Military Review

Ships of Armageddon (part 2)

Ships of Armageddon (part 1)

Ships of Armageddon (part 2)

History battleship fleet Russia, construction, battles and the death of "Empress Maria" and the battleship "Novorossiysk".

Battleship "Novorossiysk"

Displacement: 25 000.
Dimensions: length - 179,1 m, width - 28 m, draft - 9,4 m.
Maximum travel speed: 21,5 nodes.
Navigation range: 4800 miles with 10 nodes.
Powerplant: 4 propellers, 30700 hp
Reservations: deck - 110 mm, towers - 240-280 mm, barbety - 220-240 mm, wheelhouse - 280 mm.
Armament: 13 305-mm guns in the towers, 18 120-mm, 19 76-mm guns, 3 submarine 450-mm torpedo tubes.
Crew: 1000 people.

27 June 1909 Italy adopted the Maritime Law, which provided for the construction of 4 dreadnoughts, 3 reconnaissance cruisers, 12 submarines, 12 destroyers and 34 destroyers. The law was approved by 2 December and at the same time sanctioned the construction of three battleships on the 1908 project of the year - the future “Giulio Cesare”, “Leonardo da Vinci” and “Conte di Cavour”. Funds for construction began to allocate from the next fiscal year. Order for the construction of two of them received private shipyards Ansaldo and Odero from Genoa, and the third was laid at the state-owned shipyard in Spice.

During construction, the Giulio Cesare was overloaded by 2000 t, which increased its draft by 0,9 m. This resulted in a decrease in the total travel speed compared to the design node on the 1; in addition, from 2,5 m of the height of the main armor belt, only 0,75 m is left above the waterline.

The construction of “Cesare” was completed at the end of November 1913 of the year, and before the official commissioning, it passed various tests, being part of the Combat Squadron of Vice-Admiral Amero d'Aste Stella. When the World War began in August of 1914, all three Italian dreadnought were in the 1 Fighting Division of Rear Admiral C.Corsi. “Cesare” commanded by captain 1 rank Marzolo.

At the time of the announcement of the 24 war on May 1915, all the Cesare-type dreadnoughts were in the main base of Taranto, being part of the 1 division of battleships of Rear Admiral Corsi. Immediately after the declaration of war, Italy began the blockade of the Austrian coast. Dreadnoughts in Taranto were in three-hour readiness, spending evolution and shooting in the bay. Their main task was to fight with the dreadnoughts of the enemy. In no other case was they allowed to risk.

One of the few operations to which dreadnoughts were involved was the occupation of the Kurtzola base on Sabbionzela Peninsula (Italy). The 1 Division, which included all three battleships of the Cesare type, carried out a long-range cover for the invasion forces. 13.03.1916 of the year moved to Valona along with Regina Margherita battleships and destroyers, and then returned to Taranto.

After World War I, the Cesare type dreadnoughts were the most modern and powerful Italian ships, so the fleet management paid much attention to increasing their combat effectiveness based on military experience. The battleship underwent a first upgrade, ending in 1922: the tripod foremast was replaced with four-foot ones, which were moved forward from the chimney to reduce the influence of smoke and heat from the bow boiler boilers on the directors. The vertical part of the former foremast was cut off approximately at the level of the upper edge of the pipe and used as a support for the cargo boom. At the same time, “Cesare” lost his magnificent nasal decoration - a huge eagle holding a ribbon with Caesar’s motto: “I came. Had seen. Won".

In August, 1923, when relations with Greece became strained, the ship took part in the operation on Corfu Island, and in 1925, it began a more significant upgrade: they replaced the artillery control systems, left on the forecastle, in front of the bow towers, installed a catapult to launch a seaplane type “Mackey” М18, which was located on the roof of the middle tower. To lift the plane from the water and install it on the catapult, a crane appeared on the upper deck, which could be lowered into a horizontal position so as not to interfere with the firing of the guns. A turret with a built-in rangefinder also appeared on the nose conning tower.

However, the time of battleships with 305-mm guns has passed, and no improvements could already make them worthy rivals of ships built in the last years of the war. Therefore, in the 1928 year, “Cesare” became a training artillery ship.

The project of the next modernization was developed in the Committee on Naval Projects under the leadership of engineer-general Francesco Rotundi. It provided for 305-mm guns re-drilling, as far as possible from the point of view of their durability, replacement of machines for increasing the firing range, and reinforcement of the reservation. The situation with the replacement of the main mechanisms was simpler, which the British and the Japanese have repeatedly done on their large ships. The removal of the middle tower, which became an anachronism by the 30 years, provided enough space for the installation of a new two-shaft power plant, which was supposed to provide the speed of 27 nodes. Horizontal booking has also been slightly increased. Cesare was being upgraded at the shipyard Cantieri del Tirreno in Genoa from October 25 1933 to October 1, October 1937.

During the modernization, all superstructures, towers, medium artillery, part of armor were removed. The hull was completely “gutted out”, extended, installed anti-torpedo protection in it, new boilers and turbo gear units, strengthened deck booking and installed new superstructures. So, when the battleship first appeared in plain sight during a large fleet review in the Bay of Naples, arranged in May 1938, it had nothing to do with its former appearance.
At the Tehran conference at the end of 1943, Stalin insisted on the division of the Italian fleet between the allies. The question of the transfer of the Italian ships was resolved only in the process of preparing a peace treaty with Italy.

By decision of the Triple Commission 1948 of the Year, the USSR received the battleship “Giulio Cesare” built during the first world war. 9 December 1948 of the year “Cesare” left Taranto forever. February 6 over the ship raised the naval flag of the USSR, and two weeks later he went to Sevastopol. Order for the Black Sea Fleet from March 5 1949, the battleship was given the name "Novorossiysk".

