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FIGHTING SHIPS OF THE WORLD
UNITED KINGDOM
SHIPS-OF-THE-LINE, CAPITAL SHIPS, MONITORS
CERBERUS coast defence monitors (2, 1870)


Photo



Cerberus at Williamstown  

Ships


Name

No

Yard No

Builder

Laid down

Launched

Comp

Fate

Cerberus (Victorian Navy, Australia)   225 Palmers, Jarrow 1/9/1867 2/12/1868 5/5/1870 hulk 1900
Magdala (RIM, 10/1892- RN, 3/1903- RIM)     Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 6/10/1868 2/3/1870 11/1870 sold to BU 1904


Technical data


Displacement normal, t

3344

Displacement full, t 
Length, m

68.6 pp

Breadth, m

13.7

Draught, m

4.67

No of shafts

2

Machinery

2 2-cyl HSE return connection rod, boilers

Power, h. p.

Cerberus: 1360

Magdala: 1436

Max speed, kts

Cerberus: 9.8

Magdala: 10.7

Fuel, t

coal 120

Endurance, nm(kts) 
Armour, mm

iron; belt: 203 - 152 with 279mm wood backing, breastwork: 229 - 203, turrets: 254 - 229, deck: 38 - 25

Armament

2 x 2 - 254/15 MLR Mk I/II

Complement

155



Graphics


<i>Cerberus </i>at Williamstown  
Cerberus at Williamstown  


Ship project history


Low freeboard breastwork monitors intended for service as colonial coast defence ships. Designed by Reed for service at Melbourne (Cerberus) and Bombay (Magdala), they represent the beginnings of practical turret ship design in Britain, having no sail power and being fitted with fore and aft turrets with almost uninterrupted arcs of fire. Turrets were hand operated. Ships had twin screws and balanced rudders and manoeuvred well. Both ships were given a three-masted sailing rig for passage to their respective colonial ports which was removed on arrival. Cerberus had a pole mast abaft and Magdala a pole mast before the funnel. The flying deck originally overlapped the turrets but in Magdala it was cut back to the length of the superstructure.

Ship protection


The hull was protected by 203mm belt reducing to 152mm at the ends, and the turrets were raised on a central armoured breastwork 229mm at the ends and 203mm amidships. The breastwork served to keep the turrets, hatchways, vents and funnels, comparatively clear of the water, making the ships more practical in a seaway the the low freeboard contemporary ships of the US Navy. Turrets had 254mm faces and 229mm walls.

Modernizations


1892, Magdala: - 2 x 2 - 254/15; + 2 x 2 - 203/30 BL Mk VI

Naval service


Cerberus was hulked in 1900, became depot ship Platypus II in 1918 and sold to BU 23/4/1924. She was sunk at Melbourne as breakwater in July 1926, but raised in 1978 and reconstructed as memorial. Magdala was transferred to Royal Navy 31/10/1892, returned to Royal Indian Marine 19/3/1902 and sold to BU in 1904.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.