RHNS Thesalonika (BB-1923)


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Thesalonika was the 2nd Greek Dreadnought, this one being ordered from the Germanic States while Salamis was ordered from the United States. Both ships were to be armed with US guns, 12" for Salamis and 14" on the later Thesalonika. War broke out with Thesalonika about 70% complete and without the armament having been delivered. The Royal Navy blockade of the Germanic States meant that the 14" guns would not be delivered till after the completion of the war. There was some thought that the ship would be completed with a German armament but this would have meant building a new turret and set of guns to fit the barbettes of the ship. The German Navy yards and armouries were already working to capacity and to add another order would not have helped the situation. The 14" turrets were sold by the manufacturers to Great Britain and these were fitted to 4 monitors. Unfortunately at wars end and when the ship was looked at to complete with the original guns, one of the monitors had been sunk by the Goeben and was no longer available. The Greeks now had the problem of what to do with the hull and 3 turrets that were offered back to them by the British. The lessons of the First World War had passed the Thesalonika by. The Turkish Navy purchasing the Moltke to partner the exGoeben, forced the Greek hands and they requested the ship be towed to the Cammel Laird yard at Birkenhead for fitting out. The United States made the offer of a replacement 14" turret from the spares kept for the Texas / Oklahoma types. This was gratefully accepted by the Greek Admiralty.


The original 6" casemate guns were removed and plated over, the guns being replaced with 5.5" single guns as were fitted to the two light cruisers sold back to Greece during 1919-20, at the main deck level.

Sent to France for rebuilding in 1934, again to keep up with the Turks, the ship was remodelled on the latest French capital ships of the Dunkerque class. The ship was not wide enough to utilise the quad 5.1" turrets the French had on Dunkerque so the twin 5.1" was fitted instead.


Displacement 22,500 tons std 29,400 tons full load
Length 605 ft
Breadth 82 ft
Draught 27.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 40,500shp
Speed 23 knots
Range 4500 miles at 15 knots
Armour 10" side, 3" deck, 10" turrets
Armament 8 x 14" (4x2)

12 x 5.1 (6x2)

12 x 37mm (6x2)

12 x 20mm (3x2 6x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1125

Original drawing of Thessalonika as it was to be completed about 1915.


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