IN A STRANGE FEAST HANGOVER...We have already talked about several episodes of the British cruisers, latecomers to participate in fighting the Great (First world) war. But the “mistress of the seas” and are not left alone. The others made where large and absurd mistakes, remained throughout the five years of war entirely without much-needed combat units, which are then rebuilt “into the void”, or even never born.

If English “losers” become established due to excessive diligence of the Admiralty, it is a sad situation with cruisers in Russia have largely been the result of indecision and inconsistency of a management of the fleet and the country. The original “swing” seemed to be very impressive. Adopted shortly after the unfortunate Russo-Japanese war, a Large shipbuilding program provided for the return of the country to the club of leading naval powers in the world within 10 to 15 years, and was supposed to build ships exclusively in the domestic shipyards. On each of the seas was supposed to be a powerful homogeneous squadron of four dreadnoughts — battle cruisers or battleships, four light cruisers and 36 destroyers. However, to implement such extensive plans and had no money, no shipbuilding capacity. To replace a Large program came more modest Mala. But in 1912, when the threat of war has become quite distinct forms, Small was replaced by a program of so-called enhanced shipbuilding in 1912 — 1916. In the final “enhanced” version on the Baltic sea was provided by a team of four light cruisers, while the Black sea was considered sufficient to have only a few.
All would be nice, but is full of debates about these strategic plans, the real deal the design of the cruisers departed on the second plan. Work began in late 1907, when Colonel I. A. Gavrilov introduced the Maritime headquarters of the first version of the sketch, a light cruiser. I must say that after the Russo-Japanese war actions against enemy communications is clearly relegated to second, if not third plan. New ships were intended for operations in the combat squadrons, primarily reconnaissance, patrols, and repel light torpedo attacks of enemy forces and support their destroyers. According to the officers, this would require accelerating the development of such characteristics as the speed and cruising range, even to the detriment of artillery armament and booking. In accordance with the above installations, the displacement of the cruiser should not exceed 4500 so it was Assumed that he would have three or four turbines with a total capacity of 29 000 HP and a speed of 28 knots. Very curious looked armament, consisting of one 203-mm guns in the tower and six 120-millimetrovogo in three twin tower installations, supplemented by two torpedo tubes. Protection was limited to a thin 25 mm armour deck.
At first the work went very successfully. The meeting of the Admiralty Board decided to develop three version of the light cruiser. The first option was based on the development Gavrilova the only difference is that a solitary vosmidesyati replaced by another 120-mm gun, making a new cruiser in the likeness of a faster and more far “Pearls” of the early XX century. Much more solid look of the second option, which provided for the reservation side and the strengthening of the artillery another 203-mm gun in the turret and bringing the number of 120-mm guns to twelve with the location of the twin towers or the dungeons. The rate of the cruiser increased to 29 knots. The third option resembled the second, but with a limited displacement of 6000 tons, due to partial “surrender of positions” in the reservation and weaponry.
And then typing course train design dropped a couple. Quite interesting the projects were implemented even on paper very slowly. Affected by the numerous revisions of the shipbuilding programs and the utilization of engineers priority projects of turbine destroyers and battleships.
It was year after year, and none of the projects were never completed. Only in 1910, with the advent of the chief inspector of shipbuilding, the famous shipbuilder A. N. Krylov develop light cruisers continued. As the primary elected “maximum” the second option, increasing its speed to 30 knots and armour side up to 75 mm. But military officials and ship builders could not stop. In the middle of 1910 to facilitate the cruiser decided to weaken the side armor, though at this time the British and the Germans finally abandoned armored units. In the debate, and the debate another year has passed. To compensate for the lack of side armor, Naval staff has proposed to significantly strengthen the artillery armament of the cruiser, setting twelve long-barreled 152-mm guns in four treforedling towers. And this despite the agreed vehicles speed in 32 knots!
