fighting ships of the world



NEPTUNE masted turret ship (1881)

Neptune 1883

Neptune 1886




Yard No


Laid down




Neptune (ex-Independencia)     Dudgeon, Millwall // Samuda, Poplar // Portsmouth DYd 1873 10/9/1874 3/9/1881 sold for BU 9/1903


Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

91.4 pp

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



sails + 1 2-cyl HSE trunk, 8 rectangular boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 670

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mm

iron; belt: 305 - 229, citadel: 254 sides, 203 bulkheads, turrets: 330 - 279, decks: 76 - 51, CT: 203 - 152


2 x 2 - 305/12 MLR Mk II, 2 x 1 - 229/14 MLR Mk IV, 6 x 1 - 100/21 20pdr 16cwt BL, 2 - 356 TC



Ship project history: Improved Monarch, designed by Reed for Brazil in 1872. Neptune was an obsolete ship with obsolete machinery compared to contemporary British ships. She failed to move on the first attempt at launching 16/7/1874, and on second attempt, on 30/7/1874, she stopped on the slipway with about one third of the length beyond the slipway, causing extensive damage to the outer bottom plating. She was lightened and successfully launched 10/9/1874, and was taken to Samuda (Poplar) and docked for repairs. Ship was completed for trials in December 1877 and made 14.6kts with 8832hp. She was purchased in March 1878 by the British Government during the Russian war scare she was taken to Portsmouth for alterations for Royal Navy service. Modifications included replacing the Whitworth 305mm and 203mm guns with standard British guns, altering the rig, adding electric light and firing gear and adding TCs on the main deck. Ship was sheathed in wood and copper for tropical service. Neptune had a barque-rig but the sails on the mainmast were subject to rapid deterioration, being too close to the funnels, and the yards were eventually removed, reducing sails carried to the fore and mizzen only. The sailing rig was virtually useless except in combination with the engine. She was a bad seaboat, having a heavy roll and being wet and difficult to manoeuvre.

Ship protection: The hull had full length waterline belt 2.6m deep (0.9m being below wl) which was 305mm amidships reducing to 254mm fore and aft and 229mm at the ends. A citadel between the belt and upper deck protected the hatchways, funnel uptakes and trunks to her machinery and magazine compartments and her turret bases. 229mm guns, mounted under the forecastle, were protected by 152mm armour.

Modernizations: 1886: mainmast was removed, fore and mizzen converted to military masts with large fighting tops, torpedo net defence was added; + 6 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 8 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I

Naval service: In 1887 Neptune was reduced to coastguard service and laid up to reserve in 1893.

Neptune after rig reducing

© Ivan Gogin, 2008-14