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Russian battleship Peresvet
IJN Sagami in 1906.jpg
Peresvet as the Japanese Sagami
Career (Russian Empire) Naval Ensign of Russia.svg
Name: Peresvet
Namesake: Alexander Peresvet
Builder: Baltic Yard, Saint Petersburg
Cost: 10,540,000 rubles
Laid down: 21 November 1895[Note 1]
Launched: 19 May 1898 (1898-05-19)
Commissioned: June 1901
Out of service: Scuttled, 7 December 1904
Reinstated: Sold back to Russia, March 1916
Fate: Mined off Port Said, Egypt, 4 January 1917
Career (Japan) Japanese Naval Ensign
Name: Sagami
Namesake: Sagami Province
Acquired: Refloated, 29 June 1905
Commissioned: April 1908
Fate: Sold to Russia, March 1916
General characteristics
Class & type: Peresvet-class pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement: 13,320 long tons (13,534 t)
Length: 434 ft 5 in (132.4 m)
Beam: 71 ft 6 in (21.8 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.925 m)
Installed power: 14,500 ihp (10,813 kW)
30 Belleville boilers
Propulsion: 3 shafts, 3 Vertical triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Range: 6,200 nmi (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 27 officers, 744 men
  • 2 × 2 - 10 in (254 mm) guns
  • 11 × 1 - 6 inches (152 mm) guns
  • 20 × 1 - 75 mm (3 in) guns
  • 20 × 1 - 47 mm (1.9 in) guns
  • 8 × 1 - 37 mm (1.5 in) guns
  • 5 × 1 - 15 in (381 mm) torpedo tubes
  • 45 mines

Peresvet, (Russian: Пересвет), was the lead ship of the three Peresvet-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy at the end of the nineteenth century. The ship was transferred to the Pacific Squadron upon completion and based at Port Arthur from 1903. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, she participated in the Battles of Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea, and was seriously damaged during the latter engagement. Peresvet was scuttled during the Siege of Port Arthur, and was then salvaged afterwards by the Japanese and placed into service under the name Sagami (相模?).

Rearmed and re-boilered by the Japanese, Sagami was reclassified by the Imperial Japanese Navy as a coastal defense ship in 1908. She was sold in 1916 to the Russians after the start of World War I and sank off Port Said, Egypt, after striking mines laid by a German submarine at the beginning of 1917.

Design and description

The design of the Peresvet class was inspired by the British second-class battleships of the Centurion class. The British ships were intended to defeat commerce-raiding armored cruisers like the Russian ships Rossia and Rurik and the Peresvet class were designed to support their armored cruisers. This role placed a premium on high speed and long range at the expense of heavy armament and armor.[1]

Peresvet was 434 feet 5 inches (132.4 m) long overall, had a beam of 71 feet 6 inches (21.79 m) and a draft of 26 feet 3 inches (8.0 m). Designed to displace 12,674 long tons (12,877 t), she was almost 1,200 long tons (1,200 t) overweight and displaced 13,810 long tons (14,030 t). Her crew consisted of 27 officers and 744 enlisted men. The ship was powered by three vertical triple-expansion steam engines using steam generated by 30 Belleville boilers. The engines were rated at 14,500 indicated horsepower (10,800 kW), using forced draught, and designed to reach a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). Peresvet, however, reached a top speed of 18.44 knots (34.15 km/h; 21.22 mph) from 14,532 indicated horsepower (10,837 kW) during her sea trials in November 1899. She carried a maximum of 2,060 long tons (2,090 t) of coal which allowed her to steam for 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[2]

The ship's main battery consisted of four 10-inch (254 mm) guns mounted in two twin-gun turrets, one forward and one aft of the superstructure. The secondary armament consisted of eleven Canet 6-inch (152 mm) quick-firing (QF) guns, mounted in casemates on the sides of the hull and in the bow, underneath the forecastle. A number of smaller guns were carried for defense against torpedo boats. These included twenty 75-millimeter (3.0 in) QF guns, twenty 47-millimeter (1.9 in) Hotchkiss guns and eight 37-millimeter (1.5 in) guns. She was also armed with five 15-inch (381 mm) torpedo tubes, three above water and two submerged. The ship carried 45 mines to be used to protect her anchorage. Peresvet's waterline armor belt consisted of Harvey armor and was 4–9 inches (102–229 mm) thick. The Krupp cemented armor of her gun turrets had a maximum thickness of 9 inches (229 mm) and her deck ranged from 2 to 3 inches (51 to 76 mm) in thickness.[3]

