In this article we will try to deal with the question of what was the maximum speed of the Borodino-type battleships in Tsushima? Unfortunately, there are not so many data on this score as we would like. The most detailed on speed is expressed by V.P. Kostenko in his memoirs “On the Orel” in Tsushima ”and in his testimony of the Investigation Commission for the Tsushima battle, but to my deep regret, the usefulness of these data is minimal.
I was repeatedly asked the question: why I do not consider the materials of V.P. Kostenko? Indeed, it would seem, because Vladimir Polievktovich is an engineer by profession, and therefore, mechanisms are his diocese, and he must understand them much better than regular officers fleet. But the fact is that by training Kostenko was an engineer-shipbuilder, not a mechanic who is trained to operate boilers and steam engines, and by no means a development engineer of these same machines. Upon graduation, Kostenko received the title of “junior assistant shipbuilder”, i.e. civilian navy rank like a naval doctor. The release itself took place on May 6, 1904, and immediately after that Kostenko was appointed to the building "Eagle". In other words, by the time the 2nd Pacific Squadron left, yesterday’s graduate had only four months of experience working on a single building ship and had not the slightest experience in operating a ship undercarriage. This, frankly, is far from an expert level, but even mindful of the lack of experience, it is extremely difficult to explain the constant contradictions that an attentive reader will regularly meet with Vladimir Polievktovich.
To begin, consider what V.P. Kostenko about admissions tests of the battleship "Eagle". In his memoir “On the Eagle in Tsushima” we read:
On the test of the 26 mechanisms of August, the Eagle developed the 17,8 node during the design task of the 18 nodes. Given the overload of the ship, this should be considered a fairly satisfactory result.
It seems to be all clear: the battleship did not reach the design task, the ship’s construction overload was to blame, but if it hadn’t been there, then ... But it’s interesting, and with what overload did the Eagle come to the test? To do this, it would be nice to first find out the normal displacement of the ship, and why not “ask” Vladimir Polievktovich about it? Directly about this V.P. Kostenko does not speak, but in the testimony of the Commission of Inquiry indicates:
Being on the battleship "Eagle", in the march conducted observations on stability and load of the ship. Upon leaving Libau, at the first stop near Langeland Island, I determined ... displacement - 15300 tons ... overload - 1770 tons.
By simple calculations we get the normal displacement of the battleship in 13 530 tons. Well, and with what displacement the battleship came to the test? V.P. Kostenko (in the testimony of the Investigation Commission) gives a very clear answer:
On trial, the battleship Eagle gave a 17,8 node at 109 revs, but then its displacement was equal to 13.300 tons.
But let me, if the battleship "Eagle" was tested with a displacement of 13.300 tons, while according to Kostenko, its normal displacement was 13.530 tons, then what kind of overload can we talk about? After all, it turns out that the eagle went to the 230 tons underloaded, and if it were not for the underload, the speed of the battleship would be even lower, but the reason for this was not at all overload!
This is the first, but not the last example of how a person who reads V.P. Kostenko, the author will be misled. Here is what V.P. Kostenko about the speed of the "Eagle" in the bay of Nossi-Be (parking in Madagascar, where Rozhestvensky arranged training shooting):
Today, on the way back to Nossi-Be (January 18), the Eagle made revolutions 85, and the extreme limit for our 109 revolutions mechanisms. Meanwhile, while it was possible to develop the course of the entire 11 ½ nodes. The overload in the 3 thousands of tons and fouling of the underwater part.
I would like to note that the overload during firing could not make up 3000 tons, moreover, V.P. Kostenko, there would be a desire to read it carefully. But we will leave the overload and note for ourselves only that as one of the reasons for the reduction in the speed of the “Eagle” in Nossi-Be Kostenko indicates fouling of the bottom. The reason is not worse than others, but only Vladimir Polievktovich reported to the Investigation Commission something completely different:
The underwater parts of the ships overgrown very little ... in Japan, Japanese officers who saw the battleship "Eagle" entered the dock told me that the underwater part of the battleship was completely clean from the shells, which they were surprised to know that the ship stayed 7½ months in salty waters. They were very interested in the composition of our paint ... Due to this state of underwater parts it cannot be assumed that vessels could lose their speed at least in part due to fouling.
