Cyprus Class Battleships.


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The previous Ibiza class ships had been semi-dreadnoughts with a mixed armament of 4x12" and 8x9.2" guns. The originals plans for the Cyprus class showed another semi-dreadnought this time with 4x12" and 12x9.2". The advent of the Dreadnought led to a redesign - replacing the twin 9.2" with single 12". This gave the same armament as the Dreadnought of 10x12", but the broadside was 7x12" to the Dreadnoughts 8x12". Not much difference but enough to have the Cyprus considered inferior. Also the armour scheme was inferior to the Dreadnoughts. Where the Cyprus did have the advantage was in speed. The new turbine equipment allowed the Cyprus to make 25.5 knots in light displacement while the ships made 24 knots at normal displacement, a three knot advantage over the British and German comparable battleships.

These ships continued the Tyrrhenian Navies dependence on speed not armour  for their main defence mechanism. They can't sink you if they can't catch you! Also it allowed the ships to run down on lesser vessels then catch and dispatch them. Most navies reference sections classed these vessels as 'battlecruisers' once that designation came about in 1912. The ships served in the first world war, the Cyprus being lost at the Dardanelles to mines. The lack of underwater protection was highlighted by this event. The Rhodes transferred from the Dardanelles to the Taranto barrage guarding against a break out by the Austro-Hungarian battle fleet.

The Rhodes remained in service right through to its sinking in 1941. The older the Rhodes got the further down the service tree it sank. By 1935 the Rhodes was reduced to the fleet gunnery training ship, which still entailed it going to sea for cadet training. All that had changed in the previous 30 years to the armament was the addition of some single 25mm AA cannons.

Displacement 19,250 tons standard, 22,000 tons full load
Length 535 ft
Breadth 80 ft
Draught 25 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Parsons turbines, 38,500shp
Speed 24 knots as completed
Range 5000 miles at 10 knots
Armour 9-6in belt,  2in decks, 10"/7"/4" turrets both single and twin
Armament As Completed 1909
10 x 12" (2x2, 6x1)
7 x 4" QF (7x1)
4 x 25mm (4x1)
As Training Ship 1935-1941
10 x 12" (2x2, 6x1)
7 x 4" AA (7x1)
12 x 25mm (12x1)
Complement 730 (805 as Flagship)
Notes TNS Cyprus (1908) Sunk at Dardanelles after striking 3 mines.

TNS Rhodes (1908) Torpedoed and sunk by submarine 1941.

25mm AA gun on the TNS Rhodes circa 1940.


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