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What made Russian Battleships so inferior to other nations' vessels?

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As is common knowledge, these ships are pipe dreams. The USSR was not an industrial behemoth by any intent or definition, and regardless of its ability to contend with the industry of the United States, (which it couldn't), it certainly wouldn't have outbuilt the Royal Navy. Or even the German navy. Or even the French- okay, I'll stop.

So, let's look at Sovetsky Soyuz. What made it so, characteristically and definitively, well, garbage?

Production: it's a monumental challenge to get even one ship off the drawing board. The ship order was propaganda. There was simply no way the USSR would have constructed such a vessel. The largest ship it had built up until that point was the Kirov, everyone's favorite tier five cruiser. 

They had to beg the Germans for propeller shafts. Can you imagine that conversation? "Um, didn't you say our ideology was inferior?" "Yes." "And yet, you're coming to us." "yes." "For help." "Yes." "You know what, I'm not even going to ask. Just take the ship parts."

Second, the turrets are simply impossible. They require too much armor, too much machining, and it took them a year to make a single barrel. And they ordered fourteen of these ships. That's a big oof. And turrets need armor. Well, let's get into the juiciest part! The armor!

Sovetsky Soyuz has a lot of it. Pull up her port profile, and you see that she has over 400 millimeters of belt. Cool, right? Even the Germans can't match that (and by that, I mean Stalin's imagination)! Except they don't need to.

Armor thickness alone leaves out one crucial factor. The type of armor used. Let me introduce you to Krupp Cemented Armor, and Krupp Cemented Armor's disabled cousin, Harvey Armor. Also known as Face-Hardened armor.

Krupp Cemented Armor is made similar to Harvey Armor. In its production process, 1% more Chromium alloy is added to supplement the hardness. After this, however, the two batches go their seperate ways. Armor needs to be cemented. Cementation is a process by which carbon is introduced to the structure to transform it from a pile of soft metal to a good, strong, piece of armor. 

Harvey Armor simply mandates that you fire it with coal. The byproduct, however, is that once you quench it, a majority of the structure is contracted with no carbon in between the metal atoms. Thus, only the surface actually gains significant strength. Because of this, Harvey armor proved brittle and ineffective, and had to be replaced by our friend, Krupp Cemented Armor! Krupp Armor was patented in the late 1890s, by Germany! Too bad the Russians have thicker armor belts, because screw history, Stalin's will comes above all.

Krupp uses carbon rich gases rather than Coal. The gases are capable of penetrating up to 30-40% of the overall plate, and saturate it with carbon to a greater extent. Thus, when Krupp armor is finally oil quenched, the plate has unmatched structural integrity, elasticity, and durability. Harvey Armor cracks like an egg if a shell of sufficient power (Iowa, Yamato) were to hit it.

Back to our friends, the Russians! They cannot even make Krupp Cemented armor thicker than 200 millimeters! Yikes! That means, the entire 400 mm armor belt of Sovetsky Soyuz, put in place to protect the vitals of the ship, would shatter like glass against any modern battleship! Bismarck! Iowa! Yamato! Another Soyuz that decides it's sick of being Russian and defects! It's a game of whack-the-pinata when it comes to the giant, lumbering, eggshell battleship!

And, let's get into the Krupp armor they could make! Ship worthy steel (not battleship worthy, just ship worthy) proved to be in perpetual shortage. Of this total, numerous batches were rejected due to not even meeting production standards. 


Finally, a cool fun fact!

Did you know that out of four of the planned fourteen hulls laid down, not a single one was completed past the 20% mark? Even Montana made it to the point of the barbettes! One hull was deemed irretrievable due to sub quality rivets! (even riveting was considered an outdated technique, replaced by wielding!)


DId you know?

Sovetsky Soyuz is one of two battleships in the RU BB line that were laid down? The rest never even left the drawing board!




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Beta Testers, In AlfaTesters
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Thanks for the info. Very enlightening. 

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Paper ships generally does not float well on water it gets soggy and deteriorates rapidly.

Edited by tm63au

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Privateers, Members
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58 minutes ago, general_D_H_Chun said:

They had to beg the Germans for propeller shafts.

There‘s a fun fact thing surrounding those propellers on te Project 23 ships.

As it‘s known those ships were meant to produce up to 231k shp with their machinery. And we also know that they were meant to only have three shafts, similar in fact to a German capital ship. So they‘d push 77k shp onto a single shaft, which is a value that no nation during WW2 ever approached, highest I am aware of is 67k per shaft on some ships during trials.

What the problem with so much power is is that you‘ll be neck-deep within cavitation territory. And god help you if your prop design does not ensure the implosion of bubbles behind the propeller, or else I expect them to be functional for maybe five hours of full power.

1 hour ago, general_D_H_Chun said:

Even Montana made it to the point of the barbettes!

Small correction, Montana was never laid down.

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