As is known, the shooting of Russian cruisers on the Albatross has become the object of criticism of numerous researchers. So, MA Petrov (“Two Fights”) writes:
“Thus, due to the exceptional, unreasonable complexity of tactics and maneuvering techniques, in this case completely unnecessary“ course corners ”,“ reach ”and so on, due to excessive concentration of fire against one target, overwhelming, unsystematic, from different sides of the firing on the distances at which the target was poorly visible at times, it took almost an hour and a half to set up a small, poorly protected cruiser, effectively giving him the opportunity to take shelter in neutral waters. ”
N.V. adhere to the same point of view. Novikov (notes to the Russian edition of the book by G. Rollman), and the authors of the monumental work “Fleet in the First World War” and many others.
Well, let's try to figure it out. Unfortunately, there is no way to estimate the accuracy of shooting 152-mm guns, but we can, with certain reservations, calculate the percentage of hits of 203-mm guns. To do this, we first determine the consumption of shells of Russian cruisers on the minelayer Albatros. The best known amount of ammunition consumed by the Bayan cruiser. According to the memoirs of his commander, A.K. Weiss, after the battle with "Roon":
“We still have the shells left after this battle: 6-inch 434, 8-inch 120, and the same 6-inch 366 and 8-inch 80. Here, it is clear that only everyone understood why I did not allow the shells to be thrown aimlessly. ”
Unfortunately, an error is probably hidden in these words of the commander of “Bayan” - the fact is that 366 spent 152-mm shells + 434 remaining give 800 shells in total, 80 spent eight-inch shells + 120 remaining give, respectively, 200. It turns out as if the cruiser had 100 ammunition for shells (2 203 mm cannons in towers and 8 152-mm in casemates), but in fact the ammunition consisted of 110 shells for both 8-inch and 6-inch guns.
Accordingly, we have three different probabilities. Perhaps the Bayan cruiser went into operation, having a shortage of projectiles (this is, in principle, possible, though unlikely) and really spent 80 203-mm projectiles on the enemy, after which he had 120 left. It is possible that the cruiser commander correctly indicated the consumption of shells, but he was mistaken with the remnants, and then, after two skirmishes, in fact, at the disposal of the artillerymen AK Weiss left 130 203-mm and 514 152-mm. In this case, the flow rate of the projectiles is also equal to 80. And there is a possibility that a greater number of projectiles were actually consumed than indicated by A.K. Weiss., That is, the remnants are true, but according to the Albatross and Augsburg 90 shells were spent, not 80. In any case, we will not be mistaken, assuming that in a battle with Augsburg and Albatross, and then in a duel with Roon, Bayan used 80-90 X-shells to 203-20. As it is known, according to “Roon”, “Bayan” gave 40 two-gun salvoes, respectively, the share of “Augsburg” and “Albatross” remains 50-XNUMX shells.
At the same time, Bayan shot at Augsburg at about 07.40-07.41 and at least 08.00, and it is possible that he fired at that, at least 20 minutes, at the same time according to Albatross - only 10 minutes. Consequently, the “Bayan” fired at Augsburg twice as long and probably spent more ammunition, but for the “purity of the experiment” we assume that according to the “Augsburg” and “Albatross”, “Bayan” fired the same number of shells. If our assumption is true, then Bayan fired no more than 20-25 shots on the Albatross.
As for “Admiral Makarov,” it is indicated that by the time he met with “Roon” he had consumed 61% of his ammunition load of 203-mm shells, which is confirmed by GK’s memories. Count:
"The reason why the admiral did not join the battle with Roon was that there were too few large projectiles left at Makarov, for example, near 90 8-inch and only half of the stock of 6-inch."
