CRUISER-LIKE SHIPS, AND SHIPS-THE CRUISERTwo decades on the verge of XIX and XX centuries were years of turning the cruiser into a real fighting machine. Continuously growing sizes; armored vehicles gave way to armored, the latter suddenly replaced by a linear one. In parallel, there is a subclass of fast light cruisers scouts, which gradually became the main one. But all these types and varieties intended for combat — or as part of squadrons of “large fleets”, or when solitary hunt for their own kind. Naval experts and the developers did not forget about such tasks as intelligence (in the interests of the same “big boys”) or mine production. But the result in the famous “paddock” was a major historical mission of the cruiser hunt for the merchant ships of the enemy.

Of course, for this purpose, in principle, approached from a universal cruisers of the early XX century, which had sufficient range and autonomy. But their predecessors such problems enough. The steam engine 1890s years, though constantly improved, but still remained very uneconomical; ferry they provided a working coal-fired boilers, consuming this “delicacy” in infinite quantities. (No wonder one of the leaders of the Admiralty during the First world war, somehow in the hearts protested their cruisers: “Coal! Yes, they devour it like chocolate!”) The range of stroke between the loading seldom corresponded to passport data. Often, when bad fuel, she was barely half the estimated. No wonder for operations of its Pacific squadron of Vice-Admiral Spee the Ministry of the Navy of Germany had to allocate more than two dozen coal miners, dispersing them in all ports of the Americas. It is the desire to maintain a stock of fuel at the maximum level caused a fatal delay with a campaign Spee to the Falkland Islands, where it was waited already by a British cruiser engaged in the same main cruising-loading of coal.
It is quite clear that the country, assuming in the case of a sea war to conduct active operations against the trade, such a situation does not suit. And from time to time, they have the desire and attempts were made to create a specialized ship, designed if not exclusively, mainly to hunt for “merchants.” The efforts of Russia in this region we have been told. But Russia was not alone: the British oceanic trade, enveloped in its network the whole world. put your eyes and unequivocally gave England supremacy on the water the French and the Americans, well remembered about the humiliation of 1812 and the troubles that brought them to the “enlightened sailors” during the Civil war.
I must say that the problem of creating high-quality “hunting” was not limited to attempts to maximally load the vehicle special construction coal. Remained, in particular, the problem of speed. In those days, the best of passenger and mail vessels (respectively. and called — liners and steamers) had high speed. equal to or greater than the maximum stroke, the then cruisers traditional 18 — 20 knots. Especially distinguished in this respect, the steamers carrying passengers across the Atlantic. With such a speed transatlantic could maintain for days, without accidents and breakdowns, unlike their military colleagues, who have so much trouble on the big course was very common.
So, the task was to develop a vehicle with a very large supply of coal, high speed and reliable machines and boilers. While not too big because of financial constraints has not been canceled. As a sort of specialized “extreme” was not able to remain versatile. Satisfaction of the above requirements raider could be carried out only at the expense of combat abilities: weapons and defense. All these considerations sharply limit the desire to begin creating specialized hunters for trade in time of peace.
It is not surprising that among the pioneers in the creation of these “pirates” became the United States of America. The success of Confederate raiders and the urgent desire to have a reliable tool for a possible fight with “mistress of the seas” was a weighty weights on one of the cups weights on another Cup which was required to put a fair amount needed to implement the idea of money. After many doubts and estimations of the order received private firm “crump and sons” from Philadelphia, while rapidly “gaining speed”. In the mid 1890 Congress approved the “Columbia”, and after another nine months — the same type of “Minneapolis”. Crump coped with the task, to build each of the ships for three years rather short for the time. But if the timing was fine, then to the project itself, there were many complaints. Cruiser came with a very impressive, almost 7.5 thousand tons displacement, but the weapons could not boast. It is based on two six-inch guns in the nose and one vosmidesyati in the feed. We have already seen on cruisers in different countries such asymmetric decision related to the then tactical “razmyshlizmy”, according to which it was believed that the “hunter” must develop in pursuit of the maximum density of fire to stop his victim. During the withdrawal he was fired from guns of the largest caliber, in the hope that successful hit the heavy projectile will force enemies to stop chase. (Subsequently referred the subtleties admitted irrelevant and just replaced the 203-mm gun on the third 152-mm) This strange set was supplemented with eight rapid-fire 102-millimetrovogo, located in the dungeons, protected by four-inch armor. Here American idea difficult to understand: to kill a merchant ship can, in principle, any gun that it is not necessary to book, and to fight with cruisers special built chetyrehmetrovy obviously weak. In addition, the Board “columbium” was decorated with a dozen favorite overseas admirals, 57 mm skorostrel, which was considered a very promising weapon for melee. Not forgotten and torpedo their Grand range of 3 cable lengths. And again it is unclear — who was supposed to compete for the raiders at small distances?
