Military Review

The world's first underwater mine layer "Crab". Part 1. A new project of an underwater mine layer

The appearance of the world's first underwater mine layer "Crab" is one of the wonderful pages in stories domestic military shipbuilding. The Crab entered service in 1915 year. However, even in technically developed Kaiser Germany, the first submarine minelayers also appeared only in the 1915 year, while their tactical and technical characteristics were significantly inferior to the "Crab".

The world's first underwater mine layer "Crab". Part 1. A new project of an underwater mine layer
Naletov Mikhail Petrovich

Mikhail Petrovich Naletov was born in 1869 in the family of the Caucasus and Mercury shipping company. His childhood years passed in Astrakhan, and Naletov received his secondary education in St. Petersburg. After receiving secondary education, Mikhail Petrovich entered the Technological Institute, and later transferred to the St. Petersburg Mining Institute. Here he not only studied, but also earned a living with drawings and lessons. In his student years, Mikhail Petrovich invented a bicycle of an original design, in which to increase speed it was necessary to work with both legs and arms. These bikes were produced at one time by a handicraft workshop.

Unfortunately, the death of his father and the need to support his young brother and mother did not allow Naletov to receive a higher education. He passed the test for the title of a communications technician later. Naletov M.P. He was a very kind and sociable person, and had a gentle nature.

Raids, before the Russian-Japanese war, worked on the construction of the port of Dalniy. When the war began, he was in Port Arthur and witnessed the death of the battleship Petropavlovsk and the famous admiral Makarov. The death of Makarov served as an impetus for Naletov to the idea of ​​creating an underwater mine layer.

In early May, 1904 of the raids asked the commander of the port of Port Arthur to give him a gasoline engine from the boat for the submarine under construction, but he was refused. According to Naletova, the submarine under construction was interested in sailors and conductors from the squadron ships. They came to him quite often, and some even asked for a command from a submarine. Significant assistance to Naletov was provided by Lieutenant Krotkov N.V. and PN Tikhobaev, mechanical engineer from the battleship Peresvet. Krotkov assisted in obtaining the mechanisms necessary for the submarine from the port of Dalniy, and Tikhobaev let out specialists from his team, who together with the workers of the dredging caravan built a minelayer. Despite the difficulties, Naletov built his submarine quite successfully.

The hull of the submarine was a riveted cylinder having a conical tip. Inside the hull were two cylindrical ballast tanks. The displacement of the minelayer was only 25 tons. The ship was to be armed with two Schwarzkopf torpedoes or four mines. It was assumed that the mines will be placed "by themselves" through specials. hatch in the middle of the hull submarine. In subsequent projects, he refused such a system of raids, because he believed that it was dangerous for the submarine itself. Later this fair conclusion was confirmed in practice - several German underwater minelayers of the “UC” type died from their own mines.

In the autumn of 1904, the construction of a mine-layer minelayer was completed, and Naletov began testing the watertightness and strength of the hull. To submerge the submarine without people in place, cast iron pigs were used, laid on the deck of the submarine, and their removal was carried out with the help of a floating crane. The minelayer was immersed to a depth of 9 meters. The tests were successful. Already during the tests, the commander of the submarine, midshipman Vilkitsky BA, was appointed.

After the tests of the submarine's hull were successful, the attitude towards Naletov became much better. He was allowed to take a petrol engine for his submarine from the boat of the battleship Peresvet. However, this "gift" put the inventor in a difficult position, because the power of one engine for the submarine under construction was insufficient.

But the days of Port Arthur were already numbered. Japanese troops came close to the fortress and their shells fell into the harbor. One of these shells was sunk by an iron barge, to which the fence layer Naletova moored. Fortunately, the length of the mooring lines was enough for the minelayer to stay afloat.

In December, 1904 of the year, before the surrender of Port-Arthur, MP Naletov, in order to prevent the minelayer from falling into the hands of the Japanese, was forced to disassemble and destroy the internal equipment of the submarine, and to blow up the hull.

Naletova was awarded the Cross of St. George for active participation in the defense of Port Arthur.

