In paradise - the mechanics, in hell - the police. When all nations want to do better, the Germans do it right. They have an exceptional tendency toward idealism and to a barbaric distortion of the achieved idealism.
It is difficult to write about the victory of the fascist weaponsbut, fortunately, this will not have to be done. Heavy cruisers of the type “Admiral Hipper” were doubtful in everything: they were extremely complex, expensive, overloaded with high-tech equipment, and they were very poorly protected compared to any of their rivals.
An abnormally large crew for ships of this class (1400-1600 sailors + additional specialists who were taken on board during the cruise).
Capricious steam turbine GEM.
Modest weapons by the standards of its class - high-quality, versatile, but without any frills.
It is striking that, unlike other countries, the Third Reich was spared from the tough “Washington” restrictions that set the standard displacement of cruisers at 10 thousand tons. However, the result was dubious. Even in the absence of strict restrictions (standard in / and German cruisers - over 14 thousand tons) and the presence of highly developed industry, the Germans built very mediocre ships, which became a formidable prophecy for future generations.
The ideas embodied in the “Hippers”: “radio electronics are above all”, “universality and multitasking”, “advanced means of detecting and controlling fire — to the detriment of traditional security and firepower” correspond, in one way or another, to the trends in modern shipbuilding.
However, even in this form, using primitive technologies 70-year-old, "Hippers" favorably differed from the modern "tins" by the presence of body armor and their highest survivability.
There were five of them: "Admiral Hipper", "Blucher", "Prince Eugen", "Seidlitz" (converted into an aircraft carrier, unfinished) and "Lyuttsov" (sold by the USSR with 70% ready, unfinished).
The most famous "Prince Eugen" - the only German heavy ship to survive to the end of the war. Bombing, bombing, torpedo attack, heavy navigational accident, Soviet and British raids aviation - the cruiser stubbornly "licked" the wounds and continued his battle path.
And then the second sun flashed in the sky, for a second lit up the Bikini Atoll with an unbearable light. When everything was quiet, the bulk of the Prince Eugen cruiser was still swaying on the surface of the lagoon. The second underwater explosion, Baker, did not help either - the German ship turned out to be stronger than nuclear fire!
The heavy cruiser “Prince Eugen” was a real legend - a monumental silhouette, a crew of the best Kriegsmarine volunteers and an active combat career throughout the war.
The cruiser immortalized his name by taking part in the battle in the Danish Strait (the sinking of the battlecruiser “Hood”). Unlike the Bismarck, the “Prince” managed to escape from retaliation from the British fleet and safely return to base. Then there was a daring transition from Brest to Germany, a short Norwegian cruise and a dull service in the cramped Baltic. At the end of the war, "Prince Eugen" shot 5 thousand shells at the advancing Soviet troops and fled to Copenhagen. After the war, went to the US reparations.
In the wake of the "Prince" - the terrible "Bismarck"
During his combat career, the "Prince" did not sink a single enemy ship, but he scored many moral victories over the enemy - which is his breakthrough through the English Channel, under the nose of all British aircraft and His Majesty's fleet.
Whether the decision to build this monster was right, or whether 109 million Reichsmarks could be spent more usefully, this rhetoric has the wrong message. Germany was doomed anyway.
The cruiser was built, fought without fear and reproach, distracted the considerable forces of the enemy. He shot down a dozen aircraft, damaged a British destroyer, received thanks from the land forces of the Waffen-SS.
Of course, during the construction of the cruiser, no one thought that it would be used as the “biggest gunboat of the Baltic”. "Prince Eugen" was created, as part of the fleet of Great Germany, which, in the near future, had to fight with Britain and the United States for control of the oceans!
But everything happened differently - Hitler gnawed a vial of poison, and the only surviving cruiser Kriegsmarine was sent to the test zone of nuclear weapons.
The Prince Eugen compares favorably with their peers with a perfect set of detection tools (radar, infrared night vision systems, effective sonar systems - able to distinguish not only enemy submarines, but even individual torpedoes and mines in the water column!).
Command-range posts, stabilized in three planes, analog computers, PWAO - all posts were duplicated, dispersed and protected by armor. Radio electronics were continuously improved - in the area of fire detection and control equipment, the “Prince” was unrivaled among other “Europeans”!
The presence of a large number of bulky and complex electronic equipment explains the need for numerous crews and such a high cost of the ship itself (the "Prince" in comparable prices was 2,5 times more expensive than the British TKr "County" in comparable prices).
Steam turbine power plant with power 133 600 HP Provided speed around 32,5 nodes. With a full supply of oil (4250 tons) cruiser cruising range was 5500 miles at economic speed 18 knots.
