Military Review

Asafov Alexey Nikolaevich. The creator of the submarines "Baby" and "Truth"

Asafov Alexey Nikolaevich. The creator of the submarines "Baby" and "Truth"

This year marks the 130 anniversary of the birth of the designer of the first Soviet submarines, Alexei Nikolaevich Asafov. His name has been forgotten for many years, and therefore it is almost unknown even to many submariners. Meanwhile, he left a significant mark in our military shipbuilding. Asafov, according to contemporaries, including the famous shipbuilder Professor S.A. Bazilevsky was a self-taught inventor. A.N. Asafov did not have a special education in the design of underwater vessels, but this did not prevent him from creating the famous M-type submarines, which faithfully served in the difficult years of the Great Patriotic War.

Born A.N. Asafov 18 March 1886, in Kronstadt, in the family of a qualified shipbuilding worker. Alexey began his career as a student at one of the ship repair enterprises, dreaming of becoming a marine engineer. To this end, he entered the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, which he graduated from at 1911.

After receiving an engineering degree, Asafov began working at the Admiralty Plant, participating in the construction of the battleship Gangut. Here the young engineer met the designer of this ship, the outstanding Russian shipbuilder IG Bubnov, with whom he later repeatedly met, having learned a lot from him. The following year he moved to the Baltic Shipyard, first as a work producer, and later as a head of a submarine bureau. So began his journey in submarine shipbuilding.

At that time, the serial construction of the Bars-type submarines (also designed by Bubnov) was carried out at the Noblessner shipyard in Revel (Tallinn), where Asafov once again moved and where he worked on the construction of submarines for five years since 1913. In the 1918 year, after the well-known Ice Campaign of the Baltic Fleet ships from Revel, Helsingfors and other locations in Kronstadt, Alexey Nikolaevich returned to Petrograd, where he headed the repair of submarines at the Admiralty and Baltic factories. In the conditions of an acute shortage of spare parts, tools, electricity and labor, Asafov was able to organize the repair of a number of submarines ("Killer Whale", "Mackrel", "Minoga", "Perch" and "Panther"), for which Petrosoviet awarded him with personalized watches. However, soon a long break began in Asafov’s shipbuilding activity.

In 1924, Alexei Nikolayevich was appointed head of the Sevzapvoenprom, and a couple of years later - chief engineer of the oldest in Russia Sestroretsk arms factory. Two years later, Asafov was accused of involvement in the case of the "Industrial Party" and convicted. Despite the fact that in recent years he dealt with "land" problems, he retained a reputation as a mature and competent military shipbuilder, trained by Bubnov himself. Probably, this circumstance was the reason for the determination of Asafov, among other repressed shipbuilders, as a team of the Special Technical Bureau, which was subordinate to the OGPU and worked in promising areas of military subjects. Here Asafov soon put forward the tempting idea of ​​creating a squadron submarine to conduct combat operations as part of the surface forces fleet, a preliminary design of which, independently developed by 1930.

There is an opinion that Asafov used the project of the 950-ton submarine, which was not completed in due time by Bubnov, as a prototype. It is likely that it was so, but at the same time, Asafov’s project was distinguished by a number of its own original technical solutions. True, not all the technical innovations incorporated into the project were successful and fully thought out. Nevertheless, the draft design of the ship received a positive assessment of the Chief of the Naval Forces of the Red Army, RA. Muklevich and on his instructions was submitted to the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR. There already, 23 November 1930, a special decree "On the draft submarine, developed under the supervision of the OGPU", the project was approved without serious comments, and "Soyuzverfi", instructed "urgently with the assistance of the OGPU to expand work on the preparation of a common project , preparation of stocks and laying of three submarines of this project at the Baltic Shipbuilding Plant. " It is curious that the meeting of the PBC was admitted and even made a report, still convicted, Asafov.

In Techbureau No. 4, which was entrusted with the development of a common (technical) project for a new boat, its design and a number of tactical-technical elements were subjected to thorough criticism. But with the help of Muklevich, Aleksey Nikolayevich managed to convince the responsible employees of the Council of People's Commissars of quality and prospects of his project. As a result, the 21 of May 1931 at the Baltic Shipyard laid the lead submarine of the IV series, named after the central party newspaper Pravda (P-1). At the end of the same year, two more similar types of submarines were laid - “Star” (P-2) and “Spark” (P-3).

