Shipyard named after 61 communard. Armored cruiser "Cahul"
Along with the squadron battleships in the framework of the twenty-year shipbuilding program for the development of the fleet, ships of other classes were also being built. The Black Sea Fleet badly needed new cruisers, since the only representative of this class "Memory of Mercury", which entered service at the beginning of 1880, is already thoroughly outdated. The first new cruisers that were supposed to replenish the Black Sea Fleet were the Ochakov and Cahul. These ships were planned to be erected in the Lazarevsk and Nikolaevsk Admiralties, respectively. Their prototype was the Bogatyr Baltic, which is under construction in Germany, and for the first time Black Sea shipbuilders had to deal with large ships, whose project was completely developed abroad.
German draft Russian cruiser
The appearance of two newest armored cruisers as part of the Black Sea Fleet was caused not only by an objective need to strengthen it, but also by the adoption of a new shipbuilding program in 1898, called “For the needs of the Far East”. Worsening relations with Japan, which, after winning the war with China, headed for a gradual confrontation with Russia, prompted Petersburg to take care of immediate retaliatory measures. Of course, it was a question of measures of a military nature, and first of all they concerned the build-up of the forces of the navy.
On the eve of a possible conflict with the Far Eastern island neighbor, in addition to squadron battleships, it was planned to build a number of universal armored reconnaissance cruisers. They had to be able not only to participate, if necessary, in battle, along with the main forces, but also to independently operate on enemy communications, destroying its maritime trade and supply lines.
What should be the appearance of such a ship, the Maritime Technical Committee did not have a definite answer. Marine Ministry unofficially announced a competition to create a project of a new armored cruiser 1-class with a displacement of 6250 tons. It should be noted that the creaking of the domestic shipbuilding industry, loaded with orders for the old and new programs, attracted foreign firms - several ships for Russia were built abroad for completely different projects.
The famous German shipbuilding company “Vulkan” from the city of Stettin was not able to deny itself the pleasure of participating in an unofficial competition conducted by the Naval Ministry. The Vulkan project favorably differed from the competitors by the improved protection of the artillery of the main caliber and the location in the towers of two pairs of terminal guns. It should be noted that in the 1900 year for the needs of the Japanese imperial fleet, this German company built the Yakumo armored cruiser with a full displacement of thousands of tons in 10, which also had two towers and three chimneys.
The reconnaissance cruiser project carried out by Vulkan was a smaller and lighter Yakumo. This approach simplified the design work and saved time considerably. Despite the shortcomings (for example, in order to meet the displacement rigidly set by the customer, the Germans refused to make an onboard reservation and were forced to reduce the width of the hull), the Marine Technical Committee approved the Vulcan project. He seemed so successful to the committee that it was decided to build not a single ship, such as the Askold or Varyag, but a series.
5 August 1898 was contracted by Vulcan, under which it pledged to build one cruiser with a deadline for 24 of the month. Separately, the time spent on the approval of drawings. Not everything suited the customer in the project itself, some amendments and changes were made to it. So, at the insistence of the Russian side, too big and heavy Belleville boilers were replaced by lighter Norman boilers. It was also decided to abandon the small-caliber artillery, which was located on Mars. The total amount of comments and proposals of the Marine Technical Committee consisted of more than a hundred points.
The German side was engaged in finalizing its project until the end of 1899, adapting it to the requirements of the customer. The creation of the cruiser began in Stettin already in 1898, and 9 in December 1899, it was solemnly laid. The ship received the highest approved name "Hero".
The new cruiser was to have three chimneys, two masts and two artillery towers. His armament consisted of twelve Kanet 152-mm guns, twelve 75-mm rapid-fire cannons as well as Kane's system and eight more 47-mm guns. As the main power plant, the project envisaged the placement of two vertical 4-cylinder steam engines of triple expansion with 9750 indicator forces and Norman 16 boilers. The manufacturer guaranteed speed in the 23 node.
January 17 The Bogatyr 1901 of the year was launched and started the construction work. In November, the 1901 of the year the cruiser successfully passed the factory running tests, at which it developed the speed of the 24,33 knot. In May 1902, the Bogatyr was presented to the customer for delivery. The whole complex of test events was quite acceptable for the ship and began to prepare for the transition to Russia. Before the cruiser left Stettin, Kaiser Wilhelm II personally examined him, calling the Bogatyr the best ship built in Germany for Russia. At the end of September 1902, the Bogatyr arrived in Kronstadt and soon went to the Far East.
Black Sea Cruisers
The project of the company "Vulcan", despite numerous comments and multipage additions to the Russian side, was recognized as so successful that the question of the type of cruisers for the needs of the Black Sea Fleet was not particularly raised. It was decided to build them according to the drawings of the Bogatyr.
