IN THE GRIP OF VERSAILLESThe remaining after the 1st World war, the main defeated, Germany was disadvantaged their opponents, as they say, in full. Not escaped the almost complete destruction of the German fleet. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in its composition could have only 6 battleships and the same old light cruisers. In order to completely humiliate Germany, this set of old were allowed to update only once expired service life, which for cruisers identified in 20 years. After this period, it was possible to build only units, not exceeding the displacement of 6000 tons.

However, the allies were so greedy, that they punished themselves: they left the enemy only the oldest cruisers of the “Niobe”, the first of which is assigned a 20-year term was due to expire almost simultaneously with the creation of a new German Navy – Reichsmarine. However, the Germans did not manage to implement even such a modest option. Had neither the designers nor the shipyards: the former powerful state-owned enterprises or on selected areas (Howarth in Danzig), or were transferred to private owners (factories in Kiel), and poor state is not going to Fund. Remained the only hope of Arsenal in Wilhelmshaven, which is without any competition and received the order.

The project of the first post-war German cruisers, which received a symbolic name “Emden” (the Germans did not fail to “kick” the former chief of the enemy at sea, Britain, where the first bearers of the name brought a lot of trouble in 1914), was a few “poshtukatureny” option “Emden – 2”. From ancestor “Emden – 3” had almost not changed a body, which, however, was supposed to place eight 150-mm guns in paired installations on a diametrical plane, and in the most preferred embodiment -linear-sublime. Instruments themselves were the latest brands with a long barrel and semi-automatic wedge-bolt.

Here had stood up to former adversaries: the cruiser was not weak, on the contrary, it is markedly superior to the power of the British “C” and “D” constitute the main “Park” cruising fleet “mistress of the seas”. The allies referred to the fact that Germany is not allowed to develop new weapons systems and banned the use of a new gun. However, again, as with the period of construction, the Germans themselves are unable to realize their own ambitions. Monstrous inflation and complete economic collapse forced them to abandon the new guns, and twin installation. As a result of “Emden” one step back to the ancestors: single-deck installation provided in the side volley is not more than 6 stems.


All these preprojective and lack of funding severely delayed construction. In one respect, it was by the way: the developers suddenly discovered that does not even use the permitted limit of 6000 so the fact that held in 1922, the Washington conference adopted a new “standard” displacement, allows to exclude from the calculation of the fuel. In addition, all the weights were now measured in long tons British, which gave an additional 1.6% “savings”. All these can be allowed for the replacement of mixed heating boilers with modern, clean oil, and install the gear to reduce the number of revolutions of the screws – only recently introduced an innovation allowing to considerably save on fuel.

With protection, the designers decided not to split hairs, and fully retained the last good test in the scheme of their cruisers of the 1st world war: the armour belt plus deck with bevels, which had double the thickness (40 mm) in the area of the cellars of ammunition. Overall, it was a let built mainly in the old project, but it is a competitive vehicle. Most importantly – affordable. The only real sign of “old age” was really becoming more and more archaic the location of artillery in deck units with shields. So soon after the commissioning of the cruiser was going to upgrade. Began a long debate which is better: to replace the four bow and stern installation on twin, while leaving the side a couple of “loners”, or-to carry out the original idea with four full towers. The result was predictable: while the theorists argued, they “spit” once again found in the financial “rock”. In the end, decided to leave the ship intact until better times which never came. The last attempt was made after the beginning of the Second world war, in 1940. It seemed that the first-born of the German Navy, for seven years as turned into the Kriegsmarine will finally get their tower, now from large destroyers, armed with 150-mm guns. However, this time it did not go beyond the project. A few more lucky torpedo tubes. In 1934 in the framework of the unification they were replaced with a standard 533 mm for torpedoes, new. Still in 1942 for their turn waited and artillery, though in a very specific option. Single deck installation was replaced with single deck, but all taken from the same large destroyers. The importance of such a strange castling was, except that the standardization of ammunition.