The fact is that 61% of 220 gives 134-135 consumed projectiles, respectively, the remainder should be 85-86 projectiles, exactly those “about 90 projectiles” indicated by G.K. Count The only thing that inspires some doubts is whether these 61% consumption of residuals are calculated, according to GK memoirs. Count? But in any case, it is generally accepted that the "Admiral" Makarov "spent more than half of the ammunition and the figure in 135 shells for (roughly) an hour and a half battle (combat rate of fire - 90 shells per hour) looks reasonable - taking into account the fact that" Bayan "in half an hour Roon 40 shells (80 shells per hour), and even, perhaps, slightly overestimated.
So, assuming that Admiral Makarov used the same amount of shells as Bayan (that is, 20-25 203-mm shells) at Augsburg, we get that, according to Albatross, only 130- 140 eight-inch projectiles, including 20-25 from Bayan and 110-115 from Admiral Makarov.
Sources indicate that Albatross received 6 203-mm projectiles, which gives us, in general, a very good percentage of hits - 4,29-4,61%. At the same time, in reality, these figures may be more, because in our calculations we made all the assumptions that increase the consumption of shells on the Albatross. Therefore, the percentage of hits in the size of 4,29-4,61% can be considered as the minimum possible value. Nevertheless, it, generally speaking, already puts an end to the version of bad shooting of Russian cruisers.
But what is interesting ...
Where do we get six hits with eight-inch shells at the Albatross? After the battle, the Germans sent their commission to the wrecked mine layer, in order to assess the extent of its damage. This commission worked for a couple of days, and then it just counted 6 hits eight-inch and 20-six-inch in a German ship. It can be assumed that the first in historical G. Rollman brought them to the literature, the remaining authors subsequently copied these data.
But as you know, based on the results of the survey, it was concluded that the restoration of the Albatross was advisable. Naturally, the Swedes did it, because the ship was considered interned. And now, according to Swedish data, the Albatross received not six hits from 203-mm projectiles, but twice as many, that is, twelve. It is possible that in fact there were fewer of them, that the Swedes were wrong about something, yet they didn’t have much experience in identifying damage, but on the other hand, they didn’t have much more time to figure out the hits. in the Albatross. The fact is that the true number of eight-inch shells hit the Albatross is between six and twelve.
Accordingly, the accuracy of the Russian cruisers firing at the Albatross minelayer is in the range from 4,29% to 9,23%, and this, generally speaking, is not that “inept” but a very good result. Especially if you consider the conditions in which the Russian gunners reached these hits.
Probably, the previous articles turned out to be unnecessarily detailed and not easy to understand, therefore we will give below a short “timeline” of that battle:
07.30 Opponents noticed the smoke, I. Karth immediately turned to the west, toward neutral Swedish waters;
07.35 The Russian flagship identified the enemy as the light cruiser Albatross, a Undine-type cruiser and three destroyers. "Admiral Makarov" turned, leading the enemy on the course angle 40 hail. and he cut him off;
07.37-07.38 (tentatively) “Admiral Makarov” opened fire on the “Augsburg”;
07.40-07.41 (tentatively) "Bayan" opened fire on "Augsburg";
07.45 "Bogatyr" and "Oleg" opened fire on the "Albatross";
07.50 (tentatively) Three German destroyers launch a torpedo attack;
07.55 (tentatively) Commodore I. Karf, seeing that he has sufficiently pulled away from the Russian cruisers, lies down to intercept their course in order to break past them to the south-west;
07.57-07.59 - On the destroyers they see that their flagship is retreating, and they “turn off” the attack - they put up a smoke screen that hides the Albatross and Augsburg and begins to retreat after Augsburg. From this point on, the shooting on the Albatross stops, on the Augsburg - it resumes sporadically, during the period when the cruiser becomes visible;
