Sovetsky Soyuz class (1938)

A Luftwaffe reconnaissance flight took this photo of Sovetsky Soyuz under construction in Leningrad, c.June, 1942. The Chapayev-class cruiser Chkalov is also under construction, seen in the bottom right. Original in the public domain.

Laid Down

Initially, the Soviet navy viewed the battleship as a symbol of Tsarist might, and most of the surviving Russian battleships were discarded. But in the late 1930s, Stalin decided he wanted his own battleships, and what Stalin wants, Stalin gets. Well, sometimes. There were several proposed designs that were put forth, but the four ships laid down would have been 59,150 ton monsters, capable of 28 to 29 knots, and mounting nine 406mm (16") guns in three triple turrets, being larger than the American Iowas. The first four of the ships were laid down between 15 July, 1938, and 22 July, 1940. The third was cancelled on 19 October, 1940, after defects in her materials were discovered, and the second was captured and wrecked by the Germans. The fourth hull was less than 1% complete by War's end, and was cancelled in 1947. Sovetsky Soyuz herself was 21% complete at the time of Barbarossa, and construction stopped. Post war, there was strong debate between wanting to scrap her, and Stalin, who wanted to see at least one of the planned sixteen completed. She was finally ordered scrapped in 1948.