THREE OF A CRUISERWe have already talked about the long road that designers have been Italian light cruisers with their “condottieri”, which began with a frankly weak “Bande Nere” and culminating in the powerful “Giuseppe Garibaldi” and “Abruzzi”. For their successive steps, each of which led to the emergence of more and more protected and balanced ship, closely followed Mediterranean their eternal rivals and neighbours the French. Up to a certain point in Paris believed that the events develop in favourable terms: they are the powerful leaders may be able to compete with not too “covered” by the cruisers of Mussolini. But with every new series of “potential enemy” the hopes of this kind were becoming ephemera. The fracture occurred on the “Raimondo montecuccoli” and “Aosta valley”, which has carried a solid side armor, it is able to protect from the French 138-millimetrovogo in the medium range and a disadvantage for projectile angles of the meeting.

It was necessary to develop an antidote. It is clear that no improvement of the characteristics of leaders has not helped: it was required to create their own light cruiser, well protected and heavily armed. But the process of designing and building a highly pressured financial circumstances, which, as usual, remained poor. In such circumstances it is not surprising that the prototype was the last elected representative of the class, “Emile Bertin”. But this a single cruiser-Mensah, very fast, in fact, had absolutely no armor. The designers had a big job, and they fulfilled it successfully. In 1931, at the public shipyards, the arsenals of loriana and Brest, the laying of two head units of a fundamentally new cruising France, “La Galissoniere” and “Jean de Vienne”. In appearance they strongly resembled the prototype, “Bertin”, but far superior to him in fighting qualities.
Of course, had to make sacrifices, the first and chief of which was a record speed. It, like its main competitors — the Italians — was reduced to the project 31 — 32 knots, actually the test was able to achieve more than decent values — up to 35 knots, even for a short time. But at the same time managed to significantly reduce the length of engine and boiler rooms, but which has received decent protection, including underwater. High 105-mm zone covered the Central part of the housing and closed with the “ends” of the 60-mm armoured bulkheads, and the top — 38-mm deck, forming a powerful armored “box”. Two more such “breisundet” concealed in itself the bow and stern cellar; they had the same thickness, but the height was much less, allowing you to save significant weight without significant damage to the case. (Unlike the English and American variants of such protection, hidden in the depth of the case, the French chose and then have the armored Board, limiting possible flooding.) Finally, in the stern was another, thinner-walled box, covering the steering gear. Very reasonably defended turret main artillery. Their front plate had a thickness of 100 mm, while the side and roof, falling which had under unfavorable angles — only half, and the back wall were even thinner. The French even managed to restore the status of the real armor of the conning tower. In General, the armor had almost fifteen hundred tons — an excellent result for the 7600-ton ship, which “imparted immunity” from 6-inch shells.
Under a reservation seemed and artillery. The basis of it was heavy 152 of graph paper, tested on the “Bertin”. Somewhat better was with the “Achilles heel” of the French cruisers, anti-aircraft protection. Now it consisted of four 90-mm Sparky, quite modern and quite effective for 30 years. But finally the ill-fated to cover this “heel” failed: “galissoniere” did not have machine guns for close defense, which was limited to 13.2-mm “guccisima”, guns are good, but clearly insufficient, even according to prewar standards. Only in 1941, some of the surviving units of the series received a 37-mm spark — a pitiful sight in comparison with Anglo-American 40-millimetrovie. Meanwhile, reserves for modernisation seems to be quite “dense” project there. “Gluar”, “Montcalm” and “George, Leigh”, escaped after the surrender of France to the allies in 1943 were a solid upgrade, during which he received six four-barrel 40-mm “Bogorov” and sixteen 20-mm “Arlekino”. And that’s not counting new installations with a mechanical actuator for 90-mm guns, not to mention the almost mandatory set of radar and improved fire control system. Although displacement has close to 11 thousand tons, “French” was still able to run 32-node speed, showing that the engineers were able initially to create a great project.
Unfortunately, luck is not everything. Of 6 built units, exactly half of the mediocre died in the sinking of the fleet in Toulon in November 1942, when the territory of the Arsenal came the German tanks. But the remaining trio managed to make war with allies, remarkably suffering no damage from the German torpedoes, mines or bombs. After the Second world war “Gluar” and “George, Leigh” took part in the fighting in Indochina. (“Montcalm” was held at this time a lot of renovation.) All of them successfully served the required 20 years, and then went to be scrapped or, as the same “Moncalm”, moved into the category of a floating barracks.
