BRITAIN DRESSED IN THE ARMORBy the end of the XIX century, England was the only major Maritime powers, still ignore one of the major trends in cruise shipbuilding — the desire to cover “workers of the ocean” side armor. Armored cruisers were built all France, almost completely abandon deck protection circuits; Russia, whose armoured giants — “Ryurik”, “Rossiya” and “Thunder” made so much noise in the corridors of the Admiralty that he had heard “shipbuilding vassal” Britain — Italy. Appeared the ships of this class and the ocean, in the United States. And is rapidly gaining speed in a race war at sea Germany has laid a powerful and well protected combat units.

The situation was, figuratively speaking, unseemly, while “mistress of the seas” could afford not to rush into it. Experts believed that the big “box”, such as “tiaras” or “Powerful” with “Terrible”, the enemy will be very, very difficult to drown in the artillery battle, despite the lack of side armor. In General, in their arguments present common sense: for small ranges of combat (and it was expected that they would be no more than two miles) thick sloping bevels armored deck protected the mechanisms and artillery cellar even better than a vertical slab of equal thickness. Well, torn explosive shells covering the side of the English admirals and captains seems to be able to afford, because this is their opponents would have to run from the king’s cruisers, which, if I could find a place to repair in numerous databases. Especially since the sailors and designers remaining in the memory the story of the “first pancake” — “Warspite” and “Imperialism” and seven “Orlando”, armor belt which, due to construction overload was completely under water, turning them into degraded pronaplucan. Affected and the position of chief constructor of the Navy, sir William white, who considered narrow belt not more than an extra burden to the cruiser.
However, similar arguments and considerations have come across a lot of “if”. But if the fight will happen the same in the most remote parts of the globe, which have not yet reached the long arm of the British crown? Or received from inundation of unprotected compartments roll will not allow the cruiser to continue the pursuit, forced to slow down or, worse, do not allow the use of their artillery? And suddenly it will occur even in its waters, but the line of the enemy fleet, which will have time to finish off the wounded ship? The odds of this outcome increased as the increasing introduction of rapid-firing artillery of medium caliber If earlier it was possible to expect a few hits, in time eliminating the consequences of each, the numerous six-, five – and chetyrehmetrovy could for half an hour to thoroughly induravit “skin” even such a “elephant” as “a big Powerful”.
In General, a problem. Its solution was surprisingly simple and easy. The fact is that unlike the ships of other Nations largest British cruiser of the 1st class was built so “roomy” that by not too much effort they managed to squeeze more and armor belt. In addition, a new steel with a high content of Nickel, hardened by the method Krupp enabled the use of plates of lesser thickness and, therefore, the same mass of armor to increase the height of the armor belt. Now even in case of overload the Board above the waterline had a good cover.
As already mentioned, white went the easy route, taking the prototype of the first English “pancernik” new generation “Tiara”. Over 60% of the length of the housing in its Central part, protecting machines, boilers and cellars of ammunition, stretched armored 152 mm belt height of almost 3.5 m With fore and aft armor box closed traverse 127 mm thickness. Of course, papernow protection had to be made thinner; it was now only 37 mm, but the form remained the same — it bevels the sides down to the bottom edge of the belt, the middle part was raised up in the manner of tortoise-shell. Nose where the hole was always a bigger threat than in the stern, also had side armor, although much more subtle — only 51 mm., it was Believed that it will be enough against the explosive shells. In the back of a solid 76 mm cover got the steering Department. At the same time with a new protection scheme on the cruisers “cressey” got rid of the most criticized the lack of “crowns”: the lack of “piercing” artillery they returned to the traditional 234-mm guns in the tower installations in the bow and stern In the end, armored firstborn had the same weapons as “a big Powerful”, but, moreover, was two thousand tons easier, and besides, carried the armor belt. And slightly increased the power of the machines allowed to get rid of slowness “diadem” and raise the speed to node 21. It is curious that so many useful improvements to “cost” just an extra thousand tons displacement is about 8%.