They are strange, these shells: in Madagascar they clung to the bottoms of Russian battleships and braked with all their might, but Tsushima, they were embarrassed to see, fell away ... because of what, but the battleships of the Russian battleships did not pass.
The speed that our 5 armadillos could develop in the Kostenko battle is a separate one. историяbut before we begin to study it, let us remember what the speeds of a ship are in general - of course, not in the whole diversity of maritime terminology, but only applying it to our case.
The ship has the highest (or maximum) speed that it develops when forcing mechanisms, and there is a full speed - the maximum speed of the ship, which he is able to develop without forcing. There is also a squadron speed - the speed of the connection of ships. Squadron speed is selected based on the task of connection, hydrometeorology, etc., and all this is not very important for us, and we are interested in the concept of “Highest Squadron Speed” - this is the maximum connection speed, and it is defined as follows: the maximum speed of the slowest connection ship is taken and decreases by the amount necessary to maintain its place in the ranks. Why do I need this amendment?
The fact is that ship navigation is much more complicated than a computer game, where at the touch of a key, the system of ships unfolds completely synchronously. In life, unfortunately, this does not happen - even with the same type of ships, the turning radius is not constant, and therefore, for example, squadron ships, following the wake column at the command of “turning successively”, say, by 90 degrees, will complete this turn not in the wake column, and separately, sludge from the place where they are supposed to be on 1-1,5, or even more cable, left or right - just because someone has a turning radius more, someone less. In addition, the intervals between the ships are broken, for some have spent more time on the turn than others, and during the turn, the ship has a tendency to lose speed ... that the line is broken a little more than completely, and it is possible to reassemble into the wake column at equal intervals only at the expense of additional speed — the ships are accelerating and quickly take their place in the column. Obviously, the more this additional speed is, the faster the system will recover. If, however, we measure the highest squadron speed over the speed of the most low-speed ship, then this ship will not have such a reserve and will break the formation without the hope of returning to it.
Understanding this, let us return to the speed of the Russian newest battleships in the 14 battle of May - in the memoirs “At the Orel in Tsushima” Kostenko gives his own report to the Assembly of officers on the results of the Tsushima battlefield, where he writes:
... in his column there were five battleships moving from 16 to 18 nodes.
And in the same place:
... Only high-speed ships were supposed to enter the squadron for breakthrough: armadillos moving to 16 nodes ... If Rozhdestvensky had attacked the enemy in this decisive period before opening fire with four new battleships of the same type, going full speed to 16 nodes ...
So all the same: what was the full speed of the battleships like Borodino, 16 or 16-18 nodes? But perhaps it was meant that armadillos of the Borodino and Oslyabya types, having a maximum speed from 16 to 18 nodes, could have a full speed or the highest squadron speed at the level of 16 nodes? All anything, only in the future, Vladimir Polievktovich pleases us with new and new data. In a report to the Maritime Technical Committee “Borodino-type Borodino” in the Tsushima battle, ”Kostenko reports:
Thus, not equaling the entire squadron on the weakest ships, it was a complete opportunity to divide it into the following units: 1) five high-speed strike battleships with a course of 15-16 nodes.
And in the same report:
The commander did not single out four battleships of the Borodino type into one tactical independent unit, and with them Oslyabya, with proper training squadron in the 15-16 nodes.
In other words, the declared Kostenko 16-18-nodal course of Russian battleships somehow imperceptibly took and was reduced to 15-16 nodes, but even such speed could be achieved only with some special training. And what kind of training is this? And with what speed could 5 of the leading Russian battleships walk without being trained? The answer to this question from V.P. Kostenko look useless.
No less leapfrog at V.P. Kostenko is obtained when he tells us about the maximum speed of the battleship "Eagle" after the May 14 battle. In his memoirs, in chapter №28 "Analysis of the course of the battle and the reasons for the defeat," in the section "Night battle with Japanese destroyers" Kostenko points out:
The Eagle always kept Nicholas’s wake-fire all the time and, keeping a distance of two cables, developed the 92 turn, the course of the 13 nodes. Mechanics said that a couple of missing enough, and the machines work fine. If necessary, you can develop a full stroke. Judging by the number of revolutions, the ship could easily develop to 16 nodes.
