HMSAS Natal (ex-Erin - BB-1914)


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Started life as the Turkish Reshadieh, the ship was delayed in its building and was taken over at the outbreak of WW1 for service in the Royal Navy. Doing the delay tactic on both of the ships that were building in Britain for Turkey really incensed the Turks and made it certain that they would join the German sphere of influence. Being 'given' the German battlecruiser Goeben as a replacement did not hurt either. Erin took its place in the 2nd Battle Squadron and fought at Jutland.

With wars end the Erin was laid up while its future was decided. Being of a non-standard Royal Navy design the Royal Navy did not want to keep the ship for its peacetime fleet. The Washington Treaty also meant that to keep this ship the Royal Navy would have had to scrap another ship of similar tonnage.

The Southern Africans were in the process of divorcing themselves from the British Empire and turning themselves into a self governing Dominion that would remain part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Like Australis, Southern Africa wanted its own fleet, shipbuilding and other heavy industries. They did not want to rely on the British Isles anymore as had been shown by WW1 survival of the United Kingdom was the prime aim of the British while the rest of the 'Empire' came a distant second. All of the manufactured goods went one way - to England. While the need for manufactured goods in the 'Empire' remained unfilled. Southern Africa had alleviated its problem by sourcing replacements from Australis, with joint ventures and trading ventures between the two continued after wars end. The Southern African Navy decided what it wanted for its ships and armed with this list, went shopping amongst the reserve ships of the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy (and the Government) showed the Southern Africans what was completing and would be for sale to them and what would have to be made available by the terms of the Washington Treaty and the building of the new Nelson class ships. A deal was done that both sides could live with and a payment scheme worked out on a "Sail now, Pay later" basis. The Southern Africans made a lot of the payment of this fleet by way of raw materials shipped to Britain.

The Southern African Navy ended up with the two Iron Duke and Erin as the nucleus of their fleet. All armed with 13.5" weapons. The mid 1930's refits reduced the armament from 10 guns to eight. The Southern African Navies choice of the 4.5" turret for its dual purpose armament, rather than the 4.5" BD mounting, meant that only 12 guns could be placed in the positions where 16-20 of the BD mount may have been fitted. This was alleviated somewhat by the twin turret being better at loading, firing, training, and elevation than the BD mounting. The Natal was given the full rebuilding treatment between 1937 to 1939, emerging looking like a modern capital ship.



Displacement 26,500 tons standard, 31,500 tons full load
Length 560 ft
Breadth 92 ft
Draught 29 ft
Machinery 4 shaft geared turbines, 60,000shp
Speed 24 knots
Range 6500 at 14 knots
Armour 12" side, 5" deck, 11"/9"/4" turrets
Armament 8 x 13.5" (4x2)
12 x 4.5" (6x2)
32 x 2pd (4x8)
14 x 20mm (14x1)
Aircraft 3
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1270
Notes HMSAS Natal (ex Erin 8/1914)


Original kitbashed drawing from years ago. One of my earliest, and it shows.


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