Welcome eight new steel monsters, ready to hit the high seas in World of Warships!
To celebrate the occasion, we’ve prepared several short articles on how the original ships came into being, and how we went about recreating them in the game. This information should provide you with valuable insight on each battleship of the new branch, bringing a fresh perspective to your experience of the game and a deeper understanding of the gameplay. Now, let’s take a closer look at the newcomers!
After the end of the Russo-Japanese War, in which the Russian Navy lost nearly all of its capital ships, there was an apparent need for new ones to be built. By the spring of 1906, information about the characteristics of the state-of-the-art (Dreadnought) ships, then under construction to service the needs of the Royal Navy, had already spread. During a number of Special Council meetings convened by Navy Minister Birilev in April 1906, questions were raised about the need to build ships that would meet or exceed the power of the foreign projects in development. As a result of these discussions, the Special Council decided on the following key characteristics of future ships: displacement between 19,000 to 20,000 tons; turbine propulsion; a speed of 22 knots; main armor belt of 203 mm; eight to twelve 305 mm main battery guns; and 120 mm secondary armament. Compared against even the most advanced and powerful Russian armored warships, this represented a quantum leap forward. The competition for the best outline design for these ships of the future involved the leading shipbuilders of the Russian Empire, who joined either personally or as representatives of the country’s leading shipyards. The winning project was submitted by Dmitry Vasilyevich Skvortsov, Chief Engineer at the Port of Saint Petersburg. It was his design of a “large high-speed battleship with modern armament” that was taken up for further development, which lasted until the autumn of 1907. By September 1907, the project envisioned the construction of a 22,000-ton ship with ten 305 mm main battery guns, housed in five turrets mounted on the centerline in a diamond-shaped arrangement, and fourteen 120 mm secondary battery guns. The ship’s main advantage over her foreign counterparts stemmed from her superior 305 mm/52 guns, designed by Obukhov Plant.
In 1907, the Naval General Staff (MGSh) that had been established a short time earlier, was actively involved in the design of future battleships. Specialists at MGSh believed that the new ship should be built around the following essential features: her main battery guns should be mounted on the same level (i.e. not superfiring) and all positioned along the centerline, making it easier to adjust fire while achieving maximum firepower at the widest possible firing angles. This implied having minimal superstructures on deck, as well as the afore-mentioned necessity to have the main battery turrets all placed on the centerline. These principles were incorporated into a new design assignment, adopted in December 1907.
Knyaz Suvorov: In-Game Model
The game model is based on technical drawings dating back to September 1907 of a “battleship with a displacement of about 22,000 tons”. Compared to her immediate predecessors, i.e. the Tsesarevich- and Andrei Pervozvanny-class battleships, this ship had an all-new layout. Her main battery turrets housed new 305 mm/52 guns. As a result of preconceptions prevailing among Russian shipbuilders and admirals after Tsushima, the ship’s armor layout should cover the entire hull above the waterline, protecting it from HE shells at the expense of a thinner main armor belt. Hull A constitutes the ship as she would have been if hypothetically laid down in 1907-1908, and commissioned in 1913, carrying a secondary battery of fourteen 120 mm Model 1905 guns. Hull B is a hypothetical upgrade dating back to the period of World War I, with secondary battery guns replaced by 130 mm guns manufactured by the Obukhov Plant, and with eight 75 mm anti-aircraft Canet guns also placed on board.
The ship was named in honor of the squadron battleship Knyaz Suvorov, flagship of the Second Pacific Squadron—the ship that heroically fell in the Battle of Tsushima.
On December 23, 1907, after the terms of reference for the future battleship design competition had finally been formalized, the Shipbuilding and Procurement Bureau contacted six Russian plants and 21 foreign firms, seeking their proposals for the competition. By February 28, 1908 the Navy Ministry had received 23 projects for the new battleship, of which nine were shortlisted for further review. During discussions involving the Naval General Staff and Naval Technical Committee, a design submitted by the Baltic Works, and another by Blohm & Voss, a German firm, were selected as the best. In accordance with the explicit wish of Emperor Nicholas II for the new ship to be constructed by Russian engineers at Russian manufacturing premises, the project of the Baltic Works was accepted as a baseline design. At the end of 1908, the Navy Ministry succeeded in getting royal consent for the construction of the ships. In June 1909, following a thorough examination of the project, the shipyards began building the battleships. All four ships were laid down on June 3, 1909, launched during the summer and autumn of 1911, and commissioned in late 1914 and early 1915.
