Historic Protected Cruiser (1903)
The Avrora on maneuvers in her early years.
The Aurora (spelled Avrora in Russian, but with the same meaning) was the third of Russia's Pallada class cruisers. Her two identical sisters, named for Greek goddesses Diana and Pallas Athena, were serving with the First Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur, but in her first year Aurora was stationed in the Baltic, working up as a crack ship. She then undertook the hazardous voyage to Vladivostok with the remainder of the Baltic Fleet. In this desperate enterprise she was a unit of the First Cruiser Squadron, commanded by the nonentity Adm. Enquist. During the voyage Aurora provided a visible reminder of what navy ships might be expected to be, with smart signal work and precise station keeping -- standing in marked contrast to the sloppy performance of the rest of the fleet. Aurora went further, acting as a morale leader by sponsoring athletic and seamanship competitions, providing rare moments of satisfaction for Vice Adm. Rozhdestvensky, the beleaguered C-in-C of the expedition. At the Battle of Tsushima Aurora took a couple of hits before (at Enquist's signal) disengaging early in the fight and fleeing all-out to Manila. There the three Russian cruisers of the First Squadron were interned for the duration: Oleg, Izumrud, and Aurora.
Returned to the Tsar's service after the peace, Aurora took her place in a much-reduced Baltic Fleet. She continued to play a part in history, most famously in the Russian Revolution of November 1917 (October Revolution O.S.). Taken over by a revolutionary crew that had killed the captain, Aurora signaled the Bolshevik assault on the Winter Palace by firing blank shots from her bow 6" gun. But that was only the beginning of this revered ship's exploits. To enjoy the full diversity of Aurora's career, read the profile here. But to enjoy the ship's fine design and historic highlights, scroll down to the dedicated Aurora gallery. Or go to visit her in St. Petersburg today.
Plan and Specifications
Specifications for the Aurora:
Dimensions: 416' x 55'1" x 24' Displacement: 6,731 tons std, 7,600 tons deep laden. Armament (as built): (8) 6"/45 and (24) 3" 12-pdr guns; (9) 37 mm MG; (3) 18" torpedo tubes. Armor: 3"/2" protective deck, 2" shields. Fuel capacity: 960 tons of coal std; 1,430 tons maximum, plus unspecified qty fuel oil. Propulsion: (24) coal-fired Belleville boilers; (3) horizontal 3-cyl triple expansion engines developing 11,600 HP, shafted to triple screw. Speed: 20 kts. Crew: 578.
By the time of her star turn in the October Revolution, the ship's armament had been augmented to fourteen 6" guns, four 3" mm AA guns, and assorted machine guns. During WWII she became an antiaircraft gunship until sunk by Nazi aircraft.
Ships in class: Pallada · Avrora · Diana
Metric specifications: Dimensions: 126.8m x 16.8m x 7.32m Displacement: 6,731 tons std, 7,600 tons deep laden. Armament (as built): (8) 152 mm/45 and (24) 75 mm 12-pdr guns; (9) 37 mm MG; (3) 450-mm torpedo tubes. Armor: 76/50 mm protective deck; 50 mm shields. Fuel capacity: 960 tons of coal std; 1,430 tons maximum, plus unspecified qty fuel oil. Propulsion: (24) coal-fired Belleville boilers; (3) horizontal 3-cyl triple expansion engines developing 8,650 kW, shafted to triple screw. Speed: 20 kts. Crew: 578.
An Aurora Gallery
Source: Anatoly Odaynik Archive - All.
A marvelous shot of Aurora when new, showing her high, tumbled-home French sides and stovepipe funnels.
Photo taken at Manila shows some of Aurora's damage from the Battle of Tsushima.
Aurora as she appeared in 1917, when her guns wrote history.
Naval cadets row past the historic cruiser in a Soviet-era propaganda photo.
Bow of the Aurora in floating drydock for her 1987 rebuild.
Aurora ready to be floated out following her 1987 rebuild.
Aurora today presents a cluster of industrial-age shapes on the Petrovskaya Embankment, her permanent berth.
About the two sister ships
As mentioned above, both the Diana and Pallada were stationed at Port Arthur -- the former with the war's chronicler, Lt. Vladimir Semyenov, aboard as a communications officer. Diana escaped the mèlée at the Battle of the Yellow Sea and fled to Saigon, where she was interned for the duration and later rejoined the Baltic fleet. While lying at anchor, Pallada was sunk in the shallows of Port Arthur's East Port by Japanese siege artillery. She was there captured by the Japanese on the fortress' surrender. The ship was raised and refurbished and served for many years in the Japanese fleet under the name Tsugaru.
Complete information with pictures