Military Review

Royal "Dreadnought": a famous story without a single shot

27
February 10th. / TASS /. Exactly 110 years ago, on February 10, 1906, the British military ship Dreadnought was launched in Portsmouth. By the end of that year, it was completed and entered into the Royal fleet.


“Dreadnought”, combining a number of innovative solutions, became the ancestor of a new class of warships, to which he gave his name. This was the last step to the creation of battleships - the largest and most powerful artillery ships ever to go to sea.
However, the “Dreadnought” was not unique - the revolutionary ship was the product of a long evolution of the battleships. Its counterparts were already going to be built in the USA and Japan; moreover, the Americans began to develop their own dreadnoughts even before the British. But Britain was the first.

Royal "Dreadnought": a famous story without a single shot


Business card "Dreadnought" - artillery, consisting of ten guns of the main caliber (305 millimeters). They were complemented by many small 76-millimeter guns, but the intermediate caliber on the new ship was missing altogether.

Such weapons are strikingly distinguished "Dreadnought" from all previous battleships. Those, as a rule, carried only four 305-millimeter guns, but were supplied with a solid battery of medium caliber - usually 152 millimeter.

The habit of supplying battleships with a multitude — up to 12 and even 16 — medium-caliber guns was easily explained: 305-millimeter guns reloaded for quite a long time, and at that time 152-millimeter had to shower the enemy with a hail of shells. This concept proved its worth during the war between the USA and Spain in 1898 - in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, the American ships achieved a disappointingly small number of hits with the main caliber, but literally riddled the enemy with medium caliber riflemen.

However, the 1904-1905 Russian-Japanese War demonstrated quite another thing. Russian battleships, which were much larger than Spanish ships, withstood a mass of hits of 152-millimeter cannons - only the main caliber caused serious damage to them. In addition, the Japanese sailors were simply more accurate than the American ones.


12 inch guns on HMS Dreadnought
© Library of Congress Bain collection


Authorship of the idea

The concept of the battleship, equipped with extremely heavy artillery, is traditionally considered to be the Italian military engineer Vittorio Cuniberti. He proposed to build a battleship with 12 305-mm guns, a turbine power plant using liquid fuel and powerful armor for the Italian Navy. The Italian admirals refused to implement the idea of ​​Kuniberti, but allowed it to be published.

In Jane's Fighting Ships, 1903 had a short year - only three pages - an article by Kuniberti "The Perfect Battle Ship for the British Navy." In it, the Italian described a giant battleship with a displacement of 17 thousand tons, equipped with 12 305-millimeter cannons and extremely powerful armor, but also capable of developing speed in the 24 node (which made it a third faster than any battleship).

Just six of these "ideal ships" will be enough to defeat any enemy, considered Kuniberti. Due to his firepower, his battleship was supposed to sink the enemy battleship with one volley, and due to high speed - immediately proceed to the next.

The author considered rather an abstract concept, without doing exact calculations. In any case, it would be almost impossible to fit all Kuniberti's proposals into the ship with a displacement of 17 thousand tons. The full displacement of the real "Dreadnought" turned out to be much more - about 21 thousand tons.

So, despite the similarity of Kuniberti's offer with the Dreadnought, it is unlikely that the Italian had a great influence on the construction of the first ship of the new class. The article by Kuniberti was published at a time when the "father" of the Dreadnought, Admiral John "Jackie" Fisher, had already come to similar conclusions, but in a completely different way.


Guns on the roof of the tower. HMS Dreadnought, 1906 year
© US Library of Congress Bain collection

"Father" "Dreadnought"

Admiral Fisher, forcing the Dreadnought project through the British Admiralty, was guided not by theoretical but by practical considerations.

While still commanding the British naval forces in the Mediterranean, Fischer empirically found that shooting from mixed guns makes aiming extremely difficult. The gunners of that time, aiming the cannons at the target, were guided by bursts from the shells falling into the water. And at a long distance bursts from millimeter 152 caliber shells and 305 shells are almost impossible to distinguish.