The armament of the “Prince” did not look so impressive against the background of American and, especially, Japanese cruisers:
- 8 guns of the main caliber (203 mm) in four towers - a mandatory minimum for the TKr of those years. For comparison: the standard for American TKr was nine 203 mm guns; for Japanese - 10;
- 12 universal guns (mm 105) in six paired installations - solid. In terms of the number of heavy anti-aircraft guns, only “Italians” and “Americans” could compete with the “Prince”;
- small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery: automatic guns caliber 20 and 37 mm, incl. five quad Flak 38 installations. Since the fall of 1944, the anti-aircraft armament has been reinforced with 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns. The general verdict is positive, the air defense of the cruiser was at a decent level.
- 4 three-pipe torpedo tubes, ammunition 12 torpedoes. In this parameter, the “Prince” was surpassed only by the Japanese with their “long lance”. For comparison - the British heavy cruisers carried half the torpedoes, the US did not have any torpedo weapons at all.
- air group: pneumatic catapult, two underdeck hangars, up to five reconnaissance seaplanes “Arado-196”.
In general, the Prince’s armament was typical of that era, but it can cause shock to the shipbuilders of the 21st century, accustomed to the compactness of modern launchers and the placing on the deck of weapons (which, of course, contributes to improving the stability of the ship).
Unlike modern UVP cells, the "Prince Eugen" was forced to carry powerful rotating towers, ranging in weight from 249 ("A" and "D") to 262 tons ("B" and "C"). And this is without barbets, the mechanization of the cellars and the ammunition supply system! Not less troubles were delivered by installations of universal artillery - each of them had a mass of 27 tons.
The old German cruiser is a silent reproach to modern shipbuilders building high-tech “shells” that die from unexploded rockets.
In this sense, the Prince had a complete order - problems with its security (compared to peers) fade against the background of the current situation, when one close surface blast is enough for a billion-dollar super ship to fail completely.
The Germans were different - they managed to cover the armor every inch of a warship!
In short, the Prince’s reservation scheme looked like this:
From 26 to 164, the main armored belt was 80 mm thick and from 2,75 to 3,75 meters high, with an inclination of 12,5 ° to the outside; the belt was overlapped at the ends of the 80 mm by armored traverse, perpendicularly located to the center plane of the ship.
At this, the booking of the hull did not end - a thinner belt with a thickness of 70 mm, equal in height to the main unit, went into the stern. On the sixth frame, it was closed with an 70 mm traverse bulkhead (in the German navy, the numbering of the frames was conducted from the stern). The nose section was also covered by a belt 40 mm thick (on the last three meters from the stem - 20 mm), while it had a greater height than the main b / c.
The horizontal defense system consisted of two armor decks:
- upper armored hull, 25 mm thick (above boiler rooms) and thinned to 12 mm in the bow and aft parts of the ship;
- the main armored hull, which also stretched along the entire length of the cruiser. Its thickness was 30 mm, only in the area of the feed towers it locally increased to 40 mm, and in the nose part it decreased to 20 mm. The deck passed approximately 1 m below the upper edge of the armored belt, and its bevels were connected to its lower edge.
Of course, this is not all - the cruiser had a strong local booking. Armor was covered most of the combat positions and premises in the superstructure:
- conning tower - walls 150 mm, roof 50 mm;
- navigation bridge - 20 mm splinter armor;
- communication pipe with cables - 60 mm;
- Admiral Bridge, the main command and distance measuring post and all the premises below it - 20 mm;
- chimneys above the armor deck - 20 mm.
Finally, the barbets of the main-caliber towers (80 mm) and the protection of the towers themselves are from 160 mm (frontal plate) to 70 mm (side walls).
How correct was the decision of the German designers to make a full ship reservation?
The already small load reserve allocated for the armor installation was aggravated by its “spreading” throughout the cruiser’s entire structure - what was the meaning of the nasal “armor belt” just 20 mm thick? Why did you need to protect the chain box and room windshield?
Here we should not forget that the Germans designed their ships for the specific conditions of the Second World War: naval artillery duels, in which speed was of paramount importance. Numerous fragmentation holes could provoke the flooding of the nasal compartments - thus, leading to the "burying" of the nose in the water and reducing the speed of the cruiser, with all the ensuing consequences.
The result of hitting a torpedo with a submarine "Trident"
In general, by the “security” parameter, the German cruisers looked like full outsiders compared to other heavy cruisers of that era - the Italian Zara undoubtedly led, with armor belts 100… 150 mm thick and 85 mm total horizontal protection!
However, the German was not easy! Even such a primitive horizontal defense (25 + 30 mm) able to provide decent resistance to enemy air attack weapons.
For the first time, "Prince" met with the destructive power of bombs a month before his official entry into service. 2 July 1940 g. He came under the attack of British aviation and received a fugsku 227 kg in the area of the LB engine room.
