Description

These were the first modern heavy guns in Russian navy and were built to a Obukhov/Canet design. They were modified after the Russo-Japanese war to decrease the loading time. 68 guns were originally built and in 1914 additional guns were ordered from Britain and Obukhov to replace worn-out older guns. Apparently none were completed by Britain but 20 new guns were completed by Obukhov.

When the Russian ships were decommissioned their guns were removed and put into storage. Six of these guns were later put on railroad mountings and stationed in the Far East.

The Russian battleships Orel (also spelled as Oryol) and Retvisan were captured during the Russo-Japanese War and then served as Imperial Japanese Navy battleships Iwami and Hizen, respectively.

Gun Characteristics

Designation 12"/40 (30.5 cm) Pattern 1895
305 mm/40 (12") Pattern 1895
Ship Class Used On Tri Svyatitelya, Sisoy Velikii, Sevastopol, Retvisan, Tsesarevich, Borodino, Potemkin, Evstafii and Andrey Pervozvanny classes

Railway mountings: TM-2-12

Date Of Design 1891
Date In Service 1895
Gun Weight 94,432 lbs. (42,834 kg)
Gun Length oa 557.4 in (14.157 m)
Bore Length 480 in (12.192 m)
Rifling Length 378.4 in (9.611 m)
Number Of Grooves 68
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire During Russo-Japanese War: 0.5 to 0.7 rounds per minute
Borodino: 1.5 rounds per minute
Andrey Pervozvanny: 2 rounds per minute

These cannons used a lanyard for firing.

Ammunition

Type Bag
Projectile Types and Weights AP "old model" - 731.3 lbs. (331.7 kg)
HE "old model" - 731.3 lbs. (331.7 kg)

AP mod 1907 - 731.3 lbs. (331.7 kg)
HE mod 1907 - 731.3 lbs. (331.7 kg)
Shrapnel - 731.3 lbs. (331.7 kg)

AP mod 1911 - 1,038 lbs. (470.9 kg)
HE mod 1911 - 1,038 lbs. (470.9 kg)

HE mod 1911 (made in US) - 1,038 lbs. (470.9 kg)
HE mod 1928 - 692 lbs. (314 kg)

Bursting Charge
see Note 1
AP "old model" - 11.7 lbs. (5.3 kg)
HE "old model" - 27.3 lbs. (12.4 kg)

AP mod 1907 - 12.2 lbs. (6.0 kg)
HE mod 1907 - 62.2 lbs. (28.2 kg)
Shrapnel - 6.8 lbs. (3.07 kg)

AP mod 1911 - 28.3 lbs. (12.84 kg)
HE mod 1911 - 125.6 lbs. (61.5 kg)
HE mod 1911 (made in US) - 91.0 lbs. (41.3 kg)

HE mod 1928 - 121.7 lbs. (55.2 kg)

Projectile Length AP "old model" - 31.8 in (80.8 cm)
HE "old model" - 33.6 in (85.0 cm)

AP mod 1907 - 32.6 in (82.9 cm)
HE mod 1907 - 37.9 in (96.3 cm)
Shrapnel - 37.2 in (94.5 cm)

AP mod 1911 - 46.8 in (118.9 cm)
HE mod 1911 - 60.0 in (152.4 cm)
HE mod 1911 (made in US) - 52.8 in (134.1 in)

HE mod 1928 - 60.0 in (152.4 cm)

Propellant Charge
(see Note 2)
AP "old model" - about 220.5 lbs. (100 kg)
HE "old model" - about 220.5 lbs. (100 kg)

HE mod 1907 - about 220.5 lbs. (100 kg)
HE mod 1928 - about 220.5 lbs. (100 kg)
Shrapnel - 220.5 lbs. (100 kg)

HE mod 1911 - 275.6 lbs. (125 kg)
AP mod 1911 - 275.6 lbs. (125 kg)

Muzzle Velocity HE "old model" - 2,598 fps (792 mps)

HE mod 1907 - 2,598 fps (792 mps)

Shrapnel - 2,598 fps (792 mps)

HE mod 1911 - 2,297 fps (700 mps)
AP mod 1911 - 2,297 fps (700 mps)

HE mod 1928 - 2,702 fps (823.5 mps)

Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun Andrey Pervozvanny class - 70 rounds
Tsesarevich - 60 rounds
Potemkin - 62 rounds
Borodono class - 60 rounds
Tri Svyatitelya - 75 rounds
  1. "Old Model" AP shells lacked a cap. APC was introduced in 1894 but these were so expensive that few were available at the time of the Russo-Japanese War. Bursters were wet gun-cotton at this time.
  2. Black powder was still in use during the Russo-Japanese War.
  3. Some ammunition was manufactured in the US during World War II.

