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Russian battleship Pobeda
Russian battleship Pobeda on the Kronstadt roadstead 1901.jpg
Pobeda in her original configuration.
Career (Russia) Russian Navy Ensign
Name: Pobeda
Namesake: Victory
Ordered: 26 April 1898[Note 1]
Builder: Baltic Works, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Cost: 10,050,000 rubles
Laid down: 21 February 1899
Launched: 10 May 1900
Completed: June 1902
Fate: Sunk, 7 December 1904
Career (Japan) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Suwo
Namesake: Suō Province
Acquired: Refloated, 17 October 1905
Commissioned: October 1908
Struck: 1922
Fate: Scrapped, 1946
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
Armament: 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
Armor: Krupp armor
Belt: 7–9 inches (178–229 mm)
Deck: 2–3 inches (51–76 mm)
Turrets: 9 inches (229 mm)

Pobeda, (Russian: Победа), was the last 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 although she was not seriously damaged during either engagement. Pobeda was sunk by siege guns during the Siege of Port Arthur, and then salvaged afterwards by the Japanese and placed into service under the name Suwo (周防?).

Rearmed and re-boilered by the Japanese, Suwo was reclassified by the Imperial Japanese Navy as a coastal defence ship in 1908 and served as a training ship for a number of years. She served as the flagship of the Japanese squadron that participated in the Battle of Tsingtao at the beginning of World War I and continued in that role until she became a gunnery training ship in 1917. The ship was disarmed in 1922 to comply with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and hulked. Suwo was scrapped after the end of World War II.

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 was designed to support the armored cruisers. This role placed a premium on high speed and long range at the expense of heavy armament and armor.[1]

Pobeda 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 600 long tons (610 t) overweight and displaced 13,320 long tons (13,530 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). Pobeda, however, reached a top speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph) from 15,578 indicated horsepower (11,617 kW) during her sea trials in October 1901. 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 defence 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. Pobeda's waterline armor belt consisted of Krupp cemented armor and was 4–9 inches (102–229 mm) thick. The armor of her gun turrets had a maximum thickness of 9 in (229 mm) and her deck ranged from 2 to 3 inches (51 to 76 mm) in thickness.[3]

Russian career

Pobeda was ordered on 26 April 1898 from the Baltic Works and construction began on 23 January 1899 at their Saint Petersburg shipyard. The ship was laid down on 21 February 1899 and launched on 10 May 1900.[1] She was not completed, however, until June 1902[4] at the cost of 10,050,000 rubles.[5] The ship sailed from Libau on 13 November 1902 and arrived at Port Arthur on 13 June 1903 where she was assigned to the Pacific Squadron.[6]

During the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war, she was hit once amidships near the waterline, losing two men killed and four wounded, but the shell failed to penetrate the ship's armor and little damage was done. During the action of 13 April, Pobeda and the battleship Petropavlovsk both struck mines laid by the Japanese the previous night. Petropavlovsk sank in less than two minutes after one of her magazines exploded, but Pobeda was able to return to port under her own power despite an 11° list.[7] Her repairs were completed on 9 June although some of her guns were removed during this time to reinforce the defenses of the port. Pobeda lost a total of three 6-inch, two 75-millimeter, one 47-millimeter and four 37-millimeter guns.[8] She sailed with the rest of the Russian squadron on 23 June in an abortive attempt to reach Vladivostok. The fleet commander, Vice Admiral 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.[9] Pobeda received eleven large-caliber hits that killed four men and wounded 29 during the Battle of the Yellow Sea on 10 August and returned to Port Arthur after Vitgeft was killed.[10]

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; they hit Pobeda approximately 30 times and sank her in shallow water on 7 December 1904.[11]

Japanese career

Suwo at anchor

After the end of the war, she was refloated by Japanese engineers on 17 October 1905, and was reconstructed and taken into service as Suwo,[12] taking her name from the ancient Japanese province Suo Province, now part of Yamaguchi Prefecture.[13] 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.[12]

Suwo was re-designated as a 1st class coastal defence ship in October 1908 and became a training ship for cadets and engineers. She was refitted in 1913.[13] During World War I, the ship served as the flagship for the Japanese squadron under Vice-Admiral Kato Sadakichi during the Battle of Tsingtao from 27 August to 7 November 1914. She also bombarded the defenses of the port in company with other Japanese and British pre-dreadnoughts, including HMS Triumph.[14] Suwo served as flagship of the Second Squadron of the Second Fleet in 1915–16 before becoming a gunnery training ship for the rest of the war.[15] In April 1922, in compliance with the Washington Naval Treaty, Suwo was disarmed at the Kure Naval Arsenal.[12] While her armor was being removed, the ship capsized on 13 July.[6] She was refloated and hulked, serving until broken up at Kure in 1946.[12][Note 3]


  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.
  3. McLaughlin says that she was scrapped in 1923,[6] but most other sources disagree.


  1. 1.0 1.1 McLaughlin, p. 108
  2. McLaughlin, pp. 107–08, 114
  3. McLaughlin, pp. 107–08, 112–14
  4. Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 182
  5. McLaughlin, p. 112
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 McLaughlin, p. 115
  7. Forczyk, pp. 43, 45–46
  8. McLaughlin, pp. 115, 163
  9. Warner & Warner, pp. 305–06
  10. Forczyk, pp. 52–54
  11. McLaughlin, pp. 115, 163–64
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Jentschura, Jung & Mickel, p. 20
  13. 13.0 13.1 Silverstone, p. 337
  14. Stephenson, pp. 136, 162, 166
  15. Preston, p. 186


  • 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. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-330-8. 
  • Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter; Mickel, Peter (1977). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: 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. 
  • Stephenson, Charles (2009). Germany's Asia-Pacific Empire: Colonialism and Naval Policy, 1885–1914. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-518-5. 
  • 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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