“WHITE ELEPHANTS” AND “GRAY HORSES”

For the UK the 90-ies of the XIX century was both a time of triumph and anxiety. On the one hand, its fleet was still able to oppose to each ship, any enemy two or even three. On the other hand, Empire every couple of years to grow new territories and peoples; for such an extensive economy required a constant supervision. Increased the number of “countries envious” capable of delivering the mistress of the seas of trouble in the event of armed conflict.

 
The main “potential enemies” was applied to Russia. Rapidly growing vast country was prepared to actively defend their interests, which during the XIX century was often crossed with the British. Therefore, the construction in our country of the big ocean cruisers — first “Rurik” and then “Russia”, “thunderbolt” — was summoned to the Admiralty panic.
 
A good and fairly balanced “Edgars” were no longer suited to curbing “Russian giants”. They could hardly withstand the battle with a larger, equally well-armed and high-speed ship. Little is also suitable for this purpose is not enough high-speed, overloaded and already beginning to become obsolete armored “Orlando”. In the case of the “Rurik” and “Russia” in the Maritime trade routes of English “merchants” were in a difficult situation, and to help them sailors of Queen Victoria would be difficult. Even in pursuit of ironclads, raiders of the last could easily come off.
 
The potential threat should be reflected. But how? And here the consciousness of his own greatness — “no one can build a cruiser bigger than we” played with the Admiralty a bad joke. Under pressure from the admirals chief designer of the Navy William white has developed a great cruiser it is in his spirit, with an armored deck and artillery. Laid on this project in 1895, “Powerful” (“Powerful”) and “Terrible” (“terrible”) really looked “terrible”, but was not as powerful. For a long time they were the longest warships in the world, and the displacement was consistent with a full squadron of battleships. However, for all that were not adequately armed and inadequately protected. Their main artillery increased in comparison with the economic “adharmi” just a couple of six-inch. However, now that was quick-firing guns, located in armored casemates. Artillery was supplemented with a dozen trehdyuymovok — a strange decision, since these guns “rifle” for those times caliber is clearly not suited for battle with the Russian armored cruisers. Even more irrational was the third caliber — dozen 47-millimetrovogo on the tops and superstructure was completely useless against the emerging 200 — 300-ton “fighter”. Already during the construction of the new giants earned the nickname “white elephants” — favorite animals of the Eastern rulers, precious and sacred, but not suitable for normal operation— transportation of goods and people.
 
If the arms of the English “elephant” of enormous size was just weak, the booking seemed extravagant. To cover long case required the armor deck, the weight of which would have exceeded fifteen hundred tons — half the displacement of the cruiser of the last decade! The Admiralty announced the monstrous 152 mm—the thickness of the bevels. This inclined armor could really protect not only from the 6 – and 8-inch shells, but also from the main caliber of the battleships. However loud the application were simple sell. Really the bevels were thinner than half even in the thickest part, further refining in the extremities to a modest 51 mm in the nose and 76 mm at the rear, near the steering engine. The British managed to keep this fact in secret, not only to the end of their career SuperKaramba, but well into the next century! In principle, and 102-mm bevels was a good fit for cruising the fighting; and in the project form, the giants would look even more ridiculous. However, absurdities they have had enough: for example, very strange looked huge and completely unarmored body combat tower of steel with a thickness of 12 inches.
 
However, in no case should not talk about “powerful” how about the worst ships. So, certainly a positive in this project was to develop everything in-white — fully armored artillery, which is so not enough for a Russian cruiser. However, the designer introduced an innovation, became in time a real scourge of the British ships. We are talking about a two-storey six-inch casemates. This design saves on the additional booking of the roof and floor, provided the ease of flow of shells. Yourself Sparky casemates were located at a great distance from each other, in line with the doctrine of the dispersal of guns. But the line of fire from the lower casemates dangerous decreased. Lead them from the fire the excitement became difficult: water is often filled with loopholes, and the goal was not always possible to observe through the crests of the waves. And if very high case “PowerFlow” this shortcoming did not seem substantial, two-storey design, unfortunately, carried over unchanged for the vast majority of the way down the cruisers and battleships of Wight. Even in wartime with ports, ocean passages of the lower casemates had tightly secured.
 
