Lion Class Battlecruiser - Service - Post-Jutland Career

Post-Jutland Career

Lion rejoined the Battlecruiser Fleet, again as Beatty's flagship, on 19 July 1916 without 'Q' turret, but then had the turret replaced during a visit to Armstrong Whitworth at Elswick that lasted from 6 to 23 September. In the meantime, on the evening of 18 August the Grand Fleet put to sea in response to a message deciphered by Room 40 which indicated that the High Seas Fleet, less the II Squadron, would be leaving harbour that night. The German objective was to bombard Sunderland on the 19th, with extensive reconnaissance provided by airships and submarines. The Grand Fleet sailed with 29 dreadnought battleships and six battlecruisers. Throughout the 19th, Jellicoe and Scheer received conflicting intelligence, with the result that having reached its rendezvous in the North Sea, the Grand Fleet steered north in the erroneous belief that it had entered a minefield before turning south again. Scheer steered south-eastward pursuing a lone British battle squadron reported by an airship, which was in fact the Harwich Force under Commodore Tyrwhitt. Having realised their mistake the Germans then shaped course for home. The only contact came in the evening when Tyrwhitt sighted the High Seas Fleet but was unable to achieve an advantageous attack position before dark, and broke off contact. Both the British and the German fleets returned home, the British having lost two cruisers to submarine attacks and the Germans having a dreadnought battleship damaged by torpedo.

Lion became the flagship of Vice-Admiral W. C. Pakenham in December 1916 when he assumed command of the Battlecruiser Fleet upon Beatty's promotion to command of the Grand Fleet. Lion had an uneventful time for the rest of the war conducting patrols of the North Sea as the High Seas Fleet was forbidden to risk any more losses. She provided support for British light forces involved in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight on 17 November 1917, but never came within range of any German forces. Lion and Princess Royal, along with the rest of the Grand Fleet, sortied on the afternoon of 23 March 1918 after radio transmissions had revealed that the High Seas Fleet was at sea after a failed attempt to intercept the regular British convoy to Norway. However, the Germans were too far ahead of the British and escaped without firing a shot. When the High Seas Fleet sailed for Scapa Flow on 21 November 1918 to be interned, Lion was among the escorting ships. Along with the rest of the 1st BCS, Lion and Princess Royal guarded the interned ships until both ships were assigned to the Atlantic Fleet in April 1919.

Lion was placed in reserve in March 1920, paid off on 30 March 1922, and sold for scrap on 31 January 1924 for £77,000. Princess Royal was placed in reserve in 1920 and an attempt to sell her to Chile in mid-1920 was unsuccessful. She became the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief Scottish Coast on 22 February 1922, but was sold for scrap in December 1922. Both ships were scrapped to meet the tonnage limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty.

Read more about this topic:  Lion Class Battlecruiser, Service

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