The armored battle battery was a long-term fortification, armed with turret artillery. Such batteries were used from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, acting as an element of coastal defense or fortress fortifications. In the Soviet Union, armored batteries were part of the defense system of the Sevastopol fortified area and the coastal defense system of Vladivostok.
After the end of World War II, this battery was restored, in contrast to the 35 battery, which was abandoned for many years and was turned into a museum only in the XXI century. The armament of the 30 battery after the war was strengthened, new life support and fire control systems were installed on it. To rearm this battery in the USSR, they used two 305-mm three-gun turrets of the battleship Frunze (the former battleship Poltava). Two other towers from this battleship back in the 1930s were installed on Russky Island near Vladivostok on a Voroshilov battery. Currently, the 30-I armored battery is preserved, but can be alerted during 72 hours.
30 coastal battery these days
Battery construction history
Back in 1905, immediately after the end of the war with Japan, the Russian government decided to strengthen the defense of its naval base in Sevastopol. On the outskirts of the city it was planned to build two large-caliber shore batteries. In 1913, the construction of a coastal defense battery began on the Alkadar Upland (in the area of today's village Lyubimovka). The design of the armored battery was developed by the military engineer General N. A. Buinitsky, who took into account the recommendations of the famous Russian fortifier (as well as the famous composer) General Caesar Antonovich Cui. It is worth noting that in his special work, Cui studied the features of the defense of Sevastopol in 1854-1855 and suggested the most advantageous position for battery equipment. It was without any exaggeration a brilliant project, which was proved during the Great Patriotic War. The domination of the battery over the surrounding terrain provided two-gun 305-mm turret installations, turning 360 degrees, circular fire.
More than 100 years ago, the coastal battery was already planned to be completely electrified. All operations to hover and load the guns were to provide 17 electric motors. Only gun turrets with 200-300 mm armor were placed on the surface. The rest of the premises were placed in a reinforced concrete array of length 130 and width of 50 meters. Inside this unit were power station, residential and office space, ammunition cellars. There was a railroad rail with hand trolleys in which the ammunition was delivered to the charger. With the command post, the battery was planned to be combined using an underground corridor of 600 meters.
Construction work on the battery went quickly enough, but in 1915, the towers, tools and mechanisms that were designed to equip the Sevastopol battery were sent to Petrograd, where a new coastal battery was being built in the Peter the Great Sea Fortress. In 1918, at the height of the Civil War, construction at the facility was completely stopped, by which time the battery was already ready at 70%. Only the 1928 year returned to the construction of the coastal armored battery. For this, an 6,5-km railway line was laid from the station of Mekenzievy Gory to the construction site. The massive parts of the battery were unloaded from the railway platforms and mounted into place with a special crane.
Tower MB-2-12 under construction
In 1934, the internal work was completed and the gun turrets were put in place. A test shooting was made from the guns, and a new fire control system was also tested. In the 1936 year, the main command post of the battery was fully completed, and a system of fire adjustment posts was also prepared. They were located on Cape Lukull, in the mouths of the Alma, Kachi rivers, as well as on the headlands of Fiolent and Khersones and above the western shore of the Balaklava Bay. Such an extensive network of observation posts was necessary due to the long range of the battery - the maximum range of the 305-mm projectile of the 1911 model of the year was 27980 meters. Minor improvements on the 30-th battery were carried out until the 1940 year.
Coastal Battery Device
Coastal armored battery №30 consisted of the following objects:
- monolithic reinforced concrete block on two towers, in which there were almost all the logging, utility and storage facilities, premises for communication, corridors, etc .;
- two towers MB-2-12 (in the amount of 4х305-mm guns);
- command-range station (KDP) with a conning tower, a central post, an armored range tower with an 10-meter rangefinder from the Ceys company and a radio box;
- electric transformer substation unit.
The main armament of the 30 battery was two MB-2-12 two-gun turrets, which were produced by the Leningrad Metallurgical Plant. The towers were located 305-mm guns with a barrel length 52 caliber. The maximum firing range was 27 980 meters. The maximum angle of elevation of the guns is 35 degrees. Maximum rate of fire - 2,1 shot per minute. Four such guns of the 30 armored battle coastal battery (from the north) and its twin - the 35 battery (from the south) were to securely cover the Black Sea Fleet base from shelling from the sea with enemy battleships of large-caliber artillery. The weight of 305-mm shells ranged from 314 to 470 kg, the weight of the powder case - 71 kg.