In General, abundant criticism about the weak weapons had their base. An apology could serve only good quality running. But here, the successes were rather modest. Design speed of up to 21 knots both cruisers even exceeded, but by the time of their entry into operation it was no longer something exceptional. To achieve long-range ships has supplied three machines is considered the most economical. (Thought that in the normal hikes will be enough of one in krakerstva two, and in pursuit of a “runner” thing to let all three). The place they took pretty, and all the remaining corners were set aside for coal, complete stock which amounted to almost a third of the displacement. However, this does not help on: “mechanics” were very voracious, and planned range was not achieved. The only thing a potential raiders succeeded, it’s the ability to long maintain a high speed. But here they have not shown any of the expected results: go through the traditional route of “transatlantico” took a few minutes to 7 days. But by that time, some passenger ships have passed this way on the day faster, like a number of warships. SAC, for example, the German “fürst Bismarck” gave a head start about half a day — quite a lot, given the fact that “German” was radically stronger than the us raiders in armament and protection.
As no special arguments in favor of “Columbia” and “Minneapolis” is not found, attempt to create ocean “hunters” rightly considered failed and must be repeated were not moreover, after the first campaigns and high-profile advertising, which the Americans quite successfully covered up its failure, the cruiser slowly brought into the reserve, where they stayed for about ten years. Only after the United States entered the First world war the losers “reanimated” by reducing the already powerful weapons, and used for a purely ancillary tasks. At the end of hostilities save in the ranks of large “boxes” with a minimum number of trunks and at the first opportunity sent for scrapping.
The second approach was for France. There the initiator of the corresponding ideas became the Minister of marine, Felix Faure, a supporter of the “Young school”, which ordered its designers the project “ultra-fast cruiser-Corsair”. (Later on this term too calling the French refused to “British not to tease geese”.) Already, preliminary calculations showed that the ship was quite large, approaching eight thousand tons. And this despite the fact that decided to confine the artillery of medium caliber and modest protection, and the estimated range with full stock of coal and a speed of 12 knots does not exceed 7,500 miles. In the end, the “Guichen” and “château-Renault” in the course of construction reclassified to cruiser of the 1st rank are definitely the weakest from the “classmates”.
Interestingly, one of them, “Guichen”, was unique for the French Navy ship, left without a specific Creator – the author of the project. The drawings were signed by many different officials, but the designer chose to remain anonymous. Modern researchers assume that they, most likely, was a famous shipbuilder Emile Bertin. This is suggested, in particular, linking with native offices in the heart of the case, framed with fore and aft boiler room, and posted to two groups of pipes — a feature for future cruisers Bertana.
The authorship of the second, “château-Renaud”, on the contrary, was not disguised. It was designed also known, albeit less widely, the engineer Lagan. “Château-Renaud” turned out to be quite unlike the “Guichen”. Moreover, the shape of the hull, a beautiful overhanging stern and four adjacent slightly sloping pipes the cruiser resembled an ocean liner. Experts are still arguing, whether this is done intentionally Lagan that the Corsair could bond with his civilian counterpart, suspicion, or, conversely, the shipbuilder just took spoi ideas for the layout and solutions with the creators high-speed “transatlantico”.