The success of “galissoniere” clearly appealed to the sequel, but several years passed before the French government decided to resume the construction of light cruisers. Reasons to that was missing: the lack of funds, uncertainty of the prospects of international agreements on the fleet and unintelligible, though constantly nakalabas the international situation. The impetus for the revival was the steady development of cruiser forces rival — Italy, regular and small time intervals which lie on a pair of new units.
The new project included the increase of displacement of 8000 tons, the maximum for light cruisers, under the London naval Treaty of 1936. Before the designers were faced with an unexpected question: what to spend 400-ton “gift”? Considered a variety of options, from increasing speed to gain weapons. The admirals did not give rest already built by the Italians “Aosta” and “Garibaldi”, carrying 10 guns. Therefore, the proposal to replace the feed tower trichological new cruisers chetyrehluchevoy to equalize the number of trunks from the future enemy. The result is one of the most original ships of this class and at the same time is one of the most preposterous, but (or rather, fortunately) interfered with the normal considerations for cost of development, and strange the idea was buried. But the “De grass” as he called the head cruiser, did a new installation of the main fire. It was assumed that treboradice tower will have an elevation angle of 70 degrees, which would be able to fire at aircraft. In General, increased air defense is finally given due importance. 90-mm anti-aircraft guns were replaced by 100 mm, there were 37-mm guns, although not quite satisfactory in themselves. The defense has remained virtually the same as its predecessor, and much of the extra weight in the end came to the case, “mechanics”, and fuel. The design speed is now equal to 33.5 per node, which as expected could well result on the test nodes 35 or more. Significantly (more than 1.5 times) increased cruising range, reaching a decent value at 8000 miles economical 15-node move.
It is interesting to compare the last 8000-ton cruisers of France with the first, which had the same standard displacement. “Beginners” was superior to “La Motte Picquet” and “Primage” literally in all respects. They had one main guns more, better seaworthiness and cruising range, and even protect and anti-aircraft artillery is simply impossible to compare. Less than 15 years engineers have learned to create a well balanced strong combat units in the same displacement, and that once so criticized (quite rightly) “naked galls”.
Remained to implement all these ideas in metal. But here intervened the world war that erupted a very inconvenient time for France as a whole and for new cruisers in particular. Managed to lay only the head “De grass”; the other two, “château-Renault” and “Guichen”, approved and ordered, and remain only virtual. By the time the German tanks reached the Loria, where were built the “De grass”, the work has progressed less than one-third, and the Germans went on a unique measure of allowing and even insisting, to the vanquished continued building — only to see the slipway on which the winners had their own types. The French understood that more or less the finished ship will be immediately confiscated, and hard to stall, including a very extravagant methods. When Lorian was freed by allied troops, it became clear that the space of the double bottom scored “zamykanie” valuable materials, a lack which the builders complained of the occupiers. So “De grass” relatively successfully ended its first life — “London” cruiser prewar pores.
But the General condition of the shipbuilding industry remained very poor. The famous French arsenals in the most part lay in ruins, the docks and swimming pools, boarded the remains of the ships turned into scrap metal. For severely affected by the disaster of the Toulon naval forces, each ship represented a great value. It is therefore not surprising that the French have not abandoned the use of inherited them as trophies of the remnants of the fleet the eternal rival.
211. Light cruiser “De Grasse” (France, final draft, 1938)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in the Loriana. The standard displacement of 8,000 tonnes, full 10190 t, length of maximum 184,2 m, width
18.5 m and draft of 5.54 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 110 000 HP, speed 33 knots. Reservations: the Board of 100 + 18 mm deck 38 mm, turret 100 — 40 mm 95 combat tower — 50 mm. Armament: nine 152/50-mm guns, six 100/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm guns and eight 13.2-mm machine guns, two three-pipe 550 mm automatic, 4 seaplane. Founded in 1938, completed in 1959 as an air defense cruiser. The other two planned units, “château-Renault” and “GUI Shen”, not pawned.
