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Her engines were destroyed by the British in when they withdrew from Sevastopol to prevent the advancing Bolsheviks from using them against the White Russians.

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She was abandoned when the Whites evacuated the Crimea in and was finally scrapped by the Soviets in Planning began in for a new battleship that would utilise a slipway slated to become available at the Nikolayev Admiralty Shipyard in Pilkin, agreed on a copy of the Peresvet -class battleship design, but they were over-ruled by General Admiral Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich. The improvements included a higher forecastle to improve the ship's seakeeping qualities, Krupp cemented armour and Belleville boilers. The design process was complicated by numerous changes demanded by various departments of the Naval Technical Committee.

The ship's design was finally approved on 12 June , although design changes continued to be made that slowed the ship's construction. Construction of Potemkin began on 27 December and she was laid down at the Nikolayev Admiralty Shipyard on 10 October She was named in honour of Prince Grigory Potemkin , a Russian soldier and statesman.

She began sea trials in September and these continued, off and on, until early when her gun turrets were completed. She had a beam of 73 feet Potemkin ' s crew consisted of 26 officers and enlisted men. The 8 boilers in the forward boiler room were oil-fired and the remaining 14 were coal-fired. During her sea trials on 31 October , she reached a top speed of Leaking oil caused a serious fire on 2 January that caused the navy to convert her boilers to coal firing at a cost of 20, rubles.

The electrically operated turrets were derived from the design of those used by the Petropavlovsk -class battleships. Twelve of these were placed on the sides of the hull and the other four were positioned at the corners of the superstructure. Smaller guns were carried for close-range defence against torpedo boats.

These included fourteen calibre Canet QF millimetre 3. The ship carried shells for each gun. Four of these were mounted in the fighting top and two on the superstructure.

She carried three torpedoes for each tube. In telescopic sights were fitted for the inch and 6-inch guns.


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In that or the following year 2. The bow torpedo tube was removed in —11, as was the fighting top. The following year the main-gun turret machinery was upgraded and the guns were modified to improve their rate of fire to one round every 40 seconds. Two millimetre 2. In February the ship's four remaining torpedo tubes were removed.

It covered feet Above the belt was the upper strake of six-inch armour that was feet The upper casemate protected the six-inch guns and was five inches thick on all sides. The conning tower 's sides were nine inches thick. The nickel-steel armour deck was two inches thick on the flat amidships, but 2. During the Russo-Japanese War of —05, many of the Black Sea Fleet's most experienced officers and enlisted men were transferred to the ships in the Pacific to replace losses. This left the fleet with primarily raw recruits and less capable officers.

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With the news of the disastrous Battle of Tsushima in May morale dropped to an all-time low, and any minor incident could be enough to spark a major catastrophe. On 27 June , Potemkin was at gunnery practice near Tendra Spit off the Ukrainian coast when many enlisted men refused to eat the borscht made from rotten meat partially infested with maggots. The uprising was triggered when Ippolit Giliarovsky , the ship's second in command, allegedly threatened to shoot crew members for their refusal.

He summoned the ship's marine guards as well as a tarpaulin to protect the ship's deck from any blood in an attempt to intimidate the crew. Giliarovsky was killed after he mortally wounded Grigory Vakulinchuk , one of the mutiny's leaders. The mutineers killed seven of the Potemkin ' s eighteen officers, including Captain Evgeny Golikov ru , and captured the torpedo boat Ismail No.

They organised a ship's committee of 25 sailors, led by Afanasi Matushenko , to run the battleship.

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The committee decided to head for Odessa flying a red flag and arrived there later that day at A general strike had been called in the city and there was some rioting as the police tried to quell the strikers. The following day the mutineers refused to supply a landing party to help the striking revolutionaries take over the city, preferring instead to await the arrival of the other battleships of the Black Sea Fleet.

Later that day the mutineers aboard the Potemkin captured a military transport, Vekha , that had arrived in the city. The riots continued as much of the port area was destroyed by fire. On the afternoon of 29 June, Vakulinchuk's funeral turned into a political demonstration and the army attempted to ambush the sailors who participated in the funeral. In retaliation, the ship fired two six-inch shells at the theatre where a high-level military meeting was scheduled to take place, but missed.

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The government issued an order to send two squadrons to Odessa either to force the Potemkin ' s crew to give up or sink the battleship. Potemkin sortied on the morning of 30 June to meet the three battleships Tri Sviatitelia , Dvenadsat Apostolov , and Georgii Pobedonosets of the first squadron, but the loyal ships turned away.