Designed “speed hunters” to achieve 23 knots when a small artificial traction, but in the first tests, “Guichen” barely reached a rather pathetic 21 site. However, being a weak Sprinter, cruiser showed good serious quality. He did not just overcome more than a thousand miles at an average speed of 18.5 knot, and in one of the campaigns ran all of the Mediterranean sea on 16 nodes. Though not claim the blue ribbon transatlantic prize for speed, but really not too bad. Even better he proved himself “château-Renault” won on the testing of a 24-node boundary. A great result for the beginning of the XX century, comparable only with the speed of our “shestidesyatnikov”. However, the French were considerably larger, the same “Varyag”. But their defense also looked stronger: 100 mm bevels armored deck pretty reliably protect engines and boilers from the main cruising weapons — six-inch. But the artillery, consisting of a pair of 164-mm guns in the bow and stern and six 138-mm on the sides, was obviously weaker, and “château-Renault” did not even put torpedo tubes: on the “thoroughbred” the raider they were considered unnecessary. To ensure the flooding of the cofferdam was supposed to fill in hermetically sealed galvanized boxes (several thousand!), however, a belated wish to save money and a complete failure of such a measure on the battleship “Brenne”, where the box safely rusted, saved the raiders from this meaninglessness. In General, French “Le Corsaire” turned out to be less successful than our versatile vehicles, having a mass of small but noticeable flaws. Especially the “Guichen”, heavily filled with water when required for the big move. It has the same temperature at the Central cellars and other rooms adjacent to the boiler room, at full speed and reached the unbearable 55 degrees. “Hunters” podvergshis at home no less devastating criticism than their overseas counterparts. Expressed extreme opinions that 32 million francs (the full cost of the couple) were simply thrown to the wind, and 1200 sailors — the crew — was getting his salary without benefits for the country.
The Navy tried to soften the bad: both cruisers had extensive premises are adapted to long trips. so they are often used to transport troops to far colonies Had higher housing and open spaces. “Château-Renault” and here was preferable: it was equipped with a beautiful Admiral’s cabins and salons. One time a failed Corsair even supposed to be used as a superyacht to the highest officials of France, in particular the President of the Republic. But the career of the ship came together so well. like its “cousin”: the cruiser was confined to the carriage of a soldier, not the political elite. And his end was tragic: in December, 1917, “château-Renault” after being hit by two torpedoes from German submarine IS-38 went down.
So, despite significant uproar around the American and French raider steam, the result was disappointing neither their creators nor for doubtful happy owners. Much more preferable to present the alternative: the use in time of war the best (first of all, most fast) of liners as auxiliary cruisers. In all of the major Maritime powers, the owners of suitable vessels received substantial subsidies for their construction and maintenance, plus guarantee of payment of conversion and use for inclusion in the regular Navy and a solid compensation in the case of possible death from enemy shells or torpedoes. In turn, the shipowners undertook not only to keep potential cruisers in preparedness, but often include the design of additional watertight bulkheads, special reinforcements for the installation of the guns, premises for the cellars of ammunition and other useful “stuff”. However, the mobilization of Affairs has left a lot of. Installed tools, storage and supply of ammunition, facilities for passengers were converted under additional coal bunkers were removed and surrendered to the warehouses of many of the luxury cabins and salons of the first class: furniture, upholstery, curtains рабо1 mass, which was done as quickly as possible. Otherwise there was a risk that the auxiliary cruiser with the willingness to act late.
139. Armored cruiser “château-Renault” (France, 1902)
It was built by the firm “La Seine”. A displacement of 7900 tons; waterline length of 135.0 m; width of 17.0 m; draught of 7.40 m. Capacity trekhsloynoy plants triple expansion 23 000 HP, speed 24 knots. Armament: two 164/45-mm, six 138/45 mm, ten 47-mm and five 37-mm rapid-fire guns. Booking: deck 40 — 55 mm (bevel 100 mm), shields, guns 55 mm, cutting 160 mm. Sold into private hands in 1920 and Dismantled in 1925
140. The auxiliary cruiser “Ural” (Russia, 1904)
It was built by the firm “Volcano” as the liner “spree” up to 1890, then rebuilt in a twin-screw ship with a name change to “Kaiserin Maria Theresa”, in 1904, purchased by Russia and converted into an auxiliary cruiser. Displacement 10 500 tonnes; length to 167.6 m; width of 15.86 m; draught 8.2 m. Power dvukhsloinoi plants triple expansion 18 100 HP, speed 20.5 of the node (maximum of 22 knots). Armament: two 120/45 mm, four 76/40-mm Armstrong guns, eight 57-mm Hotchkiss guns and two machine guns. Killed in battle at Tsushima in may 1905.
