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THE AURORA CRUISER
 
Photo 1990. External view (24.6 - 82.1 Kb)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Basic specifications of Cruiser I-st rate AURORA.
Ship's history
Museum exhibition aboard the cruiser


Contact information:

Postal address: Cruiser AURORA. Petrogradskaya Embankment. 197046 Saint Petersburg. Russian Federation.
Telephones: (+7-812) 230-8440, 232-63-70
Telefax: (+7-812) 328-2701.
E-mail: museum@mail.admiral.ru
Head of the CNM's branch on board the Cruiser AURORA - Contre-admiral (rtd.) Lev D. Chernavin.
Cruiser's commanding officer - Captain 1-st rank Anatoliy V. Bazhanov.

Working hours:

Open from 11:00 till 17:15 (GMT +3:00). Days off: Monday and Friday.

Saint Petersburg city. Trams No 2, 6, 26, 30, 53, 54, 63 up to «Ulitsa Chapayeva» or «Ulitsa Kuibysheva» stations. Closest metro stations - «Gor'kovskaya» and «Ploschad' Lenina».


BASIC SPECIFICATIONS

Classification: Cruiser of I-st rate
Name: AVRORA
Class: a PALLADA (1899) class vessel
Principal designer: K. K. Ratnik, buisiness manager of Baltiyskiy Ironworks
Shipyard, city: New Admiralty, Saint Petersburg
Building supervisors: E. R. de Grofe, K. M. Tokarevskiy
Coast, including guns: about 6400 roubles.
Laid down: June 4, 1897
Launched: May 24, 1900
Commissioned: July 29, 1903 in lists of Baltic fleet
Displacement (standard): 6731.3 t
Dimensions:
     Length (overall):
     Beam (overall):
     Draught (aver.):
 
126.8 m
16.8 m
6.4 m
Normal maximum speed: 19.2 knots
Range: 4000 miles at 10 knots
Main propulsion (in 1903):
- total power
- steam engines, number and type
- steam boilers, number and type

11'610 h.p.
3 vertical engins of triple expansion
24 Belleville boilers 1894-type
Propulsors: 3 three-bladed propellers (135 rot. per min)
Fuel (coal) stock:
normal:
higest possible:

912 t
1000 t
Total complement:
officers:
570
20
Armour shields: deck 38 mm;
deck slants 50,8 - 63,5 mm;
conning tower 152 ;
casings of boiling-rooms 38 mm;
gun elevators 38 mm
Artillery weapons:
(in 1903)
81 - 6-inch Cane guns (1414 shells);
241 - 75-mm Cane guns (6240 shells);
81 - 37-mm Gochkis guns (7800 shells);
2 - 2.5-inch Baranovskiy landing guns (1440 shells)
Artillery weapons:
(in 1917)
141 - 6-inch Cane guns;
61 - 3-inch Lender AA guns
Torpedo armament: 1 above-water, 2 submersible torpedo tubes
(8 torpedos of 1898-type)
Mine weapons: 35 mines of 10-inch caliber
(since 1915: 150 mines of 1908-type)
Anti-torpedo weapons: Anti-torpedo nets
Communication equipment: A.S.Popov-type wireless station,
6 - 75-mm Mangen searchlights
(since 1904 .: T.S.F.-type radio station)
Fire control equipment: N.K.Geisler-type fire control system,
2 - 1.4-m Barr&Strudd-type range finders
Navigating equipment:
(main)
2 - 10-inch standadt magnetic compasses,
4 - 7.5-inch working magnetic compasses
Sonar: since 1916: FESSENDEN-type underwater communication station
Scheme in 1903 (21.2 Kb)  Armouring and armament plan (in 1903)


 

SHIP'S HISTORY

Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905

The ship was constructed in St. Petersburg New Admiralty in 1897-1903 under the program of strengthening of the Russian sea forces at the Far East. On the 8th of November, 1903 AURORA was sent to the Far East together with the cruiser detachment under the flag of Rear Admiral A.A.Virenius. She had made the voyage on a route: Kronstadt - Portland (U.K.) - Algeria - Specia (Italy) - Bizerta (Tunis) - Peraeus (Greece) - Port Suez - Gibuti. However the detachment was withdrawn on Baltic Sea owing the beginning of Russo-Japanese war.

