Tag Archives: Battle of Moon Sound

Warship Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021: The Teutonic Flag Collector

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021: The Teutonic Flag Collector

Here we see Flugzeugmutterschiff No. 2, SMH Santa Elena, among the most storied aviation ships fielded by Kaiser Wilhelm’s navy in the Great War, with three Friedrichshafen FF.33 floatplanes alongside and another three on her decks. From a humble background, she would end up serving in several different fleets across her life but didn’t make it out of her second world war afloat. Before it was all through, she would be under a German flag (three different ones), as well as those of France, the U.S., Great Britain, and Italy. 

Constructed by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg in 1907 as BauNr. 196, Santa Elena was built to spec for the Hamburg-Süd shipping line, intended to carry a mixture of light cargo and up to 1,198 steerage-level passengers from Europe to South America. In such sedate trade, she was intended, along with the other vessels of her line, to run regular trips between Hamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, and Antwerp to the exotic climes of Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires.

The top speed of the 446-foot Santa Elena was not impressive, just 11 knots, but she could maintain it around the clock, making her ideal as an immigrant and middle-class traveler vessel.

By 1914, Hamburg-Süd had over 50 ships totaling around 325,000 GRT, ranging from impressive high-speed express liners such as 18,000-ton Cap Finisterre, Cap Trafalgar, and Cap Polonio to the smaller and more pedestrian 7,400-ton Santa Elena and her sister Santa Maria. Santa Elena‘s maiden voyage, starting on 7 January 1908, was from Antwerp to Bahía Blanca.

When the lights went out across Europe, Santa Maria was in Latin America and was interned at Caleta Buena, Chile, for the duration of the conflict. Santa Elena, meanwhile, was in the Baltic and was almost immediately requisitioned to the Kaiserliche Marine. Along with the cargo ships Answald and Oswald, she was converted to become an aircraft mothership (Flugzeugmutterschiff) at Danzig with the pennant numbers FS I-FS III, a designation that the Germans would also term as Seeflugzeugträger, or Seaplane Carrier. Two other ships would be converted later, leading the Germans to operate five tenders in all during the war.

Note her twin side-loading hangars, with deck space atop for an extra aircraft, and the “FSII” pennant number on her stack. You can also see her two 3.45″/45s on her stern, likely in that position to ward off chasing enemy warships

A better view of her topside. Judging from the bow wave, she may be at full speed.

The type made sense to the Germans as a counterstroke to similar ships already in use by its enemies in France (the Foudre, converted in 1912), the British (HMS Hermes, Empress, Riviera, Engadine, Ben-my-Chree, et.al), Russians (Almaz) and Japan (whose Wakamiya was used to launch aircraft in the taking of the German colony of Tsingtao in the first days of the war). Santa Elena was commissioned on 2 July 1915.

Willy Stoewer, the Kaiser’s favorite maritime artist, painted Santa Elena in 1915, showing her (incorrectly) launching a seaplane from her deck while underway. 

The painting was turned into a popular period postcard

Sans catapults, the vessels would crane their aircraft overboard for launch from the sea– providing the waves would allow– and then crane them back aboard to recover. Standard Seaplane Tender 101 for the next 50 years.

Assigned to the German Marineflieger, the principal type to operate from these vessels was the Friedrichshafen FF.33 scout plane, a reliable little single-engine canvas floatplane that could buzz around at about 60 knots, carry a pair of machine guns and light (25-pound) bombs, remaining aloft for as long as five hours depending on conditions and how rough they were flown.

An FF.33 at Borkum. The Marineflieger would field over 200 of these sturdy little aircraft, powered by a reliable Benz Bz.III 150hp engine. After Versailles, the type would endure in several Scandinavian and Eastern European fleets into the 1930s. 

