HMSAS Rhinoceros (TS-Mon 1918 (1936-mod))


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This ship started life laid down as one of a pair of Coast Defence ships for Norway. Eventually both ships were completed as Monitors in 1918 for the Royal Navy as the Glatton and Gorgon. The Glatton was sunk in Dover Harbour to prevent a magazine explosion while the Gorgon was transferred to the Southern African Navy in 1923. The Southern African Navy was always short of ships that could be used as dedicated Training ships. If the ship was too modern and/or in a class that the SAN Admiralty needed for fleet duties the ship would never see a cadet or trainee. Ships like the old armoured cruisers and pre-dreadnoughts were just what was needed. The RN in completing these ships had converted the original 9.4" guns to the RN 9.2" standard weapon size. In doing so the RN had created the longest ranged guns of WW1 (except the 3x18" guns completed for Furious). With superfiring charges the guns fired their 380-390lb shells out to 39,000 yards. The guns made a range of 30,000 yards with standard charges.

The original armament included 4 single 6" guns, two of which in B and X positions were removed during the 1930's and replaced with a pair of twin 4" dual purpose AA guns. Another pair replaced the 4.7" mounted by the funnel. Single 20mm were mounted in the late 30's as the close range AA armament.

Having such a large coastline to protect this ship combined its training duties with coast defence patrols. The ship may not have been fast and the triple expansion engines coal fired, but these were not detrimental to the stirling service provided by this ship. A great need was created along the North African coast in support of the Army of Egypt against the Italians then with Germans, for fire support ships, and the Rhinoceros filled this role.


Displacement 5,800 tons std 7,050 tons full load
Length 310 ft
Breadth 55 ft (74 ft bulged)
Draught 16 ft
Machinery 2 shaft triple expansion, 4,000ihp
Speed 12 knots
Range 3,000  miles  at 11 knots
Armour 7" side, 2.5" deck, 8" turrets
Armament 2 x 9.2" (2x1)

2 x 6" (2x1)

8 x 4" (4x2)

8 x 20mm (8x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 305
Notes HMSAS  Rhinoceros (ex HMS Gorgon)

HMS Glatton, sunk in Dover harbour 1918



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