So, the August 3 battle was a failure for the Germans - they could not break through to Irben. It can be assumed that our opponents appreciated the actions of the only Russian battleship who dared to block the path of the Kaiser dreadnoughts. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the dispatch of two newest destroyers to the Gulf of Riga on the night of August to search for and destroy Glory. Fortunately, V-4 and V-99 were unable to detect the "Glory", although they were moving in the right way - passing the Irbens, they turned to Ahrensburg Bay. But in the Irbensk Strait, the Germans had short-term contact with the Russian destroyers Okhotnik and General Kondratenko, and at the entrance to the bay - with Ukraine and Troops, and the German ships received several hits. This convinced the German commanders of the futility of further searches, and they tried to retreat, but were intercepted by Novik. In a short artillery battle, the Russian destroyer scored a convincing victory over them, and V-100, trying to escape, hit a mine, jumped out of the Mikhailovsky lighthouse where it was blown up by its own crew.
And then morning came.
The third battle (4 August 1915 g)
In 05.03, "Glory" moved into position. The battleship was accompanied by the 8 th battalion of the destroyers. However, this time the main opponent of "Glory" was not the German ships, but ... the weather. Yesterday the Russian battleship perfectly saw the enemy dreadnoughts even on 120 KBT, but on August 4 the visibility deteriorated to such an extent that it did not exceed the 40-50 cables to the west of Glory.
The worst thing for Russian sailors was that the thick fog that limited visibility was thickening to the west. Accordingly, the Kaiser ships could observe the "Glory", remaining invisible to its signalmen. In addition, the Germans guessed to adjust the fire from the Mikhailovsky Lighthouse, located on the southern bank of the Irbensky Strait, and thus gained an additional advantage.
In 07.20, when the German guns thundered, only flashes of shots were seen on the Glory, but not the firing ships. Enemy shells fell near the destroyers accompanying the Russian battleship. In response, Slava raised flag flags, turned south, moving perpendicular to the German course, and prepared for battle. Apparently, the commander of the "Glory", Sergey Sergeevich Vyazemsky, considered that the Germans, moving from west to east, are about to appear, and will be within reach of the guns of the Russian battleship, because at least to the east, visibility was better than West, but it’s unlikely that the Germans would be able to see the “Glory” at a distance of more than 8 miles.
However, these calculations were not justified - on 07.45, the enemy gave 5 volleys to "Glory", while he himself was still invisible. This forced the battleship to retreat to the east.
Unfortunately, the sources do not give a detailed change in the weather condition, but it is known that in 08.40 Slava discovered the enemy minesweepers and destroyers at the 85-90 cable distance south of the Mikhailovsky lighthouse, but still could not open fire on them. Then the battleship met the enemy and, after some five minutes, came under heavy German Dreadnought fire. It is not known exactly whether Nassau and Posen were observed from Glory, but in any case, because of limited visibility or because of long distances, the Russian battleship could not respond to them with fire. In 08.50, almost immediately after the dreadnoughts fired at the Glory, she stopped coming closer and lay down again on a course perpendicular to the German one — the battleship turned north.
And at that moment, three 280-mm projectiles hit the Glory almost simultaneously.
The battleship received moderate severity damage - one projectile didn’t damage anything serious, flying over the upper deck, broke through the semi-marque and bed nets on the starboard and flew off without a break. But two other hits caused fires, moreover, with the threat of detonation of the powder cellars of the 152-mm tower, and also damaged the steering. Nevertheless, the battleship, still unable to respond to the enemy with fire, did not turn off the combat course, but instead began to repair the damage, which was quickly localized by the competent actions of the crew. In 08.58, “Glory”, continuing to go north, went beyond the limits of visibility or the firing range of the German Dreadnoughts and they stopped firing.
