CUT “HEAVYWEIGHTS”

BITE-SIZED The eternal conflict of needs and means of their realization was particularly glaring after the start of construction of the “Washington” cruisers. Desyatitysyachnye high-speed ships are often not inferior to the dreadnoughts of the last war neither in length nor in cost. Their number depended primarily on the thickness of the purse, and with it all countries during the great economic crisis, the situation was not all that great. In a particularly unpleasant situation, “mistress of the seas”. Britain needed a lot of cruisers, at least 50 that need to be changed to the new type required fantastic for those times the sum of 100 million pounds. Meanwhile, in 1926, the financial situation became so critical that I had to abandon two of the four scheduled “County.” The fate of the two planned building ships also remained in question. The Admiralty then went on a long beaten path, trying to abandon the “maximum” heavy cruisers in favor of smaller and more economical option.

 
However, too much to cut back on the combat capabilities of units of “economy class” (which, by the way, the “b” designation instead of “A” class, full-size mile high) also was not reasonable, because in case of war they had to face their “older brothers” from the opponents. It was supposed to be limited to a displacement of 8,000 tons due to the removal of one of the eight-inch towers. However, the accumulated experience seems to be allowed at the same time to strengthen a reservation, providing decent protection from at least six-inch.
 
In the end the project is quite much different from the poorly protected vysokovoltnyh “counties”. (Both ships received ideologically curious names, reflecting their interim status. They were called “York” and “Exeter”; on the one hand, the names of the cities traditionally given light cruisers, and with another — both cities had the status of cities counties.) “Writenote” visibly manifested in their appearance. First of all, the cruiser turned noticeably shorter. Instead of a massive flush-deck hull designers were limited to quite a long forecastle. From its predecessors the new cruisers went to the power plant, but the number of pipes was reduced to two: both front boiler rooms smoke dissipate into the front pipe. Maintaining the same power with less displacement would bring the speed up to 32 knots. The figure is quite modest, but it is not superfluous to recall that the British by that time, refused to “cheat” inflated speeds achieved only on tests focusing on the reliability and stability mechanisms without any forcing. It is not surprising that their ships could compete on the service with formal where as with the speed of the Italians and the French.
 
A couple were not quite the same. If head “York” has retained many features of “County” (in particular, the inclined pipe and “three-storey” front add-belted, off bridges), the “Exeter” found a shape that has become characteristic of all subsequent cruisers of the British Navy. Straight pipes and a fully closed angular add-in gave it a more solid appearance, inherent in most battleship.
 
Finally the British cruiser returned side armor. Though not very solid: the thickness of the armor belt was 76 mm, same as the old small “C”. Decently defended the cellar of ammunition, which had become so familiar “box” design. Their walls reached a thickness of 112 mm on the head “York”, and “Exeter” they stepped up to 140 mm. as for the weapons, some of the useful innovations involves the installation of multi-barrelled 40-mm “POM-pomo”, but to save weight and money during construction were replaced as traditional as it is of little use 12.7 mm machine guns.
 
In General, however, the ships have turned out quite good (some experts not without good reason consider them to be the best British heavy cruisers), but the main task — the economy failed to solve. Economy version cost only 10% cheaper than full-sized “County.” A simple calculation shows that such investment can hardly be called rational: 10 “exetera” could oppose the enemy with only 60 guns of the main caliber, while standard nine mile high — 12 guns. Winning one combat unit does not compensate the fact that individually each ship dozens of such inferior in fire power is a possible opponent in the quarter or even a third. In the Admiralty all this is quickly figured out and decided the “economic experiments” are not repeated. The following heavy cruisers would be the “Northumberland” and “Carrey”, which we have already mentioned, complete the “DC community” with four two-gun turrets. However, the adoption of the London naval Treaty was set to “mistress of the seas” an end to further construction of eight-inch cruisers — all released on their quota was already selected. So by chance “defective”, “city” and “Exeter” were the last representatives of this class in Britain.
If the British history of heavy cruisers made up the creation of “stripped-down” version, then the Japanese, on the contrary, the history of their units of the same class of the project. I must say that the motives behind the type of “Defunct” and not lying close to the economic. On the contrary, for 1918 (and so began the planning of a new cruiser scout) displacement 7,500 tons looked more than impressive. Already flashed their talents shipbuilder Yuzuru Hiraga and his young assistant Kikuo Fujimoto, later also became a famous designer, has set a bold challenge. It was assumed that new ships shall in all respects surpass those of the notorious “Elizabethans” from Britain, while still remaining “warm friend” of the far Eastern monarchy. However, the Japanese have tried to think for a couple of decades and did not rule out the possibility to cross swords with their current allies, as happened in 23 years. In this case, Sea staff would like to have ships beyond the combat units of the enemy, in this case, the strongest Maritime power in the world.
 