In the same chapter, in the section “Correcting Damage and Preparing for the Continuation of the 15 May Battle,” the clarification follows:
Due to the consumption of shells, coal, water, oil and items thrown overboard during the battle, the battleship was unloaded to 800 tons, surfaced to 16 inches, the main armor belt appeared from the water. The mechanisms and the steering wheel are intact, the fuel remains 750 tons. The full stroke is preserved to 15 1 / 2-16 nodes.
This is not so optimistic, but nevertheless, according to Kostenko, it seems that in the morning of May 15 a battleship could easily develop 16 nodes or so. However, in the testimony of the Investigation Commission V.P. Kostenko already says something completely different:
The Eagle was not prepared to give full speed in advance. Meanwhile, he could count on the 16 — 16,5 node only at full stress. For a full speed, it would be necessary to remove from the tops of the majority of people from the filing of shells, from the bilge and fire battalion, to help the firemen and machinists. Consequently, in preparing to give full speed, it was necessary to abandon combat targets in advance, to concentrate all forces and attention on coal, machinery and boilers. The Eagle, until the last moment, was preparing for battle, repairing damage, repairing holes, throwing debris, breaking wood, preparing artillery. The detachment was surrounded by the enemy in a few minutes; there was no time to get ready to give full speed, as the descent of the flag on the br. "Nicholas I" occurred already under the fire of the enemy. "Emerald", being ready to make a move and having a 24 node, immediately managed to rush in that direction, where the ring of enemy ships has not yet closed. The Eagle would not have done it. In addition, if he even gave 16 nodes and began to leave, it would not change the situation, as he could not, like Emerald, escape from the enemy without a fight.
So what do we see? In his memoirs, where Vladimir Polievktovich admiral Rozhestvensky scolds the light for not using the opportunities that Borodino-type battleships provided him with high speed, the Eagle in his morning 15 can easily develop 16 nodes. But giving testimony to the Investigation Commission of the Tsushima battle and being forced to explain why such a high-speed battleship did not try his luck and made no attempt to break through after the Emerald, VP Petrov. Kostenko reports that the battleship would probably give these 16 units, but not immediately, but only with full exertion of forces, driving the polo-team to the help of the firemen and thus abandoning the battle, because shells and bilge-fire divisions would be sent to stokers!
And then there are big questions to Vladimir Polievktovich. Suppose the battleship "Eagle" went all night 13 knots, and then being within "several minutes" surrounded by the Japanese fleet (Admiral Togo had armadillos on hydrofoils? Did not know ...) could not give full speed. But why then V.P. Kostenko reproaches Rozhestvensky for the fact that his high-speed battleships in the battle of the 14 battle of May, marching at the speed of 11 nodes, did not rush at 16 nodes into the Japanese fleet that made the “Togo Loop”? Somehow it turns out strange, is not it? During the time it took the Japanese to encircle the remnants of the Russian squadron, the Eagle did not have the opportunity to give full speed, but at the beginning of the battle, he not only could give full speed, but he also had to? By magic, Vladimir Polievktovich want?
And the second question is when V.P. Kostenko said that:
... four battleships of the Borodino type, and with them Oslyabya, which, with proper training, had a squadron course at 15-16 nodes.
What was meant here? Also driven by artillerymen and bilge fire divisions in the stokers with a refusal "from combat targets"? And in this form send 5 battleships to attack a dozen ships of Togo?
Okay, according to V.P. Kostenko, we will not understand the squadron speed of the Russian battleships, but perhaps we will try to find out at least the speed of the battleship "Eagle"? Kostenko has a few more materials for this. Here, for example, in the testimony of the Investigation Commission V.P. Kostenko reports:
At 78 revolutions in the campaign, the Eagle produced 11 — 11½ knots, having a displacement of at least 15500 tons. Mechanical engineers on the "Eagle" in the campaign were of the opinion that, in case of need, the battleship with full voltage and selected angle can develop the same number of revolutions as in the test. When adding 6 revolutions, the stroke increased by the 1 node. Therefore, with 108 revs, you could count on 16 — 16½ nodes. The decrease in stroke can be explained by the effect of overload, reaching 15% of displacement.
