THE ANSWER FROM THE CHAMBERLAINThe first years after the conclusion of the London naval agreement of 1930, it caused a massive shift to the construction of light cruisers with 6-inch guns, were relatively quiet. The development of a new (or rather, a revival of the old) class was quite consistent and logical. Would the good old times when making each new project was justified primarily real needs of the fleet, but not artificial limits on the tonnage and caliber of the guns.

But lasted “a period of logic” is very long. In fact, in each of the major Maritime powers of the “powers that be” seamen from the start were thinking about how to build a cruiser for the maximum allowed tonnage of 10 thousand tons, but with armament of 6 inch guns. First the troublemakers were the Japanese, moving from theoretical considerations to implement them. We have already talked about the appearance of the cruisers “Mogami”, artillery which consisted of fifteen powerful 155-mm guns. At the moment the bookmarks they have caused serious headache for the opponents of the rising sun. Because such “light” cruiser had twice the density of fire than the universal British “Leander contains” or their Italian or French colleagues. It is clear that in a battle one on one with the monster of “normal” ships had a Ghost of a chance to survive. It is therefore not surprising that the major potential enemies of Japan, the United States and Britain, immediately began to develop its response to the potential danger, quickly taking shape in the metal on the far Eastern shipyards. No one, of course, did not know about the “knight’s move”, which actually was going to make the subjects of the Mikado, replacing treboradice 155-mm two-gun turrets on 203-mm.
The British seriously began work on her “answer” in 1933, behind the Japanese for almost three years. However, as it seemed, a very specific threat to be able to reflect without any problems. Needed a ship capable of fighting one on one with mnogobrojnim not a man, armed with guns of caliber up to 155 mm, This cruiser could be good to protect from enemy fire—a task virtually impossible in the case of the existence of that 8-inch guns. Initially, the Admiralty found it possible to create a project with a displacement of only about 8,000 tons, armed with twelve 6-dyuymovymi, besides covered against projectiles of the same caliber at almost all distances.
The basis was taken a good universal cruiser “Amphion”, where two-gun turret was replaced with trichoroethylene and at the same time intensified the reservation. The Admiralty has also demanded that on Board there were five seaplanes—new fashion, actively implements in the mid 1930-ies in all countries. It is clear that when such queries in real projects there are few things from the prototype, except that echelon location of boiler and turbine departments. The designers presented to the sailors a few projects with a displacement of 7800 to 88 835 tons, and, to the surprise of the first, future owners chose the most difficult to allow even more to increase it, but to strengthen anti-aircraft armament.
New large-scale light cruiser of traditional names of cities in the UK than would have emphasized their continuity with respect to predecessors of the “town”, built shortly before the First world war and became in time a kind of “battleships” among the light cruisers. Although the displacement has been contained at 9100 tons, the cost of large 152-mm cruisers were virtually the same as “Washington” “County.” This is not surprising when you consider that they are well in line with the new requirements and were much more “loaded” equipment, antiaircraft artillery and deck hydroaviation. Latest first in England comfortable again was a place in special hangars, located on either side of the front chimney. For the first time on British cruisers appeared treboradice towers before not too favorite gunners “mistress of the seas”. Indeed, their introduction has not been without rough spots. Despite the attempt to use as many mechanical and even automatic operations, the lion’s share of work remained for the sailor’s hands. The shells were manually transferred from the turret compartments directly to the guns, was manually driven into the barrel and swab doulamis, almost as in the days of sailing ships. To ensure at least a minimum ease of maintenance, the barrel secondary gun in each tower shifted backward relative to the extreme by almost a metre, to make people less interfere with each other. (No wonder the gunners were wary of such installations.) Not surprisingly, in the end, instead of ambitiously stated rate of fire in 12 rounds per minute in practice, managed to shoot only twice slower. Completed the “holes” in the artillery part of the traditional lack of reservation: walls and roof of the towers were still made of 25 mm sheet, nullifying the good security of the ship. Because the Board has really got a serious cover-up of the 114-mm belt, stretching for more than half the length of the hull along the engine and boiler rooms. The cellar, located below the water line, defended “boxes” with walls of the same thickness. In addition to the towers, looked weak horizontal protection, although theoretically a 32-mm deck is penetrated by six-inch only at very high for cruising the fighting distances of about 8 miles.
Drawbacks have been eliminated on the last three ships in the series, “Manchester”, “Liverpool” and “Gloucester”. The thickness of the front plates of the towers brought to 102 mm, and the roof as the armored deck, up to 51 mm. oddly at first glance, this is a noticeable improvement was worth only 300 tons displacement, and at the expense of increase of power turbine speed even managed to slightly increase.
