Peresvet-class battleship

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Peresvet1901.jpg
Peresvet at anchor in 1901
Class overview
Builders: Baltic Works, Saint Petersburg
New Admiralty Shipyard, Saint Petersburg
Operators:  Imperial Russian Navy
 Imperial Japanese Navy
Preceded by: Borodino class
Succeeded by: Potemkin
Subclasses: Pobeda
Built: 1898–1903
In commission: 1901–1922
Completed: 3
Lost: 2
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics
Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 13,320–14,408 long tons (13,534–14,639 t)
Length: 434 ft 5 in (132.4 m)
Beam: 71 ft 6 in (21.8 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.925 m)
Installed power: 14,500 ihp (10,813 kW)
30 Belleville boilers
Propulsion: 3 shafts, 3 Vertical triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Range: 6,200 nmi (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 27 officers, 744 men
Armament: 2 × 2 - 10 in (254 mm) guns
11 × 1 - 6 inches (152 mm) guns
20 × 1 - 75 mm (3 in) guns
20 × 1 - 47 mm (1.9 in) guns
8 × 1 - 37 mm (1.5 in) guns
5 × 1 - 15 in (381 mm) torpedo tubes
45 mines
Armor: Harvey armor
Belt: 7–9 inches (178–229 mm)
Deck: 2–3 inches (51–76 mm)
Turrets: 9 inches (229 mm)

The Peresvet class was a class of three pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy around the end of the 19th century. Peresvet and Pobeda were transferred to the Pacific Squadron upon completion and based at Port Arthur from 1901 and 1903. All three ships were lost by the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905; Peresvet and Pobeda participated in the Battles of Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea and were sunk during the Siege of Port Arthur. Oslyabya, the third ship, was sunk at the Battle of Tsushima with the loss of over half her crew. Peresvet and Pobeda were salvaged after the Japanese captured Port Arthur and incorporated into the Imperial Japanese Navy. Peresvet was sold back to the Russians during World War I and sank after hitting German mines in the Mediterranean in early 1917 while Pobeda, renamed Suwo, participated in the Battle of Tsingtao in late 1914. She became a gunnery training ship in 1917 until she was disarmed and hulked in 1922–23. The ship was scrapped after the end of World War II.

Design and description[edit]

Right elevation and deck plan as depicted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1902

These ships were inspired by the British Centurion-class battleships. They were second-class battleships designed for service on foreign stations and to defeat enemy commerce raiders like French and Russian armored cruisers, not to fight first-class battleships in a battle line. The Peresvet-class ships were intended to counter ships like the Centurion class and support the Russian armored cruisers in any guerre de course. This role meant that the primary considerations of the ships' design were long range, high speed and seakeeping ability at the cost of weaker armament and armor than contemporary first-class battleships.[1]

Only two ships were originally planned, but a third was ordered to keep the Baltic Works shipyard gainfully employed until a new design could be prepared. Ironically, it was completed before the second ship, despite having been laid down over three years later.[2]

The Peresvet-class ships were 434 feet 5 inches (132.4 m) long overall, had a beam of 71 feet 6 inches (21.79 m) and a draft of 26 feet 3 inches (8.0 m). Designed to displace 12,674 long tons (12,877 t), they were 500–1,700 long tons (510–1,730 t) overweight and actually displaced 13,810–14,408 long tons (14,032–14,639 t). To reduce biofouling, the hulls of the first two ships were sheathed with wood and copper, but this was eliminated in Pobeda to reduce weight. They had a partial double bottom and the hull was divided by 10 watertight transverse bulkheads; a centerline bulkhead divided the forward engine rooms. Their crew consisted of 27 officers and 744 enlisted men.[3]

The ships were powered by three vertical triple-expansion steam engines using steam generated by 30 Belleville boilers. The engines were rated at 14,500 indicated horsepower (10,800 kW), using forced draft, and designed to reach a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). All three ships slightly exceeded their specifications and reached a top speed of 18.3–18.5 knots (33.9–34.3 km/h; 21.1–21.3 mph) from 14,532–15,578 indicated horsepower (10,837–11,617 kW) during their sea trials. They carried a maximum of 2,060 long tons (2,090 t) of coal which allowed them to steam for 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). The electrical equipment consisted of four steam-driven dynamos with a total capacity of 555 kilowatts (744 hp).[4]

Armament[edit]

