Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The battleship Poltava - a naval memory of the Battle of Poltava

Poltava (renamed Frunze in 1926) was the second of the Gangut-class battleships of the Imperial Russian Navy built before World War I. The Ganguts were the first class of Russian dreadnoughts. The battleship was named after the Russian victory over Charles XII of Sweden in the Battle of Poltava in 1709. Poltava was layd down in 1909 in the Admiralty Shipyard at Saint Petersburg. This year Russia was getting ready for the huge celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava.

Imperial Russian dreadnought battleship Poltava at full steam in 1916.

She was completed during the winter of 1914–15, but was not ready for combat until mid-1915. Poltava was 180 meters long at the waterline. She had a beam of 26.9 meters and a draft of 8.99 meters. Her displacement was 24,800 tonnes. Poltava's machinery was built by the Franco-Russian Works. Ten Parsons steam turbines drove the four propellers. The engines had a total designed output of 42,000 shaft horsepower. Her main armament consisted of a dozen Obukhovskii 12-inch (305 mm) Pattern 1907 52-calibre guns mounted in four triple turrets distributed the length of the ship.

Outfitting of Poltava in the Admiralty Shipyard, 1912

Her role was to defend the mouth of the Gulf of Finland against the Germans, who never tried to enter, so she spent her time training and providing cover for mine laying operations. She was laid up in 1918 for lack of trained crew and suffered a devastating fire the following year that almost gutted her. Many proposals were made to reconstruct or modernize her in different ways for the next twenty years, but none were carried out. While all this was being discussed she served as source of spare parts for her sister ships and was used as a barracks ship. Poltava was finally struck from the Navy List in 1940 and scrapping began at a very leisurely rate. The ship was intentionally grounded in late 1941 to prevent her from being sunk in some inconvenient location by the Germans.The battleship was refloated in 1944 and scrapped in 1949.