The little things as “Emden” upgraded repeatedly, replacing rangefinders, equipment, anti-aircraft artillery.

In General, the firstborn was a very lucky ship. At that time, as his newer colleagues one by one went to the bottom or, at least, in the long-term repair, “Emden” safely escaped “punishment” by the enemy. Although the beginning was promising: during the RAID the British aviation in the first days of the war damaged by fire cruiser bomber “Blenheim” crashed into his side. Ironically, the pilot of the plane had the name Emden! However, the ship got off relatively easy – just a week to repair. But when landing in Norway, which cost the German Navy large losses, in which most of the surviving participants received the or other damage, the “old man” did not have a single scratch. Equally have passed for him and the rest of the war years, the benefit was used the “Emden” mainly as a training ship. Already in 1944 it was expected to be significantly upgraded once again, setting eighteen 37-mm and twenty-four 20-mm machine gun, as well as modern radar. Another repair was to the cruiser fatal. At the plant “Deutsche Werke” at the end of the war, he got the same bombs of the allies.

But let us return to the Weimar Republic in Germany 20 years. To complete his time of service was coming next “cruising antiquity”, which could be replaced by a new one. It is clear that the “Emden” with all its “nesovremennymi” has not even been considered as a prototype. To develop a new project started prior to his entry into service. In 1924 -1925 years, the designers managed to create an entirely new ship, not unlike the firstborn the Weimar createrestore.

The main limitations naturally imposed by the Versailles agreements, around which at that time was not possible. Engineers faced a difficult task: to create the most fast, heavily armed and well protected ship, which could play the role of scout, and the ocean raider, all in the range of 6 thousand tons. The most significant difficulty was the right balance of elements, and, in principle, the Germans did it. At the same time was to get rid of the disadvantages of the “Emden”. Chief among them was the open artillery in the shields. The new cruisers were supposed to have a tower installed. Since the maximum size of force limited to 150 mm, the choice options are small. Six guns in three towers of Starfleet command is considered clearly insufficient. Remained two possibilities: eight trunks in the traditional location, in four two-gun installations, or nine in treboradice towers. Since the difference in the total weight of armament in both cases is almost not felt, chose the second option. He does provide an extra barrel compared to French competitors – light cruisers”, Duga-Truen”, not to mention the fact that the ship was humiliated Germany has been very marked superiority over any of the British cruisers during the first world war, except for 190-mm “vindictive”. Under the guise of the Germans adopted a new 150-mm gun with a long barrel and a very good ballistics. In contrast to the case of the “Emden”, this time the objections of the Union “Versailles dragons” turned out to be too sluggish, and the Germans were able to insist on.

It remained to elect a diagram of the location of the artillery. Three towers can be positioned either in an “offensive” version: two in the nose and one in the stern, or in “defensive” (two aft and one in the nose). The Germans chose the second scheme: it seemed more preferable for the scout and raider, if he needed to leave, fighting off the enemy. All weapons looks very impressive: the main guns were supplemented by real anti-aircraft guns, twelve torpedo tubes and a seaplane. Now I had to pay for it, of course, not only and not so much money as the other articles of the load.

The first victim fell the armor protection, a “nail” all the German projects. Although the thickness of the sides and the deck remained formally the same as the “Emden”, bevel the deck to the symbolic purified 10 mm and 40-mm deck was located just above the cellars. It is clear that this cover was good only against the guns of the destroyers. However, instead of armor of the German ships were protected… reputation. Accustomed to the great survivability of the cruisers since the “great war”, former (and future) enemies – the British and French attributed the new cruisers of Germany is completely unavailable to them for quality. The interwar naval guides insisted that they, like their predecessors, booking side was 100 mm in the middle of the hull and 60 mm in the extremities, whereas really it was only half this value. Scared of German engineering thought, the allies somehow forgot to think about what a miracle their opponents managed to squeeze offensive and defensive elements in them installed, more than a modest 6000-ton limit.