Russian career

Peresvet, named after Alexander Peresvet, a monk who fought at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380, was laid down on 21 November 1895 by the Baltic Works in Saint Petersburg and launched on 19 May 1898.[4] She was not completed, however, until July 1901[5] at the cost of 10,540,000 rubles.[6] The ship was sent to Port Arthur in October 1901 where she was assigned to the Pacific Squadron and became the flagship of the squadron's second-in-command, Rear Admiral Prince Pavel Ukhtomsky.[7]

Peresvet was not hit during the Battle of Port Arthur on 9 February 1904, the second day of the Russo-Japanese War.[8] While training outside of Port Arthur on 26 March, Peresvet accidentally collided with the battleship Sevastopol and sustained minor damage. On 15 April, the ship hit the armored cruiser Nisshin once as the latter ship was bombarding Port Arthur. Some of the ship's guns were removed during the summer to reinforce the defenses of the port. Peresvet lost a total of three 6-inch, two 75-millimeter, two 47-millimeter and four 37-millimeter guns.[9] She sailed with the rest of the Pacific Squadron on 23 June in an abortive attempt to reach Vladivostok. The fleet commander, Vice Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft, ordered the squadron to return to Port Arthur when they encountered the Japanese fleet shortly before sunset as he did not wish to engage the numerically superior Japanese in a night battle.[10] Peresvet received 39 hits that killed 13 men and wounded 69 during the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August. A number of the hits were near the waterline and caused flooding; compartments of the double bottom had to be flooded to restore some of her stability.[9] The ship returned to Port Arthur after Vitgeft was killed and Ukhtomsky rallied most of the fleet.[11] The new commander, Rear Admiral Robert N. Viren, decided to use the men and guns of the Pacific Squadron to reinforce the defenses of Port Arthur and even more guns were stripped from the Squadron's ships. This proved to be to little avail and Japanese troops were able to seize 203 Hill which overlooked the harbor on 5 December. This allowed the Imperial Japanese Army's 28-centimeter (11 in) siege guns to fire directly at the Russian ships and they hit Peresvet many times. The Russians, however, scuttled her in shallow water on 7 December 1904.[12]

Japanese career

After the end of the war, she was refloated by Japanese engineers on 29 June 1905, reconstructed and was taken into service as the Sagami,[13] taking her name from the ancient Japanese province of Sagami, now a part of Kanagawa prefecture.[14] The ship was thoroughly rebuilt at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal in 1905–08 with Miyabara water-tube boilers, new guns and torpedo tubes, and had her fighting tops removed. These changes reduced her displacement to 12,900 long tons (13,100 t) and her draft to 26.02 feet (7.9 m). Four 18-inch torpedo tubes replaced her original torpedo armament and her gun armament was drastically revised. The ship now carried four Elswick Ordnance Company 40-caliber Type 41 twelve-inch guns, ten 45-caliber six-inch QF guns, sixteen QF 12-pounder 12 cwt[Note 2] guns and 26 smaller guns.[13]

Sagami was re-designated as a first-class coastal defense ship in April 1908.[13] After the beginning of World War I, Japan and Russia became allies, and the ship was sold to Russia in March 1916. She arrived in Vladivostok on 3 April 1916, where she resumed her former name of Peresvet and was classified as an armored cruiser.[7] The ship ran aground on 23 May 1916 and refloated in July, two months later. She was intended to serve with the Russian Arctic flotilla and paused en route in Port Said, Egypt, for machinery repairs at the beginning of 1917. About 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) north of the harbor, the ship struck two mines, one forward and the other abreast a boiler room, on 4 January 1917 that had been laid by the submarine SM U-73 and sank after catching fire with the loss of 167 lives.[15]


  1. All dates used in this article are New Style.
  2. "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. McLaughlin, p. 108
  2. McLaughlin, pp. 107–08, 114
  3. McLaughlin, pp. 107–08, 112–14
  4. McLaughlin, pp. 107, 115
  5. Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 182
  6. McLaughlin, p. 112
  7. 7.0 7.1 McLaughlin, p. 115
  8. Forczyk, p. 43
  9. 9.0 9.1 McLaughlin, pp. 115, 163
  10. Warner & Warner, pp. 305–06
  11. Forczyk, pp. 52–54
  12. McLaughlin, pp. 115, 163–64
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 20
  14. Silverstone, p. 336
  15. Preston, p. 207


  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Forczyk, Robert (2009). Russian Battleship vs Japanese Battleship, Yellow Sea 1904–05. Oxford, UK: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-330-8. 
  • Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter; Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • McLaughlin, Stephen (2003). Russian & Soviet Battleships. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-481-4. 
  • Preston, Antony (1972). Battleships of World War I: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Battleships of All Nations 1914–1918. New York: Galahad Books. ISBN 0-88365-300-1. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0. 
  • Warner, Denis; Warner, Peggy (2002). The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–1905 (2nd ed.). London: Frank Cass. ISBN 0-7146-5256-3. 

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