Given that the individual solutions proposed by Asafov, needed to be clarified and experimental verification, the construction of boats of the IV series progressed slowly. And although during the construction it was possible to significantly improve the tactical and technical elements of these submarines, but they could not fully reach their design values. And not only Asafov’s design mistakes prevented this, but also serious inaccuracies in some calculations made in the bureau.

"Due to the impossibility of building the Pravda submarine in exact accordance with the tactical and technical elements established by the RVS from 23.11.30, thanks to a number of errors made by TsKBS-2 in calculating the strength of the submarine hull and its load ..." new, corrected tactical and technical elements (TTE) of the Pravda submarine: displacement 10 t, full surface speed 1933 knots, underwater - 942 knots, dive depth 21 m, cruising range under diesel engines economic speed 9,2 knots - 50 miles, total in arms - two 11-mm and one 6800-mm guns, 100 torpedo tubes with a stock of 45 torpedoes. Compared with the initially adopted, the newly approved TTE of the Pravda submarine was a step backwards, especially at speed, but they were more realistic and suited shipbuilders, which could not be said about submariners.

In the summer of 1936, after testing, all three submarines went into operation and became part of the Baltic Fleet. As was to be expected, they turned out to be unsuitable for operations in the composition of detachments of surface warships, and primarily because of insufficient speed, although they formally continued to be listed as squadrons. In addition, they were inferior to foreign submarines of their subclass in a number of important tactical indicators. However, Muklevich, appointed in 1934, as the head of the Main Industry Directorate of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry, defended a different point of view. In January, 1937 in a report to Stalin, he wrote that the submarine of the Pravda type showed sufficiently high data, including maneuverability and seaworthiness, at the testing tests. However, this was clearly an overestimation, which was not shared not only by the leaders of the Red Army Navy, but also by the employees of the Council of People's Commissars, who recognized "... Pravda submarines as not satisfying the requirements as squadron submarines." More submarines of this project were not built.

Analyzing the reasons for the failure of this progressive idea, Asafov, the famous submariner rear admiral M.A. Rudnitsky, in 1970, wrote in his manuscript that Asafov did not participate in the initial design of submarines, did not thoroughly study the experience of the First World War and the latest achievements in the theory of submarines and, therefore, made a number of design errors. In addition, relying on his own strength, Asafov did not take advantage of the collective experience of submariners, designers and builders of submarines, did not always listen to their opinion, which was another, equally important, cause of miscalculations of a talented designer.

It should be noted that during the Great Patriotic War, the submarine of the IV series was mainly engaged in transporting ammunition, fuel and food from Kronstadt to the blocked Leningrad and besieged Hanko naval base, and also took part in the artillery defense of the city on the Neva. By the end of the war, only the Iskra submarine (P-3) survived, which was then used for training purposes.

However, the name A.N. Asafova linked another page stories domestic submarine shipbuilding. In the 1932 year, when the formation of the Far East Naval Forces began, the government decided to launch and launch mass production of small tonnage submarines, which, when assembled, could be delivered to the Pacific Ocean by rail, without interfering with oncoming traffic. This task was assigned to Asafov, who by this time had already been officially released and appointed Chief Engineer of the Technical Bureau No. 4.

Under his leadership, in a short time, the technical design of a two-torpedo small coastal submarine was developed. She had a displacement of about 160 t, speed of the surface stroke 13 knots, submerged - 7 knots and working depth of the dive 50 m. The prototype was built in the 1909 year IG Bubnov's 120-ton single-hull Minoga boat, the device and features of which Asafov studied in detail back in the 1918 during repair. If possible, he also took into account the unsuccessful experience of designing the submarine “Pravda”, laying down more rigorous and sound engineering solutions in the design of his new boat.

20 March 1932, the technical design of the first Soviet small submarine, named “Baby” of the 6th series, was approved with the condition of making some improvements, and 29 of August of that year laid the main submarine M-2 of this series at the Nikolaev shipbuilding plant. Until the end of the same year, six more boats of the same type were laid there.

It must be said that Asafov appreciated the advantages of electric welding and, one of the first in the domestic submarine shipbuilding, insisted on switching from traditionally riveted to welded hulls of ships. However, the Nikolaev shipbuilders, referring to the unpreparedness of production, started to produce "babies" with riveted hulls. And only thanks to the intervention and support of the commission that visited Nikolaev in 1933, chaired by the head of the Red Army Navy V.M. Orlova, which included P.F. Papkovich, Yu.A. Shimansky and V.P. Vologdin, as well as the persistence of other supporters of the introduction of welding in shipbuilding, the plant nevertheless began to build welded submarines of the VI series.

