“TOUGH GAMES”…WITHOUT RIVALS

We have already talked about how the heavy cruiser became a favorite class for American sailors Large 10 000-ton ships could not be better suited for action on the oceans, where distances between bases was a few thousand miles. Therefore, the new Maritime conference assembled in London in 1930, overseas admirals fought for them as hot as in battle. And in the end succeeded: the United States was able finally to overcome the “mistress of the seas”. Even in the same class of ships, but most (as it seemed) interesting. Americans are “knocked out” for himself the right to have 18 heavy cruisers, while the British were allowed no more than 15, and the Japanese only 12. It all looked just fine, but in fact the Treaty of London recorded this at the moment the situation. The United States already had in service or on the stocks of 16 units falling in the “severe” category, and not all of them came out good and strong. The seventeenth was the “Vincennes”, which was built on existing project “new Orleans”. In the end, the further development of class room for maneuver remains very little — only one ship. Then you’d have to wait until your 20-year term will serve the first of the “Washingtonians” and they can be replaced.

It is clear that in this situation, the designers wanted to invest in “last hope” as much as possible. Moreover, by 1934, in the ranks were already cruisers all projects and it was possible to draw some conclusions. After going through the first relief corps, the Americans gradually reached 10 000-tonne limit and now without much compunction moved on. “Astoria” limit exceeded by approximately 140 tons — in fact, in comparison with the tricks that were done in other countries. Why the engineers gave too much, however, advertised the order: a new project can be “heavier” for a couple of hundred tons.
 
In the same 1934, bookmark SA-44, named “Wichita”. The draft of the new heavy cruisers reworked almost completely. The next increment in weight was only one and a fairly minor difference from its predecessors. The case for “Wichita” took from the laid the year before the large light cruisers “Brooklyn”. Design ideas have come full circle and returned to a flush-deck scheme. However, instead of a rather large bend in “salt lake city” the case had now the high Board along the entire length. This not only ensured uninterrupted fire on the ocean waves from the back of the tower and were given the opportunity to release aircraft from catapults, now installed in the stern. Americans found this solution best since it freed up valuable space in the middle part of the ship, so necessary for the anti-aircraft artillery. At the same time disappeared and the “house”-hangar, occupying a lot of space on the deck in the Central part of the ship. He moved directly to the hull at the stern under the catapult. The cruiser got rid of “the shed”, was corrupting not only the appearance, but also representing a hefty goal that threatened the threat of fires when hit. In the end, the General arrangement has become finished and very rational scheme, which the Americans were actively implemented on all classes of large ships. Perhaps its only drawback was the inability to fire from the rear turret directly aft. The muzzle gases are easily demolished for the Board is directly in the line of fire fragile seaplanes. Therefore, one could either carefully hide them under the deck in the hangar and not to use in battle, or to release at the first sign of the appearance of the enemy, or Dodge in the battle so that the opponent was not in the feed sector.
 
On the latest “London” the cruiser managed to finally completely solve a long-standing problem of a too close arrangement of the shafts of vospityvat. They were “separated” for quite a distance and placed in separate cradles. However, there is a problem with the size of the Barbet, whose diameter is increased so that they would not fit in the graceful hull lines. Then, the designers contrived and gave the Barbet in the form of an inverted cone, savcheko from tower to cellar.
 
A major change was subjected to anti-aircraft weapons. Already during the construction of the fleet command was able to “push” the installation of a new 127-mm universal guns with a barrel length of 38 caliber — the famous gun used from the mid 30-ies on all U.S. ships, from carriers to escort of destroyers and support vessels, and played a major role in the war in the Pacific. “The Navy” wanted to have a direct coupled setup, but work on “Wichita” has advanced so much that had to be restricted to single, and some of them had shields. And so to balance weight had to be loaded into the holds of the 200 tons of pig iron as ballast. This absolutely useless burden increased congestion compared to the Washington limit of up to 600 t. However, other articles overload had much more sense. First of all the weight went to another gain of booking. The thickness of the belt was increased to 152 mm 16-mm paneling, Barbet — up to 178 mm, and the frontal plate of the towers right up to 8 inches — 203 mm. Very solid left and the roofs of the towers, covered with 70 mm plate- thickness, worthy of dreadnoughts during the First world war. In the end, “Wichita” stood in honor some of the most protected cruisers of its time. Interesting look and solution to the problem of survivability of mechanical installation. Three boilers branch was located in the front, behind them were two of the turbine, between which was sandwiched a fourth boiler. This “poluchennaya” the scheme was a reasonable compromise between a full alternation of the machinery and boilers and the traditional sequential.
 
