Russian coast defense ship Gangut (1888)
|Namesake:||Battle of Gangut|
|Builder:||New Admiralty Shipyard|
|Laid down:||29 October 1888|
|Launched:||3 July 1893|
|Fate:||Sunk in the Gulf of Finland, 12 June 1897|
|Class & type:||Gangut class coast defense ship|
|Length:||84.7 m (277 ft 11 in)|
|Beam:||18.9 m (62 ft 0 in)|
|Draft:||7 m (23 ft 0 in)|
|Installed power:||6000 hp natural, 9500 hp forced|
|Propulsion:||2 shaft VTE steam engines , 8 cylindrical boilers|
|Speed:||13.5 knots (25.0 km/h)|
|Range:||2,000 nmi (3,700 km)|
|Armament:||1 × 305 mm (12.0 in) gun
4 × 229 mm (9.0 in) guns
4 × 152 mm (6.0 in) guns
14 × 37 mm (1.5 in) guns
6 × 15 in (380 mm) torpedo tubes
Belt: 10 in (250 mm)–16 in (410 mm)
Barbette: 7 in (180 mm)–9 in (230 mm)
Secondary battery: 5 in (130 mm)
Conning tower: 10 in (250 mm)
Design and construction
The ship was designed as a smaller version of the Imperator Aleksandr II class battleship on the instruction of Navy Minister Ivan Shestakov. The aim was to have a cheaper vessel able to operate in the shallow water of the Baltic Sea with long range deployment to the Mediterranean and the Far East. The specification was issued in 1887 and the design was approved by the Marine Technical Committee in 1888.
She was built by New Admiralty yard, St Petersburg. Construction started on October 29, 1888, and she was launched on July 3, 1893. Completed in 1894, she was 600 tons over her designed displacement which led to an increase in draught and a loss in speed. Her trials were difficult and she had to return to Kronstadt to have repairs after 19 days. Several modernisation schemes to correct the defects were considered but did not proceed due to extensive demands on the Russian shipbuilding industry.
The main armament comprised a single 305 mm gun in a barbette mounting at the bow. The secondary armament comprised four 229 mm guns in casemates and four 152mm guns which were not protected. Anti torpedo-boat armament comprised six 47mm guns and twelve 37 mm Hotchkiss guns. There were also four 63 mm landing guns and six torpedo tubes. The Russian Navy considered replacing her 305 mm gun with a 229 mm to reduce weight. Another plan was to replace the secondary armament with new 152 mm Canet guns and leave the 305 mm gun in place.
Compound armour was used. The main belt was 2.13 m tall but had only 0.91 m height above the mean water line due to excessive weight. The Russian Navy Marine Technical Kommittee (MTK) considered re-armouring her with a thinner belt of stronger Harvey armour
Two VTE steam engines with 8 cylindrical boilers were installed. The ship also had a complex drainage system with steam turbine pumps. She proved slower than designed with a maximum speed 13.8 knots rather than 15 knots.
She sank on June 12, 1897 during a military exercise after hitting an uncharted pinnacle of rock near Vyborg in the Gulf of Finland in 30m of water. There were no fatalities. A gash along the ships bottom led to both boiler rooms flooding and a loss of power to her pumps. Drawbacks in her design with limited damage stability resulted in ineffective counter-flooding. Bulkheads were poorly riveted leading to leaks. The ship settled and sank slowly on an even keel.
A plan to refloat the ship by the Swedish Neptune Company was not carried out, divers recovered some items from the ship in 1898.
She was not popular in the Imperial Russian Navy. Rear Admiral Birilev, her former captain, is quoted as describing her as ".. a vile ship, it's good that she sank, and it is pointless to raise her" (Warship 2005, Conway's Maritime Press, p. 181)
- This Article incorporates material translated from Russian Wikipedia
- Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905
- McLaughlin S. Warship Notes, in Warship 2005, Conway's Maritime Press London pp 177–181
- Gangut (Encyclopedia of Ships (Russian)
- Photos from the wreck (Russian)
- Article on Gangut
- М.А. Богданов, А.А. Гармашев. Эскадренные броненосцы «Гангут» и «Наварин». Журнал «Стапель» №4 за 2007 год. — СПб., ЛеКо, 2007 (Russian)
- Article from Navy collection .ru (Russian)