Gangut was constructed at the New Admiralty Shipyard. The battleship was launched on September 24, 1911. She was the last of the four ships to run her sea trials, which lasted from February 22 until February 24, 1914. Gangut spent the winter of 1914–1915 in Helsingfors to have minor defects rectified and complete necessary start-up tweaks for her main battery turrets. In the spring and summer of 1915, Gangut initiated heavy combat training as part of the Baltic Fleet. However, the ship’s combat role was reduced to merely providing cover for mine anchors—command decided that no risks should be taken. As a result, the new battleships missed the campaigns of 1916 and 1917, and remained moored in Helsingfors. In February 1917, the ships hoisted red flags. In March 1918, the Baltic Fleet ships left Helsingfors and moved on to Kronstadt. Gangut and Poltava found themselves in long-term storage by the walls of the Admiralty Works. In 1925, the battleship was renamed “Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya”. In 1931-1934, the ship was upgraded, with her old coal boilers replaced by oil-fired boilers. A new forecastle was fitted to improve seakeeping, and the gun-fire control system was enhanced, etc. Another refit which dramatically improved the ship’s anti-aircraft defenses occurred before the outbreak of war. During the Great Patriotic War, the ship participated in the defense of Leningrad, firing at the advancing German troops and fending off enemy air attacks. After the war, the ship formerly known as Gangut received further upgrades. After 1951, the ship was reclassified and used as a training vessel. In 1956, she was decommissioned and scrapped for metal.
Gangut: In-Game Model
The model depicts the ship’s condition as of 1916. She carries eight 75 mm anti-aircraft Canet guns placed in pairs on top of the main battery turrets, and four Maxim machine guns for providing anti-aircraft cover.
Under the Naval Warfare Development Program of 1909-1919, worked out by the Naval General Staff (MGSh) in the second half of 1907, in addition to the eight battleships, it was proposed that four more ships should be built with the intention of using T-crossing tactics against an enemy fleet. On August 18, 1907, MGSh came up with the principal characteristics for the future “armored cruiser”, which was expected to run at a speed of 25 knots; carry eight 305 mm guns placed in four turrets and sixteen 102 mm guns; and have a main armor belt of at least 152 mm. By 1909, these characteristics had been slightly adjusted upwards, but when MGSh’s senior ranks paid a visit to German shipyards and learnt about the all-new battlecruisers under construction at that time, an image of the necessary performance characteristics started to finally take shape. The ship should have a speed of at least 28 knots, carry ten to twelve 305 mm or 356 mm guns, and have an armor belt of at least 190 mm. On August 26, 1911 six Russian and seventeen foreign shipyards received an invitation from the Navy Ministry to join a competition to create the best outline design for an “armored cruiser for the Baltic Sea.” Outline designs were submitted by John Brown; Vickers and William Beardmore (Great Britain); Vulkan and Blohm und Voss (Germany), who submitted theirs jointly with Putilov Works; and by the national Admiralty, Baltic and Putilov Works. On May 12, 1912, the results were summed up, with the winner being outline design No.6 of the Admiralty Shipyard, which was later used as the basis for battlecruiser Izmail.
Variant X of Project 707, designed by the Blohm und Voss firm for the “Armored Cruiser for the Baltic Sea” competition, provided for a distinctive ship layout, as Variants VIII to X envisaged a superfiring arrangement, over the non-superfiring variety, for the ship’s main battery guns. With a normal displacement of 30,378 tons, the ship was to carry eight 356 mm guns in four turrets and twenty-four 130 mm secondary battery guns in casemates. In general, by design the ship was quite reminiscent of the German battlecruisers of her time, while in terms of armor protection she was seemingly closer to the Gangut-class battleships.