Photo. Cruiser «KASSAGI» (10.8 - 53.0 Kb)
Japanese cruiser KASSAGI (1897),
flagship of vice admiral S. Deva -
was one of the AURORA's principal adversaries
in the battle of May 27, 1905.
Photo by C.O.Travers, Esq., 1903.
(6163 t; 11414,67,3 m; 15000 h.p.; 22,7 knots; 4200 miles; 2-8", 10-120mm, 12-3" guns, 4 torpedo tubes; 440 crew).
Photo. Cruiser AURORA (14.2 - 79.9 Kb)
Cruiser I-st rate AURORA
Photo, 1903

Cruiser AURORA received her baptism of fire during the war 1904-1905, when she was included in 2-nd Squadron of the Pacific Fleet and on October 15, 1904 left Libau for the Far East under the command of captain 1-st rank Ye.R.Yegoryev. Cruiser took part in Tsushima battle on May 27-28, 1905. In the formation of Rear Admiral O.A.Enkvist's Cruiser Detachment, she followed the flagship, cruiser OLEG, and in the beginning of daylight action covered the column of Russian transports from the East. At 14:30 p.m. Russian cruiser detachment (formed of two 1-st rate cruisers and two old cruisers under the command of Rear Admiral O.A.Enkvist) and Reconnaissance Detachment (one 1-st rate cruiser, one 2-nd rate cruiser and one auxiliary cruiser under the command of captain 1-st rank S.P.Shein) engaged in a battle with Japanese 3-rd (4 cruisers, Vice-Admiral Deva) and 4-th (4 cruisers, Rear Admiral Uriu) Combat Detachments and at 15:20 p.m. - with Japanese 6-th Combat Detachment (4 cruisers, Rear Admiral Togo the Junior) in addition. About 16:00 p.m. AURORA got under the fire of Japanese armoured cruisers of 1-st Combat Detachment and was damaged. At the same time Rusian cruisers engag in an action with Japanese 5-th Combat Detachment (one old coastal defence ironclad and 3 cruisers, Vice-Admiral Kataoka) in addition. About 16:30 p.m. AURORA along with other cruisers went under the protection of Russian ironclads and stopped fighting.

Photo. Ye.R.Yegoryev (7.15 - 18.3 Kb)
Cruiser's commanding officer from July 1904 till May 1905
captain 1-st rank Ye.R.Yegoryev (1854-1905).

Total 303 6-inch and 1282 75-mm shells were wasted during the battle. Cruiser endured moderate damages due to 18 hits of 8"-3" shells. Splinters of one 75-mm shell flied into the conning tower and wounded all present officers. commanding officer Yeroryev was killed, and senior officer, captain 2-nd rank A.K.Nebolsin, took the command over the cruiser, in spite of his seriuos wound. Total 15 seamen were killed in action and 83 were wounded. All the killed were buried at the sea later: commanding officer in a point 1500'N, 11915'O, the other crew members in a point 3200'N, 12600'O. Cruiser received moderate damages of the hull and superstructures. Fire control system partially sent out of operation. One 6-inch and five 75-mm guns were destroyed.

In night on May 28 Rear Admiral Enkvist, expecting a complete defeat of Russian squadron, had accepted the decision to withdraw the three cruisers, remained in his detachmend, on the South. Following the flagship, AURORA forced her speed, broke away the Japanese ships and on the 6-th of June had arrived in Manila (Philippines, U.S.A.). On the 7th of June Enkvist's detachment was interned by the American authorities. After the ending of the war, in February 1906, cruiser returned to Libau.