The second squadron arrived with the battleships Rostislav and Sinop later that morning, and Vice Admiral Aleksander Krieger , acting commander of the Black Sea Fleet, ordered the ships to proceed to Odessa. Potemkin sortied again and sailed through the combined squadrons as Krieger failed to order his ships to fire. Captain Kolands of Dvenadsat Apostolov attempted to ram Potemkin and then detonate his ship's magazines, but he was thwarted by members of his crew. Krieger ordered his ships to fall back, but the crew of Georgii Pobedonosets mutinied and joined Potemkin. The following morning, loyalist members of Georgii Pobedonosets retook control of the ship and ran her aground in Odessa harbour.

The Romanians refused to provide the supplies, backed by the presence of their small protected cruiser Elisabeta , so the ship's committee decided to sail for the small, barely defended port of Theodosia in the Crimea where they hoped to resupply. The ship arrived on the morning of 5 July, but the city's governor refused to give them anything other than food. The mutineers attempted to seize several barges of coal the following morning, but the port's garrison ambushed them and killed or captured 22 of the 30 sailors involved. Potemkin reached its destination at on 7 July and the Romanians agreed to give asylum to the crew if they would disarm themselves and surrender the battleship.

Ismail ' s crew decided the following morning to return to Sevastopol and turn themselves in, but Potemkin ' s crew voted to accept the terms. Captain Negru, commander of the port, came aboard at noon and hoisted the Romanian flag and then allowed the ship to enter the inner harbor.

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Before the crew disembarked, Matushenko ordered that the Potemkin ' s Kingston valves be opened so she would sink to the bottom. After several hours of negotiations with the Romanian Government, the battleship was handed over to the Russians. Later that day the Russian Navy Ensign was raised over the battleship. Some members of Panteleimon ' s crew joined a mutiny that began aboard the protected cruiser Ochakov ru in November, but it was easily suppressed as both ships had been earlier disarmed.

Panteleimon received an experimental underwater communications set [25] in February Later that year, she accidentally rammed and sank the submarine Kambala ru at night on 11 June [according to Russian sources, Kambala sank in a collision with the battleship Rostislav , not with Panteleimon ], [23] killing the 16 crewmen aboard the submarine. It took several days to refloat her and make temporary repairs, and the full extent of the damage to its bottom was not fully realised for several more months.

The ship participated in training and gunnery exercises for the rest of the year; a special watch was kept to ensure that no damaged seams were opened while firing.

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In Russia was a credible second-tier naval power, with sizable, modern fleets in the Baltic, the Pacific and the Black Sea. The destruction of the former two fleets at the hands of the Japanese caused a crisis, but in 13 years after the Battle of Tsushima, Russia would put seven dreadnoughts into service despite the disruption of World War I. The Bolshevik Revolution, not unlike the collapse of the Soviet Union, simultaneously forced a consolidation of existing forces and a renunciation of planned new construction.

Like the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union futzed through the first 20 years of its existence without a clear idea of what it wanted from its navy, before embarking — on the eve of World War II — on a massive construction program. And then everything fell apart, again. The Russian navy could not maintain the fleet it inherited, much less afford the pace of new construction necessary to keep its military shipbuilding industry healthy. A death spiral ensued, as the cost of maintaining older ships increased, along with the build time for new vessels, while the quality of maintenance and construction declined.


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The financial crisis of the last few years, brought about by a combination of sanctions and cratering oil prices, helped snuff out signs of life in everything other than submarine construction. China will have at least three aircraft carriers by the time Russia commissions its second; India will have at least two, as will the United Kingdom. In terms of regular surface combatants, the situation looks rather worse. The comparison with China is particularly stark. While Russia has commissioned five major surface combatants since , three of which were laid down during the Soviet period, China has commissioned about Until Russia reestablishes its shipbuilding industry, it cannot compete with China, Japan or South Korea.

Until Russia restructures its economy, it cannot reestablish its shipbuilding industry. Notwithstanding outsized investments in defense, Russia can plausibly expect to compete on only a very narrow set of capabilities — nuclear attack submarines, nuclear ballistic missile submarines and mid-sized frigates and corvettes. On the upside, Russian industry has done a creditable job of installing new missile technology onto existing platforms.

Finally, it bears mention that the modern Russian Federation lives with the same maritime handicaps as its predecessors, the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. The Russian navy is divided between four different fleets — Black Sea, Baltic, Northern and Pacific — and none can easily support the others. Contrast this with China, which maintains three regional fleets within easy sailing distance of one another. In the foreseeable future, Russia should commit to naval projects that it absolutely requires, and that it does well. This mostly means a nuclear submarine flotilla capable of posing a deterrent threat, and a small surface fleet tasked with managing routine maritime maintenance operations.

This article originally appeared at The National Interest. Current ships The Russian navy inherited a massive, modern fleet of surface ships and submarines. If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.