The Germans would use their seaplane carriers in both the North Sea against the British– typically in conjunction with the seaplane base (Seefliegerstation) on Borkum Island overlooking Heligoland — and in the Baltic, operating from Libau against the Russians. Their use in combat was primarily by Santa Elena, whose aircraft flew bombing raids against the Tsar’s own scattered seaplane stations on the Baltic Sea.

Santa Elena also took part in Operation Albion in October-November 1917, the German amphibious landing operation to occupy the Baltic islands of Ösel, Dagö, and Moon, an expedition that led to the Battle of Moon Sound and the fiery glory of the Russian battleship Slava.

Nine Friedrichshafen FF33 about to leave the ramp at Libau on 12 September 1916 for strikes against the Russians. Note the tender offshore

An interesting 1917 film in the Bundesarchiv covering German naval assets at Libau includes about a 20-second live-action pass of Santa Elena operating at sea.

By the end of the Great War, with Kiel awash in red flags and rebellions, Santa Elena put into Swedish waters (sans aircraft and shells) where she remained, fundamentally stateless, escaping surrender under British guns at Scapa Flow. Nonetheless, the reach of London extended to Sweden and she was ultimately boarded and taken under British custody. In March 1919, her remaining German crew was ordered to take the vessel to the French port of Brest.

She had new flags to serve.

Coming to America

In cooperation with the British Admiralty, a U.S. Navy party took charge of ex-SMH Santa Elena on 26 April 1919 and, that very day, the 12-year-old liner/seaplane carrier became USS Santa Elena (ID-4052). She was soon repurposed for use as a troopship and left from France on 10 May 1919 with a load of Doughboys going home from “Over There.”

USS Santa Elena (ID # 4052) Moored in the harbor during her brief U.S. Naval service, circa April-July 1919, while employed bringing service personnel home from Europe. Note her hangars have been knocked down and she has returned to her original merchant profile. Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1982. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 93698

“Leaving France” USS Santa Elena (ID # 4052) View looking aft from the forecastle, with troops on deck, as the ship left France bound for the U.S.A. on 10 May 1919. NH 93715

USS Santa Elena: Scene on her signal bridge, circa April-July 1919, with crew members executing semaphore flag signals. Note the spyglass. NH 93699

A slow mover, it took her two weeks to arrive at Hoboken, where she turned around on 6 June for France once again. Santa Elena came back from her third Atlantic crossing with another load of troops, arriving at Hampton Roads on 23 July.

On 20 August, her crew sailed the empty vessel to New York where it was taken over by representatives of the Cunard Line. A British merchant crew sailed into Portsmouth with the prize on 26 September.

Similarly, her sister Santa Maria, which had spent the war interned in Chile, where her crew thoroughly destroyed her machinery, was also allocated to Britain. Sold back to the reformed Hamburg-Süd for her value in scrap, her old company paid for her repair and refit at Hamburg and operated the vessel as the steamer Villagarcia until 1932, when she was scrapped.

Santa Maria in the 1920s renamed Villagarcia. Note Big Herman, Hamburg’s famous crane in the background

More flags

Despite British custody, once all the paperwork at Versailles dried, the ships commission assigned Santa Maria to France and her custody switched in 1920 to the Compagnie des Chargeurs Réunis of Le Havre, the steamship concern that ran regular routes between France and South America and then Africa and Asia.

Refurbished and with new livery, by February 1922 she was sailing under the name Linois for the French, mostly on long, slow trips to Indochina and back via the Dunkirk – Saigon – Haiphong route.

In fact, one of the vessel’s last missions under the Tricolor was to repatriate 250 Indochinese laborers from war-torn France back to the colony at the time when the country was under Vichy control. Leaving Marseille in February on a government charter, she arrived in Saigon in May after stops at Casablanca, Dakar, and Tamatave on the long way around Africa– the Suez cut off by the British.

Back at Marseilles by November 1942, when the Allies landed in Vichy-controlled North Africa in the Torch Landings, the resulting German-Italian sweep into the Nazi puppet state resulted in Linois being seized by German troops. With the Italians needing shipping in the Med, she was transferred to the Regina Marina for use as a troopship under the name Orvieto. She would continue this task through September 1943 when Italy withdrew from the war after the armistice of Cassibile.

