The situation by the end of 30-ies of the cruising forces of the Soviet Union, very much like the case of bygone days when the country was an Empire and was called Russia. Stalin and his loyal Commissars wanted to create a “large fleet” is not less than the last Tsar and his entourage. And again ambitious plans were constantly in conflict with higher-priority and urgent tasks, lack of experience and aspirations to create something, which is obviously superior to future adversaries. However, unlike tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union managed not only to develop but also time to implement in the metal is original and very interesting project domestic cruiser. “Light heavyweight” of the 26th (“Kirov”) and its development, 26-bis (“Maxim Gorky”) was undoubtedly an interesting alternative to the standard “contractual” light and heavy cruisers. But the idea with the intermediate 180-mm caliber, it turned out not quite successful, mainly due to insufficient rate of fire and survivability of the barrel of the gun. In addition, the ships were very expensive to reproduce them in dozens of instances seems unrealistic from a financial point of view.

Although the Soviet Union were rejected “bourgeois treaties”, global trends in Maritime armaments, our designers looked very closely. Appearance after the entry into force of the London naval agreement in all the major Maritime powers of light cruisers of the new generation also has not escaped the attention of national analysts. In 1936 the leadership of the fleet made the requirements for a new massive multi-purpose ship intended for solving a variety of problems, from exploration and work with the fleet, before the actions on enemy communications and active minefields. These requirements seemed quite reasonable and were under the “General stream”, since in the following year, the Soviet Union signed the UK agreement in accordance with which officially committed to adhere to Maritime contracts in terms of size and armament of military units. However, the original Soviet project had not even reached the contractual maximum. At standard displacement of 8,300 tons of new cruisers were supposed to be nine 152-mm guns of the main caliber in three towers located at the most logical scheme – two in the nose and one in the stern, eight anti-aircraft “acres”, twelve 37-mm guns, a couple of three-pipe torpedo tubes and could take up to a hundred min. In the tradition and characteristics of the main Maritime theaters of the USSR – the Baltic and the Black sea is provided for high speed (35 knots) with a relatively small range (4500 miles). Such a ship would look well-balanced (at 100-mm protection Board and 50-mm deck – a marked improvement over the predecessors – project 26 and 26-bis), and, importantly, economically acceptable.
However, the development of the preliminary draft, get the number 68, took over a year and a half, in no small part due to the beloved Patriotic leadership – attempts to lock to make changes that improve the “product”. (However, it was found that the desired characteristics still do not fit in the design displacement, which could not be less than 9000, etc) So on a cruiser there’s a fourth tower at the stern, and the displacement was increased to 10 000 t. the Reason is quite clear: Soviet ship could not yield to any nearby Western or Eastern or distant overseas “probable adversary”, which I prefer to build military units for the maximum allowed displacement, that is, in the same 10 thousand tons with the same armament of twelve six-inch. Indeed, a modified ‘ 68 project in your final caught up to rivals, and in some ways surpassed them. Strong looked a reservation, especially artillery. Tactical and technical elements were well balanced. In General, the project does not succumb to such worthy vehicles as the British “town” or the American “Brookline”. However, as expected, dignity had to buy at the cost of some losses. So, the design speed fell on a couple of sites, and, most importantly, the ship finally ceased to be cheap. But within the 3-year plan (1938 -1942 G. G.) was supposed to lay the largest domestic fleet series cruisers – 16 units, 5 of which had to be launched before the end of the five-year plan.
In reality the execution of the plan began on August 29, 1939, when in Nikolaev took place the tab of “Frunze”. After 2 days in Leningrad laid “Valery Chkalov”, and in the same Nikolaev – “Kuibyshev”. However, formally the head whose name is usually referred to as the entire series was “Chapaev”, although a similar procedure with him took place in the “Northern capital” in October.
