HMS Dreadnought, brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, was launched in 1906. The one thing that set Dreadnought apart was her battery of ten 12-inch guns, of which eight could be fired on either broadside. Soon all the major naval powers – and some minor ones, too – were building or buying dreadnoughts, and the dreadnought race between Britain and Germany contributed to the growing tensions between these two nations.
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When the great struggle finally came, though, Dreadnought was a bit "long in the tooth." By May 1916 she had been transferred out of the Grand Fleet to a squadron of pre-dreadnoughts based in the Thames Estuary. Earlier, however, she accomplished a singular feat. On 18 March 1915 she rammed and sank U-29 [below] in the North Sea. HMS Dreadnought holds the distinction of being the only battleship to sink a submarine in combat.