“MACHINE-GUN” CRUISER

Gradually accelerates since the beginning of the “great war” in Europe, the US military machine required a constant feeding of “raw materials” — new projects and orders. Moreover, fighting constantly threw up new and new reasons. After not too successful performance in Norway and followed the fall of France, the evacuation of the British from Dunkirk, it became clear that any fleet in dire need of strong air cover, to ensure that staff pre-war anti-aircraft guns could not. The Americans wanted to solve the problem fundamentally, creating a six-inch anti-aircraft gun, arming her cruiser. It is clear that the new super-aircraft guns required a high rate of fire and good mobility, not to mention the obligatory fire control systems. “Project” has drawn many more millions and on for months — perfect for the military-industrial complex.

Work on the new 152-mm gun was already in full swing when the situation became clear: a major threat to ships and vessels from the air, but in reality was not horizontal “bombers” dropping your cargo from high altitudes and dive bombers. Against the last of the heavy guns were largely useless. Work on a new gun (and the money) was under threat. But then helped the new “scourge”. When the allied landing in Italy the Germans had used gliding bombs, launching with horizontal bombers that are at the limit of visibility and range of fire. And in the Pacific gained momentum by Japanese kamikaze planes which needed to destroy unconditionally, and not only damage, and as far away from their alleged victim. In these circumstances, a heavy antiaircraft gun again became relevant, and, in the end, it was created. The case remained for a carrier for her.

In fact, the requirements for such a super-cruiser’s air defense had already appeared in 1941. They assumed a kind of vehicle: large displacement of over 12,000 tons, with universal artillery of twelve 152-mm guns, more than covered “top” but lacking in armor zone. But the deck had to have a thickness of up to 178 mm — no worse than most battleships! This is truly a “armored cruiser”.

However, the sailors knew that in such a huge ship became an easy target for artillery surface enemy. Therefore, the project began to reshape, trying to find a middle ground. It was possible to reduce the number of guns it is possible to increase the size and to install the belt. It is easy to guess which variant of liked both producers and consumers. Of course, the maximum that could sustain only a bottomless overseas “pocket”.


The order followed in October 1944, when European marine opponents (for the “departure” of Italy — only thoroughly pinched Germany) did not pose almost any threat, and in the Pacific the Americans quietly “oppressed mass” without the use of highly technical innovations. However, “the new York shipbuilding company” managed to snatch two units. “Worcester” and “Roanoke” by August 1945, when the war finally ended, and no excuses to continue building ships “into the void” was no more, has achieved a substantial degree of readiness and survived.

 

But their planned “brothers”, “Gary” and “Vallejo” went under the knife, fortunately for taxpayers, another “paper” stage.

Revolutionary armament of the cruiser had quite a traditional building, similar to the “Klimentovsky”, but extended more than 20 m. the “Stretch” needed to accommodate “in-line” six two-gun towers with the infamous super-aircraft guns. Equipped with automatic feed (or rather, two anti-aircraft and armor-piercing projectiles supplied separately) and is able to lift up the trunks of nearly 80 degrees, the installation came out very heavy — more than 200 If you count the weight of one barrel, it increased in comparison with their predecessors, almost 2 times, while the barrel itself as times changed. In the end had two end towers in the bow and stern to be placed directly on the deck, not by a raised configuration, as otherwise ostoichivisti decreased to dangerous levels. Relatively “easy” in size giant and so caught up with the size of their “heavy” counterparts.

As for his fighting power, the developers of automation once again failed to deliver on its promises. Instead of the scheduled 20 rounds per minute of six-inch guns could really only give 12. The main condition — possibility of aerial gunnery was performed. Consequently, gone is the necessity to determine the component of the weapons — the “second pass” in the face of omnipresent 127-millimetrovogo. Them, and along with 40-mm guns were replaced with new coupled 76-mm cannon. In this replacement there were a lot of sense: single hit even a 40-mm projectile could not stop new heavy aircraft or rushing without regard to the purpose “kamikaze”. But the heavier three-inch performed this task with a direct hit of course, and in the case of non-contact explosion from the action of radar Fuze gave a lot more pieces. But in extreme cases on the newest ships left some seems to be already receding into the past 20-mm guns: in case of complete failure of all power sources, these light anti-aircraft guns with manual transmission could somehow meet the air of the enemy, because all the other plant was operated solely by electric motors.

