I've been away for a couple weeks with real world business, but here is the next update to this series!
HMS Invincible, 1914
HMS Invincible as she appeared during the Battle of the Falkland Islands on December 8, 1914.
By 1914, Invincible’s torpedo nets had been removed, and her foretop was rebuilt as on her sisters. Director control was fitted for the main armament, placed on the platform below the foretop. Her topgallants were removed, and her secondary armament was redistributed—the 4 in guns previously mounted on A and Y turrets were removed and remounted in the forward superstructure, one pair above the fore pair of 4 in guns and the second pair below the boat deck. All 4 in guns in the forward superstructure were plated in, and the open gallery of the superstructure was largely enclosed. At the outbreak of war, the funnel recognition bands were painted out. Prior to the Falklands action, anti-rangefinder spirals were fitted on Invincible’s masts. She flies the flag of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee, commanding the battlecruiser squadron during the Falkland Islands engagement.
In late 1913, Invincible was attached to the newly organized 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, and in 1914 she was made flagship of the 2nd BCS, consisting of Invincible herself and the battlecruiser New Zealand. On August 28, 1914, Invincible led the 2nd BCS into the Battle of Heligoland Bight, supporting the withdrawal of the Harwich Light Forces. Invincible engaged and sunk the German cruiser Koln during this action. In September, Invincible was transferred to the 1st BCS Grand Fleet, and participated in frequent patrols of the North Sea. In October she was transferred back to the 2nd BCS, and patrolled off the Shetland Islands during the Atlantic crossing of the First Canadian Contingent.
On November 4, immediately following the news of the disastrous defeat at the Coronel Islands by the German Overseas Squadron, Invincible and Inflexible were detached as a special squadron for operations against Count Von Spee’s force. Invincible was relieved as flagship of the 2nd BCS by New Zealand, and the two battlecruisers made ready in Devonport. On November 11, the two battlecruisers, under the command of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee aboard Invincible, weighed anchor for the South Atlantic. Invincible and Inflexible rendezvoused with the cruisers Cornwall, Kent, Carnarvon, Bristol, and Glasgow, and reached Port William in the Falkland Islands on December 7.
Early in the morning, while Invincible and Inflexible were coaling, the German squadron was spotted approaching the harbor. Von Spee, realizing immediately that British heavy units were now in the area, retreated with his squadron. The battlecruisers made steam, and at 10:20 general chase was ordered. Invincible opened fire on the German cruiser Leipzig at 12:58, and soon afterwards the German light cruisers broke away to the southwest. The British cruisers gave chase, while the two battlecruisers focused on the heavier German cruisers—Gneisenau and flagship Scharnhorst. Invincible and Inflexible generally stayed out of range of the German cruisers, unloading heavy 12 in shells into the two German ships. The Scharnhorst sank first, capsizing at 16:10, followed by Gneisenau at 18:02. Throughout the action, Invincible had drawn most of the enemy fire and was hit 22 times, but suffered no casualties and no serious damage. The action off the Falklands demonstrated the lethal effectiveness of the battlecruiser when employed in the mission it was intended for—cruiser hunting.