 

Long training voyages in 1907-1913

After the war Cruiser became a training ship for cadets and reefers of Marine Cadet Corps. She was reclassified from Cruiser of 1-st rate to Cruiser in 1907. During the summers of 1907-1908, 1910 and 1913 AURORA was voyaging with Marine Corps reefers at the Baltic Sea, visited Visbo and Stockholm (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), participated in celebration the Kieler Woche («Kiel week»), when (on 1st of July) she was visited by German emperor. Since autumn 1909 till spring 1910 AURORA had made the long voyage to Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Russian cadets had been to Vigo (Spain), Algeria, Bizerta (Tunis), Toulon and Villefranche-sur-Mer (France), Smirna (Turkey), Naples and Messina (Italy), Suda (Crete), Peraeus and Poros (Greece), Gibraltar (U.K.), Vigo again, Cherbourg (France) and Kiel (Germany). Since autumn 1910 till spring 1911 ship made the second long voyage on a route: Libau (Russia) - Christiansund (Denmark) - Vigo (Spain) - Bizerta (Tunis) - Peraeus and Poros (Greece) - Messina (Italy) - Malaga and Vigo (Spain) - Cherbourg (France) - Libau. During the third long voyage (autumn 1911 - summer 1912) AURORA participated in coronation ceremony of king of Thailand (16.11-02.12.1911), visited ports in Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the spring and summer 1912 Cruiser in the formation of the international squadron for protecting the Crete stood in the Suda Bay as Russian stationeer.

Photo. Cruiser AURORA (7.46 - 13.5 Kb)
Cruiser AURORA
consisting of Cruiser Brigade of 1-st Reserve of the Baltic Fleet.
Photo in the sea, 1914.

 

Combat service in the First World War

At the beginning of the World War I Cruiser AURORA under the command of captain 1-st rank G.I.Butakov was included in 2-nd Cruiser Brigade of the Baltic Fleet (homeport Sveaborg). She accomplished the artillery shooting and performed the patrol service. For example the Cruiser safeguarded the security of the diving works on wrecked German Cruiser MAGDEBURG in August and September 1914, reconnoitred the skerriers fairway between Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia. During the winter 1914/1915 Cruiser was rearmed 14 6" guns, 4 75-mm guns, as well as mine rails for 150 electric&percussion 1908-type mines and anti-mine fore-trawl. In a campaign of 1915 the Cruiser's task was to patrol to the West of the Central Mine&Artillery position. Cruiser safeguarded the minesweeping works, made campaign for searching the concealed passages in Finnish skerries. In winter routine repairs Cruiser received in addition two 75-mm and one 40-mm «airguns», and in summer of that year - next two 75-mm «airguns» (whereas all 75-mm guns of anti-mine calibre were taken off). In a campaign of 1916 AURORA was temporary used for cadets' naval practice, and later participated in Gulf of Riga defence: supported by the fire land forces, repelled air attacks on Russian ship's detachment.

In autumn 1916 AURORA laid in Saint Petersburg Franco-Russian plant while major repairs were made. During the winter 1916/1917 steam-engins were repaired, new Belleville-Dolgolenko boilers were mounted. Main calibre artillary received new mountings, which increased their firing range from 53 to 67 cable lengths. Instead of temporary 75-mm «airguns» six 3-inch ordinary AA guns of F.F.Lender's system were installed. Besides new powerful radio station and sonar communication system were mounted. Crew was increased up to 723 men.

Draft on 1917 (251 Kb) Board view and main deck (in 1917)

 

Cruiser in revolutionary Petrograd

Lying in Petrograd the Cruiser had appeared at the centre of events of Russian Revolution 1917. Being in close contact to the workers of a plant, the cruiser's seamen were involved in revolutionary propaganda. This was promoted by general situation in Russia, which was put on a verge of catastrophe by the war. Russian army, fatiged, bloodless, insufficiently armed, suffered tremendous losses and went from defeat to defeat. The national economy had come in decline: there were starvation, lack of bread, meat, kerosene, goods of the primary needs. There was obvious an inability of imperial government to cope with a crisis situation. The mutual relations between AURORA's officers and team became extremely strained. On 12th of March the crew had required commanding officer to release under the arrest a three imprisoned workers-propagandists. In order to disperse this mass-meeting commanding officer Captain 1-st rank M.I.Nikolskiy and Senior officer P.P.Ogranovich opened pistol fire; there were wounded. When on March 13, 1917 at the Cruiser it had become known about the occured Revolution, sailors together with the workers hoisted the Red flag over the ship. Commanding officer was killed, senior officer was wounded, most part of crew landed and joined the revolt.

