RZS Forod-Waith (BC-1910)


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The secret of the Invincible class being armed with 12" guns instead of the 9.2" propaganda had put about, had fooled even the RN's Dominion Allies. The Zealandian Navy needed to build an answer to the Japanese Tsukuba and Ikoma type Armoured Cruisers. Naval Attache's in the US had provided the information on the South Carolina class and their 12" guns in superfiring positions. A uniform armament of 10" guns in four twin superfiring mountings should give the ship(s) an edge over the Japanese ships. Better speed than the Japanese and German ships in the Asian theatre would allow the Forod-Waith class to catch and sink them, or see the battleship and run.

Originally to have been a class of two, the second ship was cancelled and re-ordered as the Numenor Class, because the Invincible showed up with its 12" guns and the 10" design no longer looked so good. Everybody started building bigger, better, faster ships. The Japanese four ship Kongo class was matched by the Numenor and Gondor classes.

Originally classed as an Armoured cruiser its designation was changed to Battlecruiser after 1913.

The Forod-Waith had a fairly quiet war right up until the ship was acting with a mixed French, Italian, Commonwealth force of cruisers in the Adriatic against the Austro-Hungarian Fleet. Forod-Waith was Flagship with the rest of the ships being light cruisers, the Squadron doing a sweep up the Adriatic hoping to catch some A-H cruisers/minelayers. An A-H force was at sea with one Armoured cruiser as cover force (Sankt Georg) and three light cruisers loaded with mines. One view of the Allied force and the A-H force turned tail and ran, the faster 28 knot A-H light cruisers went off out of view leaving the slow 22 knot Sankt Georg to face the music. This is what the Forod-Waith had been built for, killing slower and weaker armoured cruisers. Admiral Cartwright ordered the other cruisers clear of his line of fire (none were fast enough to catch the A-H CL's) and proceeded to have a practice shoot with the unfortunate Sankt Georg being the recipient. Within 30 minutes the Sankt Georg was a wreck with fires burning out of control. Its 9.4" and 7.5" guns had never come close to hitting the Forod-Waith. It was rather pleasing for the ships crew to have sunk the Sankt Georg as the ships crest featured a dragon which had finally got to turn the tables on its nemesis from history.

That was the Forod-Waith's crowning glory, the rest of the war being quiet, with only the Goeben's break-out around the Island of Imbros raising the threat level to red and steam being raised ready to go off and intercept Goeben if that ship had gone further into the Mediterranean. As history tells us Goeben attacked and sank shipping around Imbros then dived back into the Dardanelles behind the Turkish guns.

The inter-war period was quiet, the Forod-Waith spent the period 1920-1925 as Flagship of the Rohan Class light cruisers as the 3rd Cruiser Squadron. After 1925 the ship was reduced to the fleet training ship and remained in that role through to 1945 when the ship was discarded and scrapped. At one stage in 1944, the ship was surveyed to see if it could be used as a fire support vessel, but the main guns were virtually smooth bores and would have been more of a danger to the crew than their targets.

Displacement 18,500 tons standard, 22,200 tons full load
Length 550 ft
Breadth 76 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 2 shaft, steam turbines, 45,000shp
Speed 26 knots
Range 7500 miles at 14 knots
Armour 7" side, 2" deck, 6"/4"/4" turrets
Armament 8 x 10" 4x2)
10 x 4" (10x1)
6 x 3" AA (6x1)
4 x 2pd (4x1)
Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 740 (825 as Flagship)
Notes RZS Forod-Waith (03/1910) Discarded and scrapped 1945.

Trialing a 10" gun destined for the Forod-Waith class, while the other guns are 7.5" eventually to be fitted to the Rohan class.


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