No miracle, of course, was not. First, the Germans, of course, some cheated with the displacement – like all. But it didn’t help fully. Deducted and the reservation was not enough, and to facilitate the ship had to use all possible technological innovations are sometimes not fully tested. In particular, it was envisaged that the widest use of electric welding, the method in those years is still not spent. In addition, the designers included in the calculation of the longitudinal strength of the ship even add-ons, something never done. As a result, to squeeze in 6 thousand tons was possible, but very expensive price. The three cruisers “K” (they got the names of German cities starting with that letter) came out pretty fragile. At the first trial service in the turbulent waters of the Bay of Biscay, the “königsberg” and “Karlsruhe” there were dangerous cracks in the deck of the forecastle and superstructures. Since all of these structures were taken into account in the overall strength, the continuation of the voyage could lead to tragic consequences. No better was the case on “Cologne”, where the fractures in the superstructure had to be removed urgently to back up. In the end, the only measure of struggle became the order of command, recommending to slow down in heavy seas the speed and follow to the nearest port. Not very useful advice for scout and almost disastrous – for the raiders!



223. Light cruiser “Karlsruhe” (Germany, 1929)

Built at the shipyard “Deutsche Werke” in Kiel. The standard displacement of 6650 t full 8130 tons, maximum length 174 m, beam 15.3 m, draft 6,35 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 65 000 HP, diesel installation (motor 2) 1800 HP, speed 32 knots. Reservations: the Board 50 mm + 15 mm bulkhead, deck 20 mm (over the cellars of 40 mm), towers 30 and 20 mm, fighting cabin of 100 mm. Armament: nine 150/60-mm guns, two 88/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm and four 20 mm automatic, three-pipe or four 500-mm torpedo tubes, 1 – 2 seaplane, 120 min. Only in 1929 and 1930 built 3 units: “Konigsberg”, “Karlsruhe” and “köln”. In 1934 — 1935 500-mm torpedo tubes replaced by 533 mm, in 1940, 88-mm anti-aircraft guns replaced with four guns of the same caliber new model. “Karlsruhe” before the war, retrofitted with additional reinforcement of the reservation, and hull design. “Königsberg” and “Karlsruhe” sunk in April 1940, “Cologne” sunk at the dock in April 1945

224. Light cruiser “Emden” (Germany, 1925)

Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Willemshafen. The standard displacement of 5600 tons, full 6990 t, length of maximum 155,1 m, width 14.3 m draught 6,15 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 45 900 HP, rated speed 29.4 node. Reservations: the Board of 50mm, deck 20 mm, 40 mm bevels, panels of 20 mm guns, fighting cabin of 100 mm.

Armament: eight 150/45 mm guns, three 88/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, four 20-mm machine gun, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1942, the 150-mm guns replaced by a similar new model, in 1945 anti-aircraft armament enhanced with up to four 37-mm, and seven 20-mm guns. Sunk at the dock in early may 1945.

225. Light cruiser “Leipzig” (Germany, 1931)

Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Willemshafen. The standard displacement of 6515 tons, full 8250 tons, length of maximum 177,1 m, beam of 16.2 m, draft 5,65 m. Capacity twin-shaft turbine plant of 60,000 HP, diesel single-shaft installation (4 motor) 12 400 HP, speed 32 knots. Reservations: the Board of 50 – 20 mm, 20 mm deck, curved bevel 25 mm, towers of 30 and 20 mm, fighting cabin of 100 mm.

Armament: nine 150/60-mm guns, two 88/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm and four 20 mm automatic, three-pipe or four 500-mm torpedo tubes, 1 seaplane, 120 min. In 1935, a 500-mm torpedo tubes replaced by 533 mm, a catapult and 2 seaplane, in 1936 anti-aircraft armament enhanced with up to six 88/76 mm guns of the new model. In 1941, shot two torpedo tubes, 1944 – the remaining two, and the light anti-aircraft armament enhanced with up to four 40mm and sixteen 20mm guns. In October 1944, was rammed by the heavy cruiser “Prinz Eugen”, the more actively was not used. After the war he served as a floating barracks, in July 1946 sunk in the sea with a cargo of shells with S.