That’s why the original version of the cruiser with the armament of the twelve 140-millimetrovogo (in the original accommodation is in six two-gun towers set in two “pyramids” — three pieces — bow and stern), decided to strengthen due to more powerful guns. Each of 140-mm Sparky was replaced by odnorodno the installation of a new caliber, by the way, remaining in history is unique. The fact that the Japanese at that time switched to the metric system and did it, like many other things, consistently and persistently. So there were 200-mm gun, all references oboznachen as eight-inch. Time to create and cannons, and the ship was very successful: until the signing of the Washington agreement was only a matter of months.
 
So the land of the rising sun first received the ships as close to the contractual limit. The fact that the project features: 35-key speed, 76 mm booking side and six 200-mm guns in any way in the claimed 7500 t did not fit. Engineers had to cut and reshape the project. And Hiraga with Fujimoto proved that they are very outstanding designers. Instead of copying already bored British samples, they developed a new body shape, the famous “cascading wave”. Nose adorned with a delicate turned-up prow that can cut through ocean waves. Further, the height was chosen from considerations of stability and the necessary volume of the interior. To have the highest hull in the stern was considered useless, so there is a ship “cut” all unnecessary, if only the waves covered the deck. These three key heights were connected by smooth transitions, resulting in “Japanese” was different from both of the major schemes of the ships of the “white people”: with a flush-deck and forecastle. The decision proved successful, and highly aesthetic: far Eastern cruiser looked very elegant, as if flying through the water. A new form of housing was used on almost all subsequent combat units of the Navy of the Mikado, from battleships to destroyers.
 
Armor protection according to its characteristics resembled those of the Italian “Trento”, “Trieste” and “Bolzano”: 76 mm side belt closed top 35 mm deck. If you remember the first exercise of British, French and Americans, it can be considered quite decent. The designers tried to squeeze in another draft and underwater protection, but was confined to a small nagelneu bull, abandoning the armored torpedo bulkhead. Problems arose with equipment for the new 610-mm torpedo, which was too long to turn around in the narrow case. Hiraga did not want to see torpedo tubes on the large artillery ships, considering that they represent a great danger to the cruiser than to the enemy, given the large distances battles to come. However, the new doctrine of Naval staff demanded the opposite: as many torpedoes on cruisers designed to attack their destroyers. In the end, the machines made stationary, and offset from each other on right and left sides of a “ladder”. But on the deck there was a place even for a small hangar for seaplanes, the latest the attribute new ocean ships.
 
 
172. Heavy cruiser “York” (England, 1930)
 
Built by “Palmer”. Displacement standard 8250 t, full 10 350 tons, the maximum length 175,25 m, width of 17.37 m, draft of 6.17 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy turbine plant 80 000 HP speed 32.25 node. Reservations: belt 76 mm, cellars 76 — 112 mm, 37 mm deck, turrets and barbettes 25 mm. Armament: six 203/50 mm guns, four 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine guns, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes. Sat on the ground in March 1941 in an attack by Italian explosive boats. Subsequently damaged by German aircraft. Dismantled in 1952
 
173. Heavy cruiser “Exeter” (England, 1931) (data as at the beginning of 1942)
 
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Devonport. The displacement of the standard 8390 t full of 10 500 tons, the maximum length 175,25 m, width of 17.68 m, draft of 6.17 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy turbine plant 80 000 HP, speed 32 knots. Reservations: belt 76 mm, cellars 76 — 140 mm, 37 mm deck, turrets and barbettes 25 mm. Armament: six 203/50 mm guns, four 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, two 40-mm machine gun, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes. Upgraded in early 1941 with the installation of eight 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns in twin plants, and beauty of the two 40-mm guns. Total displacement increased to 11 000 tons Sunk in March 1942 in the Java sea by artillery fire and torpedoes of the Japanese ships. Heavy cruiser “Aoba” (Japan, 1927)
 
