HMS Dreadnought was a battleship built for the Royal Navy that revolutionised naval power. The generation of ships she made obsolete became known as pre-dreadnoughts, admiral Sir John Jacky Fisher, First Sea Lord of the Board of Admiralty, is credited as the father of Dreadnought. Shortly after he assumed office, he ordered design studies for a battleship armed solely with 12-inch guns and he convened a Committee on Designs to evaluate the alternative designs and to assist in the detailed design work. Dreadnought was the first battleship of her era to have a main battery. She was also the first capital ship to be powered by steam turbines and her launch helped spark a naval arms race as navies around the world, particularly the German Imperial Navy, rushed to match her in the build-up to World War I. In March 1915 Dreadnought became the only confirmed to have sunk a submarine. Dreadnought did not participate in the Battle of Jutland in 1916 as she was being refitted and this was the only time during the war that British dreadnought battleships fired on their German counterparts. Nor did Dreadnought participate in any of the other World War I naval battles, after the Battle of Jutland she was relegated to coastal defence duties in the English Channel, not rejoining the Grand Fleet until 1918. She was reduced to reserve in 1919 and sold for two years later. A related problem was that the shell splashes from the numerous smaller weapons tended to obscure the splashes from the bigger guns. Keeping the range open generally negated the threat from torpedoes and further reinforced the need for guns of a uniform calibre. In 1903, the Italian naval architect Vittorio Cuniberti first articulated in print the concept of an all-big-gun battleship, when the Italian Navy did not pursue his ideas, Cuniberti wrote an article in Janes Fighting Ships advocating his concept. He proposed an ideal future British battleship of 17,000 long tons, with a battery of a dozen 12-inch guns in eight turrets,12 inches of belt armour. The Royal Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States Navy all recognised these issues before 1905. The unheard of long-range fire during the Battle of the Yellow Sea, in particular, although never experienced by any prior to the battle. In January 1905, he convened a Committee on Designs, including members of his informal group, to evaluate the various design proposals. While nominally independent it served to deflect criticism of Fisher and the Board of Admiralty as it had no ability to consider options other than those already decided upon by the Admiralty, Fisher appointed all of the members of the committee and he was President of the Committee. This was deemed necessary after the Russian battleship Tsesarevich was thought to have survived a Japanese torpedo hit during the Russo–Japanese War by virtue of her heavy internal bulkhead, to avoid increasing the displacement of the ship, the thickness of her waterline belt was reduced by 1 inch
Image: HMS Dreadnought 1906 H61017
Turret with twin 12-inch Mk X guns. Two 12-pounder guns for defence against torpedo boats are mounted on the roof.
12-pounder guns mounted on 'X' turret; note the sighting hoods on the turret roof.