Overall the ship was very successful and was the basis for all subsequent projects of heavy cruisers the United States. However has not managed and without overlays. Failed to “pull” the planned increased cruising range, although achieved 8800 miles at 15 knots course can be considered a good result. But with the low stability of anything reasonable to do about it. As a result, the ship heavily burdened with weapons and equipment placed on high housing, had a lot less reserve for upgrades compared to their predecessors. So, failed to replace single 127-graph paper on paired, and traditional machines are melee — “Bofors and erlikon” — was raised in Wichita with particular caution.
The last Treaty heavy cruiser barely had time to come into operation, as the Second world war. Although the United States it is not involved, the admirals could not miss a great opportunity to get new “toys”, using the fact that the restrictive Maritime agreements have lost their meaning. Followed by the decision to return to the construction of a special kind — of heavy cruisers. It is quite natural that as the sample chose a good Wichita; it would save a lot of time when developing, and in the construction of new ships. Originally, the replay was assumed almost full, the only change was an increase in the width of the case a little more than half a meter. However, the removal of restrictions opened too tempting possibilities, and the designers started to redraw the “coat” which has not been “work”: something which, as materials and money from the Americans lacked.
 
First reinforcement was subjected to anti-aircraft weapons. The cruiser received twelve 127-mm guns in paired installations — quite lincolna the norm. An impressive number were supported by a great location: two towers located on a diametrical plane and could shoot over the bow and stern groups of artillery of the main fire. For the first time a project from the beginning provided for the placement of multicore machines — four four 28-mm launchers, nicknamed by US “the Chicago piano” (as in the heyday of the gangster “business”, a kind of capital which was Chicago called a favorite weapon of gangsters — submachine guns Thompson, able in a few seconds to fill a lead competitor or out of place tucked COP). However, the development was not too good, plus the fact difficult to produce, and Americans have moved on to more powerful and advanced 40mm Swedish “Bofors”. Against such a timely innovations it is difficult to argue, but they caused quite a natural increase in the displacement, under the age of 13 600 t of the standard model without fuel and other supplies. “Baltimore” was longer “Wichita” on 20 meters and wider by almost two, and this despite the fact that head size is not changed at all, and the booking improved unprincipled. (The main highlight protection was really thick 65 mm deck.) The size and displacement could be even greater if not for the use of new boiler plant with a very high parameters of steam Turbine with capacity of 120 thousand h. p. harbored only four heavy duty steam boiler. Although the power plant was quite efficient and allowed to exceed design capacity by 10%, the project of 34 knots was not achieved — due to the continuous of increasing load. The number of 40-mm guns has grown by leaps and bounds, their installation was all loose comfortable (and not so) places, weigh down the ships. However, and achieved 33 knots looked pretty decent and solid, how impressive was the cruiser. Echelon location of boilers (each of the four had their own “separate apartment”), and turbine provided for a good survivability.
 
