September 1 The green flames of Jamahiriya flared up over Tripoli on 1969 - a group of young officers led by Muammar Gaddafi managed to overthrow King Idris and take power into their own hands. The new government of Libya has declared its readiness to embark on the socialist path of development - for the leadership of the USSR, this was a signal that a new potential ally and partner appeared in the Mediterranean region.
The only problem is that American and British military bases remained in the territory of the Libyan Arab Republic. An important oil-bearing region threatened to become the site of a bloody clash — the West began preparations for an operation to interfere in the country's internal affairs — as demanded by the former Libyan-British defense treaty. It was necessary to transfer reinforcements from the island of Crete to the British airbases Tobruk and Al-Adem and to order the commencement of an offensive operation.
The Sixth Fleet of the US Navy headed by the aircraft carrier "John F. Kennedy" moved to the scene of the incident - the situation took a serious turn.
Sixth Fleet off the coast of Sicily, 1965 year
At this time, in the Mediterranean Sea was the 5th OPESK Naval Fleet USSR as part of four cruisers: anti-submarine missile launcher "Moscow", missile launcher "Grozny", artillery launcher "Jerzhynsky" and "M. Kutuzov ”, three large anti-submarine ships and 10 obsolete destroyers of projects 30 bis, 56 and 31 (the latter are radio reconnaissance ships). Under water, the squadron was covered by six diesel-electric submarines (missile carriers, project 651) and a multipurpose submarine of project 627A.
Soviet ships immediately dispersed - the BOD and the destroyers formed a 150-mile protective zone between the coast of Libya and Fr. Crete. Now, in order to transfer forces by air, British transport aircraft would have to fly over the ships of the Soviet Navy. The threat to get under fire naval SAMs acted soberingly - already on September 5 London declared that he would not interfere in the internal affairs of Libya.
An attempt to “project the force” with the help of the Sixth Fleet suffered a crushing fiasco — on September 6 in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the carrier-based strike group was discovered by Tu-16Р sea reconnaissance aircraft. A day later, the AUG was already moving in a tight ring of Soviet cruisers and submarines holding a “pistol at the temple” of the Sixth Fleet. After wandering along the Libyan coast at the sight of six-inch "Kutuzov" and "Dzerzhinsky" squadron of the US Navy went to the opposite course. 15 September 1969, ashamed Americans returned to the berths of the Naples naval base.
The Soviet Navy conscientiously fulfilled the task.
Missile against missiles
Not so long ago, a curious calculation appeared on one of the thematic sites of Runet - what would be the real chances of the Soviet artillery cruiser 68-bis in the event of a military clash with an American squadron?
The simple answer — deck planes will detect and sink a cruiser at a distance of 500 miles — only for Pacific theaters of the 1941-1945 period. During the Cold War, the situation changed - the Soviet fleet practiced actions to track the ships of the “likely enemy” in peacetime. In the event of an escalation of the conflict and the beginning of the war, the cruisers did not need to break through anywhere - they were initially at the line of sight, ready to open fire on the decks of aircraft carriers and escort ships of the US Navy.
The prospect of fire contact with the cruiser of the project 68-bis (Sverdlov-class) could not help but terrify the American sailors.
Soviet version. Mate in three moves
Six inches. 152 mm. - This is a two meter deep funnel where a machine gun calculation of two numbers could fit.
The guns of the Soviet cruiser hit day and night, in any conditions, in the thickest fog, storm and sandstorm. Minimum reaction time. In addition to the optical range finders, radar guidance was available — a fire control system based on the Zalp radar made it possible to automatically correct firing at bursts of fallen projectiles. The maximum firing range - 30 000 meters. The high-explosive fragmentation projectile RP-35 left the trunk section at the speed of 950 m / s - three speeds of sound! faster than any modern anti-ship missile
In total, on board the cruiser of the 68-pr Ave., 12 of such guns * was installed in four armored revolving towers MK-5. Practical rate of fire of each gun - 4-7 shots per minute.
* on "Dzerzhinsky" - six. Instead of the fodder group GK, an experimental SA-N M-2 was mounted.
Even if the “probable enemy” ships were out of the shelling sector of the feed implements, the destructive power of the main-class bow group was more than enough to turn any US Navy ship into flaming ruins.
Only the blind could miss the 300-meter hull “John F. Kennedy”. Three full-time salvo for sighting - the fourth in the "apple"!
In the case of an aircraft carrier, the situation acquired an especially gloomy tint - it was enough to “put” just one shell on the deck of aircraft technology, to cause a catastrophe - the ship flashed like a counterfeit Chinese fireworks. With a powerful explosion and ignition of tens of tons of fuel and ammunition suspended under the wings of aircraft.
This completes the work of the Soviet artillerymen - all the rest will be done by the flames of the kerosene spilled everywhere - the fire will certainly penetrate the hangar and the lower decks through the holes punched through by detonation aviation bombs. The losses will be terrible. The question of further participation in hostilities will become irrelevant - the survivors will be concerned with a completely different problem: will it be possible to save the ship?
