IN THE OCEAN — A RUSSIAN ARMOREDThe end of the 80-ies of the XIX century was for the Russian shipbuilding a turning point. The Navy finally became “steel”; changed the materials, machinery, artillery, ammunition, tactics. Gradually began to change the approach to shipbuilding programs: separate “model” ships have passed into history, because the creation of each of the “unique” require a lot of money, and the fleet strength of such loners has increased slightly.

Not to mention the problems associated with the use of different combat and maneuvering characteristics of ships in one unit. There is a need to build a series of units—the same or at least a little different from each other.
Marine technical Committee (MTK) has decided to apply this principle not only battleships, but cruisers, before being built purely as individuals. But it is one thing to decide, and quite another to consistently implement. The head unit is essentially new to our fleet—class ocean cruisers—from the very beginning was “illegitimate”.
The project of the future “Rurik” was born in drawing workshops in the Baltic plant in Saint-Petersburg on the initiative and under the guidance of the ship’s engineer N. E.Rodionova—without obtaining the technical specifications from MTK. However, shipbuilders err: sanction the development of the ship gave personally the Minister of marine, Admiral N. M.Chikhachev.
The project from the beginning was distinguished by courage of the goals. Displacement increased more than on third in comparison with the predecessor — the “Memory of Azov”, reaching 9000 so the New cruiser had very high Board and the unusually large ratio of length to width that would allow to keep high speed—18.5 knots—almost any excitement and the wind—it was a significant advantage compared to a good in other respects, but “wet” the “Admiral Nakhimov”. Not less important features were the side armor belt for over 85 m and a huge cruising range—20,000 miles of economic progress!
Russian engineers wanted to take all the best from the world experience of construction of large passenger vessels and mail steamers of the time (superior to ships in speed, seaworthiness and coal), “crossed” their quality with powerful armor and weapons.
However, the pioneer decision seemed specialists from MTK too bold. They were afraid that the long ship is not strong enough, mainly referring to recognized tastemakers—British, very conservative in matters of shipbuilding. Case “shortened” by as much as 10 meters, the width of it, on the contrary, increased. The range fell by half, but the armor belt was saved. The developers were unable to insist on another innovation—the introduction of water-tube boilers, which allowed for faster to develop the course.
But even in this more modest version of the “Rurik” continued to be a very advanced ship. He became the first Russian cruiser with quick-firing artillery, consisting of just introduced on the fleet of 152 and 120-mm cartridge guns Kane. Because at least in theory, they were able to produce up to 5— 6 rounds per minute per gun, had to develop a new system of filing, which became a purely Russian know-how. We are talking about the gazebo—a kind baskets, in which he brought up from the cellars of “clusters” of several projectiles and charges in the cartridges. (In all the navies of the world ammunition for guns of medium caliber still fed alone.) Further pavilions were transported to the decks on the rails directly to the guns. This decision was a definite plus (just moved the stock in a few shots), but had its drawbacks. Empty gazebos had to pull back to the cellar, which required extra people, and rail tracks are often damaged in battle, hindering the delivery of missiles for continuous firing. However, all this still had to find out in the future.
Five years required for the construction of the “Rurik”, with all the innovations (and this is not only the artillery and supply, but also a powerful power plant, and ship telephone network, and more) can be considered a normal period. Despite the rapid progress of naval shipbuilding in those years, the first Russian ocean armored cruiser and after putting into operation the best and attracted everyone’s attention. In his first overseas voyage in June 1895 he participated in the celebrations in Germany, dedicated to the opening of the Kiel canal. Not particularly friendly British publications are not stingy with such epithets as “the pearl of the Kiel squadron”. Huge (11 600 t) vysokovoltny cruiser developed more than 19 knots and could be a terrible raider. Even the “mistress of the seas” was not a good “tamers”. I had to hurry to design and build a rather stupid giants”Powerful” and “Terrible”, followed by 8 more units of smaller size. And they are all really one definitely inferior to the “Rurik”—devoid of its thick side armor, up to 10 inches.
