HNoMS Eidsvold


TYPE: Coastal Battleship/Kystslagsskip
CLASS: Norge class coastal battleship
BUILDING SITE: Armstrong, Newcastle on Tyne, Great Britain
HOIST COMMAND: 29 March 1901
DECOMISSONED: 9 April 1940 (sunk)

ARMAMENT Mk.1 1898
2x 210mm L/44 Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern B)
6x 150mm L/46 fast firing Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern FF)
8x 76mm cannons
6x 47mm BR L/50 semi automatic cannons AA
2x 45.7cm x 4.6m Whitehead Model VIa underwater Armstrong torpedotubes broadside

ARMAMENT Mk.2 1927
2x 210mm L/44 Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern B)
6x 150mm L/46 fast firing Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern FF)
8x 76mm cannons
6x 47mm BR L/50 semi automatic cannons AA

ARMAMENT Mk.3 1937
2x 210mm L/44 Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern B)
6x 150mm L/46 fast firing Elswick Ordnance Company cannons (Pattern FF)
6x 76mm cannons
2x 76mm cannons AA
6x 47mm BR L/50 semi automatic cannons AA
2x 20mm Oerlicon anti air cannons
2x 12.7x99mm Colt machinegun
4x 7.92x61mm Norwegian heavy colt m/29 machineguns

Displacement Loaded: 4233 Metric Tons
Length: 94.6 Meter
Width: 15.7 Meter
Depth: 5.4 Meter
Crew: 270

Eigne: 2x Triple vertical Expansion steam-eignes
Power: 4500 Indicated horsepower
Max Speed: 17 Knots

Hull material: Steel
Waterline/Sides: 152 millimeter
Cannon Tower: 229 Millimeter
Armored Deck: 50 Millimeter

1900: Test drive
1901: Squadron exercises
1903: Squadron tour 1903, -04, -05, -08, -11, and -12
1919: Recruit exercises 1919, -20, - 21, -22, -23, -24, -25 and -26
1923: Royal procession to the Netherlands and Belgium
1940: Torpedoed in Narvik harbor on April 9 by the German destroyer Wilhelm Heidkampf, 175 men perished, only 6 were saved

Whitehead Model VIa torpedo
Dimensions: 45.7cm x 4.6m
Storage: 10 torpedoes (5 in each torpedorooom)
Torpedo: Whitehead Modell VIa
Propulsion: compressed air propulsion
Speed & ranges:
-25.5 knots 1500m
-30 knots 1000m
Explosives: 70kg of Nitrocellulose (very high explosive)

This is a Norwegian modified torpedo.
in tactical situations in Norwegian waters this was an advanced weapon for its time.

The ironclads each had two Armstrong tubes mounted on the port and starboard side of the hull below the waterline. An ingenious construction with a fixed outer tube and a movable inner tube which, when launched, moves about 60cm out of the hull and acts as a form of “screen” for the torpedo to compensate somewhat for the force from the sea given that you launch across the movement of the vessel through the water.

The tubes had electrical firing which, among other things, depended on the tubes’ mechanical movements working to close the circuit. They were significantly more vulnerable to malfunctions compared to traditional simple pipes.


-Underwater torpedo launch tubes (broadside tubes) on our armored ships. Top sketch: View from the side Bottom sketch: View from above

The installation/configuration on HNoMS Norge & Eidsvold

Installation of compressor (Whitehead) and high pressure system

sketch over torpedorooms and other

During the German invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940, EIDSVOLD was located in Narvik and was subject to the Ofoten department. The vessel, which by the conditions of the time was old-fashioned, was almost suitable as a floating battery in inland waters. Despite this, EIDSVOLD was ready for battle when the attack came. When two German fighters were seen from EIDSVOLD, the commander, Commander Captain Willoch, gave the order to call the leading fighter. This turned out to be Commander Bonte’s commanding ship WILHELM HEIDKAMP. When the destroyer did not answer the call, EIDSVOLD fired a warning shot and hoisted a two-flag signal: “Bring your vessel to a halt”. The German destroyer immediately obeyed the order and signaled that “I am sending a boat with an officer”.

