The march itself was also not replete with something outstanding, no one drove the horses, it would probably be more correct to say that the cruiser did not go to the Far East, but to the Mediterranean Sea, where he stayed fairly long time, and only then moved to Port Arthur. Coming out of Kronstadt on September 14, Novik passed the Kiel Canal only a week later, and then visited many places: Cadiz, Algeria, Naples, Piraeus, then went to Poros, where only 19 arrived in November 1902. There the cruiser was engaged in combat training, as well as waiting for a new commander, Nikolai Otovich von Essen, on whose arrival he returned to Piraeus 5 in December of the same year. And only after the newly made commander introduced himself to the Greek queen Olga, December 11 1902, N.O. von Essen took the ship to sea, sending it to Port Said - from that moment, in fact, the transition to the Far East began, and, by an interesting coincidence, the day of release coincided with the birthday of the new commander Novik.
"Novik" at the wall of the Baltic plant
It is interesting to compare the transition to the Far East of the cruiser "Novik" with a similar campaign of the armored cruiser "Varyag", which took place just a year before: the latter left Piraeus on December 6, 1901, "Novik" arrived in Port Arthur on April 2, 1903, " Varyag "- February 25, 1902, thus the passage of" Novik "took 112 days, and" Varyag "- 111 days. Of course, it is impossible to compare the capabilities of the ships based on the above figures - they were not given the task of arriving in Port Arthur as quickly as possible, and moreover, they were given various tasks that had to be completed along the way. So, "Varyag" made a "cruise" to many ports of the Persian Gulf in order to demonstrate the flag, as well as call in Nagasaki, which, of course, prolonged his trip. The same thing happened with the "Novik" - so, for example, having come to Aden, the cruiser was engaged in inspection and description of the bays nearby to this port, and earlier, in Djibouti, he stayed for participation in official events. But if the descriptions of the "Varyag" campaign abound with the enumeration of numerous repairs of its power plant, then nothing of the kind is said about the "Novik". The delays of the Novik were usually of a different nature: for example, the ship arrived in Manila on March 9, 1903, and left it 6 days later, on March 15, but all this time Novik was engaged in combat training. The cruiser stayed in Djibouti for 2 weeks, but this was due not only to political necessity and officialdom, but also to the fact that N.O. von Essen did not want to leave his officer, who became very ill (blood was running in his throat) until he was sent to Europe on the first steamer that was going there.
At the same time, the technical condition of the Varyag and Novik by the time when these ships arrived at Port Arthur differed radically. Attempting to give full speed to the “Varyag” when moving from Nagasaki to Arthur led to the fact that the machines pounded on 20,5 nodes and the speed had to be reduced to 10 nodes. Three days after arriving at Arthur, Varyag again went to sea, conducted training shooting, tried to develop full speed again: knocking and heating of bearings, breaks of several tubes, and the speed did not exceed 20 nodes. The result was the withdrawal of the ship to an armed reserve and serious repairs - alas, only the first in their infinite series in Port Arthur.
But with “Novik” everything was completely different: after 11 days after joining Arthur, he went to the dimensional mile to destroy the deviation, April 22 left with the squadron in the Far and there, the next day, performed progressive tests, during which speed The cruiser was brought to 23,6 nodes. It seems to be against the background speed in 25,08 knots. this result does not look at all, but one should not forget that Novik showed its 25 ties in a displacement close to normal, while at testing in Port Arthur he went full load or close to it. During the acceptance tests, the Germans loaded the cruiser so that the Novik even got a little trim on the stern: sludge stern was 4,73 m, the stem was 4,65 m. But in everyday operation, he had a larger displacement and sat with his nose. So, during the transition to the Far East, its sediment fluctuated: astern 4,8-4,9 m, with its nose - 5-5,15 m, and in the war period the sediment reached 4,95 and 5,3 m, respectively.
