HMS Agincourt (1913)

Article

May 17, 2022

HMS Agincourt was an ironclad ship operated by the British Royal Navy. Its construction began in September 1911, at the Armstrong Whitworth shipyards, in Newcastle upon Tyne, being launched to sea in January 1913. It was armed with a main battery composed of fourteen 305 mm cannons, mounted in seven double artillery turrets. , the most guns and turrets ever installed on any battleship in history. With a displacement of more than thirty thousand tons, she had a maximum speed of 22 knots (41 kilometers per hour). She was originally commissioned by Brazil in 1911, named "Rio de Janeiro", at the height of the South American naval arms race. However, the collapse of the rubber cycle and improved relations with Argentina caused the Brazilians to sell the vessel to the Ottoman Empire in December 1913. It was then renamed Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel and was almost complete when World War I. World War began in July 1914. The UK government seized the battleship for use by the Royal Navy, which created resentment in the Ottomans as payment for the ship had already been finalized, a fact that contributed to the Ottoman Empire's decision to join the Central Empires. The vessel was completed and renamed HMS Agincourt, being commissioned into the British fleet in August 1914, joining the Grand Fleet in the North Sea. She spent most of her wartime service on patrol missions and training exercises, but participated in mid-1916 in the Battle of Jutland against the Germans. The ship was placed in reserve in March 1919, after the end of the war, with the British government unsuccessfully trying to sell her back to Brazil. The Agincourt was eventually sold for dismantling in December 1922 to comply with the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, and was scrapped in 1924.

Background

Brazil went through an unstable period after the coup d'état that deposed Emperor D. Pedro II, in November 1889. The Brazilian Navy, especially after the Armada Revolt, in 1893 and 1894, found itself unable to take care of its own ships and unable to acquire new ones. Meanwhile, Chile and Argentina, Brazil's main rival, signed a naval limitation agreement in 1902, as part of a larger solution to a border dispute, however, the two countries still agreed to keep the vessels built. in the meantime, many of which were significantly more modern and powerful than the Brazilian women. The Brazilian Navy also lagged behind its Chilean and Argentine counterparts in quantity: Chile's naval total at the turn of the 20th century was 36,896 tons, Argentina was 34,425 tons, while Brazil totaled only 27,661 tons, even though Brazil has a population three times that of Argentina and five times that of Chile. The international increase in demand for coffee and rubber in the early 20th century led to an inflow of cash to Brazil. Simultaneously, José Paranhos Júnior, the Baron of Rio Branco, led a movement of prominent Brazilians to force the main nations of the world to recognize his country as an international power. The National Congress inaugurated in 1904 a program of naval acquisition. Three small battleships were ordered in 1906, but the launch of the British HMS Dreadnought made the Brazilian navy reconsider. An agreement was signed in March 1907 for three Minas Geraes Class battleships. Two would be built immediately by British shipyards Armstrong Whitworth and Vickers, with the third to be delivered later. Argentina and Chile were alarmed by Brazilian moves and quickly rescinded their 1902 agreement, looking for battleships of their own. The Argentine orders, after a long process