It was built by the firm “Mitsubishi” in Nagasaki. The standard displacement of 8,300 tons, normal 9850 tons, the maximum length 185,17 m, beam 15,83 m, draft 5,71 m Capacity chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 102 000 HP, speed 34,5 knot. Reservations: belt 76mm, deck 35mm, turret and barbettes 25 mm. Armament: six 203/50 mm guns, four 120/45-mm anti-aircraft guns, six twin-tube 610-mm torpedo tubes. In 1927 built two units: “Aoba” and “Kinugasa”. In 1938 — 1940 is fixed torpedo tubes equipped with two swivel four, and eight 25-mm and four 13.2-mm anti-aircraft gun. Standard tonnage increased to 9000 tons, the speed fell to 33 knots. By the end of the war “Aoba” had forty-two 25-mm machine gun. “Kinugasa” sunk by aircraft in November 1942, “Aoba” has sunk on a small place in the Parking lot in Kure and dismantled in 1948

 
It was all great, except for one. Displacement has grown by leaps and bounds and eventually reached to normal load 8500 tonnes — exactly a thousand tons more than design. With a full inventory, it increased by another one thousand tons. Such design and construction overload typical for most ships of the early century, when the building discipline is quite in ruins. To the credit of the designers I must say that their child endured all the mockery of the mass and draught, while maintaining the speed and most fighting qualities. But with a dip belt and lower freeboard to do, of course, nothing was impossible. The unpleasant consequence was the rapid pitching that fit more destroyers, greatly impeded the action of artillery.
In General, the “Kako” and “Furutaka” was so different in a positive way from its predecessors, not only Japanese, but all the major Maritime powers that they are not just proclaimed the first “DC community”. In fact, the Japanese are well aware that their first “heavy” experience is far from perfect. So notorious polubashni, built in the “pyramid” turned out to be extremely inconvenient from the point of view of supply of ammunition and markedly inferior to a full tower plants, has firmly taken its place on the 10,000-ton cruisers.
 
Therefore, the project of the second pair, “Ki-nugasa” and “Aoba”, construction of which has already begun, has undergone significant changes. The original space, but the larger pyramids took three regular two-gun turret, two in the front of the hull and one at the rear. Intensified and anti-aircraft artillery, appeared full catapult. And all this in addition to the more massive superstructures.
 
And again the price was overload, which reached compared to the initial task 1300 t! Freeboard is even lower, the stability is even less. All these ambiguous changes had to Fujimoto, replacing Hiraga, who was on a lengthy business trip. In return the chief has asked his Deputy a decent dressing down, although he had no stock in “weight space”. Moreover, the first couple in the years 1936 -1939 was rebuilt according to the second type, spending a lot of money. As a result, all four acquired a similar appearance and made uniform division for future fights.
 
And the military fate of the “heavy babies” turned out to be really difficult: none of the British and the Japanese did not live to see the end of hostilities, in combat-ready condition. They are all very actively participated in the battles, not just engaging in artillery duels. The British are particularly distinguished the Exeter, early in the war became part of a small group of three cruisers under the command of Commodore Harwood. 13 December 1939 the detachment embarked from the coast of South America to battle with the dangerous enemy — the German “pocket battleship” “Admiral Graf Spee”. The Germans considered it even “truncated”, but still heavy cruiser is the most dangerous enemy in the beginning of the battle, fired mainly at him. The result of the match is only recorded pre-war forecasts. The Exeter managed to get two hits, not causing “the hustler” too much trouble, and he “caught” seven 280-mm shells. Completely devoid of artillery and systems fire control, who collected several hundred tons of water and lost almost 100 crew members, a British cruiser could barely leave the battlefield 16-node speed, driving compass, a film based on a rescue boat. When they reached the Falkland Islands and a little pagetables there, “Exeter” headed for home, where he is waiting for a reception: after all, “Spee” was able, in the end, to overcome, not by force or by cunning. In England, the cruiser is not only completely repaired, but also thoroughly modernized by installing paired 102-mm anti-aircraft guns and a formidable 8-barreled “POM-pay”, as well as radar. Updated the ship went to the far East, where in early 1942, it was waited by severe tests. In late February, the motley Anglo-Dutch-American-Australian squadron was found in the Java sea with strong and well-prepared Japanese heavy cruisers. 203 mm shell fired “Haguro”, from long range, hit in engine room “of Exeter”. Speed fell to 11 knots; the British cruiser again as 14 months ago, had to hobble to the base for repairs. The team and the workers worked hard and were able for three days to eliminate the damage. As it has appeared, absolutely in vain. While trying to escape from the sea, which became a trap for the allies, had again to fight with old acquaintances — a heavy cruiser “Haguro” and “Nachi”. On the fateful coincidence, one of the first hits had almost the exact same place, with similar results. This time surrounded by the enemy ship there was nowhere to escape, and after a short unequal fight, “Exeter” went to the bottom.
 
