This revolution in Russia took place during the reign of Alexander II. The head of the Navy Department, Ministry of the Navy, was the brother of the governor — general-admiral and stately Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, the actual management of the Office shall Vice-Admiral Nicholas Crabbe All matters of creation of new ships was in charge of Naval Technical Committee (ITC) — a body of the same ministry. But they are far away does not always define "politics" and shipbuilding technique 1860-1870-ies. Rear Admiral Andrey Popov (in 1873 he became vice-admiral) using the trust of General-Admiral, "worked" unofficial chief designer of the Navy of the Russian Federation. This energetic and professional person, competent sailor and shipbuilder, has managed, with an emphasis on hand-picked them assistants bring a huge amount of their own thoughts, laid down in the various projects for the intended purpose ships. Among them: ocean armored cruiser "General-Admiral," Naval armadillo "Peter the Great" and round ships — battleships "Novgorod", "Vice-Admiral Popov," and the Royal Yacht "Livadia".
After the Crimean War, the Russian Black Sea Navy did not actually exist. The revival of the Black Sea Fleet political conditions prevented signed in 1856 by the Paris peace treaty of the neutralization of the Black Sea. According to the contract, the Russian Federation was forbidden to have in the naval vessels of more than 6 800 tonnes and 4 vessels of 200 tons. Not the least played a role economic conditions: More than a decade after the failed and the heavy war took on tough domestic reforms in the country, the limited funds the Treasury only had enough for the maintenance and creation of ships of the Baltic Fleet. In this regard, multiple offers the War Department to build at least a non-seaworthy armored batteries for the defense of the most vulnerable places have not implemented the Black Sea coast.
Only in the second half of 1869, after it has been executed defensive shipbuilding program for the Baltic, the Minister of War, General Milutin DA given permission to raise the question of "armored vessels built in the south of Russia", while it was carried out only once again to strengthen the defense of the Kerch Strait and the Dnieper-Bug estuary. During the preparatory study of the problem appeared in the Maritime Ministry Popov AA proposed to solve it with a round ship, "The enemy, who would dare to storm our coastal strongholds, may decide to do so only with the introduction of the highest caliber guns, which at the moment is likely to be of practical use. To reflect it, we have to have these tools, and how it follows the design of ships serve to complement our coastal protection as tools for guns, for their artillery weapons to choose from with great caliber available to us: because on the projected ship are proposed for 11 d (280 mm) threaded or 20 g (508 mm) guns smooth. By reducing the length by increasing the width of the vessel can reduce its price and the displacement increment. After finishing this theorem to the last degree, in other words, making the length and width equal, we reach the most appropriate criterion in respect of prices and sizes. Because all of its water line formed from the community. Of all the ships, the monitor type is less prone to roll and has a smaller area to cover the armor, designed by a ship as a machine for guns, have a monitor, it is in the center of the tower motionless, covered with armor, as well as board and deck of the ship .. . Although the formation of radial waterlines suitable criterion for high speeds are not, but this defect is fully compensated by the absence of obstacles to turning capacity and surplus tonnage. That is one hundred percent use agilely, to design the type given two screws and surplus tonnage loaded the car … "
(Round vessels were made in ancient times and was used by different peoples. In 1868, British Elder was invited to the original circular ship. In the underwater part of its contours were spherical: reduced wetted surface, and as it should, and decreased water resistance. The inventor proposed to use it as a battleship, "the carrier larger caliber guns with the late pumped and large self-righting." Specifically, Elder, in some publications as long and was called by Pope ideas round armadillo. But the proposals were significantly different: the bottom of the "monitor" Popov was flat and, as there has been essentially the smallest draft.)
Judging by the events that took place on this proposal control of the Navy Department immediately intrigued, to verify the behavior of an unusual vessel in the water Krabbe NK here is allowed to do full-scale model: a round boat which has a diameter of 3.35 m, with 2 steam engines temporarily removed in Kronstadt with work boats.