08.00 Mikhail Koronatovich Bakhirev orders the 2 th cruiser brigade (Bogatyr and Oleg) to act independently. As a result, the armored cruisers of the Russian detachment ("Admiral Makarov" and "Bayan") begin to bypass the "smoke cloud" delivered by the destroyers from the south, and the armored ones from the east;
08.08-08.09 (tentatively) "Admiral Makarov" bypasses the smoke screen, sees the Albatross and opens fire on it;
08.10 "Bogatyr" and "Oleg", bypassing the smoke screen, resume fire on the "Albatross";
08.20 Several events happen at once. Russian seek first hit in the Albatross. At this time, the “Augsburg” seemed to resume shooting at the “Admiral Makarov,” but they either did not notice it on the Russian ships, or did not consider it necessary to mention it. "Bayan" opens fire on the "Albatross" - until that time his guns were silent, as three German cruisers fired at one German ship and so, and the Augsburg, it seems, was not visible from Bayan;
08.30 Russian sailors are seeing severe destruction on the Albatross - damage to superstructures, knocked down foremast, fire. "Bayan" stops firing;
08.33 "Augsburg" ceases fire;
08.35 Contact with Augsburg and the destroyers is completely lost. "Admiral Makarov" turns to the north, leading the Albatross to port, with M.K. Bakhirev orders the "Bayan" to "cut off the enemy from the south";
08.45 In flames, the Albatross describes two complete circulations near the very edge of Swedish waters. According to the Russian sailors, the Albatross lowered the flag, according to the categorical statement of the Germans, the Albatross did not lower the flag. According to another version of Russian eyewitnesses, the Albatross lowered the flag later, after it was thrown onto the rocks;
09.07 - The shelling of the Albatross stopped. It should be noted that in 09.07 the Albatros stopped shooting Oleg, but the time when Admiral Makarov and Bogatyr stopped fire was unfortunately unknown. The only thing that can be argued for sure is that this happened in the interval between 08.30 (when Bayan ceased fire) and 09.07;
09.12 "Albatross" threw himself on the rocks.
At the beginning of the battle, armored Russian cruisers did not shoot at the Albatross at all, only the Bogatyr and Oleg fired at the German minelayer. Starting to shoot at 07.45, they stopped firing near 08.00, because the German destroyers put up a smoke screen, so shooting was even less than 15 minutes.
Of course, if we recall the fire of the Russian squadron in Tsushima, which from a slightly shorter distance (37-40 kbt) during the first 15 minutes of the battle with the forces of five head battleships and, possibly, Navarina, “threw” 5 twelve-inch and 14 six-inch shells into the Japanese “Mikasu”, and even 6 hits in other ships (all in all, it turns out, 24 hits) and we compare the results with the shooting of “Oleg” and “Bogatyr”, it turns out somehow awkward. But you need to understand that in the battle of Gotland, Russian ships fired at the limit of visibility, captain 2nd rank Svinin (the flagship artilleryman of the Baltic headquarters fleet) characterized them as follows:
“The shooting conditions were exceptionally difficult ..., often the fall is not at all visible (own shells - author's note).”
Photo taken from the bridge of the armored cruiser Bayan in the battle of Gotland
In addition, the shooting of the Russian ships seemed to the Germans accurate enough to immediately begin to maneuver, zigzagging in order to constantly shoot down the tip to the Russian artillerymen. Of course, the Japanese did not do anything like this. It is possible that the supply of oil to the nozzles of the “Augsburg” helped with something: as we know, in the battle of the Falklands, the mixed heating of the boilers of the British battlecruisers (when oil was sprayed onto the burning coal) produced thick smoke interfering with the shooting, so that later the commanders preferred to use pure coal heating. Accordingly, it cannot be ruled out that the smoke of the “Augsburg” for some time additionally worsened the already disgusting visibility.
