It is known that the first Soviet torpedo of its own design 53-27 did not differ in high performance and was inferior to foreign counterparts. Because of this, by the mid-thirties, it was decided to create a new line of torpedo weapons. This time, the fleet command and industry leadership decided not to rely on their own strength, but to take foreign-made products as a basis for their development. In 1932, the Soviet Union purchased from Italy several samples of 45-F and 53-F torpedoes, produced by the Whitehead factory in Fiume. This weapon had good characteristics and was of some interest to the Soviet fleet.
In 1934, it was decided to examine the existing documentation on export torpedoes, remake it in accordance with the capabilities of the domestic industry and thus develop its own weapon. The processing of the Italian 53-F product eventually led to the appearance of the 53-38 and 53-39 torpedoes, as well as their numerous modifications. The torpedo 45-F, in turn, became the basis for Soviet weapons such as the 45-36.
Preparation of the torpedo bomber IL-4T for combat sortie. On trolley aviation version of the torpedo 45-36. Photo Spread-wings.ru
In the mid-thirties, the Soviet leadership took up the active development of torpedo building. Four enterprises that were to produce new weapons were built from scratch or upgraded, and new sighting stations appeared in the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas to test ready-made torpedoes. In addition, the Research and Development Mining and Torpedo Institute (NIMTI) was founded, whose task was to conduct various research and development of new projects. To optimize the development of new weapons NIMTI transferred all the existing developments on the old projects.
By the decision of the country's leadership and industry, the development and production of 45-cm torpedoes were commissioned by NIMTI and the Krasny Progress plant in Bolshoi Tokmak (now the Diesel Building Plant named after SM Kirov, Ukraine). Documentation for the Italian torpedo 45-F was transferred to the plant in April 1934 of the year. The next few years, specialists from the institute and the plant were engaged in the study of the original design and its change in accordance with the capabilities of the manufacturer. These works turned out to be quite complex, which took several years to design - the assembly of the first experimental torpedoes of the new type began only in 1938 year.
The project of a promising 450-mm torpedo on the basis of the Italian 45-F received the symbol 45-36Н. The first number of this index meant the caliber in centimeters, the second - the year of development. Thus, the official designation of a torpedo in a certain sense emphasizes the complexity and duration of the development of the project.
The reason for the appearance of the letter “H” is interesting. New 45-cm torpedo was proposed for use, first of all, on the ships of the Navy. The most massive destroyers in the Navy of the USSR at that time were ships of the Novik type of various series. Initially, these ships were equipped with four twin-tube torpedo tubes of caliber 457 mm. In the course of modernization, ships were equipped with new three-tube apparatuses. It was supposed that Novik-class ships would become one of the main carriers of promising torpedoes. This feature of the application was reflected in the name of the weapon - the letter "H" denoted "Novik".
It should be noted that the use of 45-36Н torpedoes on other types of ships and submarines was not excluded. Nevertheless, ships and submarines of new types received mainly 533-mm torpedo tubes, which could use torpedoes of a smaller caliber only using special plug-in grids. At the same time, despite this compatibility, the main armament of such boats and ships should have been 53-cm torpedoes.
Initially it was assumed that the torpedo 45-36H of the Soviet design will be an almost complete copy of the Italian 45-F. However, various technological factors led to the fact that the original project was constantly being finalized and the final version of the new torpedo was significantly different from its prototype. At the same time, both torpedoes had a similar layout, and also slightly differed in terms of characteristics.
When reworked by Soviet specialists, the base torpedo retained the overall layout of the units, traditional for such weapons with steam-gas machines. All parts were housed inside a cylindrical body with a hemispherical head fairing and a conical tail section, which ends in an X-shaped design with screws and rudders. The fighting compartment with an explosive charge was located at the head of the corps. Behind him, a large compressed air tank was placed, next to which tanks for water, kerosene and oil were placed. The tail part of the body was given for power plant units and control equipment.
The product had a diameter of 45 cm and a total length of 5,7 m. The total weight of the torpedo ready to fire was 935 kg. The relatively small size and weight, due to the caliber 450 mm, made it possible to dispense with a relatively low-power propulsion unit while achieving sufficiently high driving characteristics.
The layout of the aviation torpedo 45-36AM. Figure Wiki.wargaming.net
Torpedo 45-36H equipped with a warhead with 200 kg of explosives. To initiate the explosion, two contact fuses were proposed. Before using torpedoes, they should be placed in appropriate glasses in the head of the hull. The fuses were equipped with a safety mechanism that cocked them only at a distance of 100-150 m from the ship or the submarine carrier.
A new weapon was equipped with a steam-gas main machine, the design of which was based on the 45-F torpedo units. At the same time, the steam-gas engine was slightly simplified. Unlike the prototype, it did not have three modes of operation, but two. By choosing one of two modes, torpedo could change the maximum speed or maximum range. In the first mode, the combined-cycle machine developed the power of the 176 hp. and accelerated the torpedo to the speed of a 41 node. Due to the greater fuel consumption in this mode, the torpedo could go no more than 3 km. The second mode provided a range of up to 6 km with a speed of 32 node. In this case, the machine developed power only 92 hp.
