From the New Zealand Herald, Volume XLII, Issue 12880, 31 May 1905, Page 5

The Imperator Alexander III is by far the most powerful vessel of the squadron, and is one of Russia's newest ships. She belongs to the Borodino class, and was launched on the Neva in August, 1901, and is of 13516 tons displacement. She was designed for 18 knots speed, with 16800 indicated horse-power, and coal capacity 1250 tons, equal to 8500 miles steaming at 10 knots, or 3000 at full speed. The Alexander III is a twin-screw battleship, 397ft overall, of 76ft beam, and 26ft draught. She has a complete belt of Krupp steel, 4in thick at each end, and 9in thick amidships, with a protective deck and splinter deck, and Krupp steel bulkheads. She has four 12in guns (firing 720lb shells) in her main turrets, which are protected by 11in armour, and 12 6in quick-firers in pairs in secondary turrets of 6in steel on the bow, beam and quarter. Besides these there are on board 20 12-pounder quick-firers in casemates, 20 3-pounders, and eight 1-pounders, with six torpedo tubes. The Alexander III's complement number 740, and her broadside weight of metal is 3516lb. Captain Bukhvostoff commands the Imperator Alexander III.

Tsesarevich battleship Battleship Tsesarevich, precursor of the Borodino class
Knyaz Suvorov battleship Battleship Knyaz Suvorov of the Borodino class
The Oslyabia is a new first-class battleship, launched at the new Admiralty yard, St. Petersburg, on November 8, 1898. She is a sister-ship to the Poltava and Peresviet (both at Porth Arthur), and is of 12674 tons displacement, and 14500 horse-power, designed to give her 18 knots speed. She is a triple-screw ship, with a water-line belt of Harveyed steel, 9.5in thick amidships, tapering to 6in at each end, and mounts four 10in heavy guns in 9in armoured barbettes, and 11 6in, 16 3in, 10 1.8in, and 17 1.4in quick-firers. The Oslyabia has six torpedo tubes, and her crew numbers 730 officers and men. Her coal capacity is 1060 tons normal, but she can stow 2056 tons. The Oslyabia, it may be remembered, was Admiral Virenius' flagship, which at the time of the outbreak of the war was in the Mediterranean at the head of a small squadron, which was intended to reinforce the Port Arthur fleet, but had to return owing to various breakdowns, and the collapse of the Russian naval arrangements in the Far East.

The Sissoi Veliky (Sissoi the Great) is an old ship and of another type. She is 10 years old, having been launched in June, 1894. She is a second-class battleship of 8880 tons. The coal her bunkers can hold, from 500 to 800 tons, can hardly take her more than from 1280 to 2000 miles at 10 knots without recoaling. The Sissoi has Belleville boilers, 12 in number. Her armour is compound steel on a partial belt, 247ft long and 7ft deep, varying in thickness from 11.8in to 15.7in. The hull, overall, is 348ft long (at the water-line 341ft), with 69ft beam, and 24ft greatest depth. The main armament guns are four 12in Oboukhoff breechloaders, in pairs in two turrets, the forward turret armoured with 11.8in steel, and the after with 9.8in steel. Besides these the Sissoi mounts six 6in quick-firers in a redoubt on the upper deck, armoured with 5in steel on it, besides 38 small quick-firers (3-pounders and 1-pounders) and machine guns. She has six torpedo tubes, all above water. The Sissoi's complement is 582 officers and men.

The Navarin goes back further still in date, and is as a fighting craft considerably slower and weaker. She was launched as long ago as 1891, and is of 9500 tons displacement and 9000 horse-power, with a highest possible speed of 15 knots. Her coal capacity is from 700 to 800 tons. Her armour is of the compound type, discarded in all navies 10 years ago. It is 16in thick on the water-line, and extends for only part of the ship's lenght. Her guns are four 12in turret guns, eight 6in quick-firers on the broadside, eight 3in, and 18 small quick-firers. The Navarin carries six torpedo tubes. Her mean draught is 25ft. She is manned by 630 officers and men.