Visibility is a very important factor that must be taken into account when comparing the accuracy of shooting in a particular battle. Let us recall the Battle of Jutland - the battle cruisers Hipper showed excellent results at distances of 65-80 KB. at the beginning of the battle. But then, closer to the first collision of the linear fleets, the Lutz and Derfling for some time couldn’t oppose the 3 squadron of British battlecruisers with it, which shot them from the 40-50 cable course. Well, did the German artillerymen suddenly lose their qualifications? Not at all - they just did not see the enemy. Looking ahead, we note that a little later, the German armored cruiser Roon fought the Bayan cruiser under the same conditions as the Russian cruisers with the Augsburg and Albatross. In this episode of the battle in Gotland, the “Bayan” was located north-west of “Roon”, that is, where the German ships were in relation to the cruisers M.K. Bakhireva. At the same time, "Bayan" also kept at the limit of visibility and went zigzag, in order to bring down a tip to the German artillery. And now, being in similar conditions, in half an hour of the battle, Roon achieved a single hit. You can, of course, assume that the Roon gunners were stupid, but, generally speaking, the Germans always trained their commander well, so it would be much more logical to assume that poor visibility and maneuvers of the Russian cruiser are to blame for his unimportant shooting. Against this background, the fact that the Russian ships did not achieve hits on the Albatross and Augsburg during the first 15 minutes of the battle (and even less) can no longer be surprising.
Then, in 08.00, the smoke screen was installed, the Albatross disappeared from view, and the shooting at it stopped, and according to available data, it was conducted sporadically, that is, only when the German cruiser appeared due to smoke. And only in 08.10 cruisers resume fire on the Albatross ... but how?
The battle began at a distance of the order of 44 KBT, and then the distance somewhat decreased, because M.K. Bakhirev led his ships across the path to the Germans. But from 08.00 to 08.10, the distance between Albatross and Bogatyr with Oleg increased again, because after setting up the smoke curtains, Albatross ran west, and the 1 half-crew of Russian cruisers was forced to turn north, bypassing the smoke . Thus, in 08.10, the Albatross was again at the limit of visibility from the Russian armored cruisers, and only Admiral Makarov was able to observe and correct the fire of his artillery on the Albatross more or less well.
And the results were not long in coming - after 10 minutes the first hit followed and the German ship was beaten for 25 minutes - it is not known how many shells fell into it in this period, but the damage was extremely great (this is acknowledged by both Russian and German sources) - the ship loses the mast, burns, enters uncontrolled circulation ... That is, in 35 minutes of battle, the Russian cruisers achieved a noticeably better result than Roon did. Unfortunately, we don’t know when Admiral Makarov and Bogatyr ceased fire to draw conclusions on the time of fire impact on Albatross, but it is likely that they ceased fire somewhere between 08.45 and 09.00, i.e. when the Albatross entered the Swedish territorial waters. In principle, these cruisers could stop shooting at 08.45 when they saw that the Albatross had lowered the flag - no doubt we will never know whether the flag was lowered on the German cruiser or not, but what’s important here is not in fact, but what seemed to Russian sailors.
Therefore, speaking of the "hour and a half" shooting of "Albatross", it would be nice to note that the critical damage to the ship was inflicted during 35 minutes (from 08.10 to 08.45) by three Russian cruisers ("Bayan" was joined to them only by 10 minutes) .
What was the distance of the fight? Most likely, at the time when Admiral Makarov transferred fire to the Albatross, the distance between them was on the order of 40 cables, perhaps a little more, and before Bogatyr and Oleg it was even greater, and this with 5 miles True, it should be noted that “on the way” to Gotland, it was improving. At the same time, the Russian cruisers did not approach the Albatross closer to 3 miles: this follows from the report of the captain of the 2 rank, Prince MB. Cherkasov, who, in response to a request from the Chief of the Naval General Staff A.I. Rusina:
“The cruisers did not approach the Albatross closer than three miles during the battle, fearing mine shots”
From myself, we add that to reduce the distance to KBN 30. Russian cruisers could only by the end of the battle, because, generally speaking, the Albatross was practically not inferior to them in speed. And at this point, further rapprochement did not make much sense - "Augsburg" was well observed and was badly damaged.
In this episode of the battle, the Russian cruisers also bombarded German destroyers. But it should be understood that this was fired from 75-mm guns, moreover, when larger calibers fired at the Augsburg. In other words, the fire control system at that moment "worked" on the German light cruiser, and the mine artillery fired "by eye" - of course, the effectiveness of such a fire could not be high.
