Russian cruiser Aurora

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Career (Russia) Ensign of the Russian Navy
Operator:  Russian Navy
Template:Country data USSR
Builder: Admiralty Shipyard, St. Petersburg
Laid down: 23 May 1897
Launched: 11 May 1900[1]
Commissioned: 29 July 1903
In service: 1903 1957
Honours and

Participated in:

Status: Active, preserved at St. Petersburg, Russia
General characteristics
Class and type: Pallada-class protected cruiser
Displacement: 6731 tons
Length: 126.8 m (416 ft)
Beam: 16.8 m (55 ft)
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Propulsion: 1903:
Triple shaft. Three triple expansion reciprocating steam engines; 24 coal-fired Belleville boilers. Total power 11,610 hp[2]
Speed: 19 knots
Range: 7,200 km (4,500 mi) at 10 knots
Complement: 590[1]

8 x 152 mm (6 inch) guns
24 x 75 mm guns
8 x 37 mm guns
3 x torpedo tubes (two underwater)

14 x 152 mm guns
4 x 76 mm AA guns
Machine guns
3 x torpedo tubes (two underwater)

Aurora (Russian: Авро́ра; English transliteration: Avrora) is a Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. She battled the Japanese Navy in the Russo-Japanese War. One of the first incidents of the Communist Revolution in Russia happened on the cruiser Aurora.

Russian-Japanese War

File:Aurora 1903.jpg
Aurora in 1903

The cruiser Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in St. Petersburg for service in the Far East (on the Pacific). All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War. The second ship, Pallada, was sunk by the Japanese at Port Arthur in 1904. The third ship, Diana, was interned in Saigon after the Battle of the Yellow Sea.

Aurora was part of the Russian 2nd Pacific Squadron formed mostly from the Russian Baltic Fleet, which was sent from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific, under the command of Vice-Admiral Rozhdestvenski. On the way to the Far East, she sustained light damage from confused friendly fire in the infamous Dogger Bank incident.

On 27 and 28 May 1905, Aurora took part in the Battle of Tsushima, along with the rest of the Russian squadron. Under the command of Rear-Admiral Oskar Enkvist Aurora managed to avoid being destroyed unlike the majority of the Russian vessels, and with two other cruisers broke through to neutral Manila, where she was interned.

In 1906, Aurora returned to the Baltic and became a cadet training ship. From 1906 until 1912 the ship visited a number of other countries, in November 1911 the ship was in Bangkok as part of the celebrations in honour of the coronation of the new King of Siam.

The cruiser cooperated also in the international operation to care for the survivors of the earthquake of Messina.

October Revolution

During the First World War the ship operated in the Baltic Sea. In 1915 her armament was changed to fourteen 152 mm (6in) guns. At the end of 1916, the ship was moved to Saint Petersburg (later Petrograd) for a major repair. The city was brimming with revolutionary ferment and part of her crew joined the 1917 February Revolution. A revolutionary committee was created on the ship (Aleksandr Belyshev was elected its captain). Most of the crew joined the Bolsheviks, who were preparing for a Communist revolution.

On 25 October 1917, Aurora refused to carry an order to take off to sea, which sparked the October Revolution. At 9.45 p.m. on that date, a blank shot from her forecastle gun signalled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace, which was to be the last episode of the October Revolution. The cruiser's crew actually took part in the attack.

World War II

File:Aurora cruiser.jpg
Aurora in 2004.
File:Aurora Cruiser Museum StPetersburg.JPG
Port side view of the cruiser in 2008

In 1922, Aurora was brought to service again as a training ship. During World War II, the guns were taken from the ship and used in land defence of Leningrad. The ship itself was docked in Oranienbaum port, and was repeatedly shelled and bombed. On 30 September 1941 she was damaged and sunk in the harbour.

After extensive repairs in 1945 - 1947, Aurora was permanently anchored on the Neva in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) as a monument to the Great October Socialist Revolution and in 1957 became a museum-ship.

On 2 November 1927, Aurora was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for its revolutionary merits and on 22 February 1968 - the Order of the October Revolution which, features the image of the cruiser itself.

To the present

File:Order of the October Revolution (550).jpg
The cruiser Aurora is pictured on the Order of the October Revolution

As a museum ship, the cruiser Aurora became one of the many tourist attractions of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and continued to be a symbol of the Communist Revolution and a prominent attribute of Russian history. In addition to the museum space, a part of the ship continued to house a naval crew whose duties included caring for the ship, providing security and participating in government and military ceremonies. The crew was considered to be on active duty and was subject to military training and laws.

Having long served as a museum ship, from 1984 to 1987 the cruiser was once again put in to its construction yard, the Admiralty Shipyard, for capital restoration. During the restoration overhaul, due to deterioration, the ship's hull below the waterline was replaced with a new welded hull according to the original drawings. The cut off lower hull section was towed into the Gulf of Finland, to the unfinished base at Ruchi, and sunk near the shore. (Source: Russian language entry for the Cruiser Aurora) The restoration revealed that some of the ship parts, including the armor plates, were originally made in England, which put in doubt the previously maintained image of the cruiser as a marvel of authentic Russian naval engineering.

Aurora stands today as the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy, proudly flying the naval ensign under which it was commissioned those many years ago. It is still manned by an active service crew commanded by a Captain of the 1st Rank.

From 1956 to the present day 28 million people have visited the cruiser Aurora.


External links

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Coordinates: 59°57′19″N 30°20′17″E / 59.95528°N 30.33806°E / 59.95528; 30.33806

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