What happened in the future, it is clear and not surprising. As “Svetlana” from the beginning of the 1st world war, “Chapayev” was in limbo after June 22, 1941. A sudden attack of the “new eternal ally” put an end to their construction. But at the same time the German technology was assigned to certain expectations: to accelerate the commissioning intended on some units to establish the German 150-mm guns, CC and 105-mm antiaircraft guns (the project received the designation 68И (“foreign”). Fortunately, this was abandoned in late 1940. But fate has laid cruisers, and so was sad. Of the number built in Nikolaev managed to save the hull, launched the “Frunze” and “Kuibyshev”, oboxious them first in Sevastopol, and then to the Caucasian shores. But those on the stocks of the “Ordzhonikidze” and “Sverdlov” fell into the hands of the Germans. However, the invaders did not even try to finish the trophies, but just quickly snapped them on the metal.
Not much better things were in the Baltic. Were afloat at berths Leningrad shipbuilding plant “Chapaev” and “Zheleznyakov” is fully preserved. A similar fate befell the “Chkalov”, which did not even have time to pull water. All five had to wait for the end of the world. And after the end of hostilities to the completion began at once: have bled much of the country lacked more important and priority tasks. However, in 1950-m to year all five went into operation formally as the other, modified – 68К.
Late on 7 – 8 years vehicles for entry into service was a contradictory sight. On the one hand, they had good characteristics. Powerful 152-mm gun had great for this caliber range – more than 160 office, and excellent ballistic characteristics, including a 55-pound projectile. The armor looked pretty decent: a 100-mm zone had a considerable width of 3.3 m and extended from the bow the first tower to the second feed under the guise of the ends 120 – 100-mm traverses. The case had even torpedo protection quite considerable depth (in the area of mechanical installation is about 4 m), even without the internal armored bulkheads.
With other individual characteristics looked modern enough, that is not surprising, given the plight of the ships. So, excellent ballistics of guns pumped rate, not exceeding seven shots per minute. Remember that at the same time the West moved on to semi-automatic and automatic six-inch, which gave twice more volleys per unit of time. The “Italian” scheme of protection (a full belt at the waterline from bow to stern towers, including the cellars, and a relatively thin deck armor over its entire length) is also inferior to that of a new potential enemy, the American “Cleveland”. Generally, at roughly the same displacement (it is worth noting that as a result of all changes, the full displacement of the project 68К reached 14 of 320 tons, and speed dropped to 32.5 ng) our cruisers behind the us in most respects. Although the lion’s share of growth in tonnage in comparison with the prewar project ate radar equipment and anti-aircraft artillery, and both looked very pale against the background of overseas achievements. The only trump card remained a large firing range of the main fire, but the success at distances from 13 to 16 miles was achieved only by practice. The experience of the war showed that the probability of being in maneuvering the enemy at such distances is very small. The shortcomings of the legacy project was understood by the leaders of the fleet and the country. Of the five cruisers completed two served for only 10 years, one does not overcome the 15-year milestone, “Zheleznyakov” was served after a full term, and only “Komsomolets” – the former “Chkalov” had become a “survivor”, having held until the late 1970s.
Meanwhile, the international situation required either to make significant efforts for the development of the domestic fleet, or for a long time to accept the full and unconditional supremacy of the United States in all the oceans. Moreover, efforts required to apply as soon as possible. Therefore, simultaneously with the completion of the surviving 68-x started developing a new project based on them. Continuity was observed in all, ranging from refer – 68-bis. It is clearly hinted at a very close kinship with “Chapaevymi” that is quite true. The developers have added a couple of 100-mm two-gun installations, the same 37-mm Sparky and provided modern electronic equipment. Almost unchanged remained and appearance, with two pipes with sloping roofs and characteristic conical bastnaesite the bow superstructure, posing a long-standing, pre-war roots of cooperation with the Italian designers. On the serious character of the race is evidenced by the fact that engineers had to proceed immediately to the drafting of the final project, bypassing the sketch – a bold decision, even to the point of insolence only possible due to the very close proximity to the prototype. (Same thing happened with Soviet destroyers: postwar 30 bis also became somewhat enlarged development of the pre-war “trecator”.)