Photo. AURORA in Petrograd (11.8 - 11.2 Kb)
Photo. Cruiser AURORA in Petrograd, 1917.

Soon the Ship Committee was elected in realization of democratic rights of sailors. As a result of secret voting it was decided, that democratic republic must be a form of government in Russia. During the spring-summer-autumn 1917 the political situation aboard the AURORA was characterized by gradual loosing the confidence for Provisional Government between both sailors and officers. Influence of Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Bolshevistic) rose. After bloody events on March 13-14 the relations between Ship Committee and officers become rather normal: the officers did not go against the crew that concerned political convictions, and the Ship Committee did not put obstacles in officers's way concerning a service, discipline and ordinary ship works. When in October 1917 political situation in the country had become aggravated again and conflict between the Provisional Government and the Councils of workers', peasant's and soldiers' deputees had reached a deadlock, majority of the crew took Bolsheviks Party's side. Under the Baltic Fleet Central Committee's decision quite repaired AURORA was remained in Petrograd and was subordinated to Petrograd Council. Cruiser's sailors took part in October Revolt in Petrograd (7.11.1917), when Cruiser reestablished the traffic on the Nikolayevskiy bridge. Later AURORA blank-fired a forecastle gun to bringing moral pressure to defenders of Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government was.

By November 11 repaired AURORA had returned to 2-nd Cruiser Brigade, but shortly after most part of her crew was demobilized according to the Government Decree of old Navy's dissolution and new Wokers' and Peasants' Red Fleet organization. Only about 40 men remained aboard for purposes of guarding and routine affairs. In 1918 the Civil war began in Russia. By the summer 1918 Cruiser was removed to Kronstadt and put in reserve, since there was no more possibility to remain it battle-worthy. 6-inch guns were dismounted and sent to Astrakhan for arming the floating batteries of red Volga&Caspian naval flotilla. Most part of cruiser's sailors either went to Civil war fronts or simply went home. In 1922 the ship was handed over Kronstadt port for long duration storage (laid up).

 

The second birth: new training voyages and Second World War

When in 1922 the active restoration of Soviet Russia Sea Forces began, it was decided to restore AURORA as training ship, first of all because of her major repairing in 1916-1917. After the restoration repairs and remaning in 1922-1924 Cruiser AURORA was commisioned in Sea Forces of the Baltic Sea as training ship. Now Cruiser had 10x1 new 130-mm guns and 2x1 - 3-inch AA guns. In 1924-1930 ship made a lof of training voyages with cadets of high naval schools. She visited ports Bergen and Trondheim (Norway, in 1924, 1925 and 1930), Murmansk and Archangelsk (USSR, 1924 and 1925), Goteborg (Sweden, 1925), Kiel (Germany, 1926), Copenhagen (Denmark, 1928), Swinemunde (Germany, 1929), Oslo (Norway, 1930). The AURORA's merit in educating of competent specialists for young Soviet state's Navy was great. By 10-th anniversary of Revolution the Cruiser was awarded with the Red Banner Order. In 1933 the ship was inspected and it was decided to repair her for the second time. These works starting in 1933 in Marti Shipyard (Leningrad) but due to high charging of shipyard in 1935 refitting was suspended. Ship became the non-self-propelled training tender for 1-st year cadets of high naval schools in Leningrad. In winter Cruser served as submarine tender. It was planed to decommission the ship: only the war "saved" her from scrapping.