The Baltic plant in St. Petersburg, however, tried to cut in with his proposal. The specialists of this company developed their own project of a cruiser, in which all the artillery of the main caliber, numbering twelve 152-mm guns, was placed in pairs in six towers. The latter were supposed to use the towers developed by the Metal Plant for squadron battleships of the Borodino type under construction. However, despite the obvious advantages, the project of the Baltic Plant was rejected by the Marine Technical Committee, citing lack of time to consider it.
As a result, one more cruiser for the Baltic Fleet and two for the Black Sea were built according to the Bogatyr type. One of the Black Sea cruisers was planned to be built in the Lazarevsk Admiralty in Sevastopol, and the other in Nikolaev.
But the fact is that by the end of the 19th century, two shipbuilding enterprises were already operating in Nikolaev. Since 1897, there has appeared Society of shipbuilding, mechanical and foundry plants in Nikolaevcreated at the expense of the Belgian and French shareholders. This enterprise was intended for the construction of ships of any class and was equipped with the latest technological equipment for that period. The owners did not intend to sit back in anticipation of orders, and they themselves proceeded to a planned "siege" of the Naval Ministry.
The new plant, called for simplicity "Naval", began to create significant competition for the state-run Nikolaev Admiralty. The representatives of the Maritime Ministry, who examined “Naval”, were pleasantly surprised by its level of industrial equipment, but at the same time, rather restrainedly spoke about the quality of personnel. It was noted that it is extremely diverse in nationality, educational qualifications and religion. Hence conclusions were drawn about the insufficient level of product quality at the outlet.
The naval ministry provided a solution to the issue of the construction site of the cruisers to the Chief Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. Since the boathouse No. 7 was empty after the launch of the “Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky”, the choice without any particular consideration fell on the Nikolaev Admiralty. Shipbuilder IO Gaidamovich became the builder of the cruiser.
In August, the 1900 of the year in Nikolaev proceeded to breakdown the hull on the plaza, but the first structural elements, the elements of the outer skin and the bottom set appeared on the stocks only in March of the 1901 year. The solemn laying of the cruiser, which received the name "Cahul", took place on August 23 1901 in the presence of the Black Sea Fleet Chief Commander, Vice Admiral S. P. Tyrtov and the city leadership. The ship, laid down in Sevastopol, was called Ochakov. The entry of both in operation was scheduled for 1904 year.
On the "Kagul" worked on average 400 artisans, but closer to the descent, their number increased to 600. Construction progressed uneasy. Not only that, the Nikolaev Admiralty distant from the capital was forced to constantly coordinate a lot of issues of production, organizational and design nature, but for the first time in the practice of the admiralty such a large ship was built entirely in a foreign project.
Getting the drawings from the Vulkan shipyard was a very complicated, multi-level bureaucratic operation. The ship engineer E. R. de Groff, who observed the construction of the Bogatyr in Stettin, received disparate sets of drawings from the German side and transferred them to St. Petersburg through the commander of the Bogatyr, A. F. Stemman. So the drawings got into the Marine Technical Committee, from which they were passed by relay to the Main Directorate of Shipbuilding and Supplies. GUKiS, in turn, sent the received documentation to the commander of the St. Petersburg port. The latter handed over the drawings to the chief ship engineer, who gave the order to copy them for the Baltic and Black Sea cruisers.
Alas, such a long journey through the authorities was only its beginning. The received copies of the drawings were again returned to the GUKiS or the Marine Technical Committee, after which they were sent to the Chief Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. But that was not all! The drawings got into the Sevastopol port office, from where the copies intended for Nikolayev were sent to the Nikolaev port office, and only from there, through the port ship engineer, did the documentation finally fall into the hands of the cruiser builder. In the future, in order to somewhat simplify this complicated procedure, St. Petersburg engineers sent out to their Black Sea colleagues the elaborated drawings of the Baltic cruiser “Oleg”.
All the listed bureaucratic dams, along with numerous traditional changes in the project, which were carried out during the construction process, could not but affect the timing. Shipbuilding steel for the Kagul was supplied by the Nikopol-Mariupol Plant Society, the pivots, steering frame and propeller shaft brackets were manufactured by the Ekaterinoslav Steel Plant. The main machines and boilers entrusted to the Society of shipbuilding, mechanical and foundries in Nikolaev.
20 May 1903, the cruiser "Cahul" was solemnly launched in the presence of the Black Sea Fleet Commander Vice Admiral N. I. Skrydlov and stood at the outbuilding wall of the plant. If at first the construction of the Nikolaev “Kagula” and the Sevastopol “Ochakovo” proceeded with some advance in comparison with the Baltic “Oleg”, then the Black Sea people began to seriously lag behind. Under the conditions of the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war, the construction of the “Oleg” received additional funding, since the ship was intended for the 2 Pacific squadron.