It is worth noting that all these rather controversial circumstances of the birth of the ship created on the basis of the project 10 years ago, initially justified by the fact that 68-bis was considered only as a transitional option, which is supposed to build up to seven units. However, a workaround has suddenly become permanent. In 1947, all the same rush in an attempt to somehow catch up with the world’s strongest Navy is now undoubtedly the main potential enemy has resulted in the development of advanced cruiser project, 65 have completely stopped. Now instead of seven vehicles type 68 bis, previously considered as a transitional option, was conceived to build a huge series – as many as 25 units. The number that do not even have close precedents in this class for the Russian Navy, and inferior only in the same American “Cleveland”.
217. Light cruiser “Chapaev” (project 68К, USSR, 1950)
It was built at factory N° 189 in Leningrad. Displacement standard 11 130 tons, fully 14040 t, length of maximum 199,06 m, width 18,73 m, draft 6,9 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 110000 HP, speed of 32.8 KTS. Reservations: belt 100 mm, deck 50 mm, tower 175 — 65 mm, barbettes, 130 mm, combat tower 130 mm. Armament: twelve 152/57-mm guns, eight 100/70 mm anti-aircraft guns, twenty-eight 37-mm guns, up to 100 min.
Rooted in 1939 – 1941 10 units of type 68 completed in 1950-m to year five, “Chapaev”, “Chkalov” (formerly “Valery Chkalov”), “Zheleznyakov”, Frunze and Kuybyshev. Frunze excluded from the lists in 1960 “Chapaev” in 1960 disarmed and was used as floating barracks until 1963, when it was scrapped, “Kuibyshev” excluded from the lists of the fleet in 1965, “Zheleznyakov” in 1975 and “Chkalov” (renamed Komsomolets in 1958) in 1979.
218. Light cruiser of project 68 (USSR, 1936, final version)
Displacement standard, t 10620 full 13420 t, maximum length 199 m, width-18,7 m, draft of 5.88 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 110000 HP, speed of 33.5 KTS. Reservations: belt 100 mm, deck 50 mm, tower 175 — 65 mm, barbettes, 130 mm, combat tower 150 mm. Armament: twelve 152/55-mm guns, eight 100/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, twelve 37-mm machine guns, four 12.7 mm machine guns, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes, 2 seaplane, up to 100 min. In 1939 – 1941 laid down 10 units: “Chapaev”, “Valery Chkalov”, “Lenin”, “Dzerzhinskiy”, “Zheleznyakov”, “Aurora”, “Frunze”, “Kalinin”, “Kuibyshev” and “Sverdlov.”
219. Light cruiser “Sverdlov” (project 68-bis, USSR, 1940)
It was built at plant No. 189 in Leningrad. Displacement standard 11 130 tons, fully 14040 t, length of maximum 199,06 m, width 18,73 m, draft 6,9 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 110000 HP, speed of 32.8 KTS. Reservations: belt 100 mm, deck 50 mm, tower 175 — 65 mm, barbettes, 130 mm, combat tower 130 mm. Armament: twelve 152/57-mm guns, eight 100/70 mm anti-aircraft guns, twenty-eight 37-mm guns, up to 100 min.
Just laid down 21 units, completed 14: “Sverdlov”, “Zhdanov”, “Admiral Ushakov”, “Alexander Suvorov”, “Admiral Senyavin”, “Dmitry Pozharsky”, “Ordzhonikidze”, “Alexander Nevsky”, “Admiral Lazarev”, “Dzerzhinsky”, the “Admiral Nakhimov”, “Mikhail Kutuzov”, “Molotovsk” (since 1957 — “the October Revolution”), “Murmansk”. Almost ready for the “Admiral Kornilov” with existing mechanisms intended to complete construction of the project 64, but it was scrapped in 1959 “Admiral Nakhimov” in rebuilt missile cruiser project 71 in 1955 and 1957, excluded from the lists in the 1961 “Dzerzhinsky” also rebuilt in the cruiser, SURE project 70S in 1960 to 1962, are excluded from the lists in 1989, “Zhdanov” and “Senyavin” converted to command ships in 1970 — 1972, excluded from the lists in 1990 – 1991. “Dmitry Pozharsky”, “Admiral Ushakov” and “October Revolution” is excluded from the list in 1987, “Admiral Lazarev” in 1986 , “Sverdlov”, “Admiral Senyavin” and “Alexander Nevsky” — in 1989 Ordzhonikidze in 1962, upgraded to transfer to Indonesia, where he served until 1972 under the name “Irian”.
