7 months ago


HMS Formidable As the sail training ship Formidable was entering its last few years, a new battleship, HMS Formidable was under construction. It was laid down in 1898, completed in 1901, and commissioned in 1904. Although H.M.S. Formidable was an advanced design for its time, with triple expansion engines giving a maximum speed of 18 knots and mounting four 12- inch guns and twelve 6-inch guns, all battleships of its class were rendered obsolescent by the construction of H.M.S. Dreadnought, which was commissioned in 1906. This was driven by steam turbines capable of 21 knots and mounted ten 12-inch guns. Such was the dramatic change that all previous battleships, including HMS. Formidable are referred to as pre- Dreadnoughts. In the years before the First World War, Formidable served variously with the Mediterranean Fleet, the Channel Fleet, the Home Fleet and the Atlantic Fleet. The launch of Dreadnought was a two-edged sword. Although it temporarily gave Great Britain a technological lead, it resulted in an arms race with Germany to build a new fleet of Dreadnought-type battleships and battlecruisers, with Britain’s existing large fleet of pre- Dreadnought types being relegated to secondary duties. By 1914 Great Britain had twentynine Dreadnought-type capital ships, with a further thirteen under construction. Germany had eighteen such types, with a further nine being built. Tension between Germany and Great Britain continued to mount, with France now becoming our ally. In 1911, a crisis erupted at Agadir, a port on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. In response to an uprising in Morocco, France sent in troops, and in retaliation Germany sent the Gunboat Panther to Agadir, although there were no German interests in Morocco. Great Britain feared that Germany intended setting up a naval base at Agadir. The situation was ultimately defused, however it led to closer naval collaboration between Britain and France, with the French fleet being deployed to the Mediterranean, and the Royal Navy protecting the northern coasts of France. Both sides prepared for war.