Notice that not a word about fouling is right, but right now we will ask ourselves another question: why is V.P. Kostenko believes that when you add 6 revolutions, the stroke increases by the 1 node? Data for calculations we take EXCLUSIVELY according to VP Kostenko.
During tests, the Eagle showed a speed in 13.300 of a node at 230 revs, or an average of 17,8 revolutions per 109 node at a displacement of 6,12 tons (underload 1 tons) at a displacement of XNUMX tons.
In the bay of Nossi-Be, the Eagle shows the 11,5 node on the 85 revolutions when overloaded (according to Kostenko) to 3.000 tons. This is the 7,39 turnover at the speed node, but Vladimir Polievktovich writes (“At the Orel in Tsushima”, chapter “The Rainy Period. Training Shooting. Messages from Russia”):
Judging by the steam consumption, the Eagle will not be able to develop more than 100 revolutions. Since one node has 8 revolutionsthen his marginal move is obtained not more than the 13,5 node, whereas in Kronstadt on the test he developed 18 nodes, and Borodino gave 16 1 / 2.
Why, in Nossi-Be, did the Eagle need 8 revolutions per knot of speed, and only 6 on the trip? Obviously, the heavier the ship, the slower its course, which means that the greater the overload of the ship, the more turns per node speed required. This is logical.
So, in Kosysenko, in Nossi-Be, the overload was already 3.000 t (which is wrong, but oh well), and the battleship on the 11,5 node has an 7,39 rotation per node. And for each successive node, 8 revolutions are required - i.e. MORE than average.
And in the campaign, with a displacement of 15.500, the overload is almost 2.000 tons, and the battleship for 11 — 11,5 of the node is forced to hold not 85, but only 78 turns, respectively, on average, only 6,78-7,09 has a turn per node. It would be logical to assume that for each additional speed node it will need some more than 6,78 or 7,09 turnover, well, or at least an equal value, wouldn’t it? However, V.P. Kostenko only lists 6 revolutions per node, i.e. significantly less than the average 6,78 — 7,09 turnover per node. This is even less than the 6,12 turnover per knot of speed, which on average was shown by the underloaded “Eagle” on the test! What kind of mystic is this?
If an armadillo overloaded with 3 thous. Tons needs 8 revolutions per node at speeds above 11 knots, and an armadillo overloaded with 2 thousands of tons requires only 6 revolutions per knot, so if you completely deprive the ship of overload, it goes and at all 3-4 turnover for each additional node speed will need? Using such arithmetic, we find that the “Eagle”, which does not have an overload, would have to develop speed on tests ... on the order of the 21,1 — 24,3 node ?! “Everything is stranger and stranger,” as Alice in Wonderland used to say.
So, if we assume that Vladimir Polievktovich slightly underestimated the required number of revolutions per 1 speed knot (who counts them?) And that when displacing 15.500 tons to the Eagle for each additional speed knot over 11 — 11,5 node was required ... no, not large, but at least equal to the average value (i.e. all the same 6,78 — 7,09 turnover per knot), then we get that the battleship “Eagle”
with full voltage and selective angle
will show the 15,3-16,07 node!
And now let us recall the testimony of the senior officer of the "Eagle" captain 2-rank Shwede:
I can say with confidence that, if necessary, the battleship "Eagle" could not give that move, which he gave on testing machines in Kronstadt, i.e. near 18 nodes ... I think that the most complete course, under all favorable conditions, when spending prior to the receipt of holes and water on the decks, no more than 15 — 16 knots could give the best grunted coal and replacing the tired firemen with another shift.
