CRUISING Concluding which lasted a quarter of a century the history of the cruisers of the “new generation”, it is appropriate to think about “what would happen if…”. Sense for the main “if” is easy to guess: the absence of artificial restrictions of the Washington and London treaties that led to all countries to create their ships in a very rigid framework, especially in displacement. As we have seen, although not twins they were not, but the choice of artillery of the main caliber was almost automatic: eight inches for a “heavy” “Washington” units and six for their “light” counterparts.


Why is there a long-familiar terms: “light”, “heavy” – are enclosed in quotation marks? Yes though, because this classification had a real sense only for countries that have acceded to the treaties. Meanwhile, non-aligned Germany has created a completely falling out of the slim number of (and indeed of the classification) “battleships” knowingly receiving through the designation of “pocket battleships”. But the führer and his admirals still looked at the “high Contracting parties”, even developing anything forcibly not limited to “chippery”.

Different was the case in the USSR. The Soviet leadership was fundamentally rejected “bourgeois contracts,” in any case, in the 1920’s and early 1930-ies. And as soon as the ship reached a certain level, beginning to intensively develop his concept of “gravity” and “lightness” for cruisers.

In the “light” were already known to us cruisers type “Kirov” and “Maxim Gorky” non-standard “dogovornikov” major caliber artillery 180 mm – right between “burzhinsky” 6 and 8 inches. They failed to realize, though not without difficulties and not without the participation of Italian specialists. In the end, with the end of postwar and post-revolutionary chaos it took only fifteen years. But with the “heavy” counterparts, the situation was much more complicated. Although the idea to build a ship, able to catch and destroy the foe, and built in a simple, and in strict accordance with the agreements was in the air since the beginning of 1920-ies, its implementation had to wait. No good production base, also is overloaded with orders for the ships of other, more pressing classes. But in the beginning of 1936, the Bureau received an application to develop the project 22. So called as the Soviet answer to “the Washington perversions”. It was assumed that the ship will have a displacement of about 18 thousand tons and 254-mm guns of the main caliber and 130-graph paper as a universal. At a speed decided not to be modest and ordered it at 36 knots.

Thus began the “cruising the square dance,” which the country’s leadership, Navy and KB indulged in the next two years. The first quarter of the engineers, who had no experience in designing such ships, to no avail “kroil” the project is not yet convinced that a proposed framework will fail. Meanwhile, “top” was all the new requirements. Now it was proposed to develop four options, with different calibers of artillery -254, 280 and 305 mm and the corresponding displacement, which have 12-inch version reached 22 thousand tons.

Two design bureaus, CBS-1 and KB-4, introduced their own versions quite fast, but only with the prior calculations. However, even the initial estimations showed fantastic ability of projects to “swell”. “Cltnic” has grown to 29 thousand tons standard displacement, its competitor, to 26 thousand. Saving the latter is achieved by repetition of the initial requirement of a universal auxiliary artillery, which would consist of sixteen 130-mm guns, while the heavier the 22nd had to carry a separate calibre to combat surface targets twelve 152-mm guns, and one for air defense (sixteen 100-millimetrovogo). Both had a 305 mm main artillery, more than a solid belt of 250 mm and a good speed, although it’s a little “sagging” of up to 33 knots. Stalin liked the project, and the Council of people’s Commissars adopted a decree on the construction of as many as eighteen units! Such a scale is even more amazing because the ship itself was not even designed on paper.


It is clear that the implementation of such a program would change the situation on the seas upside the head. But it is equally clear that to implement its country just 20 years ago undergone severe hardships and intensively raised by the industry and the army, is simply unrealistic. Have yet to play on paper. It’s only been a couple of months and the program is completely reinterpreted. Now powerful cruiser called “the battleship of type B”, and its task was not only the destruction of Washington and other cruising “evil spirits”, including the German “pickpockets”, but also fighting the construction of the German battleships “Scharnhorst” and “Gneisenau” and the Japanese linear cruisers “Congo”, and let the old but thoroughly modernized and the armed 14-dyuymovymi. Curiously, while freshly manufactured in battleships, the project managed “to lose weight in the zone” up to 200 mm. (However, parallel to the increased thickness of decks – up to 150 – 180 mm, which corresponded to the new trends, and real time requirements.) Standard displacement was 26 400 tons; speed was still more than level 35 knots.

