Large landing ship of project 1174. In this case, “Saratov”. Launched in 1964, that is, the ship is 56 years old. Surprisingly, he is still afloat. Photo: Artem Balabin
A discussion of the advantages and benefits of a Sunrise Ace-type car carrier ship for military operations in the previous article very clearly showed a curious and quite common phenomenon of a priori judgment. Although I focused on the advantages of the car carrier and did not go too far into comparing it with other types of ships commonly used in military transport, some commentators began to impose this comparison, and in a noticeably negative spirit. Like, why bother talking about this ship when there are rollers and large landing ships (BDKs).
No one bothered them to make a comparison, albeit thesis, in order to reinforce their judgment, but this was not done. It seemed that both the skater and the BDK, in the view of some of my opponents, were such unattainable ideals that no ship could compare with. It’s just, one might say, a radiant ideal that offends any comparison.
In my opinion, this is exactly what the a priori judgment, generated by the fact that his supporters once and somewhere read laudatory articles about skaters or BDKs, formed their views on this, without particularly going into details.
Therefore, we will compare the BDK and the car carrier as military transport ships. I have something to say to the skaters too, especially since there are some unobvious nuances, but this is somehow later, another time. Now the focus of attention is precisely the BDK. I put my opinion in the heading partly in order to set fire to the discussion: the BDK is worse than a car carrier, and it is noticeable.
BDK is much smaller
To begin with, the BDK of project 1174 is noticeably smaller than a car carrier. The total displacement of the BDK is 4,3 thousand tons, of a car carrier - 60,9 thousand tons, that is, 14 times less.
Accordingly, the BDK has less load capacity. He can take aboard 22 tank and 25 armored personnel carriers, which will amount to 1373 tons. The lifting capacity of the Sunrise Ace (if you count on the capacity of cars in 5196 units and the average weight of the car is 1,5 tons) is 7794 tons, that is, 5,6 times more than that of the BDK.
Opponents must have been embarrassed by the fact that the truck has 45 pieces of cargo for vehicles weighing 50 tons. This is true. But this is a half full glass situation. The weight of 45 tanks taken aboard will amount to 2095,5 tons, or 26,8% of the carrying capacity. There are still 5702 tons of carrying capacity, which can be filled with other cargo: light armored vehicles, trucks, ammunition, food, and personnel. The free carrying capacity of a car carrier after loading the tanks is more than four times more than the BDK can accept.
This could be the end. A vessel with a lower carrying capacity cannot be better than a vessel with a higher carrying capacity, and the somewhat greater convenience in unloading the BDK due to the retractable bow ramp does not compensate for this.
How many tanks can I load?
Although exact data on the loading plan of the BDK has not been published, nevertheless, it is possible to estimate the capabilities of this ship approximately, based on the dimensions of the tank hold, dock chamber and upper deck.
So, a tank hold is 54 meters long and 12 meters wide (648 square meters), a dock camera is 75 meters long and 12 meters wide (900 square meters) and the upper deck is about 40 meters long and 12 meters wide (480 sq. meters). A total of 2028 square meters. meters. According to other published data: hold 790 square meters. meters, docking chamber - 1195 sq. meters, the upper deck - 405 square meters. meters, only 2390 square meters. meters.
In general, the data on the loading of the BDK vary. Here is the data from the reference book “Ships of the Navy of the USSR” (vol. 4) that the cargo in three variants can be accommodated in the BDK of project 1174. The first - 22 tanks and 25 armored personnel carriers; the second - 50 armored personnel carriers; the third - 52 trucks. The carrying capacity in the first embodiment will be 1373 tons, in the second - 700 tons, in the third - 426,4 tons. This reference also indicates that the load on the interdeck gangway does not exceed 12 tons, that is, tanks cannot be driven onto the deck. In general, what did the designers of this miracle of technology think about? Well, they would have made a gangway of 50 tons and a strong deck for tanks, with the ability to shoot from tanks directly from the deck.
When we begin to consider the issue in detail, it turns out that even in tank capacity, the BDK has no advantages over a car carrier. Sunrise Ace can take twice as many tanks as the BDK. Which, in general, is not surprising given the sharp difference in size.
The phenomenal capacity of only one deck of a car carrier
Unlike many of my opponents, who see themselves as fearless fighters in battle, I imagine myself to be a rear rat, which, sniffing and moving its antennae, is engaged in all kinds of boring bookkeeping. So I just started calculating how much can fit on one deck of a car carrier. 3rd deck - 5883 sq. square meters, height 2,1 meters.
Car Truck Diagram
Tank shells. A box about 80 cm long, 40 cm wide and 20 cm high, in which two shots, gross weight 100 kg. The ammunition of the tank is 39 rounds, that is, the tank needs 20 boxes. A stack of two boxes per square meter. meter and 6 tiers in height (12 boxes - 1,2 tons). Given the six-meter driveway for loaders, we have 4900 square meters. meters of deck area under the load. Total: 39200 boxes, or 78400 rounds, which is enough for 2010 tanks.
Howitzer 122-mm shells (2C1 "Carnation"). Box 1,6 meters long, 40 cm wide, 20 cm high, two shots, gross weight 70 kg. A stack of two boxes of 2 square meters. meters and 8 tiers in height (16 boxes - 1,1 tons). 19600 boxes or 39200 rounds, which is enough for 980 self-propelled guns.