It is unlikely that someone would reproach the commander of the "Glory", Sergey Sergeyevich Vyazemsky, if he retreated at that moment. Not only did the Germans have an overwhelming numerical advantage, not only did they also have a decisive superiority in the range of fire, so now they also turned out to be invisible! But instead of retreating "Glory" turned to the west and moved towards the enemy.
"Posen". One of the opponents of "Glory" in the battle of August 4
It is difficult to say how all this would end, but the actions of the Russian battleship were observed “from above”. As soon as the damaged ship moved towards the enemy, the battleship received a signal (searchlight) from the commander of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga: “Go to Kuivast!”. Ss Vyazemsky tried to act in the best traditions of Nelson, who in a similar situation attached a telescope to the absent eye, and with good reason stated: “I don’t see an order!”. The commander of "Glory" preferred not to notice the order given to him and continued to go towards rapprochement with the Kaiser ships, but then he was repeatedly sent an order from the escort destroyer, and it became impossible to "ignore". Glory did not leave Arensburg’s raid, and its participation in the defense of the Irben position of August 4 ended there.
For all the time of the battle, "Glory" did not expend a single projectile - the enemy was either not visible or was too far away for shooting.
After the failure of 4 August, the battleship seemed doomed to death. The Germans completed the trawling of the Irbensky watering on August 4, and the next day they entered their heavy ships into the Gulf of Riga. “Glory” did not have a single chance to go to the Gulf of Finland (too much draft) to break through the Strait of Irbena due to the overwhelming superiority of the enemy’s forces. She could only die with honor. Therefore, on August 6, the minelayer Amur set up a minefield between Moonzund and the Gulf of Riga, and Slava prepared to take her last battle at this mine-artillery position, maneuvering between Kuyvast and Werder Island.
In fact, on August 5 and 6, the “Glory” was only helped by the fact that the Germans prepared badly for the operation, had not previously scouted the Russian basing system fleet in Moonsund, they simply did not know where to look for the Russian battleship now. But the German plan involved blocking the passage from the Gulf of Finland to the Gulf of Riga and, having embarked on this plan, the Germans would inevitably encounter Glory. It would seem that a tragic denouement is inevitable, but then the inevitable accidents at sea and ... the British intervened.
The fact is that foggy Albion transferred to the aid of the Russian imperial Baltic fleet several submarines operating in the Baltic with a truly murderous effectiveness many times greater than the achievements of Russian submarines. And it turned out that while the Germans invaded the Gulf of Riga, their battle cruisers, still cruising the Gotska Sanden-Ezel line, awaiting the release of the Russian Dreadnoughts, were attacked by the submarine of His Majesty E-1, which managed to torpedo " Moltke. In the evening of the same day, the S-31 destroyer exploded and sank, and the next day in the Gulf of Riga, German observers found the submarine Minoga
All this created an extremely nervous situation in the German headquarters. The fact is that, contrary to the original idea of joint actions of the German army and the Kaiserlhmarin, the Germans never launched an offensive on land, and without this, the operation to break through into the Gulf of Riga was largely meaningless. Now, being in a small and shallow bay, among mines and submarines (of which the Russians had only three, and those were outdated, but the eyes were large with fear), the German command was extremely irritating, with the result that Erhard Schmidt ordered the interruption of the operation and the German fleet retreated .
What conclusions can be drawn from the battle 4 August 1915 g? They are few. At this time, the weather conditions also added to the unfavorable balance of forces and the quality of the materiel - in the circumstances, the continuation of the battle with “Glory” could only lead to the senseless death of the battleship. There was no way for Slava to defend the Irben position, but it wasn’t any sense to go “on the last and decisive” exactly on August 4. Ss Vyazemsky, the commander of "Glory", acted bravely, leading his battleship towards many times superior enemy, but the head of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga acted wisely, withdrawing him. Since the Germans were destined to break into the Gulf of Riga, the "Glory" with dozens of correct actions of the enemy was doomed. And if so, then you should choose the best time and place for the last fight. The Irbensky Strait 4 of August was neither the one nor the other: retreating and fighting in the new mine-artillery position at Moonzund, Slava received much better chances of inflicting at least some damage to the enemy, even if at the cost of their death.
