... the battle was inevitable. In 17: 28, the flagmen lowered the Dutch flag, and a cloth with a swastika hoisted on the gaff - at the same time, the Cormoran raider (German cormorant) fired a volley from its six-inch and torpedo tubes.
The mortally wounded Australian cruiser "Sydney" with the last effort drove three projectiles into the German gangster and, engulfed in flames from bow to stern, left the battlefield. The situation on the raider was also bad - shells were thoroughly requested by Cormoran (the former diesel-electric ship, Steiermark) and the GEM transformers were disabled. The raider lost his turn, there were extensive fires. At night, the Germans had to leave the ship, at that time the glow of the dying Sydney was still on the horizon ...
317 German sailors landed on the coast of Australia and, observing exemplary order, surrendered; the fate of the Sydney cruiser is unknown - no one escaped from the 645 man. Thus ended the unique naval battle of 19 on November 1941, in which an armed civilian ship sank a real cruiser.
Where does the smart hide the sheet? In the woods
Rocket Container Complex weapons Club-K externally is a set of three standard 20- or 40-foot freight containers, in which are located a universal starting module, a combat control module and a module for power supply and auxiliary systems. The original technical solution makes the "Club" almost undetectable until its use. The cost of the kit is half a billion rubles (frankly, not so little - the Mi-8 helicopter costs as much, for example).
The Club uses a wide range of ammunition: X-35 Uran anti-ship missiles, 3М-54Т, 3М-54ТЭ1 and 3М-14Т missiles of the Caliber complex for defeating surface and ground targets. The “Club-K” complex can be equipped with coastal positions, surface ships and vessels of various classes, railway and automobile platforms.
In a broad sense, the practice of disguising weapons has been known since the birth of humanity.
In the narrow sense - analogs of the “Club” complex do not exist.
ABL at the stern of the USS Mississippi nuclear missile cruiser
Of the systems closest in purpose, I managed to recall only the Armored Box Launcher (ABL) armored launcher for launching Tomahawks. ABL were installed in 80-e years on the destroyers of the type "Spryuens", battleships, as well as on the heliports of nuclear cruisers of the type "Virginia" and "Long Beach". Of course, no universality was foreseen - the ABL was a compact box-type launcher and was used exclusively on warships. ABL was retired after the appearance of the new Mark-41 DPS.
Club-K for attack
If a samurai takes the sword out of the scabbard on 5 centimeters - he should stab him with blood. Special chic was the ability to kill the enemy in one motion, only for a moment showing the weapon and hiding it back. These ancient rules are best suited for describing the Soviet "special purpose trains." The strategic missile rail-based complex RT-XNUMHUTTH "Molodets" guaranteed to provide the enemy with a "one-way ticket".
The developers of the “Club” complex often draw an analogy between their product and the PT-23UTTH. But here there is the following “nuance”: the “Well done” ICBM railway complex is intended for a preventive / retaliatory nuclear strike in the event of a global war; it is understood that the re-shot is no longer required. Such a weapon should be hidden and masked as far as possible, so that at the right moment you suddenly “snatch it out of its sheath” and hit the enemy on the other end of the Earth with one blow.
Unlike the truly formidable RT-XNUMHUTTH, the “Club” complex is a tactical weapon and its power is not so great that with one, ten, or even a hundred launches to do away with the enemy forces.
During the Desert Storm, the US Navy fired 1000 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi positions. But the use of a colossal amount of Tomahawks did not decide the outcome of the local war - another 70 sorties were needed to “consolidate” the effect obtained aviation!
What, in fact, prevented the Coalition forces to continue bombarding the Iraqi positions with Tomahawks? The exorbitant price of cruise missiles - 1,5 million dollars! For comparison: the cost of one hour of flight of the F-16 fighter-bomber is 7 thousand dollars. The cost of a laser-guided bomb is from 19 thousand dollars. Aircraft combat sorties are ten times cheaper than a cruise missile, while the tactical bomber performs its “work” better, more efficiently and can strike from the “airborne alert” position.
The use of cruise missiles for normal purposes is too inefficient and wasteful: "Tomahawks" are always used only in conjunction with aviation and ground forces, as an aid to suppressing air defense and destroying critical objects in the early days of the war. Therefore, during local operations, the rocket complex “Club” loses its advantage - secrecy. What is the point of disguising a PU as a cargo container, if within a few months thousands of armored vehicles, a million soldiers and hundreds of warships are transferred to the entire world in front of the world’s eyes (this is how much force was needed to carry out the Desert Storm). It is pointless from a military point of view simply to install several sets of “Club” on a container ship, and to organize a march to the shores of a “likely enemy”.
Club-K in defense
Concern Morinformsystem-Agat specialists position their Club missile system on the world market as an ideal weapon for developing countries - simple, powerful, and most importantly, the principle of “asymmetry”, so beloved by Russian designers, is used, for example, the annual traffic volume China makes over 75 million standard containers! It is impossible to find three containers with a “surprise” in such a traffic flow.
The unprecedented secrecy of the “Club” complex allows, in theory, to equalize the chances of strong and weak armies. In practice, the situation is somewhat more complicated: a set of three "standard 40-foot containers" is not a weapon in itself, since The rocket complex "Club" is acutely faced with the problem of external targeting and communication.
20-foot container Club-K with PU for launching Uran anti-ship missiles
The NATO armies are well aware that target designation and communications are stumbling blocks to the developers of any weapons, so they take unprecedented measures to destroy enemy communications — in areas of local conflict, the sky is buzzing with electronic reconnaissance and EW aircraft. Radars, radio towers, command centers and communications centers are the first to be hit. Aviation, using special ammunition, disables electrical substations and de-energizes entire areas, depriving the enemy of the opportunity to use mobile and telephone communications.