The traditional control system for the torpedoes of that time has been preserved, which keeps the product on a given course. Used hydrostat and so on. Aubrey device based on a gyroscope. These devices were to monitor the position of the torpedo in space and respond to its deviations from a given course. When an abnormality was detected, a team was formed for steering gears with pneumatic drives that returned the torpedo to the correct course. Depending on the setting before shooting, the automatics could hold the torpedo at a depth from 0,5 to 14 m.
The first prototype of the 45-36Н torpedo was made only in the 1938 year - approximately four years after the start of work to change the Italian project. Soon the prototypes built by the Krasny Progress plant passed all the necessary tests, the results of which resulted in the decision to adopt the new weapons for the navy. New torpedoes 45-36Н were intended to replace existing similar weapons, primarily products 45-12. Due to this, the existing ships received newer weapons with enhanced characteristics.
IL-4T with torpedo 45-36AN. Photo Mreadz.com
At the end of the 1930s, Soviet mine-torpedo armament designers took up the subject of increasing weapon warheads without reducing other characteristics. In the case of 450-mm torpedoes, the result of such work was the 45-36НУ product. It was a base torpedo 45-36Н with an elongated head. Due to a slight increase in the combat compartment, the weight of the explosive could be brought to 284 kg. The length of such a torpedo reached 6 m, and the weight was 1028 kg. Despite the growth in size and mass, the torpedo retained the basic characteristics of the base weapon. It could reach speeds up to 41 knots and travel up to 6 km.
At the same time, NIMTI specialists worked on projects for aviation torpedoes based on 45-36Н. Under the leadership of engineer Alferov, two versions of such weapons were created. For low-altitude torpedoing, the 45-36AN product was proposed, and the 45-36ABA torpedo was proposed for dumping from high altitudes. To solve these problems, the design of these torpedoes was strengthened in comparison with the base product. In addition, it was decided to abandon the two modes of operation of the power plant: now the machine had to work only at full power. The 45-36AN low-altitude torpedo was proposed to be dropped from an aircraft at an altitude of 30 m at a speed of 300 km / h, and the 45-36ABA torpedoes introduced an additional unit with a parachute and other equipment to safely lower the weapon into water when discharged from great heights. Together with two torpedoes, a device was developed for suspending weapons for existing bombers.
In 1939, both aircraft torpedoes were tested and put into service. The main carrier of this weapon was the SB-3T torpedo-carrying aircraft designed by S.V. Ilyushin. To transport a torpedo, the plane received a special T-18 suspension device, which had two points for attaching a weapon. In the future, the staff of NIMTI and other organizations, as well as military personnel, offered and implemented other variants of suspension, stabilization systems, etc. The goal of such projects was to optimize the torpedo discharge process and ensure its proper entry into the water.
By the start of World War II, several new 45 torpedoes were in service with ships and aircraft of the Navy. These were the basic 45-36Н for arming surface ships, primarily destroyers of the Novik type, as well as aircraft 45-36AN and 45- XNUMHABA for use by torpedo bombers. Initially, naval aviation armed only DB-36T / IL-3T aircraft with torpedoes, and then a torpedo modification of the Tu-4 bomber appeared. According to various sources, by the beginning of the war, the Red Progress plant managed to deliver up to several thousand new torpedoes of all modifications to the fleet.
During the war years, the fleet and naval aviation spent several thousand torpedoes of caliber 450 mm several modifications. This weapon was actively used by all carriers having the ability to use small-caliber torpedoes. In particular, the torpedoes of the 45-36 family were used by submarines equipped with 53-cm torpedo tubes. It is known that at the final stage of the war the crews of some Baltic Fleet submarines made up ammunition of two-caliber torpedoes. In this case, the nose torpedo tubes of the Pike-type boats were armed with 53-cm torpedoes, and the feeding apparatus was equipped with plug-in grids, which made it possible to increase their ammunition. Two torpedoes 45-36Н at the same time loaded into the aft compartment, and the other two were placed in torpedo tubes. As a result, instead of two torpedoes, the 53-38 or 53-39 for submersible feed vehicles could carry four smaller caliber items.
Of particular interest is the use of torpedoes line 45-36 naval aviation. Combat experience confirmed the relatively high potential of low-altitude torpedoing. Resetting 45-36AN torpedoes from an aircraft at a speed of 300 km / h and an altitude of 30 m ensured a sufficiently high accuracy of attack with a higher probability of hitting the target, compared with the parachute method of dumping. At the same time, sea battles showed the complexity of such use of torpedoes: no maneuvers were allowed on the combat course, which was associated with high risks of defeating enemy air defenses.