In the matter of determining the place of construction of future ships there were no special choice. Modern shipbuilding base was available only in the area of St. Petersburg. In the south, in Nikolaev, from the time of sailing ships, there is still a state-owned Admiralty, where the Black Sea fleet continued to build timber ships. In Sevastopol, work shops ROPiT (Russian Society of Shipping and Trade), repairers are just going to small ships of finished parts. There was also the only one in the entire Black Sea basin slipway for repair of huge ships. Lacking funds for the construction of new or renovation of existing companies, seafarers offered a compromise solution — to build new vessels in St. Petersburg, and assembling them to make the terrain Nicholas Admiralty. To carry out assembly work offers air on the bank. Inhul one or two public slipways and close to their line up "armored workshop" — something like a plant for the processing of metal armor and delivered from industrial areas, there is supposed to write down the most experienced workers, shipbuilders. The higher ranks of the military and maritime ministries gathered for a "special" meeting in the second half of December, under the chairmanship of Admiral General, discussed the proposition to build battleships. It was decided to collect two years in the Nicholas Admiralty four small armadillo for a total of 4 million rubles, of which 200 million was allocated to equipping the admiralty. With
all of this type of ship is not considered in detail, Popov AA charge only the elaboration of his upcoming project in two ways: "twin-turret size boats," ie, monitors such as "Mermaid", as "round the ship."
A month later, Alexander II approved the decision of the meeting, the requirements of the military department to the elements of the ships: small caliber guns — 280 mm depth — 3.3 m, thickness of the armor — "more than the largest foreign battleships" (almost had to be equal caliber cannons) . So stringent fully satisfied just round the vessel proposed by Andrei Alexandrovich! "Mermaid" displacement of 2,100 tons and a draft of 3.5 meters was carrying 4 guns caliber 229 mm, with a waist width of 114 mm armor. A more perfect monitor "Admiral Chichagov" having two guns in service with the caliber 280 mm and protected 102-178-mm armor, had with a displacement of 3,500 tons of sediment 5 meters. So Makar, the requirements of army engineers began to justify the choice of a new type of vessel in the Black Sea as a battleship, though at the same time, there were other reasons. In April 1870 Managing Marine Ministry said: "The election of this type of battleships in the south will free us from the significant costs for the construction of the former types of ships that can not be on local conditions meet the requirements of modern defense and deny foreign powers any occasions do we objections and protests. .. Without any exaggeration round vessels can be attributed to floating fortresses and will not be included in the list of ships of the fleet. "
In April, tests were conducted round the boat was built in the Kronstadt steamer factory. She moved briskly enough in the channel cut through the ice, confirming the right of existence of the new vessel. 27th Emperor was reported on successful trials, then "Majesty" was commanded to design around the court Popov AA called "Popówko."
Andrey and his assistants worked until May several options for the terms of reference for the construction of round ships of different diameters, with the question remained open select the type of guns (smooth-bore or rifled) and towers for their (closed or open, motionless or spinning). For practical data on seaworthiness and installation of steam engines with the screws on Popówko, in the same factory began building the latest model with a diameter of 7.3 meters with 4 screws and steam engines (8 nominal power of each force). It is clear that this boat, bearing the title "Flounder", revealed in the course of 5 knots and "unusually spirited turning." After the tests, completed by the summer of 1871, this Popovka shot mechanisms, and metal body was used in the port of St. Petersburg as a flotation device.
Admiral-General on May 26, "the commission listened to with respect and measured system proposed battleships" and chose a circular ship a diameter of 46 meters with an open motionless tower, 550 mm armor, armed with four guns of 508 mm caliber. Total displacement of the vessel at draft 3.8 m was be 6054 tonnes. After consideration of the Maritime Technical Committee smoothbore cannon changed five rifled guns Krupp design caliber 280 mm in June, Nicholas Crabbe approved the mission and the ship's engineer lieutenant Mordvinov AV, the future construction of both popovok began to build up a budget "The need for materials for its construction …" By this time Nicholas Admiralty drafted a "Master of armored ship building", also picked up a group of officers executing. Rear Admiral Likhachev IF Naval agent in the UK began to purchase the right equipment for the workshop.