The failure with the creation of a mine underwater minelayer in Port Arthur Naletova not discouraged. Arriving in Shanghai after the surrender of Port Arthur, Mikhail Petrovich submitted an application with a proposal to build a submarine in Vladivostok. Naletov's statement to the Russian military attache in China was sent to Vladivostok naval command. However, the command did not find it necessary even to answer it, obviously, believing that the proposal relates to fantastic inventions, which do not even need to pay attention.

But Mikhail Petrovich was not the kind of person to give up. Returning to Petersburg, he developed a new project of an underwater mine layer with a displacement of 300 tons.

29 December 1906 of the Naletov filed a petition addressed to the Chairman of the MTC (Maritime Technical Committee), in which he wrote: "Wishing to offer the Marine Ministry a submarine on a project that I developed based on experience and observations in Port Arthur over the sea war, I have the honor to ask, if Your Excellency finds it possible, give me time to personally present the above-mentioned project and give explanations to those authorized by Your Excellency. "

To the petition, Naletov attached a copy of the certificate from 23.02.1905, issued by Rear Admiral Grigorovich IK, the former commander of Port Arthur, who later became Minister of the Navy. The certificate stated that the submarine with a displacement of 25 tons built at Port Arthur on preliminary tests yielded excellent results "and that the surrender of Port Arthur deprived Naletov's equipment of the possibility of completing the construction of the submarine Arthur. " Mikhail Petrovich considered his port-artur project as a prototype of a new project of an underwater mine layer.

Raids in 1908-1914 years came to Nizhny Novgorod several times when the Zolotnitsky family lived in a country house on the banks of the Volga in the town of Mokhovye Gory in 9 kilometers from Nizhny Novgorod. There, Mikhail Petrovich made a toy - a cigar-shaped, similar to a modern, submarine 30 long centimeters with a small tower and a "periscope" (short rod). The submarine moved under the action of the spring. When the toy was lowered into the water, it floated on the surface for about five meters, then it sank, sailing the same distance under water, while only the periscope remained on the surface, then it reappeared on the surface, and again sank until the entire spring factory . The submarine had a hermetic enclosure. Apparently, Naletov Mikhail Petrovich was fond of submarines, even making toys ...

New project of underwater mine layer

After the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the Naval Ministry began preparations for the construction of a new fleet. Questions were raised: which fleet is needed for Russia, and also how to get loans through the State Duma for the construction of the fleet.

With the beginning of the war, the Russian fleet began to be replenished intensively with submarines, some of which were built in Russia, and some were ordered and purchased abroad.

In the 1904-1905, 24 submarines were ordered and 3 ready submarines purchased abroad.

In the 1906 year, after the end of the war, only 2 submarines were ordered, and not one in the next! True, this number did not include the submarine Dzhevetskogo S.K. "Post" with a single engine.

Thus, the tsarist government lost interest in submarines due to the end of hostilities. Most of the officers in the high command of the fleet underestimated their role, and the liner was considered to be the cornerstone for the new shipbuilding program. Construction experience Naletov MP in Port Arthur, the mine layer was naturally forgotten. Even maritime literature claimed that the only armament of submarines was self-propelled mines (torpedoes).

In these conditions, it was necessary to have a clear mind and clearly understand the prospects for the development of the fleet, and in particular, its formidable new weapons - submarines to propose to build an underwater mine layer. Mikhail Petrovich Naletov was just such a man.

Having learned that the Marine Ministry does not do anything to create this new type of combat ships, despite the fact that their main idea became well-known, Naletov MP 29 December 1906 of the year addressed a petition to the Chairman of the MTC, containing the following: “In order to offer the Marine Ministry a submarine on a project that I developed based on personal observations and experience of the sea war in Port Arthur, I ask Your Excellency to appoint, if possible it’s time for me to present the above-mentioned project in person and to explain it to persons who will be authorized by your Excellency. "

Raids attached to the petition a copy of the certificate from February 23 1905 of the year, issued by Rear Admiral I.K. former commander of Port Arthur, who later became Minister of the Navy. The document stated that the submarine with a displacement of 25 tons created in Port Arthur gave excellent results in preliminary tests "and that the" surrender of Port Arthur did not allow Naletov to complete the construction of the submarine that would greatly benefit the besieged Port Arthur " .

Naletov M.P. considered a submarine under construction in Port Arthur as a prototype of a new minefield submarine project.

