Bogatyr-class cruiser

Bogatyr Russian light cruiser class. Five protected, or 2nd Class, cruisers were ordered for the Imperial Russian Navy between 1889 and I90I. They followed the trend set by the Askold and Variag, being 23-knot ships of medium displacement and reasonable endurance for commerce-raiding.

The design was entrusted to the German firm of Vulkan, who built the lead ship and supplied material for another four to be built in Russian yards. They were unusual in being the first cruisers to have twin 6-in (152-mm) mountings, one forward and one aft, although the rest of the main armament was conventionally mounted in open-backed shields in broad-side sponsons.

The original intention was to build three ships for the Baltic and two for the Black Sea, but the Vitiaz caught fire during her construction and was so badly damaged that she had to be scrapped.

The Bogatyr helped to drive the German light cruiser Magdeburg ashore. 500 m (574 yards) from Odensholm lighthouse, on August 26. 1914. In November 1914 she was refitted for minelaying and on January 12, 1915 laid 100 mines east of Bornholm. A month later she was involved in a decisive action with the German cruiser München off Libau. In December, with her sister ship Oleg and the battleships Gangut and Sevastopol. she covered a minelaying raid east of Gotland and laid mines off Lyserort. One of her last operations before the Revolution was to cover a convoy with the big cruiser Rurik in June 1916. She was found to be in bad condition after the Revolution and the Civil War. and was stricken in 1922 and scrapped at Bremen.

The Oleg was interned during the Russo-Japanese war but returned to the Baltic after the end of hostilities in 1905. She was converted for minelaying in November 1914 and laid mines, in company with the Bogatyr. in January and February 1915. She was also involved in the skirmish with the Munchenon May 7. 1915 and accompanied her sister ship in most of the operations of 1915-17. She became part of the Red fleet in 1918 and took part in operations against the British during the War of Intervention in 1918-19. She was torpedoed in Kronstadt by British coastal motor boats (CMBs) on June 17. 1919.

The Kagul was renamed Pamyat Merkurya. in memory of the Merkurya, after the Russo-Japanese war. The Merkurya and the Kagul (ex-Ochakov) were active in the Black Sea during the First World War. and on January 4. 1915 Merkurya damaged the Turkish cruiser Hamidieh in a skirmish west of Sinope. In early May both ships patrolled off the Anatolian coast and the Pamyat Merkurya sank two ships at Kozlu. Between August and November they bombarded the Turkish coast at various points. In January 1917 the Pamyat Merkurya again raided the Anatolian coast in company with the battleship Ekaterina II and three pre-Dreadnoughts.

In 1905 the Ochakov’s crew joined the mutiny in the Black Sea Fleet and for a time she served as the rebels’ “flagship”. She was sunk in shallow water by gunfire from the loyal battleship Rostislav but was refloated and repaired. As a mark of the Tsar’s displeasure her name was removed from the record, and on April 7, 1907 she was renamed Kagul. On April 13. 1917. to commemorate her revolutionary fervour, and to wipe out the ‘stain’ of the censure, she was given back her old name, but was soon out of commission. She was recommissioned by the White Russians in February 1919 and renamed General Kornilov in September. In 1920 she was the last ship to leave the Crimea for Constantinople, but two months later she sailed for Bizerta. arriving there on December 29. 1920. The French government seized her as compensation for outstanding debts and she was scrapped in 1933.

During the First World War, as supplies of the new Vickers-designed 13-cm (5.1-in) gun became available, the class was rearmed. The Oleg and Bogatyr received 16 of the new guns, some of them replacing 75-mm (3-in) guns. The Black Sea ships were supplied with different guns; the Kagul received 12 13-cm guns in 1917, but her sister ship was merely given four more 15.2-cm (6-in) guns to replace some of the 75-mm guns on the broadside. The Baltic ships were given four 75-mm antiaircraft guns but the Black Sea ships had only two. The torpedo tubes were removed from the Oleg and Bogatyr. while the others were reduced to two beam underwater tubes.

After the Revolution the Pamyat Merkurya had a checkered career. While lying at Sevastopol in 1919 she was taken over by British forces, and when they withdrew in April they destroyed her machinery. The Red Army recaptured her in 1920. after the evacuation of Wrangel’s forces, and in 1923 renamed her Komintem. With rebuilt machinery and some alterations to her armament she recommissioned on May 1, 1923. but as her speed was now only 20 knots she was of little use except for training. It was later proposed to convert her to a seaplane carrier, but this was uneconomical even by Russian standards. In 1941-42 she took part in the defence of Odessa and Sevastopol. She was badly damaged by German air attack at Novorossisk on July 2. 1942 and limped to Poti, only to be hit again on July 16. A total loss, she became part of a breakwater in Poti harbour.

General characteristics
Type: Protected cruiser
Displacement: 6,645 long tons (6,752 t)
Length: 134 m (439 ft 8 in)
Beam: 16.6 m (54 ft 6 in)
Draught: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft vertical triple-expansion steam engines 16 Normand-type boilers 23,000 hp
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Complement: 589
Armament: 12 × 152 mm (6 in) guns (2 twin turrets and 8 single guns), replaced by 130 mm (5 in) guns in subsequent refits for all ships 12 × 11-pounder guns 8 × 47 mm guns 2 × 37 mm guns 2 × 15 in (380 mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: Deck: 80 mm (3.1 in) Turrets: 127 mm (5.0 in) Casemates: 80 mm (3.1 in) Conning tower: 140 mm (5.5 in)
Notes: Sunk in the Baltic Naval War, 1919