Because armored colossi were meant for hunting in the oceans, they had good seakeeping and high speed. To achieve the 22-node speed, and the remaining unconquered peak for “the Blakes”, British engineers went on unloved insufficiently tested innovations. One of them became water-tube boilers, allowing for rapid breeding pairs and begin the pursuit. For a power plant huge power had to install 48 new for “British Navy” Belleville boilers. But the result, in General, are really useful innovations have created more problems than benefits, at least at first. Manufacturers had no experience in their manufacture, and firemen and mechanics — to operate. To output all of the “factory” mode and maintain maximum pressure it required a lot of art. In the end, both units built, in principle, very quickly, in just two years, held off almost the same time, while they bring to mind the mechanical part. Conducted over and over again the tests failed to achieve the design speed. Finally, the designers went to the trick, extending the flue pipe. In the end, the boilers and the machines managed to learn, the cruiser showed the desired speed and in the course of his service could really sustain a big move in a few days.
 
As for seaworthiness, but it was not observed. Board giants was higher than any other warship of the time, until the appearance of large battleships and aircraft carriers. Thus a flush-deck hull was so smooth and proportional form, that apparently the ships looked graceful. To the negative sides of this solution was treated with a huge goal size: at small distances to miss this monster was, perhaps, impossible. However, there is one side advantage: large corpus contained a lot of space, which determined the most successful application of “white elephants” in their entire careers. When in 1899 war broke out with the Boer republics, “Powerful” and “Terrible” extra loaded on Board a whole army brigade at full speed and took her to South Africa. They are ripe just in time to lift the blockade, which was the British garrison in Ladysmith. In the same role a high-speed troop transport “Terrible” made during the First world war. The rest of the service is the largest armored cruisers was gray and boring. The Admiralty quickly convinced of the unprofitability of the content in full combat readiness in peacetime, these giants with a crew of more than 900 people. Their modernized in 1902 — 1904, adding four 6-inch switchblade stiletto. All dungeons have now become two storey, and the Board “PowerFlow” now resembled a powerful fortress wall with rows of Bay Windows, from which protruded menacingly trunks.
 
Upgrading didn’t help: rapidly growing shipbuilding gave rise to new favorites, and the giants sent to the reserve. However, it would be a sin not to use huge and sturdy “box”. The result of the former supercruiser career lasted for three decades, mostly as training ships were laid up in port.
 
As a decade earlier, in the case of too large and expensive for its time “black” (now they were dwarfs in the background of the “elephants”), the British again stepped on the same rake, asserting big claims, but by building only two units. The fact that the series had no chance for a sequel, it became clear already in the process of their construction. And again followed a similar decision: to build “in the amount of” cheaper analogue. When the “Powerful” still trying to reach the unattainable test of 22 knots, at public and private shipyards was laid from the eight cruisers of the “diadem”. The original ship were conceived so large that designers without problems managed to save 3000 tons displacement with a small price of reducing the speed and lowering the housing on one deck. Booking largely remained at the same level. As for weapons, the designers first encroached on the “sacred cow” all the big cruisers of Queen Victoria, replacing each of the 234-mm guns in the bow and stern for a couple of 6-Dujmovic. Such weapons combined and refined to 114 mm armor of the casemates was a clear sign of the unsuitability of these still very large 11-tasaciones ships for the battle with the Russian armored cruisers. The armor of the enemy just now was nothing to break. Besides the strange position of the six-inch (sixteen guns to fire on Board could have exactly half) were able to justify the intensification of fire in pursuit of (for calculations and aft could shoot six guns, in fact — a maximum of four). However, for harassment, for example, the Russian high speed 6000-tonner “tiaras” are not suited for speed. Although all the units exceeded the 20.5 test project node, they are shown inferior to the “Varyag”, “Askold” or “Hero” to 23 knots and more. In General, England was enriched with a very questionable and expensive purchase, which has been repeatedly noted by experts of the time. Although the “tiaras”, in General, fared well in routine service, they, in essence, remained the same “white elephants”, only in a lighter weight class than their older brothers are monsters. Known formula to be faster than someone who is larger and stronger than those who less — realized here is exactly the opposite. “Small white elephants” could not break away from larger foes, and had decent chances to win in a battle with stronger armed armored raiders.
 
