INS Imperator Nikolai I Class (BB-1917)


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The Nikolai Class were to be improved Gangut's. The shortcomings of the Gangut were known and steps were taken to remedy the numerous problems. The first most noticeable item was the raised forecastle for improved sea keeping and to add some much needed extra buoyancy forward. This flowed right through the ship. Better dimensions raised the metacentric height of the ship so that the 5.1" casemates were only washed out in the most extremes of weather. Crew conditions within the ship were much drier and cleaner which gave much better morale.

The armour scheme of the Gangut's was revised. The armoured belt was increased from 9 inches to 10.6 inches. The early North Sea battles dictated an increase in the deck armour from 2 to 3 inches. But the loss by mine of the Audacious gave the most needed area of the armour scheme, the underwater armour, a much needed review. These changes were invisible but gave much needed increased staying power to the two ships.

Both ships were laid down in late 1914 with completion dates for 1917. Wartime priorities and restrictions varied the dates out to 1918. But with both ships launched and in the fitting out bays, the Germans took the port and all construction stopped. The armistice of 1917 put the ships under the control of the White Russians and General Wrangel. The next two years saw small amounts of work being done on both ships, as much to keep the artisans in the yards employed, as to complete the ships with any priority.

The state of the ships was critical to their futures. The Soviets were on the march and were headed through the Ukraine and into the Crimean Peninsular. The area under the command of General Wrangel was shrinking rapidly. Both ships had the machinery aboard but it had never been run. The main weapons were mounted but had no shells. The 5.1" had been seconded to the army and fitted on land mountings for use against the Soviets. These were no longer available. To take the ships anywhere would require sea going tugs or large warships for towing.

(see Venezuela and Wrangel Historical).

As can be seen from Garlicdesign's drawing of what was to be the Nikolai of 1918, the idea of the forecastle deck is not fitted. This was done as it was said that the additional weight of the deck and extra barbette height would actually make the ship heavier forward and even wetter forward and the handling even worse. While the photo above showing the Nikolai under construction, it looks like the extra foredeck has been fitted. For me the adding of the forecastle deck should act as advertised and help not hinder.

The only way these ships can be completed is if they can go to a country which has facilities that will allow that to happen. As I send the Wrangel's Fleet to Venezuela and use that country to give a home to the White Russians these ships do have a chance to survive and go through future refits and rebuilds. The current Venezuelan drawings are sub-standard and I will have to revisit them and do a whole new set.

Historically this is a single ship class. I make it a two ship class that gets towed off to Venezuela so that one can be completed as a battleship and the other as an aircraft carrier.

Displacement 28,00 tons std 32,250 tons full load
Length 600 ft.
Breadth 95 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 30,000shp
Speed 21 knots
Range 5,500 miles at 12 knots
Armour 10.6" side, 3" deck, 12"/8"/4" turrets
Armament 12 x 12" (4x3)
20 x 5.1" (20x1)
4 x 64mm (4x1)
Torpedoes 4 x 17.7" (submerged)
Complement 1200
Notes INS Imperator Nikolai I (1918)


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