Battleships and battlecruisers amaze the imagination with their size and power: apparently, therefore, historians pay more ships to large ships than to their smaller counterparts. It is not difficult to find detailed descriptions of the main caliber of any battleship, but with the cruisers everything is much more complicated: the information about their artillery systems is often incomplete or contradictory.
Russian light cruisers were supposed to arm the 15 with the latest 130-mm / 55 guns arr. 1913, the production of the Obukhov plant. It was these guns that made up the mine caliber of the dreadnoughts of the “Empress Maria” type, and they had very impressive characteristics for their time. But ... what? The problem is that this gun was produced in the Russian Empire, modernized in the USSR, and then on its base a new 130-mm gun was created. At the same time, new ammunition was being developed and ... everything was messed up, so today it is not so easy to figure out exactly what characteristics the original artillery system possessed and what shells it fired.
130-mm / 55 gun arr. Xnumx
So, for example, S.E. Vinogradov indicates that
“The total weight of an 130-equipped 1911-mm projectile was 35,96 kg, of which 4,9 kg was its TNT bursting charge ... ... To defeat surface targets, the 130-mm artillery system was equipped only with a high-explosive projectile of 650 mm length (5 klb) with a armor with a armor; "Makarovsky cap" and, in essence, was a high-explosive armor-piercing ammunition. "
It seems to be all clear. However, other sources report the presence of a second type of high-explosive projectile, designated as "a high-explosive sample of 1911 (without a tip)". It would seem, well, what's wrong with that, one with a tip, the second without, but the problem is that the descriptions of this projectile are extremely strange. Thus, it is stated that this second projectile had the same weight as the projectile with a tip, while, again, it is indicated that both projectiles had a weight of 33,86 kg or 36,86 kg.
Of course, it can be assumed that the 130-mm gun was decided to be supplied with two types of ammunition - one as if semi-demurrage (with a tip), and the second - purely explosive without a tip, then, with the same weight, a high-explosive could get a greater amount of explosive and all that looks reasonable. But the joke is that the sources indicating the presence of a second, “endless” projectile indicate for him a smaller amount of explosives in the projectile — 3,9 kg versus 4,71 kg!
But the sources have no discrepancies in the fact that TNT was used as explosives, that a powder charge of 11 kg was used for firing, and this charge gave the projectile an initial speed of 823 m / s. By the way, this suggests that the mass of the projectile was still 35.96-36,86 kg., Because lighter shells were arr. 1928 g had a speed of 861 m / s.
Difficulties arise in determining the firing range. The fact is that the maximum firing range depends, among other things, on the angle of elevation (vertical guidance or HV), but it is unclear what HV the Svetlan guns would have had.
It is more or less reliably known that the project envisaged machine tools with an HV angle in 20 degrees, which ensured the maximum firing range of 16 364 m or almost 83 kb. But in 1915, Obukhovsky Zavod began to produce machines with HV angle increased to 30, at which 130-mm / 55 guns would shoot with shells, arr. 1911 g at a distance of 18 290 m or 98,75 kb.
According to the contract with the Revel plant, the first two cruisers, the Svetlana and the Admiral Greig, were to go on trials in July and October 1915 g, respectively. It can be assumed that if the construction was carried out within the established deadlines, cruisers would still receive old installations with an angle of ВН 20 deg. - we will take them for further comparison. Although upon completion the Svetlana (“Profintern”) had installations with an angle of elevation 30 hail.
The loading of the 130-mm Obukhov gun was separate and, apparently, by the caps. In this case, the cartridges were stored (and probably transported to the guns) in special 104,5 cm-long canisters, which, as far as can be understood, were still not sleeves. Interesting is the storage system for caps used on Svetlana: not only were the shot cases placed in a separate pencil case, this case was placed in a steel and hermetically sealed case capable of withstanding the water pressure when the cellar was flooded without deforming. Cases, in turn, were stored in special cellular racks.
Rate of fire 130-mm / 55 guns arr. The 1913 g was 5-8 rounds per minute, but the cruisers' hoisting gear ensured the delivery of 15 shells and 15 charges per minute.
Despite some ambiguities, it can be stated that in service fleet a very powerful medium-caliber artillery system arrived - I must say, in operation it has proven itself to be quite reliable weapons. Of course, she also had drawbacks - the same kind of cap load can not be attributed to the advantages of the gun, and good ballistic qualities were “bought” by increased barrel wear, the life of which was only 300 shots, which was especially sad due to the lack of lining.
What could this oppose the British and Germans?
The German cruisers were armed with 3 main artillery systems:
1) 105-mm / 40 SK L / 40 arr 1898 g., Standing on the ships of the type "Gazelle", "Bremen", "Koenigsberg" and "Dresden".
