The battle-cruiser HMS Renown was a veteran of World War I but, unlike her sister Repulse, underwent full modernization.She emerged from Portsmouth Dockyard on 2 September 1939, just in time for the outbreak of war. During her three-year refit she had been almost totally rebuilt, with new machinery and boilers (saving 2,800 tons of weight), new superstructure and bridgework, and additional armour. The three gun turrets were taken out and modified to give the 381-mm (15-in) guns 30° elevation, and an entirely new anti-aircraft armament was provided: 10 twin 114-mm (4.5-in) gun mountings, three 8-barrelled pompoms and four quadruple 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-guns. The weight saved on machinery was used to strengthen deck armour, particularly by adding 102-mm (4-in) armour over the magazines and 51-mm (2-in) armour over the machinery. She was also given a cross-deck catapult and a large hangar capable of accommodating two Walrus amphibian aircraft.
The new role for the ship was to act as a fast escort for aircraft-carriers, and HMS Renown as she was in July 1942, prior to the removal of her Walrus aircraft and with extra AA armament. World War II saw a constant increment in the numbers of AA weapons carried by capital ships. When the Renown joined the Home Fleet she was teamed with the newcarrier HMS Ark Royal in a partnerhip which continued for a long time. After hunting for KMS GrafSpee in the South Atlantic in November 1939 she returned to the Home Fleet as flagship of Vice Admiral Whitworth, and took part in the Norwegian campaign. Early on the morning of 9 April 1940 the Renown was steaming about 130 km (80 miles) west of the Lofoten Islands in company with nine destroyers when she sighted the German
battle-cruisers KMS Scharnhorst and KMS Gneisenau. The British ship had the advantage of the light and at 04.17 scored a hit on Gneisenau's main firecontrol position. The German ships turned away and escaped under cover of snow squalls, but not before the Renown had scored two more hits. She was hit by two or three 280-mm (11-in) shells but suffered only slight damage.
In August the Renown went to Gibraltar as part of Force 'H' with the Ark Royal, but returned to home waters in October 1941. After covering the North African landings she took Winston Churchill to Canada and was then sent to the Eastern Fleet, which was operating in the East Indies. On her return in March 1945 the Renown was laid up in reserve, and was sold for scrapping in 1948. Her career had spanned over 30 years, and she had served in every major theatre of the naval war.
Specification HMS Renown
Displacement: 30,750 tons standard, 36,080 tons full load
Dimensions: length 242.0 m (794 ft) overall; beam 27.4 m (90 ft); draught14.4 m (30 ft 6 in)
Machinery: 4-shaft geared steam turbines delivering 108,000 shp (80536 kW)
Speed: 29 kts
Armour: belt 229 mm (9 in); decks 51-102 mm (2-4 in); turrets and barbettes 178-229 mm (7-9 in)
Armament: ( 1944) six 381-mm ( 15-in), 20 114-mm (4.5-in) DP, 28 2-pdr pom-pom
and 64 20-mm AA guns, and eight 533- mm (21 -in) torpedo tubes
Aircraft: two Supermarine Walrus amphibians
Complement: 1,200 officers and men