 
184. Heavy cruiser “Baltimore” (USA, 1943)
 
It was built by the company “Bethlehem steel Corporation” in the shipyard in Quincy. Standard displacement 14 470 t full — 17 030 tons, maximum length — 205,26 m, width — 21,59 m, maximum draught of 7.32 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 120 000 HP, speed 33 knots. Reservations: the Board 165 — 114 mm, 57 mm deck, towers 203-51 mm, 178 mm barbettes Armament: nine 203/55-mm guns, twelve 127/38-mm anti-aircraft guns, forty eight 40 mm guns, 4 seaplane. Only in 1943 — 1946 built 14 units: “Baltimore”, “Boston”, “Canberra”, “Quincy”, “Pittsburgh”, “Saint Paul”, “Columbus”, “Helena”, “Bremerton”, “fall river”, “Macon”, “Toledo”, “Los Angeles” and “Chicago.” Really took no more than two seaplanes. With the entry into operation was carrying an additional twenty to twenty-eight 20-mm guns. The first (in 1969 and 1971, respectively) are excluded from the list “Macon”, “fall river” and “Baltimore” and the rest scrapped by the end of 70-ies of XX century, with the exception of “Chicago” and “Albany.”
 
185. Heavy cruiser Wichita (United States, 1939)
 
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Philadelphia. Standard displacement — 10 t 590 full — 13 015т, the maximum length is 185,42 m, width — 18,82 m, draft of 7.24 m. the thickness chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 100, OOO HP, speed 33 knots. Reservations: the Board 165 — 114 mm, 57 mm deck, towers 203-37 mm, 178 mm barbettes Armament: nine 203/55-mm guns, eight 127/38-mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 12.7-mm machine guns, 4 seaplane. During the war there are twenty four 40 mm anti-aircraft gun “Bofors” and eighteen 20-mm “Arlekino”. Scrapped in 1959.
 
186. Heavy cruiser “Oregon city” (USA, 1946)
 
It was built by the company “Bethlehem steel Corporation” in the shipyard in Quincy. Displacement, dimensions, machinery, book and weapons — as in “Baltimore” In 1946 built 3 units: “Oregon city”, “Albany” and “Rochester”. The fourth and last unit of the series, “Northampton”, completed in 1951 as a vehicle control. “Oregon city” are excluded from the lists in 1970, “Rochester” in 1974, “Northampton” — in 1977. 30.6.1958 “Albany” put on the conversion of the cruiser URO. 1.11.1958 got a new Board room WITH a-10. Commissioned 3.11.1962. With 1.3.1967 embarked on another modernization, which lasted 20 months. 9.11.1968 newly put into operation. In 1973, put in reserve. In may 1974, inducted into the existing fleet and became the flagship of the 2nd Fleet. From 1976 to 1980, the flagship of the 6th fleet of the USA. 29.8.1980 excluded from the lists of the fleet and was soon dismantled.

 
Expanded not only the ships, but orders for them. Initially, in July of 1940 was supposed to order 4 units, but only 2 months the number had doubled. And after 2 years, in August 1942, came the order from in 16 pieces! Given the loss of many heavy cruisers from the opponents in the war, “Park” American “heavyweights” threatened to flood all the oceans. A little softened this rather frightening picture of the end of hostilities: two laid in the last days of 1944, the cruiser “Norfolk” and “Scranton”, decided not to finish.
 
However, by the time we have turned to the construction of heavy cruisers of the improved type. “Oregon city” externally differed from its predecessors one big pipe instead of two “baltimorese”. Inside, the changes are minimized. Although the displacement once again grew, additional tons of this time went to increase stability and seaworthiness. Larger body and initial orientation to increased anti-aircraft armament has contributed to many further improvements and upgrades. While the representatives of pre-war types to end the war, deeper and deeper settled into the water, at several hundred (even thousands) of tons, the last in the series is limited by the overload — at least twice smaller than all the rest.
 
The first of the “Oregon” was laid in March 1944, and by the time of the descent of its water, it became clear that none of them will have time to war. And so it happened: the head, the cruiser was commissioned in February 1946, followed by two more, and the fourth, “Northampton”, was finished quite slowly. Flag it raised in March 1953, in the face of new realities following the war was “cold”. The last two units dismantled on the stocks, thereby setting a kind of justice in relation to the “ancestors” — the “Baltimore” series, which also cut back to two ships.
 
It is curious that the lion’s share of orders for the “American powerhouses” went to the shipyard, owned by steel giant — “Bethlehem steel company (Bethlehem steel Corporation”). Only 4 units ordered known specialized shipbuilding company of new York, and the state Arsenal in Philadelphia was limited to building only a couple of ships.
 
