of the
Imperial Russian Navy

Volume 1

By V. M. Tomitch

Reviewed by Rob Mackie

My eyes grew wide when I opened Warships of the Imperial Russian Navy. It’s 102 softbound 8"x11" pages are crammed with information about Russian battleships from the advent of steam through World War I. And the text is in English! There are over 130 black and white photos, most of them from private collections, and twenty-five 1:800 plan/profile line drawings. Velikey.jpg (15013 bytes)High quality 1:700 models of Russian Dreadnought-era battleships are starting to become available, but the instructions and documentation accompanying these kits is minimal, to say the least. This book fills the void. You get the technical particulars of every battleship class as well as a concise operating history. Photo reproduction is generally acceptable (pictured is the Peter Velikey) and the line drawings crystal clear. I rather doubt whether there is any comparable English reference for Russian capital ships of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

V. M. Tomitch, a Russian émigré living in San Francisco, wrote the book in 1968. Fortunately Mr. Tomitch saved some copies from the original press run. They have been carefully stored and were printed on acid-free glossy paper, so there has been no deterioration. I strongly recommend this book to any modeler or naval history enthusiast with an interest in the ships of this era. Pacific Front has them at $30 but quantities are limited.

Though labeled "Volume 1", there is no "Volume 2".  This book covers Russian Battleships only.  Volume 2, which was to cover cruisers and destroyers, was never published.  The battleship classes covered in Volume 1 are as follows:

Battleship Classes
(each group is a distinct class and is documented with photos, technical particulars, line drawings, and operational history)

- Petropavlosk, Gangout, Sevastopol, Poltava (1911 class)
- Imperatritsa Maria, Imperatritsa Ekaterina II, Imperator Aleksandr III, Imperator Nikolai I
- Andrei Pervozvanny, Imperator Pavel
- Borodino, Imperator Aleksandr III, Orel, Knyaz Souvorov, Slava
- Tsarevich
- Evstafey, Ioann Zlastoust
- Panteleimon
- Tri Svyatitelya
- Retvizan
- Peresviet, Oslyabya, Pobieda
- Petropavlosk, Sevastopol, Poltava (1894 class)
- Georgey Pobiedonosetz, Sinop, Imperatritsa Ekaterina II, Chesma
- Sisoi Velikey
- Navarin
- Rostislav
- Dvenadtzat Apostolov
- Imperator Aleksandr II, Imperator Nikolai I
- Gangout
- Imperator Petr Velikey
- Admiral Oushakov, Admiral Senyavin, General-Admiral Apraksin
- Vice Admiral Popov, Novgorod
- Monitors: Ouragan, Tifon, Streletz, Yedinorog, Bronenosetz, Latnik, Lava, Perun, Vieschun, Koldun
- Kreml (ironclad)
- Pervenietz, Nie Tron Menya
- Sail ships converted to steam: Sinop, Tsarevich, Imperator Nikolai I