HNoN Eidsvold (BB-1938)
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The Norwegian Navy had basically been a coast defence force right up to the start of World War One. Till then, ships armed with 8.3" and 9.4" guns might have been okay, but the arms race prior to WW1 added so many heavily armed capital ships to the worlds naval lists that those types of ship no longer had any deterrent value. Only large gunned ships could have any chance to defend the coastal routes of Norway.
The British Revenge class battleships were originally to have been a class of seven, but the last two were cancelled and reordered as part of the Barfleur class. This left eight twin 15" turrets with no homes to go to. Four were used to arm monitors. The other four were put aside as extra spare turrets in case of damage to the 15" battleship force. With the Royal Navy being forced to divest itself of ships and equipment at the end of WW1 and through the Washington Treaty, those four turrets were put up for sale and were purchased by Norway for the purpose of putting them aboard two more coast defence ships. When it came time to build the new ships the Norwegian policy had changed and a true battleship would be built with the four turrets aboard.
The Eidsvold was laid down in 1934 and completed in 1938. The use of the refurbished 15" turrets and guns made a considerable saving in building times and costs. The secondary and tertiary armaments were standard British weaponry of the time with 4.5" twin dual purpose turrets and guns, 2 pounder in quad mountings, and single 20mm Oerlikon cannons. The quad 2 pounder weapons were later replaced with 40mm Bofors. When completed in 1938 there was no radar systems fitted. The first radar units would not be fitted till June 1940 when the ship was taken in hand for a full refit and upgrade of systems.
April 1940 and the Germans invade Denmark and Norway. The Eidsvold is at Trondheim when it receives the news of invasion. Steam is raised and the ship makes ready for departure. Just as the ship is leaving port an air strike arrives to try to cripple and hold the Eidsvold in port. The Eidsvold defends itself well with its AA weapons and receives only one bomb hit and two near misses. Outside the Port the Eidsvold runs into the German force that has been tasked with taking Trondheim. The Admiral Hipper and four destroyers attacked the Eidsvold but the Eidsvold was already at full readiness and in a brisk engagement, forced the withdrawal of the German forces with the Hipper being badly damaged and two destroyers sunk. The Eidsvold received a few 8" and 5" shell hits that did little damage. It was the torpedo hit that did the damage. Slowing the ship to 20 knots. The Eidsvold was ordered to Britain to repair the damage received in the action.
|Displacement||38,700 tons standard, 44,400 tons full load|
|Machinery||4 shaft steam turbines, 120,000shp|
|Range||6000 miles at 15 knots (1800 at 30 knots)|
|Armour||12" side, 6" deck, 12"/8.2"/5.1" turrets|
|Armament||8 x 15" (4x2)
16 x 4.5" (8x2)
28 x 2pd (7x4)
16 x 20mm (16x1)
The original plans for the four 15" turrets and guns was to put them aboard a pair of coastal battleships along the lines of the ships they already had in service. What made this interesting was that a ship with four 15" guns to fire a broadside from was the equal of a ship firing a broadside of nine 12". It would require ships of major force to winkle these ships out of their fjord lairs.
So what can I come up with for this pair of ships. Mini battleships.
The two ships were originally to have been laid down in 1925 to replace the Glatton and Gorgon of the Royal Navy, which were originally being built for Norway. The order was put off till 1929 when the Crash of 1929 came along and the order was again put off till 1932. It was in 1932 that the change of policy came about and the design was changed to be a full battleship.
|Displacement||9,700 tons standard, 12,400 tons full load|
|Machinery||2 shaft steam turbines, 35,000shp|
|Range||6000 miles at 12 knots|
|Armour||4" side, 3" deck, 12"/8"/5" turrets|
|Armament||4 x 15" (2x2)
8 x 4" (4x2)
12 x 2pd (3x4)
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