Thus, we can say that the decrease in the speed of the ship was largely (but unfortunately unknown to what extent) the increase in displacement and trim affected the nose, but the mechanisms seemed to be in perfect order. The author is not aware of any complaints about them during this period of time, and subsequent events speak for themselves. On September 23, the cruiser conducted progressive tests for full speed, then - trained with a squadron, after which, together with Askold, he went to Vladivostok, demonstrating the Russian flag in Mazanpo along the way. 16-17 May “Novik” is driven by Adjutant General A.N. Kuropatkina in Posyet Bay, 26 May left with “Askold” in Shimonoseki, then - in Kobe, 12-13 May - in Nagasaki, after which he returned to Port Arthur. In other words, the cruiser immediately took an active part in the life of the Pacific Ocean Squadron, serving with it exactly as it was planned during its construction.
Perhaps the only drawback of the design was the vibration of the case, which occurs on the middle course, apparently somewhere between the 16 and 18 nodes. But it was easy to fight it - it was necessary to go either faster or slower than a certain critical interval, which could cause certain inconveniences, but on the whole it was not critical.
Completing the comparison of the technical condition of the Novik with the Varyag cruiser, it is necessary to note such anecdote. As is known, the disputes about whether the Varyag steering gears were killed during the battle of Chemulpo do not subside to this very day - we made the assumption that they were not killed, or the steering drives themselves (the Japanese, after inspecting the cruiser after the ascent, they were told that everything was fine with them), and the drives leading from the steering column in the conning tower to the central post. Such damage (contact contacts, for example), in our opinion, could well have happened as a result of a close rupture of a heavy projectile.
Well, “Novik” didn’t need any enemy projectile - during one of the training firing performed by him during the transition to the Far East, shots of the nose gun deployed at 125 hail. in the stern, led to the fact that the wires of the electric drive of the steering wheel passed in the armored pipe ... broke. Subsequently, this malfunction was corrected by the crew: unfortunately, there is no information about how long it took.
Another technical nuisance occurred with the 24 September 1903 cruiser in Port Arthur, when, under the impact of stormy weather, the Novik, anchored, leaned its nose on the stern of Amur transport mine. However, the damage turned out to be so small that they were corrected by ship’s means, so that on September 25 the ship made the transition to the Taleen Raid, and on September 26-28 “ran off” to Chemulpo to see if there were Japanese ships there.
Novik in the Far East
In general, it can be stated that upon arrival in the Far East, "Novik" in its technical condition was quite combat-ready. His combat training, thanks N.O. von Essen, who trained the crew fairly intensively during the transition to Port Arthur, was at an acceptable level, which, of course, only grew during further joint maneuvers with the ships of the squadron. Of course, early termination of combat training in connection with the review of the Vicar and the armed reserve that followed him had a negative effect on the cruiser’s combat capability. But there is not the slightest reason to believe that by the time the Russian-Japanese war began, the Novik’s combat training was at least inferior to the squadron of other ships.
The beginning of the war - a mine attack on the night of January 27 1904.
Being a high-speed cruiser of the 2 rank, the Novik could play a significant role in repelling the mine attack that took place on the night of January 27, but for objective reasons could not do it. As you know, the squadron officers and Vice-Admiral O.V. Stark diligently convinced that war was not foreseen in the near future, preventive measures were taken only partially. "Novik" was located, perhaps, in the most unsuccessful place to repel an attack: it was anchored almost at the entrance from the outer raid to the inner one. Thus, the cruiser actually turned out to be fenced off from the attacking Japanese destroyers by almost all the ships of the squadron: as a result, many did not even hear the start of firing on the Novik. In his memoirs, Lieutenant A.P. Shter, who was on watch at this time, describes the events of this night as follows:
“January 26 I was on watch from 12 to 4 at night hours; at the first shot, I ordered the drummer near me to punch through the alarm, just in case, the commander and the officers ran upstairs in bewilderment, not understanding why I thought of making noise at night. Hearing the shots, the commander ordered to separate the pairs, so when the squadron commander gave us the signal, the couples were ready and we lifted the anchor to pursue the enemy, but he was already gone.
Perhaps, in fact, with the couples everything was a little different: of course N.O. von Essen immediately ordered their breeding immediately, as it became clear that the squadron had been attacked, and, obviously, the cruiser began this right after 23.45 on January 26, when the "wake-up" took place. But they managed to breed pairs in six boilers only in 01.05, that is, a little more than an hour later, and by this time Vice-Admiral O.V. Stark has already given two signals to the Novik. The first of them was raised on the flagship battleship at 00.10, the commander ordered the pair to be bred, the second - on 00.35: “Breed the pair more quickly, get off the anchor and pursue the enemy destroyers”. As we see, Novik was able to fulfill this instruction only after half an hour. Of course, this was much faster than if the Novik had not started to dilute the vapors right away, but they were waiting for the orders of the commander, but by the time the order was received, the cruiser could not give way. However, it was Novik that first went in pursuit of the enemy.
