HMS Bellerophon: 1909, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1918
HMS Temeraire: 1909, 1912, 1914, 1917, 1920
HMS Superb: 1909, 1912, 1916, 1918, 1919
HMS Bellerophon, 1909
HMS Bellerophon as she appeared upon completion in 1909.
The three ships of the Bellerophon class were designed in 1906 to follow HMS Dreadnought. While several more ambitious designs were put forward, the Admiralty decided on a more conservative design which broadly replicated the features of HMS Dreadnought. The Bellerophons were roughly the same dimensions as Dreadnought, were powered by the same machinery, and retained the same main armament of ten 12in rifles, distributed in pairs in three centerline and two wing turrets. The secondary armament was upgraded, with the 12pdr guns on Dreadnought being replaced by a more powerful battery of 16 4in guns. The after pair of broadside torpedo tubes was also deleted in the Bellerophon design. Additionally, the tripods were rearranged to reduce the effect of smoke on the control tops.
HMS Bellerophon, the lead ship in the class, was laid down in December 1906 and commissioned into the 1st Division of the Home Fleet in February 1909. She bore a large crest on her bridge in the prewar years, which helped distinguish her from her sisters.
HMS Bellerophon, 1913
HMS Bellerophon as she appeared in 1913.
Bellerophon underwent refit in 1913 before rejoining the 1st Division, which had been reorganized as the 1st Battle Squadron, Home Fleet. Her fore control platform was rebuilt along the lines of her sisters, and her 24in searchlight and range indicator were removed. The 4 in guns atop the fore turret were remounted in the forward superstructure, above the existing forward pair of 4 in guns. Blast screens were also fitted for the 4 in guns mounted on the wing turrets. The bridge structure was modified and expanded, being built back around the tripod legs to leave the forward conning tower clear. Bellerophon’s searchlights were redistributed in a concentrated pattern, with a pair fitted on a platform on the after tripod, 4 mounted in new platforms above the bridge on the forward tripod, and two mounted on new platforms abeam the fore funnel. The expanded bridgework and new searchlight platforms gave Bellerophon the heaviest appearance in the class at this time.
HMS Temeraire, 1909
HMS Temeraire as she appeared upon completion in 1909.
Temeraire, the second unit in the class, was laid down in January 1907 and commissioned into the 1st Division of the Home Fleet in May 1909. Two white bands were painted on her funnels to distinguish her from her sisters. In 1909, all ships in the class were fitted with range indicators on their forward control tops.
HMS Temeraire, 1912
HMS Temeraire as she appeared in 1912.
The forward control top was rebuilt, extended with a narrow face. The 24in searchlight was removed, and blast screens were fitted around the 4in guns on the wing turrets.
HMS Superb, 1909
HMS Superb as she appeared upon completion in 1909.
Superb, the third and final unit in the class, was laid down in Feb 1907 and commissioned into the 1st Division of the Home Fleet in June 1909. Two white bands were painted on her fore funnel. Additionally, Superb lacked the 24in searchlight below the fore control top, and her after funnel had distinct caging.
HMS Superb, 1912
HMS Superb as she appeared in 1912.
The forward control top was rebuilt along the lines of her sister Temeraire, and blast screens were fitted around the 4in guns on the fore turret. The range indicator was removed, and the platform below the fore control top was built up with high, curved screens.
HMS Superb, 1914
HMS Superb as she appeared in 1914.
The 4in guns were removed from the fore turret and remounted in the superstructure in enclosed mounts above the forward pair or 4in guns. The searchlights onboard Superb were remounted in a similar pattern as Bellerophon, and the bridgework was extended. The topgallants were removed, stepping down the masts, and a rangefinder was fitted on the amidships turret. At the outbreak of hostilities, the identifying funnel bands were painted over. During the winter of 1914-1915, Superb was painted with an experimental camouflage scheme.
In 1914, with war looming, Superb was redeployed to Scapa Flow with the rest of the 1st Battle Squadron, Home Fleet.