MARAT, then VOLKHOV)
||GANGUT - four in class
||Baltic Yard, St. Petersburg
Dimensions: (in feet and
590' 6" x 87' 3" x 27' 6"
||4" - 9"
||1.5" - 3"
||5" - 8"
||4-shaft Parsons turbines, 25 Yarrow boilers;
42,000shp. Oil: 1,170 tons. Coal: 3,000 tons
||12" / 52 cal.
||4.7" / 50 cal.
Sister ships: GANGUT,
Notes: Despite strong opposition from the Duma, Czar Nicholas II authorized these ships, the first Russian "DREADNOUGHT-type" battleships, at the end of 1908.
Their principal characteristics had been worked out by the Naval Staff in 1906-07, and tenders for the design were made in early 1908.
Six Russian yards and 21 foreign yards submitted designs; various factions supported different designs.
The contract was to be awarded to the German firm of Blohm and Voss, but the government intervened and stated that they were to be built in Russian yards.
Therefore, the Naval Staff produced a "fresh" design, influenced heavily by the Italian designer Vittorio Cuniberti, and with the help of the British firm John Brown.
Four triple turrets were mounted on the centerline, giving a broadside nearly a third heavier than contemporary British and German designs.
However, the casemates for the 4.7" guns were mounted directly below the 12" guns, and those positions suffered from muzzle blast.
Experience gained from the Russo-Japanese war led to a desire for the armor to be extended over much more of the ship; in order to do this, the overall thickness of the armored belt was 1" to 3" less than in contemporary foreign battleships.
And in the summer of 1910, construction was halted due to concerns about the hull's overall strength, and reinforcement had to be added.
In SOVIET WARSHIPS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, Jürg Meister notes that "the hull could not withstand a full broadside."
(Meister, SOVIET WARSHIPS, p. 15; see Bibliography.) The class was fitted with an ice-breaking bow.
Cage masts were to be fitted, but after extensive vibrations were experienced in the trials of the IMPERATOR PAVEL I class pre-DREADNOUGHTS, pole masts were substituted instead.
They were noted as being poorly ventilated. Design faults (with "too many cooks stirring the pot", producing a ship with a "cobbled-together" plan instead of a "unified whole") and shipyard shortcomings, combined with inertia in the state bureaucracy delayed completion of the ships by well over two years, which made the class somewhat obsolescent.
While they were faster than most of their contemporaries, the GANGUT class were more lightly armored, and their 12" main battery guns had since been outclassed by the 13.5" guns in several foreign battleships.
During World War I, PETROPAVLOVSK and her sisters (which formed the First Battleship Brigade of the Baltic Fleet, operating out of Helsinki) were used for defense at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland, and did not venture far from their bases. PETROPAVLOVSK (along with GANGUT) did occasionally accompany minelaying forces as far as Gotland. After the February, 1917 revolution, the crews joined in with the Bolshevik revolutionaries, and the four ships came under Bolshevik control in July/August, 1917. They were demobilized six months later on 29 January 1918. All four of the GANGUTs were then moved to Kronstadt in April where they sat idle. This situation did not last long as the Civil War intensified and foreign troops began landing in Russia to fight the Bolsheviks.
But of the four GANGUTs, only PETROPAVLOVSK saw active duty, serving with
the Active Squadron of the Baltic Fleet. On 17 August 1919, PETROPAVLOVSK was
hit by three torpedoes in an attack by British MTBs at Kronstadt. She
sank in shallow water, but was soon raised -- but not fully repaired, and
she sat in disrepair at Kronstadt. PETROPAVLOVSK was renamed MARAT on 31st March 1921.
In 1926, MARAT underwent a two-year-long refit where she received new gun barrels and boilers.
Between 1928 and 1931, MARAT was refitted at the Baltic Shipyard, Leningrad, where her superstructure was enlarged, anti-aircraft guns were added, and her boilers converted to oil firing.
In 1937, MARAT represented the Russians at the British Coronation Review.
On 23rd September 1941, she was bombed by German Ju-87 dive bombers at Kronstadt,
where one bomb penetrated her armor and detonated in the magazine of her
"A" turret, completely destroying the forward end of the
ship. MARAT sunk on an even keel at her moorings in shallow water.
She was refloated and some repairs were made, and MARAT continued in service as a floating battery during the Siege of Leningrad. On 31 May 1943, MARAT was renamed with her original name, PETROPAVLOVSK.
After the end of the war, PETROPAVLOVSK was raised and towed to
Leningrad. Some repairs were carried out, but she was never fully repaired.. On 28th November 1950, she was
reclassified as an artillery ship and renamed VOLKHOV. VOLKHOV was broken up
at Leningrad in 1952.