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  (later, FRUNZE)




Type: BB
Class: GANGUT - four in class
Builder: Admiralty Yard, St. Petersburg
Completed: November, 1914
Displacement: 23,360 tons

Dimensions: (in feet and inches)

590' 6" x 87' 3" x 27' 6"
Belt: 4" - 9"
Decks: 1.5" - 3"
Barbettes: 8"
Turrets: 5" - 8"
CT: 10"
Machinery: 4-shaft Parsons turbines, 25 Yarrow boilers; 42,000shp.  Oil:  1,170 tons.  Coal:  3,000 tons
Speed: 23 knots
12 12" / 52 cal. 4x3
16 4.7" / 50 cal. 16x1
4 47mm 4x1
4 18" TT submerged
Compliment: 1,126






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, POLTAVA 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.  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.  POLTAVA survived World War I in such a terrible state that she could not sail.  She suffered a serious fire in the forward boiler room on 24 November 1919 and was so severely damaged that it was decided not to repair her.  In 1925, it was decided to disarm her and expend her in experiments.  But she was renamed FRUNZE on 7 January 1926, and a change in plans called for her to be re-armed and refitted.  Work proceeded slowly, and after construction of new battleships had been decided on in the 1930's, FRUNZE was once again hulked; many of her parts were cannibalized and used for repairs on her three sisters.  She was towed to Leningrad and used there as a barracks ship.  FRUNZE was sunk by German artillery during the Siege of Leningrad in 1941.  Her wreck was raised and scrapped there in 1950.



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