All of the “city” has been very solid at the time anti-aircraft artillery. But if eight trunks medium 102-mm caliber by the time it was difficult to surprise, for example, those of the Italians, light anti-aircraft guns produced vnushitelnye impression. Two four-barrel 40-mm “POM-POM” took pride of place with good angles of fire and not only looked menacing, but also gave hope to meet an air attack from the middle distance. For the first time the British anti-aircraft guns got a good fire control system, and the second “city” series, the number of control stations has been increased from two to three.
In General, large light cruiser proved to be quite successful. By the middle of 1930-ies, the British had learned to meet the design tons. Moreover, the use of welding and strict discipline during the construction led to the fact that the displacement was a little less than the project. This left the possibility for future upgrades, which was not slow to follow with the beginning of the war. On the “town” repeatedly changed and strengthened anti-aircraft weapons, setting new guns—20-mm “erlikon” 40 mm “Bofors”. Not just “refreshed” and radar equipment, and the number of radars by the end of the war reached five, six and even eight installations for various purposes. Englishmen with respect and love for its modern large light cruisers and sought to maintain them in shape. It is interesting that towards the end of hostilities almost all the surviving units withdrew lofty turret, leaving the giants with only nine guns. But did all this quite deliberately: field experiments, including in combat, testified that this number of trunks is enough—when you have a good fire control system. But took the place of the six-inch turret anti-aircraft machine guns proved very popular at the end of the war, when the British, who returned to the far East, had to deal with Japanese kamikaze.
Talk, however, about the pre-war years. Despite all the advantages of a 12-gun “city” technically inferior to their overseas competitors from Japan and the United States. Therefore the Admiralty before ordering the next series of set designers condition: new cruiser needs to carry less guns than rivals. But better—more.
As reasonable people, the British engineers immediately rejected the scheme with five towers, believing that the ships will be too long and expensive, that does not fit the great Empire, now forced to count every shilling. In addition, large overseas docks capable of accepting large ships, and so was observed a heavy deficit. So it is, in fact, the only solution is to replace treboradice tower chetyrekhyadernye. In the end the British light cruiser with their 16 guns would be the most “severe” in the world. Completed claims increased bookings and anti-aircraft weapons. Now it remained to translate ideas into metal. But then developers are faced with a very unpleasant problem. “Stick” four in one trunk is not too big tower (the size of which is determined by the width of the body) was only possible due to the too close arrangement of the shafts, which the British, unlike the Italians, did not recognize in principle. The designers of the weapon had already considered various ingenious options, “double-Decker” and “staggered” placement of the guns; the study was delayed, and the international situation literally shouted that the ships are needed “yesterday”. And the developers had to retreat before the “Belfast” and “Edinburgh” was laid with the same treboradice towers, that of the predecessors.
181. Light cruiser “Belfast” (England, 1939)
Built by “Harland & Wolff”. Displacement standard—10 550 MT; full—13 175 tons; the maximum length is 186,99 m; width is 19.3 m; draught — 6,48 m. Capacity chetyrehbalnoy turbine plant 80 000 HP, speed of 32,5 knot. Reservations: belt 114 mm, deck 76 — 51 mm, tower 102 — 25 mm, barbettes 51 mm. Armament: twelve 152/50 mm guns, twelve 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, lately the two 40-mm machine gun, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes, three seaplane. In 1939 built two units: “Belfast” and “Edinburgh”. The Edinburgh team sunk after damage from torpedoes in may 1942, “Belfast” modernized in 1942; full load displacement increased to 14 900 t in 1963, put in reserve, since 1971 — Museum ship.
182. Light cruiser “Sheffield” (England, 1937)
It was built by the company “Vickers-Armstrong” in Tyneside. Displacement standard — 9100, MT; full— 11 350 tons; the maximum length is 180,28 m; width—to 18.79 m; draught 6.2 m Power chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 75 000 HP, speed 32 knots. Reservations: belt 114 mm, protection of cellars 25 — 114 mm, the deck 32 is 51 mm, turrets 25 mm. Armament: twelve 152/50 mm guns, eight 102/45 mm anti-aircraft cannons, two four-barrel 40-mm machine gun, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes, three seaplane. In 1937 is built of five units: “Birmingham”, “Glasgow”, “Sheffield”, “Newcastle” and “Southampton”. Modernized during the war with extra anti-aircraft guns. In 1944-1945 removed aft a lofty tower. Southampton sunk by German bombers off Crete in January 1941, and the rest scrapped in 1958-1960, except “Sheffield”, who served until 1967.