In fact, even accepting V.P. Kostenko that the “Eagle” “with full voltage and selective angle could count on the 16-16,5 node” without any additional corrective calculations, we see that it doesn’t differ much from Schwede’s estimate, since we don’t know what exactly V.P. Kostenko under the "full voltage". Schwede's statement is much more specific - for 15-16 maximum speed knots, you need a fresh change of firemen and the best rattled coal, or maybe it was still due to normal, non-stormy weather? Well, if, according to the method of Vladimir Polievktovich, there are also commanders with firefighters in boiler rooms and machine-driven ones — you see, the 16 — 16,5 node will come out. True, it is no longer possible to fight at this speed due to the lack of supply of shells to the guns and fire fighting, but to develop the Eagle 16 — 16,5, of course, can.
In this case, it becomes easy to determine the squadron’s speed: if with a fresh shift and a better angle, the battleship could count on 15-16 nodes of the “fullest stroke”, then, under not very ideal conditions, the “fullest stroke” of the “Eagle” will tend to 15, rather than 16 nodes, if not less. In this case, the "Eagle", obviously, is not the most low-speed of the newest Russian battleships Even VP Kostenko wrote about him:
From observations of the displacement of all the battleships on the march, it turned out that the Eagle was less overloaded than the others.
And about the "Borodino" with its transfer 16,5 node should not be forgotten. Although it was later repaired, but still, nevertheless ... In general, even if we consider the maximum speed of the most slow-moving battleship of the Borodino type near the 15 nodes (which, in my opinion, is still overestimated), the maximum squadron speed of the detachment from the five newest Russian battleships do not exceed the 13,5 — 14 node.
The data obtained are fully combined with the opinion of Admiral Rozhestvensky himself:
On May 14, new battleships of a squadron could develop up to 13½ turn points.
And even slightly surpass the testimony of the flagship navigator of the corps of naval navigators Colonel Filippovsky, who reported to the Investigation Commission:
Speed battleships of a new type could develop 13 nodes, no more, especially under great doubt were Borodino and Eagle.
It is worth remembering also the opinion of the captain of 2 rank V. I. Semenov:
I cite feedback from mechanics with whom I had to talk more than once: “Suvorov” and “Alexander III” could count on 15-16 nodes; at Borodino, already with 12 nodes, eccentrics and thrust bearings began to warm up; "Eagle" was not sure at all in his car ...
Is the issue resolved?
However, there is one, but very authoritative opinion, which categorically does not fit into all our arguments, since it is extremely contrary to all the above evidence. The flagship mechanic of the 2 Pacific Pacific Squadron, Colonel K.I.M. Fleet Obnorsky showed the following:
By the day of the battle 14 on May 1905, the main mechanisms of all the ships of the squadron were in satisfactory condition and battleships like "Suvorov" could freely have 17 nodes go without harm to the mechanisms ... The battleship Oslabya, I believe, would probably give 17 nodes.
It is certainly strange to hear such a statement, because you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out: if the same “Eagle” showed a 17,6 node with underload in 230 tons, then with an overload of 1670-1720 tons (according to VP Kostenko) “freely give 17 nodes "he could not completely.
However, the validity of the statements of the flagship mechanic can be checked. The fact is that we have at our disposal the report of the senior ship mechanic Colonel Parfenov 1 to the commander of the squadron battleship "Eagle", which begins like this:
On the basis of orders for the Maritime Office, for senior mechanics to submit to the Technical Committee through ship commanders the most detailed information about all accidents on mechanisms and boilers, I have to convey the following ...
And then follows the most detailed description of various features, including malfunctions of the machines of the battleship "Eagle", filled with so many technical details that you rarely find in the testimonies of eyewitnesses of the Tsushima battle. And this, of course, speaks in favor of the colonel. Well, in section B “Machine and boilers during the battle of 14 and May 15” Parfenov 1 shows:
During the battle had from 75 to 98 revolutions. On average 85 revolutions.