Peresvet in 1901

The ships' main battery consisted of four 45-caliber 10-inch (254 mm) Model 1891 guns mounted in electrically powered twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft of the superstructure. These guns had serious development problems as they proved to be too weak to use a full-strength charge of propellant and had to be reworked and the charge reduced. The guns in Peresvet and Oslyabya were the original model and could be elevated to maximum of +35°, while the reinforced guns used in Pobeda could only elevate to a maximum of +25°. The guns were designed to fire once every 40 seconds, but in service they fired every 80 seconds. The ships carried 75 rounds for each gun.[5] The older guns fired a 496.5-pound (225.2 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,273 ft/s (693 m/s) while Pobeda's newer ones fired the same shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,549 ft/s (777 m/s). Maximum range was 18,412 yards (16,836 m) for the older guns, although Pobeda's could reach 22,403 yards (20,485 m).[6]

Their secondary armament consisted of eleven 45-caliber Canet Model 1892 6-inch (152 mm) quick-firing (QF) guns, 10 mounted in casemates on the sides of the hull and one in the bow, underneath the forecastle, as a bow chaser. Each gun was provided with 220 rounds.[5] Their maximum elevation was +20° and they fired shells that weighed 91.27 lb (41.40 kg) with a muzzle velocity of 2,600 ft/s (790 m/s). They had a maximum range of 12,600 yards (11,500 m) when fired at maximum elevation.[7]

A number of smaller guns were carried for defense against torpedo boats. These included twenty 75-millimeter (3.0 in) Canet Model 1892 QF guns. Of these guns, eight were mounted in embrasures in the hull, four on the main deck, four on the battery deck and the final four at the corners of the superstructure on the forecastle deck. The ships carried 300 rounds for each gun.[5] The gun fired 10.8-pound (4.9 kg) shells to a range of about 8,600 yards (7,864 m) at its maximum elevation of 21 degrees with a muzzle velocity of 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s). The rate of fire was between 12 and 15 rounds per minute.[8] The smaller guns included twenty 47-millimeter (1.9 in) Hotchkiss guns in hull embrasures and on the superstructure. Each gun had 810 rounds available for it.[9] They fired a 3.3-pound (1.5 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,476 ft/s (450 m/s) at a rate of 20 rounds per minute to a range of 2,020 yards (1,850 m).[10] Eight smaller 37-millimeter (1.5 in) Hotchkiss guns were positioned between the 47-millimeter guns on the forecastle deck.[11] They fired a 1.1-pound (0.50 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s) at a rate of 20 rounds per minute to a range of 3,038 yards (2,778 m).[12]

The Peresvet-class ships carried five 15-inch (381 mm) torpedo tubes, three above water, one in the bow and one pair of broadside tubes, and two broadside underwater tubes. The ship carried a total of 12 torpedoes.[11] The Type L torpedo carried a 141-pound (64 kg) warhead of TNT. It had two speed settings which gave it a maximum range of 980 yards (900 m) at 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) or 660 yards (600 m) at 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph).[13] The ship also carried 45 mines to be laid to protect her anchorage in remote areas.[11]

The ships were fitted with Liuzhol stadiametric rangefinders that used the angle between two vertical points on an enemy ship, usually the waterline and the crow's nest, to estimate the range. The gunnery officer consulted his references to get the range and calculated the proper elevation and deflection required to hit the target. He transmitted his commands via a Geisler electro-mechanical fire-control transmission system to each gun or turret. Oslyabya and the rest of the 2nd Pacific Squadron was fitted with Perepelkin telescopic sights for their guns, but their crews were not trained in how to use them.[14]

Protection[edit]

The first two ships used Harvey armor for most of their armored vertical surfaces except for the gun turrets and their support tubes which were made from Krupp armor. Over the machinery spaces, the maximum thickness of their waterline armor belt was 9 inches (229 mm) which reduced to 7 inches (178 mm) abreast the magazines. The belt tapered to a thickness of 5 inches (127 mm) over the machinery spaces and 4 inches (102 mm) over the magazines. The belt covered 312 feet (95.1 m) of the ship's length and was 7 feet 9 inches (2.4 m) high, of which the upper 36 inches (914.4 mm) was intended to be above the waterline, but the ships were significantly overweight and much of the belt was submerged. This was so extensive that Peresvet only had 14 inches (356 mm) of armor exposed at normal load; at full load the effect was even greater and the belt was completely submerged. Oslyabya was even more overweight and only had 3 inches (76 mm) of her belt armor showing at normal load. The belt in both ships terminated in 7-inch transverse bulkheads, leaving the ends of the ships unprotected. The transverse bulkheads of the waterline belt in Pobeda were eliminated as the belt was extended to the ends of the ship with four-inch armor plates. Above the waterline belt in all three ships was a shorter belt that protected the middle of the ships. It was 188 feet (57.3 m) long and four inches thick. The ends of the upper belt were closed off by four-inch angled transverse bulkheads.[15]

