You are not the brainchild of darkness or light.
You are only power. You are beyond morality.
Though not everyone realized it.
And the descendants will know,
Noble lords of steel,
And they will learn how
You died in battles!
New visitors to the forum ask all the same old questions. I don’t know where this delusion comes from about the inefficiency of large highly protected ships, but it’s a shame for the heroes of the past.
They fought, won, bled to death, so that a century later, the home-grown “experts” would write everyone down into useless trash. Among the beaten stamps - “they stood in the bases”, “they were protected and were not allowed into the sea”, “they were no longer built”. Well, let's start with the last.
Giants loved everything, but especially the Americans.
Since joining the war, the US has built 24 highly protected warships, incl. The 8 battleships, the 2 battlecruisers and the 14 heavy cruisers (TKR) of the Baltimore type.
What does the heavy cruisers? Ha, despite the fact that the “Baltimore” was two meters longer than the battleship “South Dakota”. A man who has only general ideas about the Navy is unlikely to distinguish such a cruiser from the battleship at all.
How were such giants born? In contrast to the pre-war "freaks", the TKr of the war years were built in the absence of international restrictions, and as a result they "flipped" to unprecedented size and combat power. Measured by 17 — 20 thousand tons. By the way, this is the total displacement of the legendary “Dreadnought” (only if you put them close, the “Baltimore” would have been longer on 40 meters).
Structurally, the TKr and LK still had differences: the caliber of the battleship is larger, the armor of the cruiser is thinner. However, from the standpoint of our days, that one that the other had transcendent military resistance. And the creation of such ships was a real scientific and technical achievement. Forces and means for their construction were not spared. They invested in them in full.
As for the official classification, it can be thrown into the trash. Look at the real TTX, and not on the stickers.
Someone will remind you of differences in tactical use. Come on! During the years of the Second World War, TKr and LK always walked “by the handle”, often falling under the crossfire of each other. Approximately as in the presented illustration (the campaign "Bismarck" and TKr "Prince Eugen").
Remember, who tormented “South Dakota” in the night battle at Guadalcanal (most of the hits - 203 mm shells of Japanese cruisers). Or the composition of a ragtagged Japanese compound, breaking through with the battle into Leyte Gulf. High firepower, speed and exceptional resistance to battle wounds allowed them to operate in a single unit.
Cruisers and battleships had more in common than differences. And speaking of some, we must somehow take into account the existence of others. All of them were monstrously large, expensive and difficult. Let someone more, someone less. The battleships also differed in size sometimes twice (30 thousand tons at Queen Elizabeth, 45 thousand tons at Littorio, 70 thousand tons at Yamato), but they are still considered to be a single class of battleships. So why are not smaller, but technically less sophisticated ships not participating here ?!
If you break away from the usual classifications, you can talk about the so-called. “Floating fortresses”. To which can be attributed all the large highly protected ships with predominantly artillery weapons, born in the period of the First World War, between the two wars and during the Second World War.
We go further.
Realizing the uselessness of “floating fortresses” on the example of Pearl Harbor, the Americans continued to build such ships throughout the war. And built later: a series of “Baltimore” followed by even more formidable “Oregon City” and “Des Moines”. As well as light cruisers of the “Worcester” type, which turned out to be even bigger and longer than the “Baltimore” itself! Sailors with irony called these monsters “well, very big light cruisers” (another confirmation that the official classification is often a lie). A unique feature of the “Worcesters” was the horizontal (deck) defense, superior in mass to all armored belts, traverses and barbets: the ship was created to counter air attack weapons.
Let us return, however, to the main topic of our conversation. Unexpectedly, it turned out that “floating fortresses” were still being built. And they were built in indecently large quantities. So big that when the war ended, the winners simply did not know where to put them. Part of the surrendered to the reserve. And, of course, they stopped building new ships - until the advent of the rocket weapons.