These small ships were successful and fully combat-ready, although it was very difficult to swim and fight against them, especially in conditions of Pacific storms and cyclones. September 3 1934, reporting to Orlov on the test results of the first 18 submarines of this series, Chairman of the Standing Committee on the Acceptance of Ships A.K. Weckman noted that welding had fully justified itself, and the hulls showed exceptional strength and reliability at depths up to 60 m. Boats for their displacement had good seaworthiness, controllability and turning ability, as well as powerful torpedo armament for their size.

“We loved our little ones,” admiral NI Vinogradov, the former commander of the M-1 submarine first commissioned, recalled in the late eighties. “Regardless, they were considered the best boats. And they left them with regret with them". In total, the 30 "babes" of the 6th series were built, of which 28 became part of the Pacific Fleet, and two (M-51 and M-52) remained on the Black Sea. During the war years they took direct part in the hostilities in both the sea and ocean TVD.

However, having completed the development of projects for these submarines and being involved in the process of their construction and development, A.N. Asafov did not have time to finish the job he had started. In the winter of 1933, returning by boat from a business trip to Germany, he fell seriously ill and 21 February 1933 died at the age of 48 years. He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Leningrad, where many prominent figures of the Russian fleet, famous scientists and engineers rest. On the grave of Alexei Nikolaevich stands a small obelisk, on which a submarine is carved and the inscription: "Asafov Alexey Nikolaevich. 1886 - 1933. Designer of submarines" Malyutka "and" Pravda ".

Dmitriev V. Soviet submarine shipbuilding. M .: Voenizdat, 1990. C.110-126.
Kryuchkov Y. Creator of the first "Baby" (Alexey Nikolaevich Asafov). // newspaper "Evening Nikolaev". 7 December 2004.
Balabin V. Designer "Truth" and "Baby". // Sea collection 1996. No.6. C. 33-35.
Balabin V. The history of submarines in the works of the designer S. A. Bazilevsky. // Questions of the history of science and technology. 2009. No.2. C.28-32.
Otrishko Yu. Underwater cruiser “Pravda”. // Model Builder. 1991. No.9. C.31-38
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  1. qwert
    qwert 14 January 2016 07: 12
    There are so many forgotten names in our history. If we still know aircraft designers, and then those whose names the aircraft are named, then the shipbuilders are generally a solid white spot. Only Bubnov and Popov are at the earliest. Therefore, it was interesting to read. Submarine "Pravda" is interesting in its architecture, especially in the first version, with closed guns. The view is original and some kind of futuristic
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 14 January 2016 08: 50
      Quote: qwert
      How many names forgotten in our history

      Quote: qwert
      on ships in general a solid white spot.

      In some ways I agree with you, in others I do not. In I. Tsvetkva's books "Dreadnoughts of the Baltic", "Destroyer Novik" a whole galaxy of Russian shipbuilders is mentioned. V.P. Kostenko "On Orel in Tsushima" also writes about the shipbuilders of Russia. Moreover, Kostenko himself is a very interesting person. ASZ and Sevmash are his handiwork. He designed these plants. Melnikov. R.M. in the series "Wonderful Ships" also mentions many famous shipbuilders.
  2. semirek
    semirek 14 January 2016 07: 37
    The author has a definite plus for an interesting article. In Russia, there have always been and are talented design engineers.
  3. Amurets
    Amurets 14 January 2016 08: 08
    Thanks to the author for the article! I heard about Asafov for a long time. For boats of the IV series, I will say this: I do not agree with Rudnitsky for the simple reason that the concept of the squadron submarine was not correct. Fortunately, in our submarine fleet there were no tragedies, in contrast to Fleets of England and France. Well, and the "Malyutki" with all their shortcomings, and not always through the fault of the designer. Yes, and the first boats of the Pacific Fleet in the USSR were the boats of the "M" type of Asafov.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 14 January 2016 08: 09
    He died on February 21, 1933 at the age of 48.... And how much more I could .. Thank you ...
  5. qwert
    qwert 14 January 2016 10: 06
    Quote: Amurets
    In some ways I agree with you, in some I do not. In the books of I. Tsvetkva "Dreadnoughts of the Baltic", "Destroyer Novik". Melnikov, R.M. in the series "Remarkable Ships" also mentions many famous shipbuilders.