The sides of the gun turrets were nine inches thick and 2.5 inches (64 mm) of armor protected their roofs; their supporting tubes were 8 inches (203 mm) thick. The face of the casemates for the six-inch guns was five inches thick and their rears were protected by 2-inch (51 mm) armor plates. The casemates at each end of the ships were protected by five-inch transverse bulkheads. Bulkheads 0.75 inches (19 mm) thick separated the 75-millimeter gun positions. Peresvet had two conning towers, each with sides six inches thick, but the other two ships only had a forward conning tower with nine-inch sides. A communications tube three inches thick connected each conning tower to the armored deck in all three ships. The flat part of the deck in the central citadel consisted of a 1.46-inch (37 mm) plate over the normal 0.75-inch structural steel deck plate; the sloped portion connected to the lower edge of the waterline belt and was 2.5 inches thick. Outside the citadel the armored deck consisted of 2.25-inch (57 mm) plates laid over the 1 inch (25 mm) thick deck plating. On the first two ships the deck armor consisted of mild steel; in Pobeda it was a chrome-nickel steel alloy.[15]

Ships[edit]

Ship Builder[16] Laid down[16] Launched[16] Entered service[16] Cost[17] Fate
Peresvet (Пересвет) Baltic Works, Saint Petersburg 21 November 1895[Note 1] 19 May 1898 1901 10,540,000 rubles Foundered 4 January 1917 after hitting a mine[18]
Oslyabya (Ослябя) New Admiralty Shipyard, Saint Petersburg 21 November 1895 8 December 1898 1903 11,340,000 rubles Sunk 27 May 1905 during the Battle of Tsushima[18]
Pobeda (Победа) Baltic Works, Saint Petersburg 21 February 1899 10 May 1900 1902 10,050,000 rubles Broken up, 1922–23[18][19] or 1946[20][21]

Careers[edit]

Peresvet, named after Alexander Peresvet, a Russian monk who fought at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380, and Pobeda (Victory) were sent to the Far East almost immediately after entering service in 1901 and 1903 respectively. Peresvet became flagship of the squadron's second-in-command, Rear Admiral Prince Pavel Ukhtomsky, upon her arrival.[18] During the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war, Peresvet was not hit, but Pobeda was hit once amidships, losing two men killed and four wounded, but little damage was done.[22] The latter struck a mine during the squadron's sortie on 13 April and she was under repair for almost two months.[18] Both ships had some of their anti-torpedo boat guns and secondary armament removed during the summer to bolster the defenses of the port. Both ships participated in the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August; Pobeda was only lightly damaged by eleven large-caliber hits, but Peresvet was hit 39 times and suffered a considerable amount of flooding. More guns were landed after the squadron's return to Port Arthur, but the Imperial Japanese Army captured the hills overlooking the harbor in November and they allowed the Army's 28-centimeter (11 in) siege guns to fire directly at the Russian ships. Pobeda and Peresvet were hit many times and Pobeda sank on 7 December 1904 from the accumulated damage. Peresvet, however, was scuttled in shallow water on that same day.[23]

Peresvet sunk in Port Arthur

Construction of Oslyabya, named after Radion Oslyabya, another monk who fought at the Battle of Kulikovo, was greatly delayed, and the ship was en route to the Far East when the Russo-Japanese War began in February 1904. She was ordered home and assigned to the Second Pacific Squadron that was intended to relieve the forces in Port Arthur. The ship served as the flagship of Rear Admiral Baron Dmitry von Fölkersam, second-in-command of the Squadron, but he died two days before the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905. Oslyabya led the Second Division of the squadron during the battle and was the target of numerous Japanese ships during the early part of the battle. A number of the many hits received by the ship were along the waterline and caused extensive flooding. Efforts to counteract the resulting list destroyed her remaining stability and she sank just over an hour after the Japanese opened fire, the first modern battleship to be sunk solely by gunfire.[24] Sources differ on the exact number of casualties, but the lowest figure given is 471.[25][Note 2]