In General, the ship has certainly been, although just as certainly could have been better. Preservation is useless, but the heavy sailing mast and the high Board let the most rational location of the artillery. Instead of towers and deck installations gun is the old fashioned way—in battery. And it is in vain this battery was a huge room in the center of the ship, without any partitions and protection weapons, like the sailing ships of a century ago.
It is not surprising that after the British got acquainted with the “Russian giant”, was followed by bitter complaints about his own haste. Well-known naval authority of the Lord Brassey wrote in his Yearbook: “If we had occasion to consider the “Rurik” in the past, it is unlikely that “Powerful” and “Terrible” would be built. Board the “Rurik” bristled with guns, and until then, until you climb into his deck, he sounds scary. But only one projectile exploded in an open battery, half a dozen guns would be at once incapacitated”.
Unfortunately, I must admit that this assessment was largely correct. Although the real test of the fighting qualities had yet a decade later, during the Russo-Japanese war, the specialists understood the weakness of the design. Therefore, the following draft ocean cruiser, “Russia”, made changes that made three times to process most of the drawings. The main innovations was to strengthen the reservation, and basically not by thickness, but by increasing its area. At least some of the guns got to let incomplete, but cover across the housing, protecting the battery from trailing fire, was the top traverse a thickness of 102 mm and some thicker lower -127 mm In the battery between the guns mounted a short 37 mm bulkheads, limiting the spread of the fragments at the “hall”. More than respectable, perhaps even excessive protection received combat tower, the thickness of the walls which were now as many as 12 inches. Not every battleship was so heavily armored “control center”. Price was a decrease in the thickness of the belt to 203— 152 mm, but its ability to protect the mechanisms and cellars from enemy missiles has not diminished, but even increased. The reason was the new armor made of Nickel-steel treated by the method of Garvey instead of the Rurik fortress scalerelated “compound”.
67. Armored cruiser “Thunder” (Russia, 1900)
Built at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. Displacement 12460 t, length of maximum 146,60 m, width of 20.88 m, draft of 8.48 m. Capacity three-shaft steam engine triple expansion installation 15 500 HP, speed 20 KTS. Booking (armor Krupp and “Harvey-Nickel”): the waterline belt 152 mm, casemates 127 mm, deck 51 mm (on the bevels 76 mm), in the extremities 51 mm, cutting 305 mm. Armament: four 203/45 mm, sixteen 152/45-mm and twenty-four 75-mm guns, four 47 mm and four 37-mm small-caliber rapid-fire, four 380-mm torpedo tubes. In 1906, added five 152-mm artillery shells, small caliber, artillery changed to nineteen 75-millimetre and six 47-mm. In 1916 — 1917 rearmed with the extra two 203-mm guns (a total of 6) and a decrease in the number of 152-mm four-barrel. Also added four 75-mm anti-aircraft guns of Lender. After 1917, laid up, completely excluded from the lists and scrapped in 1922.
68. Armored cruiser “Rurik” (Russia, 1897)
Built at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. 11 displacement of 700 tons, length of maximum 132,58 m, width of 20.42 m, draft of 8.25 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam engine triple expansion installation 132 500 HP, a speed of 18.5 KTS. Booking (armor “compound”): belt at the waterline 254— 127 mm, traverse батареи254 — 229 mm, deck 63 — 88 mm, cutting 203 mm. Armament: four 203/35 mm and sixteen 152/45-mm and six 120/45-mm guns, six 47-mm and ten 37-mm small-caliber rapid-fire guns, four 380-mm torpedo tubes. Initial sailing mast reduced in 1900, Sunk in Korean Strait on 14 August 1905.
