Revenge-class Battleship, USSRS Arkhangelsk - 'Borrowing' a Battleship

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USSRS Arkhangelsk
As Outfitted in 1945
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USSRS Arkhangelsk, formerly HMS Royal Sovereign, at anchor, 1945.

Background
HMS Royal Sovereign was the fourth ship of Revenge-class of battleships. She was laid down on the 15th of January, 1914, launched on the 29th of April, 1915, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on the 1st of September, 1917.
On the 30th of May, 1944, HMS Royal Sovereign was transferred to the Soviet Navy, and she was renamed USSRS Arkhangelsk. She was officially commissioned into the Soviet Navy on the 29th of August, 1944, at Polyarny.

HMS Royal Sovereign served throughout the interwar period with the Royal Navy. During WW2, she was judged to no longer be a frontline combatant, along with her sisters, and was reduced to the backline fleet to make way for the more modernized ships like Warspite. Due to her condition, and the perceived lack of need for her, she would be transferred to the Soviet Navy, renamed Arkhangelsk. She was transferred in lieu of war reparations from Italy, as it was felt that some newly allied Italian sailors might mutiny if their ships were to be transferred to the Soviets. She would become the flagship of Admiral Gordey Levchenko, to meet Allied convoys in the Arctic Ocean and escort them to Soviet waters.

Post-war, the battleship RN Giulio Cesare would be given to the Soviets as war reparations, renamed USSRS Novorossiysk. Despite this, the Soviets wanted to retain USSRS Arkhangelsk, claiming she was “unseaworthy,” but agreed to return her upon an inspection by Royal Navy personnel in January, 1949. Upon returning to the UK, she was thoroughly inspected, and found to be in horrible condition, with much of her equipment deemed unserviceable. Most of her weapons were rusted, and the main turrets were jammed centerline. She was was scrapped in 1949, following this inspection, the last member of her class to suffer this fate.

USSRS Arkhangelsk was part of the Soviet Navy from May, 1944, to January, 1949. She did not see much action as part of the Soviet Navy, but nonetheless was the biggest ship to be used by the Soviet Navy during the war, and an integral part of the Soviet Northern Fleet.

Service History

Royal Navy Service
Three weeks after commissioning, in May, 1916, HMS Royal Sovereign was present in Scapa Flow when the order was given for the Grand Fleet to raise steam. However, due to her “green” crew, Royal Sovereign was left behind, and missed the Battle of Jutland.
U-boat attacks during the following months caused the Grand Fleet to very rarely take to sea, and Royal Sovereign would see no action for the rest of WW1.


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Royal Sovereign, likely during the post-WW1 era.

In 1919, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, and in 1920, she was deployed to the Mediterranean in response to tensions between the Greeks and Turks. While in Constantinople, she and other British ships would take White Russian refugees that were fleeing the Russian Civil War and Red Army. Among those aboard Royal Sovereign was a princess of the Galitzine family.

During the late interwar period, the Revenge-class ships were not modernized to the same extent as the Queen Elizabeths, due to being smaller and slower than the latter. Most modifications to the ship were adjustments to the anti-aircraft battery, and there were superficial modernizations. By 1939, all torpedoes had been removed. In 1935, Royal Sovereign was present for King George V’s silver jubilee fleet review, and in 1939 she escorted King George VI halfway to Canada, meeting his ship in the halfway point during the return journey.


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Royal Sovereign during the mid-1930s.

On August 31st, 1939, Royal Sovereign was assigned to a screening force in the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap, to screen for German merchant vessels. At the outset of war, on September 1st, 1939, she was reassigned to the Home Fleet, as part of the North Atlantic Escort Force. She was moved to the Mediterranean Fleet in May, 1940, and was present for the Battle of Calabria, but did not see action. In mid-August, she was unsuccessfully attacked by the submarine RN Galileo Ferraris while steaming in the Red Sea. She would return to Atlantic Convoy duties after this, stopping in Virginia for repairs. In March, 1942, she would escort a convoy to Australia, and thereafter would join the Eastern Fleet.

The Eastern Fleet was said to be inferior to the Japanese Kido Butai, despite being on paper larger, due to the age of a lot of it’s units. During the Japanese Indian Ocean Raid, Royal Sovereign and her sisters would attempt to intercept the Japanese fleet, with no success. In April, 1942, the Revenge-class ships were withdrawn to Mombasa, Kenya, to protect shipping routes in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Royal Sovereign was sent to Philadelphia twice, once in late-1942 and again in mid-1943. During one of these refits, additional armor was added over her magazines and some guns were removed. She returned to the Indian Ocean following her 1943 refit, but was underway to Britain in January, 1944. Upon arrival in Britain, she was sent to Scapa Flow.