In General, the innovative cruiser is really successful. Another thing is that the problem now was to find potential enemies, which after 1945 has decreased drastically. But when comparing with their peers, the Soviet cruisers of the project 68, “Worcester” and “Roanoke” look noticeably better. They are better protected, and have almost one and a half times greater firepower, not to mention the most important quality — the ability to shoot at the planes and appeared first, still transonic, missiles. Achilles ‘ heel is that rich electronics: for the scrapping of the radar antennas and cables could be enough successfully trapped fragment. The Americans had already so believed in the “power devices” that all 4 post fire control of the main fire has received data from the radar.

Of course, neither the designers nor the Industrialists would not stop after such a short dvuhterabaytny, series. Followed by promises of “next time” to achieve the desired rate of fire 20 rounds per minute and even exceed it and create trichological tower for such machines. (Easy to estimate that one such plant would be able to throw away in a moment almost as much metal as, for example, once a monstrously terrible Japanese “Mogami”). However, the train had already left. Even the most bellicose admirals knew that it was built during the war and completed immediately thereafter cruisers more than enough to counter the Soviet ships of the same class.

However, the “Worcester” and “Roanoke” left only “gunmen”, “conceived” during the Second world war. If the requirements of the six-inch skorostrel (and ships) originated mainly in connection with the threat from the sky, the appearance of the eight-inch gun was the result of numerous night battles near the Solomon Islands, which occurred in late 1942 and the first half of 1943. Fleeting skirmishes demonstrated the obvious fact that heavy cruiser with their 203-millimetre artillery was not in the best position at short distances in the fight against high-speed targets. First of all, due to the insufficient rate of fire of their main caliber, so the goal was defined. In the spring of 1943, the engineers of “bulk” to the set task — to increase the number produced from one barrel of shells up to 7 — 8 per minute. However (unsurprisingly — not for the first time in history!) even the prototypes were not very reliable. A new model was on the factory lines only at the end of 1945, when the war was over.

Many problems arose with future bearers of such mighty weapons. Originally it was planned to install an 8-inch skorostrel type “Oregon city” (about it we already told earlier), but “Bolivar” simply would not be able to make a truly dual cargo trehgrudaya tower had the size and weight of the towers of the dreadnoughts of the First world war — more than 450 T. However, the developers of automation after all the delays has exceeded my initial requirements. The main caliber could give ten volleys in a minute — almost three times more than the “non-automatic” predecessors. Of course, despite the high rate of fire, firing at the planes 203-graph paper it does not fit, so had to leave the standard set of “sticks vyruchalochka” — universal 127-millimetrovogo. As in “Worcester”, 40-mm guns were replaced by the new 76-mm antiaircraft guns, and more than two dozen “Arlekino” also served as a reserve weapon of last resort.

 

A powerful armament was supplemented with a strong reservation. Although the thickness of the main zone remains the same as its predecessors — “the Baltimore”, the zone became more extensive. Looked great horizontal protection based on the same principle as light “machine gunners” and consisted of a thin upper armored deck and three times more solid home. Do not compromise on the protection of the towers, the thickness of the roof which reached 102 mm. an Important innovation was the division of the body thick (127-mm) armored bulkheads-traverse to “artillery” and “mechanical” area.

All this wealth seemed fine, but demanded a huge “box”: the normal displacement of close to 20 thousand tons, and the “des Moines” were the largest built artillery cruisers, except, of course, linear. But the combat power they were more than respectable. A “gunner” could produce per minute up to 90 shells, combined with modern fire control system could decide the outcome of the battle with any of the floating or built in the time cruisers in just a couple of minutes, especially on small or medium distances. While this armor protection provided almost complete safety from 152-mm of shells, so in combat with our “68” winner was clear in advance. (Although Soviet leaders and admirals is well understood and assumed his “antidote”, but this will be discussed further).

