HMS Colossus

HMS Colossus

HMS Colossus was the lead ship of her class that comprised herself and the HMS Hercules. 

The Royal Navy also built a “half sister” HMS Neptune that was built earlier with a slightly different design.

By the time World War 1’s legendary Battle of Jutland, HMS Colossus was the only 12″ gunned battleship that was Flagship of a Battlesquadron. 

HMS Colossus was commanded by Captain Dudley Pound and was the Flagship of Rear-Admiral Ernest Gaunt, Flag Officer of the5th Division of the 1st Battle Squadron, which largely comprised the Royal Navy’s Older 12″ gunned Capital Ships.

At Jutland Colossus first opened fire at 6:30 in the evening at a Battleship in the distant mist. She fired three salvos before checking fire.

Shortly afterwards HMS Colossus fired three more salvos at the Crippled Light Cruiser SMS Weisbaden. She fired another three salvos half an hour later at 7pm as well as engaging the Destroyer SMS G-42, causing significant damage with near misses.

At 7:10pm HMS Colossus engaged the German Destroyers with A Turret and her 4″ Battery, before switching targets at 7:15pm to the BattlecruiserSMS Derfflinger. 

At a range of 8-9000 yards, Colossus fired off 5 salvos at the German Capital Ship using Armour Piercing Capped shells, she claimed 4 hits in this period of action, and it is thought to have actually scored 5, destroying two of Derfflinger’s 5.9″ guns.

During this time Colossus was hit by two 11″ shells from SMS Seydlitz.

These are the only shell hits the German High Seas Fleet scored on the British Grand Fleet. 

Splinter damage set fire to some ready use 4″ cases, which were easily extinguished, caused some light splinter damage and injured two of her crew. 

At 7:35pm Colossus turned away from massed German Torpedo attacks, and her guns fell silent for the final time during the Battle.

Throughout the entire Battle of Jutland HMS Colossus fired 93 x 12″ shells and 16 x 4″ shells.

The Battle of Jutland by Hadrian Jeffs

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