Considering that the two main drawbacks inherent to submarines of that time - low speed and navigation area - will not be eliminated at the same time, Mikhail Petrovich examines the submarine's 2 variants: with a small area of ​​action at high speed and with a large area of ​​action at low speed.

In the first case, the submarine had to wait for the enemy ships to approach the port, near which the submarine is located. In the second case, the task of the submarine consists of two parts: the transition to the port of the enemy; blowing up enemy ships.

Naletov M.P. Wrote: “Without denying the benefits of submarines in coastal defense, I believe that submarines should be mainly an instrument of offensive war. For this, boats should have a large area of ​​operation and also arm not only Whitehead mines but mine barriers. In other words , it is necessary to build not only coastal defense submarines, but also mine-laying submarine destroyers with a large area of ​​operation. "

These views Naletova MP The prospects for the development of submarines for that time were very progressive. It is necessary to quote the statements of Lieutenant A. Bubnov: "Submarines are nothing but mine canals!" and more: "Submarines are a means of passive positional warfare and cannot decide the outcome of a war as such."

How much is the technician of communication lines of Naletov MP stood above the naval officer in matters of scuba diving!

He rightly said that "like any submarine, an underwater mine layer does not need to possess the sea." During the First World War, in a few years, this statement by Naletova was fully confirmed.

Speaking of the fact that Russia cannot build a fleet that would be equal to the British, Naletov MP stressed the special importance of building submarines for Russia: “Fifty submarine minelayers with a displacement of 300 tons each can put 3000-5000 thousands of mines monthly, an amount that is almost impossible to fight, and this will cause a full stop of the sea’s life without which England or Japan will be able to survive for a long time.

The project of the underwater mine layer, which was presented at the end of 1906, Naletov MP had the following characteristics:
Displacement - 300 tons, length - 27,7 meters, width - 4,6 meters, draft - 3,66 meters, buoyancy margin - 12 tons (4%).
For the surface run, two 150-strong motors should be installed on the barrier, and for the underwater stroke - two 75-strengths of the electric motor. These engines were supposed to provide submarine surface speed in 9 nodes, and submarine - 7 nodes.
The haulier should have taken 28 mines on board with the 1 machine and 2 torpedoes or 35 mines without a torpedo tube.
The maximum immersion depth is 30,5 meters.
The hull of the submarine was cigar-shaped, the cross section - a circle. The superstructure of the submarine began with a nose and reached the distance 2 / 3 - 3 / 4 of its length.
"When a round section of the case:
- its surface will be the smallest with the same cross-sectional area on the frames;
- the mass of the round frame will be less than the mass of the frame of the same fortress with a different section shape of a submarine, whose area is equal to the area of ​​a circle;
- the body will have a smaller surface and the lowest mass. When comparing submarines with one drill on the frames ".
He tried to substantiate any of the elements chosen by Naletov for his project, either by logical reasoning or by relying on existing theoretical studies.
Naletov M.P. came to the conclusion that the add-in must be asymmetrical. It was assumed that the inside of the superstructure would be filled with cork or other lightweight material, while Naletov offered to make scuppers in the superstructure through which water would pass freely between the submarine hull and the cork layers, which would transfer pressure to the strong submarine hull inside the superstructure.
The tanker of the main ballast of a submarine with a displacement of 300 tons of the project Naletova was located under the batteries and in high-pressure tanks (side pipes). The volume was 11,76 m3. In the extremities of the submarine there were differential tanks. Mine-replacement tanks (volume 11,45 м3) were located in the middle part between the sides of the submarine and the mine storage room.
The device for setting mines (the name in the project is “the apparatus for ejecting mines”) had three parts: a mine pipe (one in the first variant), a mine chamber and an air lock.
The mine tube went from the 34 frame bulkhead to the stern, obliquely and out of the submarine hull under the bottom of the vertical rudder to the outside. At the top of the pipe there was a rail, on which the mines were rolling with the help of rollers in the stern, due to the inclination of the pipe. The rail went all the way through the pipe and ended at the same level as the steering wheel. At the time of setting mines from the sides of the rail exhibited specials. guides to give mines the right direction. The nasal end of the mine was in the mine chamber, where two people received mines through the airlock and put it in the mine tube.
To prevent water from entering the submarine through the mine chamber and mine tube, compressed air was injected into them, which balanced the pressure of the seawater. In the mine tube, the pressure of compressed air was regulated by means of an electric contactor.

