When, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1878, there seemed a possibility that Great Britain might be drawn into the conflict, the government took the somewhat hasty decision to buy four armourclad battleships then under completetion in British yards for various foreign navies. One of them was the Turkish Hamidieh, laid down at the Thames Iron Works in 1873, launched in 1875 but detained by our neutrality obligations. Purchased in February 1878 and promptly brought up to the requirements of the Royal navy, she was finally completed in November 1880 and renamed H.M.S. Superb. Measuring 332 feet in length, with a 59 foot beam, her main armament consisted of 16 10-in. guns giving her the heaviest broadside of any British battleship. She was, in fact, the last and best protected of all the broadside iron-clads ever built and despite her 12-ins. of armour amidships, she could make over 13 knots at full steam even though her officers declared her "quite unmanageable" when under sail alone.
Commissioned into the Mediterranean Fleet as soon as she was ready for sea, she remained at Malta for seven years during which she saw her only action at the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882. Returning to Chatham in 1887, between then and 1891 she was re-engined and generally modernised although she never returned to active service. Guardship in the Clyde from 1891 to 1894, she then went into the Fleet Reserve where she was successively de-rated as the years went by. Last at sea during the 1900 manoeuvres, she was eventually sold for breaking in 1906.