HNoMS Eidsvold, or Panserskipet Eidsvold in Norwegian, was a coastal defence ship and the lead ship of her class, serving in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Built by Armstrong Whitworth at Newcastle on Tyne in 1899, she was obsolete when sunk by German torpedoes in Narvik harbour on 9 April 1940 during the German invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung).
It was intended to augment the Norwegian Panserskip fleet with the two ships of the Bjørgvin class, ordered in 1912, but after these were confiscated by the British Royal Navy at the outbreak of World War I, the Eidsvold class and the older, two ship strong, Tordenskjold class was forced to soldier on long after they were obsolete.
Since the Germans had orders to occupy Norway peacefully if at all possible, the German destroyer Wilhelm Heidkamp stopped, and signalled Eidsvold that it would send an officer to negotiate. From a distance of about 200 metres, a small launch ferried Korvettenkapitän Gerlach over to Eidsvold. Gerlach and a signalman were received on the aft deck of Eidsvold by the second in command, and were taken to the bridge to speak to captain Willoch. At the same time, the gun crews aboard Eidsvold kept the German destroyer in their sights, both the 21 cm guns and the 15 cm guns. Due to the short distance, the trajectory of the shells would have been flat, making it hard not to hit the thinly armoured vessel.
At the bridge, Gerlach tried to convince Willoch that the Germans had arrived as friends, and that Willoch should surrender his ship peacefully. Willoch countered by pointing out that he was bound by duty to resist, but did ask for a ten minutes break to consider the matter. However, instead of considering surrender, Willoch used this time to contact his superiors, as well as the captain of Norge, informing them of his intent to attack the German forces. While this was going on, another German destroyer had crossed behind Eidsvold and took up a position 700 meters from the vessel, ready to fire her torpedoes.
Gerlach tried once again to convince Willoch to surrender, but was turned down a second time. As he left the deck of Eidsvold, he fired a red flare, indicating that the Norwegians wished to fight. At this point, Captain Willoch hurried towards the bridge, while shouting "På plass ved kanonene. Nå skal vi slåss, gutter!" ("Man the guns. We're gonna fight, boys!"). Eidsvold turned towards the closest destroyer and accelerated, while the battery commander ordered the port battery (three 15 cm guns) to open fire. However, the Germans - afraid Eidsvold might ram the destroyer - fired four torpedoes at the old coastal defence ship.
Two or three of the torpedoes hit before the port guns could fire, according to Norwegian sources: one under the rear turret, one midship and one in the bow. It is likely that the torpedoes ignited one of the magazines aboard, because Eidsvold was blown in two and sunk in seconds, propellers still turning. Only six of the crew were rescued, while 175 died in the freezing water.