“Murmansk” was excluded from the lists in 1992, in 1994 when towing washed up on the rocks off the coast of Norway. “Mikhail Kutuzov” is excluded from the list in 1998 and remains as of Museum ship in Novorossiysk.

However, the developers made the smart move, later became almost traditional from the potential enemy. On cruisers had reserved a fairly large amount of space and electric power facilities in order to accommodate new types of weapons and equipment that could be developed at the time of construction. Indeed, this reserve is very useful. The cruiser returned to the torpedo armament, and instead of the usual three-pipe devices they received petitionee – record class, except for a specialized torpedo Japanese. Until 1951, when they ended the preparations for commissioning of the first units of the series, almost completely replaced their radar and radio equipment. But tests head “Sverdlov” was released without some of the devices: they are still mastering our industry.
In General, the construction of the unprecedented size of the series flowed fairly quickly, and, most importantly, rhythmically. A considerable role was played by the use of new (at least, for the Soviet Union) technologies. The hull all-welded was performed, but new low (so relatively inexpensive) steel. The work was able to complete much faster than the predecessors – “Chapaevo”. To expedite building for the first time involved not only the shipyard in Leningrad and Nikolayev, and the latest plant 402, rebuilt in the North created around the town of Molotovsk (now Severodvinsk). In the harsh Northern conditions of the cruiser was laid in enclosed docks, of course, more expensive, but provides a considerable savings in the actual construction of the ships. Not limited almost mastered the new theatre, expected to start construction of 68-bis and even in the far East, in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. However, the transport of large quantities of materials and equipment across the country in the end considered unsustainable.
In addition to the serious technical problems, surprisingly mostly successfully addressed, there arose a bit of a paradoxical problem with the names. Part of the new cruisers (and laid was only 23 units, 2 less than expected-up) got the names of the major partenogenetic figures that has become a tradition, starting with the firstborn of the Soviet createrestore, and the part was named in honor of the great commanders of the past. And sailors were titlovi completely, indicating the Admiral’s rank, but their colleagues on land for some reason had to be limited to the name and surname. But the enormity of the series has led to the fact that not enough suitable, from the point of view of the leaders and the generals. Then in turn went to the naval base, with the exception of Sevastopol, which was intended a much more ambitious vehicle. When it suddenly suffered such clearly politically neutral and quite decent figures as Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Donskoy applied to the result, “Vladivostok” and “Archangel”. Crowned with a diverse line of sorabotnikov, admirals, generals and cities of the “Varyag” for the first time in almost 50 years after the battle at Chemulpo domestic ship received the name it is not a revolutionary cruiser, left on an unequal battle with the Japanese fleet.
Again, as in the case of the previous series, there had been some fuss with the lead ship. They “appointed” built in Leningrad “Sverdlov”, although the “Dzerzhinsky” in Nikolaev began to build by as much as 11 months earlier. However, since last held run-technology for creating an all-welded hull, in a system previously included the “Sverdlov”. Its construction took almost 2.5 years – a very good result for the Russian Navy, having in mind the size of the ship and its quite complicated equipment. Effectively was over the other ships of the “first wave”. It seemed that it was possible not to doubt that for the first time will be able to bring truly great for our country series to the bitter end.
However, intervened quite objective circumstances. As time went on, in 1950-e years almost all countries have stopped building artillery cruisers, and it builds only a few units. Reason enough: in the Navy the Western powers and so there are too many ships of this class contain which was only a new global leader – the USA. Besides, it was believed that the age of artillery have already come to an end: the development of guided missile weapons did expensive armored “box” too valuable and vulnerable target. To confront charges of missiles of a few hundred kilograms of explosives, no armor could not. A final end to the traditional cruisers put modern means of detection, and nuclear weapons. Already in 1960-e years it was believed that the life of a major warship in the event of a nuclear conflict is measured by the minute.
