Forward-class cruiser

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Forward class
HMS Forward.jpg
Class overview
Name: Forward
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Adventure class
Succeeded by: Pathfinder class
Built: 1903–1905
In commission: 1905–1921
Completed: 2
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics (as built)
Type: Scout cruiser
Displacement: 2,850 long tons (2,896 t)
Length: 365 ft (111.3 m) (p/p)
Beam: 39 ft 2 in (11.9 m)
Draught: 14 ft 3 in (4.3 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 Shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Complement: 289

The Forward-class cruiser was a pair of scout cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. Both ships participated in World War I; the vessels consisted of HMS Forward and HMS Foresight. Both ships survived the war, but were scrapped shortly after its end.

Background and design

In 1901–02, the Admiralty developed scout cruisers to work with destroyer flotillas, leading their torpedo attacks and backing them up when attacked by other destroyers. In May 1902, it requested tenders for a design that was capable of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), a protective deck, a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi) and an armament of six quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 18 cwt guns, eight QF 3-pounder (47 mm) guns and two 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes. It accepted four of the submissions and ordered one ship from each builder in the 1902–03 Naval Programme and a repeat in the following year's programme.[1]

The two ships from Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company became the Forward class. Four more 12-pounders were added to the specification in August. The ships had a length between perpendiculars of 365 feet (111.3 m), a beam of 39 feet 2 inches (11.9 m) and a draught of 14 feet 3 inches (4.3 m). They displaced 2,850 long tons (2,896 t) at normal load and 3,100 long tons (3,150 t) at deep load. Their crew consisted of 289 officers and other ranks.[2]

The Forward-class ships were powered by a pair of three-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam provided by a dozen Thornycroft boilers that exhausted into three funnels. The engines were designed to produce a total of 16,500 indicated horsepower (12,300 kW) which was intended to give a maximum speed of 25 knots.[3] The scout cruisers soon proved too slow for this role as newer destroyers outpaced them. The ships carried a maximum of 500 long tons (508 t) of coal.[4]

The main armament of the Forward class consisted of ten quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 18-cwt guns.[5] Three guns were mounted abreast on the forecastle and the quarterdeck, with the remaining four guns positioned port and starboard amidships. They also carried eight 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[3] The ships' protective deck armour ranged in thickness from .375 to 1.125 inches (10 to 29 mm) and the conning tower had armour 3 inches (76 mm) inches thick. They had a waterline belt 2 inches (51 mm) thick.[3]


  • HMS Forward - launched on 27 August 1904 and sold for scrap on 27 July 1921.
  • HMS Foresight - launched on 8 October 1904 and sold for scrap on 3 March 1920.


  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 99–101
  2. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 100, 294, 301
  3. ^ a b c Chesneau & Kolesnik, pp. 84–85
  4. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 101, 294
  5. ^ Friedman 2011, p. 112


  • Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Corbett, Julian. Naval Operations to the Battle of the Falklands. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents. I (2nd, reprint of the 1938 ed.). London and Nashville, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum and Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-256-X.
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8.
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.

External links

  • Forward class in World War I
  • History of the Forward class
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