Monday, May 24, 2010

How Things Work: Russian Navy Edition

The Novgorod was built in 1874 by the Imperial Russian Navy. Its designer, Admiral Andrei Popov, believed that the unique circular shape of the vessel would give it the capacity to carry much heavier guns that other ships of its size, due to the greater displacement of water. It was also intended to have uncommon stability while fighting coastal battles.

As it happened, the ship was an astounding failure of design. Thanks to its odd shape, manuveribility was difficult and smooth-sailing was impossible, as the Novgorod was tossed about by even mild waves. The force of its own cannons was sufficient to spend the ship spinning in the water, and even the addition of special rudders couldn't fully correct the problem.

The ship proved to be wildly impractical in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. In the end, the Novgorod was used infrequently as a coast patrol-boat, before finally being scrapped in 1912.

But don't take my word for it!


  1. how big were they?

  2. Well, that's a good question. I'm not exactly sure. I would assume that it's about sixty feet wide. That's absolutely not based on anything though...just a ballpark estimate.