Turret Designations


None The Wiser
Jul 24, 2003
I've always wondered why turrets on ships were often designated A,B, X, Y.
Where was B,C,D etc.

I found this page that explains the designations but, the trouble is, there were so many different methods used by different countries (and in the case of the UK, a different method used for HMS Agincourt alone), I'm more confused than ever.
Sometimes you simply shouldn't ask the question.
And talking about HMS Agincourt (here's a picture)

Imagine all seven turrets used in a broadside. Surely the recoil might capsize the ship?

According to wiki - no. But, apparently, most of the ship's tableware and glassware shattered when it fired its first volley. :D
Turrets between the funnels were usually designated Q (except for HMS Agincourt (above) which had them designated after the days of the week!) The Kreigsmarine used the same method; Bismarck's turrets were "Anton", "Bruno","Cäsar" and "Dora".

The rule was, though that AB/XY turrets had to be superfiring: ie, the guns of B and X had to reach over the roofs of A and Y. HMS Tiger (below) had an odd arrangement where there was a large gap between the two aft turrets, so they were designated A/B, Q, Y.

Incidentally, it's often said that HMS Tiger was the best looking warship ever designed.
HMS Agincourt was an oddity in several ways: originally ordered by Brazil, she was sold on the stocks to the Ottoman Empire when the Brazilians ran out of money, then seized by Britain whilst fitting out at the outbreak of WW1. Brazil wanted the biggest and most impressive dreadnought ever, which is why she had seven turrets. Her nickname in the RN was "The Gin Palace"...


Sorry - push a button, and you get multiple results...
HMS Tiger is indeed a nice looking ship. I still like Belfast but I’m biased because my uncle served on her:)

P.S. HMS Belfast will reappear sometime in the next few years as a Type 26 Frigate.
Interesting. Are they going to rename the cruiser moored in the Thames by the Tower? Surely you can't have two ships with the same name at the same time.

Ah, a quick Google answers that: The 'old' Belfast is to be renamed HMS Belfast 1938, after the year it was launched.
Aesthetically, I personally find the Belfast a little ungainly: I think that she would have looked better if the rear funnel and the rear mast swapped places, and the fore funnel was closer to the citadel - but that's just a personal view.
I do like ships with a semi-pyramid look when viewed from the side. I think the Nelson class battleships look dreadful, whereas I love the shape of the Hood.

Nelson - Ugly
Hood - Handsome
Nelson and Rodney were severely restricted by the Washington Treaty and probably is a big factor in the design (trying to get as much firepower on a smaller than normal tonnage).

Hood, is certainly a great looking ship but when her armour was upgraded in the late thirties, she became prone to swamping in heavy seas.
Yes, it looks like one of those mediæval pictures drawn from a verbal description of the animal.

Do you know the provenance of this pic?
It looks like a north Indian painting, possibly Moghul, later than Medieval.
They had lots of tigers, so if I am correct, this is just the vernacular style.
Do you know the provenance of this pic?
It looks like a north Indian painting, possibly Moghul, later than Medieval.
They had lots of tigers, so if I am correct, this is just the vernacular style.
Yep. Circa 1800, Murshidabad, Bengal.
Talk of badges made me look further into the history of it and here's a page I found very enlightening. I didn't, know, for instance that the shape of the badge relates to the ship type (e.g. round for battleships and battlecruisers, pentagonal for cruisers).

Of course, with battleships no longer the norm, badge shape and colour appears to have changed for ships nowadays.

And talking of modern ships, here's an interesting story on the proposed refitting of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

For best looking warship, I prefer the cleaned-up 1990's look of the Iowa class battleships.
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