69. Armored cruiser “Russia” (Russia, 1897)
Built at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. 12 a displacement of 200 tons, length of maximum 146,45 m, width of 20.88 m, draft of 7.92 m. the thickness of a three-shaft steam engine triple expansion installation 15 500 HP, speed 20 KTS. Booking (armor “Gar-vey-Nickel”): belt at the waterline 203 -152 mm, traverse battery of 127 mm, deck 51-95 mm, cutting 305 mm. Armament: four 203/45 mm and sixteen 152/45 mm guns, twenty 47-mm and sixteen 37-mm small-caliber rapid-fire guns, five 380-mm torpedo tubes. In 1906, added six 152-mm guns, small-caliber artillery replaced by fifteen 75-mm and two 47-mm. the Number of torpedo tubes reduced to two. In 1916 — 1917 with re-the installation of two additional 203 mm guns (6 in total) and a decrease in the number of 152-mm and fourteen. In the 1st world war took up to 100 min. After 1917, laid up, completely excluded from the lists and scrapped in 1922.

Changed and artillery. 8-inch caliber was now new long-barreled guns. Six 120-millimetrovogo originally supposed to replace four additional six-inch, which was reached would have been more than impressive two dozen. But then, they chose a dozen 75-millimetrovogo, then seemed very important element weapons.
Many innovations were hiding and “below decks”. The mechanical installation consisted now of three machines. And in the middle of them, with power of 2500 HP, had the highest load: it was assumed that the economical 10-usloviy the course will provide only a part of her job. The other two were intended for the development of higher speeds up to 20 knots at maximum revs. The designers managed to insist on a new water-tube boilers are more economical and easy to operate. Finally, with the masts gone, the sails and mast, block deck and hindered the placement of artillery. However, the location were all as conservative—in battery on the sides, which at the same time allowed to fire only half the guns of each caliber.
Career “Russia” began with the adventure: not yet fully finished ship in short the transition from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt in October, 1896, has managed to firmly aground. It took over two weeks to move it. Then still not accepted in the Treasury of the cruiser sent to scare a potential enemy under the pretext. In may of 1897 in England, was widely celebrated 60th anniversary of being on the throne of Queen Victoria, and “Russia” in all its glory anchored on the roadstead of Portsmouth for a welcome home and “show the flag”. According to the memoirs of Admiral N. And.Skrydlova, Russian cruiser ships of other countries was a “one of” and “caused the General approval”. As “Rurik” in Kiel, he was in Portsmouth one of the main centers of attraction of the other ships it may be outshone only a huge 15 000 tonne Italian giant “Lepanto”. But the shock after the appearance of “Rurik” for several passed, and the British estimated the second unit, though with respect, but quite skeptical. The main object of condemnation remained unarmored artillery and its location in one battery.
Henceforth, it was necessary to eliminate this defect. The case was presented soon: Nicholas II personally included in the next shipbuilding program the third type of cruiser “Rurik”. However, in reality the design of the “thunderbolt” had little in common not only with the head ship of this strange series, but with “Russia” which was the legacy left body only. Again significant changes were made to the booking. Waist got even thinner (152 mm), but the artillery finally got a full cover. All 8-inch switchblade stiletto and 12 of the 16 six-inch located in separate armored casemates on the type of English.
The reduction in the thickness of the belt was supposed to be implemented almost without compromising durability due to the introduction of the most advanced at the time of Krupp armor. However, the capacity of domestic Izhora plant (held in the busiest time of reconstruction and extension) was not enough, so I had to apply all the same geroevskoe plate. The rest of the armor have already been treated by the method of Krupp.
Unusual for our cruisers dungeons and extra dozen 75-millimetrovogo on the upper deck led to a dangerous increase in center of gravity. Had to take unpleasant measures: in particular, the rear pair of 8-Dujmovic lost just acquired cover, a bow placed in a common vault with bulkheads from side to side, which gave the enemy a good chance to put them down with one hit. Hurt and comfort of the crew. The battery and the upper deck lowered a few inches.
