by Cliff McMullen (email@example.com)
(c) Cliff McMullen, 2001
During World War I the Royal Navy decided to convert a select number of merchant ships, particularly ocean liners, into imitation capital ships. Fourteen ships in total were selected for the task, each re-modelled individually with mock turrets, guns and other sham devices made of wood and canvas, and specially ballasted, to enable them to masquerade as the capital ships of the Grand Fleet. Just how successful these dummy battleships and battlecruisers were is not known. The objective behind the subterfuge was to confuse the enemy over fleet dispositions as well as to mislead them as to the actual total fleet strength. Only the Merion, disguised as the battlecruiser, HMS Tiger, was lost during the war, while in support of the Dardanelles Campaign, in the Aegean Sea by UB8 on 30 May 1915. Of the other thirteen, two were expended as blockships ( such as the Oruba as HMS Orion ) and the other eleven diverted to other duties by the beginning of 1916.
Source: Liners In Battledress by David Williams - Vanwell Publishing Ltd. c-1989.
Ships Involved :