However, this time has not really arrived, when in 1956, the construction of which have not yet entered into operation units (such by that time had accumulated 14) suspended, regardless of readiness. It was very upsetting, because five more cruisers already launched and they could be put into operation during the year. But the leadership of the country (this action is primarily associated with the name N. With. Khrushchev, “who did not like big ships”) remained firm in his decision. You can argue whether or not it was a wise or, on the contrary, there is little meaningful. The country started the construction of a new fleet of underwater missiles, and “Bolivar” our economy simply would not be able to bear double load.
To save unfinished buildings offers a variety of projects for their use: and as the self-propelled floating barracks, and as rescue ocean-going vessels, and as civil ships: transports, tankers and even passenger liners! One of the most curious was the option of salvage rescue vessel, killing two birds with one stone in the sense that it provided for the establishment of a catamaran out of two buildings 68 bis with a huge crane over them. Obviously, all of these original designs remained on paper: the cost of the work is too clearly not worth the possible dividends from the sale. But more reasonable options for restructuring the purely military – missile carriers and command ships (of which we will explain later) is still carried out, although used to do this already built one.
However, all left after the “decimation” of the representatives of the most numerous type of cruisers of the Soviet Navy was long and multifaceted. They were part of all four fleets of the USSR: Baltic, black sea, Northern and Pacific, as well as repeatedly done long hikes across the globe, playing an important role in the decades-long cold war. Our cruisers recommended to be within range of their guns from the American aircraft carrier compounds in constant readiness to open fire in a matter of minutes and manage to damage the floating airfield before he will be able to produce their planes. (As happened with the British “Glories” off the coast of Norway in 1940.) It is believed that the presence of the Soviet Mediterranean squadron had turned the 6th fleet of the United States from direct participation in the hostilities on the side of Israel in 1967. In case of transfer of an undeclared war, “hot”, the groups 68-bis was supposed to be used as the main striking force in the capture of most of the Straits of Kattegat and Skagerrak in the Baltic sea and the Bosporus on the Black sea, as well as to counter possible wisdom by the enemy. Over the years, the chance meetings in a fair artillery battle with the same units of the enemy fleet was getting smaller. Western countries to incapacitate their cruiser. The United States has endured the longest, but they gradually liquidated their cruising fleet. Meanwhile, in the fighting in Korea and Vietnam guns of the ships of this class proved very popular during the shelling shore targets. Because of these considerations, the Soviet leadership continued to maintain the “Sverdlov” in the battle line; by the end of his career, those that remained full artillery cruisers, for the most part we were part of the landing of the compounds had to support the troops when landing.
In reality such an operation was able to take part only one ship, and that is not part of our fleet. In the early 1960s, the Soviet leadership took the decision to transfer the two cruisers of the “Sverdlov” of Indonesia, which at that time the rules of Pro-Communist President Sukarno. One of them, “Ordzhonikidze”, managed to refit for service in tropical waters and solemnly pass it on to new owners, with a hint renamed it “Irian” (the Indonesian name for New Guinea, the Western part which remained a Dutch possession). Sukarno was soon overthrown by the military, so a former Ordzhonikidze remained single handed cruiser. But he was involved in a strange poluvoyny with Holland, to shoot while on the shore of the island, whose name it was called.
With “perestroika” and the subsequent collapse of the great powers – the Soviet Union – came the turn of the last representatives of 68, the number in the lists of the fleet. Most of them withdrew from the Navy in 1986 – 1989. The most sad fate befell a little delayed “Murmansk”. It was sold to a breaker in India, but the total collapse of the country affected and in private: in 1994, when towing to the place of showdown threw him on to the rocks off the coast of Norway. The ensuing storm the ship is flooded at the upper deck. Disassembly on the spot considers it inappropriate. But enterprising Norwegians had arranged to “draw” the cruiser a kind of Museum for thrill-seekers who are courageous enough to climb the waves flooded the ship. Much more lucky “Mikhail Kutuzov”: after delisting in 1998, there was a campaign to save the last of the cruiser series. It was a success, “Kutuzov”, included in the list of protected objects of history and culture, the international organization UNESCO, and he took a seat on the waterfront in Novorossiysk on eternal Parking.

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