Tordenskjold-class coastal defence ship

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KNM Tordenskjold.png
Plans of panserskipet Tordenskjold. Note heavy guns in turrets fore and aft, and secondary armament in central battery.
Class overview
Operators:  Royal Norwegian Navy
Preceded by: None
Succeeded by: Eidsvold-class coastal defence ship
Built: 1897–1898
In commission: 1898–1948
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics [1]
Type: Coastal defence ship
Displacement: 3,858 long tons (3,920 t)
  • 92.66 m (304 ft 0 in) oa
  • 85.34 m (280 ft 0 in) pp[2]
Beam: 14.78 m (48 ft 6 in)
Draught: 5.38 m (17 ft 8 in)
Installed power: 4,500 ihp (3,356 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × Coal-fired vertical triple-expansion steam engines, 3 horizontal boilers[2]
Speed: 16.9 knots (31.3 km/h; 19.4 mph)
Complement: 245
  • 2 × 21 cm (8.3 in)/45 guns
  • 6 × 12 cm (4.7 in)/45 guns
  • 6 × 12-pounder (76 mm)/40 guns
  • 6 × 1-pounder QF guns
  • 2 × 45 cm (18 in) submerged torpedo tubes

The Tordenskjold class of coastal defence ships was ordered by Norway as part as the general rearmament in the time leading up to the events in 1905 - when Norway broke out of the union with Sweden - the two ships in the class (Tordenskjold and Harald Haarfagre) remained the backbone (alongside the slightly newer Eidsvold class) of the Royal Norwegian Navy until they were considered 'unfit for war' in the mid-1930s.


Designed and built as typical pre-dreadnought battleships, although on a scale more suited to the fjords and narrow waters of Norway, the Tordenskjold class carried guns in a wide range of calibers:

  • Two 21 cm/45 (8.2 inch) guns in turrets fore and aft as the main armament.
  • Six 12 cm/45 (4.7 inch), mounted three on each side in a central battery, as the secondary armament.
  • Six 7.6 cm/40 (3 inch) guns, also mounted in the central battery, as the tertiary armament.
  • Six 1-pdr Quick Fire guns. These were meant to be used against torpedo boats.

The Tordenskjold class was armoured to withstand battle with ships of a similar class, but her protection system could not withstand attacks from heavier ships nor underwater attacks very well:


Both ships were phased out from active duty in the mid-1930s, and were used as training vessels. After the German invasion of Norway in 1940, they were taken by the Germans and turned into floating Flak batteries. After the war they were returned to the Royal Norwegian Navy and served as barracks for a short time before they were sold for scrapping.



Laid Down Launched Commissioned
Harald Harrfagre 18 March 1896 4 January 1897 10 June 1897
Tordenskjold 18 March 1896 10 Mar 1897 2 April 1898



  1. Chesneau and Kolesnick 1979, p. 369.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brook 1999, p. 206.
  3. Brook 1999, p. 205.