On paper it looked quite attractive, but it was time to answer for “paper” numbers. Then it turned out that such a displacement can barely get only a very “thin” ship with a 140-mm zone and the 95 mm deck. It is clear that such a creation of a battleship to name just a shame. And to meet the initially declared data required is already 31 thousand tons! And fleet management required in addition, to increase the speed. The designers figured and issued by the beginning of next, fatal for many of them, 1937, the adjusted version. The ship regained its 230-mm zone of 125-mm deck, the speed is 35 and a half knots, and… the displacement of nearly 33 thousand tons. Because the Soviet Union at that time began to flirt with the leading countries – participants of the agreements, most reasonable experts expressed a more than serious doubts about the need to Refine such a thin-skinned and not particularly strong monster-sized real “Washington” battleship.

Designers continued to “placate” the parameters of their offspring – of course, further “swelling”, up to 36 000 tons. The result of their activities was more than sad. In accordance with the ongoing policy of repression of the project was recognised as subversive, and its authors, prominent shipbuilders V. A. Nikitina and V. P. Roman-go-Korsakov – “enemies of the people”. Although reached to limit the “Project B” really looked quite ridiculous, too weak to fight with battleships and prohibitively expensive to deal with cruisers, engineers hardly possible to recognize to blame: they are only following the “social order”.

Became sinister, “square dance” around “this heavy cruiser” continued. The new leadership of the Navy in the summer of 1937, expressed a sensible thought: in order to ensure that you eliminate any of the cruisers of the enemy, enough of the ship with 254 – and 280-mm guns and a speed of about 34 knots. The design had to start from the beginning. Again, it seems to be reasonable: displacement of the new ship, received a new number – “project 69”, was intended to restrict 18-19 thousand tons. However, nine in 10 Dujmovic and 140-mm armor side at 100 mm deck basically could not fit into these dimensions. Knew about it and the previous designers, but they were sitting in the camps, and this is the best. New had to walk the same path of the “struggle with nature”. The desired parameters met only 24 800 tons. It seems to be possible to begin detailed design and implementation of the project in metal, but there it was. Towards the end came the construction of the “Scharnhorst” in Germany and “Dunkirk” with “Strasbourg” in France. Freshly baked fleet management demanded that our heavy cruiser would be able to deal with them.

The following PA “quadrille” is to be expected. Again there was GK of nine 305-milimerov (by the way, with monstrous characteristics: muzzle velocity 900 m/s if the projectile weight of 450 kg and a rate of fire of 3.5 rounds per minute), belt armor in 230 mm deck 95 mm. isn’t it something like? Yes, the same “subversive” “Project B”. With almost the same displacement, about 35 000 tonnes. Do I need to plant and shoot previous of designers – a rhetorical question.

However, the “new old” version recognized to meet all the objectives. Meanwhile it was already 1939. Rapidly approaching world war. For agonizing process of the birth of the Soviet super-cruiser is now followed Stalin himself, so that ways not seen nor engineers, nor formal customers. In November 1939 in Leningrad and Nikolayev laid two giants that have received the names “Kronstadt” and “Sevastopol”. This is despite the fact that the technical project was not only approved, but was still very far from completion!

This mishap suffering “heavy cruiser”, has again transformed in a very bad battleship is not over. If the “box” could somehow try to collect in time with weapons “a focus” is not passed. And there seems very helpful was the Treaty with Germany. By that time, already being fought, the Germans very wisely decided to abandon the construction of the third and fourth battleships such as “Bismarck”, which has already been issued order 380-mm guns and tower installations to them. It is clear that the famous “Krupp” didn’t want to suffer losses and “selling” their “Fuhrer” on the subject of this “commodity” new “friends from the East”.

The parties quickly agreed, and “Project 69” after replacement treforedling 305-mm two-gun turrets at 380 mm purchased an additional letter “And” -“foreign”, but finally lost the last cruising features. Another increase in displacement to some thousand tons, nobody cared. But was amused by the fact that the monster can compete with battleships, oblivious to almost its full “transparency” for enemy projectiles of large calibers.

The further fate of suffering “sverkilstrup” is easy to predict. After June 22, 1941, they not only lost all the chances to get the major caliber artillery, but in General the chances to be built. “Sevastopol”, more precisely its skeleton, and prepared materials for him, went to the Germans, who dismantled the trophy and took the metal to Germany. “Kronstadt” although survived, but his armor went on strengthening the defenses at Leningrad, and the pitiful remnants after the war went for scrapping. But while we can say that our “big cruisers” more fortunate: they are not finished, somehow thereby reducing costs to the costs of design and the start of construction. But the rich and inaccessible to the German bombs and the missiles and the Americans brought a similar idea into reality.

The cause of the American “monster” was the fear that Japan, previously the other major Maritime powers broke with the international restrictive agreements, start construction of large ocean-going raiders. In the pre-war handbooks were even alleged their characteristics. According to experts, the “Japanese dogs” was supposed to be a development of the German “pocket battleships”, improved and enlarged, with a 12-inch main guns in two turrets and a speed of about 30 knots. Called even the name of the head – “titi-Boo” taken otherwise than from the ceiling.