In addition, the then existing rangefinders and fire control systems were extremely imperfect. They did not allow to realize all the capabilities of the guns - the British battleships could shoot at 5,5 kilometer, but according to the results of actual tests, the recommended aimed fire of target fires was just 2,7 kilometers.

Meanwhile, it was necessary to increase the effective distance of the battle: torpedoes became a serious opponent of the battleships; at that time, the range of their torpedoes reached the order of 2,5 kilometer. A logical conclusion was made: the best way to fight at long distances would be a ship with the maximum number of main-caliber guns.


Felling of the dreadnought of USS Tex, USA
© EPA / LARRY W. SMITH


At some point, as an alternative to the future "Dreadnought" ship, equipped with a variety of 234-millimeter guns, which were then used by the British as a middle artillery on the battleships. Such a ship would combine the rate of fire with a huge firepower, but Fisher really needed "big guns".

Fisher also insisted on equipping the Dreadnought with the newest steam turbines, which allowed the ship to develop more than 21 nodes per hour, while 18 nodes were considered sufficient for battleships. The admiral was well aware that the advantage in speed makes it possible to impose on the enemy a favorable combat distance. Given the tremendous superiority of the Dreadnought in heavy artillery, this meant that several such ships were able to crush the enemy fleet, while remaining virtually inaccessible for most of its guns.


© H. M Stationery Office


Without a shot

The Dreadnought was built in record time. As a rule, they call an impressive year and one day: the ship was laid on 2 of October 1905 of the year, and 3 of October of 1906 of the year the battleship entered the first sea trials. This is not entirely correct - traditionally, the time of construction is counted from the laying to the inclusion in the fleet combat. "Dreadnought" was commissioned on December 11 1906, a year and two months from the start of construction.

Unprecedented speed of work had the opposite side. The photos from Portsmouth show not always a high-quality assembly of the hull - other armor plates are crooked, and the bolts that fasten them are of different sizes. No wonder - 3 thousand workers literally "burned" at the shipyard on 11 and a half hours a day and 6 days a week.

A number of flaws associated with the project of the ship. The operation showed insufficient efficiency of the newest Dreadnought fire control systems and its rangefinders - the largest at that time. Rangefinders even had to endure so that they would not be damaged by the shock wave of a gun salvo.

The most powerful ship of the era never once fired at the enemy from its main caliber. The Dreadnought was not present at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, the biggest clash of fleets consisting of Dreadnoughts, it was being repaired.

But even if the “Dreadnought” were in the ranks, he would have to remain in the second line - in just a few years he was hopelessly outdated. He was replaced both in Britain and in Germany by larger, faster and more powerful battleships.

Thus, representatives of the type "Queen Elizabeth", which entered service in the 1914-1915 years, already carried the guns of the caliber 381 millimeter. The mass of the projectile of this caliber more than doubled the weight of the Dreadnought projectile, and these guns fired one and a half times further.

Nevertheless, the Dreadnought still managed to achieve victory over the enemy ship, unlike many other members of its class. His victim was a German submarine. Ironically, the mighty Dreadnought destroyed it not with artillery fire and not even a torpedo - it simply rammed the submarine, although the British shipbuilders did not equip the Dreadnought with a special ram.

However, the submarine sunk by the Dreadnought was by no means ordinary, and its captain was a glorified sea wolf. But it is already completely different. история.

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  1. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 14 February 2016 07: 38
    +7
    It would be interesting to hear this "other story", but for this one definitely +!
  2. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 14 February 2016 07: 41
    52
    Nevertheless, the Dreadnought still managed to achieve victory over the enemy ship, unlike many other members of its class. His victim was a German submarine. Ironically, the mighty Dreadnought destroyed it not with artillery fire and not even a torpedo - it simply rammed the submarine, although the British shipbuilders did not equip the Dreadnought with a special ram.