Meanwhile, such a use of their light cruisers of the new generation the Germans were thinking. Originally they were supposed to provide a purely mechanical diesel plant, the most economical for the time. However, although Germany was the world leader in the production of diesel engines that are suitable aggregates for the “Cologne” was not, and the creation of new demanded a lot of time. A similar situation was observed with the high-performance steam boilers, which only started to be developed. The result was chosen as the solution of a combined power plant: turbines for full speed and low-power diesel engines for economic progress. A significant disadvantage of such a hastily cobbled together combination remained the turbine and the diesels could not work, and switching from one propulsion system to another required a lot of time and almost full stop of the ship.

In General, the mechanical installation was very long, heavy and awkward for such a small ship. It took a total of nine compartments, extending even for the lower turret! All branches came out cluttered and cramped, and the extremely low and uncomfortable diesel unit was just difficult to work with. That added complexity of the operation, which caused a lot of problems. The fact that in the course only under the engines of the cruiser could only develop 10-key speed is clearly insufficient to solve any military task. It turned out that even in peacetime such a move is too uneconomical to pure turbine ships. As a result, the usual maneuvers with other ships light cruisers had to breed the pair that drove almost all the theoretical advantages of the combined plant.

The creators knew the inferiority of their creations, therefore, in the following, the fourth light cruiser “E” they tried to at least partially eliminate the most obvious flaws. However, “Versailles” with its 6000-ton limit was practically an insurmountable obstacle. So, in effect, Leipzig differed from their predecessors not too much. Managed to rearrange the location of the boiler rooms and reducing their number (it is manifested in the appearance of one wide chimney instead of two), just to increase the width and strength of the hull. But the cruiser was still too easily constructed, and some shortcomings in the “mechanics” replaced. So, trying to unload the boiler compartment, the designers made two small auxiliary boiler… to the upper deck, in a small add-on for the chimney. But their power was insufficient, and the placement on the upper deck – just too dangerous. But, at least, doubled the number of diesels, and to switch from them to the turbines has become much easier.

Has improved somewhat and protection. German designers went back to the well proven scheme “belt plus bevel the deck”. Due to the fact that the “Leipzig” set a Boule, a belt in the Central part of the body had quite a significant slope of the upper edge to the outside, which significantly increases its effective thickness, especially at long range combat. The thickness of the belt and deck have remained the same, but the armor deck was rounded to the side in the form of an arc of a circle (instead of the usual bevel) with a slightly thicker 25 mm sheets. In principle, this design could somehow resist the guns of the enemy destroyers, and sometimes even the six-inch.

Before the construction of the following light cruiser, it took six years, during which the German naval theorists, admirals, and engineers have tried unsuccessfully to agree on what the ship needs a fleet. By the time of the Versailles limitations is almost completely gone, so very “squeezed” already sort of did not need. It was proposed to increase the displacement of up to 8000 t without changing the other combat characteristics. This would create a more solid and seaworthy hull, to provide a decent protection of cellars and of artillery, to strengthen the anti-aircraft guns and maybe a few to increase speed. As a result, the cruiser was similar to their possible opponents, such as the British “Leander” or French “La Heliconia”. However, the Fuhrer and the command of the Kriegsmarine dreamed of a “Great fleet,” consisting of “serious” ships, which designated light cruisers once was. In the end, when, in 1936, finally approved the construction of the sixth light cruiser, the fleet was left without any new project. I had to hurry to shred the drawings have, frankly, not very relevant “Leipzig”. The result is quite surprising, since the Germans had all that time, and talented designers, and technical capabilities. The main thing, now there were no restrictions made at the time to squeeze in “Versailles” six thousand tons.


