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China Station

Taken with this game, I have decided to try and build all the ships that existed on the Royal Navy's China Station in 1900, and other nation's ships that were or may have been in theater at the time. I have upped the scale to 1 block to 2 feet, which seems to work better for historical builds. 

I will start with this: HMS Goliath.

HMS Goliath was the most powerful Royal Navy warship on station in 1900. Goliath was a Canopus class battleship, the class being designed with deployment to China Station in mind. Designed by William White, the Canopus class took advantage of the lighter Krupp Cemented armour rather than the preceding Harvey Nickel armour that allowed for the same protection for less weight - it was thought that 6" of KC would be the equivalent of 9" of HN. This allowed for a slightly smaller vessel than the previous Majestic class, with less draught, and it also allowed for an increase in speed. The need for first class battleships in the Far East was prompted by the Russians planning to deploy battleships to Port Arthur and the Japanese 6-6 programme. They were not meant for peacetime deployment over the long-term, and the hulls were not sheathed and coppered for colonial service. Instead, it was planned that they would spend their peacetime careers in the Mediterranean where there were better facilities to support ships of this size, deploying East if war broke out. The ships were armed with four 12" MkVIII guns, housed in turrets that allowed for loading at any angle of train using the hoists pioneered in the last two ships of the Majestic class. The ships also carried a strong secondary battery of 12 6" Quick Firing guns plus ten 12lb Quick Firers to deal with smaller vessels at close quarters. 

HMS Goliath herself had been completed in March 1900 and had been intended to sail for China Station on commissioning to relieve the Majestic class HMS Victorious that had been acting as a 'stiffener' on-station. However, delays caused by additional trials meant that Victorious had long left Hong Kong by the time Goliath put out on 30th May, it then being intended that she relieve the second class battleship HMS Centurion as she was due to return to Britain for a refit. Arriving at Wei Hai Wei on 18th June she was immediately sucked in to the Boxer Rebellion, with landing parties being sent ashore. This was clearly a long maiden voyage! Although not meant to stay out in China for the long term, Goliath did not leave until 15th August 1903, but was able to take advantage of the drydock at Kowloon to keep her hull clean of 'marine life'. 

The first captain of Goliath was Captain Lewis E Wintz RN, a fairly anonymous career officer who seems to have done little of note throughout his career. I cannot help but think he was a 'safe pair of hands' who could be trusted with a new and powerful ship. Wintz eventually made Rear Admiral, finally retiring in 1909.

Goliath herself was not so fortunate. Soldiering on into the First World War, she was patently obsolescent like many of the ships making up the fleet to support the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign. She was torpedoed on the 13th May by the Turkish destroyer Muavanet I Milliye, who put three torpedoes into the old ship. Goliath sank rapidly, out of a compliment of 750 men, less than 180 survived. 


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