    I do not argue. Melnikov read a lot of things. But, I mean that in general there are many names that deserve to be widely known. As an example, the names of aircraft designers or as the creator of the T-34 Koshkin. By the way, the creators of tanks Morozov and Astrov also deserve to be known about them by a much wider masses in our country. These are talented, and sometimes brilliant people, which the country really should be proud of. And ask a student, he would rather remember some Biron or General Vlasov than the same Kurchatov.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 14 January 2016 10: 40
      Quote: qwert
      . And ask a student, he would rather remember some Biron or General Vlasov than the same Kurchatov.

      But here I completely agree with you. Especially if the designers are from the people. My ancestors are from the Cossacks, and so my grandmother's brother, until his death, had the once famous Chernolikhovka, a rifle by the Tula master Chernolikhov from Tula, already without rifling. I know where she went, but he was proud of this weapon. Because the rifle by master Chernolikhov, from Tula "was specially created for the Cossacks and lasted in service until the Cossacks adopted the Mosin rifle. I don't even know about this master, but I read a couple of pages about him in the book about the designer Tokarev. And how many of these unknowns, and worse than those whose inventions were appropriated, gave false names. The inventor of rolling and cementation of armor, master Pyatakov. The method is named after Garvey, to whom the tsarist officials sent for revocation, although in Russia already produced such armor. Yes, you are right. In Soviet times, a series of books about outstanding inventors, magazines such as UT were published for schoolchildren. And now the TV shows about criminal ikov, yes stupid shows.
      1. newl
        newl 14 January 2016 14: 51
        Quote: Amurets
        before the adoption of the Cossacks Mosin rifle

        The Mosin rifle was not received by the Cossacks. They were armed with the Russian Cossack rifle of the sample of 1891, and later of the sample of 1891/10.
        The Mosin rifle appeared in the white light only in 1930. When it suddenly turned out that everything in the world was actually invented in Russia.
        Quote: Amurets
        The inventor of rolling and cementing armor is master Pyatakov. The method bears the name of Harvey, to whom documents were sent by tsarist officials, although such armor was already made in Russia.

        Sincerely. It just confirms what I said above. I like to read such Internet Murzilka. From them life becomes more fun.
        Quote: Amurets
        and read a couple of pages about him in a book about designer Tokarev

        And what is this glorious husband famous for? Maybe some samples of quality weapons made?
        1. Amurets
          Amurets 14 January 2016 17: 04
          The Mosin rifle and the Cossack rifle of model 1891 are one and the same weapon. There were 3 variants of this rifle: infantry, dragoon and Cossack. The Cossack rifle was distinguished from other options by the absence of a bayonet and the other location of the slammer. The rest is nonsense.
        2. newl
          newl 14 January 2016 18: 03
          Quote: Amurets
          The Mosin rifle and the Cossack rifle of model 1891 are the same weapon.

          Nope. The Mosin rifle was the name of the Soviet infantry rifle of the 1891/30 model. At the same time, the Russian rifles of the 1891 model and the 1891/10 model also began to be called. So, the year of birth of the "Mosin rifle" is 1930. So the pre-revolutionary Cossacks were not armed with Mosin rifles. Even if we ignore the "Cossack" and "infantry". Because such in their time simply did not exist.
          Quote: Amurets
          The rest is your nonsense and not a hunt to answer.

          And what, there is something to answer?
          By the way, the surname of your "genius inventor of cemented armor" is not Pyatakov, but Pyatov. And then there is the usual Soviet story about the white bull. I would even say standard.
      2. The comment was deleted.
  6. holgert
    holgert 14 January 2016 13: 30
    And the effectiveness of these Little Babies was ???? As far as I know, the destroyed tonnage of the enemy is negligible !!!! The fate of the other Little ones is also tragic ---- in Germany they were all bombed and did not destroy any targets, in England- -also 0%, America didn’t make them combat at all. The exception is Japan, the cat. when attacking Pearl Harbor and defending her atolls she used them. Everything was more tragic for us - in April 1942 they broke up, in Sevastopol - 3 bombs + 1 were blown up when retreating. This does not plead the feat of our heroes --- Eternal to them Memory!!!
    1. newl
      newl 15 January 2016 00: 28
      Quote: holgert
      As far as I know - they destroyed the enemy tonnage is negligible !!!!