Tower MB-2-12 in a cut
When making a full shot, two cards were used, with a half-shot - one cap. Kartuzy were placed in special metal cases and lay in honeycomb racks. In the cellars shells were stored in piles. Unlike the 35 battery, in which the charges and projectiles were pushed out of the cellars through special pipes, on the 30 battery they rolled out along a special roller conveyor (roller table). In the reloading compartments in which the shells and charges were being prepared for loading, a rotating electric drive platform was mounted
The BM-2-12 towers possessed the following parameters: diameter - 10,8 m; height - 2,25 m; gun barrel length - 16 m; gun barrel weight - 50 t; weight of the entire tower (without guns) - 300 t; total weight - 1000 t; thickness of the front and side plates, as well as the rear plate and the door - 305 mm, roof thickness - 203 mm. 400 shells (200 per barrel) and 1200 half-charges were stored in the cellar of the turret. To replace the gun barrels and repair the towers on the battery, a special 75-ton rail crane was provided. For him, even a special shelter was erected to disguise it and protect it from possible shelling from the sea.
A single-storey 30 coastal battery unit with a total length of about 130 meters and a width of 50 meters had two entrances with armored doors and vestibule gateways in the rear part. To communicate with each other 72, the premises of the gun block had a longitudinal corridor approximately 100 meters long and 3 meters wide. This block housed the wells of the gun installations, the charging and slug cellars, the local central post with a backup group of fire control instruments, the boiler room, the power station, pumping and compressor stations, filtering equipment, service rooms and living quarters for the battery personnel. Under the floor of the premises were placed tanks for water, oil and fuel, there were engineering communications. All casemates of the gun block had a vaulted coating made of monolithic reinforced concrete with thickness from 3 to 4 meters with a hard anti-layer made of steel channels No. 30, as well as an insulating layer of asphalt concrete. The total area of the various rooms in the single-storey gun block exceeded 3 thousands of square meters.
The layout of the gun unit
Especially for the storage of water reserves under the floor of the gun block were organized concrete tanks, containing 500 cubic meters of water. To maintain the required humidity and temperature conditions in the premises, a vapor-air heating system was installed (two underground boilers produced steam). The power station of the gun unit received an air cooling unit.
The underground battery command post was a concrete tunnel with a length of 53 and a width of 5,5 meters. It was located on a hill north-east of the gun block. It contained the central coastal battery post, a filtering unit, a boiler room, a power station, a fuel tank and a barracks. In the direction of the gearbox, located at a depth of 37 meters, from the artillery block led concreted deep bedding with a length of 650 meters. A branch was taken to the side of the waste, which was used for air intake and removal of drains from the casemates (drains were discharged through pipes that were laid directly under the floor). In the place of branching of the drain and the wort, another reserve underground passage with a small room, the barracks, was opened.
From the underground part of the checkpoint to the surface, to the ground part led a mine, equipped with an elevator. The ground part of the KP was a reinforced concrete block of size 15x16 meters, which was mounted armored wheelhouse. The thickness of the vertical armor was 406-mm, horizontal armor - 305-mm. Inside this unit there was a personnel room with four viewing slots and an optical sight, as well as a radio station.
305-mm coastal battery shells
To protect the 30 coastal battery from the air, it was armed with an 4 anti-aircraft machine gun. The 2 casemate with winches, which were designed to lift barrage balloons, were attached to the rear of the gun block. The 6 reinforced concrete five-stoned double-deck machine gun pillboxes with wall thickness up to half a meter covered the battery from the land. These bunkers were armed with 7,62-mm machine guns "Maxim". Directly around the battery was a system of wire obstacles and trenches. The road, which approached the positions of the battery, had a special stone retaining wall, which also served as a small parapet for its defenders.