If the Albatross 12 or about eight-inch shells, then why a small (full displacement 2 506 t) German mine layer was not shattered? Alas, Russian shells are to blame for this for the umpteenth time. The fact is that the Russian fleet in the Russian-Japanese war used lightweight shells weighing 87,8 kg and post-war cruisers of the Admiral Makarov type, built in the image and manner of the port-artur Bayan, had outdated 203-mm / 45 guns, and feed mechanisms, designed for lightweight projectiles. And so, at that time, the very powerful 203-mm / 50 cannons, which fired 112,2 kg high-explosive shells carrying XNUM X-kg-kg-kg-kg-kH-15 kg-kH-6K-6K-6K-6K-6K-6K-6K-6K-10K-6K-6K-10K-1K-18K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-10K-403 kg types were used for the armament of the Dodrednouk battleships of the "Andrey Pervozvanny" and "John Chrysost" types, as well as the armored cruiser "Rurik". "Bayan" had to be content with 14,1 kg shells with 87,8 kg of explosives. If we recall that, for example, British six-inch high-explosive shells carried 9,3 kg of explosives, the conclusion is that the Admiral Makarov and Bayan's 6-mm projectiles occupied an intermediate position between six-inch and “normal” eight-inch shells in their combat power. Hence, in fact, the "intermediate" result of their fire impact on the Albatross.
Why did the author of this article "by the minute" analyze the maneuvering of the ships I.Karf and M.K. Bakhirev before the resumption of fire on the "Albatross" (approximately 08.10), but did not write anything about their future movement? The fact is that during the 08.10 - 08.45 period there were no tactical delights - the Albatross ran at full speed to Gotland, and the Russian cruisers were catching up at full speed. But the maneuvering of ships in the last phase of the battle (approximately from 08.45) is completely beyond reconstruction. According to the German scheme, ed. G. Rollman, the Russian cruisers (all four) brazenly invaded the Augsburg in the territorial Swedish waters and finished off it already there. According to the Russian maneuvering scheme, they simply cut off Augsburg all exits from Swedish waterways (Bayan from the south, Admiral Makarov from the east, and Bogatyr and Oleg from the north) and shot him without disturbing the sovereignty of Sweden - unless the shells flew.
Who is right? Without a doubt, it would have been beneficial for the Germans to imagine that the Russians invaded the territorial waters of Sweden, even if this was not the case. And vice versa - it made sense for Russians to refrain from violating Swedish sovereignty in every possible way, if such was the case. This is not a question of honesty reports, it is a question of politics, and in it, as we know, all means are good. Nevertheless, the Russian version of events seems to be more reliable, and here's why. If the Russian ships really entered tervoddy, it would not be difficult for them to get close to the Albatross thrown onto the stones and examine it in detail. But in this case the subsequent dispatch to the German minzagu of the submarine “for clarification” lost all meaning - however, the submarine was sent, moreover, according to the wish of M.K. Bakhireva. In his report, the Russian commander indicates:
"Having made sure that the Albatross was badly shot down and rushed ashore, I informed the telegram:" After the battle, after being damaged, the enemy cruiser rushed ashore on the opposite side of Fr. Gotland, behind the Östergarn lighthouse. I consider it useful to send a submarine to the place of the accident. "
And why, in fact, was Russian not to violate the sovereignty of Sweden, not to break into its territorial waters and absolutely not destroy the Albatross? The fact that M.K. Bakhirev did not do this, he was blamed by many researchers. Usually they refer to Germans who respected the territorial right of other countries only when it was beneficial for them. AG spoke very figuratively and emotionally on this issue. Patients:
“Talking about some kind of neutrality is nothing more than a fig leaf. Neutrality is respected when it is beneficial. Remember the story of the destruction of Dresden. The Germans spat on Chilean neutrality until a British squadron arrived. Here Ludeke has become a champion of the purity of international laws. But Luce was absolutely right, who said: "My business is to destroy the enemy, and let diplomats understand the intricacies of the laws." "Bakhirev did not dare say so, again demonstrating cowardice and lack of will of the highest command staff of the Russian fleet."