“Cahul” left Nikolaev and arrived in Sevastopol only in January 1907. Out of the entire range of weapons, only four 152-mm guns were installed in the two towers. Soon the cruiser was renamed “Memory of Mercury”, because the name “Cahul” was still being repaired after the November uprising in Sevastopol “Ochakov”. When renaming a cruiser, he inherited the Guards St. George flag from the eponymous old French cruiser.
April 19 The Memory of Mercury 1907 performed the 6-hour tests of the main machines. Products of the plant "Naval" did not disappoint and developed power in 20400 l. with. instead of project 19500 l. with. At the same time, the speed reached the 24,75 node, which exceeded the results of even the Bogatyr built in Germany. True, the "Memory of Mercury" was missing most of the artillery. After this, the cruiser again went to Nikolaev, where the artillery was equipped with the outfitting wall of the admiralty. The cruiser Memory of Mercury finally entered the Black Sea Fleet only in the 1908 year.
Long service cruiser "Memory of Mercury"
Cruiser was destined to live a long life. Of the entire “heroic” four, he served the longest. In 1911, the “Memory of Mercury” took part in the experiments of the scientist and ship engineer Ivan G. Bubnov on the influence of shallow water on the speed of a ship conducted in the Russian fleet for the first time.
In 1913 – 1914, the cruiser underwent a major overhaul with partial rearmament. At the insistence of the then commander of the ship captain 1-rank N. G. Lvov, ten 75-mm guns were removed from him, setting four 152-mm instead, bringing the total number of guns to 16. In the future, all 152-mm guns were planned to be replaced with newer 130-mm, but they did not have time to do so before the 1917 events.
“Memory of Mercury” and “Cahul” took the most active part in the First World War: they carried out reconnaissance and search for enemy transports, repeatedly engaged in battle with enemy ships, fired at the coast occupied by the enemy.
In 1917, the Memory of Mercury was based in Odessa, it was planned to be sent for modernization to Nikolaev. However, soon the well-known events began, which crossed out all the plans. After the proclamation of the Ukrainian People's Republic in Kiev, the team, most of whom were from the Little Russian provinces, raised a yellow-blue flag on the ship's mast. In protest, the cruiser left more than two hundred crew members and almost all the officers. With them they solemnly took away the St. George's Guards flag. However, at the end of January 1918, under the gun battleship "Rostislav"which was under the control of the Bolsheviks, the yellow-blue flag was lowered and a red one was raised instead.
Subsequently, the “Memory of Mercury” went to Sevastopol, where it stood in the South Bay right up to the beginning of the 1920s. The vehicles of the ship were disabled by the former allies on the Entente, most of the weapons were dismantled by successive authorities. The cruiser, despite the difficult technical condition, it was decided to restore.
The heads of the cylinders were borrowed from the battleships Evstafy, John Chrysostom, and the Baltic Bogatyr. Sixteen 130-mm guns were installed on the Comintern, and they were assembled from the pine forest - part from the raised dreadnought Empress Maria, part from the gunboats of the former Azov flotilla and several from the Bogatyr. On the eve of the new 1923, the cruiser was given the name "Comintern" and in honor of the May Day holiday was transferred to the Black Sea Naval Forces.
The Comintern spent several years as a flagship. In 1930 – 1931 the cruiser underwent a major overhaul, during which part of the 130-mm guns was removed from it, reducing their number to ten. Now the "Comintern" has become a training ship. In the summer of 1941, the next repair was completed, after which the “Comintern” began to be registered as a minelayer.
With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the old cruiser was again called to war. On his account, trips to the besieged Odessa and Sevastopol. Comintern delivered replenishment and cargo. Back transported wounded and evacuees. In the summer of 1942, the minelayer received several injuries from hits of German aerial bombs during raids on Novorossiysk and Poti.
In the absence of a serious repair base and in view of the outdated Comintern, it was decided to flood the mouth of the Khobi River. October 10 The old cruiser 1942 was taken out of Poti harbor and flooded in the indicated place, opening the Kingston. His corps served as a breakwater for the defense of the base station for the light forces of the fleet at the mouth of the Khobi River. Thus ended the nearly forty-year-old service of the cruiser built in Nikolaevsk Admiralty.
To be continued ...
- Denis Brig
- Shipyard named after 61 communard. The squadron battleship "Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky" (part 2)
Shipyard named after 61 communard. Squadron battleship "Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky"
Shipyard named after 61 communard. Battleship "Rostislav"
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