      Babies of the Asafov project (series VI) were built 30 pieces. Babies of the project "series VI-bis" (they differed slightly from series VI, so they can also be considered Asafov's), 20 more. Of all this company, only M-55 (VI-bis) fired at the Germans. And even 2 times 2 torpedoes (in different campaigns, of course). But I never got it.
  7. newl
    newl 14 January 2016 14: 35
    however, this did not prevent him from creating the famous submarines of type “M” (“baby”)

    They were famous only for their near-zero efficiency. It was only necessary to think of it, to make a single-shaft and two-torpedo boat. No, probably, such boats were also needed. A couple in the fleet. For special operations. But that was not so. These were quite large-scale products.
    A.N. Asafov did not have the proper special education in the design of submarines

    So in the USSR before the war, everything was like that. As a result, the tanks traveled with difficulty and not for long (but all were completely legendary). Planes flew reluctantly and slowly (but all were completely legendary). Artillery ... well, it’s generally not at any gate (but the whole thing was completely legendary). Small arms ... well, about the same (but everything was completely legendary). Not a country, but a continuous field of legendary miracles.
  8. qwert
    qwert 14 January 2016 15: 38
    Quote: newl
    So in the USSR before the war, everything was like that. As a result, the tanks traveled with difficulty and not for long (but all were completely legendary). Planes flew reluctantly and slowly (but all were completely legendary). Artillery ... well, it’s generally not at any gate (but the whole thing was completely legendary). Small arms ... well, about the same (but everything was completely legendary). Not a country, but a continuous field of legendary miracles.

    And that’s true, the slow BT-5 tanks, the reluctant T-28, the ridiculous TB-3 and I-16 aircraft, the amusing PD and ShKAS machine guns, and generally keep silent about the F-22 guns. Everything is so funny-funny. But for some reason the Germans in Spain and the Japanese at Halkingol and Hassan were not laughing. Moreover, even during the war, the Germans didn’t laugh at our guns, but rather how they could be used because their own German weaknesses were against the T-34 and KV.

    Although, newl, I certainly understand that it was an attempt to thickly and roughly jabber cleanly for fun. wassat
    1. newl
      newl 14 January 2016 17: 45
      Quote: qwert
      funny aircraft TB-3 and I-16

      Guessed it. Especially I-16.
      Quote: qwert
      funny machine guns PD and ShKAS

      That's right. A DP on TTX and was not at all a machine gun. He was just called that. For solidity.
      Quote: qwert
      I’m silent about guns like F-22

      Better keep quiet. And the listing of the "features" of this craft from Cogs and Shpuntikov will take more than one page of text.
      Quote: qwert
      Everything is so funny-funny.

      To the very point.
      Quote: qwert
      That's just the Germans in Spain

      Do Germans live in Spain? So-so and write down, just in case.
      By the way, to remind you how all that catavasia in Spain ended?
      Quote: qwert
      Moreover, even during the war, the Germans didn’t laugh at our guns, but rather how they could be used because their own German weaknesses were against the T-34 and KV.

      Yeah. They stood right in line behind them. Especially considering the fact that diesel fuel was not allocated to the Wehrmacht. Generally.
      By the way, the Germans very carefully used all the trophies. Therefore, they generally used everything that at least somehow could be useful to them.
      Quote: qwert
      then it was an attempt to thickly and roughly potterlit purely for fun.

      Always guessed, but now, no. The second attempt ...
  9. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 14 January 2016 22: 43
    The best Soviet boats were boats of series C.
    They were built for 20 years, the project was created with the help of German specialists.
  10. mine
    mine 4 February 2016 19: 28
    Mr. affluor! ("Ynzhyner" ...)
    Tell me, do you have internet in Norilsk for "coupons"?!?!?
    or YOU in Google banned

    The main designer of the warring babies (i.e., XII) of the series was Serdyuk!
    and the VI series took part in this close to the word "no way"
  11. Arct
    Arct 13 December 2016 02: 13
    Well, yes, Kurchevsky from the submarine fleet. It is very bad when self-taught engineers enjoy the full confidence of those in power and begin to "create" without looking back at technical realities. As a result, we get ugi, which our soldiers are forced to use, for lack of better. The projects failed and it's good that nothing else was "created". Probably cruel, but I'm not tolerant.
    And in aviation we also had enough such "creators". I do not like Yakovlev, but I am grateful to him for the fact that he strangled 99% of such creators in the bud. The only pity is that, together with the creators, he hooked on several true creators. But other types of troops were not so lucky ...