Dear reader, of course, will not believe and pounce with criticism. Indeed, at the height of the war, no one but the USA built battleships. Which is quite natural. All developed powers built their battleships and TKr even before the war. And then, of course, they did not have the strength and resources.
Britain before the war put into operation five new LCs such as “King George V”. The composition of the "combat core" fleet also included relatively fresh “Nelsons” arr. 20s and the legendary 270-meter Hood battlecruiser. And that's not all.
In the period between the world wars, the British led to more or less modern LCR “Rinaun” and “Repals” standards (they were modernized so seriously that they received the nickname “Rebuild” and “Ripair” in the fleet).
Also, five battleships “Queen Elizabeth” with 15-dm were extensively upgraded. main caliber guns. Outstanding was the project. The “Quinas” that belonged to the First World War epoch turned out to be so steep that they could confidently fight the battleships of the 30's. Time, of course, took its own - the “Queen” revealed problems (speed, PTZ), but there was no need for fire and protection in the surface part of the board.
Total: 15 ready for battle sea monsters (of course, not counting the others, who did not have time to go through the modernization of vessels, left over from the time of WWI).
Heavy cruisers, which would make sense to mention in the framework of this article, the British did not have. All pre-war projects are deliberately weakened “Washingtonians”, somehow narrowed into limited 10 thousand tons of standard displacement. This is not “Zara”, not “Hipper” and not “Mogami”.
The Germans didn’t sit around either, having given birth to four battleships and three more exotic “big cruisers” with caliber 280 mm guns, which received the ironic nickname “pocket battleships” in the pre-war years.
In addition to these freaks, the fascists laid another five heavy cruisers like the Admiral Hipper. So heavy that their crews (1400-1600 people) surpassed in numbers the crews of the battleships of the First World War. More people served on every German cruiser than on the heroically lost “Hude”! The stakes were great.
Nobody thought that the Germans would be able to restore their fleet so soon. They were not forced to sign international agreements prescribing strict restrictions on the displacement of ships. As a result, the Nazis built really huge cruisers, surpassing their peers, "Washington" on average 4000 tons.
As befits all German “vundervaflyam”, cruisers had an excessively complex structure. In absolute prices 30's. “Hipper” cost 2,5 times more expensive than the British heavy cruiser “London”.
The entire displacement reserve was wasted. Why? About this one must ask the German “superhumans” themselves. For example, the Americans managed to build much more balanced cruisers in the same dimensions. Of course, six years of age difference, but to compare “Hipper” with “Baltimore” is just a shame (despite the fact that “Baltimore” is just the development of pre-war projects, devoid of artificial restrictions, which the Germans didn’t have initially).
However, the funds were spent. Huge ships built (4 + 1 unfinished “Lyuttsov” sold in the USSR). From the modern point of view, despite the existence of even more advanced designs, “Hippers” were scientific and technical achievements. Total at the beginning of the war the fascists had 11 modern “floating fortresses”. Very modestly even by European standards.
In Italy, they were seriously preparing for a naval war. Three new battleships of the type “Littorio” have become the pride and beauty of Regia Marina. Modest by world standards, an outstanding project, which nevertheless had all the advantages of a large, ultra-secure ship.
Also, the Italians used a creative approach, upgrading the five old battleships of the First World War. The work was carried out serious, the power unit of the battleships increased by 300%. It is clear what extensive changes in the design led such experiments. The towers were shot, armor plates were installed, the modernization of the old “Cesare” came out as half the cost of building the new “Littorio”. Why did they do it? The Italians have only two convolutions in their heads, and those - spaghetti. Modernization did not make the “old men” at all equal to the new battleships. Although it increased their combat capabilities very significantly.
In the interwar period in Italy were built four more highly protected ship, TKr type "Zara". Contract "Washingtonians", favorably distinguished from foreign peers remarkable armor protection. It was possible to combine security with high speed and classic armament of the TKr of that era due to a clear violation of the terms of the Washington Treaty. All this led to very funny consequences.
