Russian battleship Petropavlovsk (1894)
Petropavlovsk in Kronshtadt, 1899
|Namesake:||Battle of Petropavlovsk|
|Builder:||Galerniy Yard, Saint Petersburg, Russia|
|Laid down:||19 May 1892[Note 1]|
|Launched:||1 November 1894|
|Fate:||Sunk by mine off Port Arthur, 13 April 1904 (31 March O.S.)|
|Class & type:||Petropavlovsk-class pre-dreadnought battleship|
|Displacement:||11,842 long tons (12,032 t)|
|Length:||376 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||70 ft (21 m)|
|Draft:||28 ft 3 in (8.61 m)|
|Installed power:||10,600 shp (7,900 kW)
16 cylindrical coal-fired boilers
|Speed:||16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)|
|Range:||3,750 nmi (6,950 km; 4,320 mi) @ 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)|
The Petropavlovsk (Петропавловск) was the lead ship of the Petropavlovsk class of pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy. She displaced 11,854 long tons (12,044 t) at full load and was 369 feet (112.5 m) long overall, and mounted a main battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns in two twin turrets. Petropavlovsk participated in the Boxer Rebellion, and during the Russo-Japanese War was the flagship of the First Pacific Squadron, taking part in battles against the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 13 April 1904, the battleship was sunk after striking two mines near Port Arthur. 652 men and 27 officers died, including the Vice Admiral Stepan Makarov and renowned war artist Vasily Vereshchagin. The loss of Petropavlovsk and Makarov greatly hindered the Russians in the war.
The first design for Petropavlovsk and her sister ships of the Petropavlovsk class was approved in January 1891. She was to be an improved version of the battleship Imperator Nikolai I, but with most of her armament in barbettes, including four 12-inch (305 mm) guns. The class was designed with a displacement of 10,960 long tons (11,136 t) at full load. She had a full waterline belt, and the upper hull featured a tumblehome. Imperator Nikolai I was chosen as a starting point for the design because of her good seakeeping and seaworthiness. Some characteristics were copied from the French battleship Brennus and the American Indiana-class battleships, such as the flush-deck hull and Brennus' high freeboard.
Following a redesign of the class, Petropavlovsk ceased to resemble Imperator Nikolai I. The armor plating was changed before construction, and plans for the armament were modified while the ship was being built. The barbettes were replaced with turrets, including wing turrets for some of the secondary 6-inch (152 mm) guns modeled after those on Brennus, with electric hoists. The propulsion was based on the machinery on Georgii Pobedonosets. Petropavlovsk had nickel-steel armor imported from the United States.
Petropavlovsk displaced 11,842 long tons (12,032 t) and was 376 feet (114.6 m) long overall. She had a beam of 70 feet (21.3 m) and a maximum draft of 28 feet 3 inches (8.6 m). She was powered by 16 cylindrical coal-burning boilers, and could carry 1,050 long tons (1,070 t) of coal. This gave her a range of 3,750 nautical miles (6,950 km; 4,320 mi) at a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). She had a crew of 662.
The ship's main armament consisted of a battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns in two twin turrets. This was supplemented by a secondary battery of twelve 6-inch (152 mm) guns. Petropavlovsk's armament was rounded out with ten 47-millimeter (1.9 in) guns, twenty-eight 37-millimeter (1.5 in) anti-torpedo boat guns, and six 14-inch (356 mm) torpedo tubes, four of which were submerged.
In October 1897 Petropavlovsk sailed from Saint Petersburg to Kronstadt to be outfitted. In 1898 the guns were fitted; later the battleship moved to Liepāja, returning to Kronstadt in 1899. On 5 October 1899 Petropavlovsk was transferred to the Far Eastern, East Asia Squadron. Aleksandr Kolchak, who was the chief of the watch on aboard, was to have conducted hydrology experiments in the northern Pacific ocean. However, when the ship arrived in the Mediterranean, Kolchak accepted a position with Eduard Toll's expedition and left the vessel. Petropavlovsk reached Port Arthur on 28 April 1900, becoming the flagship of Vice Admiral Skrydlov and the East Asia Squadron. In 1900 the ship took part in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China. In October 1902 Rear Admiral Oskar Victorovich Stark took command of the East Asia Squadron and raised his flag on the Petropavlovsk.
In early February 1904 the Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur. The squadron was attacked by a flotilla of Japanese torpedo boat destroyers. The Russians were not prepared for the attack and confusion ran rampant throughout the harbor's interior. Petropavlovsk escaped damage during the torpedo attack, but was lightly damaged in an engagement the next day against the Japanese fleet (she was hit by one six-inch and two 12-inch shells), killing one and wounding four. Petropavlovsk fired twenty 12-inch and sixty-eight 6-inch shells at the Japanese battleships, but none hit. As a result of the more superior (at least in Makarov's opinion) Tsesarevich undergoing repairs for damage done during the surprise attack, Makarov chose Petropavlovsk to be his flagship.
Having failed to blockade or bottle up the Russian squadron at Port Arthur by sinking blockships in the harbor's channel, the Japanese under Admiral Togo formulated a new plan. Ships were to mine the entrance from the harbor and then lure the Russians into the minefield in the hopes of sinking a number of Russian warships. Under cover of four detachments of torpedo boat destroyers, the minelayer Koru-Maru began to lay mines near the entrance to Port Arthur on the night of 31 March. The Japanese were observed by Admiral Makarov, who believed that they were Russian destroyers whom he had ordered to patrol that area.
On 13 April 1904 (31 March old style), Strashnii, a Russian destroyer, was intercepted by Japanese destroyers. A sea battle erupted between the opposing destroyers. Makarov immediately dispatched the cruiser Bayan to assist the Strashnii. After the Bayan had informed on presence of enemy cruisers on the site, Makarov decided to lead main forces in order to seek battle with the surrounding enemy warships and rescue more survivors from Strashnii. He led two battleships (Petropavlovsk and Poltava), four cruisers and a group of destroyers into the Yellow Sea.
However, the Japanese retreated beyond Port Arthur's gunfire support range, and had been reinforced by main forces of six battleships. At 0850, Makarov turned around to head back to the harbor and join with three other battleships that had just left. After the squadron had united and turned back towards the enemy, about two miles from the shore, on 9.42 Petropavlosk detonated a Japanese laid mine on her port side. Petropavlosk sank, taking 27 officers and 652 men, including Admiral Makarov and renowned war artist Vasily Vereshchagin with her. A monument was constructed in St. Petersburg in 1913 to honor Stephan Makarov after Japanese divers identified his remains inside the wreck of Petropavlovsk and gave him a burial at sea.
- All dates used in this article are New Style
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