anchor chain


Line drawing of Victoria

Displacement 23,000 tons
Armament 2 x 1 18"
Heavy and Light AA
Speed 31 knots
VTS Rating 2   1   6

Furious (and her "Grand Fleet" sister Victorious) were both conceived by Lord Fisher as "large light cruisers" designed to run into the Baltic to support an amphibious landing on the Kaiser's German north shore. They outweighed some battleships and, though having only two main guns, they had the largest naval artillery afloat when built. These "cruisers" were the test-bed for the new 18" guns that would go aboard the "Saints" class now building. Somewhat unwanted as Royal Navy gunships, Furious became converted to an aircraft carrier. Half-sisters Glorious and Courageous were modernized, but Victorious was offered for sale "as is" to any "friendly" nation and redesignated a "light battlecruiser", a somewhat doubly derisive term in view of the British experience with even moderately-armored battlecruisers in the First World War. There were no takers for a long time.

Victorious was given to Australia in 1936 to help bolster her Far East naval forces against an increasingly hostile Japan, and to partially counter the 18" guns of the redoutable Kii that had just made its surprise debut. The British wanted the name "Victorious" for a new CV then building, so the Aussies shortened the name to Victoria, a former Queen and a region of that island continent. When she arrived she had the largest Allied guns afloat in the Far East, and the Aussies claimed that the presence of such ordnance led Japan to hasten the 20"-gunned Satsuma-class ships to meet the threat.

Victoria was called out to search for German pocket battleships reportedly raiding the Arabian Sea oil tankers. She met up with the Admiral Scheer, and the fight was on. The "overly endowed light cruiser" had a margin of speed and explosive firepower over the pocket battleship, but rather less armor, less volume and rate of fire, and lacked the ranging radar that enabled quick acquisition of the target. Scheer's high volume of radar-directed fire created near-misses early in the engagement. An "over" from Victoria smashed Scheer's radar apparatus, but Scheer had the range down and hit Victoria amidships simultaneously with two shells from one salvo, breaking her absurdly unprotected hull in two.

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