“Economic” weak machine “Russia” was not too successful, and the “Thunderbolt” it brought to power the other two. Was a three-shaft installation—for the first time in our country. For became already bad tradition of randomness in the transition to Kronstadt in late autumn of 1899 a new cruiser repeated the “feat” of its predecessor, sitting on the ground. Though not so strongly: after 3 days he managed to withdraw from the soil. But it turned out a new trouble: the sea trials have repeatedly redrawn the ship is heavily bury the nose in a wave, partly deprived of the advantage of its high sides. However, after moving some heavy stocks in the stern seaworthiness was again good. In the first campaign, “Thunder” without any problems have developed over 20 knots and maintained that speed, following against waves and wind.
As you can see, the three Russian ocean cruisers is difficult to name a single series. But the proximity of the main elements and the homogeneity of the weapons allowed to use them not only as raiders single (which is highly feared by the British), and make of them a strong detachment. As such, “Ryurik”, “Rossiya” and “thunderbolt” was the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war in the far East.
Vladivostok group of cruisers made a few outlets to search for enemy transports carrying troops and cargo from Japan to Manchuria. Not all campaigns were successful, although not without its successes: in particular, in the spring of 1904 went to the bottom “Kinshu-Maru” and “Hitachi-Maru” with several hundred Japanese officers and soldiers and valuable equipment.
However, the most important event in the life of “distant relatives” occurred in August, 1904 while trying to break the 1st Pacific squadron from Port Arthur, where the ships came under fire of siege artillery. The commander of the squadron V. K. Vitgeft asked rear Admiral K. P. Jessen bring the Vladivostok squad forward, so he could assist damaged ships or to divert part of the enemy forces. The latter failed. A detachment of Vice-Admiral Kamimura consisting of four of the newest cruisers intercepted “Russia”, “Thunder” and “Rurik” in the Korean Strait.
The enemy had the same total tonnage, and our ships, but otherwise its advantage was obvious: as the composition—4 cruisers to 3, and the number of voimalaitos (the only guns capable of penetrating the armor in the most important places), shooting at the same time—already more than 2.5 times. Affected side placement of artillery on the “Rurik”: the tower of the Japanese had a serious advantage. Nevertheless, quite a long time, Russian ships adequately fire. But Jessen made a mistake by putting the least speed Ryurik end: after damaging the steering gear he broke away from the group and became a target for concentrated enemy fire. Two of his fellow dumped friend: in two hours, “Russia” and “Thunder” actively maneuvered, trying to cover a wounded animal. Gradually began to affect all the shortcomings of our cruisers. Poorly secured guns one after the other failed, the loss of workers has reached a critical point. In the end Jessen just was forced to withdraw his badly damaged ships to Vladivostok, leaving adrift helpless “Rurik”.
The battle between the armored cruisers in the Korean Strait (the Japanese usually call it the battle of Ulsan) had far-reaching consequences. The Japanese fired on our ships is about 7 thousand shells, of which nearly a thousand—eight-inch, having spent almost half of the ammunition and eventually abandoning the chase. They got a few dozen hits each, but failed to sink any of the”Rurik” in the end it was flooded by the team (although, most likely, and so would not have been able to save).
Naval experts from different countries made one, it seems quite clear conclusion: large armored ships to drown artillery fire medium-caliber guns is almost impossible, even for hours. In that process focused a year later the commander of the 2nd Pacific squadron Z. P. Rozhestvensky, hoping to reach Vladivostok even with the damage, but in full or nearly full strength. The result is known: the tragedy of Tsushima.
Wrong conclusions are often surprising vitality. 10 years after Ulsan British Admiral K. Cradock appeared off the coast of Chile in a very similar situation, only with the difference, that could easily turn around and walk away from surpassing him (approximately the same extent that Kamimura outnumbered Jessena) of the German Pacific squadron M. Spee. However, he felt that for the hour that remained before dark, the enemy will have time except to damage his armored cruisers. And wrong: that fateful night “good hope” and “Monmouth” went down with misguided flagship. Although side armor really provide cruisers good protection, but this protection was not absolute.

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