Seized again by German troops in Genoa at the time of the Italian surrender, she was placed at the disposal of the Mittelmeer Reederei Gmbh, a state-chartered shipping firm to move cargo and passengers around the Axis-controlled ports of the Med, although her wartime operations under that flag were limited. Withdrawn to Marseilles, she was scuttled as a blockship in the northern pass to foul the harbor during the opening stages of the Allied Dragoon landings in South France in August 1944.

Post-war, she was raised and scrapped by local salvors.

There are few remains of her, including her original 1907-marked bell, which is on display in the Hamburg IMM.

Dariusz Mazurowski has scratch-built an excellent 1/700 scale model of SMH Santa Elena in her tender configuration.

Specs:
Displacement 7415 GRT in civil service; 13,900 tons FL in military service
Length: 431-feet (pp); 447 (overall)
Beam: 54’8″
Draft: 23’6″
Crew: 51 (civil); 122 as German seaplane tender; 276 as American troopship
Machinery: 3 boilers, quadruple expansion engine, 1 screw, 3000 hp
Speed: 11 knots
Liner capacity: 8260 dw tons cargo, 1198 passengers
Armament: 2 x 3.4″/45 DP (1914-18)
Aircraft: Four single-engine seaplanes (six maximum)

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Warship Wednesday, July 15, 2020: 3 Names, 5 Flags, 6 Wars

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, July 15, 2020: 3 Names, 5 Flags, 6 Wars

Here we see Avtroil, a humble member of the Izyaslav-subclass of the Imperial Russian Navy’s Novik-class of fast destroyers, afloat in the Baltic around 1917. He (Russian ships are addressed as male, not female) would go on to have a complicated life.

Built for the Tsar

Ordered as part of the 1913 enhanced shipbuilding program– the Tsar had a whole fleet to rebuild after the twin disasters of Port Arthur and Tshuma after all– the Izyaslavs were part of an envisioned 35-ship destroyer build that never got that big. Nonetheless, at 1,440-tons with five 4-inch guns and nine 450mm Whitehead torpedo tubes in three batteries, these 325-foot greyhounds were plenty tough for their time. Speaking of which, capable of 35-knots on their turbine suite, built with the help of the French Augustin Normand company, they were about the fastest thing on the ocean. Hell, fast forward a century and they would still be considered fast today.

Class leader Izyaslav. He would later wear the name “Karl Marx” after the Revolution, because why not?.

In the end, only three Izyaslavs would be finished to include Avtroil and Pryamislav, before the Russians moved on to more improved Noviks to include the Gogland, Fidonisni and Ushakovskaya subclasses. They were curious ships outfitted by a multinational conglomerate, as the Russian Imperial Navy’s purchasing agents seemed to have loved variety. They had Vickers-made Swiss-designed Brown-Boveri steam turbines, Norman boilers, and British/Italian armament produced under license at Obukhov.

Laid down in 1913 at Becker & Co JSC, Revel, while Russia was under the Romanov flag, he was completed in August 1917 as the property of the Russian Provisional Government, which was still nominally in the Great War, in effect changing flags between his christening and commissioning.

His new crew sortied with the battleship Slava to fight in the Battle of Moon Sound (Moonsund) in October, one of the Kaiser’s fleet’s last surface action. While Slava didn’t make it out alive, Avtroil did, although he exchanged enough licks with the Germans to carry away three 88mm shell holes in him.

Fighting for the Reds

When the Russian Baltic Fleet raised the red flag in November to side with Lenin’s mob, Avtroil followed suit as he sat in fortified Helsingfors (Helsinki), hiding from the Germans.

Under Russian service

To keep one step ahead of said Teutons, he joined the great “Ice Cruise” in February 1918 to Kronstadt, the last bastion of the Russian fleet in the Baltic.