    Moreover, the victim of the Dreadnought was not any submarine, but the U-29 submarine under the command of Otto Weddigen - the evil genius of the Grand Fleet, the very captain who, on September 22, 1914, commanding the U-9 submarine, sank three British armored cruisers: "Hog", "Aboukir" and "Cressy", and on October 15, 1914, commanding the same boat, he sank the large armored cruiser Hawk. This is how the battleship - the founder of the class of ships named after itself (all battleships of this type bore the general name of "dreadnoughts", and after the construction of the same ships, but with heavier main caliber artillery - "superdreadnoughts") sank with the most ancient weapon of the military fleet - rammed by the German submarine commander Otto Weddigen, who became one of the worst enemies of the Royal Navy. Moreover, it must be said that on that day, March 26, 1915, Otto Weddigen had every chance to distinguish himself again - he met the dream of the commander of the submariner - the main forces of the British Grand Fleet - 3 squadrons of battleships that went to the exercises - 24 dreadnought and superdreadnought ships went sub-divisionally in consisting of 6 parallel columns of 4 battleships. And Weddigen remained unnoticed by the British until the moment when they attacked the battleship Neptune, but missed - the torpedo passed astern, at the time of the attack, the U-29 periscope was seen from the battleship Marlborough, the flagship of Admiral Jellicoe, on whose masts they immediately raised signal "I see a submarine". At the head of the extreme left column of British ships was the "Dreadnought", whose commander - Captain 1st Rank Alderson, without hesitation for a second went at full speed straight to the periscope of the submarine, which did not have time to dive. No one escaped with U-29. O. Weddigen was ruined by the fact that he held the periscope up for too long in a calm sea.
    I have the honor.
    1. Shadowcat
      Shadowcat 14 February 2016 09: 34
      +6
      It definitely was not his day ))
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 14 February 2016 11: 01
        +6
        Alderson, handsome, was not taken aback, his honor and praise.
    2. PKK
      PKK 14 February 2016 18: 16
      +7
      Otto laughed, apparently he acted with impunity before and lost fear. The whole crew paid for it.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 14 February 2016 07: 42
    +5
    But even if the Dreadnought were in service, it would have to remain in the second line - in just a few years it was hopelessly outdated..... Yeah .. amazing, short ship life ... Thanks ..
    1. Akuzenka
      Akuzenka 14 February 2016 19: 28
      +5
      The most beautiful view of British ships is their view at the bottom. There is nothing more beautiful.
  4. blizart
    blizart 14 February 2016 07: 55
    12
    All pre-dreadnought and pre-dreadnought maritime budgets of the leading countries became the main victim of the Dreadnought.
  5. kvs207
    kvs207 14 February 2016 10: 46
    +7
    The concept of the battleship, equipped with extremely heavy artillery, is traditionally considered to be the Italian military engineer Vittorio Cuniberti. He proposed to build a battleship with 12 305-mm guns, a turbine power plant using liquid fuel and powerful armor for the Italian Navy. The Italian admirals refused to implement the idea of ​​Kuniberti, but allowed it to be published.

    In the magazine "Tekhnika-Molodyozhi", I read about the project of V. Stepanov, who, in some way, anticipated the ideas of Kuniberti, albeit using the technologies of that time. Unfortunately, Stepanov, being the commander of the Yenisey mine, died with him while laying a mine near Port Arthur.
  6. kvs207
    kvs207 14 February 2016 10: 50
    +2
    Found this article.
  7. kvs207
    kvs207 14 February 2016 10: 51
    +4
    Extension
  8. e_krendel
    e_krendel 14 February 2016 11: 49
    +8
    A knot per hour is not speed, but acceleration. lol Why make such stupid mistakes?
    1. PSih2097
      PSih2097 14 February 2016 13: 48
      0
      Quote: e_krendel
      A knot per hour is not speed, but acceleration. lol Why make such stupid mistakes?