Nevertheless, the cruiser made a move in 01.05, and already after 20 minutes, the 4 Japanese destroyer was seen on it. Novik had no chances to catch up with them, because not all the boilers were able to be raised in all boilers, but still N.O. von Essen pursued them, hoping that one of the destroyers was hit during the attack and could not develop full speed. One by one, 5 boilers were put into operation on the cruiser, including the 01.25 - 2 boilers and the remaining three in 02.00, but still in 02.35, after an hour of chase, the Japanese destroyers broke away from Novik. There was no sense to pursue them anymore, and von Essen turned back to the squadron, to which he returned to 03.35, without causing any damage to the enemy and not undergoing it himself - only two of the boilers, from their urgent dilution, the gauge glasses were burst. In 05.45, Victory and Diana re-opened fire, believing that they had been subjected to another attack by the destroyers, but by this time the Japanese had already left. Nevertheless, Novik again went to sea and, without finding anyone there, returned to 06.28 back to the external raid.
27 January Fight 1904
The general course of this battle is described by us in the article. "The battle of 27 January 1904 r at Port Arthur: the battle of lost opportunities", and we will not repeat, except, perhaps, only some nuances. The first to enter the Russian squadron was the 3 th combat detachment — Rear Admiral Deva's cruiser, whose task was to reconnoiter and assess the damage that the Russian squadron received during the night mine attack. In addition, with luck, the Chitose, the Kasagi, the Takasago and the Yosino had to carry the Russian ships south of Encounter Rock, so that the main forces of X. Togo could cut them off from Port Arthur and destroy .
What happened next is not entirely clear, there is evidence that after the Japanese were spotted on Russian ships, they raised a signal on the flagship "Cruisers to attack the enemy", but perhaps this was not the case. It is also possible that from Novik they asked for the permission of the squadron commander to attack the enemy, but this, again, is not certain. It is only known that Bayan and Askold went to the Deva cruiser, but after a quarter of an hour they were recalled - Vice-Admiral O.V. Stark decided to go in pursuit of them throughout the squadron.
On 08.15 in the morning, Novik made a move and followed the Japanese, while on the right side of the flagship Petropavlovsk - the chase lasted an hour, then the squadron turned back and anchored in 10.00 again. In this case, OV Stark left the cruisers, including the "Novik" during the squadron, sending one Boyarin to reconnoitre, who discovered the main forces of the enemy.
Armored cruiser "Boyar"
In 10.50, the flagship ordered the cruisers of the 1 rank to go to the aid of "Boyarin" by a signal, they sent a semaphore to "Novik": "Go to reinforcements to" Boyarin ", not to leave the fortress area of operations. Just at this time, the forces of the Japanese were quite clearly visible: on Novik they were identified as 6 squadron battleships, 6 armored cruisers and 4 X-level armored cruisers of the 2 class. There was a mistake in the observations of our sailors - there were only 5 armored cruisers, since the Asama was at that time in Chemulpo.
Further sources usually contain a description of the approach of Novik to Mikasa, but we will stop in order to draw the attention of dear readers to one interesting nuance, which is often overlooked. The fact is that at the time of the appearance of the main Japanese forces, Vice-Admiral O.V. Stark was absent from the squadron, since EI Alekseev. Orders were handed over to cruisers on the initiative of the commander of the battleship Petropavlovsk, A.A. Aberhard, who also ordered the entire squadron to anchor. It was quite clear that, remaining at anchor, the squadron could be subjected to a monstrous defeat, so that AA Ebergard decided to act at his own risk and led the ships into battle, although he had no right to do so. The fact is that according to the statute, the flag-captain in the absence of the admiral could take command of the squadron, but only in peacetime, and the 27 January 1904 battle, obviously, was not. In battle, the same command should have taken the junior flagship, but only if the squadron commander was wounded or killed, and OV Stark was alive and perfectly healthy. As a result, it turned out that the enemy was approaching, and none of the officers on it had the right to command the squadron. Obviously, the situation in which the admiral during the battle would be somewhere else, and not on the ships of the squadron entrusted to him, the drafters of the navy charter was considered an oxymoron and they did not regulate it.