212. Light cruiser “De Grasse” (France, 1956)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in the Loriana, then in Brest. Displacement standard 9380 t, full 11 550 tons, length of maximum
188.5 m, beam 18.6 m, draught of 5.65 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 110 000 HP, speed 33 knots. Reservations: the Board of 100 mm deck with 40 mm turret 15 mm. Arms: sixteen 127/54 mm guns, twenty-57/50 mm anti-aircraft machine guns. Completed in 1959 in the embodiment of the cruiser air-defense.
In 1966 was the conversion for use as vehicle control and communications; removed 2 aft 127 mm and all of the 57-mm installation in connection with which a standard tonnage has decreased to around 9000 t is Excluded from the Navy in 1973, scrapped in 1976
213. Light cruiser “La Galissonniere” (France, 1935)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Brest. The standard displacement of 7600 tons, full 9100 tons, maximum length of 179.5 m, width of 17.48 m, draught 5,35 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 97 to 600 HP, the design speed of 32.5 per node (on tests of more than 100 000 HP and 35.5 nodes). Reservations: the Board of 105 + 20 mm deck 38 mm, turret 100 — 40 mm, combat tower 90 — 50 mm. Armament: nine 152/50-mm guns, eight 90/50 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm guns and twelve 13.2-mm machine guns, two twin 550-mm torpedo tubes, 4 seaplane. Only in 1935 — 1937 built 6 units: “La Galissoniere”, “Jean de Vienne”, “Marsat”, “Gluar”, “Montcalm” and “George Leigh”. The first three teams flooded in Toulon in December 1942, the rest were modernized in the United States with the installation of new antiaircraft weapons and equipment. “Gluar” and “George, Leigh” scrapped in 1958 — 1959, “Moncalm” in 1970.

The two most surviving Italian cruiser from the series “leaders of Rome,” “Attilio Regolith” and “Scipio the African”, I decided to rebuild the cruiser defense-PLO — an interesting combination, however, quite consistent with new postwar ideas about the changing roles of warships. They got the names and is not mortgaged “de Grassow” — “château-Renault” and “Guichen” and became, perhaps, worthy successors of the first bearers of these names among the steel cruisers. As their “family name”, they are carried is clearly not appropriate-sized weapons. Originally it was planned to arm them as well as the newest type of destroyer “Sur-Kuf” own buildings: six 127-mm guns, but due to lack of guns and haste had to be restricted as a “major caliber” is also captured, this time the German 105-mm antiaircraft guns. Such extra-budget version of the artillery for the ship under 4000 tons, partly offset by the emergence of a new 57-mm rifles based on the famous 40-graph paper of the company “Bofors”, and numerous torpedo tubes for ASW torpedoes, and modern radar and sonar equipment. And yet, this couple, after upgrading, could hardly be considered cruisers, and admitted that the owners themselves, giving them the classification of “squadron escort ships”.
Not surprisingly, given the shortage of ready-made cruisers completely intact case “De Grasse” has attracted attention. Originally intended to finish it in the original version, because the 152-mm guns, capable of firing at aircraft, it seems to be caught in the General “fashion trend”, if to judge on the American “Worcester” and planned to build the British “tiger”. However, the French are quite rationally evaluated his versatile six-inch guns, which, according to the experience of the use on the “Richelieu” was too slow for “hunting” behind high-speed aircraft. More promising seemed to re-equip the cruiser with the same new 127-mm guns, and has just launched a series of destroyers of the “Surcouf”. Although on the horizon loomed the new missile era, artillery has been the main weapon against aircraft, the use of shells with a radar Fuze, a good rate and the capability to deliver the projectile to the target, that provides high initial velocity. I must say that the new tool is consistent with the requirements of the time. Long-barreled gun, model of 1948 had a pretty heavy 32-kg projectile and located in a setting with a high degree of automation, allowing in theory to achieve a rate of fire of 25 rounds per minute. Extensive deck cruisers could accommodate a large number of such installations. With the availability of modern fire control system with a radar range finder, armed with such artillery, the ship was a very formidable force against enemy air and against light vehicles. (It is worth in passing to note that, nevertheless, such a ship would be much lost in the traditional artillery fight at long range Soviet cruisers of the “Sverdlov”, and the ability to deal with supersonic aircraft have been specialists strong doubts).