Not to say that designers haven’t tried to do anything. The cruiser “F,” “Nuremberg”, of course, was the most perfect among the “cousins”. Its body is somewhat lengthened, simultaneously increasing the width. Extra tons of displacement, in large measure, it went on to strengthen the structure. Improved internal layout; compartments ceased to be so tight and uncomfortable, but the capacity of the fuel tanks, and consequently, the range decreased.

Combat performance is almost completely preserved: the improvements here are very minor. The most significant of these was the strengthening of the protection of towers (traditionally the Germans have paid serious attention to the reservation artillery). Frontal plate towers “Nuremberg” has grown to 80 mm, although the walls remained ballistic -20-mm. Another innovation was the addition of an additional 88-mm anti-aircraft Sparky. At the same time solved the problem with the delivery to them of ammunition, placing of the cellar almost under the plants. (The predecessors had to deliver the ammo in the trucks on the upper deck – not too comfortable in a combat situation!) But in General last of the German built light cruisers almost completely repeated created five years earlier “Leipzig”.

The Germans thought all the time about how to improve their thin-skinned “Versailles”, but the hand never reached. Finally, after the restrictions of Versailles was finally relegated to the past, at the end of the thirties was developed a special program to strengthen the body, very time-consuming and costly. It was supposed to increase along the entire side a short distance from him an additional covering of high quality armor steel, combined with a powerful deck beams. In the result, the cruiser would get a kind of coat of armor. Would increase and protection, but the main purpose of “clothes” was to improve longitudinal strength of the hull. The idea looked attractive, however once it becomes clear how difficult and expensive it became to implementation. Standard displacement had increased by over 700 tons, width up to 16.8 m. it is Clear that the speed is markedly reduced (at least 2 nodes), so the result is a light cruiser was a very specific ship. However, this is controversial, although interesting act has only been achieved with “Karlsruhe”, among other things, at a cost of 1/5 the initial cost of the vehicle. Other units of modernization did not wait. In the end, four out of five cruisers and had to serve with all their “diseases”, which significantly restricted their combat use.

However, the combat fate of the German “lightweights” was very different. Two of the three “To” failed to survive the first major operation – a landing in Norway, dying within a few hours. Damaged in battle with the shore batteries of Bergen “Koenigsberg” fell victim to a British dive bombers already captured in the port. His brother, modernized “Karlsruhe” received a torpedo from an English submarine. “Punishment” was more than sufficient: the cruiser had to drown. Survivor “Cologne” served throughout the war, mainly because he had no place to use. For the Arctic, his frail body does not fit, that left him to run in the primary training role. At the end of the war it suffered the same fate as the “Emden” – the death in the dock from allied bombs.

“Leipzig” and “Nurnberg” in the beginning of the war it was used as fast minelayers, putting together with the destroyers several barriers in the North sea. The first of them received a “gift” from the British submarine, but managed to limp to port. This had a beneficial impact on its destiny: the cruiser escaped “Norwegian service” and immediately moved on to educational work. In September 1941, he sank by gunfire by the Soviet torpedo boat is a rare success for the German surface ships. And in 1944, he was severely punished “senior fellow”, heavy cruiser “Prinz Eugen”, after collision with which the Leipzig was not able to recover until the end of the war.

Your torpedo from British submarine in the end of 1939 got and “Nuremberg”. Then everything proceeded according to the same scheme: the transition in status of the training of rare exits in the war, the attacks of allied aircraft. But the end was unique: managed to survive in good form the most modern of the German light cruisers in the result of the draw, the trophies were in the Soviet Navy under the name of “Admiral Makarov”. Our sailors and designers a good understanding about the technology of their defeated, but a formidable opponent. Served Makarov quite a long time, before the start of the General campaign for the destruction of large artillery ships. In 1959 he was expelled from the lists and the following year handed over to be scrapped, thereby putting a point in the history of the German light cruisers.

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