But it should be understood that this issue is much deeper than it might seem at first glance, and can in no way be considered solely within the framework of “decisiveness” or “lack of will”. Let us quote a fragment of the monograph by D.Yu. Kozlov, dedicated to the Memel operation, relating to the beginning of the First World War:
“The higher command did not tire to remind the Baltic command that its main task was to prevent the breakthrough of the superior German naval forces in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland ... ... and demanded that the fleet be protected from the slightest risk and retained for the decisive battle in the central mine-artillery position. However, such close attention to the rate was initiated by the commander of the Baltic fleet, von Essen, who, in the first days of the war, on his own initiative almost provoked a war with neutral Sweden. The Supreme Commander, who managed to stop Nikolai Otovich’s escapade at the last moment, considered the admiral’s actions “to be a defiant act and an undeserved insult to the Swedes loyal to Russia”.
Unfortunately, the author of this article did not understand what kind of Nikolai Ottovich’s “escapade” was meant, but the fact is that after such an “affront” the sailors could have received the order in an official or unofficial manner: “In no case will the neutrality of Sweden violate!". And if they received such instructions, then, of course, they were obliged to carry it out. At the same time, German or English sailors could have completely different orders, or no orders at all, which untied their hands. In other words, today we do not have complete information on this issue, we do not know what instructions M.K. Bakhirev and, accordingly, can not make judgments on this.
The only thing that we can say for sure is that the “Gotland incident” did not entail serious political consequences - the diplomats of Russia worked well and the Swedish Crown was completely satisfied with the Russian explanations. A.K. wrote very ironically about this. Weiss:
“... and even then we were so enthusiastic about shooting that we didn’t notice that Albatross entered the area of Swedish waters, and several of our shells almost hit the island of Gotland. Subsequently, this left a whole correspondence with the Swedish government, almost a diplomatic gap. But, in the end, everything was somehow settled: a fog was dragged here and all the inevitable accidents at sea. In a word, it turned out that almost Sweden itself was to blame for all this, since their island Gotland at the moment was not only standing in the wrong place, but in addition got on our shots. ”
So, completing the description of the first episode of the battle in Gotland, we conclude that the Russian commander has absolutely nothing to reproach. Say that M.K. Bakhirev "did not decisively move closer to the German ships, but" started complicated maneuvering ", because his ships always went either to intercept the course of the enemy minelayer, or else they were catching up on a parallel course (the exception is bypassing the smoke of the 2 th cruiser brigade ). That is, M.K. Bakhirev did just that in order to get closer to the enemy as quickly as possible, and the fact that the Germans surpassed his ships in speed and even the Albatross, developing to 20 knots, was almost as good as Russian cruisers. Formally, of course, the Bogatyr-type cruisers could go 23 bonds, but in practice the “Oleg” did not develop so much. Russian artillerymen showed excellent possession of the material part, giving a “high percentage” of good hits. M.K. Bakhirev in this episode of the battle made few decisions, but none of them can be considered erroneous. The fact that he did not order to focus the fire on the enemy destroyers going into the attack, but continued to pursue Augsburg, concentrating on it the 203-mm and 152-guns, should be considered not only a faithful, but also a bold act of the commander. Chances to destroy the "Augsburg" from M.K. There was practically no Bakhirev, unless an accidental and very successful hit knocked him a move: the Russian commander tried to realize this opportunity — not his fault that the miracle did not happen.
In general, it can be stated that neither the 1 brigade of cruisers, nor its admiral for their actions deserve any reproach. But now the Russian ships were waiting for a meeting with the armored cruiser "Roon".
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