Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Russian Warships (Part 1)

The museum has a large collection of Russian warships …

… that includes the following:

Circular Ironclad Coastal Defence Vessel Novgorod

Novgorod was a circular coastal defence ship built to a design prepared by Rear-Admiral Andrei Alexandrovich Popov of the Imperial Russian Navy. The hull was circular in order to reduce her draught (and thus make her capable of sailing in very shallow water) whilst at the same time permitting the ship to carry much more armour and a heavier armament than other ships of the same size. It was also hoped that the design would make her very stable, and therefore a good gun platform.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 Novgorod defended Odessa, but other than that her service career was uneventful. She was eventually decommissioned in 1903 and used as a storeship until she was sold for scrap in 1911.

Armoured Coastal Defence Battleship General-Admiral Graf Apraxin

The General-Admiral Graf Apraxin was one of the three Admiral Ushakov-class coastal defence battleships that were built in the 1890s for the Imperial Russian Navy. There role was to counter the growing fleet of armoured ships being constructed for the Swedish Navy.

In February 1905 the three ship of the Admiral Ushakov-class were part of the 3rd Pacific Squadron that was sent to reinforce Admiral Rozhestvensky’s 2nd Pacific Squadron, which was already en route to the Pacific to face the Japanese fleet. They eventually joined up with the 2nd Pacific Squadron at Van Fong in French Indochina and subsequently took part in the Battle of Tsushima on 27th and 28th May 1905.

The General-Admiral Graf Apraxin was one of the Russian ships that survived the battle, and she surrendered to Japanese forces on 28th May. She was subsequently repaired, refitted, and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the 2nd class coastal defence vessel Okinoshima. She was one of the units of the Japanese Second Fleet at the outbreak of the First World War, and took part in the operations to capture the German colony of Tsingtao. Okinoshima was re-classified as a submarine tender on 1st April 1921 and was decommissioned on year later. She was then sold for scrap, but her new owners transformed her into a memorial to victory at the Battle of Tsushima. She was badly damaged in storms in 1939, and scrapped not long afterwards.

Pre-dreadnought Battleship Kniaz Potemkin Tavricheskiy

The Kniaz Potemkin Tavricheskiy (Prince Potemkin of Tauris) was a pre-dreadnought battleship that was built to be a unit of the Imperial Russian Black Sea Fleet. Her design was based upon that of the earlier battleship Tri Sviatitelia. She was laid down on 10th October 1898, launched on 9th October 1900, and completed in early 1905.

She was became internationally famous as a result of the mutiny that took place aboard her during the Revolution of June 1905. Her crew seized her on 25th June, and after sailing for Odessa the ship was involved in a curious and confused ‘stand off’ with other ships of the Black Sea Fleet. Potemkin escaped, and after trying to obtain supplies from Constanta in Romania, and then Theodosia in the Crimea, she returned to Constanta. The crew then attempted to scuttle the ship.

After negotiations with the Romanian government, the Russians re-floated the Potemkin and towed her back to Sevastopol to be repaired. She was subsequently renamed Panteleimon in honour of the saint of that name. She took an active part in naval operations in the Black Sea during the First World War, but after the Revolution of April 1917 took place she hardly went to sea again.

She was initially renamed Potemkin-Tavricheskiy (Potemkin of Tauris) and then Borets Za Svobodu (Freedom Fighter). She was placed in reserve in March 1918, captured by the Germans in May, and then handed over to the Allies in December 1918 after the Armistice. Before the Allies abandoned the Crimea in April 1919, they wrecked her engines. She was then captured by the Red Army, who then lost her when the White Army took control of the Crimea. She was finally recaptured by the Red Army in November 1920, by which time she was beyond economic repair, and she was scrapped during the early months of 1923.

Pre-dreadnought Battleship Tsarevitch

The Tsarevich was a pre-dreadnought battleship that was built in France for the Imperial Russian Navy. She was built by Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France, and was laid down on 8th July 1899, launched on 23rd February 1901, and commissioned on 31st August 1903.

The Russians were so impressed by the design that it formed the basis of the design used for the Russian-built Borodino-class battleships. After entering service she was based at Port Arthur in Manchuria and was the flagship of Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft during the Battle of the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. Tsarevich was interned in Tsingtau after the battle, and escaped the destruction that overtook the Imperial Russian Navy at the Battle of Tsushima.

Once the was was over was transferred to the Baltic Fleet. She was fairly inactive during the early part of the First World War I and sailors were amongst those who took part in the mutiny of the Baltic Fleet in early 1917. She was then renamed named Grazhdanin (Citizen) and soon afterwards she took part in the Battle of Moon Sound in 1917, during which she suffered slight damaged. She was seized by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution in late 1917, decommissioned in 1918, and scrapped in 1924.


8 Comments on “Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Russian Warships (Part 1)”

  1. Now this collection I would really like to see sometime. On my list next time I go to Monaco.

  2. Really been enjoying this series of posts Bob. What I find fascinating it the eccletic mix of ships, very few of which seem to have connection to Monaco. Very, very nice models of the Tsarist fleet.

  3. Steven Page says:

    I want to see suggestions for using the Novgorod in MoBaS…..and not “Don't…just don't”. I can not imagine even the US congress approving funds for such a travesty.

  4. Xaltotun of Python,

    It would certainly be at the top of my list of places to visit in Monaco.

    All the best,


  5. Peter Douglas (Pete),

    I must admit that I cannot for the life of me work out why Prince Rainier collected such a disparate group of models.

    All the best,


  6. Steven Page (Steve),

    When I saw the model, I must admit that I wanted to included one in my own collection … and if I do, I will have to write some appropriate rules.

    Perhaps Congress might have the design copied for the next Littoral Combat Ship. From what I gather, the present designs aren't that great, and at least the Novgorod carried a heavy armament for its size!

    All the best,


  7. I had realized that it was his personal collection, but that makes sense. I find it best not to question the quirks of nobility too loudly!

  8. Peter Douglas (Peter),

    I just wish that I had enough money to acquire even a small collection of these type of ship models.

    All the best,


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