Painting of the famed icebreaker Yermak opening a way to other ships on the Ice Cruise, seen as the chrysalis moment for the Red Navy. The fleet withdrew six battleships, five cruisers, 59 destroyers and torpedo boats, and a dozen submarines from former Russian bases in Estonia and Finland, eventually back to Kronstadt.

When the Great War ended and the Russian Civil War began, the British moved in to intervene on the side of the newly formed Baltic republics and the anti-Bolshevik White Russians. On 24 November 1918, RADM Sir Edwin Alexander Sinclair was dispatched to the Baltic with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron (five C-class light cruisers) of which HMS Cardiff was his flagship, the 13th Destroyer Flotilla (nine V and W-class destroyers) and, because the Baltic in WWI was a mine war at a level no one had seen before, the 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla (seven minesweepers) as well as two minelayers and three tankers. Sinclair also brought newly surplus military aid– to include 100 Lewis guns, 50 Madsen LMGs, 5,000 American-made P14 Enfield rifles, and 6.7 million rounds of .303-caliber ammunition– as a gift to bolster the locals against the Reds.

This put the Red Fleet, the most reliable unit in the Soviet military, on the front line of a new war in the Baltic.

Avtroil was assigned to a special task force consisting of the 7,000-ton Bogatyr-class protected cruiser Oleg and his Novik/Ilyin-class destroyer half-brother Spartak (Sparticus, ex-Kapitan Kingsbergen, ex-Kapitan Miklukho-Maklay).

While scouting close to Estonian waters to assess the British disposition near Aegna and Naissaar on the night of 26 December, Spartak bumped into five Royal Navy destroyers. Attempting to escape, the Russian destroyer ran aground at Kuradimuna, and, surrendering, was towed to Tallinn (recently renamed Revel).

The next morning, Avtroil was sent to look for the overdue Spartak. Acting on tips from shore stations who sent sightings of the Russian destroyer to Tallinn, the British destroyers HMS Vendetta and HMS Vortigern are dispatched to intercept. Seeing these on the horizon, Avtroil attempted to beat feet to the East and the safety of Korndstadt but, after a 35-minute chase, ran into a returning patrol of the cruisers HMS Calypso and HMS Caradoc, accompanied by the destroyer HMS Wakeful. The crew of Avtroil struck their red flag near Mohni Island.

They didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, as the hapless crews of the Russian ships couldn’t coax more than 15 knots out of their speedy destroyers. You have to keep in mind that the most radicalized Red sailors came from the harshly-treated stokers and engineering space guys, many of whom volunteered for Naval Red Guard units who fought on land during the Civil War. This left the Russian Baltic Fleet poorly manned in technical ratings, poorly led (the crews shot their officers and senior NCOs wholesale in 1917, replacing them with 850 assorted Sailors’ Committees), and poorly maintained. No wonder a small British squadron ran rampant over the Gulf of Finland in 1918-19!

Oleg managed to slip through the net only to be sunk six months later by British torpedo boats at anchor.

AVTROIL, right, surrendering to a British destroyer in the Baltic, possibly HMS Wakeful (H88). Naval History and Heritage Command NH 47620

AVTROIL, left, photographed in the Baltic Sea, captured by a British destroyer, right, most likely Wakeful. Wakeful would later be sunk off Dunkirk, torpedoed by the German submarine U-30 on 29 May 1940, taking 638 soldiers and 85 members of the Ship’s Company with her. Courtesy of Mr. Boris V. Drashpil of Margate, Fla., 1983. NH 94210

Welcome to Estonia!

The British towed their second prize in as many days to Revel, the former Russian naval base turned Tallinn, the new Estonian capital. There, the Soviet crews were interned. Those captured Russians who wanted to return home were later exchanged with the Reds for 17 British servicemembers, nine who participated in the raid June 1919 raid on Kronstadt, and eight downed aircrewmen lost in the August/September floatplane raids on the Bolshevik fortress.