141. Armored cruiser “Columbia” (USA, 1894)
It was built by the firm of “crump” in Philadelphia. The 7375 tons displacement; the maximum length 125,9 m; width 17,72 m; draught of 6.89 m. the three-shaft Power plants triple expansion 21 000 HP; speed 21.5 per node. Armament: one 203/40 mm, two 164/40-mm, eight 102/40 mm, twelve 57-mm and four 37-mm rapid-fire guns, four 356-mm (457-mm “Minneapolis”) torpedo tubes. Booking: deck 63 mm (bevel 102 mm), shields, guns and a cell 102 mm, 127 mm. – cutting In 1894 built two units: “Columbia” and “Minneapolis”, distinguished externally by a number of pipes (four and two respectively). Both scrapped in 1921 — 1922.

A good illustration of all the problems associated with the conversion and use of the trading ships in the cruiser, was the Spanish-American war of 1898. With the outbreak of hostilities, both sides frantically began to search for a suitable “material” of Course, the United States had a solid own “fleet” of ships, and a much large financial resources, was much easier. But even the Americans have worried enough, searching for requisite and tooling ships suitable for military service.
Much worse had Spain, with its small and outdated the trading fleet. She had to look for a potential cruiser on the side. Here the main “donor” made in Germany, very carefully refers to the preparations for the merchant ships to the raider attacks. Not free, of course. Sale of four ships with a displacement of 10 to 12 thousand tons, had a speed of about 19 knots, cost more than 750 thousand f.St., approximately one third of their real value. In the Spanish Navy, they have the names of the “Rapido”, “Patriot”, “Giralda” and the “Meteor”, but even hastily conducted the conversion is not allowed to use them any active. At the time of entry of ships into operation, the squadron of Admiral of the Servers had already suffered a complete defeat — and all four of the former liner was part of the Reserve squadron of Admiral Camara. In accordance with its name it remained until the end of the war in a deep reserve, even though the experts believed that active operations in the Atlantic ocean, the ILO would thoroughly Pat nerves of Americans. But instead of raiding the former ships had to do the usual occupation the movement of troops. Mostly from former colonies.
The rush for conversion impact. first of all, the artillery armament of auxiliary cruisers. For the militarization of the Spaniards had to pick up all the reserves of naval arsenals and to get the guns off the obsolete frigates. In the end бор1а Rapido was decorated with a fantastic set of systems of different countries and times: two 150-mm, 120-mm and 88-mm guns of Large, two 120-graph paper Armstrong, four 57-mm skorostrel Nordenfelt, two 57-mm Hochkiss and the same 42 mm domestic production Sarmiento. Not less gaudy look and “Patriot” carrying four 150-mm and two 120 mm guns of Armstrong, a few domestic 90-millimetrovogo Ontoria set skorostrel of four 57-mm Nordenfelt, a pair of 42-mm Sarmiento and another pair of 37-mm Maxim. More fortunate “Meteoro”, which came unexpected help from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy has granted a related excellent rapid-fire guns, including those intended for self built cruiser “Zenta”. In the end, “the Spaniard” got four 120mm, six 66 mm and four 47-mm guns of modern systems.
While their American opponents still looked far more solid. On the Atlantic “St. Louis” and “St. Paul” carrying eight six-inch and four 57-mm rapid-fire guns, and the “Paris” and “new York,” the number of 152-mm and 57-mm guns was supposed to increase to twelve and six respectively — more than the cruisers special built! The rest of the Atlantic auxiliary cruisers was limited to eight 102-mm or six 127-mm guns. In the Pacific stood out, “city of Sydney” and “city of Beijing”, armed with six 152-mm and 127-mm guns, respectively. Plus, unlike the ships of the enemy, all the artillery system was one of quite modern skorostrel.
However, despite the impressive numerical battery of the auxiliary cruiser could not compete with their “colleagues” special construction. Architecture commercial vessels imposed limitations on the location of artillery. It was almost impossible to place the installation in the diametrical plane, even on favorite for military ships of the positions in the bow and stern. Had to put them on the sides, on the deck or superstructure, so that in a side volley, practically all of the auxiliary cruiser any powers could only use half his firepower. Even more significantly affected by improvisation in the storage and distribution of shells. Often the role of the “Elevator” was playing the winch to the rope which is attached to a durable canvas bag, where in the “cellar” put a projectile or charge. But there were also “dogs”, in which the role of the winch played people carrying the same bags on the back. It is clear that such “supply system” will provide!” regular rate of the new guns was not possible. Another bucket of tar in a not very big barrel of honey added to the fire control system more Precisely, their absence. Especially notable was the Spaniards, who believed that the gunners “shopping cruisers” can get by without any sighting devices, striking tools, as in the days of sailing ships, to the eye, the “trunk”.