Peresvet and Pobeda were raised, repaired, and rearmed by the Japanese and incorporated into the Imperial Japanese Navy as Sagami and Suwo, respectively, reclassified as 1st-class coastal defense ships.[21] After the beginning of World War I, Sagami was sold to Russia in March 1916 and arrived in Vladivostok on 3 April 1916, where she resumed her former name of Peresvet.[18] The ship was intended to serve with the Russian Arctic flotilla and was en route to the Arctic when she struck two mines off Port Said, Egypt on 4 January 1917. The mines had been laid by the submarine SM U-73 and Peresvet sank with the loss of 167 lives after catching fire.[27]

During World War I, Suwo served as the flagship for the Japanese squadron during the Battle of Tsingtao from 27 August to 7 November 1914.[28] The ship served as flagship of the Second Squadron of the Second Fleet in 1915–16 before becoming a gunnery training ship for the rest of the war.[29] In April 1922, in compliance with the Washington Naval Treaty, Suwo was disarmed at the Kure Naval Arsenal.[21] While her armor was being removed, the ship capsized on 13 July.[18] Sources differ as to her ultimate fate; she was either refloated and hulked, serving until broken up at Kure in 1946,[21] or she was scrapped immediately afterward.[18]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ All dates used in this article are New Style
  2. ^ Campbell says that 385 survivors were rescued by Russian destroyers, but 514 men went down with the ship, while Forczyk agrees with McLaughlin.[26]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 108–09
  2. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 107, 109–110
  3. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 107–10
  4. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 107–08, 114
  5. ^ a b c McLaughlin, pp. 107, 112
  6. ^ "Russian 10"/45 (25.4 cm) Pattern 1891". Navweps.com. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Russian 6"/45 (15.2 cm) Pattern 1892 152 mm/45 (6") Pattern 1892". Navweaps.com. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Russian 75 mm/50 (2.95") Pattern 1892 --- French 7.5 cm/50 (2.95") Canet Model 1891". Navweps.com. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  9. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 112–13
  10. ^ "Russia 47 mm/5 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun 47 mm/1 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun 3-pdr (1.4 kg) Hotchkiss guns". Navweaps.com. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c McLaughlin, p. 113
  12. ^ "Russia 37 mm/5 (1.5") Hotchkiss Gun 37 mm/1 (1.5") Hotchkiss Gun 1-pdr (0.45 kg) Hotchkiss Guns". 1 December 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Russia / USSR Torpedoes Pre-World War II". Navweaps.com. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Forczyk, pp. 27–28, 57
  15. ^ a b McLaughlin, pp. 113–14
  16. ^ a b c d McLaughlin, p. 107
  17. ^ McLaughlin, p. 112
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h McLaughlin, p. 115
  19. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 182
  20. ^ Silverstone, p. 337
  21. ^ a b c d Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 20
  22. ^ Forczyk, p. 43
  23. ^ McLaughlin, pp. 115, 163–64
  24. ^ Forczyk, pp. 61–62
  25. ^ McLaughlin, p. 168
  26. ^ Campbell, p. 131
  27. ^ Preston, p. 207
  28. ^ Stephenson, pp. 136, 162, 166
  29. ^ Preston, p. 186

References[edit]

  • Campbell, N.J.M. (1978). Preston, Antony, ed. The Battle of Tsu-Shima, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 II. London: Conway Maritime Press. pp. 46–49, 127–35, 186–92, 258–65. ISBN 0-87021-976-6. 
  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Forczyk, Robert (2009). Russian Battleship vs Japanese Battleship, Yellow Sea 1904-05. Oxford, UK: Osprey. ISBN 978 1-84603-330-8. 
  • Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter; Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • McLaughlin, Stephen (2003). Russian & Soviet Battleships. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-481-4. 
  • Pleshakov, Constatine (2002). The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-05791-8. 
  • Preston, Antony (1972). Battleships of World War I: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Battleships of All Nations 1914–1918. New York: Galahad Books. ISBN 0-88365-300-1. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0. 
  • Stephenson, Charles (2009). Germany's Asia-Pacific Empire: Colonialism and Naval Policy, 1885-1914. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-518-5. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Peresvet class battleship at Wikimedia Commons