Commander Bonte sent his 2nd admiralty officer together with a signalman aboard EIDSVOLD as a parliamentarian with orders to e.g. to urge the commander of the ironclad to enter into loyal cooperation with the German Reich. All parleying on the part of the German officer was in vain, and after he and his companion had left EIDSVOLD, Commander-Captain Willoch took his place during the battle, shouting: “Stand by the guns, now we’re going to fight, boys”. The battle was short-lived, because before EIDSVOLL could fire a shot, it was hit by three German torpedoes which detonated with violent effect. The vessel broke in two and sank bow first within fifteen seconds. The time was then 0437. Of the crew, only six men on board were saved, while 175 men went down with the vessel.

Armoring of vessels gained momentum after the Battle of Hampton Roads during the American Civil War. Norway also acquired four such “floating fortresses”, called monitors, until 1872. However, they had a limited field of operation and after 1872 no investment was made in the concept.

Again, it became a professional question, among other things for the “Marine’s Regulatory Commission”, whether to invest in sea-going vessels or a narrower coastal defence. With limited finances, from 1877-1892 it was the archipelago defense that prevailed and we got a number (however considerably less than proposed) of unarmoured steam gunboats in 3 classes. In 1884, the Ministry of the Navy was merged with the Ministry of the Armed Forces, and the limited resources the Navy received were not enough to replace the monitors with new armored ships. With the strong technological development in the period, this meant that the Navy fell behind in relation to other countries, including Sweden.

It was only when the union dispute escalated in 1895 that there was a real turning point in relation to betting on the Navy. Because Sweden was so superior militarily, they could keep Norway in place in the union by “rattling their sabers” (including their armored ships). Norway’s goal was not war, but a balance of power with Sweden. Then the allocation for the first two armored ships. without prior commission processing. went through on 25 July 1895, there was applause from the gallery. An extraordinary grant of NOK 10 million was no small matter either. In 1898-99, extraordinary grants were again given for two more armored ships.

About the vessels
Although the new armored ships, in contrast to the monitors, had good seagoing characteristics, they were primarily coastal defense ships, with low speed and limited radius of action, but with heavy armament and good protection.

In the construction, many differences were made with the Swedes’ armored ships, especially their newest armored ship Oden, which they had to try to surpass. The vessels had a skirt of armor attached

to wooden beams in the width extension of the deck, and this armor was around the waterline of more than 15 cm. The deck, which itself was on 50 mm armor sloped from the side down below the waterline where it met the armor skirt. Between the armored skirt, the sloping deck and the deck beam it was then filled up with coal. A projectile that hit the waterline thus had to penetrate both the armor belt, the hull and the sloping armored deck to enter the vessel’s vital parts. The vessels also had a double bottom. An armored command tower was placed on the forward bridge where the commander had his place during battle. Great care was also taken to ensure that the vessels would not sink, even if they were hit, and it was therefore divided into a total of 46 watertight compartments, including the double bottom. Originally, the vessels had a “ram” or spar below the waterline in the bow, based on a good old fashioned spar idea. This was later removed in line with the changed tactics, but it would later turn out that such a frame had its hydrodynamic advantages.

Certain improvements were made from the first two to the next two ships. It was found, among other things, that the chimney was inappropriately high and they therefore went in for two slightly smaller chimneys at P/S Eidsvoll and P/S Norge. The development trend was that people gradually tried to squeeze more and better artillery into the vessels, which increased the displacement, but at the same time reduced the speed as the machinery’s performance was not increased accordingly. Otherwise, they were clearly distinguished from each other by the fact that P/S Harald Hårfagre and P/S Tordenskjold had black-painted hulls and yellow chimneys, which was not unusual at the time, while P/S Eidsvoll and P/S Norge would get it two years later new gray color above the waterline.

It is beyond any doubt that Norway, not only through the acquisition of the armored ships, but also through a general rearmament of the Armed Forces up to 1905, had strengthened its selfconfidence, and its later position during the negotiations in Karlstad. Due to Russia’s unfortunate engagement with Japan, Sweden was able to transfer significant naval forces from its east coast to its west coast in June/July 1905. Our armored ships therefore played a particularly important role, both in relation to a possible real attack and thus in relation to the negotiation game. The way Norway was to dispose of its armored ships in this critical phase led to a bitter dispute between the offensive-minded rear admiral Børresen, who was commander of the armored ship squadron, and the more sober vice-admiral Sparre, who was commanding admiral.