However, regardless of the tricks of the designers and the relics of the shipbuilding industry of fine quality American heavy cruisers of the military buildings were not very popular. In the competition eventually won, of course, time. In the fighting was attended by only 7 units, and to shoot at the enemy main fire they almost failed. “Baltimore”, “Boston” and “Canberra” joined the aircraft carrier connections, and they had to repel a desperate attack by Japanese aircraft, kamikazes, and the traditional dive-bombers and torpedo bombers. One of the last in October 1944 near Taiwan managed to put a torpedo into the middle of the body “Canberra”. Despite all the tricks of the designers, the cruiser took 4.5 thousand tons of water and lose a turn. Only the full command of the sea allowed the Americans to tow it through the floor of the ocean. His brother “Quincy” was on the European theater of operations, he became the sole representative of the modern American cruisers. His projectiles smashed German positions and during the Normandy landings and operations in southern France. Some embarrassing turned out to be a career, “Pittsburgh”, poplavska only 4 months before, in June 1945, he, along with his Union was in a severe Typhoon. Vaunted rugged design did not survive the disaster: the hurricane, the ship went out without the bow, torn off at the front of the tower. I must say that this outwardly impressive loss did not prevent the cruiser to reach base on their own, and the restoration of the status quo took three times less time than repairs Canberra.
All the “warriors” immediately after the war, in 1946 — 1947 and went into reserve. It’s a shame, but they at least managed to shoot and last for three years. How much more offensive it was to get to the wall in the form of canned their colleagues who have just entered into operation. However, soon broke the “forgotten war” in Korea, when the Americans put the most “well vysotnykh” units. Due to complete lack of enemy on the sea, they had to basically fire on shore targets. The rest service of “Baltimore” and “Oregon” proceeded in the years of the bloodless cold war, and after due 20 years from the mid 70-ies of the last century, one by one, they politely followed the cutting.
 
By the time their progenitor, Wichita, one and a half decades has ceased to exist. The cruiser went through the entire war, from 1941 to 1945, and visited all corners of Europe, from the Arctic Norwegian waters, where he escorted convoys with lend-lease, to the coast of Morocco, taking part in the allied landing in Casablanca. Then sent to the Pacific, “Wichita” and “surveyed” all the corners of the vast Maritime theater. In the North it shells plowed the island of Kiska, which was safely evacuated a Japanese garrison before they engaged the American battleships and cruisers. In the South it vosmidesyati supported almost bloodless landing in the Dutch East Indies on 13 October 1944 “ancestor” has provided substantial assistance to his “descendant”, taking in tow the heavily damaged “Canberra”. And at the end of October the battle of Leyte Gulf, the artillery was able to use against enemy ships, although the goal was a completely “lame ducks.” In the company of colleagues and Wichita finished off the heavily damaged light aircraft carrier “Chiyoda” and tried to cover it up destroyer “Hatsuyuki”. However, prior exercise on three days of towing, heavy by Canberra adversely affected turbines, and well-war, the cruiser went to the repair in the United States. He did, however, return to the capture of Okinawa and other operations of the final period of the war, receiving 13 “stars” — combat differences — and went on a holiday with the others, in 1947. Finally, the fate of the veteran decided in the late 50’s, when it was supposed to be converted into a rocket ship. But after examination a lot poplavska case the experts decided that the game is not worth the candle, the benefit of “simple” was a lot much more new cruisers, and in August 1959, Wichita proceeded to the factory for disassembly of metal.
 
Built in a large number of American heavy cruisers followed the fate of the even more numerous “flush-deck” destroyers, entered service after the First world war, the then-existing peacefully and without much use. But if the share of the surviving “flash-Decker” still fell part in another world war, the “Baltimore” without this — on the General happiness. Since the main enemy for them could well become our cruisers: the Soviet Union quickly took second place in the world among the Maritime powers and the first — among potential enemies overseas superpower. And this threat (largely invented in the United States) fueled to continue the arms race, leading to the creation of even more advanced type of artillery ships cruising class. But more about that in a future release.

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