Range

Range of "Old Model HE" projectiles
Elevation Range
10 degrees 12,010 yards (10,980 m)
15.9 degrees 16,010 yards (14,640m)
35 degrees 22,200 yards (20,310 m)
Range of HE mod 1911 projectiles
Elevation Range
15 degrees 17,010 yards (15,550 m)
35.4 degrees 26,610 yards (24,330 m)
45 degrees 28,300 yards (25,880 m)
Range of HE mod 1928 projectiles
Elevation Range
40 degrees 32,000 yards (29,260 m)

It should be mentioned here that the maximum ranges listed in these tables were of little use at the time these ships were built. Fire control systems and rangefinders capable of allowing accurate firing at ranges over 10,000 yards (9,140 m) were nonexistent. The Russians estimated that a ship firing a four-gun broadside under ideal conditions (daylight, good visibility, target at a constant range) had a 40 percent chance of making a hit at 4,000 yards (3,600 m) and a 10% chance at 10,000 yards (9,100 m).

Armor Penetration with APC

Elevation Range Side Armor Striking Velocity Angle of Fall
0 degrees 0 yards (0 m) 15.00 in (381 mm) 2,600 fps (792 mps) 0
0.91 degrees 2,000 yards (1,830 m) 12.25 in (311 mm) 2,250 fps (687 mps) 0.98
2.00 degrees 4,000 yards (3,660 m) 9.88 in (251 mm) 1,940 fps (592 mps) 2.24
3.36 degrees 6,000 yards (5,490 m) 7.91 in (201 mm) 1,660 fps (507 mps) 4.53
5.08 degrees 8,000 yards (7,320 m) 6.26 in (159 mm) 1,430 fps (436 mps) 7.54
7.26 degrees 10,000 yards (9,140 m) 5.08 in (129 mm) 1,240 fps (379 mps) 18.90
10.02 degrees 12,000 yards (10,970 m) 3.66 in (93 mm) 1,130 fps (344 mps) 17.53
  1. Data is from "Gangut" Issue 7 article for these guns vs. KC-type Armor.
  2. This projectile was in use during the Russo-Japanese War.

Mount/Turret Data

Designation Twin Mounts
All ships (2): Pattern 1895
Weight Tri Svyatitelya: 173 tons (176 mt)
Borodino: 179 tons (182 mt)
Andrey Pervozvanny: 218 tons (221.7 mt)
Elevation Potemkin and Andrey Pervozvanny: -5 / +35 degrees
All others: -5 / +15 degrees
Rate of Elevation 2.2 to 2.7 degrees per second
Train Between +/- 135 and +/- 150 degrees
Rate of Train 2.4 to 3.0 degrees per second
Gun Recoil N/A
Loading Angle N/A

Turrets were electrically powered and followed contemporary French designs. Hoists were single stage from the magazines to the rear of the gun breeches.

Additional Pictures

Sources

"The Battle of Tsu-Shima" articles in "Warship Volume II" by John Campbell
"Russian Battleship vs. Japanese Battleship: Yellow Sea 1904-05" by Robert Forczyk
"The Retvizan: An American Battleship for the Tsar" article by Stephen McLaughlin in "Warship 2000-2001"
"Entsiklopedia Otechestvennoi Artillerii" (Encyclopedia of Fatherland [Russian] Artillery) by A.V. Shirokorad
"Gangut" Issue 7 article by S.I. Titushkin
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Special help from Vladimir Yakubov

Page History

05 December 2006 - Benchmark
12 January 2009 - Added midships picture of Tsesarevich
16 May 2011 - Added stern photograph of Tsesarevich, rescanned photograph of Sissoi Veliki, added ammunition and mounting notes
16 November 2016 - Converted to HTML 5 format