As the advantages of a ship with side armor was obvious, the British at once did away with building too unreliable protected armored giants. However, immediately there is some problem with the official appointment of the cruisers I rank a new type. The mastodons with a displacement almost as the standard battleship of the time is now carried almost the same armor (series is built a little earlier, “light” battleships of the “Canopus” had all the same 152-mm side of the reservation, although thicker armor deck), so there is a temptation to “attribute” them to the main forces of the fleet. Indeed, “cressey” and the subsequent large armored cruisers nominally was intended as a reconnaissance force squadrons linear fit to short skirmishes with the enemy’s ironclads, However, the risk of 12-inch shell was great, and the weak caliber artillery was unlikely to cause serious damage to the enemy solidly protected. A highly significant total number of new cruisers 1 third class suggests that the Admiralty pursued primarily the traditional goal — the fight against similar units of the enemy, everywhere and always, in squadron formation or in single-player skirmishes in distant seas.
In the next series of armoured cruisers, “good hope”, clearly manifested these contradictions. The Admiralty went on further increase in displacement, seeking to give new ships a higher the fighting qualities. However, the real increase was only speed If the best of the forerunners, “Hogue”, has managed to achieve in trials of 22 knots (and worst parent “cressey”, only 20.8 per host), all “good hope” in his first audition easily exceeded 23 knots, and champion “Drake” developed in one of the runs of more than 24.5 node is a great result for 1903. The price of these achievements have become an additional 2200 tons displacement; however, designers managed to add four more 6-inch switchblade stiletto, leveling weapons with final version of “white elephants” “Powerful” and “Terrible”. Almost the same for these two types of giants was the tonnage, and principal dimensions. Advantages was side protection (almost completely repeats “cressey”) and higher speed.
The British in new cruisers were satisfied with almost everything except the most important ships of this size could not be cheap and, therefore, their number even in the richest Empire of the world was limited. Meanwhile potential adversaries — Russia, France, Germany — built cruisers of smaller size, which, however, would become too dangerous opponents for the English “second graders”, for example, the Russian 6-thousanders — Variag, Askold, Bogatyr. As a result, the strategy of protection of sea routes in England, there was a serious gap that needed to be addressed urgently by the new type of cruisers.
And the response was really timely For a special addition to the program 1898 — 1899 years provides for the construction of the first pair of “cruisers-defenders”, which had to reach two dozen. Designers went on the usual way, taking the prototype of the successful “cressey”, revised the priorities of the First victim fell the actual armor protection. The thickness of the side plates of the belt reduced in half, were injured and protection of the artillery Disappeared and 234-graph paper, replaced by a 6-dymovka in two-gun towers with electric. The decision was unsuccessful, tower guns had a lower rate of fire and accuracy left much to be desired. According to experts, this two-gun installation on the effectiveness equal to a single deck or casemate gun. In fairness it should be noted that such failures were common to all samples of the first medium-two-gun towers, you may remember our troubles with the “Hero” and “Oleg”. Subsequently, the engineers were able to gradually cure all “childhood diseases”, and twin tower installations become a classic weapon in the cruisers. But it took time and time.
88. Armored cruiser ‘Cochrane’ (England, 1907)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy at Pembroke. The 13 displacement of 550 tons, the maximum length 154,08 m, beam 22,40 m, draft of 7.92 m Power pugmill plants 23 000 HP, speed 23 knots. Armament: six 234 mm, four 190-mm and twenty-six 47-mm guns, three 457-mm torpedo tubes. Booking: main belt — 76 — 152 mm, upper belt -152 mm, deck — 25 — 37 mm, traverse 51 mm and 152 mm, the tower—114—190 mm, barbettes—152 mm, cutting — 254 mm. Only built in 1906-1907, the four cruisers: “Worrier”, “Cochrane”, “Nassau” and “Achilles.” “Worrier” died in may 1916 at Jutland battle, “Nassau” — from an internal explosion in December 1915, the “Cochrane” as a result of a navigation accident in 1918, Achilles scrapped in 1921
89. Armored cruiser “Drake” (England, 1903)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy at Pembroke. 14 a displacement of 150 tons, the maximum length 162,61 m, width was 21.74 m, draft of 7.92 m. the two-shaft Power plants 30 000 HP, speed 23.5 site. Armament: two 234 mm, sixteen 152-mm and fourteen of the 76 mm and three 47-mm guns, two 457-mm torpedo tubes-Booking zone — 51 — 152 mm, deck — 25 — 37 mm (63 mm above the cockpit compartment), traverse—127 mm, turret and barbettes—152 mm casemates—127 mm, cutting — 305 mm. in Total 1902-1903 built four cruisers: “Drake”, “Hoodhop”, “King Alfred” and “Leviathan” “the good hope” was killed in November 1914 in the battle of Coronel, “Drake” — in October 1917, a torpedo from the German submarine U-79, and the rest scrapped in 1920