Naletov M.P. located mine storage in the middle part of the submarine between the side-mounted minisubstitution tanks and the median plane. Since they maintained normal air pressure, there was an air lock between the mine chamber and them, which had hermetic doors to the mine storage and mine chamber. The mine pipe was equipped with a lid, which, after the laying of the mines, was hermetically sealed. In addition, for setting on the surface of a mine, Naletov offered to make a special device on the deck of a submarine. Unfortunately, his device remains unknown.

As can be seen from this description, the original device for setting mines did not fully provide the submarine with balance during the laying of mines in a submerged position. This was due to the fact that the water from the mine pipe was pressed over the side, and not in spec. cistern; A mine that travels along the upper rail before being submerged at the end of the mine pipe also upset the balance of the submarine. Naturally, for an underwater mine layer such a device for setting mines was not suitable.
The raids provided for two variants of the underwater mine layer torpedo armament: with one torpedo tube and 28 mines; with 35 mines and without torpedo tubes.
Naletov himself gave preference to the second option, since he believed that the main and only task of the underwater minelayer was the laying of mines, and everything should be subordinated to this task. The presence of torpedo armament on this submarine can only hinder the fulfillment of the main task: the delivery of mines to the place of staging and the staging itself.
In the MTC 9 in January 1907, the first meeting was held, at which the draft of an underwater mine layer, which was proposed by MP Naletov, was considered. The commission was chaired by Rear Admiral A. Virenius, and the outstanding shipbuilders A. Krylov also participated in the meeting. and Bubnov IG, as well as the most prominent miner and submariner Beklemishev M.N. The chairman of the commission briefed everyone with the proposal by Naletova. Naletov outlined the main ideas of the mine layer project with a 300 ton displacement. After an exchange of views, it was decided to consider the project in detail and discuss it at the next meeting of the ITC, which took place the next day. During this meeting, Naletov set forth in detail the essence of the draft presented and answered a large number of questions from those present.
From the speech at the meeting and subsequent reviews of the project were as follows:
“The project of the submarine of Mr. Naletov is quite feasible, despite the fact that it is not fully developed” (Gavrilov IA, ship engineer).
"Naletova’s calculations were made absolutely correctly, thoroughly and in detail" (A. Krylov)
However, the project’s drawbacks were also noted:
- The reserve buoyancy of the submarine is small. Beklemishev M.N. drew attention to this.
- It is inappropriate to fill the superstructure with a cork. According to A. Krylov: "Squeezing a cork with water pressure as it dives changes buoyancy in a dangerous direction."
- The dive time of the submarine - more than 10 minutes - is great.
- The submarine is not equipped with a periscope.
- The mines are “poorly satisfactory” (IG Bubnov), and the time of putting one mines - from 2 to 3 minutes - is too long.
- The power of the engines and electric motors that were specified in the project does not provide the specified speeds. "It is unlikely that a submarine with a displacement of 300 tons will pass at 150 horsepower - 7 nodes and on the surface of 9 nodes at 300 horsepower" (Gavrilov IA).
There were other, smaller, disadvantages. But despite this, the recognition of prominent specialists of the project of an underwater mine layer as a “quite feasible” is undoubtedly a creative victory for Naletov MP.

1 January 1907 of the Naletov presented to the Chief Inspector of the mine case: "Description of the improved mine apparatus emitting sea mines" and "Description of the modification of the superstructure."

The new version of the device for setting mines was a "two-stage system", that is, the device consisted of a mine tube and an airlock (there was no mine chamber, as it was in the original version). The airlock was separated from the mine pipe by a hermetically sealed lid. When setting mines in the positional or "combat" position of the submarine, compressed air was supplied to the mine compartment, the pressure of which was to balance the external pressure of the water through the pipe. After that, both the airlock covers and the mines on the rail, which went at the top of the pipe, were opened, were in turn thrown overboard. During the laying of mines in a submerged position, with the back cover closed, the mine was injected into the airlock. After that, the front cover was closed, compressed air was admitted to the airlock to the water pressure in the pipe, the rear cover was opened, and the mine was thrown overboard through the pipe. After that, the back cover was closed, compressed air was removed from the airlock, the front cover was opened, and a new mine was inserted into the airlock. This cycle was repeated again. Mikhail Petrovich pointed out that new mines with negative buoyancy are necessary for staging. When mined, the submarine received trim aft. Later, the author took into account this shortcoming. The time of setting mines decreased to one minute.