183. Light cruiser “Fiji” (England, 1940)
It was built by “John brown.” Displacement standard— 8530, MT; full—10 450 tons; maximum length — 169,31 m; width of 18.9 m; draught of 6.05 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 72 500 HP, speed 31.5 node. Reservations: belt 88 — 83 mm, deck 51 mm, 51 of the tower — 25 mm, barbettes 25 mm. Armament: twelve 152/50 mm guns, eight 102/45 mm anti-aircraft cannons, two four-barrel 40-mm machine gun, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes, two seaplane. Between 1940 and 1943 built 11 units: “Fiji”, “Nigeria”, “Moriches”, “Kenya”, “Trinidad”, “Gambia”, “Jamaica”, “Bermuda, “Newfoundland”, “Uganda” and “Ceylon”. Modernized during the war with the removal of one 152-mm of towers and installation of additional antiaircraft guns. “Fiji” is sunk by aircraft in may 1940, the Trinidad sunk by the torpedo hit in may 1942, “Nigeria” in 1957, sold in India, “Newfoundland and Ceylon” — Peru in 1959 and the Rest scrapped in 1960— 1965

Other ideas failed to implement fully. Twelve 102-millimetrovogo provided powerful anti-aircraft fire at long range, but lately the 40-mm “POM-pay” that is unique to the cruisers of that time, created reliable “umbrella” in the middle. Great looking and booking: 114 mm waist covered now and the cellar, so there was no necessity in their box for protection. Deck thickness reached quite “Lincolnia” 76 mm. At bad habits, the least protected remains of the tower and barbettes of the main fire, booking of which is not improved in comparison with Manchester United and his sisterships. And yet the mass of the armour was close to two thousand tons is undoubtedly a very solid value for the “light” cruisers, to claim the title of best in the world.
However, here and there not without annoying punctures Trying as successfully as possible to place anti-aircraft guns, the designers took them to the stern. But there also moved engine and boiler compartment (“Belfast” to “Edinburgh” acquired a peculiar and not too elegant—appearance). Therefore, the cellar of ammunition for 102-millimetrovogo was somewhere in the middle of the body, too far from the plants that they had to serve. Pretty heavy unitary had to carry 30-40 meters, which does not contributed to the rapid shooting. Closer to the end of the war with the surviving “Belfast” was removed a couple of the most distant plants, and found that it had virtually no impact on the effectiveness of its anti-aircraft fire.
During the big renovation in 1940-1942 years after the explosion of the German magnetic mine, almost complete destruction, “Belfast” thoroughly rebuilt. On it was mounted an additional side of torpedo nedelki—Buli. I had to remove the entire armor belt and reassemble on top of these nodelock. As compensation for the increased mass thickness of armor plates was reduced to 102 mm. Despite a major overhaul of the mechanical installation, the speed dropped by about a knot, but the cruiser received additional anti-aircraft guns, and powerful radar equipment. Rebuilt “Belfast” not only survived the war but was in active service until 1963, fought in Korea. Then the cruiser was taken in reserve; further his path seemed obvious to paravati several years at a wall and go to a breaker, but he clearly was born under a lucky star. By the 1970’s, the number who were afloat ships during the Second world war is already counted in units, and the British decided to preserve the “Belfast” as a ship Museum. In this role, he met twenty-first century, and still thousands of visitors each year, the Board honored combat veteran who became a symbol of the former power of the British Empire.
Very good cruiser “Belfast”, however, knocked down his own fleet. The main reason for the shock was the price: it was 10% more than any heavy cruiser! England, for all his desire could not build such ships EN masse. The designers were given the task to create a more economical vehicle. Had to go back to the cheaper the first “towns” but. of course, given the accumulated experience, which has not been in vain. New cruisers that have received the names of the Imperial colonies (alas for the British! Soon enough they had to say goodbye to distant lands with exotic names), was very successful. Moreover, the British themselves believed their best with their cruisers, and experts from other countries appreciated the “colonial” development “of the city” series.