Pyotr Velikiy: In-Game Model
The ship model is based on Project 707, submitted by Blohm und Voss (Germany) jointly with Putilov Works (Russia), for the international competition to pick out the best outline design of an armored cruiser for the Baltic Sea, announced on August 26, 1911 by the Navy Ministry of the Russian Empire (Variant X). The general layout of the ship, as well as the arrangement of her guns and mechanisms, obviously traces back to the design of German Derfflinger-class battlecruisers. The ship’s main battery comprised 356 mm guns placed in four twin-gun turrets, mounted in a superfiring arrangement. The hull was worked out on the basis of a theoretical line drawing of battlecruiser Izmail. The ship is fitted with “big” boilers like those installed on Izmail-class ships, which run entirely on oil. All of the boiler uptakes were trunked into one funnel. The same propulsive output was achieved with fewer boilers and boiler rooms. The vacant boiler room was used as an artillery plotting station and a power and damage control point, as well as housing diesel generators and storing small-caliber AA battery magazines. The ship is modeled in line with its hypothetical upgrade, dating back to the late 1920s. During the upgrade, part of the ship’s secondary battery guns would have been replaced with 102 mm Model 1928 AA guns. The small-caliber AA battery on Hull A consists of 45 mm 21-K guns; Hull B: Modeled as an upgrade that dates back to 1942. Her anti-aircraft guns were replaced with twin Minizini mounts; the small-caliber AA battery on Hull B included 37 mm Type 70-K automatic air defense guns and 12.7 mm machine guns.
The ship was named after the first Russian ironclad of the traditional layout—Pyotr Velikiy.
The international competition for an outline design of an “armored cruiser for the Baltic Sea” came to an end in May, 1912, but the Naval General Staff (MGSh) were quite impressed with some of the submitted designs. MGSh specialists were fascinated by the prospect of boosting the ship’s firepower by one third by making minor re-tweaks and adding one additional main battery turret. After MGSh decided on the main characteristics, they turned to the designs furnished by the Admiralty and Baltic and Putilov Works. MGSh’s final decision was to join the efforts of the design bureaus of the first two shipyards by combining the advantages of both designs within a single project. On August 4, 1912 the project was approved and sent on to have a complete set of line drawings made up. On December 6, four “armored cruisers” were officially laid down. Two battleships—Izmail and Kinburn—were built at the Baltic Works, and two more—Borodino and Navarin—at the Admiralty Shipyard. During the summer and autumn of 1915, all four ships were launched, but weren’t completed due to the large-scale economic crisis brought on by World War I and the events that occurred in early 1917. After the October Revolution, the outfitting work on the ships ceased completely.
Izmail was launched on June 9 (23), 1915, in the presence of the reigning monarch. The ship’s fitting works were progressing slowly, primarily because the shipyards were occupied with urgent military orders. On October 11, 1917 the Provisional Government ordered work on the remaining battlecruisers to cease in favor of Izmail. But the same fate eventually befell Izmail during the years of the Civil War. At that time, the ship’s hull was close to completion, while her mechanisms and armament were only half complete. In the 1920s, it was proposed to complete the ship based on the original design, or with a change to the mix of armament that she carried, but the plan died for lack of funds. An alternate project to convert Izmail into an aircraft carrier was also never accomplished. In the long run, the battlecruiser was scrapped for metal in the early 1930s.
Izmail: In-Game Model
This ship model is a hypothetical upgrade as of mid-1938, which is in many ways similar to the upgrade of Gangut-class battleships. The fore section of the ship was rearranged; the casemate guns mounted amidships were removed; the casemates were rearranged to match V.P. Kostenko’s design for the Baltic Sea battleships, but with the secondary battery guns replaced with four 102 mm twin Minizini mounts. The original moderate superstructures were replaced with extended ones, adding a distinctive form to the ship’s fore-funnel to create a recognizable silhouette of a typical Soviet battleship during the period of World War II. The battleship’s armor protection was substantially reinforced, with the main belt reaching 300 mm in thickness. The small-caliber AA battery of Hull A is represented by single 45 mm 21-K semi-automatic mounts and DShK machine guns; Hull B which is effectively an upgrade as of 1943, and comes with 37 mm 70-K single mounts, 46-K twin mounts, and 66-K quad mounts, as well as the same DShK machine guns.
After the Izmail-class battlecruisers had already been laid down, the Naval General Staff set to work on the next-generation battleships under the Shipbuilding Program of 1915-1919. Research work carried out between 1913-1914 shaped the image for the future warship. She was expected to carry at least twelve 406 mm main guns and twenty-four 130 mm guns, run at a speed of at least 25 knots, and have a range of 5,000 miles. As ways were sought to reduce her displacement and cut down costs, a design with three quad turrets was proposed as the principal armament configuration. In March 1914, marine engineer Bubnov created a project for a battleship with a displacement of 35,000 tons. In 1914, a number of projects featuring nine to twelve 406 mm guns originated from the Putilov Shipyard, and later from the Revel Works of the Russo-Baltic Shipbuilding Company, which submitted the “heaviest” ship design with four quad 406 mm turrets. However, with the outbreak of World War I, the plans to build additional same-type ships were set aside. Plans to design new battleships were revitalized only at the end of 1916, in a move to reflect on the experience obtained from recent battles at sea. Moreover, an increasingly stable battlefront and the expanding military production at the time gave rise to hopes for a successful end to the war. For the Russian Navy, the prospect of entering new theaters of naval operations, particularly in the Mediterranean, loomed on the horizon. In October 1916, ship building engineer Vladimir Polievktovich Kostenko from the Naval-Russud Works, commenced work on the design of a future battleship.