Of course, it is completely meaningless to talk about the accuracy of the gunners of "Glory" in the battle of 4 in August - the battleship failed to make a single shot that day.
Preparing for future battles
The next battle of battleships at the mine-artillery position took place two years and two months after the previous invasion of the Kaiserlmarine ships in the Gulf of Riga.
Of course, during this time the experience of the confrontation of "Glory" to the German ships was carefully studied and certain conclusions were made. The range of the battleship's guns was categorically inadequate, and measures were taken to increase it, as a result of which "Glory" was able to fire at a distance of 115 kb. But what were these measures, and when were they taken?
If it were possible to increase the elevation angles to 35-40 degrees and thereby obtain the above range increase, then this would be fine. Alas - although the vertical angles of orientation “Slava” were corrected, but far from as much as we would like. The author came across various data on what angle the battleships could have climbed to the horizon — 20 hail, 22,5 hail or 25 hail (the latter is most likely), but one thing is sure - Slava remained very, very far from the Black Sea battleships. But then how did you manage to increase the range to 115 KB?
The fact is that the firing range depends not only on the angle of elevation, but also on the length of the projectile. Both the Baltic and Black Sea battleships fired 331,7 lightweight caliber 3,2 g. With a lightweight 1907 kg. In addition to this type of projectiles, a new, heavier and longer 470,9 kg 1911 grit projectile of the newest dreadnoughts was made in the Russian Empire. Unfortunately, its use on the battleships was completely impossible, because the design of the feed mechanisms and the chargers did not involve working with such massive projectiles, and their alteration was too complicated and expensive. Here, however, they usually recall the famous shelling of "Chesma" from "John Chrysostom" - the Black Sea battleship then fired with "heavy" shells arr. 305 d. But you need to understand that the firing rate of such firing did not matter, so there was no need to use regular means of lifting projectiles from under-battalions, etc. Those. the shells could simply “roll” into the towers, and the loading should be carried out with the help of some temporarily installed hoists.
On the other hand, to load the domestic industry, which could not cope with the release of shells for the front, the production of a new type of heavy projectile was meaningless.
They found the way out in special ballistic tips made of brass and screwed onto the projectile (before this, of course, it was necessary to cut the thread on the body of the projectile). With such a tip, the mass of the projectile increased to 355 kg, and its length almost to the 4 caliber. But due to the fact that neither the storages nor the feeding devices of the battleships were intended for the "turning" of such long projectiles, these tips should be screwed on immediately before loading, which reduced the rate of fire three times. Nevertheless, they were all the same ready to go in order not to be completely unarmed in front of the German Dreadnoughts.
And here, apparently, it worked, "I do not understand well, but here I will understand it, since it comes to a loop." The fact is that the sailors of "Glory" in the period of 26 July - 4 of August 1915 g had the "pleasure" on themselves to feel all the sensations of an unarmed person, who was shot from a safe distance by large calibers. This brings to mind the remarkable impromptu of one of the officers of the port-arthur squadron, told by him when the Japanese battleships got into the habitat with impunity to bombard the water area where Russian ships stood with throw-over fire:
“Isn't it boring?
Sit and wait
When they start throwing you,
From afar heavy objects
Sit and wait
When they start throwing you,
From afar heavy objects
But the battleship, obviously, also understood that such a sharp (threefold!) Drop in the rate of fire reduces the benefit of increasing the range to almost zero. Therefore, on the "Glory", the ship's means (!) Managed not only to equip 200 storage spaces for projectiles with screwed caps, but also to alter the feed so that the "new" projectiles could be delivered to the guns and charged without any problems.