The idea itself was truly revolutionary: a similar pattern and speed, the British implemented their “cities” only in the mid 1930-ies. However, the chances to implement it in Russia in 1911 is practically not available, and the design had to start again, passing the same road again in a circle. Tower has decided to replace a combination of deck and casemate installations, but to increase the speed to fantastic for that time of 34 knots. The sailors wanted at the same time to get the ship, with improved seakeeping that is a high case, and even with icebreaking contours of the bow and stern extremities. And again one wishes clashed with the other, slowing the decision about the beginning of construction.
Perhaps the most important difference of the new requirements was the reduction of the caliber of the guns. Was supposed to be set at least fifteen 130-mm guns with shields or in the dungeons, and four 63-mm anti-aircraft gun. Newly developed “storecode”, in principle, was a good option: make it easier to manually charge than the 6-inch switchblade stiletto, and rate of fire with good training, calculate up to 15 rounds per minute. Good ballistics ensured the defeat of the “villains” are protected not too thick armor. But their location was a step back compared to the promising towers, on Board could shoot only a little more than half — nine trunks. However, the same trends prevailed at the time and in the other fleets. After many fantasies and projects and we came to a rather conventional type light cruiser, if somewhat more elaborate, in accordance with the lessons of all the waste further into the past of the war in the far East. So, the armor protection consisted of two “box”, set one above the other. The upper, educated 25-mm sides and a 20 mm upper armored deck that protected the interior from debris. The most important from the point of view of capability objects — mechanisms and cellars — were covered by the lower loop consisting of the 75-mm side belt, 50 mm rear traverse 20 mm armored deck. The main belt is made of cemented plates of the Krupp steel and ship design in a large number of used high-strength steel. It is possible to make the design more lightweight and durable, strengthening the fighting qualities of the cruiser. However, the use of high quality steel had its not-shy. It is more difficult to handle, requiring more powerful machines; highly qualified specialists; strict compliance with the heat treatment regimes, the breach of which the metal became brittle. But, more importantly, this kind of steel was two times more expensive than ordinary shipbuilding, which further increased the value of future cruisers. And the estimated price of “Svetlana” was sky-high, reaching 10 million rubles — about one million pounds, which is almost three times higher than the cost to build a modest British “C”, which, if inferior in combat capabilities, then, of course, not three times. In addition to the expensive materials and the various innovations at a value affected by the fact that the construction took Russian private firms, which had to issue subsidies for modernisation, and that part of the money was spent for payment of assistance by foreigners. Yes, despite years of the work of local designers, deadlines, forced to appeal for assistance to “sworn friends”, and now the allies — the British. In an increasingly tough confrontation between the major military blocs Europe the management of fleets of all countries preferred to err and to “disguise” all the details. Gone are the glorious days when new projects were published in technical journals with drawings and extensive descriptions, before the start of construction. Now dominated by secrecy. So, in the correspondence about the light cruisers to the Black sea, in which substantial assistance was provided by the famous British firm of “J. Brown,” used the legend: the cruiser passed as “project Balachka” and the famous factory in Glasgow was the only one of the foreign partners, who agreed “to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for these recalcitrant Russian.” The rest of the company lost interest in the new Russian cruisers as soon as they learned that they will be built only at Russian shipyards.
However, what was promising for the development of the domestic industry were not always good for the strengthening of the fleet. Having received orders to the cruiser shortly before the war, our companies faced considerable difficulties. First started construction in the Baltic sea, since as the basis of the approved joint project of the flagship of Russian industry — Putilov and (rather unexpectedly) a much more modest enterprise in revel (Tallinn). However, each plant independently embarked on the detailed design of the project. During the design process revealed errors in the calculations that led to the increase in displacement and, worse, the slowdown in construction. And then there’s the unfortunate outbreak of war. With great effort at the end of 1915 the water managed to pull only the lead ship — “Svetlana”, which was supposed to include the Navy in early 1918.