Grim appeared and the postwar fate of “Spanish German”. They were sold to civilian companies in different countries in no more than half of the original price. The record was set “Meteor”, assigned to domestic shipowners (in order not to miss potential cruiser abroad) is just over 20 thousand pounds. But for some of them military career is not yet over. Six Peto in 1904 broke out the Russo-Japanese war in which both sides immediately started forming auxiliary cruiser forces.
Of course, the situation in Russia was very different from the almost hopeless situation of a small and poor of Spain. The country had its own unique source from which to draw potential cruisers, a Voluntary fleet. Created on donations during the Russo-Turkish war of 1878, he then received a strong public support for the construction of new vessels, as a rule, fairly large and fast. It was assumed that in wartime they will become either auxiliary cruisers, or fast transports that serve the needs of the Navy.
However, just the beginning of the war all ships of the volunteer fleet suitable for quick conversion recognized only the black sea “Petersburg” and “Smolensk”. So the Naval Ministry decided to purchase several fast steamers abroad. Fortunately, the proposals were. Although the “main man of the sea”, England not only did not sell its ships, but also created all sorts of obstacles to transactions in other countries, Germany did not intend to follow her wishes. To his benefit: in the order of the German steamship companies there was a dozen already obsolete and unprofitable passenger ships built in the late 80’s early 90-ies of the last century, which, however, are very decent speed. Firms-carriers have been more and more interest due to the fact that to support “his producer” the government has made sizes issued by steamship companies subsidies with a share of ships of own construction, and the presence of more than half of the “foreigners” in the company’s fleet led to a complete refusal to pay. To lose subsidies nobody wanted, and the shipping companies happy to get rid of vessels of foreign construction, most of which were built in England. So the price, in contrast to the poor Spaniards, was more acceptable: from 150 thousand pounds for returned to the previous owners “Columbia” (the former in Spanish, Rapido) to nearly 250 thousand for the recently updated “Kaiserin Maria Theresia”. At last the Germans had a “surgical operation” insert the optional 20-meter section of casing with the mechanisms of two-shaft machine of increased capacity. And in the purchase price already included the cost of emergency repairs and some alterations, made at German shipyards.
So with the help of “cousin Willy” Russia without labor, and special costs received products the main ally of Japan. And to get around the undesirable political consequences of the fictitious sale is made for Dobroflot, who immediately “inferior” ships of the Maritime Ministry. The British gnashed their teeth, but not do anything about it could formally any violations of international law were not observed.
After the arrival in the Russian ports purchased the court received additional, sometimes very significant alteration. So, equipped with elevators and cellars of shells skylights of the engine room protected by steel sheets, steering and engine room, where possible, covered meter layer of pressed cork or the same with additional sheets of steel.
Having reviewed part of the bulkheads, cabins adapted for additional fuel storage. In the end a full supply of coal could reach 5 — 6 thousand tons. While sediment exceeded then the depth of the Baltic ports, and the reception of such quantity of fuel was possible only in the open sea. However, the maximum range at respectable for the time of 13 knots was reached 12 — 14 thousand miles — enough for a long krakerstva. Did not disappoint and mechanisms: all four samples exceeded 20 knots, and “Ural” the most even reached 22, despite the fact that the Spaniards have no Rapido, no other ships are unable to develop more than 18 knots.
On the auxiliary cruiser mounted spotlights and a very important innovation — the radio station. Not stingy and PA weapons: “Kuban”, “Terek”, “don” and “Ural” has got the modern artillery systems, mostly purchased abroad. It is based on the 120 – and 76-mm skorostrel of the firm of Armstrong. And two 120-mm somehow installed in the stern, although freshly baked dogs intended for hunting, not for shooting regular enemy.