The Aurora is a first-class protected cruiser, built in 1900, of 6600 tons, and 20 knots speed, mounting eight 6in, 22 3in, and eight smaller quick-firers, and fitted with four torpedo tubes. Her speed is 20 knots, and she is a sister of the Diana and Pallada, which were both at Port Arthur. The Aurora carries 662 officers and men.

Aurora cruiser Cruiser Aurora, preserved in Saint Petersburg
The Svietlana* is a small twin-screw protected cruiser of 3828 tons displacement, built at Havre in 1896. Her coal capacity is 4000* tons, equal to 7000 miles at 10 knots. For protection she has only deck armour, of Creusot steel, from 9in to 1.7in thick. Her guns are 5.9in Canet quick-firers, 10 3-pounder quick-firers, and two 1-pounder machine guns, with four torpedo tubes. The Svietlana's average best speed is 20 knots. Her complement is 395 officers and men.

The Admiral Nakhimoff is an armoured cruiser of 7782 tons. She goes back to 1885 for the date of her launch. She is 333ft in lenght, with 61ft beam, and mean draught 252ft*. Her coal capacity, of from 1200 to 1300 tons, gives her a cruising radius of from 7200 to 8000 miles at 10 knots. The Admiral Nakhimoff has a complete belt of compound armour 8in to 10in thick. Her guns are eight 8in Oboukhoff breechloaders, firing shells of 190lb, mounted in pairs in barbettes, which are protected with 8in compound armour; 10 6in quick-firers, mounted five a side, on the main deck; four 3-pounders, and six 1-pounders. She has six torpedo tubes. Her complement is 567 men.

The Dmitri Donskoi was originally one of Admiral Virenius' squadron. She is one of the earlier Russian cruisers, built under the great naval programme that Russia initiated after the Berlin Congress. The Dmitri Donskoi, launched in 1883, is a ship of 5900 tons, with a compound armour water-belt of 7.5in, and mounting four 6in, 10 4.7in, and 28 smaller quick-firers. She has four torpedo tubes, and is hardly capable, at best, of steaming over 15 knots. The Dmitri Donskoi was partly reconstructed and modernised 10 years ago. Her present coal capacity is 400 tons, giving her a cruising radius of action of 4800 miles at 10 knots. She carries 510 officers and men.

The Almaz is really a despatch vessel, or an exceptionally armed emergency cruiser. Her displacement is 6250 tons, and engine-power 18000 (indicated), giving her 23 knots at full speed. She has a thin armoured deck and carries six 4.7in guns, with 11 smaller quick-firers and machine-guns, also five torpedo tubes. Captain Chaguine commands the Almaz, with 550 officers and men under him. At the outbreak of the war the Almaz was on the way out to Port Arthur to serve there as the Viceroy's yacht for Admiral Alexeieff, for which service the Almaz had been most lavishly and sumptuously fitted up. She was, however, stopped in the Mediterranean and turned back.

* Probably a misprint, for the name is listed today as Svetlana.
* Clearly a misprint, for the true value was from 420 to 800 tons.
* Clearly a misprint, for the true value was 25ft.

Battle of Tsushima Battle of Tsushima - Hero of the Day: Admiral Togo
In 1904 the expansionist policies of the Tzar led Russia towards a disastrous war against Japan. When this one destroyed the Russian naval base of Port Arthur, in China, Nicholas II sent the Russian Baltic Fleet, led by Admiral Zinovi Rozhdestvenski, to the Pacific. The ships were heading towards Vladivostok, but the largest part did not arrive to destination; with the exception of four, they were destroyed in the Strait of Tsushima (between Japan and Korea) by a Japanese squadron led by Admiral Heihachiro Togo.

~ Russian pre-dreadnought (II) ~

~ Return to Military Ships ~