack the destroyers at this time. The Attack caught up with the Princess Royal at 1220 hrs and Beatty transferred his flag to her, on learning what had happened little could be done to pursue the remainder of Hippers ships, they would be almost back at their base before they could be overtaken so Beatty signaled the return to Rosyth, Lion was now slowly steaming back towards base herself, salt contamination and flooding had reduced her speed to barely 8 knots and 1530 it had fallen further still when a tow rope was passed from the Indomitable, the rest of the force provided a screen round the invalid whose engines failed totally and was towed home by Indomitable. Lion arrived back under tow at the Firth of Forth in the early hours of the 26th January , repairs from the 16 heavy shell hits took four months, British damage was limited to the Lion , very slight damage to the Tiger and cruiser Aurora and medium damage to the destroyer Meteor with a total of 15 dead against the loss of one armoured cruiser, severe damage to the Seydlitz and less serious to the Derfflinger and Kolberg but over 1,000 men had died and had the Lion not lost power and made a mess of her flag signals Hippers force may well have been totally lost. As a post script to this action Rear Admiral Moore was quietly moved side-ways, although following his superiors perceived orders to the letter, it was thought that initiative should have sent him after the real target, Hippers ships and left what was a lame duck, the Blucher, to Indomitable, but once again Hipper had escaped the clutches of the British through inadequate communications. The Dogger Bank action also showed that although gunnery ranges had increased greatly, gunnery control, on both sides, had not advanced as much and the hit ratio had fallen as a result. Lion had fired 243 rounds of 13.5” shell and had scored only 4 hits – 1.6% low but no different to the other ships, her hits were one on the Blucher, One on Derfflinger and two on Seydlitz., most of the hits by the German ships were on the Lion, sixteen 11 and 12” and one 8,2” ( Blucher), although badly damaged she had shown that British battle-cruisers could with-stand battle damage and survive even though their armour was on the thin side, Lion suffered just 11 men injured with no deaths. Tiger was hit six times by heavy shells, one hit was on Q turret roof (crown) with splinters from the hit jamming the turret training gear putting the turret out of action, she suffered ten deaths and 11 injuries more tellingly of the 255 shells she fired during the battle she scored just one hit on the Seydlitz an appalling indictment of the level of her training at that time, following her return to base Tiger was under repair until the 08th of February before rejoining the IBCS. German losses during the battle were over 1,000 killed with another 300 wounded whist the British lost just six men with 22 injured.

Post Dogger Bank

The next major sortie including the Tiger came on the 25th March 1915, much as the German fleet had been trying to draw a portion of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet into a trap and destroy so was Jellicoe in return, this sortie involved a raid on the Zeppelin airship sheds at Hoyer in Germany by sea-planes from HMS Vindex, covering the seaplane carrier were the Harwich light cruiser and destroyer forces whilst as heavy cover Beatty was cruising to the North of the Horns Reefs and Jellicoe slightly further north with most of the Grand Fleet. Hipper put to sea with his battle-cruisers supported by two battleship squadrons that night but did not proceed very far before returning to base, the official report on the return was due to bad weather, Beatty cruised off the Horns Reef for a full 24 hours but the nearest the two fleets came to contact was 60 miles or more.

On the 24th April 1915 Scheer again put to sea with his battle-cruiser forces, Seydlitz struck a mine and was forced to return but the remainder of the force carried on with its assignment of bombarding Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. The RN was aware of the movement via the decoding of German radio messages decoded by Room 40, the WW1 equivalent of Bletchley Park, but not were the attack was to take place, the Grand Fleet and Beatty’s battle-cruisers including Tiger, put sea as did the Harwich cruiser forces. Tyrwhitt’s Harwich cruiser forces sighted the German ships and attempted to draw them away from Lowestoft but this intent failed and all that took part was a brief skirmish with the escorting German light cruisers, for their part the Germans had a substantial force of smaller British ships at their mercy and failed to act on it and instead turned for home at speed. In the mean time Jellicoe and Beatty’s forces were make slower progress due to strong head winds which had made the passage too rough for their escort destroyers which were left behind, again the British missed an opportunity, this time by 130 miles.

On the 04th May 1915 a raid on the airship sheds at Tondern was carried out again with little real damage and again supported by Beatty’s battle-cruisers, including the Tiger, as a covering force with Jellicoe further to the north covering Beatty, this attack provoked no response from the Germans and Beatty returned to port the next day.

To read the remainder of Tigers history follow the link below to page two


Bibliography

Bibliography:

  1. IWM,
  2. Jutland – John Campbell,
  3. Jutland - Geoffrey Bennett,
  4. Conway’s 1906-21
  5. Royal Naval names JJ Colledge and Ben Warlow
  6. Beatty - Stephen Roskill


Tiger class Battle-cruiser
Tiger class Battle-cruiser - HMS Tiger Tiger class Battle-cruiser - HMS Tiger page two


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