2) 105-mm / 45 SK L / 45 arr. 1906 was established on cruisers, starting from the type of “Mainz” and up to the very end of the German hobby for small calibers, that is, up to “Graudents” inclusive.
3) 150-mm / 45 SK L / 45 arr. 1906 was equipped with “Wiesbaden”, “Pillau”, “Koenigsberg” with these guns, and during the modernization - “Graudents”. In addition, they were equipped with light cruisers-minelayers "Brummer" and "Bremse"
The oldest 105-mm / 40 SK L / 40 fired 16 kg with armor-piercing and 17,4 kg high-explosive shells with an extremely moderate initial speed of 690 m / s, which caused the maximum range of the non-limiting 30 elevation angle to exceed 12 200 m (almost 66 x XUMUM XNUMX m (almost XNUMX)
105-mm / 40 gun on the cruiser "Bremen"
105-mm / 45 SK L / 45 was not too different from its “ancestor” - the barrel increased by 5 gauges and the increase in initial velocity by only 20 m / s, while the ammunition remained the same. With the same maximum angle HV (30 deg) the firing range of the updated artillery system did not exceed 12 700 m or 68,5 kb.
Unfortunately, the sources do not contain information about the content of explosives in the shells of German 105-mm cannons. But the domestic 102-mm / 60 guns arr. 1911 g, which armed the famous "Noviki" was a high-explosive projectile of similar mass (17,5 kg) containing 2,4 kg of explosive. Probably, it will not be a big mistake to assume that, according to explosives content, German 105-mm high-explosive shells were about two times less than their Russian 130-mm “vis-a-vis”.
On the other hand, 105-mm artillery significantly exceeded our 130-mm guns in the rate of fire - mainly due to the unitary shot, because its mass (25,5 kg) was less than that of the Obukhov’s 130-mm / 55 gun (36,86) kg). In ideal conditions, the German guns could show 12-15 rounds per minute.
Thus, losing twice to the Russian cannon in the mass of the projectile and, probably, in the mass of the explosive in the projectile, the German 105-mm artillery systems were about twice as high as their rate of fire. In the firing range, the gain remained for the Russian gun, which fired nearly a mile and a half further. All of this suggested that the 105-mm German cruiser was strongly discouraged from picking up the Svetlan. The same "Magdeburg", having standard armament from 12 105-mm guns and 6 guns in the onboard salvo was significantly inferior in firepower to the Russian cruiser, who had 15 130-mm guns with 8 guns in the onboard salvo. The only situation where the German cruisers were somehow equalized with the “Svetlana” is a night fight at a short distance, where the rate of fire could be crucial.
Realizing the inadequacy of the artillery armament of their cruisers, Germany turned to larger calibers - 150-mm / 45 SK L / 45.
This gun fired high-explosive and armor-piercing shells that had a mass of 45,3 kg. The armor piercing contained 0,99 kg of explosives, how many were in a high-explosive - alas, it is not known. However, in World War II, high-explosive shells to this gun contained 3,9-4,09 kg of explosives. At the same time, the high-explosive shells of earlier 150-mm / 40 SK L / 40 had no more than 3 kg of explosive: so it can be assumed that the German 150-mm projectiles in their impact on the enemy were approximately equivalent to domestic high-explosive shells. 1911, or even slightly inferior to them. The initial velocity of the 150-mm / 45 SK L / 45 projectiles was 835 m / s, but the information is somewhat contradictory about the firing range. The fact is that kayserlhmarin widely used this gun, it was installed on various machines that had different elevation angles. Most likely, the VN angle of the German light cruisers was 22 hail, which corresponded to the maximum firing range of 15 800 m (85,3 kb). Accordingly, the 150-mm guns only slightly exceeded the Svetlana artillery (83 kb) in range. In the rate of fire 150-mm / 45 SK L / 45 was expectedly inferior to 130-mm / 55 "obukhovke" - 5-7 shots. / min
In general, we can say that the German 150-mm and the Russian 130-mm artillery systems were quite comparable in their fighting qualities. The German cannon had a heavier projectile, but this was not supported by an increased content of explosives, and in terms of range and rate of fire of the artillery system were almost equal.
British cruising artillery for the First World War was presented:
1) 102-mm / 50 BL Mark VII arr. 1904 g, which were armed scouts types "Body Disease" and "Bristol"
2) 102-mm / 45 QF Mark V arr. 1913 - Aretuza, Caroline, Calliope
3) 152-mm / 50 BL Mark XI arr. 1905 Mr. - cruisers of the type "Bristol", "Falmouth" (they are also called the type "Weymouth") and "Chatham"
4) 140-mm / 45 BL Mark I arr. 1913 - put on only two light cruisers, the Chester and the Birkenhead of the same type
5) 152 / 45 BL Mark XII arr. 1913 - All cruisers, starting with "Arethusa."
