London Times, 17 June 1909, p. 5: THE RUSSIAN DREADNOUGHTS./KEELS LAID IN ST. PETERSBURG. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) ST. PETERSBURG, JUNE 16. The keels of the four Dreadnoughts which are to represent the nucleus of Russia’s future navy were laid down in St. Petersburg this morning. The materials to be employed will be throughout Russian; the designs and the supervision will be British. It is an open secret that the Tsar has taken a deep personal interest in the arrangements that have been made for placing the contracts for the new ships.

The construction of these Dreadnoughts has been long delayed owing to the necessity for reorganizing the Admiralty, and while this was being done the Duma twice refused the requisite credits. Great difficulties were also experienced in selecting designs. Last year the choice seemed to lie between Hamburg and Italian designs, but the superiority offered by the British firms became apparent, and last December a representative of Messrs. John Brown and Co., of Clydebank and Sheffield, obtained the contract, which, however, was kept a secret. The contract involved responsibility for the construction of four sister ships of 23,000 tons with a speed of 23 knots and turbine engines. Russian engineers and architects went to Messrs. Browns’ yard for technical instruction. Orders have been placed in Russia for the material, so that the vessels may be launched in an advanced state within a couple of years.

The ceremony to-day consisted of a religious service followed by the laying of the keels, in which representatives of the Russian and the French Navy Leagues took part. Rear-Admiral Grigorovich made a hearty speech to the assembled dockyard staffs. He said that he felt sure that they would work hard to re-establish Russia’s sea power. There would be plenty for them to do. The men cheered his words loudly.

The two Dreadnoughts to be named the Sevastopol and the Petropavlovsk were laid down at the Baltic Works, and the other two, the Gangut and the Poltava, at the Admiralty dockyard on the opposite side of the Neva. Their length will be 180 mètres, their width 26.55 mètres, and their drought 8.3 mètres. The horse-power will be 42,000, and they will have a coal capacity of 3,000 tons. They will have modified Yarrow tubular boilers, Parsons turbines, and four screws. The Baltic Works will supply the machinery for two of the vessels, and the adjoining Franco-Russian Works that for the other two.

The new battleships will carry 12 12in. and 16 120-millimètre guns. The turrets will be placed four amidships, one in the bow, and one in the stern. The ships will have four submerged torpedo tubes. The deck side armour will be supplied by the Government Works. The hulls will be made partly of soft Martin steel and partly of specially hardened steel.

Provided by Stephen McLaughlin