One of the "Zar", going to emergency repair in Gibraltar, did not fit in the dock - where, according to the documents, was supposed to get up without problems. As they say on the Internet, epic failure. The British learned the truth, but it was too late.
In total, at the beginning of the war the Italians had whole 12 “floating fortresses”.
Japan stands on the edge of the world, but its technological level is ahead of many. At the beginning of the war, the valiant sons of Amateras built two impregnable fortresses in the ocean - the Yamato type battleships. And before, in 1920, everyone was surprised once again by building the world's first type of battleship with 16-dm. the main caliber is the great “Nagato”.
In addition to this “magnificent four”, at the time of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had eight more modernized battleships and battle cruisers of the WWI era (Fuso, Ise and the Congo, which had no relation to the African country). The upgraded battleships were unrecognizable: the Japanese were jokingly putting 10-floor superstructures on them, changing the armament, the GEM and the battleships booking scheme.
Heavy cruisers were a special pride of the Imperial fleet. They brought on their decks a lot of loud victories and in the majority lasted until the last months of the war.
It is worth highlighting 12 cruisers, four projects: “Myoko”, “Takao”, “Mogami” and exotic “Tone”. Earlier types (“Furutaka” and “Aoba”) are too easy and primitive, therefore they are not related to conversation.
A dozen samurai can be attributed to highly protected ships with some stretch: their protection was clearly weak, compared to the rest of the ships mentioned in this article. Although even in that form, the Japanese TKr demonstrated exceptional combat strength, unattainable for modern ships. The most powerful torpedo-artillery armament - in this parameter the samurai surpassed all their opponents. Power plants with a capacity greater than that of battleships. 35 speed nodes. Crews outnumbered 1000 + people. Everything indicates that we face the next armada of “sea fortresses” with rebalanced characteristics in the direction of speed and fire.
How did this all fit into the established 10 thous. Tons? Yes, nothing. The Japanese cheated as best they could: at first nobody paid attention to the fact that the waterline “Mogami” did not pass where it should be, the side too high rises above the water (the ship is structurally underloaded). With the beginning of the war, the Japanese broke the masks and put on the cruiser, instead of six-inch, new towers with 8-dm. “Broads”. The Mogami project was originally intended for this.
In all, the Japanese had 26 large protected ships, and their fleet as of 1941 was the strongest in the world.
Well, stupid ...
The only ones who “kicked the cotton” during the interwar period were the Yankees. His last battleship was laid there in the years of Perovoi World, and then for the whole 15 years they did nothing. Apparently, they hoped for the strength of their diplomacy, which shackled Japan with the shackles of maritime treaties (after all, the Japanese were not busy with a good life with the rusty battleships of WWI, instead of building new ships).
By the beginning of the war, the US Navy came in a depressing state - with a pile of “standard battleships”, whose caliber and low speed (21 knots) did not allow them to operate effectively in the new era.
However, the Yankees woke up quite quickly, built a pair of North Caroline LCs before the war and made up for lost time with unprecedented speed.
A) Large, well-protected surface ships were available in sufficient numbers in the fleets of all developed countries.
B) Those who could, built such ships throughout the war and even after the end of WWII.
C) TKr and LK occupied their tactical niche. Protected ships have not lost relevance with the advent of aviation (rather, as practice has shown, vice versa). They are the only ones who could hold out under increased enemy fire.
How the sea giants fought will be described in the second part of the material about the “sea fortresses”. Not afraid to kill the intrigue, I will say right away: they fought nicely.
Or did someone seriously think that these majestic masters of defense, air defense and long-range combat modestly stood aside? Endowed with immense strength, inflexible and tenacious, like terminators, they were not afraid of anything and went where any “one-time” light cruiser / leader / destroyer could not have walked a dozen miles. The command was well aware of their capabilities, so they were sent to the inferno.
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