|Ship Class||Queen Elizabeth-class Battleship|
|Builder||Devonport Royal Dockyard|
|Laid Down||31 Oct 1912|
|Launched||26 Nov 1913|
|Commissioned||8 Mar 1915|
|Decommissioned||1 Feb 1945|
|Displacement||33410 tons standard|
|Machinery||24 boilers, 4 direct drive turbines, 4 shafts, 2 oil driven and 2 turbine driven dynamos, 1 reciprocating engine driven dynamo|
|Bunkerage||3,300 tons of oil, 100 tons of coal|
|Power Output||75000 SHP|
|Range||8,600nm at 12.5 knots, 3,900 nm at 21 knots|
|Armament||4x2 381mm, 12x152mm, 4x2 102mm, 4x8 2-lb AA, 4x4 0.5cal machine guns|
|Armor||4-11in belt, 4-6in bulkheads, 4.25-13in turrets, 4-10in barbettes, 3-11in conning tower, 6in torpedo conning tower, 1-3in deck|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Warspite was among a WW1-era battleship class whose existance had much to do with the influences of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher and First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Churchill was present when she conducted her first gunnery trials in 1915. In the subsequent months she was damaged twice, first running aground in the Forth then colided with battleship Barham. After repairs, she joined the rest of the 5th Battle Squadron and participated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. She received 15 hits from German capital ships. She lost 14 men and many more were injured while the ship sustained serious damage, plus she was twice hunted by German submarines, but she was eventually able to make it to Rosyth for repairs. Bad luck with collisions and other incidents kept her more so in the shipyards than in battles. At the end of WW1, she was among the ships of the Grand Fleet that received the surrendering German High Seas Fleet.
Warspite served mostly in the Mediterranean Sea in the years following WW1. Between 1924 and 1926, she was modernized, receiving an array of small caliber guns among other changes. She returned to the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, then spent some time with the Atlantic Fleet. In 1934, she underwent a complete modernization, radically altering her superstructure and adding an aircraft hangar. She returned to active duty in 1937, once again as the flagship in the Mediterranean. In Jun 1939, Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham came abroad as the new commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.
WW2 began for Britain on 3 Sep 1939, and Warspite was immediately set sail for the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. In Apr 1940, she operated off Norway and on 10 Apr she lent gunfire support at Narvik where British ships sank three German destroyers and damaged 5 others (all 5 were eventually scuttled to avoid capture). Also off Norway, Warspite's Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber sunk German submarine U-64, making it the first U-boat sinking by aircraft in WW2. In the summer of 1940, Warspite returned to the Mediterranean Sea. At the Battle of Calabria on 9 Jul 1940, her shell traveled a distance of 26,000 yards to hit Italian battleship Giulio Cesare. At the Battle of Matapan on 28 Mar 1941, battleships Barham, Valiant, and Warspite and other ships sank three Italian cruisers and two destroyers. In May 1941, she was damaged off Crete by German dive bombers.
Between Aug and Dec 1941, Warspite received repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the United States. When she left the shipyard on the Pacific coast, it was decided that she would join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean to counter the new enemy power, Japan.
In Jan 1942, Warspite became the flagship of Admiral Sir James Somerville of the Eastern Fleet, who relocated the Eastern Fleet's base from Ceylon to the Maldives. In Apr 1942, the Japanese attacked Ceylon in force, sinking cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire and carrier Hermes; Warspite and other ships were dispatched to intercept the Japanese fleet, but they failed to locate it.
In Jun 1943, Warspite once again returned to the Mediterranean and joined Force H at Gibraltar. She provided gunfire support during the Sicily invasion in Jul 1943, and on 8 and 9 Sep 1943 bombarded German positions while fending off air attack during the Allied landing at Salerno. ON 10 Sep, she was among the British ships escorting the surrendering ships of the Italian Navy to Malta. She returned to Salerno on 15 Sep to continue the naval bombardment aimed to assist the Allied ground forces ashore. On 16 Sep, she was attacked by a squadron of German aircraft and struck by three FX-1400 guided bombs. Casualties were minor at 9 killed and 14 wounded, but the ship was crippled as one of them pierced the hull. American tugs towed her to Malta then to Gibraltar for emergency repairs, then she sailed on her own back to Rosyth for permanent repairs.
In Jun 1944, with the Eastern Task Force, Warspite bombarded German positions on Sword and Gold beaches during the Normandy beaches. On the way back to Rosyth, she set off a magnetic mine, causing heavy damage, but was able to return without further incidents. After repairs, she bombarded Brest, Le Havre, and Walcheren. By Dec 1944, Royal Navy warship involvement in the Atlantic was reduced to very little, and she was decommissioned on 1 Feb 1945 before the European War had ended.
Despite pleas to convert her into a museum ship, Warspite was sold for scrap in 1947.
HMS Warspite Operational Timeline
|8 Mar 1915||Warspite was commissioned into service.|
|2 Sep 1943||The British Royal Navy battleships HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant bombarded Reggio Calabria at the southern tip of Italy, eliminating a six gun battery.|
|1 Feb 1945||Warspite was decommissioned from service.|
|23 Apr 1947||The battleship HMS Warspite was wrecked on the rocks of Mounts Bay, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, while being towed to the breakers.|
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945