In July 1870 the Franco-Prussian War. The subsequent defeat of France gave up the opportunity to reach the Russian government to cancel the contract of articles concerning the neutralization of the Black Sea, which was proved the English international conference in January 1871. But, despite this puzzle sailors continued to consider restoring the Black Sea Fleet "unthinkable" in connection with a shortcoming in the country's resources for the creation of the shipbuilding and steel companies and the south, equipment bases for the ships' new types of harsh. " Because they offered to act alternately — first build defensive, "monitor" fleet consisting of popovok. Managing Marine Ministry on July 23 ordered the commander in chief Petersburg port work out program from construction to the defense of the Black Sea 10 popovok, with their construction in St. Petersburg and Kronstadt assembly in Nikolaev. With all of this to reduce the cost and speed of construction, it was proposed to use steam engines, taken with an old gunboats, corvettes and clippers. After a fortnight port were presented calculations. Development of AA Popov engineers as a model chosen Popovka diameter of 24.4 meters. With a displacement of 1200 tons this ship was armed with 2 guns caliber 229 mm motionless in the open tower, Armour 152-203-mm plates; propulsion system consisted of four steam engines from the gunboats, the power of any 70 rated power. Available were 32 such machines, 8 had to do. The overall price applets resulted in 9.5 million rubles, the deadline for the preparation of all ships — 15 months.
Using these data, the Mariners offered in September to build such ships in the comfort of making a "special" meeting. In 1-x is enabled to keep within the stated amounts and terms, in-2, "in newness of round ships … to solve in practice, with the least loss of time and money, all the questions that you need to know before you spend a million necessary to build at least one Popovka size of 152 ft (46 m) diameter … "(price, with weapons and delivery amounted to 4.14 million, and the period of production was determined in 3 years!).
In response to "restless Admiral" was created 6 versions of the round ships. In October of them just chose Popovka diameter of 29.26 meters 2 280 mm caliber guns motionless in the open turret armor is 305 mm wide, 4 steam machines (total capacity 480 nominal force). The total price of the battleship, including delivery to the south — 1.94 million rubles.
It only remained to decide on the number of ships. In the "Programme of Action …" composed stately Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich and approved by His Majesty proclaimed: "The Black Sea fleet of armored must be defensive in nature only to the time … The basis of this fleet should be now paves Popovka, these should be brought to 10 may be the shortest possible time … "Perhaps in this, the greatest, the program took into account views of professionals on the ability of the introduction of an old car with a gunboat, as the construction of round vessels the smallest dimensions. In January 1871 returned to the proposal to build a 4 Popovka a diameter of 29 meters: two in St. Petersburg, with the next build in the South, 2 — right in the Nicholas Admiralty. For this example program required twice as much compared to initial estimates. The final amount of 8.5 million rubles. But keeping all these "programs" and "plans", the government finance their implementation has been slow. So, after Alexander II allowed the 14 December 1870 to build the first Popovka in St. Petersburg and Admiral-General pointed out the work force in Nikolaev for laying the second vessel there, in the middle of next year, it became clear that in the program fro
m 1871 allocated only 1,660,000 . rub. (A little more than 1 million rubles for the first and 600 thousand in the other three.) In the following years, appropriations are planned at the same level. Build new ships to such funds could only turn! Moreover, the bureaucrats of the Ministry, it was estimated that in the end the program from these criteria will only in 1875 and even offered to hold on year tab of the second ship. Popov AA had greatly worried, but in April 1871 followed by a final order of General-Admiral of the beginning of construction in the same year in Nikolaev second Popovka.