HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser was the last battlecruiser builtDawnTrade

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser (pennant number 51)800px-HMS_Hood_March_17_1924

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four Admiral-class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916, her design—although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction—still had serious limitations. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be completed. She was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood.

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser - Hood was an Admiral class Battlecruiser

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser. Sea view of HMS Hood (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser was officially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet.
Hood had to return to England in 1939 for an overhaul.
At this point in her service, Hood’s usefulness had deteriorated because of advances in naval gunnery.
She was scheduled to undergo a major rebuild in 1941 to correct these issues.
The outbreak of World War II forced the ship into service without the upgrades.

When war with Germany was declared in September 1939, HMS Hood was operating in the area around Iceland. and spent the next several months hunting for German commerce raiders and blockade runners between Iceland and the Norwegian Sea.
After a brief overhaul to her engine plant, she sailed as the flagship of Force H.
HMS Hood participated in the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir.
Relieved as flagship of Force H, she was dispatched to Scapa Flow, as a convoy escort and later as a defence against a potential German invasion fleet.
In May 1941, she and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck which was en route to attack convoys in the Atlantic.
On 24 May 1941, HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser was struck by several German shells early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and exploded with the loss all but for three crew men, had a profound effect on the British.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to “sink the Bismarck”, and they fulfilled his command on 26–27 May 1941.

The Royal Navy conducted two inquiries into the reasons for the ship’s quick demise.
The first, held very quickly after the ship’s loss, concluded that Hood‘s aft magazine had exploded after one of Bismarck‘s shells penetrated the ship’s armour.
A second inquiry was held after complaints were received that the first board had failed to consider alternative explanations, such as an explosion of the ship’s torpedoes.
While much more thorough than the first board, it concurred with the first board’s conclusion.
Despite the official explanation, some historians continued to believe that the torpedoes caused the ship’s loss while others proposed an accidental explosion inside one of the ship’s gun turrets.
That turret explosion may have reached down into and exploded the magazine.
Other historians have focused on the cause of the magazine explosion.
The discovery of the ship’s wreck in 2001 confirmed the conclusion of both boards.
The exact reason why the magazines detonated will forever be a mystery as that area of the ship was thoroughly destroyed in the explosion.

Main article: Admiral class battlecruiser

HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser / Admiral class

The British squadron spotted the Germans at 05:37, but the Germans were already aware of their presence.
Prinz Eugen’s hydrophones having previously detected the sounds of high-speed propellers to their south-east.
The British opened fire at 05:52 with HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser engaging the lead ship in the German formation Prinz Eugen.
Germans returned fire at 05:55, both ships concentrating on HMS Hood.
Prinz Eugen
was probably the first ship to score when a shell hit Hood’s boat deck, between her funnels.
This shell started a fire among the ready to use ammunition for the anti-aircraft guns and rockets of the UP mounts. Before 06:00, while HMS Hood was turning 20° to port to unmask her rear turrets, she was hit again on the boat deck by one or more shells from Bismarck’s fifth salvo.
Bismarck fired from a range of approximately 16,650 metres (18,210 yd).
A shell from this salvo appears to have hit the spotting top, as the boat deck was showered with body parts and debris. 
A huge jet of flame burst out of Hood from the vicinity of the mainmast, followed by a devastating magazine explosion that destroyed the aft part of the ship.
This explosion broke the back of Hood and the last sight of the ship, which sank in only three minutes, was her bow, nearly vertical in the water.

Of the 1,418 crew, only three men survived : Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, Able Seaman Robert Tilburn, and Midshipman William John Dundas.  The three were rescued about two hours after the sinking by the destroyer HMS Electra. 

Aftermath of the sinking :

HMS Hood Type 51 BattleCruiser / sketch prepared by Captain JC Leach HMS Hood Type 51 Battle Cruiser / HMS Hood hit smoke and flames
HMS Hood during and after the explosion. Sketch prepared by Captain JC Leach (commanding HMS Prince of Wales) for the second board of enquiry in 1941. Photo is from the Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives).
The column of smoke or flame that erupted from the vicinity of the mainmast (immediately before a huge detonation obliterated the ship from view) is believed to have been the result of a cordite fire venting through the engine-room ventilators.
HMS Hood Type 51 Battlecruiser

 

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3 Responses to

  1. Aftermath cleanup is a important, If this shell struck somewhere near Hood’s mainmast the delay would have had to be very long for the shell to reach the forward bulkhead of the upper 4″ magazine. If this magazine, which contained only 467 rounds of fixed ammunition exploded.

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