Kostenko worked on four versions of a battleship, which differed from each other by the arrangement of their armament, number of main guns, running speed, and armor protection. Variant 2 was in all respects a compromise, where a high speed of 30 knots was combined with armor protection of 275 mm (belt armor) and a 100 mm armored bulkhead behind the belt. The ship’s main battery comprised nine guns placed in three triple turrets, and the caliber of her secondary battery guns grew up to 152 mm. However, at the beginning of 1917, work on the design came to an end. Plans to build “battleships with 406 mm guns” remained nothing but ink on paper.
Sinop: In-Game Model
This model is a hypothetical upgrade of the ship that dates back to the end of 1930s, and which is in many ways similar to the upgrade of Gangut-class battleships. The fore section of the ship was rearranged, and moderate original superstructures replaced with extended ones, adding a distinctive form to the ship’s fore-funnel to create the recognizable silhouette of a typical World War II Soviet battleship. The barbette of the second turret was raised a bit to enable the ship to chase fire, the layout of casemate armor was realigned, and the thickness of the main armor belt was increased to 300 mm. The battleship carried 406 mm/45 Model 1915 guns placed in three triple-gun turrets. Her secondary battery turrets were replaced with modern MK-17 turrets; AA defenses comprised 100 mm guns in twin open-backed B-54 mountings, 76 mm guns on 34-K mounts; and the small-caliber AA battery comprised 37 mm guns on 70-K mounts and DShK machine guns. Hull B represents a hypothetical upgrade as of 1944, which replaced the ship’s AA armament with six B-2U mounts, and the small-caliber AA battery with 46-K and 66-K mounts.
The ship was named to commemorate the Battle of Sinop.
In 1935, Soviet shipbuilding policy, which until that time had paid little, if any, attention to battleships, was realigned to meet new international challenges. In December of that year, the Directorate for the Naval Forces of the Red Army submitted a request to the Central Design Bureau for Special Shipbuilding No. 1 (TsKBS-1) to prepare new design specifications for modern heavyweight warships. In February 1936, the terms of reference were prepared for a battleship that would serve in the Baltic Sea (Project 21), a heavy cruiser (Project 22), and a battleship for the Pacific Ocean (Project 23). TsKBS-1 was in charge of the heavy cruiser design, while the battleships were drawn up by the Design Bureau of the Baltic Works (KB-4). After minor adjustments to the terms of reference, the heavy cruiser ended up as a Type “B” battleship. The battleship designed under Project 23 was renamed as a Type “A” battleship”. In June 1936, the technical characteristics of the future ship were finalized: nine 406 mm guns were placed in three turrets, mounted in a superfiring arrangement. The secondary battery consisted of twelve 152 mm guns in six turrets, the main armor belt was 380 mm thick, she could reach a speed of at least 30 knots, and had a standard displacement of 41,500 tons. KB-4 and TsKBS-1 worked on the Type “A” battleship in parallel, and in October 1936, work on the design drafts was completed. In contrast to the terms of reference, the ship’s water displacement grew, which was considered well justified, given that the other parameters remained the same. The project furnished by KB-4 eventually prevailed.
However, the project to build a Type “A” battleship under the terms of reference adjusted on November 26, 1936, eventually came to nothing. In the beginning of 1937, the news spread that Germany and Japan were building battleships with an estimated 52,000-ton displacement. KB-4 continued work on their warship, enhancing her protection and firepower. Eventually, Project 23 crystallized into a series of Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships.
Vladivostok: In-Game Model
The model is based on the draft design of a battleship dating back to 1936, representing the ship as of 1940, assuming she had hypothetically been laid down in 1936. The battleship is armed with 406 mm/45 Model 1915 guns placed in three triple turrets. Secondary battery: 152 mm MK-3 twin mounts; AA armament: 100 mm B-54 mounts; small-caliber AA battery: 37 mm 46-K guns. Hull B represents a hypothetical upgrade as of 1944, with her AA armament replaced with six MZ-14 mounts, and the small-caliber AA battery replaced with 37 mm 46-K and V-11 mounts.