Photo. AURORA in Bergen (11.1 - 18.2 Kb)
Training cruiser AURORA's gun saliting in Bergen.
Photo, 1924

During the World War II crew and guns of AURORA participated in heroic defence of Leningrad. Cruiser herself laid at anchor at Oranienbaum (Lomonosov) roads near Leningrad and was included in anti-aicraft defence of Kronstadt Main naval base. From the beginning of the war she repelled the attacks of German bombers by AA guns. In winter AURORA continued service as submarine tender. Cruiser's sailors and cadets went to active warships of the Baltic fleet, to ships of newly organized river flotillas, to Leningrad front. Nine 130-mm AURORA's guns made up the artillery battery «A» at Duderhof hills to the south-west of Leningrad. 6-13 of September 1941 Cruiser's sailors of this battery took unequal battle with Germans and all perished as heroes keeping their soldier's duty. Cruiser herself was laid down the bottom at Oranienbaum roads, when she had received damages from German artillery on 30-th of September 1941. The rest guns were dismounted, but until the end of the war AURORA did not strike the USSR Naval Ensign. Immovable, semi-flooded Cruiser continued her life and struggle against Nazi invaders.

Photo. AURORA at Oranienbaum (7.62 - 9.93 Kb)
Semi-flooded AURORA in Oranienbaum roads. Winter 1941-1942.
Photo.

 

The memorial ship

The decision of restorating the Cruiser as memorial of Revolution 1917 was reached before the war end. In 1944 AURORA was lifted up and in 1945-1947 was repaired. Her external view was approached to it in November 1917. There were mounted 6-inch Cane guns of the same type as Cruiser's guns in 1917, but, unfortunately, it was possible to find in arsenals only land guns. Naval protective shields were made anew according to veterans' drawings. Underwater part of hull was concreted on the inside. Inner rooms were almost entirely replaned and reequiped to living and working of cadets and instructors. Main propulsion unit were dismounted but two boilers and central steam engine remained as training supplies and for routine purposes. Superstructures were restored, but all funnels were made anew since old were heavily damaged during the war. As a result the ship became full-value training base for pupils of Nakhimov Naval School. On the 17-th of November 1947 she took up her place at Bol'shaya Nevka river in Leningrad solemnly. Soviet naval officers to be received the first maritime skills in AURORA; they participated in ship's works, performed the naval duties.

Photo. Nakhimov School pupils (16.9 - 39.4 Kb)
Nakhimov School pupils on AURORA's board.
Photo, 1964.

The beginning of ship's historical museum was laid in 1950 by efforts of crew, veterans, enthusiasts. In 1956 it was decided to reorganize it into the Central Naval Museum branch. By 1961 AURORA had finished her service as training ship (there was built a new edifice for pupils), thus crew's and pupils' quarters were handed to the museum. It staff was increased up to 5 men. Upper deck, forecastle with 6-in guns were opened for visitors, as well as ship museum's rooms. Access to the rest appartments was denied. At the same time the crew of 50 seamen and officers was remained for ship's guarding and tech. servicing. Repair works were carried out in 1957-1958 and 1966-1968. In 1968 Cruiser AURORA was awarded with the October Revolution Order.

By the end of 1980-th it had been obvious, that ship's hull needed major repairs. New repair works on AURORA were carried out in 1984-1987. Project was developed by Severnoye Project&Design Bureau, main works were caried out by Zhdanov Shipyard (nowdays - Severnaya Shipyard). The main task was to preserve the ship as memorial of Revolution 1917 - it was the Governmental purpose. There is a brief description of these works:

  • All lower part of hull (below then 1,2 mark over waterline) was considered as s non-repairable owing to metal-concrete corrosion. It was cut off and scrapped. In its place was manufactured a model without screws and copper-wood facing. The original lower part is used as jetty in Ust'-Luga port near St. Petersburg today.
  • Above-water part was divided into 3 sections, which were mounted upon the new lower part. In the secondary (1-st and 2-nd) engine room was organized a "bolier room", where were placed the two models of Belleville-Dolgolenko boilers. Remained main engine (3-rd) was restored and mounted in its place in 1-st engine room. Armoured deck was made anew, then original armoured plates were mounted on it (but lower belt).
  • The superstructures were mounted on their places and mainly decorated a la view of ship there was in 1917. Funnels and masts were made anew for the second time. It was decided to remain guns at land mountings.
  • Most part of inner rooms and modules were replaned (rebuilt). There are museum exhibition halls, museum staff's compartement, crew's food block with galley, officers' mess and commander's saloon ath the gun deck. One deck lower are situated crew living apartments. All of living rooms are equipped in accordance with up-to-date requirements to inhabitation in the Russian Navy. There is engine&boiler module with dynamoes in the stern two engine rooms. Boiler rooms are using for modern energy&vitality post, electric power station, air conditioners, small domestic boilers, Diesel current generators, pumping station, fire-engine system and other supplies. Only tiller section, refrigerator section and central post were not rebuilt.
Photo. Festive attire of AURORA (7.85 - 27.6 Kb)