In his review Krylov A.N. Wrote: "The way of setting mines can not be considered finalized. It is desirable to further improve and simplify it."
In his review of January 11, IG Bubnov wrote: "To regulate the buoyancy of a submarine with such significant changes in mass is quite difficult, especially when the level in the pipe fluctuates."
Improving his mine-setting machine, Naletov in April 1907 of the year suggested “a mine barrage with a hollow anchor, the negative buoyancy of which was equal to the positive buoyancy of the mine”. This was a decisive step towards the development of a mine-setting apparatus, which was suitable for installation on an underwater minelayer.
Interesting is the classification of "apparatus for throwing mines out of a submarine," which was brought by Naletov in one of his own notes. Mikhail Petrovich subdivided all the “apparatuses” into internal ones, which are located inside the strong hull of the submarine, and external ones, which are located in the superstructure. These devices, in turn, were divided into non-feed and feed. In the outer side of the device (that is, non-feed) mines were placed in the sides of the superstructure in spec. nests, from which they were thrown one by one with the help of levers connected to a roller that runs along the superstructure. The roller in motion was driven from the wheelhouse by turning the handle. In principle, a similar system was later implemented on two French submarines built during the First World War and later converted into submarine barriers. Mines were located in the middle part of these submarines in side ballast tanks.
The structure of the external feeding device consisted of one or two troughs, which went in a superstructure along the boat. Mines along the rail laid in the trench were moved with the help of four rollers that were attached to the sides of the mine anchors. An endless rope or chain went to the bottom of the gutter, to which mines were fastened in various ways. The chain moved by a pulley from inside the submarine. Raids to this system of mines came in his subsequent versions of the mine underwater minelayer.
The internal bottom apparatus (non-feed) consisted of a cylinder vertically installed and connected to the mine chamber on the one hand, and on the other, with seawater, through an opening in the bottom of the submarine hull. Such a principle mine director Naletov used for underwater mine layer, built in 1904, in Port Arthur.
The internal stern was to consist of a pipe that connected the mine chamber at the bottom of the stern of the submarine with the outside water.

Naletov M.P. Considering options for a possible device for laying mines, he gave a negative characteristic to ground vehicles: he pointed out that such devices, when laying mines, were a danger to the submarine itself. This conclusion Naletova relative to the bottom of the apparatus for its time was fair. Much later, during the First World War, the Italians used a similar method in their underwater mine layers. The mines were located in Miino-ballast tanks located in the middle part of the submarine’s robust hull. In this case, the mines had a negative buoyancy around kilogram 250-300.
To improve the ventilation of the submarine, a ventilation pipe with a diameter of 600 mm and height from 3,5 to 4,5 meters was proposed. Before immersion, this pipe was formed in the spec. deepening the deck of the superstructure.
February 6 Krylov A.N. in response to the request Beklemisheva M.N. He wrote: "Increasing the height of the superstructure will improve the submerged seaworthiness on the surface, but it is unlikely that with the proposed height it will be possible to go with an open wheelhouse, if the wave and wind are over 4 points ... It should be expected that the submarine will be so buried in the wave that it would be impossible to keep the cabin open. "

All parts:
Part of 1. New project of underwater mine layer
Part of 2. The second and third variants of the underwater layer
Part of 3. Fourth, the latest version of the minelayer Naletova MP.
Part of 4. How was arranged underwater mine layer "Crab"
Part of 5. The first military campaign of the underwater mine layer "Crab"
Part of 6. "Crab" becomes in repair
Part of 7. The end of the first underwater mine layer "Crab"

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  1. mga04
    mga04 10 December 2012 13: 14
    There is a very interesting, almost documentary, book - "The Crab goes to sea", I recommend. Unfortunately, I don't remember the author.
  2. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 10 December 2012 14: 40
    The boat was curious!
    It seemed to me that the links to the book about the Crab - I have one, only too lazy to look to make sure of this ...