So, on Novik (as, indeed, on Bayan with Askold), the mood of the commanders was such that they carried out the order, which, strictly speaking, was insignificant for them, since the commander of Petropavlovsk had no right give it to them. But then it was even more interesting - it is clear that E.I. Alekseev could not allow the squadron to lead the captain of 1 rank into battle, so he ordered to stop shooting from the anchor until O. V. Stark returned to his flagship. Accordingly, at Petropavlovsk, they were forced to lift in 11.10, “Armadillos suddenly anchor everyone suddenly canceled” and after another 2 minutes: “Stay in place.”
The last order apparently extended to the squadron cruisers, but here the captains of the 1 rank Grammatchikov (Askold), Viren (Bayan) and von Essen (Novik) once again struck the ailment. Twenty minutes ago, they suddenly lost their memory so much that they completely forgot the statute and rushed into battle, following the order of a man who had no right to give it. Now all three were struck by blindness just as suddenly, so that none of them saw the signal that canceled the attack.
The Novik went straight to the Mikasa - on the one hand, such a jerk of a small cruiser, not intended for squadron combat at all, looks like a pure suicide, but von Essen had every reason to do just that. Realizing that the squadron needs time to wait for the return of the commander, get off the anchor and line up in battle order, all that Nikolai Ottovich could do was to try and distract the Japanese. Of course, Novik’s booking did not at all protect Japanese shells from heavy 203-305-mm, and 152-mm could do things, but von Essen relied on speed and maneuver. In his report, he described his tactics as follows:
“Turning to the right and turning the 135 (22 of the knot), I went to the enemy's head ship (Mikasa), bearing in mind that thanks to this movement the cruiser is the smallest target for the enemy, the speed of movement of the target makes it difficult to shoot; besides, being on the right flank of my squadron, I did not interfere with her shooting from the anchor and maneuvering. ”
Novik went straight to Mikasu, and got close to her on the 17 cable, then turned and, breaking the distance from the 27 cable, turned back to the Japanese flagship. At that time, intensive fire was fired at the cruiser, but there were no direct hits, only fragments damaged the barges and the six (boats) and crushed the whaleboat. In addition, there were two fragmentation hits in the middle tube of the ship, in which two holes were subsequently found with an area of 2 and 5 inches (5 and 12,5 square cm). Then “Novik” again got close to “Mikasa”, now the cable was already on 15 and turned back again, but at the moment of turning it got hit by a large-caliber projectile, it is considered that it was 203-mm. The projectile landed in a cruiser around 11.40, that is, the Novik had been “dancing” for half an hour before the Japanese hit in front of their entire line of warships.
As a result, the ship received a hole to the starboard just below the waterline with an area of 1,84 sq.m. and other serious damage - although there are some discrepancies in the description of the latter in the sources. So, N.I. von Essen in his report gave the following description:
“The exploding shell completely burned and destroyed the cabin №5 and through the resulting hole the magnitude in 18 quad. feet appeared in the cabin-company water, filled at the same time nadbronievye compartments of the right side: rusk department and office under the room of the commander. At the same time, it was discovered that water poured into the steering compartment, why all the people jumped out of there, having dragged the exit collar behind them. ”
But at the same time, in a memorandum on the 27 battle of January 1904, attached to the letter to his wife, Nikolay Ottovich indicated something else - that the shell hit the cabin directly, and as a result of this hit, the cabins of three officers were destroyed, and broke through the armor deck, which is why the steering compartment was flooded.
Apparently, nevertheless, the most reliable is the statement of the damage of “Novik”, given in the official work “The Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905”, since it can be assumed that the commission that wrote it read in detail the relevant reports on the repair work on cruiser. It states that the ship received a hole, which spread to the 4 sheathing sheet right up to the armor deck - the latter, however, completely fulfilled its function and was not broken. However, the shell of the cartridge cellar, which was located less than 2 meters from the hole, was damaged as a result of a rupture of the projectile, as a result of which water entered the steering compartment, completely flooding it.