In principle, the 8-inch supercruiser justified itself, although to test in combat, they never had a chance. However, the “Newport news” took part in the Vietnam war, actively firing at targets on the shore. When one of these shootings happened the only, but significant incident with his weapons. In October 1972, in the middle trunk of the elevated bow of the tower, an explosion occurred, the hot gases which is not until the end of the shutoff broke into the tower, killing 20 people and wounding almost twice as much. There followed a long trial, and the cruiser slowly removed from the theater of operations. He was with a couple of guns in the “lame” tower to the end of the service, becoming the first of a series, went to be scrapped. None of the remaining pairs are no incidents of “machine-gun” guns were not, although, in fairness I must say that these guns never worked in my extreme mode except for testing.


Incidentally, Americans are not the only fans of heavy automatics. Along with the powerful, she quite suddenly became interested in the small but technically advanced country. We have already talked about a couple of the Swedish “Tre Kronor” and “the göta Lejon”, which used highly sophisticated 152-mm guns, developed “Bothersom” for the Dutch cruisers. But the primary customers are not going to stay away from the process. Moreover, that case pre-war “De Zeven Provincien” and “Eendracht”, on the one hand, were in pretty decent condition, and with another — it is suited for extensive modernization. They haven’t even been covered deck, so managed without significant cost to completely redraw the mechanical installation. The traditional linear arrangement gave way to modern echelon, consisting of two blocks, each of which included a turbine and serving her a couple of coppers. This decision resulted in a second tube, which gave the vehicle a more pleasing appearance, but caused significant problems with the “top” weight. Moreover, the volume of add-ins has more than doubled, to be able to place it in numerous modern equipment, primarily radar, antennas which in turn demanded two massive three-legged masts. The designers went to an interesting step, aligning the front pipe to the superstructure and the foremast, and rear — with the main mast. That helped a little, but the cruiser was overloaded, because their size has not changed. It should be noted that engineers have sought to save tons and even weight wherever possible. Thus, the design of the hull was held together almost exclusively by electric welding, and the superstructure was made with extensive use of lightweight aluminum alloys. All this has created an interesting modern ships, and many technical solutions (“combined” pipe mast, fully enclosed and devoid of portholes case) became the standard for new projects in such a “serious” fleets, like the American. But a solid 1000-ton overload to avoid and failed.

But the armament was very impressive. Eight new automatic six-inch housed in pairs in four towers located according to the classical scheme — two in the bow and stern. Tools, collaborative development “Bofors” and Dutch firms, shamed us “universali”: they really could give 15 rounds per minute, so 8-gun cruiser with a standard displacement of less than 10 thousand tons of the fire was equivalent to much larger 12-gun “Cleveland” or the Soviet “Chapaev” and “Sverdlov”. In principle, the main gauge can be used for firing at air targets, although the elevation angle (60 degrees) and inferior to that overseas, “Worcester”. This ability is well complemented by a combination of 57-mm and 40-mm guns the latest models with effective stabilization system and fire control, which is so famous for the Dutch fleet since the pre-war time.

The hosts are very seriously approached the matter, preferring to keep the hull a couple of years before the time, until all systems and devices were not ready. And after the commissioning of both vessels passed severe tests: one of them was sent on a long hike to the equator, the second — in the Arctic. Little Holland was not going to build such an expensive combat units only so that in 10 years, send them to be scrapped. Indeed, both cruisers were expecting a long and interesting service, although the enemy to shoot and failed. A curious moment in their history was the change of names. At the completion of the “De Zeven Provincien” became “De Ruijter” and released the name of the “De Zeven Provincien” was former “Kijkduin”.

Leaning in the 50-ies fashion and missile accession of the Netherlands to NATO demanded modernization. It was only “De Zeven Provincien”, “De Ruyter” considered unworthy mind a few more wear. But really both ships served almost the same time. After serving in the national Navy full time — more than 20 years, they came in handy as a source of funds. Formidable and still quite modern cruisers bought in Latin America, and after long negotiations and “anti-submarine maneuvers” purchaser became Peru. There was only one funny problem: the armed American anti-aircraft missile “Terrier” “De Zeven Provincien” had to disarm, and the missiles (at that time — a fair amount of stuff) return “transatlantic uncle”. (They were replaced with a hangar and landing platform for other new-fangled aircraft weapons, helicopters). In the end, the cruiser, which would have to be “long lasting” first stood at upgrading a couple of extra years, until 1978, and then first went to the metal already from the new owners, barely short of the new Millennium. But the “De Ruyter” has served for nearly a decade after the turn of the century, becoming the last “real” artillery cruiser in history.

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