Thus began the second life of the “De Grasse”. Ready for the upper deck, he became the perfect target for completion on a completely different project. Body distilled from loriana in Brest, in 1952 began work. (Interestingly, more than half of the upgrades paid for by the United States under the program of military assistance in the framework of the recently established North Atlantic Union). In accordance with the new requirements, the ship received extensive add-ons that could cover new equipment and staff. Fortunately now is not required to gain each ton of the “top” of the load: heavy armored towers gave way to a more light 127 mm sparchem. But managed to recoup their quantity in the bow and stern is located at four installations with wide angles of fire. They served as many as four post fire control. Become modern and “second movement” (paired 57-mm automatic language somehow do not dare call it a melee weapon). In the end, the French turned a thoroughbred cruiser air defense, one of the few ships actually built for this purpose. Although it is worth noting that the tactical purpose was the use of the “De Grasse” as a leader of one of the two squadrons of light forces, that is, a kind of “scout” late for the next half century.
Second life “De Grasse” was a success, although was short-lived. Shortly after the entry into operation in 1955, it became the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron and served in this role until the entry into operation of its “partner” — “Colbert” in 1959. Himself “perestroiki” went to new upgrade, which took more than a year, during which lost four 57-mm units — those that had the bad angles of fire, but were enriched with new radar equipment. Back in line, he again found himself under the Admiral’s flag and successfully sailed until 1965.
It then began a third life, already an old ship, faithfully served the normal 20-year-old “cruising” time. However, the leadership of the Navy and the country was not going to let him go to eternal rest. France left Algeria and carried out quite an independent policy, created in the Pacific area, which have experienced new types of weapons, including nuclear. To guide required a corresponding command ship. “De Grasse” was right for this role could not be better: its a big building with the extensive add-ons can make and the necessary equipment and staff observers. These useful features further improved by removing a couple of the aft 127 mm units and all 57 mm guns. Instead, it significantly expanded the add-in, and stern has built an impressive lattice tower for radio relay communication with the shore and the hangar for the storage of meteorological balloons.
In his new role and the last “De Grasse” has served 6 years, participated in all French nuclear tests in the Pacific. In late 1972, he honorably returned to Brest, having lost at the entrance to the port of his pride, the very tall lattice structure, which prevented him to proceed to the wall — it had to be cut. Only in January 1975, a former light cruiser, ex-cruiser, ex-defense and the ship proceeded to the cutting, completing one of the most extraordinary careers among ships of its original class.
But a long history of transformations of long-standing project is not over. We have already noted that the “De Grasse” was the leader of one of the squadrons newest destroyers. But the second squadron of the same “sourcepov” remained without “leading”. Sheer luck with the restructuring of the pre-war cruiser, which one provided the fire that is equivalent to the division’s newest destroyers, prompted the French to the unique step: in the image and likeness in essence forced to created ship I decided to build almost his “sister ship”. In late 1953 at the shipyard in Brest laid the “Colbert” — a modernized version of the “De Grasse”. The main characteristics of the hull preserved, but slightly increased its width to ensure better stability. Power turbines have reduced, but the vapor they put now only four heavy-duty boiler. The only pipe pushed into the stern, so that gases from it does not interfere with the observers on the bridge. What is most surprising, on the cruiser kept booking: although waist armor a little “thinner” — to 80 — 50 mm, but the deck rose up to 50 mm. Weapons the same prototype, and equipment consistent with increased by the time the current level. In the story “cousin” “De Grasse” was included in 1959, becoming the last “classic” cruiser with artillery weapons and booking.
Built “Colbert” the long game: initially — as a flagship, however, if necessary, envisaged the conversion of it into a high-speed transport, able to make almost two and a half thousand troopers with weapons and deliver them almost any place of the globe. However, after the defeat in Vietnam and Algeria France has gradually moved away from the image of a colonizer with a “big stick”, and a new universal never had to try myself in this role. However, with the advent of the rocket century he disappeared and was scrapped. In 1970 began the transformation of “Colbert” in ship URO. About his fate, we’ll explain later, but for now only note that for scrapping it only came in 1991, completing, finally, winding the story of pre-war light cruisers.

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