The small remark “BL” and “QF” in the name of the British guns indicate the method of their loading: “BL” is a separate cartridge case or a cap type, “QF”, respectively, is unitary.
102-mm / 50 BL Mark VII
As it is easy to see, the English guns were much more modern than the Germans. However, “newer” doesn’t mean “better” - 102-mm / 50 BL Mark VII was considerably inferior in its characteristics to 105-mm / 40 SK L / 40 XRUMX g. Arr. While the German gun fired 1898 kg with armor-piercing and 16. kg high-explosive shells, the British high-explosive and semi-slash 17,4-mm shells had an equal weight 102 kg. Unfortunately, the author could not find out the content of explosives in British shells, but at this size it obviously could not be large - as we shall see later, there is reason to believe that it was significantly lower than that of 14,06-mm / 105 SK L / 40. Because of separate loading, the 40-mm / 102 BL Mark VII fire rate did not exceed 50-6 shots / min. and almost half the German artillery system. The only indisputable superiority of the English gun was the high initial speed - 8 m / s versus 873 m / s for the Germans. This could give the British an excellent gain in range, but alas - while the German machine provided 690 vertical guidance, the British only 30 degrees, which is why the range 15-mm / 102 BL Mark VII was some kind of 50 10 m (a little more than 610 KBT) so that even here the “Englishwoman” lost to the German cannon by almost a mile.
The only advantage of the British cannon can be considered somewhat better flatness and, accordingly, shooting accuracy, but otherwise it was completely inferior to the older German artillery system. Not surprisingly, for the Germans, who were preparing their fleet against the British, their 105-mm artillery seemed completely sufficient.
The next British gun - 102-mm / 45 QF Mark V arr. 1913 became, if I may say so, the “work on the errors” of 102-mm / 50 BL Mark VII.
The new gun used unitary shots, which increased the rate of fire to 10-15 shots / min., And the maximum angle of elevation brought to 20 hail. But at the same time, the initial speed dropped to 728 m / s., Which ensured the maximum range of 12 660 m (68,3 kb), which corresponded to the German 105-mm SK L / 40 and SK L / 45 guns, but did not exceed them. Also Mark V got a high-explosive shell, weighted to 15,2 kg, but it contained only 820 grams of explosive! Therefore, it can be said for sure that the English 102-mm gun was almost three times losing to the domestic 102-mm / 60 "obukhovka", and the Svetlana gun was six times the 130-mm / 55 gun, but to say how it was compared to the German 105-mm guns It is impossible, because the author does not have information on the content of explosives in their shells. We can only state that the newest British 102-mm / 45 QF Mark V arr. 1913g was, at best, equal to the German 105-mm / 45 SK L / 45
The low combat qualities of the British 102-mm cannons caused the British to have a quite understandable desire to have at least a couple of 152-mm guns on their scouts. And 152-mm / 50 BL Mark XI arr. 1905 r quite answered these aspirations. This gun used 45,3 kg semi-armor and high-explosive shells containing explosives 3,4 and 6 kg, respectively. In their power, they left absolutely everything 102-mm and 105-mm shells far behind, and the German 150-mm too. Of course, the power of the 152-mm British projectile with 6 kg of explosives exceeded that of the Russian 130-mm projectiles with their 3,9-4,71 kg. BB
The only thing that can be reproached by the British artillery system is the relatively small firing range. On light cruisers of the Bristol type, the angle of the VN 152-mm / 50 BL Mark XI installations was only 13 hail, on the others - 15 hail, which gave the 45,36 kg firing range using an SRVS projectile (unfortunately, the range is indicated only for this) in 10 240 m (55,3 kb) and 13 085 m (70,7 kb), respectively. Thus, the Bristol was not lucky, because they received the least long-range artillery system among all English and German cruisers, but other cruisers, for example, like the Chatam, were in no way inferior to any 105-mm German cruiser. However, both the Russian 130-mm / 55 and the German 150-mm / 45 guns with their 83-85 kbt maximum range had a great advantage over the 152-mm / 50 BL Mark XI.
The English guns' rate of fire was 5-7 rds / min and was, in general, common to six-inch artillery systems. But in general, the gun length as much in 50 calibers was recognized by the British too cumbersome for light cruisers. It should also be borne in mind that British attempts to increase the length of the barrels of their guns to 50 calibers in large-caliber artillery failed - the wire construction of the guns did not provide acceptable accuracy, and it is possible that the BL Mark XI had similar problems.