The bomb, as it should be, broke through the upper armored deck and exploded in the cockpit. The consequences of being are as follows: a hole in the deck with a diameter of 30 cm, a dent 4x8 meters, a galley, a chimney, electrical cables and bulkheads were damaged. On the upper deck, the motor boat was dropped and crashed, the catapult was damaged, the boat crane was damaged, one of the 105 mm artillery installations was scratched. Some fire control devices have failed (from the direct impact of the explosion products or the strong shaking of the hull - no data are available on this score).
However, the nature of the damage indicates that the bomb could not penetrate the main armored deck: the engine rooms remained intact. It was possible to avoid damage below the waterline. The artillery functional of the main and universal caliber has been preserved. Armor protected the ship and its crew from serious consequences.
If this episode had occurred on the high seas, the heavy cruiser would have kept the course, the power supply and most of its combat capability — which would allow it to continue with the combat mission (or return to the base on its own).
The next hit of the bomb in the "Prince Eugen" resulted in a whole detective history with an unexpected outcome. The plot is simple - the description of the damage in official Russian-language sources is at odds with common sense.
In the 1942 year, during its imprisonment in Brest, the cruiser once again underwent a raid of British bombers. A series of six bombs "covered" the dock in which stood the "Prince Eugen", at the same time, one of them - a semi-armored 500-pound - hit the ship directly. The blow fell at the very edge of the deck, at a distance 0,2 m from the left side. The bomb broke through the thin upper deck and rushed down with a terrible roar, tearing off the counter bulkheads. Sliding along the bead, she reached the 30 mm bevel of the main armor, and, breaking through the next layer of armor, exploded in the lower rooms.
The explosion destroyed or partially damaged some of the premises, the second bottom and the outer skin of the bottom. Two compartments were flooded, in one of which the power station No. XXUMX was located. Part of the aggregates suffered from fragmental damage. Mechanical installation had no damage. As a result of the failure of the artillery post, the artillery of the Civil Code was partially damaged. Were 5-8 m distance from the center of the explosion 203 mm charges and 105 mm cartridges not hurt. A fire broke out in the explosion zone, which was soon extinguished by the personnel. The loss in the crew amounted to over 80 people.
- THEM. Korotkin "Combat Damage of Surface Ships" (L.1960 g)
In general, terrible - only one 227 kg bomb caused a fire, flooding, created a threat of detonation of the ammunition and led to the death of a large number of sailors. But was it really?
The first question is, how did you avoid detonation b / c - when the epicenter of the explosion was only 5-8 meters from the cellar? It is terrible to imagine what the 50 ... 100 explosion of a powerful blaster in a closed room would look like! The shock wave and thousands of red-hot fragments were to demolish and riddle all bulkheads within a radius of several tens of meters (the thickness of the bulkheads under the main deck is not more than 6-8 mm).
And if the danger of detonation of shells from a close explosion looks unconvincing (they are almost impossible to activate without a fuse), then the ignition of powder charges is a prerequisite in the above situation.
If we assume that the bomb pierced the armor and did not explode - then what caused the death of the 80 man?
Also, there is a great doubt about the presence of such a large number of people in the main artillery post and the premises of the ship’s generators - while standing at the dock, when electricity is supplied from the shore.
And finally, the mention of the flooding of two compartments - which could not be the principle: it is authentically known that the "Prince" was at the dock at that moment.
It seems that in the conditions of a shortage of primary sources, the author of the book incorrectly interpreted (or falsified) the facts of the military damage of the Prince Eugen cruiser.
According to the Russian researcher Oleg Teslenko, everything happened much simpler: the bomb could not penetrate the main armored deck and exploded in the cockpit of the personnel. This explains the large losses among the crew and automatically removes the question of the "miraculous salvation" of the powder cellar.
Thin 30 mm Bronepaluba perfectly fulfilled its mission, allowing to avoid much more serious consequences.
As for the serious damage to the interior and the death of a large number of seamen, this is the fault of the German engineers who designed the ship with such weak protection.
The heavy cruiser "Prince Eugen" is a good example of a warship designed both with regard to the traditional attributes of ships of the past (firepower, high speed, security), and taking into account a number of current trends (multifunctionality, information support, sophisticated means of detection and OMS).
The German experience was not the most successful, but it proved the feasibility of such projects in practice. Each of the elements of the heavy cruiser was useful in real combat conditions. The only problem was that the Germans wanted too much from the ship, which was created on the basis of 30's technologies.
It is easy to imagine what heights can be achieved today, after 80 years after the laying of the cruiser "Prince Eugen"!
So it should be the Nazis! Clash of the TKr "Prince Eugen" with the light cruiser "Leipzig"
... by this time the steel hull had become so radioactive that its deactivation for several months seemed impossible. 21 December, the remaining pumps no longer cope with the incoming water, the hull tilted, and the windows were below the surface of the sea. The Americans tried to save the ship by throwing it ashore, but the next day the last of the German heavy cruisers overturned and sank on the reefs of Kwajalein Island