Fire on the deck of the aircraft carrier "Enterprise" (1969 year). The reason is the spontaneous launch of the NURS caliber 127 mm.
A similar case took place on board the AB “Forrestal” (1967 year) - the rocket fell off the pylon and hit the tank in front of the attack aircraft. The fuse prevented the explosion, but one spark was enough - a fierce fire destroyed half of the air group and killed 134 of a man of the ship's personnel.
But the “Oriskani” (1966 year) suffered the silliest of all - the aircraft carrier almost died from a signal rocket, accidentally launched into the hands of a sailor.
There is no reason to doubt that an 152-mm projectile exploding on the deck of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy would have caused less damage. Six kilograms of the mighty brizant and thousands of red-hot splinters would surely bring the ship down.
The artillery armament of the 68-bis cruisers was not limited to the main caliber - there were three CM-5-1 two-gun installations with semi-automatic 100 mm caliber guns on each side of the ship - six trunks on each side, controlled by the Anchor artillery radar.
Universal artillery shells had a smaller mass and firing range (24 kilometer), but the rate of fire of each gun could reach 15-18 rds / min - it is easy to imagine what could happen to the Kennedy if such a squall of fire fell on him.
History he doesn’t say if the escort cruisers had two or three destroyers - each “56 project” or the old “30-bis” could “congratulate” the enemy with a volley of 130-mm naval guns.
The situation is paradoxical - rusty Soviet cruisers and outdated destroyers could, with one click, deprive the US Navy squadron of its main force, and then engage in battle with escort cruisers and missile destroyers on highly advantageous conditions.
There was no one to be afraid - the Americans in 1969 had neither anti-ship missiles, nor large-caliber guns, nor a torpedo weapons on surface ships.
Universal "five-inch" (127 mm) could not cause enough damage to an armored monster in a short time.
Escort cruiser USS Leahy (DLG / CG-16) 1962 of the year of construction. Was completely deprived of artillery weapons, with the exception of a pair of anti-aircraft guns
The reaction time of the US Navy aviation is incomparable with 68-bis artillery. Airplanes need to take off from a catapult, gain altitude, lie down on a combat course, and only then attack the “target”, which continually spews tons of red-hot steel from itself. It would not have happened that aircraft would die without having managed to rise from the deck of the ship. In addition, it’s not yet a fact that even the most powerful weapons that the American pilots had at that time - free-fall bombs weighing 227 and 454 kg could cause the cruiser to be critically damaged.
A certain threat is only a surprise attack from under water - but, in any case, the response time of the American submarine will be excessively long. Cruisers will die the death of the brave, but by that time all the American "tins" will be slaughtered.
One jump - and you are in ladies!
American version. Two elemental demons
... Where do these Russians climb with their backward Bolshevik technologies? They naively hope that we lack anti-ship missiles, armor and large-caliber artillery.
Ha! We have all this! The cruiser “Little Rock”, the flagship of the Sixth Fleet, follows the wake of the carrier, and was specifically sent from Gaeta to reinforce the American grouping off the coast of Libya.
This rusty junk was launched in the 1944 year, so he had armored belts, armored decks and even one tower of the main caliber - the duel "Little Rock" with the cruiser Ave. 68-bis could have become an enchanting spectacle.
But we are not going to get our hands dirty in artillery combat - too vulgar an occupation in the Era of rocket weapons. We have prepared for the Russian special "Surprise" -
Submit to the launcher two missiles "Talos"!
The USS Little Rock (CLG-4) is an old Cleveland-class cruiser that underwent a deep modernization under the Galveston project. At the end of the 1950s, both aft towers were dismantled from the cruiser - a launcher and a protected cellar were installed on the RIM-46 Talos 8 anti-aircraft missiles in exchange. Also, the bow of the ship was redesigned. Thanks to high lattice masts, massive AN / SPS-43, AN / SPS-30 airborne target radars and thumbs, AN / SPG-49 radar fire control systems acquired their whimsical memorable silhouette - the ship seemed to have disappeared from the screen of the science fiction film 60 -y's
USS Little Rock (CL / CLG / CG-4), Mediterranean, 1974 Year
Initially, the Yankees did not plan any surprises. The Galveston project assumed the transformation of three obsolete cruisers into an air defense platform — ship groups needed reliable air cover. The newest at that time, the maritime SAM "Talos" promised solid opportunities - the possibility of hitting air targets at a distance of 180 km.
The unique characteristics of “Talos” are obtained at an expensive price - the complex turned out to be HUGE. A huge cellar for the preparation of rockets, more like a factory floor, bulky radar, a whole hall with tube computers, numerous auxiliary systems, power equipment, cooling and ventilation systems. But the main thing - the rockets themselves. Monstrous 11-meter "logs" of mass 3,5 tons (with booster accelerator).