His “half-brother”, “York” held out even less. In the summer of 1940 he came to the Mediterranean sea and managed to finish off the Italian destroyer, but in March 1941 in the Parking lot at Suda Bay, Crete became a target for the Italian naval commandos. Exploding boat MTM hit the target, “York” sat on the ground at a relatively shallow depth so that above the water remained the whole deck and gun turret. As a result, he became subject to attacks of German bombers, put in the fixed and in fact already dead, the target of several bombs. The Germans and Italians are still arguing on whose account include this tidbit, but the British … do not think “York” sunk. “Poluvagony” cruiser ranked as the strange category of “total loses” — combat units that are not subject to recovery. In fact, of course, it can be safely counted among the victims: to recovery has not shown interest nor the Germans, nor the Italians nor the English themselves — after the liberation of the island.
 
Not less actively entered the war on the Japanese “mini-Washingtonians”. All four participated in the mass operations at the initial stage of the Japanese attack, when the ships and troops seized one territory after another. Critical for them to become “die hard” — the island of Guadalcanal. Together they formed the nucleus of the squad of the Admiral goto in a brilliant on the results of the night battle of Savo island 9 August 1942, ended with the defeat of the allies lost four heavy cruisers, at least three of which can be attributed to the “difficult kids”. But “Kako” has become the “scapegoat” for this victory: while returning home, he received three torpedoes from the American submarine, and in five minutes disappeared under the water. Two months later, Kara befell its “sister ship”. On 11 October the Japanese connection came under a sudden night attack of the Americans at Cape Esperance. “Furutaka” took nearly a hundred shells of various calibers and a torpedo, after which the team had to leave its flaming remains.
 
In contrast to the “Furutaka” “Kinugasa” had survived the battle of Cape Esperance, the only ship that escaped serious damage. But he said only for a month more. The approaches to Guadalcanal became a real “Russian roulette”, in which 11 November 1942 the cruiser had charged cell of a revolving drum. The us air force was deprived of its course, and then finished off the helpless ship.
Longest resisted the Americans resistant “Aoba”, endures many adventures and received lots of damage. From the ill-fated Cape Esperance, he led the Japanese column and took a sudden first blow. From under the hail of projectiles, the cruiser came about in the same condition as the Exeter after the battle of La Plata and also barely made it to the base. Repaired, the ship continued to chase trouble. First, at anchor, he was attacked by the American “flying fortresses” and got a direct hit by a bomb. From the explosion of its own torpedoes has arisen a strong fire, and the Japanese felt it best themselves imbedded cruiser on a small place. After repairing badly disfigured “Aoba” used mostly on the sidelines for escort service and delivery of reinforcements. During the landing of the Americans in the Philippines it torpedoed submarine, the cruiser has lost speed and nearly sank. With great difficulty towed to Manila, he was subjected to aircraft attacks and barely made it to the domestic water at speeds of around five knots. Really have “cripple”, “Aoba” is firmly established at the base in Kure, where the authorities considered its restoration to be feasible. The last chord in the fate of the sufferer introduced us carrier-based bombers repeatedly attacked the stationary cruiser in the spring and the summer of victory in 1945. Only the cruiser (it is appropriate to add “former”) has received at least nine direct hits, not counting the masses of close gaps. The shallow depth and the fact that he sat on the ground on a relatively even keel, allow to consider it a kind of “sister”, “York”, also “completely lost” recovery, but not formally flushed.
 
Thus ended the career last, “the Washington little man”. It should be noted that none of the major Maritime powers did not try to replicate Japanese-English experience. And probably they did the right thing. The result is a small displacement economy and money has become too significant quantitative easing artillery: 25 — 40%. However, that did not suit the “powers that be”, attracted the attention of other countries. But more about that in future releases.

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