If the case with the preparation of the Russian auxiliary cruisers progressed well, their actions can hardly be called successful. In the early summer of 1904 in the expanse of the Atlantic started the “Ural” and “Terek” and “Dnepr”. The first two were stopped and inspected the nearly three dozen merchant ships, but none was able to “hook” on smuggling. And the commander of the “Dnepr” generally behaved exclusively passively, never even tried to explore the “merchants”. In the end, after two months of “three attacks” had to return Home empty-handed.
Their black sea counterparts have been able to achieve high-profile recognition. “Petersburg” and “Smolensk” alone left Sevastopol, remaining outwardly the steamers of the volunteer fleet. They safely passed through the regime of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, then another “bottleneck” — the British controlled the Suez canal, Once finally in the Red sea, “merchants” on the go converted to warships. From the holds got guns and equipment, the sailors were dressed in the form, on the flagpole, raised the flag of St. Andrew. Immediately found and game: Petersburg detained the British steamer “Malacca”, “Smolensk” — three “Smugglers”, although they watched together twice less ships than the Baltic raiders. Not surprising, since Maritime trade with the Far East was mainly through the Suez canal and the Red sea.
Immediately followed by a completely hysterical reaction of the “mistress of the seas”. The English Newspapers demanded to punish and even destroy the pirates. Of course. the main reason was not a desire so much to help Japan and not even in specific financial losses. Policy and the Admiralty knew perfectly well that if such a course of action — armament of Auxiliary cruisers in the sea — will be de facto legalized, that in case of war, British trade, may come to a quick end. In the end, the British-delete axle-to achieve his “Petersburg” and “Smolensk” was withdrawn, and the prizes had to return to the owners.
Thus ended the “first series” ordeal of the Russian auxiliary cruisers. But less than six months later, came the second. The composition of who went to the far East of the 2nd Pacific squadron of Vice-Admiral Z. P. Rozhdestvensky included all the available units are: “Ural”, “Dnepr”, “Terek,” “Rion” and “Kuban”. It was assumed that along with combat ships they get to close to Japan, where will go in self-krakerstva, by diverting part of the enemy forces. In the campaign of the former liner will be useful for reconnaissance and security. In essence, the plan failed to implement, but the result was quite disappointing.
Japanese the bait is not pecked, primarily because once again the raiders were ineffective. Although managed to detain a few “offenders” inflicted damage to the enemy hardly pay the costs for the conversion and the organization of hikes. All the cruiser returned Home, except for “Ural”. Rozhestvensky wished to keep this the best and most high-speed unit as a scout with the squadron. Huge, but completely protected the steamer happened to be in the thick of battle. The target was too tempting, and the “Ural” fired by the Japanese battleships. The commander ordered to leave the damaged ship, then another few hours hanging out on the sea without a crew, stubbornly wanting to sink. Point in his career put Japanese torpedo.
The enemy also used the auxiliary cruiser, and very active. In contrast to Russia, preferring to buy the material abroad, the Japanese have been easier and harder. They requisitioned for the needs of the Navy all their more or less suitable merchant vessels, refitting 27 the best in the cruiser. Since Japan then was not included in the number of holders of the superliner, her ekspromty ships were much more modest in size and speed (for the most part does not exceed 17 knots) and armament, consisting usually of a pair of guns of 120 – or 76-mm caliber, plus a few 57 – and 47-mm skorostrel. Despite the help of the British, guns were scarce, so the course went all the matching trunks, even raised from the flooded team “Varyag”. “Capitalized” and flooded in Port Arthur Russian auxiliary cruiser “Angara”, turning it into a “Anegawa-Maru”. (I must say that “Anegawa”, with its woodsmaster 11 200 tons and a speed of 19.5 knot, became the new owners of the best unit in this class.)
This motley company, nevertheless, have rendered the Navy of the Mikado in good stead. Auxiliary cruisers were used primarily for reconnaissance and patrols. No wonder it converted the “Shinano-Maru” found the 2nd Pacific squadron, thus giving rise to the battle of Tsushima. During the pursuit of remnants of broken Russian troops also participated the fastest makeshift scouts. They lifted off the water of people from our sunken ships, then transported troops and cargo during operations against the island. In General we can say that in both wars auxiliary cruiser is clearly useful to all participants, the winners and losers. Though they have not yet achieved major success, being content with “small things.” Still to come, when after a decade the PA world was hit by the “Great war” the First world war.

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