      yes node - 1 nautical mile per hour, knot per hour increase in speed by a specified number of nodes, in this case by one ...
  9. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 14 February 2016 13: 10
    12
    The story of the Dreadnought - a nightmare of all
    naval builders and admirals of the world:
    "what if we order and build ships that suddenly - at one moment -
    hopelessly obsolete? "

    Gigantic money is invested in the Navy, and generations are replaced suddenly ...
    And p ..., no money, no use - the useless pieces of iron at the piers rust. belay
    1. Bersaglieri
      Bersaglieri 14 February 2016 16: 25
      +2
      Reminds of "achieving parity in everything" in the 50-80s
  10. Litsvin
    Litsvin 14 February 2016 14: 40
    +2
    Quote: kvs207
    The concept of the battleship, equipped with extremely heavy artillery, is traditionally considered to be the Italian military engineer Vittorio Cuniberti. He proposed to build a battleship with 12 305-mm guns, a turbine power plant using liquid fuel and powerful armor for the Italian Navy. The Italian admirals refused to implement the idea of ​​Kuniberti, but allowed it to be published.

    In the magazine "Tekhnika-Molodyozhi", I read about the project of V. Stepanov, who, in some way, anticipated the ideas of Kuniberti, albeit using the technologies of that time. Unfortunately, Stepanov, being the commander of the Yenisey mine, died with him while laying a mine near Port Arthur.


    Done right. The concept of a "new battleship" belongs to Kuniberti, but the Italians did not mature beyond their own nose.
    As for the "dreadnoughts", the best ships in this class were built NAMEENO IN RUSSIA - battleships of the "Sevastopol" and "Empress Maria" type. Any of them surpassed any dreadnought of the period of World War 1 of other countries in terms of the totality of characteristics. The guns installed on our battleships were generally masterpieces of artillery of that time in terms of range, accuracy and armor penetration. These guns remained unsurpassed in their combat characteristics until 1934.
    1. Kars
      Kars 14 February 2016 14: 56
      +5
      Quote: Litsvin
      NAME IN RUSSIA - battleships of the "Sevastopol" and "Empress Maria" type. Any of them surpassed any dreadnought of the period of World War 1 of other countries in terms of the totality of characteristics.

      So offhand - Queen Elizabeth? Just by the way a year younger)))
      1. Litsvin
        Litsvin 15 February 2016 13: 32
        +5
        And here a year younger? All these so-called "dreadnoughts" or "superdreadnoughts" - ships of the same time interval - "conditionally" of the First World War. The next generation of battleships is battleships that were not built in the 30-40s on a completely different technological base and had completely different combat characteristics. What will you argue too? I think no. What then minus, Kars. You are probably also one of those who saw the sea in films and did not even serve in the navy, but are trying to teach?

        Well, for other "theoretical (book) sailors" - the firing distance for artillery in the navy (at least in the Tsarist, Soviet and Russian) has always been measured in CABLE - this is roughly 185 meters, and not in KILOMETERS or MILES. On smooth-bore cast guns of the times of Ushakov and Nakhimov, the "range" was "cast" or "engraved" on the breech of the barrel by the "caliber" (weight of the nucleus) and the weight of the gun itself (in poods). On rifled guns of later eras, the range was "knocked out" on the breech of the gun or indicated, along with other parameters of the gun, on a plate riveted to the breech.
    2. Bersaglieri
      Bersaglieri 15 February 2016 11: 57
      +2
      The guns - yes, the best in the 12-inch class at that time.
      Ships on the set of characteristics ... Among classmates (with 11-12 inch artillery) - quite on the level. But just like classmates, they were rapidly obsolete by 1916-1917.
      And one more misfortune: it took too long to build.
    3. goose
      goose 16 February 2016 10: 18
      0
      The guns were indeed unique, but the tactics of "scrap" against squadrons of dreadnoughts in the form of 380-mm guns, nevertheless, during the 1st World War, prevailed in efficiency. From the point of view of firing at the rest of the ships (cruisers) and the coast, the configuration of the 305-mm guns was definitely better.
  11. kvs207
    kvs207 14 February 2016 16: 05
    +5
    Quote: Kars
    So offhand - Queen Elizabeth? Just by the way a year younger)))