 
48. Armored cruiser “Rurik” (Russia, 1892)
 
Built at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg, a naval architect N. Dolgorukov. 11 a displacement of 930 tons, length overall to 132.6 m, beam 20,2 m, draft of 8.25 m, two-shaft Power plants 13 588 HP, maximum speed of 18.84 site. Armament: four 203-mm, sixteen 152-mm, six 120-mm, ten 47-mm single-barreled, twelve 37-mm pedestaling, two 64-mm landing guns, six torpedo tubes. Booking: deck 51 — 76 mm, 152 mm cabin, side 203 — 254 mm. in Just 1890 — 1900 built 3 units: “Ryurik”, “Rossiya”, “Thunder”. Ryurik died heroically 14 (1) Aug 1904 in battle with the Japanese fleet. “Russia” and “Thunder” at the end of 1918 deposited, in 1922, sold for scrapping to Germany.
 
49. Armored cruiser “Powerful” (England, 1897)
 
It was built by the firm “Vikkers”. A displacement of 14 200 t, length 164,11 m, width of 21.64 m, draft 7,35 m. the Power plants twin-shaft triple expansion 25 000 HP, a maximum speed of 22 knots. Armament: two 234-mm and twelve 152-mm (after upgrading 1902 — 1904 — sixteen) and the twelve 76-mm rapid-fire guns, twelve 47-mm small-caliber guns, four 457 mm torpedo tubes. Booking: deck 51 mm (102 mm bevel), towers and casemates 152 mm, 51 mm filing, cutting 305 mm. Only in 1897 — 1898 he built 2 units: “Powerful” and “Terrible”. Scrapped in 1929 and 1932 respectively.
 
50. Armored cruiser “Ariadne” (England, 1902)
 
It was built by the firm of “Thompson”. A displacement of 11,000 tons, length 140,98 m, width of 21.03 m and draft of 7.75 m. Capacity twin-shaft plants triple extension 16 500 HP, maximum speed of 20.5 per node. Armament: sixteen 152-mm and twelve 76-mm rapid-fire guns, three 47-mm small-caliber gun, three 457-mm torpedo tubes. Booking: deck 51 mm (102 mm bevel), casemates 114 mm, flow.51 mm, cutting 305 mm. Only in 1898— 1903 he built 8 units: “diadem”, “Amfitrite”, “Ariadne”, “Andromeda”, “the Argonaut,” Europe”, “Niobe” and “Spartiate”. “Ariadne” sunk by a German submarine in July 1917, and the rest scrapped in 1920 to 1922, apart from “Spartiate” served until 1932, and “Andromeda”, was finally excluded from the list in 1956
 
51. Armored cruiser “Eclipse” (England, 1898)
 
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Portsmouth. A displacement of 5600 tons, length 113,70 m, width 16,31 m, draught 6,27 m. Capacity twin-shaft plants triple action with natural draught 8000 l with a speed of 18.5 knot, with a force of 9600 HP, the maximum speed is 19.5 knot. Armament: five 152 mm, six 120-mm guns, eight 76-mm and six 47 mm quick-firing guns, three 457-mm torpedo tubes. Booking: deck 37 mm (bevel to 76 mm), glasis machines 152 mm, 152 mm. cutting Only in 1896 — 1898 he built 9 units: “Eclipse”, “Diana”, “Dido”, “Doris”, “ISIS”, “June”, “Minerva”, “Talbot”, and “Venus”. “Doris” scrapped in 1919, “Dido” — in 1926, the other in 1920 — 1921

 
It is clear that the building not so required units in larger series, was overlaid even to the almost all-powerful Empire. Therefore, the first-class cruiser was supplemented by grey “workhorses” of the 2nd class, also significantly grown in the mid-1890s and years. Numerous witowska “Apollo” and the “astree” were entirely fair criticism for the weakness of the arms. Meeting one-on-one with construction of a new Russian cruisers did not promise them anything good. Therefore, the following series approached by the displacement of six thousand tons, primarily due to the strengthening of weapons. But the result again was not very comforting. The desire to provide a powerful fire on the bow and stern have led to the fact that of the 11 five – and six-inch on Board could shoot only 6 — same as on the predecessors. Increase the power of the machines completely “ate” the increase in size. As a result of “Dido” was speeded up to just 20 — node 21: is better than was envisaged in the project, but hopeless from the point of view of the pursuit of a new Russian or French raiders. The situation was aggravated by conservative cylindrical boilers, are not allowed urgently to raise steam. Only really improved seaworthiness — due to the higher side. Mediocre speed is largely offset by reliability, reasonable price and quite adequate protection from the artillery of medium caliber. The tradeoff is much more reasonable than armored “first”; they, at least, do not qualify for the “pacification” of large Russian raiders, while remaining useful to protect convoys and search for weaker opponents.
 
