Protected Cruiser Varyag

According to the original design, the main artillery of the Varyag was to be composed of two 8-inch (203 mm) guns on single mounts, supplemented by 10 6-inch (152 mm), twelve 75 mm, six 47 mm guns and six fixed torpedo tubes. However, it soon turned out that such a configuration exceeded the intended limit of 440.5 tons for the armament. Thus the heaviest 203 mm guns were abandoned and the main artillery was standardized to twelve 152 mm/45. This weapon was designed by Canet, a French company which sold the licence to the Russians in 1891, after a successful presentation made for their delegation. The cannon had an excellent rate of fire, mainly due to the use of fixed ammunition. A relatively short barrel durability was its main fault and thus during the Russo-Japanese War many pieces suffered barrel bursts. Despite that, it was considered a successful design and until 1901 more than 200 were produced and mounted on almost every major Russian warship. It was decided that the Varyag would have her guns placed on single mounts. To conserve weight the splinter shields were not installed (the smaller calibre guns had no shields as well), which left their crews completely exposed to enemy fire. The main artillery guns were grouped together in the batteries at the bow and stern in the following order:
• On the forecastle: starboard No. 1, port No. 2 (135° arc of fire towards the bow and 45° towards the stern);
• On the upper deck parallel with the fore superstructure: Nos. 3 and 4 (90° arc of fire towards the bow and 60° towards the stern);
• On the upper deck parallel with the first funnel: Nos. 5 and 6 (60° arc of fire both towards the bow and the stern);
• On the upper deck in front of the aft mast: Nos. 7 and 8 (60° arc of fire both towards the bow and the stern);
• On the upper deck behind the aft mast: Nos. 9 and 10 (60° arc of fire towards the bow and 90° towards the stern);
• On the quarterdeck: Nos. 11 and 12 (45° arc of fire towards the bow and 135° towards the stern).
Guns Nos. 3 to 10 were mounted in sponsons and partially protected by the bulwarks. During the acceptance tests it turned out that the shockwave created by a salvo from Nos. 3 and 4 guns firing ahead slightly damaged the deck equipment and guns Nos. 1 and 2. As a result, additional protective bulwarks were constructed on both sides from the fore superstructure towards the bow.

WARIAG 3

6’’/45 Pattern 1892 gun
Calibre    6'' (152.4 mm)
Gun weight    approx. 6 tons
Gun length oa    6.858 m
Grooves    36
Gun recoil    375 mm
Projectile length    AP: 495 mm
HE: 457 mm
Projectile weight    AP: 41.4 kg
HE: 41.4 kg
Bursting charge weight    AP: 1.365 kg
HE: 2.713 kg
Propellant charge weight    12 kg
Ammunition stowage    199 rounds per gun
Elevation    -6° to +20°
Loading angle    -3° to +3°
Rate of fire    Approx. 7 rounds per minute


Twelve 75 mm/50 guns, also based on Canet’s design, constituted the cruiser’s secondary battery. Two guns on single mounts were installed in casemates on both sides of the bow. (Nos. 13 and 14 with 95° arc of fire towards the bow and 60° towards the stern). A midship battery of 8 guns (Nos. 15 to 22 with 60° arc of fire both towards the bow and the stern) mounted under the boat davits was partially protected by the bulwarks. The last pair of single mounts (Nos. 23 and 24 with 60° arc of fire towards the bow and 95° towards the stern) was installed in the stern casemates on both sides, near the captain’s cabin.

75mm/50 Pattern 1892 gun
Gun weight    approx. 900 kg
Gun length oa    3.75 m
Grooves    30
Gun recoil    200 mm
Projectile length    AP: 203 mm
Projectile weight    AP: 4.9 kg
Propellant charge weight    1.5 kg
Ammunition stowage    250 rounds per gun
Elevation    -15° to +20°
Rate of fire    approx. 12 to 15 rounds per minute.
Range    approx. 7 800 m


The Varyag was also armed with light QF 3-pounders (47 mm) and QF 1-pounders (37 mm). Just like the larger calibre guns, the Hotchkiss pieces were designed by a French company. Despite their enormous popularity in many of the world’s navies they were not well designed. After the lessons learned during the Russo-Japanese War the guns were being withdrawn from the service in the Tsarist navy. Varyag’s two single 47 mm guns were on board of the steam cutters (Nos. 25 and 26), the next pair was on the upper deck atop the main artillery No. 5 and No. 6 gun positions (Nos. 27 and 28) and the last four were in the fighting tops, two in each one respectively (Nos. 29, 30, 31 and 32). Two single 37 mm guns were mounted on both sides of the poop. Moreover, there were two 7.62 mm Maxim machine guns which could have been installed on portable mounts, if required. In addition to those, there were two 63.5 mm Baranovsky landing guns, which were removed from their wheeled gun-carriages and installed under the wings of the fore superstructure on special naval mounts (Nos. 35 and 36).
Hotchkiss QF 3 pounder gun (47 mm)
Gun weight    235.5 kg
Gun length oa    2 m
Grooves    20
Projectile length    HE: 136 mm