    Literally, "Queen Elizabeth", as well as "Iron Duke" - superdreadnoughts winked
    1. Kars
      Kars 14 February 2016 17: 29
      +1
      Quote: kvs207
      Literally, "Queen Elizabeth", as well as "Iron Duke" - superdreadnoughts

      If Sevastopol literally went into operation in 1914 and if it did not fit into the category of superdreadnoughts, is this really his problem? And indeed, the time period is given

      Quote: Litsvin
      surpassed any dreadnought of the 1 period of World War II

      would have written buildings until 1910 inclusive the question would not have arisen.
  12. db1967
    db1967 14 February 2016 16: 16
    +6
    British armadillos could shoot 5,5 kilometersbut according to the results of real tests, the recommended aiming range was only 2,7 kilometers.

    the author - well what nonsense ???
    Mark 10 - 305mm Dreadnought guns had a firing range 22.5km!
  13. Bersaglieri
    Bersaglieri 14 February 2016 16: 24
    +1
    kilometers for miles in the article, please correct :)
  14. magirus401
    magirus401 14 February 2016 22: 53
    +1
    Quote: Bersaglieri
    kilometers for miles in the article, please correct :)

    All the same, a mismatch, 22,5 km does not work
    1. Bersaglieri
      Bersaglieri 15 February 2016 11: 58
      0
      55-60 kbt- firing distances that hit. In the years 1905-1010.
  15. Veteran
    Veteran 17 February 2016 22: 57
    +5
    The maximum firing ranges for the most modern guns of the Russo-Japanese War were for the main caliber 305 mm - 70 - 80 kb, for the medium caliber 152 mm - 50 - 55 kb. In fact, the battles were fought at distances not exceeding 50 kb.
    At the "Dreadnought" the maximum firing range of the main battery was 81 kb (15 km) and from 1918 new projectiles 93 kb (17,2 km).
  16. Alex_623
    Alex_623 April 4 2016 06: 57
    +1
    Quote: kvs207
    Quote: Kars
    So offhand - Queen Elizabeth? Just by the way a year younger)))

    Literally, "Queen Elizabeth", as well as "Iron Duke" - superdreadnoughts winked

    Queen Elizabeth is already a post-dreadnought type of ships.
    That is, Aron Duke and Queen Elizabeth are already different ships. Here Remiles, Rivenge and others - these are really superdreadnoughts.
    At the same time, the British managed to first lay down the Queen Elizabeth series of post-dreadnought type, and after it laid the series of Dreadnought-type Remiles.

    The same trout was soaked in Russia:
    Baltic Sevastopols with their speed of more than 24 knots are post-dreadnoughts, though with a strange for their age GK;
    and the Black Sea Emperors-Empresses - a rollback to the dreadnought from 22-23 knots ...
    True, on the Black Sea, for the battleships, other tasks were faced than the Baltic battleships ...
  17. Alex_623
    Alex_623 April 4 2016 07: 06
    +1
    Quote: db1967
    British armadillos could shoot 5,5 kilometersbut according to the results of real tests, the recommended aiming range was only 2,7 kilometers.

    the author - well what nonsense ???
    Mark 10 - 305mm Dreadnought guns had a firing range 22.5km!

    Even if the Dreadnought could throw a shell for 22 miles, this does not mean that in battle he could conduct effective fire from such a distance.
    For example, an armor-piercing projectile at such distances could only scratch the paint on the armor ...
    Yes, and aiming at such distances gave a large error.