About the same power possessed four units of type “Arrogant”, designed for joint action with the battleships in the composition of the main force. Interesting characteristic difference was their specialized purpose:only those British serial cruisers were intended for the active use of ramming tactics. I must say that the British thoroughly late: after a single successful application of a battering RAM in the battle of Lissa, 20 years have passed, and most forward-thinking professionals have already offered to abandon the “rudimentary process” in the nose. Still, the designers managed to achieve outstanding results in improving maneuverability. Reducing the length-width ratio and setting the nose wheel additional, they have ensured that “arrogance” could literally turn around on the heel: diameter of the circulation was only 350 metres — slightly more than three hull lengths (less than half of their “normal” counterparts). Played a role and cut the deadwood— “niche” in the stern, allowing to increase the efficiency of the wheel. The RAM looks impressive, although the heavy French he still was far away. Always loved the durability and reliability of the English did not fail to create a solid design, fastened to the body in numerous elements of the set and additionally protected by two-inch armour over 12 meters. Another symbol assignment, I must say, pretty heavy, became a combat tower of the 229 mm of armor. (It was considered that the ship, released in the collision attack, can be damaged by the artillery, but not control and command.) New water-tube boilers installed for the first time on the British “second-class” cruisers, provided this kind of ships tactical maneuverability, but had little impact on the speed, barely exceeding 19 knots. Their purpose has always remained somewhat vague: it was assumed that basically they will be the scouts in the squadron, and in the case of a decisive battle will bring out his “weapons of the third kind” (if you count the first and the second artillery and torpedoes).
 
Weapons scouts rams remained as “Dido” except for the fact that the number of 6-Dujmovic in the feed has decreased from two to one (which is understandable for a battering RAM aimed forward). It is clear that a special appointment was a complete nonsense with increasing rate of guns and actual ranges of combat. To the First world war is that the suicide bomber could ever hope to hit the enemy blow the RAM in day battle. By the time the Quartet has become a trio: “Gladiator” died in a crash in 1908. But one of the remaining, “Vindictive”, famous in battle. He became a key fighting unit in a unique attempt to block heavily fortified by the Germans the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in 1918, in order to prevent access to the raiders based there submarines. Hastily converted beyond recognition, with huge shotname for landing, deck, laid sandbags, zavorozhennye numerous machine guns, he suddenly appeared out of the shadows at the pier, dotted with German gun emplacements. Despite heavy damage and heavy losses among troops and crew, the task he managed to accomplish. In any case, no guilt “Vindictive” in the total failure of the operation there. He was lucky to return to your port, but old and badly damaged vehicle to restore it has had no meaning. Minimally patched it, the British decided to use the next operation to block. The former RAM graduated from your way one of blocksyou temporarily sukupolven Ostend.
 
The Admiralty, not satisfied clearly nedovolnye “Dido”, was ordered to replace a mixture of five – and six-inch on a uniform and more powerful artillery, which was done the following series of 3 units of type “Hiflyer”. The rest of the “freshly baked” workhorses fully repeated its predecessors. The exception was new water-tube boilers. In General, cruisers were quite balanced (although still clearly second-class) in all characteristics, except too small for the end of the century speed. Attempts to change the situation due to the progress in mechanics was too timid: the next pair, “Challenger” and “Encounter”, still looked slow with his 21 nodes, the achieved price extra 200 tons displacement.
 
Not to say that the British did not attempt to correct the flaws of their gray, although robust creatures era white. All the “DIDOT” (except “Aceps”) during the Russo-Japanese war received a uniform armament of eleven quick-firing 6-Dujmovic; similar alterations were at the same time exotic cruiser-rams. They all remained in the battle line during the “Great war”, although, of course, on the third cast. Minor service carried and their huge “big brother” (not all). Armored “white elephants” completely disappeared from the scene, replaced by new classes — armored cruisers, and scouts scout.
 
V. KOFMAN

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