Later named after the Admiral Butakov, Spiridov and grey ha, the stocks have gone almost a year later. And it’s for a planned commissioning in mid-1915. Then — even worse. The case involved both the revolution and the subsequent events. In December 1917, the threat of German attack on revel, forced to take unfinished ships to Petrograd. Then came the collapse of industry and the post-revolutionary devastation. Almost ready the cruiser “Svetlana” “stuck” for years to come. In 1922 it was renamed the “Profintern”, but his full recovery came only in July 1928 when the restoration and construction of the new Soviet Navy.
145. Light cruiser Omaha (United States, 1923)
Built at the shipyard in Seattle. The displacement of 7050 tonnes, the maximum length of 169,4 m, width of 16.89 m, draft 4,15 m. Capacity chetyrehbalnoy turbine plant 90 000 HP, speed 34 KTS. Reservations: belt 76mm, deck 38 mm, casemates and towers of 19 mm, combat tower 25 mm. Armament: twelve 152/53 mm guns, two 76/50 mm anti-aircraft guns, ten 533-mm torpedo tubes (two triple and twin). Built ten units: “Omaha”, “Milwaukee”, “Cincinnati”, “Raleigh”, “Detroit”, “Richmond”, “Trenton”, “Concord”, “Marblehead” and “Memphis”. All excluded from the lists in 1945— 1947
146. Light cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov” (Russia, 1913 (draft)
It was built at the plant “Russud” in Nikolaev. A displacement of 7600 tons, the maximum length 163,2 m, width of 15.71 m, draught of 5.58 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 55 000 HP, max speed 29, 5 ties. Reservations: belt 25 — 75 mm, deck (upper and armor) for 20 mm, 63 mm dungeons, combat tower 75 mm Armament: fifteen 130/55 mm guns, four 63/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, two 457-mm torpedo tubes, up to 100 min. based on the four units: “Admiral Nakhimov”, “Admiral Lazarev”, “Admiral Kornilov,” “Admiral Istomin”. “Admiral Nakhimov” built in 1926 in the USSR as “red Ukraine”, died in November 1941 in an air RAID, “Lazarev” was introduced in 1932 as “Red Crimea”, the other two are dismantled on the stocks.
147. Light cruiser “La Motte Picquet” (France, 1914 (draft)
Was supposed to lay at the shipyard of the Navy in Toulon. Design data: displacement 4500 tons, the maximum length 138,0 m, width 13.8 m, draught 4,80 m Capacity chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 40 000 HP, speed 30 knots Booking: 28mm deck, beams 14-16 mm, 20 mm casemates Armament: eight 138/45 mm guns, two 47-mm saluting guns, four 450 mm torpedo tubes. It was planned to build ten units.

Not better things were in the South. A joint project by the Putilov factories and revel became the basis for the creation of a light cruiser in the black sea plants. Orders received Society and Nikolaev plants “Russud” whiteflies “bully” (not without the help of “Moldovia”) displacement and so is not a small ship, nearly a thousand tons. Length increased by 8.4 m, the casing was also slightly wider. The only thing the state has managed to achieve success, it is the price: the cost per unit was determined at 8.6 million.
Further well-known course. Launched almost simultaneously with the “Svetlana” parent “Admiral Nakhimov” stuck at the factory quay. The leadership of the Navy had to agree with the adjusted terms, according to which “Nakhimov” had to enter into operation in March 1917. But this term was not final: “Russud” has informed Petrograd that fail to complete the work until July 1917. Fleet has failed to do even that was carried out in the Baltic sea: to divert unfinished “Nakhimov” and “Lazarev” before the arrival to Nikolaev of the Germans. For launching the “Kornilov” and “Istomin” didn’t get even the necessary amount of fat, and without this product ships simply could not leave the slipway.