The designers tried to combine all the best practices while being mindful of the limited displacement. “Fiji” and its sistership got a long armor belt, covering the cellar of ammunition, the type of Belfast” and “Edinburgh,” however ^Aldino had to limit the 88 mm., the Creators of universal cruiser (this is from the beginning conceived a new project) had to smash his head in the choice of artillery. What has not been offered: and to finalize the notorious chetyrekhyadernye tower (their number was limited to three—two in the nose and one in the stern), and install the new 133-mm universal guns, This option looked particularly interesting: a fairly large building would be located seven or eight two-gun towers, all in the diametrical plane! In the bow and stern formed a multi-storey design (all four towers could shoot in the nose, one above the other), super-rational, but somewhat dangerous from the point of view of stability and a good probability of disabling only “skyscraper” the only large projectile. However, the British chose not to risk and not to be original, believing that when meeting one-on-one with the enemy much more useful traditional six-inch guns, and anti aircraft the checked maneuver 102-the graph paper. In the end, the cruiser took over from its predecessors the four treboradice tower with 6-inch guns, although the last discrepancies or carried a full set of very short, or at once rebuilt with nine guns (“Uganda”, “Ceylon” and “Newfoundland”). As in the case of “cities”, the experts found that after the installation of artillery radar that is more than enough. Largely saved the project the use of new boilers with elevated steam parameters, allowing to save about 200 lbs. So once conceived as a response to mnogourovnevye overseas giants, British light cruiser, the last series turned into a moderate but well-balanced, reliable and solid vehicles.
This is also confirmed by their military service. As the most modern and the strongest, “city” and “colony” was used very actively in the most dangerous theatres, so the losses, does not seem excessive. Cruiser exploding mines, torpedinous submarines and torpedo boats, as well as the almost obligatory “punishment” suffered from bombs, but casualties were few. Among them were “Southampton”, heavily damaged German “thing” — dive-bombers Ju-87. Although the ship remained afloat, but lost in the course. In enemy waters (and he escorted a convoy to Malta) it was considered impossible to save him, and the wounded animal went to the bottom by torpedoes his brother, light cruiser “Orion”. Four months later he was joined by “Gloucester”, also became a victim of the most unpleasant enemies—dive Ju-87 during the evacuation of troops from Crete. Together with the cruiser killed nearly seven hundred people. Near met his end and the head of a series of “colonies”— “Fiji” sunk by the “Junkers”. The Mediterranean sea became the grave for “Manchester”, torpedoed by Italian torpedo boats. And again in more favorable conditions, the ship could have been saved, but under the noses of enemy aircraft, in the Tunisian Strait remained only to give the order to remove the command.
The “harvest” gathered not only the warm Mediterranean, but the icy Arctic waters. Two cruisers died in the defense of the Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union, both of which after much anguish and at the hands of their crews. Unhappy the Trinidad stayed in service very long. In a battle with the German destroyers released his own torpedo described the sudden movement and hit the cruiser, and even in the most unpleasant place in the area of cars. The flow of water was stopped, “Trinidad” was hastily patched in Murmansk, but on the way back, all the same dive-bombers slapped him a couple of bombs. There was a strong fire, gradually spreading across the mutilated ship. Had to remove the crew and sink the cruiser with a torpedo. As was painfully killed and “Edinburgh”. For a start, two torpedoes from the submarine U-456 was off his feed. However, a solid and well-built ship was not going to go down. Moreover, two days later, he went into battle with three German destroyers and sank one of them, but in response received a third torpedo right in the car. Though after “Edinburgh” stayed afloat, he followed the order: to remove the command and flood. The decision, although forced, but subsequently caused a real “gold rush”. The fact that the cruiser took on Board five tons of gold intended to pay for English supplies to the Soviet Union. About overload on the icy waves in the open sea could not be and speeches, and a multimillion-dollar cargo went down with the ship. After the war, and we, in England, and in other countries have often thought about the rise of gold, but to carry out a serious operation was only relatively recently. The thrust of the Englishman Kate Jessop first 10 years collecting all the data on the last trip Edinburgh, then two years at sea on a specially equipped search vessel. And in the summer of 1981, the expedition was awaited for a well-deserved success: the remains of the cruiser was detected. But he got an additional problem: “Edinburgh” received the status of a fraternal military graves, which cannot be disturbed. Bars of gold had to be extracted through the torpedo hole! Here they made good use of the Museum “Belfast”: the divers were able to practice walking in blind compartments “on location”. Such a solid approach and perseverance could not be rewarded. In the autumn of the same year managed to extract almost all of the gold is 93%. And in five years has another company “cleaned up” the rest. At the bottom were only 5 bars of 465, a little more than 1%—a brilliant success! Interestingly, a significant portion of the precious metal went to the Soviet Union, to get back a third of the amount from the same British insurance company, almost half went to the rescuers, and not too much the rest of Britain, which once the best cruiser was the last time.

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