The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 changed the face of naval warfare. The first half-dozen dreadnoughts were improvements of the basic Dreadnought design, all carrying ten 12-inch guns. It was only in 1911, with the launch of HMS Neptune, that the layout of this powerful armament was altered as a result of practical experience. Two more versions of the Neptune entered service later that same year, and together these nine improved dreadnoughts formed the core of the British Grand Fleet.
Soon, however, they were outclassed by a new breed of 'super dreadnoughts'. While these new ships carried heavier armament, they proved less successful as all-round battleships than their more lightly armed predecessors. One final 12-inch gun dreadnought entered service in 1914, when the Royal Navy commandeered and renamed a seven-turret battleship being built for the Ottomans - HMS Agincourt.
This book looks at the revolutionary design of these early dreadnoughts, the 12-inch guns that gave them their firepower, and their operational history throughout World War I.