Really well all details were complete misinformation. However, it turned out it’s too late. For the US, these ships, if they appeared, would represent a very serious threat. States could oppose them with only their “Washington” heavy cruiser, whose fate under fire 305-mm guns would have been unenviable. In order to counter the threat, decided to proceed with the construction of “large cruisers”, the good, the sea agreement that time completely collapsed. Subsequently, when it became clear that built, in essence, junk ships, prevailed the theory that the “godfather” of them became poorly versed in Maritime Affairs by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But from the documents that the interest was shown by almost all the admirals of the Navy “top”. Don’t forget about the “Soviet threat” from the USSR came vague rumors about the construction of their cruising giants, equally unpleasant for the United States.

Anyway, but in 1939 he started designing the “answer” in the form of a ship with the same 12-dyuymovymi in four treforedling towers and universal 127 mm auxiliary guns and solid 254-mm zone. Miracles did not happen and the ocean: pragmatic Americans quickly became convinced that we get something too huge and expensive. But instead of increasing the displacement (which, without thinking, reached as many as 38 thousand tons!) they started to “pinch off a piece” of the project. Cruiser lost one of its towers in the stern and two 127-mm Spa-rock, and the belt “has lost” to 229 mm. But the designers felt that it all manage to fit in a 27 000 t of “standard”. Here they took a small stretch (full displacement “Alaska” a year after the entry into operation has exceeded 34 000 tons, but it failed to finish. However, neither the Alaska nor the “GUAM” (an American super-cruiser called the possession is given to the battleships of the full names of the States) do not have time to really Excel in war. Their powerful for cruisers artillery (305-mm projectile weighed over 500 kg) was used only once, against the small island Okinoshima during the operation to capture Okinawa. And the third “polystat”, “Hawaii”, all stuck at the factory and missed the time. After the war finished in 85% of the ship, which has already installed two towers of the main caliber, was a real headache: “throw a pity, and use anywhere”. After a dozen years of torment and a variety of plans (one of them, Hawaii would become the command ship – the flagship of the fleet) is an American “white elephant” was dismantled after the metal. “Alaska” and “GUAM” experienced loser just two years: in 1960, they were brought from the fleet, and the following year was sent to a breaker. All the projects of transformation of the monstrous cruisers in the missile rested on a huge even for the US the cost and the fundamental uselessness of such giants.

This simple truth at that time would have caused surprise among the leadership of the Soviet Navy. Because after the end of the most severe and devastating war, Stalin went back to my old idea: the creation of “wolves of the ocean”, “cruisers-bandits”, the strongest and the swiftest heavy (by our classification) cruisers. Had to dust off the projects developed in the hard years of the war, when not brought before a “69-mu” followed by a new draft, the 82nd. Now, taking into account the experience of fighting at sea, special emphasis was placed, not only on the main caliber, but defense and protection from underwater explosions. It is not surprising that in the post-war projects, a 40-tasaciones “kids” with the same armament of nine 305-mm guns. To demonstrate your commitment to saving born variant with a 220-mm caliber (just to 30 tons, “standard”), but very poorly protected, with side armor is 150 mm. the “top” selected, of course, the maximum option. Began the usual race: after the project is long (mid-1948), “mocked”, was exposed to the requirement to submit working drawings after only a year. Yes, given the criticism of Stalin, who, in fact, ordered to increase the speed of your “bandit” to 35 knots – at any price.. had to Pay a reduction in the number of heavy flak (which seems reasonable), and armor protection. The Board is thinner (total 180 mm), and the latter-day “the terror of the seas” already could hardly compete in open battle with the U.S. “aliasname”, while the Soviet monster was almost 10 thousand tons more American (36 500 tons standard displacement). However, such problems before the new cruisers, the head of which received the proud name of “Stalingrad”, and was not raised.

It is clear that unrealistic deadlines to meet is not possible. Tab “Stalingrad” took place on the last day of 1951, the following “Moscow” – even after nine months. Not kept pace, and construction beginning in 1953 is half-ready head unit had to settle for only 18 percent. Unnecessary type became more common and “protracted”.

Stalin’s death put an end on his favorite “bandits”. I must say, at the time, although material costs were enormous: for supercruisers managed to give the job to develop almost all of the equipment and a significant part of the arms. At least the country had to build and contain these beautiful, but almost useless for the time ships. And their history has again demonstrated that the way in which could go createrestore, if not for contractual limitations. Briefly it can be formulated as follows: why not start a “big cruiser”, it ends in a bad battleship. Can speak any critical word to address of the Washington agreement, but at least it saved fleets from the appearance of the thin-skinned monsters, not able to compete with the “older relatives” and redundant to fight with “smaller brothers”.