In a subsequent reshuffle the change of authorities at the “Admiral Nakhimov” and changed “owners”, however, is entirely formal: neither the Germans nor the whites did not want and could not complete the work. Upon the occurrence of the red Army retreating white towed the cruiser to Odessa, where I was hoping to take him to the Crimea and then to Constantinople. “Admiral Lazarev” as less ready, left in Nikolaev. But “Nakhimov” was long gone. Finishing in Nikolaev, troops of the red southwestern front rushed to Odessa. Before the surrender of the city, the guards again tried to take in tow the cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov”, but in the rush to put him stranded a few miles from Odessa. Red took the cruiser off the rocks and returned to Nikolayev to continue construction. However, to complete it was only in 1927, almost simultaneously with the former “Svetlana”.
The fate of the other cruisers were different, but none of them have not completed the initial project, no longer meet post-war requirements. Less fortunate “Admiral Greig, and Admiral Spiridov”; their fate was pretty humiliating and ridiculous. An acute shortage of tank vessels intended for export to the eternal magic wand of Russia — oil, forced Soviet authorities to seek out any willing body. His arm caught the unfinished cruiser that decided to convert… into tankers.
Oil vessel with a narrow and long hull speed cruiser looked pretty wild. The idea is in some degree may pay off if those tankers meant for fuel supply fleet of ships at sea. But at a speed 10 — 12 knots of latter-day “merchants” was simply unprofitable. The conversion was a forced measure taken under the pressure of political and economic circumstances. After the completion of the tanker “Azneft” and “Grozneft” was put into operation in 1926 and a few years former proud cruisers carried the “black gold”.
Fourth Baltic cruiser “Admiral Butakov”, initially also planned to finish the old project and converted into a training ship. But work has been very slow, although in 1926 he even got a new name — “Voroshilov”, plans had to be cancelled. In 1928, still a dead body without tools was towed to Kronstadt, where he had long stood as blaxima. Mozolevski eyes of higher officials of the fleet, mutilated cruiser called periodic attempts to return to its completion as a training ship, but with modern weapons. The last attempt refers to 1940, but then all the shipbuilding plants of the USSR were so busy building new ships, and the project was canceled. Former “Butakov” managed to survive the war under the German bombs, it was dismantled after the 1946. More fortunate “Admiral Lazarev”, which in the early 1930-ies completed on a heavily modified project as a “light heavyweight” cruiser “Red Crimea”, but that’s another story. The remaining black sea a couple quietly dismantled on the stocks.
But even the heavy fate of Russian light cruisers late in all respects is not the limit of the historical failures of this kind. Even more distinguished by the French. Although they didn’t have Tsushima, cruising force by 1910 were in a scarcely less deplorable condition. Having a lot of armoured cruisers, almost as much as Britain, the French fleet was completely devoid of a little bit of modern light scouts. “Armored turtles” under the tricolor flag in case of war remained helpless to look at high-speed opponents and expose their sides under the torpedo submarines, as happened with the “Leon Gambetta”.
Not to say that the Maritime Council of France did not understand the trouble situation. In 1907 — 1909 from under the feathers of officials and admirals slowly “crawled” 20-year program to strengthen the fleet, as massive and ambitious as the Russian. Of course, that the composition of a “paper squadron” was part of the paper is “reconnaissance squadron” — light cruiser of a new type.
As in Russia, we need (and just started) then slowly went down in projects and correspondence. Only to June 1914, when the first “August volleys” of world war I remained a month, the project finally took shape. “Conveyer d squadrons” was a small 4500-ton cruiser capable of reaching 29 knots — the new standard of speed at the time. Compared to the “Svetlana”, “French” looked really pathetic. His defense was limited to a thin deck armor, and armament consisted of eight 138-mm guns, almost twice less than the Russian counterparts. The only useful innovation was lianovidnye gun mount in the bow and stern. Note that odnorodnye French experts still believed that a two – or, God forbid, mnogourovnevye designs for medium caliber just is contraindicated.