On 16 of August 1987 , after the third major repair AURORA returned to her usual place - at Nakhimov Naval School. Today 6 officers, 12 midshpmen, 42 seamen and 8 museum employees are working on Cruiser's board.

  • On 26-th of July 1992 St. Andrew Ensign returned to Russain Navy was set on the ship.
  • On 1-st of October 1998 the memorial Cruiser AURORA was awarded the title of Saint Petersburg Gold Book laureate.
  • On 5-th of November 1998 ship's church was consecrated.


SHIPS MUSEUM EXHIBITION

During the repair works in 1984-1987 by the efforts of museum's researchers and employees the new exhibition on Cruiser's board was created. Today it is sitated in six halls on gun deck. Besides conning tower and engine&boiler section are opened for visitors. There are about 1000 variuos exhibits in the ship's museum and 12 paintings, 6 water-colours among them. 10 ensigns and banners are represented in exhibition halls. 40 original documents, 46 copies of documents and 114 personal photos tell visitors about affairs of AURORA sailors. There are also 14 orders and 24 medals belonging to Cruise's veterans in the exhibition. The collection of badges and signs (about 100 subjects) devoted to AURORA provokes high interest of visitors. There are 8 models of the old and modern Russian warships in the museum's halls, as well as unique presentation of gifts from governmental, military and state organizations of different countries. It consists of 190 exhibits. Recently Museum has deviated from the ideological approach to the naval history. Museum researches have carried out a significant work to turning it to real ship history museum.

Photo. Chart house (16.2 - 35.1 Kb)
Chart house.
Photo, 1988
Photo. Radio station (15.7 - 50.5 Kb)
Radio station.
Photo, 1988

There are different tours:

Centenary history of the Cruiser AURORA (throughout the exhibition halls);
- Russian ship technique in the beginning of XX century (tour in engine&boiler room);
- Artillery, conning tower and radio station (tour throughout the upper deck and mentioned rooms).

Average annual attendance of the CNM's branch on Cruiser's board exceeded 450 000 - 500 000 visitors. Museum researchers give about 2000 tours yearly. Museum has been visited more then 27 millions men, 154 official delegations from differrent countries since its creation.

Additional services:

Museum employees conduct:

  • School quizes concerning the ship's history,
  • Meetings in Cruiser's mess with schoolschildren and naval cadets,
  • Trainings of guides on the naval subjects,
  • Meetings with veterans of Russian and fireign navies,
  • Presentation of books on marirtime themes,
  • Naval historical research,
  • Temporary exhibitions concerning to AURORA,
  • "Lessons of courage" at the schools, technical scools, naval schools, ships and units of the Russian Army and Navy,
  • Lectures at palaces of youth;
  • Participate in graduation of officers,
  • Participate scientific&historical conferences,
  • Participate in World War II veterans' organizations.
Ceremonies on AURORA's board:
  • The annual Naval parade at Neva river starts with Cruiser AURORA,
  • The Swearing-in ceremony of naval cadets and soldiers of Russain Armed Forces.
  • School-year starting and third form graduation in Nakhimov Naval School.
  • Requiem to perished Russian sailors yearly on 27-th of May (Tshushima battle day).
  • Conferring a governmental decoration on veterans and workers.
  • Starting of the school-year of Saint Petersburg schools, professional schools, institutes of high education.
  • Annual ceremony at Voron'ya mountain on 9-th of May (Victory day) and 11-th of September (Battery "A" death day).
  • Monthly meetings of Cruiser AURORA's veterans.
  • Solemn oath of crews of newly-building ships.
  • Meetings with ship's patrons.

It is possible to visit a officers' mess, commander's saloon and flag-officer's cabin under the preliminary agreement.

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