It looks like disappearing into heaven “the top cruising the border.” No less curious to find and the bottom where the ends of the cruiser and begins a very big destroyer? We have already met with the candidates for the smallest ship class in the face of the graceful Japanese “Yubari”, “Tenryu” and “Tatsuta” and Dutch “Tromp”. But, in spite of their miniature size, they had quite strongly pronounced features primarily artillery ship with a fairly thick and very heavy for its size with artillery. Perhaps the title of the most “borderline” cruisers can claim Italian “Capital neither Romani”.

The Italians conceived the building of a larger series of what they called “ocean scouts”, back in the mid 30-ies of XX century. However, it took more than four years before the time when the laying of the first of the “battle of the chiefs of Rome” who was the commander of the Roman fleet in the war with Carthage atili of Regulus, or, in modern spelling, “Atilio Re-holo”. The designers tried to invest in your project the maximum experience and efforts, hoping to fit in three and a half thousand tons and eight 135 mm guns in the towers of light, and the same torpedo-guns, and a pretty decent anti-aircraft artillery, and even a seaplane. All this had to move (rather, fly) across the sea at speeds of over 45 knots! (At least, so claimed the official representatives of the Duce, trying to scare future opponents.) It is clear that to realize ideas to be fully managed. In addition to the seaplane, we had to sacrifice even a semblance of protection, leaving a few thin armor plates on the control stations and towers. Add-ins and some of the least responsible part of the body generally trimmed light aluminum alloys that anticipate subsequent global trend.

In General the project was implemented at a high level. This applies to a good of the contours of the underwater part, and the high-freeboard flush-deck hull, and good angles of attack. Artillery itself has good performance, and the fire control system had two main post with a 4-meter rangefinder and a decent computer system. It is these qualities that allow us to classify “Roman generals” to the class of cruisers. It is appropriate to compare them with the representatives of the most powerful leaders of the French “Mogador” and “Volta”. With virtually the same armament (eight 138 mm guns and ten torpedo tubes) they had a standard displacement of less than 3,000 tons, 4,000 tons, whereas it seems to be easily built by the Italians – 4700 tons and more than 5,300 tons respectively. The difference is cruising elements: the normal fire control system, better seaworthiness and even seems to be strange for Italy to solid fuel. In addition, the “easiest” cruisers can take on Board 40 – 50 min while maintaining the possibility to shoot all the guns and release the torpedoes, and to 136 – provided “deactivate” a turret and torpedo tubes.

Such ships did not hurt the country in the upcoming war, but was approaching it too fast. After 1939, Italy had to forget about cruising shipbuilding. One by one the least ready of media big names: Tiberius, Paul, Emilia, Claudia Druse, Agrippa, Mary was dismantled for the metal. Actually managed to finish only three ships: the “Regolith”, “Pompeo Magno” and “Scipio the African”. It wasn’t lucky at “Traian” almost ready cruiser sunk in early 1943 by the British, and purely Italian method – attack submarine saboteurs. And built had hard times. Parent “Regolith” sailed less than six months before he received a torpedo from the British submarine. Lost the front part of the hull of the ship was attached the relevant section from unready “brother” of Mary Kay. The entering into operation in 1943, “Scipio” had to be different, reflecting the attack of British torpedo boats, sinking one of them. However, there has already arrived the capitulation, in which participated both cruisers and the third, “Pompeo Magno”, the fate of which can be considered quite offensive. To come into operation only in order to immediately surrender! But he was lucky to stay in the home fleet, while the other two after the war went to France. (We have already talked about the strange anti-submarine cruisers, are created from these trophies.)

Its a couple of modern cruisers with the armament of the destroyers were also given to the Italians. They were the same “Pompeo Magno” and “Giulio Germanico” up from the bottom and finally completed in 1956. Renamed “San Marco” and “San Giorgio”, a former “intelligence officers” armed now with weapons of winners – Americans. They carried six 127/38-mm guns (a typical transatlantic armament of the destroyer the end of the Second world war!) and two dozen 40-millimetrovogo, as well as a solid set of gidro – and radar. The Italian gun or equipment on the ship it was necessary to look carefully for: in addition to anti-submarine mortars “Menon”, which, however, the most advantageous elevated position in the nose, there was still minor devices.

However, the former cruiser, which became the escort ships in the intermediate class, lasted as long as their counterparts in France. In fact, they only simulated the ships of the future, created on other principles and with other tasks.

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