That same damage "Novik". The photo was taken during the repair of the cruiser in a dry dock.
Why is it important? The fact is that in most sources it is claimed that a large-caliber projectile, no less than eight-inch, hit the Novik. At the same time, the nature of the damage indicates, rather, the 120-152-mm caliber projectile - recall that getting below the waterline into the Retvizan squadron battleship 120-mm projectile led to the formation of a hole 2,1 square meters, that is, even more than the "Novik". At the same time, an eight-inch projectile would have left behind more significant damage: for example, getting into the deck of the Varyag 203-mm projectile led to the formation of holes in 4,7 square meters. So if Novik had armor punched, it should have been unconditionally accepted that an 203-mm projectile had hit the cruiser, because it was unlikely that an 152-mm armor-piercing was able to "master" an 50-mm armored bevel, at those small distances at which the battle was fought, but 203-mm was quite capable of that. But, apparently, the armor was not beaten, so it cannot be ruled out that a six-inch shell from one of the battleships or armored cruisers of the Japanese got into the Novik. Refute such a hypothesis could be data on fragments of the projectile, if any were discovered and investigated, and the caliber of the projectile was restored by it, but the author of this article did not come across such evidence.
In general, the most reliable description of the damage seems to be presented in the official source “The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905.” Hole between 153 and 155 frames with an area of about 20 square. feet ”(1,86 sq.m.), the upper edge of which was just above the waterline, the steering and rusk compartments and the compartment under the commander’s room were filled in, one cabin was destroyed, the second one was damaged, the 120-mm 3 gun, which however, at the same time fully retained combat capability. Probably, the only human loss on Novik was caused by a fragment of the same projectile — the gunner of 47-mm gun Ilya Bobrov was mortally wounded, who died the same day.
As a result, the ship took the 120 t of water, having received a serious trim on the stern, and besides, although the steering continued to operate, it could fail at any moment, and N.O. von Essen decided to withdraw the ship from the battlefield. It was absolutely right: as we have said, getting into Novik happened around 11.40, at that moment, when the cruiser turned around to break the distance to the Japanese, and after some 5 minutes after that, Mikasa turned away from Arthur in the sea - to try to attack him and further did not make much sense, since the Russian squadron managed to withdraw from the anchors and make battle order. It was important to divert the attention of the Japanese, while our squadron was not built yet, but now such actions, and even on a damaged cruiser, were obviously an excessive risk.
So von Essen ordered a retreat, and in 11.50 the cruiser anchored in its place in the outer roadstead. By that time, it was possible to take a plaster, but it was impossible to pump out the water, because the valve, with which it was possible to flush the water into the hold, so that pumps could pump it out, was just in the flooded steering compartment, where it was impossible to penetrate. In this regard, Nikolai Ottovich requested permission from the squadron leader to enter the inner harbor, which was given. Of course, the resolute and brave actions of the small cruiser could not help but arouse admiration and spiritual uplift among the people watching and participating in the battle, so this return was triumphant for Novik. This is how Lieutenant A.P. described it in his memoirs. Shter:
“When the Novik with the anthem was returning to the harbor after the battle, greetings were heard everywhere, especially from the coastal batteries, from where all the actions of both fleets were clearly visible. According to the stories of these eyewitnesses, the Novik approached the enemy squadron so closely, in comparison with the rest of the ships, that they suggested a mine attack from our side. The spectators ’imagination so flared up that they were ready to swear that they saw one of the enemy cruisers overturned.”
The mood on the cruiser itself after the battle ... perhaps the same was described best by A.P. Shter:
“The volunteer bandmaster of our orchestra was so much carried away by the war that he categorically refused to leave Novik, and asked him to give him a gun the next time, probably instead of a conductor's baton.”
Let's try to figure out what damage Novik inflicted on the enemy the fleet - I must say that doing this is not so easy.