When developing 152 / 45 BL Mark XII arr. 1913 The English have returned to 45 calibers. The shells remain the same (they don’t look for good), the initial speed decreased by 42 m / s and amounted to 853 m / s. But the angle of the VN remained the same - only 15 hail, so that the maximum firing range even decreased slightly, making up from various data from 12 344 to 12 800 m (66,6-69 KBT).
Later, in the years of the First World War, this deficiency was eradicated during upgrades, when the HV 20 and even 30 hail angle was attached to the machine tools, which made it possible to shoot at 14 320 and 17 145 m (77 and 92,5 kbt, respectively), but it happened later, and we compare guns at the time of entry into service of ships.
It is interesting that, having a predilection for 102-mm and 152-mm calibers, the British quite unexpectedly for their two cruisers adopted an intermediate, 140-mm gun. But this is quite understandable: the fact is that, although six-inches were superior to 102-mm / 105-mm guns in almost everything, they had one very bad disadvantage — a relatively low rate of fire. And the point here is not at all in tabular data showing 5-7 rounds per minute versus 10-15. The fact is that projectiles (i.e., those who are responsible for loading the projectile, charges, respectively, provide charging) usually have two naval guns. And in order for the 152-mm gun to give 6 shots per minute, it is necessary that the projectile take the projectile (and it does not lie directly with the gun) and load the gun with it every 20 seconds. Recall now that the six-inch shell weighed in for 45 kg, put ourselves in the gear box and think about how many minutes we can work at that pace?
In fact, the rate of fire is not such an important indicator in the battle of cruisers (if we are not talking about "dagger" fire in the night) because the need to adjust the sight significantly reduces the rate of fire. But the rate of fire is very important in repelling the attack of the destroyers, and this is one of the essential tasks of the light cruiser. Therefore, an attempt to switch to a projectile of sufficient power to fight with cruisers, but at the same time less heavy than a six-inch one, was certainly of great interest to the British.
140-mm gun of the cruiser "Chester"
In this regard, 140-mm / 45 BL Mark I arr. 1913 g was very similar to the domestic 130-mm / 55 “buttress” - the mass of the projectile 37,2 kg versus 36,86 kg, the initial speed - 850 m / s versus 823 m / sec. But the “Englishwoman” loses in explosives content (2,4 kg versus 3,9-4,71 kg) and, oddly enough, again in firing range - solely due to the fact that the British for some reason limited the angles of vertical alignment to only 15 degrees. Unfortunately, the firing range of the 140-mm / 45 BL Mark I is not given at this elevation angle, but even at 25 hail the gun fired at the 14 630 m. almost 79 kbts., which was still less than the Russian 130-mm / 55 with its 83 kbts at an angle of HV in 20 degrees. Obviously, the loss of the English artillery system on 15 degrees BH was measured in miles.
As for the light cruisers of the Austro-Hungary Admiral Spoon, their weapons were 100-mm / 50 K10 and K11 arr. 1910 g, produced by the famous factories "Skoda". These guns were able to send a 13,75 kg projectile with an initial speed of 880 m / s to a range of 11 000 m (59,4 kbt) - obviously, they could have continued, but the HV angle of the Austro-Hungarian 100 units was limited to 14 degrees. Unfortunately, the author has not found information about the explosives content in Austro-Hungarian shells. The guns had unitary loading, the rate of fire indicated 8-10 rds / min. This is noticeably less than what the British 102-mm and German 105-mm guns showed with a unitary shot, but there is some suspicion that where the Germans and the British indicated the maximum possible rate of fire, which can be developed only in greenhouse-polygon conditions, the Austro -Hangers brought realistic, attainable on the ship performance.
Apparently, the 100-mm gun of the Škoda company can be considered approximately equivalent to the English 102-mm / 45 QF Mark V and, possibly, slightly inferior to the German 105-mm / 40 SK L / 40 and 105-mm / 45 SK L / 45 artillery systems.
Concluding our review, we state that, in terms of the totality of characteristics, the Russian 130-mm / 55 artillery system significantly surpassed all 100-mm, 102-mm and 105-mm British, German and Austro-Hungarian guns, superior to the English 140-mm gun, was approximately equivalent to the German 150-mm cannon and inferior to the English 152-mm cannons in the power of the projectile, winning in the firing range.
Here, however, the attentive reader may ask: why the comparison did not take into account such factors as armor penetration? The answer is very simple - for fights between light cruisers during the First World War, armor-piercing shells would be far from the best choice. It was much easier and faster to smash the unarmored parts of light ships, crushing openly standing artillery, mowing up its calculations and thus bringing the enemy ship to a non-operational state than “sticking” the enemy with armor-piercing projectiles capable of penetrating its unarmoured sides and flying away, not exploding, hoping "Golden" hit.
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