90. Armored cruiser “Hampshire” (England, 1905)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Chatham. 10 a displacement of 850 tons, the maximum length of 144.32 m, width of 20.88 m, draft 7,32 m Power pugmill plants 21 000 HP, speed 22 knots. Armament: four 190 mm and six 152-mm, two 76-mm, eight 47-mm guns, two 457-mm torpedo tubes. Reservations: belt — 51 -152 mm, deck — 19 — 51 mm front— 127 mm, the tower— 127 mm, barbettes — 152 mm casemates—152 mm, cutting — 305 mm. Only in 1905 built six cruisers “Hampshire”, “Antrim”, “Argyl”, “Carnarvon”, “Devonshire” and “Roxborough”, “Hampshire” killed by a mine in June 1916, “ARGAL” as a result of a navigation accident in October 1915 the rest scrapped in 1921 — 1922.

Named after counties in England, the new defenders trade has caused another wave of criticism, partially justified. At the same time, private firms, especially the famous Armstrong was able to accommodate the same displacement (a “County” could not be called small; their size was close to ten thousand tons) a lot more armor and weapons. So, built for Japan’s “Assam” had almost twice the weight of a broadside (772 kg vs 408) and significantly more powerful armor — 178-mm belt against the 102-mm.
But the Admiralty could not abandon the main requirements of his “hunters” always had to be seaworthy, fast, far and have a strong body. All these are not always visible at first glance, the elements of the “true British” was superior looks very flashy and showy export version And indeed, already during the Russo-Japanese war speed astronomski “products” in practice does not exceed 18 knots, while the “County” quite cheerfully ran and 10 years later, in the First world war, developing sometimes more than 24 nodes, Their booking was quite sufficient in the duel duels with German submarines, armed with 105-mm guns. Thus, the “Kent” in a battle with the German “Leipzig” around the Falkland Islands in 1914 and received over 40 hits, but escaped with only minor injuries, completely “shares” of his opponent. Similarly, “Cornwall” arrived from Nurnberg, suffered smaller losses.
However, for “big fight” the first “County” were not good, primarily because of the lack of powerful guns. Therefore, in the next episode, the designers attempted to correct the defect, providing the “Devonshire” and “sisters” of the new 190-mm guns in the towers odnorodnyh Two of them replaced a failed Sparky in the bow and stern, and a couple placed in the nasal dungeons, heavily filled with water when required at full speed. The cruiser returned to the 6-inch belt, but finally disappeared useless in battle with an equal opponent three-inch plank, stubbornly is installed on all the previous types, including the “Kent” In the result, we managed to fit in an extra thousand tons displacement, but the number of losses, alas, were speed. Although tests almost all the “County” the second of a series developed around 23 knots, in the service of they weren’t so frisky. As a result, in the battle of Falkendom “Carnarvon” is far behind their “younger brothers” and distinguished himself as the most useless unit of the British squadron.
Both types of “County” was the last large cruisers, built under the direction of sir white. In the early twentieth century as chief constructor of the Navy changed actively worked on Armstrong Philip watts. This is not to affect the appearance and style of the British cruisers, first of all, just armored. Watts first became a couple — “black Prince” and “Duke of Edinboro”. Retaining four of the traditional pipe, outwardly, they were significantly below its predecessors. With the deck finally disappeared almost all “luxuries”: a powerful bulwark cowl ventilator shafts, bridges and crossings. So the new chief designer wanted to reduce the area of the goal and prevent tears high explosive shells at all “protruding objects”. Changed artillery, composition and location. Now it is based on the 234-mm guns in single turrets, in nose and stern and in pairs on the sides watts not been a fan of two-storey casemates, which became the hallmark of William white, rightly believing that the “bottom floor” will always be wet. However, he fell into the same trap: the project involved ten six-inch that was needed to place. The only suitable place was a massive dungeon in the Central part of the body. In principle, it significantly increased the area of solid booking side, which was an obvious plus. But as the freeboard decreased by a deck compared to the predecessors, the whole dungeon was almost in exactly the same position as the proverbial “wet” casemates of the lower floor of the ships of the white. Indeed, in the service in bad weather the waves frequently not only filled in the loopholes, but freely walking on the “roof” (the upper deck in the middle of the hull). However, the high forecastle was perfectly possible to keep on the same high-speed excitement of Finally British armored cruiser received a full belt at the waterline. In the bow and stern it has purified up to 76 mm, but now stretched from the bow to the sternpost While cars and cellar in the middle of the hull was covered by an additional traverse and, of course, is quite thin (51 mm). Watts always tried to adhere to the principle of equivalence of protection when the total thickness of all obstacles to the projectile in any direction would remain about the same.