Ammo 5,45 mm. Box length 48 cm, width 35 cm, height 10 cm, 2160 rounds, gross weight 29 kg. A stack of 4 drawers per square meter. meter and 8 tiers in height (32 boxes - 928 kg). A total of 156800 boxes, or 338,6 million pieces of cartridges. This is enough for a millionth army.
Fuel in 200 liter barrels. Width and length 60 cm, height 80 cm, gross weight 180 kg. A stack of 9 barrels per 4 square meters. meters and two tiers in height (18 barrels - 3,2 tons). Only 22050 barrels, or 4410000 liters, which is enough for 2756 tanks.
Food, rations IRP-B. The box is 70 cm long, 20 cm wide and 25 cm high, inside 7 individual rations, gross weight 14,7 kg. A stack of 4 drawers per square meter. meter and 8 tiers in height (32 boxes - 470,4 kg). 156800 boxes or 1097000 individual rations.
This is only one deck. So at least two decks can be packed tightly or the cargo can be distributed more freely on 5-6 decks for better stability of the vessel. The cartridges were the heaviest load, and it is better to place it on the lower decks, from the 8th to the 11th.
How? Will get so much ammunition, fuel and food in the BDK? If you load cargo in the BDK at any of the above positions, the ship will simply sink under its weight. A car truck will withstand any of the above cargo positions.
About the crew loading plan
We’ll finish with rough calculations and move on to a more or less realistic loading plan. We have an air assault brigade, in which 2700 personnel, 13 T-72 tanks, 33 BMD, 46 BMPs, 10 BTR-82A, 18 BTR-D, 6 self-propelled guns 2S9 "Nona", 8 ZSU-23 "Shilka" . This is a full part, ready for battle.
- personnel: 270 tons (based on 100 kg per person);
- equipment: 2018,3 tons.
Total: 2288,3 tons, or 29,3% of full load capacity.
This means that you can also bring along various supplies for life and battle. In the calculations, I proceed from 5 fueling stations, 3 ammunition shells and 5 ammunition ammunition, 10 food supplies. Climbing or not? Counting.
The total refueling is 75900 liters for all equipment, or 380 round barrels. Five gas stations will be 1900 barrels, or 342 tons of cargo.
Ammunition is more difficult to calculate. But with all the available data, 507 tank shells, 150 shells for the 2S9 howitzer, 32,9 thousand 30 mm shells, 16 thousand 23 mm shells, 5000 rounds of 14,5 mm, 82 thousand rounds of 7,62 mm were obtained. All together will weigh 78,9 tons in boxes, or, in a round number, 80 tons. Three BC for equipment - 240 tons. Ammunition for machine guns and machine guns can be estimated at 665 thousand rounds, or 9,2 tons of weight. 5 BC - 46 tons.
Food. 27 thousand individual rations for 10 days or 3857 boxes. Only 56,7 tons of weight.
The total reserves of the brigade for a decent offensive operation will be, in a row, 685 tons. In reality, a bit more, taking into account mortars, grenade launchers, cars, all kinds of equipment and so on - about 1000 tons.
In the end, we got 3288 tons of cargo, which is the air assault brigade with all its provisions. Or 42% of the ship's carrying capacity. That is, everything breaks in, and with a substantial margin. You can take more shells, ammunition, fuel, food. All this cargo is freely placed on the decks, it is possible to work with forklifts and load cars with them directly on the ship.
Tanks, armored vehicles and trucks - on the 7th and 5th decks, shells and ammunition - down, on the 8th - 11th decks, fuel - on the 6th and 4th decks, food and personnel on very top, from 1st to 3rd decks.
This is the main military transport advantage of the car carrier over the BDK. A car truck can land a whole brigade with all the equipment and supplies, equipped for the offensive and intense multi-day battles. As the initial coefficients for fuel and ammunition, I took real data on the consumption of one or the other during major offensive operations during the Great Patriotic War.
BDK can only land a battalion. Moreover, he will not have a large margin with him and can only rely on one refueling, one ammunition and what can be put into equipment or in pockets with backpacks. No, of course, you can distribute about 250 tons of additional ammunition, fuel and food in crates and barrels on decks, in holds, in corners, in the cockpit of the BDK. But only unloading all this good will be nobody and nothing. Paratroopers need to fight, and you have to turn them temporarily into movers. If you do without an additional margin, as this, apparently, was supposed when designing the BDK, then with one refueling and one BK the enemy will quite easily break you up. There will be another bridgehead dotted with bones.
How can it be considered that 400 is more than 2700? How can it be considered that a ship that disembarks a battalion is better than a ship that disembarks an entire brigade? There’s nothing to even compare. BDK is a ship with a narrow specialization, and it is good only in this framework. As a transport, it cannot be compared to a car carrier.
In operational-tactical terms, as part of the amphibious operations, the BDK and car carriers, together with other ships, must act together. Say, we have landing forces in the amount of three brigades - 8,1 thousand people. 1 thousand of them were planted on four BDKs, and its tasks include seizing the port and ensuring the landing of two other brigades, which are located on two car carriers. They also have additional supplies for the brigade operating with the BDK. Their task is to catch on shore, capture a port or a place where car carriers can unload. Two brigades departing from them advance, expand the bridgehead and create the necessary conditions for the transfer of large formations.
If there are no large transports with troops behind the landing on the BDK that will support it and develop success, then this landing is doomed to defeat and inglorious death.