If we assume that at 109 revolutions (the limit for the Eagle steam engine), the battleship could develop 17 nodes and take the standard V.P. Kostenko - 6 revolutions per knot, then it turns out that by developing 98 revolutions, the Eagle would have to reach speeds over 15 knots. However, nobody watched such speed for Russian battleships in combat either from our ships or from the Japanese. Conversely, if we consider that during the battle, the average speed of the battleship did not exceed 10, the maximum of 11 nodes, and the minimum was approximately 8-9 nodes, then correlating the minimum and average speeds to the minimum and average speeds that were given by the Eagle machines, we will receive:
The minimum speed of 8-9 nodes at 75 revolutions is an average of 8,3-9,4 turns per node, and even if you count on 6 turns for each subsequent node, it turns out maximum speed of the battleship at 109 revolutions of the 13,6-14,6 node.
By the average speed of 10-11 nodes with 85 revolutions, the average 7,7-8,5 rotation per one node is obtained, and even if you count on 6 turns for each subsequent node, it turns out The maximum speed of the battleship at 109 revs is 14-15 knots.
Parfenov 1 also indicates the momentum that the battleship held at night from 14 to 15 on May:
From ½ 8 on the evening of May 14, all night and morning they kept from 85 to 95 turns - on average 90 turns.
This evidence is very close to Kostenko, who reports that at that time, the Eagle had a 92 turn and was traveling at a speed of 13 nodes. But there are nuances. The fact is that it is still unclear at what speed the remnants of the squadron were moving that night, but overall opinions vary between 11 and 13 nodes. As an example I cite the testimony of midshipman Baron G. Ungern-Sternberg (“Nicholas I”):
At night, we walked from 11½ to 12½ nodes, having a course of NO 23 °.
But in any case, the speed even in 11, even in 13 nodes at 85-95 revolutions does not allow to count on 17 nodes at 109 revolutions. From this we can draw a very sad conclusion: during the battle, the squadron battleship "Eagle" was unable to go faster than 15 nodes, it is even more likely that its maximum speed was somewhere between 14 and 15 nodes.
The statement of Obnorsky, the flagship mechanic, does not fit in so well with the testimony of the rest of the squadron, or within the limits of elementary logic, that I have to assume that Obnorsky is incompetent as a specialist, or ...
It should be borne in mind that one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Russian fleet in Tsushima was called the small squadron speed of domestic battleships. Could it be that Obnorsky ... insured, by removing from himself as the flagship mechanic, responsibility for the slow speed of Borodino-type battleships? Here, of course, it can be argued that if Obnorsky had a motive to overstate the speed of these battleships, then Admiral Rozhestvensky and Schwede had reasons exactly the opposite - to try to reduce the speed of the newest Russian ships. It can also be admitted that the head of the naval department, cavalier Semenov, fell under the personal charm of Rozhestvensky and decided to shield his admiral.
But the flagship navigator Colonel Filippovsky didn’t have such reasons obviously - why should he? Similarly, the senior mechanic of the “Eagle” Parfenov 1 didn’t have the slightest sense to exaggerate and deliberately lower the speed of the “Eagle”: he couldn’t be blamed for the surrender of the ship, so why sign the bad work of his supervising? Yes, and V.P. Kostenko was very interested in showing the rapidity of the five newest battleships of Rozhestvensky. However, for the Orla, Kostenko indicates the maximum stroke 16-16,5 node, and informs the Investigation Commission about the battleship Borodino:
The senior mechanic of the Borodino battleship Ryabinin and the ship’s engineer Shangin told me in Kamranga that rumors circulated in the squadron about the poor condition of the Borodino mechanisms were extremely exaggerated and even unfounded. If necessary, br. Borodino could have given 15 — 16 nodes and would not lag behind others.
Obviously, be in the words of Obnorsky some reason, V.P. Kostenko would not have failed to describe “battleships easily reaching 17 nodes” in his memoirs - nevertheless, this is not the case. And so I think the statement of the flagship mechanic is completely untrustworthy. But this, of course, is only my opinion.
This concludes the series of articles “Tsifima’s Myths”. From what I promised to a respected audience, only a detailed analysis of the start of the battle and the “Loop of Togo” remained unfinished. Perhaps I can still lay out this analysis in a separate article.
Thank you for attention!
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The author is especially grateful to his colleague “Countryman” for his series of articles “On the Question of Accuracy of Shooting in the Russian-Japanese War”, without which these materials would never have seen the light.