But even without an accelerator, the size of the rocket shook the imagination: the mass - 1542 kg! - as a shell of the battleship "Yamato" (of course, taking into account the design, cross-sectional area and mechanical strength of the rocket). There was a special version of the "Talos" in the nuclear version - such a rocket was supposed to "clear" the coast before the landing in the Third World War.
But the main thing - during the operation it turned out that the Talos could be used not only against air targets - like any air defense system, it had a mode of shooting at surface objects! The anti-aircraft missile’s GOS doesn’t matter what signal is reflected - from an airplane’s wing or from an enemy ship’s superstructure, just disconnect the proximity fuze — and RIM-8 Talos turns into a powerful supersonic anti-ship missile with a 136 kg warhead RIM-8H with pointing to a source of radar radiation. Such "tricks" US Navy cruisers will fire at the position of the Vietnamese radar and air defense missile system).
If you do not take into account the anti-radar modification of the RIM-8H, then the dual-use Talos missile was not a full-fledged anti-ship system - the firing range is too small. Even the largest ships with high superstructures could be fired at SAMs at a distance of a maximum of a couple of tens of kilometers - the AN / SPG-49 radar does not know how to “look” over the horizon, and the Talos rocket turns into a useless piece of metal. .
Talos Nearly Destroyed Target Destroyer
Just a couple of tens of kilometers ... But this is more than enough to strike at Soviet ships approaching the US Navy carrier group! There, off the coast of Libya, in the fall of 1969, the Little Rock could easily have been hit by the cruiser 68-bis with the Talos missile.
As shown by computer simulations, the 1,5-ton blank, rushing from the sky at speed 2,5M, punches, like a foil, 50-mm armored formwork of the Kutuzov cruiser and the underlying 15-mm steel lining.
The core warhead is likely to collapse when it hits the armor, but it will be replaced by 300 liters of rocket fuel - a volumetric explosion will occur in the affected compartment, accompanied by the rapid spread of the fuel aerosol cloud and fragments at a speed of 2 km / s! The effect of hitting the Talos is similar to hitting a heavy explosive incendiary bomb in a cruiser.
Meanwhile, “Little Rock” will recharge its PU and in a minute will deliver a new blow. The Talos rocket, in comparison with an artillery projectile, is exceptionally accurate - it will most likely hit the target from the very first shot. In such conditions, the Soviet squadron becomes doomed ...
Epilogue. Few will survive in that battle
In the heated debate about the "living dead" and "ritual sacrifices" in the confrontation of the two largest fleets that have ever plied the oceans, the final point was not put.
Proponents of the Reds claim that the US Navy only had 8 cruisers with the Talos complex — too few to cover all US Navy squadrons across the globe. In addition, they appeared in the 1960-64 period, i.e. on the 10-15 years later, the 68-bis cruisers - in fact, this is a technique from different eras that happened by mistake due to a misunderstanding on the battlefield. By the end of 60, the role of the main strike force of the USSR Navy had already passed to missile cruisers and nuclear submarines.
Supporters of the "blue" reasonably note that another maritime air defense system could be used as a Talos, although with a much smaller effect, for example, the medium and short range Terrier and Tartar complexes - the number of American ships equipped with these air defense systems was calculated many dozens. However, the air defense missile system was not unusual, and the Soviet cruisers and destroyers ...
Large anti-submarine ship project 61
The “Reds” exemplify the fact that the hull of the 68-bis cruiser consisted of 23 autonomous waterproof compartments - even a few hits of the Talos and the severe damage caused to them from cabin rooms, superstructures and parts of the engine room did not guarantee that the cruiser would cease fire (loss of radars not terrible - each tower has its own set of fire control devices). In the history there are examples when Russian sailors fired until the ship was hidden under water.
"Blue" claim that the pursuit of the American group was not easy - American destroyers maneuvered dangerously and constantly cut a course for Soviet ships, trying to push them away from the aircraft carrier. The “Reds” talk about the excellent handling and 32 hub speed of the 68-bis cruiser.
Was it a justified decision to send old artillery cruisers to intercept AUG? The argument can be endless ...
Personal author's point of view is as follows: when preventively (or at least simultaneously) receiving a signal about the beginning of the war, the artillery cruisers of the USSR Navy had a big chance to put a volley across the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and possibly damage / destroy several smaller escort ships.
The rate of fire of the guns is too high, and the carrier carrier’s vulnerability is too high.
And then, the cruiser will die the death of the brave ...
We had no other way then. 60s stood in the courtyard, the USSR Navy had just entered the World Ocean. He was still too weak and primitive compared to the powerful US Navy, which has 10-fold budget and experience of conducting a real naval war in the vast oceans.
And, nevertheless, our fleet held on well! That year, off the coast of Libya, the Soviet sailors were able to competently demonstrate their intentions and thus achieve a convincing bloodless victory.
As for the effectiveness of the use of artillery in modern naval combat, its advantage over rocket weapons becomes apparent only when providing fire support and shelling the coast.