Adm. Sinclair arrived in Tallinn on 28 December 1918 for the inspection of the captured destroyers.

THE BRITISH NAVAL CAMPAIGN IN THE BALTIC, 1918-1919 (Q 19334) A sentry aboard the Royal Navy cruiser HMS CARADOC at Reval (Tallinn), showing ice-covered decks. December 1918. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205253750

The captured vessels were soon turned over to the nascent Estonian Navy. On 2 January 1919, RN Capt. Bertram Sackville Thesiger, the skipper of Calypso, met with the brand-new Commander of the Estonian Navy, Capt. Johan Pitka, onboard the uncrewed Avtroil to discuss the transfer. Avtroil would be renamed EML Lennuk while Spartak would become EML Wambola on 4 January 1919.

Destroyer Avtroil in Estonian waters

Estonian destroyer Wambola (ex-Spartak) on the dock at Tallinn. While of a similar design, layout, and armament to Avtroil, he had German-made Vulkan boilers and AEG turbines

Repaired and under a new flag– Avtroil’s third for those keeping track at home– they would sail against the Reds later that summer until Moscow recognized Estonia’s independence the next year.

Lennuk and Wambola in Estonian service note gunnery clocks added by the British and recognition stripes on masts. If you compare this image to the one under Russian service from roughly the same angle, you will note the lack of clocks and stripes. 

Eventually, cash-strapped Estonia– which had suffered through the Great War, German occupation, their own short but brutal campaign for independence and following reconstruction– looked at their surplus Russian destroyers and decided to pass them on for more than what they had in them.

From the frozen Baltic to the steaming Amazon

Laid up since 1920, they were sold to Peru in April 1933 for $820,000, leaving the Estonian Navy with only a single surface warfare ship, the Sulev— which was the once-scuttled former German torpedo boat A32. The tiny republic used the money, along with some public subscription, to order two small, but modern, coastal minelaying submarines from Britain.  

Spartak/Wambola became BAP Almirante Villar while Avtroil/Lennuk would become BAP Almirante Guise, ironically named after a British-born Peruvian naval hero that had fought at Trafalgar.

The reason for the Peruvian destroyer purchase was that Lima was gearing up for a border conflict with Colombia that never really got much past the skirmish stage. Nonetheless, they did serve in a wary blockade of the Colombian coast and exchanged fire with a group of mercenaries squatting on what was deemed to be part of Peru, by the Peruvians, anyway.

ALMIRANTE GUISE Peruvian DD, 1915 Caption: In Colon Harbor, Panama, 26 June 1934, transiting to the Pacific.. She was formerly the Estonian DD LENNUK and Russian DD AVTROIL NARA 80-G-455951

Same as above, different view. 80-G-455952

Same, stern. Note mine-laying stern, her British-installed range clocks, men on deck in undershirts. 80-G-455949

Once in the Pacific, the destroyers were modernized, mounting some Italian-made Breda 20mm AAA guns. Apparently, the Peruvians were also able to get 4-inch shells and torpedoes from the Italians as well. Peru at the time only had a small (~3,000-ton) pair of old protected cruisers, making the repurposed Russian tin cans their most valuable naval assets.

Callao, Peru during the division of Cruiser Division 7 under Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, USN, May 26 to 31, 1939. Ships from left to right are Peruvian Cruisers CORONEL BOLOGNESI (1906-1958) and ALMIRANTE GRAU (1906-1958), behind BOLOGNESI), destroyers ALMIRANTE, VILLAR (1915-c1954), ex Estonian VAMBOLA ex Russian SPARTAK) and ALMIRANTE GUISE (1915-c1947), ex Estonian LENNUK, ex Russian AVTROIL, and USS TUSCALOOSA (CA-37), SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), and QUINCY (CA-39). NH 42782