It’s naive to rely on the GPS system - NATO experts know how to spoil the enemy’s life: during the aggression in Yugoslavia, GPS was turned off around the world. The US Army can easily do without this system - “Tomahawks” are induced using TERCOM, a system that independently scans relief; Aviation can use radio beacons and military radio navigation systems. This situation was corrected only with the appearance of Russia's own global positioning system "Glonass".
Qualitative data for the development of a combat mission of a cruise missile can only be obtained from spacecraft or reconnaissance aircraft. The second point is eliminated immediately - in a local war, air supremacy will immediately shift to the stronger side. All that remains is to receive data from the satellite, but here the question arises about the possibility of receiving information in the conditions of hard electronic suppression, and the working electronics unmasks the position of tactical missiles.
An important factor is that the turnover of standard 40-foot containers in the Third World countries (namely, they are promising customers of the Club complex) is quite limited. The above 75 million figure applies only to China with its super-industry and billion people. The USA, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and the Eurozone countries are the main operators of “standard 40-foot containers”.
Container Terminal in New Jersey
Three containers standing among the slums of Africa immediately arouse suspicion, given that the processing and analysis of satellite images is performed by a computer that instantly notes all the nuances. 12-meter containers themselves can not appear in the right place - trailers and a truck crane are needed - such a fuss will immediately attract attention. Moreover, now any military specialist in the world knows that the “Club” complex can be in containers (in principle, any weapon can be in suspicious containers, so they should be destroyed).
And the third question - against what targets in a defensive operation can the "Club" complex be used? Against the advancing tank columns? But the loss of one or two tanks will in no way affect the offensive of the aggressor. Against enemy airfields? But they are far away, and the maximum firing range of the Caliber missiles is 300 km. Strikes at coastal landings? It's a good idea, but, even without taking into account the probability of a breakthrough by a military defense, several missiles with a 400 kg warhead will not cause serious damage.
Club-K as an anti-ship weapon
The most realistic option for the use of the missile complex. Several containers on the coast can provide control of territorial waters and pouring zones; protection of naval bases and coastal infrastructure, as well as provide cover for land-dangerous areas.
The problems are all the same - shooting at the maximum range is possible only with the use of external target designation. Under normal conditions, the detection range of surface targets is limited by a radio horizon (30 ... 40 kilometers).
But then what is the difference between the “Club” complex and the Bal-E mobile coastal missile systems that have already been adopted? The only difference is stealth. But visual secrecy is not the most reliable means. In combat conditions, the radar included unambiguously unmasks the location of the missile position, and radio electronic reconnaissance aircraft can detect the operation of the electronic equipment of the complex.
On the other hand, self-propelled Bal-E on the chassis of high traffic can be made up for anything and hide in any port hangar. Bal-E, like the Club, can use X-35 Uran anti-ship missiles. In principle, the experience of the original camouflage of missile positions has been known since the days of Vietnam, and it does not require buying a launcher for half a billion rubles.
To guess which containers Club-K will have to sink a beautiful ship
As for the idea of installing containers on small ships and container ships, using them in the ocean as ersatz missile carriers to destroy the “likely enemy” Navy ships, the practice of placing weapons on merchant ships has been known since the days of the Columbus caravels. At the beginning of the article, a case was presented of the successful use of the civil vessel “Cormoran” by the Germans, using the surprise factor and the carelessness of the Sydney crew, delivered a preemptive strike and destroyed a large warship.
But ... with the development of aviation and radar facilities, the idea of a "raider" disappeared into oblivion. Equipped with modern electronics, deck and base patrol aviation aircraft check in an hour hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of ocean surface - the lone raider will not be able to just disappear in the vast expanses of the sea.
Dreaming about a “shock container ship”, in one of the containers of which the Club’s “Club” puffer lurked, the following problems need to be solved: first, who will target the container ship at 200 kilometers? Secondly, a container ship that has appeared in a combat zone can be easily put on board or destroyed, as a potential threat. For the US Navy, this is a familiar event - the 1988 of the year, American sailors shot down Air Iran's passenger Airbus and did not even apologize. Do not forget, there are no means of self-defense on the container ship (and their installation immediately unmasks the civilian ship), and during Operation Storm in the Desert the US Navy and the Royal Navy of Great Britain for nothing just shot in the combat zone the boats were larger than the boat - especially the British “Lynx” helicopters, which destroyed with Sea Skua miniature rockets, many of the patrol boats and trawlers converted into minesweepers.
The wise Lao Tzu once said: “To send unprepared people into battle means to betray them.” I am categorically against any "asymmetric" means. In modern conditions, their use leads to even greater human losses, because no “cheap asymmetric means” can withstand well-equipped and trained armies, aircraft and the fleet. I am entirely for the development of real military systems and the construction of real military ships, and not "container ships with missiles."
As for the prospects of the original Club-K missile system (“affordable strategic weapons” in the opinion of its creators), I have no right to draw any conclusions here. If Club-K will be successful in the world market, then this will be the best refutation of all military theories, although these are already problems of the Concern Morinformsystem-Agat Open Joint-Stock Company.
Much nicer is the fact that cruise missiles of the Caliber family have a diameter of 533 mm, which means they are adapted to launch from the torpedo tubes of the Russian nuclear Shchuk. This is the real Russian combat system!
Note. The German auxiliary cruiser Cormoran was a large ship with a total displacement of 8700 tons. The fuel supply allowed him to go around the globe four times (without any atomic reactors!). Raider armament - 6 x 150 mm guns, 6 torpedo tubes, 2 seaplane, a hundred nautical mines.