Loading torpedoes on the battleship "Glory" (the photo was taken during the 1 World War I)
This raises two questions. The first one is rhetorical: how did it happen that the crew of a warship managed to do what specially trained gentlemen ship engineers considered impossible? The second is more interesting - if Slava was able to provide storage and supply of such ammunition, then maybe for the newest shells of the 1911 model, everything was not so hopeless? Of course, high-explosive shells arr. 1911 g were longer (5 gauges) but armor-piercing - just 3,9 gauges, i.e. In terms of geometry, they corresponded to the “new” projectile arr. 1907 g with a ballistic tip. Of course, the armor-piercing shell was heavier (470,9 kg versus 355 kg), but was it an insurmountable obstacle? Alas, we can only guess about this now. But if “Glory” had similar projectiles in its last battle ... But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Thus, we can say that the crew of the battleship did everything in its power (and even a little more than that) to meet the enemy fully armed in the next battle. Alas, this was not enough.
The fact is that the new “miracle-projectiles” with ballistic tips had one fatal flaw: their dispersion significantly exceeded that of conventional 305-mm projectiles. In essence, ballistic projectiles represented a specific ammunition for firing at squares. As wrote in 1916 year LM Galler (at that time - the flagship artillery 2-th brigade of battleships):
“Ships ..., being supplied with a long-range projectile, have the opportunity, without being subjected to the fire of the main forces of the enemy, to shoot the minesweepers with impunity: the destruction of the minesweepers under such conditions makes any attempt to break through the obstacles very risky ...”
That is, it was assumed that, shooting at an areal target, which is a dense system of minesweepers, high-explosive shells exploding from the impact when in contact with water, you can achieve heavy damage or even the destruction of minesweepers, without achieving direct hits, but only due to high-explosive and fragmentation action shells. In this case, as noted LM. Galler ballistic projectiles were considered necessary:
“Only from the point of view of firing a specific item, but not shooting in a squadron battle”
In other words, despite the above events, “Glory” never received weapons, allowing you to hit the enemy's warships at a distance over 90-95 KBT reliably.
We described two measures to increase the range of the battleship, but it should be borne in mind that they were carried out in reverse order. Slava received ballistic-tipped shells by the end of 1915, but the command considered the presence of a battleship in the Gulf of Riga to be so necessary that it did not even venture to take it away with the onset of cold weather. “Glory” got up for the wintering of 1915-1916 at the entrance to the Strait of Moonsund, opposite the Werder Beacon and entered the 1916 campaign of the year without returning to Helsingfors. As a result, the ship's factory repair, replacement and increase of the elevation angles of the 305-mm guns was possible only at the end of the 1916 year. "Glory" left the Gulf of Riga 22 in October, passing through the in-depth Moonsund Strait, through which the oldest, but at the same time, the smallest Russian battleships, the Tsarevich and Slava, could now pass.
One can only rejoice at the fact that the Germans did not dare to invade large forces in the Gulf of Riga in 1916. In this case, Slava would have had to fight in about the same conditions as before - with the ability to shoot conventional shells at 76-78 KBT (guns They were also shot, so the achievement of even 78 kbt was probably questioned) and long-range projectiles for firing at squares - kbt 91-93. Or, with artificial roll in 3 degrees - respectively 84-86 KBT and 101-103 KBT, which the Germans would not be enough to counter the dreadnoughts of the Germans.
Yet the remnants of 1915 g and 1916 year passed for the battleship relatively calmly. "Glory" fought, supporting with fire the coastal flank of the army and achieved considerable success in this. So, for example, Vinogradov indicates that the German offensive, launched by them on October 17, initially led to success, and that it was thanks to the heavy cannons of Glory that our troops managed to restore the situation. The Germans tried to counteract the battleship using field artillery, hydroplanes and zeppelins. They could not seriously damage the heavily armored ship, but still achieved some success. So, September 12 German 150-mm shell hit the edge of the reflective visor of the conning tower, killing almost everyone in it, including the commander of the "Glory", Sergey Sergeyevich Vyazemsky.
And then came the February Revolution
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