The First Class protected cruisers Powerful and Terrible were, for all practical purposes, the largest warships in the world when they were launched in 1895. Built in response to a perceived threat from a pair of huge Russian cruisers, they were excellent seaboats capable of steaming at high speed (22 knots) for long periods. Each heavily armed and displacing 14,200 tons, the sisters measured 538 feet in length and carried crews of 894 men. The two cruisers were detached from the China Station when the Boer War broke out in 1899 but, since there was no seaborne role for the navy in that conflict, the sailors from both ships were rapidly formed into naval brigades for service ashore. Their most famous encounter on land was the celebrated siege of Ladysmith (Nov. 1899 - Feb. 1900) when 275 men from Powerful found themselves seconded to the defending force whilst 292 men from Terrible took part in the relief operation. Though highly successful ships in their own terms, they proved expensive to maintain and saw little active service after the African and Chinese [Boxer Rebellion] campaigns had ended. Magnificent in appearance, they were often employed on ceremonial duties throughout the Edwardian era but had been removed from the effective list by 1914 and spent the Great War acting as training or similar establishments before finally being broken up in the early 1930's.