Warship Wednesday, February 20 2013

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Second battleship brigade in Helsingfors, winter 1914-1915
Here we see the Second Battleship Squadron of the Imperial Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet with the ice and snow-clad Russian battleship Slava (Russian: Слава “Glory“) at anchor forefront in Helsinki during WWI. The Slava was one of the most famous and unlikely of Russian warships.

slava 1910
The last commissioned of a class of five Borodino-class battleships, her four sister ships: Borodino, Imperator Alexander III, Knyaz Suvorov, and Oryol, were all either sunk or captured at the Battle of Tsushima, 27 May 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. Slava herself would more than likely have shared the same fate if it wasn’t for the fact that she was still under construction until October of that year.

The Slava at anchor off an unanmed inlet on the Finnish coast (Finalnd was part of Tsarist Russia at the time) guarding the Tsar and his yacht while the monarch, his family, and his suite relax ashore

The Slava at anchor off an unnamed inlet on the Finnish coast (Finland was part of Tsarist Russia at the time) guarding the Tsar and his yacht while the monarch, his family, and his suite relax ashore

As the largest and best-equipped battleship left in the Tsar’s Baltic Fleet until the Gangut class dreadnoughts were built, the Slava became a default flagship for the decade of service before WWI. During the war, she was the head of the Second Battleship Squadron (the Ganguts were the First) of three other pre-dreadnoughts. Slava, with just a pair of gunboats as escorts, sailed into the Gulf of Riga in 1915 to challenge the Germans there.

She exchanged fire first with the German pre-dreadnoughts Elsass and Braunschweig, then the Nassau and Posen a week later. Slava flooded her side compartments to give herself a 3° list which increased her maximum range to about 18,000 yards. For two years, Slava slugged it out with German ships and engaged the Kaisers troops onshore. Finally in 1917 the large modern dreadnoughts König and Kronprinz sailed into the Gulf and exchanged heavy fire with the old obsolete Slava in what became known as the Battle of Moon Sound.

After the Battle of Moon Sound

After the Battle of Moon Sound

Her 12-inch magazine exploded just after her crew scuttled her and the Russians fired six torpedoes into her hull for good measure. Her remains were salvaged in 1935.

In the end, her four sisters were sunk before she was born, but she successfully fought off four German battleships of the same vintage on her home territory before the Kaiser had to send a pair of his most modern sluggers to overwhelm her.

Glory indeed.

Displacement:     14,415 long tons (14,646 t) normally
15,275 long tons (15,520 t) full load
Length:     397 ft 3 in (121.1 m)
Beam:     76 ft 1 in (23.2 m)
Draft:     29 ft 2 in (8.9 m)
Installed power:     15,800 ihp (11,800 kW)
Propulsion:     2 shafts, 2 vertical triple-expansion steam engines
20 water-tube boilers
Speed:     17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph)
Range:     2,590 nautical miles (4,800 km; 2,980 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement:     846
Armament:     2 × 2 – 12-inch (305 mm) guns
6 × 2 – 6-inch (152 mm) guns
20 × 1 – 75-millimeter (3.0 in) guns
4 × 1 – 47-millimeter (1.9 in) saluting guns
4 × 1 – 15-inch (381 mm) torpedo tubes
Armor:     Krupp armor
Waterline belt: 145–194 mm (5.7–7.6 in)
Deck: 25.4–51 mm (1–2 in)
Turrets: 254 mm (10.0 in)
Barbettes: 178–229 mm (7–9 in)
Conning tower: 203 mm (8.0 in)

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO)

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval lore http://www.warship.org/naval.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

I’m a member, so should you be!


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