Bore throughout the stamp of high rationality, cruiser watts escaped a very strange embarrassment. Completely corrode the last three-inch plank, chief designer for some reason left on the add-ins, and even on the towers of the main caliber for more than two dozen low-power and completely useless 47-mm skorostrel. Although their complete unsuitability for combat squadron destroyers, finally revealed only in the russojapanese war (and “black Prince” and his “sister ship” laid down in 1903), the situation left no doubt and up to the test of practice. Moreover, located quite openly, they had little chance to survive after the artillery battle, when the attack on the damaged ship was most likely. However, the new cruiser is already quite clearly intended for the action in the “big fleet”, where in this case about their safety should have been their own destroyers and small cruisers.
Failed “wet” the dungeon looked like a rough smear on the General background of rationality wactawski So the next four units of this paperii, founded in the late 1903 — early 1904, “Warrier”, “Nassau”, “Cochrane” and “Achilles,” casemate armor left, but the gun ports are gone, replaced by four 190-mm guns, also placed in solitary towers on the sides between sets of the main caliber Now ships could efficiently use all their guns in almost any weather, and it consisted then only of the guns pierced the armor of considerable thickness. In the face of “warriros”, it would seem, Britain finally got a strong armored cruiser, it is suitable for operations with less than fast battleships.
However, in the history of shipbuilding is not just a situation where whole classes of ships, often carefully “refined” and brought almost to perfection, just disappeared from a number of useful combat units of the first line. That’s what happened with the armored cruisers. They literally “sweep” with the leading positions of the new battleships-dreadnoughts and battlecruisers, and other places in the combat formations of the fleet they have not been. It is therefore not surprising that the English “ring” cruiser of the first class during the First world war were exclusively the victims and targets, showing a minimum efficiency Of 22 units to the bottom went almost half — nine, taking with him about four and a half thousand people. Of these, only “good hope” lost in fight with the German “classmates” at Coronel (showing, incidentally, that his defense was weak against the German 210-mm guns) Three “cressey”, “Aboukir” and “Hoag” are somehow selected by the Admiralty for patrol in the English channel, consistently sank within hours old and a little German submarine U-9, recording one of the most brilliant victories among submarines Another victim of the underwater enemy was “Drake”. In Jutland fearsome-looking armored cruisers Admiral Jellicoe identified in a veil in front of their battleships. There they came under the fire of German dreadnoughts, not having time to leave the path of the main force — they just do not have enough speed “, Warrier” received 12 large-caliber shells, completely losing move. He at least managed to remove the command (the cruiser sank while trying to tow the next day after the battle). But the corrupted “black Prince” all night wandering around the battlefield, and at night went to the German line of battle, and was sent to the bottom within five minutes, torn in addition to internal explosions. After just five days as well with almost the whole team died in the mine “Hampshire”, which was followed with a most important mission to Russia, field Marshal Kitchener. The list of heavy and useless loss Supplement exploded in a port “Nassau” and him being jumped by the rock “Argil”. While “first-class” armored cruiser no chance sink or significantly damage any enemy vehicle, unlike its smaller brothers — “hunters” who find themselves unexpectedly useful and needed in remote seas and oceans And it’s not the lack of fighting qualities, and in politics of command, fails to change and actively use the most powerful in its class, but not suitable for the “big battle” ships for the same hunt for the German squadron of Admiral Spee.

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