In the spring of 1937, the Soviet Union leadership found out that Germany and Japan had initiated the construction of new battleships. The ships, with an estimated displacement of at least 50,000 tons, seemed much stronger than the Type “A” battleship project. With that in mind, the Shipbuilding Bureau suggested that the design bureaus rework the project within three months, buffing it up to a displacement of 55,000 tons and a speed of 29.5 knots, with no reference whatsoever to any contractual limitations. In November 1937, Variant III of Technical Project 23 was worked out. By that time, tests of the ship’s trial compartments for resistance to aerial bomb hits had finished, and the project was sent back for a follow-on revision. Variant IIIu of Technical Project 23 was finished by March 1938, and in May a decision was made to lay down the first warship on July 15, 1938. At the same time, further tweaks to the project continued to be made even after construction of the ship had already commenced. It was only on July 13, 1939, that all elements of Project 23 were finally approved.
Under the original plans, eight Type “A” battleships were to be built under Project 23, four of which would be handed over to the Navy in 1941. But these plans turned out to be overly optimistic. Having assumed a more balanced approach towards their own assets and capabilities, the Committee for Defense authorized the construction of four ships. Two battleships were laid down in 1938: one in Leningrad at Shipyard No. 189 (Baltic Works), and the other in Nikolaev at the Andre Marti Shipyard (No.198). Between 1939-1940, two more battleships were laid down in Molotovsk Dockyard No. 402. However, the construction of one of them was canceled due to technical reasons. According to plans at the time, the battleships were to be launched in 1943 and commissioned in 1945. But with the outbreak of war, those plans met their doom.
Battleship Sovetsky Soyuz was laid down on July 15, 1938 at Ordzhonikidze Shipyard No. 189. The outbreak of World War II, and later the Great Patriotic War, disrupted many foreign orders for elements of the propulsion unit and armor. With the Leningrad blockade, the construction of the lead ship was brought to a standstill at 21% overall completion. When the war was over, construction didn’t resume, and on May 29, 1948, the decision was made to dismantle the ship’s hull.
Sovetsky Soyuz: In-Game Model
The model represents the Project 23 ship as she could hypothetically have been, if completed during World War II. The secondary battery of Hull A comprised six 152 mm MK-4 mounts, while her AA armament consisted of four 100 mm MZ-14 mounts; the small-caliber AA battery included 37 mm 46-KR and 70-K mounts. Hull B represents a hypothetical upgrade as of 1949, with the ship’s secondary battery and AA armament replaced with six 130 mm BL-101 mounts, and the small-caliber AA battery replaced with 37 mm 46-KR and V-11 mounts, further reinforced with 25 mm 4M-120 mounts.
The initial engineering studies for the next project of a battleship, designated Project 24, commenced in January, 1941. Initially, the ship was an iteration of the original Project 23, but with more AA guns and reinforced armor. In 1944, the specifications were changed: secondary battery guns were replaced with dual-purpose armament, and her anti-torpedo protection, as well as the protection of the ship’s fore and aft ends, were reinforced. In December 1945, technical and operational terms of reference were approved for a battleship designated “Project 24”, according to which the future ship’s primary missions included “complete domination against any type of surface ship, offshore and in distant waters.” The project was undertaken by a group of engineers headed by F.E. Bespolov, who had earlier been in charge of the engineering design of the Kronstadt-class cruisers. According to the plan, the technical project was to be finalized by 1952. Numerous armament alternatives were considered for the new battleship, ranging from 406 mm to 457 mm main battery guns. In 1950, Variant XIII of the preliminary design was approved as the principal one. However, there was nowhere to build such a huge battleship, with its 80,000-ton displacement. The country’s leadership also seemed to be losing interest in major surface ships. Between 1951-1952, the future of the project remained unclear, but after Stalin’s death it was ultimately terminated.
Kreml: the In-Game Model
The ship model constitutes a Project 24 warship as she would hypothetically have been built in 1953. The ship carries 457 mm/48 SM-8 guns distributed between three triple turrets. Her dual-purpose battery comprises eight 130 mm BL-109A twin mounts and the small-caliber AA battery includes 45 mm SM-20-ZIF mounts, and 25 mm 4M-120 mounts.
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