Gromoboi was an armoured cruiser built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the late 1890s. She was designed as a long-range commerce raider and served as such during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. When the war broke out, she was based in Vladivostok and made several sorties in search of Japanese shipping .
Gromoboi, with the other armoured cruisers of the Vladivostok Cruiser Squadron, attempted to rendezvous in the Strait of Tsushima with the main portion of the Russian Pacific Fleet sailing from Port Arthur in August 1904. The Fleet was delayed, and the squadron returned to port alone. On the return, the squadron encountered a Japanese squadron of four armoured cruisers blocking their passage to base. The Japanese sank the oldest Russian ship, Rurik, and damaged Gromoboi and Rossia during the subsequent Battle off Ulsan. Both Russian ships were repaired within two months. Gromoboi ran aground immediately after completing her repairs and was out of action for four months. Three months after the damage from the grounding incident was repaired, she struck a mine, but successfully returned to port. Her armament was reinforced while under repair, but she saw no further action during the war.
Gromoboi was transferred to the Russian Baltic Fleet after the end of the war and began a lengthy refit that was completed in 1911. She was mostly inactive during World War I, but had her armament and protection upgraded during the war. She was placed into reserve in 1918 and sold to a German company in 1922 for scrapping.
Gromoboi Design and description:
Gromoboi was originally intended to be a repeat of Rossia, but a design modification for thicker armour and improved engines made that unfeasible. The use of Rossia’s hull design meant that the ships looked alike. Gromoboi was 481 feet (146.6 m) long overall. She had a maximum beam of 68.6 feet (20.9 m) and a draught of 26 feet (7.9 m). The ship displaced 12,455 long tons (12,655 t), only 95 long tons (97 t) more than designed. She was sheathed in wood and copper to reduce bio-fouling. As completed Gromoboi trimmed badly by the bow, which reduced her speed and made her very wet forward. Loads had to be shifted aft and ballast added to the rear of the ship to correct her trim, but she was regarded as a good sea boat afterward with an easy, although rapid, roll.
Gromoboi dispensed with Russia’s cruising engine on the centre shaft. Three equally powerful vertical triple expansion steam engines were used with a designed total of 14,500 indicated horsepower (10,813 kW), but they developed 15,496 hp (11,555 kW) on trials and drove the ship to a maximum speed of 20.1 knots (37.2 km/h; 23.1 mph). Thirty-two Belleville water-tube boilers provided steam for the engines. She could carry a maximum of 2,400 long tons (2,439 t) of coal. This gave her a radius of action of 8,100 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,320 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).
Gromoboi General characteristics:
- Type: Armoured cruiser
- Displacement: 12,455 long (12,655 t)
- Length: 481 ft (146.6 m)
- Beam: 68.6 ft (20.9 m)
- Draught: 26 ft (7.9 m)
- Installed power: 14,500 ihp (10,800 kW)
- Propulsion: 3 shafts
- Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
- Range: 8,100 nautical miles
- Complement: 874 officers and crewmen
- Armour: Harvey armour
- Conning tower: 12 in (305 mm)