Now, as is known, things went well, and after the dissolution of the union, some of the driving force towards a stronger naval defense also disappeared. Some of it is due to financial considerations, of course, but from a professional point of view it was probably equally wrong that the acquisition of the armored ships had not been anchored in a well discussed plan about what the Navy’s tasks were and what role the armored ships were to fulfill. When justified planning proposals were eventually presented in 1908-09, there was still a professional focus on armored ships, but it was only when Norway’s neutrality was threatened in 1913 that the politicians were once again involved in such a move. But the two armored ships that were then ordered were never to be delivered.

World war one
After the tension in relation to Sweden had subsided, Norwegian politicians no longer saw any enemies, and when international tension increased, Norway chose a neutral position. According to the Hague Convention, neutral states are obliged to supervise their territory, according to given criteria, i.e. exercise a police authority in relation to other ship traffic. In addition, Norway could be far from certain that neither England nor Germany would benefit from some form of occupation of Norwegian territory. The west was especially vulnerable. Among other things, this was made visible in 1913 when Emperor Wilhelm, as a pure demonstration of power, came to an unveiling ceremony in Sogn escorted by 25 larger warships! Here the armored ships had to play an important role and the Storting now agreed to the building of two further armored ships from Armstrong in England at a cost of NOK 20 million. These, to be named P/S Nidaros and P/S Bjørgvin, were a further improvement on the old ones, although not as great as one might have expected. Nidaros was decommissioned on 9 June 1914 and was to have been delivered in May 1915, but the needs of the British Navy superseded the foreign missions. Navy Minister Churchill offered to take over/redeem the vessels in a friendly way “for the good of small nations”. Norway protested formally, but of course without effect.

The ironclads were the very backbone and the strategic reserve throughout the war. They constituted security for the use of the smaller vessels, which were largely hired and poorly equipped. They regularly conducted exercises. The armored ships developed a good relationship with the coastal population, and on special occasions they were constantly provided with “extra food” from civilians, which came in handy under otherwise scarce rations. They were not involved in so many specific operations, but when Norway laid mines at Utsira in 1918 to prevent the passage of belligerent submarines (read German) to the Atlantic, the armored ships probably helped to prevent these being swept away.

After the war, Norway was offered to take over Nidaros (renamed Gorgon), but declined this, partly because it had been rebuilt (extended width to withstand torpedo hits) so that there was no longer room in the dock for KJV, and partly because it was not political basis for such expenditure. Bjørgvin (renamed Glatton) had been sunk by the British themselves, following a fire and explosion on board. just 14 days after the command was lifted on 31 August 1918. In this sense, the British enjoyed limited pleasure from their seizures.

The interwar period
After 1918, we entered a period where the politicians again saw no threat to Norway, or where there was a strong belief that the League of Nations would prevent another major war.

Throughout this period, the armored ships were used to a large extent for training and practice purposes. P/S Tordenskjold in particular was given important tasks both with the search for Amundsen in 1928, and because it was frequently used as a cadet ship with many trips abroad.

Second World War
The tragic fate of P/S Eidsvoll and P/S Norway during the German attack is well known. Whether the initial disposition of the force or the result of the skirmish would have been different with more combat-capable vessels remains to be seen, but it does not seem unreasonable to think that at least P/S Norge would have done better if they had technically been more up to speed.

P/S Harald Haarfagre and P/S Tordenskjold were taken by Germans at Karljohansvern and were in German service as the anti-aircraft ships Thetis and Nymphe respectively throughout the war. They returned to the Navy after the war, but were sold and scrapped in 1947 and 1948 respectively.

Models of the armored ships
The Naval Museum has in its collection models of the three types of armored ships described above. The model of P/S Harald Haarfagre/Tordenskjold and P/S Eidsvoll/Norway was bought from a German model builder in 1947. The model of P/S Bjørgvin/Nidaros, on the other hand, was a gift from the shipyard in 1914.

The battleship Norge
In the summer of 1983, diving was carried out down to the wreck by P/S Norge under the auspices of the Marine Museum. It was divers from the Ramsund Orlogsstasjon who carried out the job, which consisted of retrieving objects that were reasonably accessible. A pair of 15 cm guns, a compass column, two steering wheels, a wheelhouse window and various other equipment were taken up. Most of this can now be found in the exhibition at the Marine Museum.



HNoMS Eidsvold — ImgBB



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