The ship was handed over by the Italians to the Soviet sailors in a very poor condition, which, given the nature of its previous operation, was quite natural. For five years, from 1943 to 1948, the battleship, among other ships of the Italian fleet, stood, without being mothballed, with a minimal crew and without proper maintenance, rusting and gathering shells. True, immediately before the transfer to the Soviet Union, it underwent a minor repair, mainly related to the electromechanical part. The living conditions of the crew did not correspond to the climatic features of the Black Sea region, or the organization of the service of the Soviet fleet. Staffed galley equipment provided only servicing of the officers' mess room, and the team galley only had pasta boilers (also malfunctioning), because when stationed at the base, crews of Italian ships lived in coastal barracks, and on the ship their diet consisted only from macaroni, dry wine and olive oil.

The first time (before the equipment of the normal galley), the nourishment of the sailors was provided by several army field kitchens, smoking around the clock on the deck for almost 24 hours. In cold weather, especially at low outside temperatures, in the cockpits under the deck of the forecastle without isolation, the personnel were under a continuous condensate rain from abundant fogging. For the rest served two- and three-tiered beds, placed literally right next to each other in the passage cabin.

In mid-May 1949, the battleship was delivered to the North Dock. At the same time, the specialists were amazed both by the elegance of the contours of the underwater part and the nature of its fouling. Only the area of ​​the variable waterline was intensively overgrown with a shell, and the rest, covered with a paste of unidentified composition, was almost not overgrown.

Already in July, Novorossiysk took part in squadron maneuvers as a flagship. Over the next six years, the ship gradually completed a significant amount of work on the repair, partial replacement and modernization of combat and technical equipment. From 1949 to 1955, the battleship was in factory repair eight times. According to the officers and sailors who served on it, they even replaced the turbines with new ones from the Kharkov plant, so the Novorossiysk test showed a speed above 27 nodes. In general, much attention was paid to the ship, because, despite its advanced age, it was the strongest in artillery armament in the Soviet fleet. Instead of the planned re-equipment of domestic 305-mm guns with a barrel length in 52 caliber, they decided to leave the Italian and even began producing ammunition for them, because at the time of the transfer there was only one regular ammunition. (Because of the unreliable explosive filling, some of the shells, in anticipation of new ones, were brought to the coastal arsenal).

From May to the end of October 1955, Novorossiysk went to sea several times, fulfilling combat training tasks. October 28 1955, the battleship returned from the last campaign and took a place on the “battleship barrel” in the Sea Hospital area (depth 17 m of water and around 30 m viscous silt). In addition to the crew, there was a replenishment on board - military personnel transferred from the army to the fleet temporarily stationed on the battleship.

In 01.31 29 of October, under the hull of the ship from the starboard in the nose, there was an explosion, estimated to be equal to 1000-1200 kg of trinitrotoluene. A combat alarm was announced, the ship began to roll, and in 04.15 it overturned through the port side. Hundreds of people built on the deck, fell into the water and were covered with the body of the battleship.

In this position, the ship remained for several hours, resting on hard ground with masts. Only in 22.00 did the body completely disappear under water. Many sailors remained in the airbags of the compartments of the overturned ship - after all, there was their place for combat alert. Of these, only nine were saved. Seven people came out through a hole cut in the stern of the bottom, two more sailors managed to save the divers, removing them from under the deck of the poop, which was not tightly attached to the ground. In general, the tragedy of "Empress Maria" repeated itself - a very similar world war happened to her.

A total of 604 people died in the crash, including emergency batches from other squadron ships. The causes of the explosion and to date are not clarified. In a closed letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU in May 1956, it was officially announced that the crew’s lack of discipline and the panic allegedly reigned on board led to the death of the ship. Despite this, many believe that the ship was blown up by Italian saboteurs. After all, until 1949, Novorossiysk was called Giulio Cesare (Julia Caesar) and was part of the Italian navy. There is evidence that on that day the external raid was not guarded, and the noise-finding stations did not work. During World War II, Italian saboteurs who served Prince Valerio Borghese won rather dismal glory. The Frog People, as they were called, penetrated into the harbor on a special two-seat torpedo filled with three hundred kilograms of explosives, and sent it to a potential victim. In other cases, they fastened mines to the bottom of enemy ships. Among other versions: an unexploded mine from the time of the 2 World War II. Although according to most experts, the nature of the explosion was not like the explosion of a bottom mine.

The tragedy was a state secret, and there was not a word about it in the domestic media. As a result of the disaster, the commander-in-chief of the Navy, Admiral Kuznetsov, suffered - he was dismissed from his post, deprived of the rank of admiral and dismissed.

In 1956, the battleship was lifted and dismantled for scrap.

1 comment

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  1. mitrich
    mitrich 12 June 2011 15: 08
    Thanks to the editors of Voenniy Obozreniye for both materials about the Empress Maria and Novorossiysk.
    I am not a sailor, but the sea and the navy have always loved and love, as, indeed, aviation (but this is already a family matter). I always admired the battleships, although I never had to see these handsome men live. However, even the photos are impressive.
    I read in an article that battleships were ineffective after World War II, because: 1) High cost. One battleship is three frigates, and with the team there are as many as eight frigates; 2) Opportunities and weak protection. Escort escort is needed, otherwise even Libya will be able to send the battleship to the bottom; 3) Quantity. A large number of such ships are needed, which rests on point 1.
    Americans in the 1980s tried to revive battleships to life by updating their old Iowas and calling them URO (guided missile) ships, but then this idea was abandoned.
  2. The comment was deleted.
    CARTRIDGE 14 August 2011 18: 35
    So many people died again ...