Cruiser BAP Almirante Grau (3,100t, circa 1907, 2x6inch guns), destroyers of BAP Villar and BAP Guise, and an R-class submarine of the Peruvian Navy during naval maneuvers in 1940. The floatplanes are two of six Fairey Fox Mk IVs bought by the Peruvian Air Force in 1933 along with four Curtis F-8 Falcons during tensions with Colombia. The Peruvian Navy operated three Douglas DTB torpedo bomber floatplanes and at least one Vought O2U Corsair. Colorized by Diego Mar/Postales Navales

The low-mileage pre-owned tin cans were put to more effective use in the “Guerra del 41,” the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War. Almirante Guise carried out patrols in front of the Jambelí channel, bombarded Punta Jambelí and Puerto Bolívar, and supported the Peruvian advance on El Oro. Meanwhile, his near-brother Almirante Villar was on convoy duty and fought a one-sided surface action against the elderly Ecuadorian gunboat BAE Abdón Calderón (300t, c1884, 2x76mm guns).

Once the conflict with Ecuador died down, another one was just kicking off. Under U.S. pressure, Peru broke off relations with the Axis powers in January 1942 and, while friendly to the Allies and increasingly hostile to the Axis, only declared war against Germany and Japan in February 1945. The Peruvian Navy was the only force “active” in the conflict, engaging in armed neutrality patrols throughout 1942-43. For those keeping score, WWII would be the Russian destroyers sixth-ish conflict following the Great War, the Russian Civil War, Estonian Independence, the Colombian skirmishes, and the Guerra del 41.

In the 1946 Jane’s, the two Russo-Estonian brothers were listed as Peru’s only destroyers.

Meanwhile, Avtroil’s two brothers back in the Motherland would not have such a sedate Second World War. Izyaslav, naturally renamed Karl Marx, was sunk by a German air raid in August 1941. Pryamislav, renamed Kalinin after Stalin’s favorite yes man, was lost in a German minefield the same month near the island of Mokhni in the Gulf of Finland. Ironically, it was Mokhni where the British had captured Avtroil two decades prior.

The last of his kind, Avtroil, and his half-brother Almirante Villar would endure for another decade.

Almirante Guise via the Dirección de Intereses Marítimos-Archivo Histórico de Marina

Decommissioned in 1949, they were slowly scrapped above the waterline through 1954. Their hulks reportedly remain off Peru’s Isla de San Lorenzo naval base/penal colony. Their names were later recycled for a pair of Fletcher-class destroyers, USS Benham (DD-796) and USS Isherwood (DD-520), acquired in the 1960s and used into the 1980s.

Avtroil/Guise is remembered both in Russian maritime art and Peruvian postal stamps.

The British also have a souvenir or three. His Soviet flag is in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich while other objects are in the IWM.

Specs:


Displacement: 1,350 long tons, 1,440 full. (Listed as 2,200 late in career)
Length: 325 ft 2 in (listed as 344.5 in 1945)
Beam: 30 ft 10 in (listed as 31.5 in 1945)
Draft: 9 ft 10 in (listed as 11.8 in 1945)
Propulsion: 2 Brown-Boveri steam turbines driving 2 shafts, 5 Norman boilers, 32,700 shp
Speed: 35 knots max (on trials). Listed as 30 knots even late in career.
Oil: 450 tons, 2,400 nm at 15 knots
Complement: 142
Armor: 38mm shields on some of the 4-inch guns
Armament:
(as of 1918)
5 x 1 102mm L/60 Pattern 1911 Vickers-Obukhov guns
1 x 1 76mm AA mount M1914/15
3 x 3 450mm Whitehead torpedo tubes
2 x Maxim machine guns
80 Model 1912 naval mines.
(1945)
5 x 1 102mm L/60 Pattern 1911 Vickers-Obukhov guns
2 x 20 mm/70cal Breda AA guns
3 x machine guns

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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.

slava
Specs:
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)

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