1913-09-13 COMPOSITION OF THE SQUADRON
London Times, 13 September 1913, p. 5: THE RUSSIAN NAVAL VISIT. COMPOSITION OF THE SQUADRON. As has been announced in The Times, the powerful Russian naval squadron which is to visit Portland next week will arrive to-morrow and will remain until Friday, and in view of the interest and importance of the visit the following particulars of the composition of the squadron are given.
With two exceptions, the ships under Admiral von Essen have all been passed into the Navy since the conclusion of peace with the Japanese in August, 1905. The Tsarevitch [Tsesarevich], battleship, and Gromoboi, cruiser, saw active service during the war, and were among the few Russian vessels which escaped capture or destruction at the hands of the enemy. The Tsarevitch was in the Russian Fleet at Port Arthur at the beginning of the campaign, and took part in the action of August 10, 1904, when, with the cruiser Novik and three destroyers, she escaped and took refuge in Kiachow, where she was disarmed by the authorities. She has visited English ports on at least three occasions since the war – in 1907, 1908, and 1910. The Gromoboi was in the squadron at Vladivostok, being the principal Russian ship there when the war began. In the action of August 14, 1904, between three Russian and four Japanese armoured cruisers, she took a gallant part, continuing the fight after her consort, the Rurik [Riurik], had been put out of action. She had six holes below the water-line, and of her officers, four were killed and a similar number, including the captain, wounded. These two vessels seem certain to attract the greatest attention during their stay at Portland.
It has been said that the nine armoured ships of the visiting squadron comprise practically the whole of the effective strength of the Russian Navy in the Baltic. There is, indeed, only one other armoured vessel on the effective list stationed there, and that is the Rossia [Rossiia], which was sent to represent the Russian Navy at the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead in 1911. That so many vessels of the effective squadron should be sent on a practice cruise to foreign ports is significant of the new era of efficiency which has been established during the administration of Admiral Grigorovitch, the Minister of Marine. Since he was appointed in April, 1911, four Dreadnoughts have been launches at St. Petersburg, and these vessels are due to pass into commission in the course of the next few months. The full list of the visiting ships is as follows:–
Name of Ship. Date of Displace-
Launch ment, Armament. Speed,
Imperator Pavel I. 1907 4 12in.
17,400 14 8in. 18
Andrei Pervozvanni1906 12 4.7in.
Slava1903 13,516 4 12in. 18
Tsarevitch 1901 13,000 4 12in. 19
Rurik (flagship) 1906 15,200 4 10in. 21
Bayan 1907 7,775 2 8in.
Pallada 1906 8 6in. 21
Admiral Makarov 1906 7,760 2 8in. 21
Gromoboi 1899 13,220 4 8in. 20
General Kondra- 2 4in.
tenko 1905 615 6 6pdr. 25
Pogranichnik 2 tubes
The Rurik [Riurik], in which the Admiral’s flag is flown, is a vessel built by Messrs. Vickers, and although designated an armoured cruiser could perhaps be more fittingly described as a fast battleship, her speed being rather higher than that of contemporary battleships and her armament more powerful than that of contemporary cruisers. It is probably on account of her good speed that the Rurik acts as flagship of the squadron instead of one of the heavier battleships. Two other vessels of the squadron were constructed in foreign yards, these being the battleship Tsarevitch and cruiser Admiral Makarov, which were built at La Seyne, France. All the others were built in St. Petersburg. The battleships compare favourably with others of their own date in foreign navies. Thus the Imperator Pavel I. and Andrei Pervozvanni [Andrei Pervozvannyi] have a larger displacement than the British Lord Nelsons, and against the four 12in. and ten 9.2in. guns of the latter they can show four 12in., 14 8in., and 12 4.7in. guns. Moreover, the Slava and Tsarevitch are superior in armament to the British Bulwark and Duncan classes. The cruisers are of three distinct types, and it seems a little difficult to understand the policy of constructing the 13,200-ton Gromoboi in 1899 and the 7,775-ton Bayan [Baian] type in 1906-7.
The destroyer flotilla which accompanies the squadron is composed of boats of one of the largest classes in commission. Two of these vessels were built at Helsingfors and two at the Crichton works at Abo. They are heavier than the British “River” boats, but not so heavy as the later ocean-going destroyers. The squadron is completed by the transport Riga, of 14,500 tons, constructed by Messrs. Blohm and Voss in 1899.
The last occasion of the visit of a Russian squadron to England was in August, 1910, when the Tsarevitch, battleship, and the Slava, Bogatyr, and Rurik, cruisers, made a stay of five days at Portsmouth and interest was added to the occasion by the presence of the Japanese cruiser Ikoma. Both Russian and Japanese seamen were hospitably entertained by the naval and civil authorities. At Portland there is not at the moment a very large British force. The battleships Cornwallis and Russell are in harbour, and the Attentive and the First Destroyer Flotilla have arrived during the present week.
Provided by Stephen McLaughlin