Royal Navy Lion Class Battleship


Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
14 August 2009
Reaction score
The Lion class were a class of four battleships for the British Royal Navy of which two were laid down and never completed. They were an elaboration of the King George V class and were intended to replace the First World War-era Revenge class.

The Lion-class constituted the following ships:

HMS Lion (27)

* Vickers Armstrongs, Walker, ordered 1939-02-21, laid down 4 July 1939

HMS Temeraire (36)

* Cammell Laird & Company, Birkenhead, ordered 1939-02-21, laid down 1 June 1939

HMS Conqueror (45)

* John Brown & Company, Clydebank, ordered 1939-08-16

HMS Thunderer (49)

* Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan, ordered 1939-08-16

General Characterstics

Type: Battleship
Displacement: 42,500 tons standard
46,500 tons full load

Length: 785 ft (239 m) o/a
Beam: 104 ft (32 m)
Draught: 30 ft (9 m)
Propulsion: 8 × Admiralty 3-drum water tube boilers, Parsons geared steam turbines, 4 shafts, 130,000 shp
Speed: 30 kt (28 kt full)
Range: 3,720 tons oil, ?
Complement: 1,600 (+80 flag)

* 9 × BL 16-inch (406 mm) Mark II L/45 in triple turrets Mk.II
* 8 × QF 5.25-inch (133 mm) Mark I L/50 in twin turrets Mk.I
* 48 × QF 2 pdr Mk.VIII L/39 (40 mm) in octuple mounts Mk.VIII

Armour: Belt

* 15 in (381 mm) tapering to 5.5 in (140 mm)
* 4-13 in (101-330 mm) closing bulkheads

Main deck

* 6 in max (152 mm)


* 12-15 in (305-381 mm)


* 6-15 in (152-381 mm)

Conning tower

* 2-4.5 in (51-115 mm)

Aircraft carried: up to 3 × Supermarine Walrus
Aviation facilities: Hangar & catapult

Source: British and Empire Warships of the Second World War, H. T. Lenton, Greenhill Book


  • HMSLion01.jpg
    105.2 KB · Views: 478
  • HMSLion03.jpg
    74.7 KB · Views: 382
  • ship_badges_Lion_class.jpg
    491.8 KB · Views: 302
Initially it was planned to build eight Lions, which got watered down to an eventual none. The design changed a lot over the years as different experience was included. The specs above are a sort of mismash of various design stages, they aren't the specs as laid down, as likely to be completed, or postwar designs.

I've quite a bit on the Lions which I'll get round to posting tomorrow.
RA is quite right about the "mixed spec". Lions were originally designed to 40,000tons standard, with straight bows like King George V, as in Tritons post. The ships ordered 1939 were to that design.
42,500tons was the estimate for a 1942 revision which had a flared bow like Vanguard's.
Detailed articles on their design history by John Roberts in "Penultimate Battleships" in Warship Volume V, Numbers 19 and 20.
Eight Lions was an Admiralty "wish list" . Only four were ever authorised; three ordered (the fourth order, due to be placed Nov 1939, was not placed as war had broken out). Lenton's other dates are not quite accurate, either. His book is very wide-ranging, but with some (usually minor) errors in the details. Only Lion and Temeraire were ever laid down, soon suspended at the beginning of the war, but not actually cancelled until after the war. The secondary armament was 16x5.25in DP as in King George V. Eight twin turrets.
Top Bottom