In total, three Russian ships armed with 120-mm artillery participated in that battle, these are the Boyarin and Novik armored cruisers, as well as the Angara transport. Alas, the reliable consumption of projectiles is known only for Novik - its gunners fired 105 120-mm projectiles against the enemy. About “Boyarin” it is known only that, having discovered the main forces of the Japanese, he turned around, and, returning to the squadron standing on the outer raid, he shot the Japanese three times with a stern 120-mm gun, and not so much to get there (the distance exceeded 40 cable), in order to attract attention and warn the squadron of the approach of the main forces of the enemy. Then the commander of “Boyarin”, not wanting to expose his cruiser to danger, “hid” him behind the left flank of the Russian squadron, where he made constant circulation so that, remaining in place, would not present a tasty target for the Japanese, and eventually entered the wake past past "Askold". At the same time, the distances to the Japanese were very large, and the “Boyar” fired rare fire, but, alas, there was no information about the consumption of ammunition from this cruiser.
As for the transport of "Angara", here the data diverge. 27 120-mm shells are marked in the ship’s logbook, but for some reason, the Angara commander indicated a different number in the report — 60 shells of this caliber, and which one is correct is difficult to say. Nevertheless, the compilers of the “Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905” accepted the consumption of shells in the watch journal, that is, 27 — they probably had some additional information to verify the accuracy of this particular figure.
The Japanese in the description of the damage to their ships, received in the 27 battle of January 1904, indicated three hits of 120-mm shells. One of them received the "Mikasa" - a shell left a hole in the poop, in the area of the left side of the ship. Two more hits were received by Hatsus, one of which had to be in an artillery shield, and the second - to the admiral's salon, and the shell exploded, hitting the bedroom bulkhead.
To the best of his modest forces, the author tries “not to play along” with the ships described by him, but, based on the foregoing, it can be assumed that all three of these hits were achieved by Novik gunners. Both “Boyarin” and “Angara” fired from a significantly greater distance than “Novik”, moreover, the “Angara” used up quite a few projectiles, and “Boyarin”, apparently, too. At the same time, according to the “Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905”, “Boyarin” made its first shots not against battleships, but against Japanese cruisers. It may surprise only that in all the descriptions of the battle Novik attacked Mikasa, and how then could his two projectiles hit Hatsuse, who was the last in the ranks of the battleships? However, there is no contradiction here: the fact is that the Novik, either attacking or retreating from the Japanese flagship, could obviously shoot at him from only one or two nasal 120-mm guns (during retreat), the rest were not allowed to do the same limitation of firing angles. But do not sit around the same commanders, and they probably fired at other targets, which could direct their guns.
But as for the mine attack, it, apparently, was not. On the wish of N.O. von Essen, S. P. Burachek, who served on Novik in his memoirs, pointed out his torpedo attack, but the fact is that, first, he wrote these memories after about half a century from the events described, and during that time (and at that age) human memory can make different things. And secondly, S.P. Burachek quotes Nikolai Otovich as a justification: “Prepare torpedo tubes. I go on the attack! ”- however, strictly speaking, there is no direct evidence that von Essen conceived the mine attack in particular. They can also be understood in such a way that the Novik commander ordered to charge torpedo tubes in the hope that during the attack he had planned, he might have a chance to use them. Again, recall that the range of 381-mm "self-propelled mine" Novik "was only 900 m, or a little less than 5 cable, and it is absolutely impossible to imagine that N.I. von Essen could count on bringing his cruiser so close to the flagship of the Japanese.
More about the use of mines "Novikom" wrote the Japanese, who claimed in his official storiesthat the cruiser fired a torpedo that passed right under the nose of the Iwate. As we understand, this could not be - in spite of the fact that Novik, among other Russian ships, came closest to the Japanese, but even it did not come closer than 15 cables to Mikasa, and to Ivate, of course, it was even further. But even 15 kabeltov exceeded the range of torpedoes "Novik" three times - and this is not counting the fact that N.O. von Essen never mentioned a mine attack and nowhere reported a spent mine.
In general, it can be stated that Novik conducted an exemplary battle - attacking the Japanese flagship, he tried to divert the fire to himself at the most difficult moment for our squadron, and even the Japanese noted the courage shown. At the same time, it is obvious that he still managed to inflict some damage to the enemy. Even if the author’s hypothesis that all three 120 mm shells hit the Japanese ships “flew” from Novik is wrong, it’s still impossible to assume that Angara and Boyarn were falling, and there wasn’t not a single hit. But just one hit, and even it is possible that a 152-mm caliber projectile caused serious damage to the ship and forced N.O. von Essen to bring the cruiser out of battle.
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