Overhead view of Royal Sovereign at Philadelphia Naval Yard.

Soviet Navy Service
On the 30th of May, 1944, she was decommissioned and loaned to the Soviet Navy, the alternative to a war reparations battleship from Italy. She was renamed USSRS Arkhangelsk, and was to sail to the Soviet Union to join the Northern Fleet.


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USSRS Arkhangelsk in Scapa Flow, flying the Soviet Flag after being transferred to the Soviet Union.

She escorted Convoy JW 59 to the Soviet Union, during which the U-boat KMS U-711 attacked the convoy using new magnetic torpedoes. The torpedoes missed, but still exploded, causing the U-boat captain to report hits on Arkhangelsk and a nearby destroyer. While moored in Kola, she was further attacked by the Germans, incorrectly believing that she was crippled, but anti-torpedo nets stopped these attacks. Later, it was planned to send Biber midget submarines to attack the ship, but this was scrapped, and Arkhangelsk had departed Kola by the time the midget sub attack would have happened. She patrolled the White Sea, before arriving at Polyarny, and her Soviet crew arrived for formal commissioning on the 29th of August, 1944. These Soviet sailors replaced the British ones, and the Royal Navy sailors were free to return to other postings.

USSRS Arkhangelsk was, practically, the only Soviet battleship left operational by this time, and so was made flagship of the North Fleet, and the flagship of Admiral Gordey Levchenko. She was, by this time, also the largest ship in the Soviet Navy. She would continue to escort convoys in the North Sea, and remained in active service past war’s end and until 1947, arguably being in service at the start of the Cold War.



Arkhangelsk in Soviet service, probably 1945.

In 1947, she ran aground, suffering seemingly minor damage. She stayed in Soviet service until 1949, when the British decided that the more modern RN Giulio Cesare would be transferred to the Soviet Union as a war prize. Initially, the Soviet Navy claimed that the USSRS Arkhangelsk was “too unseaworthy to attempt a trip back to Britain,” and had intended to keep her, but a cursory inspection by a Royal Navy officer found this to not be the case. She returned to Rosyth Naval Base in Britain in January, 1949, where she underwent a more thorough inspection.
Upon inspection, it became clear she was not fit for service. When initially transferred to the Soviet Union, the ship was poorly winterized and this would now result in much of the machinery on the ship being unserviceable. Her main turrets were jammed in place, the secondary and AA guns were rusty, and the machinery was found to be in poor shape. Because of all this, she was scrapped the same year she returned, 1949.


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Depiction of the armor scheme of the Revenge-class battleships.

Specifications
1944/45

General Information
Displacement 34,830 tons (full load)
Length 620ft 7in (189.2m)
Beam 102ft 6in (31.1m)
Draft 29ft 6in (9m)
Speed 22 knots (41 km/h)
Complement ~1,240 officers and enlisted
Sensors
Type 273 Sea Search/Air Warning
Type 279 Air Warning/Ranging
Type 284B Fire Control (Main Battery)
Type 285 Fire Control (Secondary Battery)
Type 282 Fire Control (AA Battery)
HACS Mk III AA Fire Control
Gun Turret/Mount Notes
8 × 15"(381mm)/42 BL Mk I 4 × Mk I Twin
8 x 6"(152mm)/45 BL Mk XII 10 x Single Casemate guns, originally 14
12 (+ 2) × 4"(102mm)/45 QF Mk XVI 4 × Mk XIX Twin, 4 (+ 2) x Single + 2 comes from if the two fitted early in career were never removed, I cannot confirm if they were/weren’t
24 x QF 2pdr (40/39mm) Pom-Pom Mk VIII 2 x Mk V Octuple, 2 x Mk VII*P Quad Octuple mountings abreast funnel, Quad mountings on top of ‘B’ and ‘X’ turrets
30 × 20mm/70 Oerlikon Mk I/II 6 x Mk V Twin, 18 x Mk II Single Mounting locations unknown
15" (381mm) Ammunition
Designation Mass Bursting Charge Muzzle Velocity Notes
APC Mk XXIIb (6crh) 1,938lbs (879kg) 48.5lbs (22kg) Shellite 2,638f/s (804m/s) Supercharged, with increased muzzle velocity, as Royal Sovereign/Arkhangelsk did not receive the upgraded turrets
APC Mk XVIIb (6crh) 1,938lbs (879kg) 48.5lbs (22kg) Shellite 2,458f/s (749m/s) Unknown difference between Mk XVIIb (not supercharged) and Mk XXIIb
APC Mk XIIIa (4crh) 1,938lbs (879kg) 48.5lbs (22kg) Shellite 2,467f/s (752m/s)
CPC (4crh) 1,920lbs (871kg) 129.3lbs (58.6kg) TNT 2,467f/s (752m/s)
HE Mk VIIIb (6crh) 1,938lbs (879kg) 130lbs (59kg) TNT 2,458f/s (749m/s)
Armor
Belt 13" (330mm)
Deck 1-4" (25-102mm) + 51mm over magazines
Turrets 11-13" (279-330mm)
Barbettes 6-10" (152-254mm)
Conning Tower 3-11" (76-279mm)
Bulkheads 6" (152mm)

