By Jim Mesko
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These were all painted out within weeks of the commencement of hostilities, as it was felt they would help the enemy to identify the vessels. At the same time the medium dark grey colour scheme used on the ships was repainted in a lighter grey. From 1912 onwards the navy made a number of attempts to deal with the problem posed by smoke obscuring the bridge and fire control positions in the masts. Some funnels were heightened, and later in the war clinker caps or funnel caps were added, which largely solved the problem.
In late 1916, Neptune had a clinker screen fitted to her forward funnel, and her twin searchlight mountings were replaced by single ones. During this refit her after fire control position was removed. Colossus Class In 1912 the fore funnel was raised on these two dreadnoughts, in a successful attempt to solve the problems caused by billowing smoke. At the same time added protection was provided to the secondary battery positions. In Hercules this took the form of small gun shields, while on Colossus her guns were protected by drop-down mantlets.
The resulting information was read out on the totalizer, which produced readings of total deflection as well as information on wind or spotting corrections or the degree of ‘lead’ required. This information was then transmitted both electro-mechanically and by telephone to the gun director. There the data would be translated into gun bearing and information. This would then be transmitted to the gun turrets, where the information would be used to train the guns. Another problem was that on a typical 12-inch gun dreadnought the barrels of ‘A’ and ‘Y’ turret could be as much as 400 feet apart.