Powder semi-charge and bannik
Defense of Sevastopol
As of June 22, 1941, both the 30th and 35th armored coastal batteries were part of the 1st separate coastal artillery battalion division of the Main base of the Black Sea Fleet, along with an open 203-mm battery number 10 and 102-mm battery number 54 . Directly the 30th battery was commanded by Georgy Aleksandrovich Alexander, a hereditary military man who came from a family of Russified German immigrants. Both batteries (both the 30th and 35th) were built as coastal, but fate had a different role for them. Instead of ships, they fought the advancing infantry and armored vehicles of the enemy, protecting the fleet base from land. They became the main artillery caliber of the defenders of the city. It should be emphasized that the 35th coastal battery was located at a distance from the area of the German offensive and with its fire only reached the Mekenzievy Gory station. For this reason, it was the “thirty” that were destined to play the most striking role in the defense of the city.
11-I German army launched its attack on Sevastopol 30 October 1941 of the year. The artillerymen of the 54 coastal battery, which was located 40 kilometers from Sevastopol near the village of Nikolaevka, were the first to enter the battle. 30-I battery opened fire on the enemy motorcycle infantry 1 November 1941 of the year. She conducted her first combat shooting in parts of the Ziegler mobile group, which concentrated in the area of Alma Station (today Pochtoe). The significance of the “thirty” is indicated by the fact that one of the main blows of their already December offensive on the city the Germans inflicted in the area of the Mekenzievy mountains and the Belbek river precisely with the goal of completely destroying the 30 armored turreted battery.
So much so that on the morning of December 28, 12 German tanks with the support of infantry units, they were able to break through almost to the ground part of the battery pack. The tanks lined up and opened fire on the CP. It was on that day for the first time in history that a case of firing a large-caliber coastal battery with direct fire on advancing armored vehicles was noted. The sight of the tanks, which literally disappeared from direct hits of 305 mm shells, shocked the Germans so much that they panicked back and no longer tried to send tanks in a head-on attack on the battery. The German command gave the 30th battery its designation - Fort "Maxim Gorky I" (35th battery - "Maxim Gorky II). At the same time, Erich Manstein, who commanded the 11th German army, justified the fighting qualities of the 30th battery before Hitler justified his failures in the assault on Sevastopol.
For two months of active battles "thirty" fired 1238 shells on the Germans. When using a full charge of gun barrels should have been enough for 300 shots, after which they needed to be changed. For this reason, the battery command was firing half charges. However, by the beginning of 1942, the gun barrels had completely worn out. In this regard, spare 50-ton barrels were removed from the secret repository in Sevastopol. On the night of January they were taken to the battery and carefully masked. According to the instructions in peacetime, gun barrels with an 75-ton crane had to be changed in 60 days. However, the battery personnel together with the specialists of the Artillery Repair Plant of the Black Sea Fleet No. XXUMX and the Leningrad Bolshevik Plant could replace the barrels for 1127 days almost manually with a small crane and jacks. And this despite the fact that the front line at that time already passed in 16 kilometers from the battery positions.
According to the document "Brief results of combat shooting of coastal batteries of the BG GB ChF for 7 months of defense of Sevastopol 30.10.1941 - 31.05.1942", which was compiled by the Combat Training Department of the Black Sea Fleet Headquarters. As a result of the 30 coastal battery fire, 17 tanks, 1 locomotive, 2 car, approximately 300 different vehicles with troops and cargo were destroyed and damaged, 8 artillery and mortar batteries were destroyed, 15 detached cannons, 7 fire points, up to NN, 3, NN XNN X, NN XNUMX, NNXX XNUMX, NNXX XNUMX tanks soldiers and officers of the enemy. It was also noted that the battery fire had a huge moral effect on the enemy.
Taking into account the failures in the assault on the city in 1941, the German command planned a new attack on Sevastopol, which was called “Sturfang” (Fishing sturgeon). Understanding the importance of the “thirty” in the system of defense of the base of the fleet, the Germans transferred here a huge amount of heavy artillery. In this case, it was not limited to 240-mm and 280-mm heavy howitzers and 305-mm mortars. The Germans transferred two special 600-mm self-propelled mortars "Karl" and 810-mm supergun "Dora" under Sevastopol. Concrete shells of the mortar "Karl" weighed more than two tons, and the weight of the concrete-shells "Dora" exceeded seven tons.