In addition to the air defense successful attack of torpedo bombers interfered with the strength characteristics of torpedoes. If improperly maintained height or speed torpedo could literally break on the water or go to a great depth. Studies have shown that about half of the lost torpedoes did not reach the goal precisely because of the deviation from the reference values of height and speed. Nevertheless, the pilots improved their skills and continued to use the existing torpedoes.
At the beginning of 1944, a new technique was developed for the use of aircraft torpedoes. The torpedo plane was supposed to carry out the attack of the target simultaneously with the top mast bomber. The bomber went first and had to launch an attack, dropping bombs. At the same time, the torpedo bomber dropped his weapon. As a result of such an attack, the enemy ship first received several bombs at the surface, after which the torpedo hit it below the waterline. It is not difficult to imagine the increase in the effectiveness of such attacks in comparison with the “separate” use of bombs and torpedoes.
Naval aviation also had parachute torpedoes for descent from a great height. However, similar products like the 45-36ABA were used extremely limitedly. High-altitude torpedoing was not distinguished by high efficiency, which is why it was not popular among pilots. Despite the great danger, torpedo bombers preferred to drop torpedoes at low altitude, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful execution of a combat mission.
According to some reports, most of the torpedoes of the 45-36 family were used by naval aircraft. During the years of World War II, the planes dropped 1294 torpedoes, with which they were able to sink 399 ships and ships of the enemy.
Throughout World War II, fleet and industry experts worked to improve the suspension, discharge and stabilization of torpedoes designed for use by torpedo bombers. So, in 1945, the stabilizer CH-45, also known by the symbol “cross + ring”, was proposed. This device consisted of several metal parts and weighed only 8 kg. The installation of such a stabilizer on the 45-36AN torpedo allowed it to be dropped from altitudes from 20 to 100 m at speeds up to 400 km / h. At the same time provided the entrance to the water at the right angle. Together with the CH-45, a special nozzle casing was developed for the torpedo head. The wooden structure was supposed to extinguish the overturning moment that appears when the torpedo enters the water. According to some sources, the torpedo 45-36AN with the stabilizer CH-45 received its own designation 45-36HT.
After the end of the war, it was decided to keep the existing aviation torpedoes in service with naval aviation. Ships and submarines were planned to be finally transferred to the 53-see torpedoes, and aviation should use lighter weapons. As part of this upgrade, it was decided to continue the development of the 45-36 torpedo family. The first post-war modification of this weapon was the 45-36AM, which was distinguished by its reinforced construction and some new nodes. The next version of the torpedo was 45-36ANU, which received an increased combat compartment with a large charge. This product was put into service in 1949 year.
At the same time, the aviation industry was working on the creation of new sighting systems. In the 1949, the torpedo bombers of the Tu-2T aviation of the Black Sea fleet tested a new sight, which allowed not only to direct the torpedoes at the target, but also to enter data into the automatic weapons. In this case, the necessary information was subsequently entered into the torpedo instrumentation, later used for guidance. After entering the water, the torpedo had to turn at a given angle and continue to move in a straight line, reaching the target. This, in particular, allowed the torpedo bomber to move not only across the target, but also on parallel courses.
Also in the new sight provided for the shooting mode "fan". He allowed two torpedoes to be dropped at once with the breeding of their courses on 1 ° in different directions relative to the aircraft. This made it possible to slightly increase the probability of hitting a moving target with at least one of the two torpedoes.
In 1949, the Black Sea Fleet tested the Tu-2T with a new sight. 75 flights were performed with 90 torpedoes reset. The sight showed good performance, however, as far as is known, it was not adopted for service. At the end of the forties, the concept of a piston torpedo-carrier with steam-gas torpedoes was considered obsolete, which is why the expediency of introducing new devices became a subject of controversy. According to the results of the research, it was decided not to put such equipment into service and not to upgrade the equipment.
Despite these disputes, in the early fifties, some new devices were developed and put into series to stabilize the discharge of existing torpedoes. So, in 1952, sea aviation began the development of the stabilizer SP-1. This device was proposed for use with torpedoes 45-36 late modifications.
The 450-mm torpedoes of the 45-36 family remained in service with the Soviet Navy until the mid-fifties. After the transfer of ships and submarines to weapons of larger caliber, similar torpedoes were used only in naval aviation. At the time of the end of World War II, the carriers of such torpedoes were IL-4T and Tu-2T aircraft. By the end of the forties, a significant number of IL-4T was written off. In the mid-fifties, the Tupolev machine was removed from service, which, among other things, led to the cessation of the operation of obsolete torpedoes.
Copying a ready-made foreign model of torpedo armament fully justified itself. This approach to the development of weapons allowed the fleet to give new torpedoes with fairly high performance. In addition, products of the 45-36 family became the main weapon of naval aviation torpedo bombers, thanks to which they remained in service for a long time. The first torpedo of the family, 45-36H, was put into service in the 1938 year, and the operation of the latest aircraft torpedoes ended only in the mid-fifties. Nearly two decades of operation, as well as front-line successes, allowed the 45-36 torpedoes to occupy an important place in the stories domestic naval weapons.
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