Conclusion
In my opinion this is a ship the Soviet tree needs. To my knowledge, there is no battleship used by the Russian/Soviet Navy between the Ganguts and the (never finished) Sovetsky Soyuzes, besides the formerly Italian USSRS Novorossiysk. However, the Conte di Cavour-class does not offer the same capabilities as a ship of the Revenge-class, and would leave a lot to be desired against a more modern battleship. The Revenge-class, USSRS Arkhangelsk, could fill this gap very well and give a proper lead into the Sovetsky Soyuz, whenever that may be added.

Sources

Wikipedia - HMS Royal Sovereign (05)
Wikipedia - Revenge-class Battleship
Naval-Encyclopedia - Revenge-class Battleships
Uboat - USSRS Arkhangelsk
DestinationsJourney - Russian Battleship Arkhangelsk
DestinationsJourney - British Battleship Royal Sovereign
NavWeaps - BL 15-inch Mk I
Navweaps - BL 6-inch Mk XII
NavWeaps - QF 4-inch Mk XVI
NavWeaps - 2pdr QF Mk VIII
Navweaps - 20mm Oerlikon Mk I/II
Wikipedia - BL 15-inch Mk I
Wikipedia - List of WW2 British Naval Radar

1 Like

+1, one of the ships I look forward to seeing


Under current rules for inclusion (must have been laid down) there aren’t many choices left for Soviet battleships, and Arkhangelsk is the only option to go between Novorossiysk and the eventual Sovetsky Soyuz. The other Soviet capital ship options are Izmail (or Borodino), Sevastopol (to the final Pr.69I design with imported German 38cm twin turrets) and Stalingrad, which are all battlecruisers and thus would go in Kronshtadt’s line.

And that’s the entirety of Soviet capital ships, unless Gaijin goes back and adds Russian pre-dreadnoughts.

Still - gaijin adds paper ships to soviets
Laid down - kinda fun, then where Montana/others just laided down ships?

we’re two standards short of reaching the fast BBs, Montana is a very long way to go
especially at the rate things have progressed in the past two years

Eh this cope again… we have laid down ships in multiple nations…

And no we don’t need montana right now. Especially since it wasnt ever laid down which makes it true paper ship in contrary to those we have in game.

Montana was laid.

Nope it wasnt, montana class was only designed on paper and no keel was ever made.

Unless you are talking about south dakota class uss montana which could be added eventually.

2 Likes

Idk, some sources states that montana was laid in 1941

The battleship Montana was never laid down. This is stated in the American archive.

Quote: The name Montana was assigned to BB-67 on 28 December 1940; but construction of the Montana class (BB-67 / 71) battleship by Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa., was canceled 21 July 1943, before her keel was laid.

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link: Battleship Photo Index BB-67 MONTANA

2 Likes

Montana’s keel was never laid down, also we may see the H39 class added, iirc it was stated in a Q&A awhile back, so it’s not just the Soviets.

That is precisely the reason I was suggesting it. Current rules of inclusion (to my knowledge) are that it must have been laid down OR a specific part of the ship, such as the powerplant, was built (IIRC that’s why the H-class suggestion was approved, since they made an engine for it).

But the Soviets kinda went full lax on capital ships during the interwar period, rightly so as they were facing an economic catastrophe or whatever, but that kind of killed any semblance of Soviet capital ship construction from then until the Soyuzes. I might be wrong, but there was no battleship construction or plans between the end of the civil war and like 1938. Which leaves exactly zero ships to fill the Gangut-Soyuz gap that would’ve been unfilled had it not been for Arkhangelsk and Novorossiysk.
Unless they pull some “documents” out of somewhere but…

They first tried to modernize unfinished Izmail class, then went to modernize Sevastopol class even till 1940.