5 June 1942 of the year in 5: In the morning, the first concrete shell from the Dora cannon was fired at the northern part of the city of Sevastopol. The following 35 shells were fired at coastal battery No. 8. Columns of smoke from explosions rose to a height of more than 30 meters, but there was not a single hit in the towers, the accuracy of shooting a super cannon from a distance of almost 160 kilometers was very low. Not “Dora”, but exactly two mortars “Karl” turned out to be the most dangerous opponent for the 30 armored battery.
From June 5 to June 14, 1942, the Karl mortars fired at thirty each of a total of 172 concrete-piercing shells and another 25 high-explosive 600-millimeter shells, severely damaging battery reinforcements. The Germans managed to achieve direct hits in both battery towers. Already on June 6, the armor was broken in the second gun turret and the gun was damaged. Also June 6th German aviation bombed the battery position with 1000-kg bombs. The damage in the second tower was repaired on the night of June 7, but now the tower could fire only with one gun. However, already on June 7, a 600-mm shell hit the first battery tower. The second hit occurred in the concrete array of the battery, a powerful projectile pierced a three-meter layer of reinforced concrete, disabling the separation of chemical filters.
By 10 June 1942, the battery could fire only with two guns (one in each tower). At the same time, the "Thirty" was under constant artillery shelling and bombing of the enemy. On the Germans' approach, they say dry statistics figures, only from 6 to 17 in June, the enemy fired on the battery around 750 shells of medium, large and extra large caliber. German aviation also bombed the position of the battery with bitterness, but was not successful. At the same time, by June 12 from the battalion of marines, which covered the battery, there were fewer companies left in the ranks. By June 16, the Germans managed to cut off all the Thirty’s external telephone communications and knock down all the installed radio antennas - the coastal battery communication with the city’s defense command was interrupted. At this point, the battery remained until the 250 man, including the gunners, the marines, and the soldiers of the 95 th rifle division.
Positions of a destroyed 30 battery aerial view
By 17 June, the battery was finally blocked by enemy forces, at that time all the existing machine-gun bunkers were already destroyed. Defensive positions turned into a solid pile of rubble. Understanding the importance of the 30 coastal battery in the defense of the city, the Germans did not stop their attacks on its positions by infantry and tank forces. By 17 June on the battery ran out and shells. During the reflection of one of the attacks, the battery workers fought off the training metal blanks. The hit of one of these discs to a German tank that was trying to bombard battery positions from the estate area of the Sophia Perovskaya State Farm Plant, tore off the tower. Despite the fact that the Germans surrounded the battery from all sides, its advocates did not give up. When German infantrymen and sappers penetrated close to the gun turrets, the defenders opened fire on them with single shots, using only powder charges - a stream of powder gases with temperatures of the order of 3000 ° C literally erased the enemy’s infantry from the earth.
But the forces were too unequal. The Germans broke into the position of the battery. Enemy sappers used flame throwers, blasting charges and poured gasoline into the fortifications. Alexander decided to blow up turrets, powerplant and all diesel engines, to destroy the latest firing equipment, which was done by 21 June. By that moment, water and food had come to an end on the battery, wounded defenders were dying from the smoke being forced into the rooms. Trying to break the resistance of the Soviet soldiers, German sappers fired several powerful explosions inside the already destroyed towers. After that, a fire broke out in the gun block. The last decision of the battery command was the decision to break through, but not towards the city, but into the mountains to the partisans. June 25 battery commander, Major G. A. Alexander with a few sailors broke out of the concrete block, using the drain. However, the next day the group was found in the area of the village of Duvankoy (now Verkhnaya Garden) and captured. Then, on June 26, a strike group of Germans stormed inside the gun block, where 40 captured prisoners, many of whom were wounded and exhausted. By that time, most of the garrison had already died, suffocating in smoke or from explosions.
Alexander the Germans were sent to a prison located in Simferopol, where they were then shot. Perhaps for refusing to disclose in detail the information on the 30-th coastal battery. The banner of the battery also did not get the enemy. Most likely, it was destroyed by the defenders of the battery, however, there is a legend that the banner had been bricked into one of the walls of the underground complex. But, on the other hand, the lack of a banner, perhaps, was the reason why the battery commander Alexander was not posthumously presented to the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union.
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