In the end, “La Motte Picquet” and nine of his “brothers” still could be a very useful addition to the fleet and, certainly, their relevance in the war in the Mediterranean is no doubt. Bookmark light cruisers were scheduled for November 1914, but the fighting of the first year of the war for France was as adverse as Russia. The construction never began, even though the designers continued to work with pencils and rubber bands, precertify the project in accordance with the conflicting wishes of the admirals. So I passed the whole war, in which French cruisers showed themselves completely helpless.
A similar story was unfolding across the Atlantic. The second in the world (is ready to fight for the title of the first) United States Navy had many and huge cruisers with almost no light. Of course, there was also an understanding of the need for the latter. And equally of course there was hesitation and endless debate and negotiation. Unlike European powers, the United States enjoyed the advantage of neutrality, and protected by the ocean. But in 1916 it became clear that entry into the war is unlikely to avoid. And in the same year was followed by a gigantic shipbuilding program, numbering hundreds of units of all classes. Have been there 4 and a dozen “fast scout” (interestingly, in the same amount as in France).
But, unlike mired in a bloody land battles of the French, the Americans held all the cards: the world’s most powerful industry and money. Clearly not enough of one, but a very important factor — time. Therefore, the designers had to work fast. There has been another drawback is the lack of traditions and a single line in cruise shipbuilding. Pragmatic American engineers have chosen the original, you might say, paradoxical way. In the country gained strength, the construction of numerous four-pipe flush-deck destroyers. Here they took as a prototype. Thus was born the project of the destroyer-age with a displacement of 7000 tons, having the same flush-deck hull with no forecastle, gradually lowering from stem to stern, and the same four tubes. With the service received even easier by installing one 6-inch gun at the Board in the middle — and the fleet destroyers and by inserting the long body into the bow and stern in two groups of two-storey casemates, well-proven on large cruisers “St. Louis”. It is clear that such weapons (on Board could shoot only half of all guns) seemed archaic and even absurd to the end of the First world war. Carefully looking over the ocean on a rational, literally “licked” British and German cruisers, American designers went to significant alteration. First mid-body removed irrelevant open the gun, and then, in the course of construction, went to an important and decisive step, adding the bow and stern for two-gun installation in light towers (mainly to protect from spray and waves). So, broadside “ohms” has nearly doubled, and in the beginning pretty “stupid Americans” suddenly threatened to become the strongest ships of this class in the world. Moreover, the speed is not just impressive, but was just terrified: 34 knots, the same as it was assumed the gigantic battle cruisers of the “Lexington” and a flush-deck destroyers. For the first time the American fleet was built strictly systematic and balanced way.
Of course, to accommodate all these advantages without a single loss in the “seven thousand” was not possible. The victim was the defense. 76-mm armor belt covered only the boilers and turbines, although he had a considerable height. The rest of the defence were restricted to armored deck. In fact, the American post-war cruiser on fighting qualities not surpassed pre-war “Svetlana”, ahead of its only speed. Yes, and the American destinylove was a very powerful weapon, with a high muzzle velocity and heavy projectile, but the Russian 130-graph paper was enough to break the “frail” cruising the armor and rate of fire for “American” yielded more than two times. In addition, the extra artillery affected seaworthiness, overloading the “Omaha” so much so that the excitement could not shoot the notorious lower dungeons (remember the British!) and twin torpedo tubes, actively fill with water. The latter quickly took off, and the guns continued to suffer until the Second world war. However the sailors liked these agile and best-selling vehicles. In 1940 there was a proposal to rebuild them in the cruiser defense. The project could not be implemented due to congestion of factories, already hard to build a new fleet for the future fight against the Japanese and Germans.
However, all ten were able to serve, and to someone like, for example, “Marblehead” and “Richmond” had to go under bombs and shells. The same as our cruisers, one of which, the former “Admiral Nakhimov”, renamed “Chervona Ukraine”, managed to survive the war. All of these ships joined the ranks of losers who are late to one of the great war, and waited for a quarter of a century in order to have old and infirm to participate in another, to which they were not, and could not be prepared.

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