In Soviet Union, by the late 1930s Soviet dictator Josef Stalin believed that his nation, like all the other major naval powers, should once again begin the construction of battleships. Ignoring the restrictions of the 1936 London Naval Agreement, Stalin ordered the construction of four battleships of no less than 58,000 tons (10,000 tons more than the contemporary U.S. Iowas) and nine 16-inch main guns (the same armament as the Iowas). The Soviets were able to purchase design assistance from the preeminent U.S. naval architectural firm of Gibbs & Cox, but their hopes to buy guns, mountings, armor plate, and perhaps even a complete U.S. battleship were frustrated by the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Sovyetskiy Soyuz, Sovyetskaya Byelorussiya, and Sovyetskaya Ukraina were laid down in 1938–1939. None was ever completed. The three ships (a fourth, Sovyetskaya Rossija, was never laid down) would have far exceeded the limits of the Washington Treaty and were scheduled for completion, optimistically, in 1941. Although it is generally believed that their construction was halted by the German invasion of the Soviet Union commencing in June 1941, building was actually canceled in 1940, and the incomplete rusty hulls, home to thousands of crows, were dismantled in the late 1940s.
Forschungsmitarbeiter Mitch Williamson is a technical writer with an interest in military and naval affairs. He has published articles in Cross & Cockade International and Wartime magazines. He was research associate for the Bio-history Cross in the Sky, a book about Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton’s career, in collaboration with the flier’s son, Dr Charles S. Eaton. He also assisted in picture research for John Burton’s Fortnight of Infamy. Mitch is now publishing on the WWW various specialist websites combined with custom website design work. He enjoys working and supporting his local C3 Church. “Curate and Compile“