Whereas most previous Russian battleships had roughly followed the British pattern on a modest scale, the Borodino class tilted heavily towards 1890s French battleship conventions, with a broad hull featuring deep tumble-home, rising to a tall and narrow superstructure. Compared to contemporary French ships, the Borodinos were considerably larger at more than 14,000 tons. Following the Tsesarevich pattern, they carried all their main and secondary guns in twin turrets of the Canet type, rather than single-gun mountings as in most contemporary French battleships. Like the French ships, though, they were top-heavy and lacking in stability, and had a longitudinal watertight bulkhead which made them prone to capsize. Not all the top-weight was caused by military necessity: luxurious marble slabs were fitted on the officers' quarters in the flagship Suvorov; the resulting loss in stability meant a 2-kt loss in speed. In addition to officer comfort, the ships suffered from shoddy yard work and probably from deliberate sabotage by revolution-minded assembly workers, as witness the continuing breakdowns during their careers: Borodino proved incapable of more than 8 kts because of chronic main bearing failure, while both Suvorov and Orel suffered from faulty steering engines, resulting in numerous collisions and near-misses. Compared to the original Tsesarevich, the Borodinos abandoned the large boat davits between the funnels, and built out the 3" anti-TB armament into a projecting box battery on each beam (adding considerable weight). The masts had modest-sized round fighting tops rather than the French-style octagonal gunhouses originally seen on Tsesarevich. As a result of battle experience, all these changes except the masts were reversed on the last ship of the quintet, the Slawa, completed at Riga after the war and a closer match to the Tsesarevich in appearance than any of her sisters.The conditions of their construction set the fleet up for a fiasco. The Russian Marine Ministry had purchased rights to construct more vessels on the Tsesarevich plan, but with war against Japan already likely, they initiated crash construction in 1899, before the Tsesarevich was even launched. Since all the detailed drawings were all in Brest, only sketchy plans were available to the 3 Russian yards, each of which drew up its own interpretation. These plans were approved without much technical scrutiny. The order of the day was to rush forward as war with Japan was impending; and then as now, defense spending was politically popular, 5 battleships being a huge order for the Russian shipyards. Stern frames were ordered from the Skoda Works in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Krupp-cemented armor plate from Bethlehem Steel in the U.S. The Russian yards' equipment and techniques were far cruder than those available in France; their forgings and particularly their turrets came out dramatically heavier as a result. Practically every day as construction proceeded, the excess topweight increased; to remedy this, the Russian engineers deducted weight by thinning the ships' armor and reducing the area covered by the armor belt. Where the Tsesarevich was built with a 9.84" (250mm) armor belt, the maximum protection on the Borodinos was 5" to 7.64" (125-194mm), and many areas protected in the French original were plain 1/4" steel plate on the Russian copies. When the ships actually went into battle, the consequences of this inattention to hull protection were frightful.
Once again a snippet from bigbadbattleships.com would you gentlemen agree with this assessment? I've heard the Borodino's were the worst ships of their generations. True or dramatic licence by writers?