Many years of experience in the operation of destroyers in Russian navy He urgently required the creation of an extensive system of basing these ships on alleged theaters of operations. The issue of floating bases for supplying and repairing destroyers, rest of their crews was repeatedly raised and even artificially resolved by adapting barges and rams, however, this problem was fundamentally solved only after the Russo-Japanese War, when the fleet leadership came to the idea of providing basing of destroyers with using specially constructed auxiliary vessels.
With such a proposal in 1906 year, the commander of 7 fleet crew captain 1 of rank A.A. Kononov. Discussion and further development of this proposal was entrusted to the Special Meeting chaired by Rear Admiral N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov. After a comprehensive consideration of the issue, the meeting came to the conclusion that for the 70 mine cruisers and destroyers that are part of the fleet, it is necessary to form three floating bases consisting of each of three coal transports, ammunition, a workshop workshop and Aquarius. The first five transports were supposed to be built with the same hulls and mechanisms, which made it possible to significantly speed up and facilitate both the development of the project and the construction of vessels (displacement 2000 t, speed 10 knots, navigation area 750 miles). It was envisaged that the transport workshop would receive the necessary equipment for the repair of mine cruisers and destroyers, each coal transport was equipped for storing and transporting 830 tons of coal and 70 tons of “machine supplies and provisions”, and transporting ammunition - “all the necessary mine-artillery items supply connections of the destroyers. "
After 20 of September 1906 of the year, these conclusions of the Special Meeting became known to the Marine Minister, the Maritime Technical Committee (ITC) based on them developed sketch drawings, which in October of 1907 of the year, together with the basic requirements for the project of transports, the General Directorate of Shipbuilding and Supplies ( GUKiS) sent out to two state-owned (Baltic and Admiralty) and six private factories (Putilovsky, Nevsky, Creighton, Lange, Rsvelsky Metal and Society of Nikolaev factories). Having considered the statements on the cost and deadlines received from the factories, GUKiS decided to distribute orders only at private enterprises: Revel Metal Plant (coal transport), Putilovsky (workshop transport) and Lange factory in Riga (ammunition transport). After getting acquainted with the technical projects developed at these factories at 27 ITC, June 1908 of the year reported to GUKiS that they do not satisfy the basic requirement - uniformity of construction and interchangeability of equipment and, moreover, significantly differ in their main dimensions. At the same time, the MTC noted that the project of the Putilov factory was the most successful and recommended to entrust him with the development of drawings of all types of transports. Considering the initial requirements sent to the plants to be too general and approximate, MTC has compiled a new detailed tactical and technical task, in which all the details of the project were clearly and specifically stated. In connection with the presentation of new, higher requirements to the project, GUKiS was forced to declare the results of the 1907 competition null and void and 16 July sent the management board of the Putilov factory a new tactical and technical task for designing three types of transports.
While MTC and GUKiS in their plans focused on the Putilov plant, considering it in all respects the most suitable for building ships, the Ministry of Finance took a number of steps to get this order to the Partnership of the Nevsky Plant. Yielding to the insistence of the financial department once again, the maritime minister agreed to the participation of the Nevsky Zavod in the construction of transports and issued appropriate orders. In an effort to preserve the successful project of the Putilov Plant, MTK recommended dividing the order and building ships in parallel at the Nevsky and Putilovsky factories, but necessarily according to the drawings of the latter. However, the Minister of Finance insisted on the transfer of the construction of all five transports to the Nevsky Plant. To speed things up, GUKiS tried to buy blueprints from the board of the Putilov factory, but left without an order, it categorically refused to sell its project.
In February, the 1909 Nevsky Zavod received a new tactical and technical mission with the condition to urgently develop drawings and specifications on it. Referring to the “new and complex requirements” contained in the assignment, the plant's board requested for the preparation of the project documentation for the 2-2,5 of the month; however, in fact, the transports drawings were submitted to the MTC 3 on June, and the explanatory note to the project and specifications only 24 a day later. When reviewing the documentation, it turned out that in terms of 28 positions it does not satisfy the tactical and technical requirements (for example, the power of 870 hp mechanisms instead of 1000, handlebar shifting from side to side 30 seconds instead of 15, watertight bulkheads six instead of seven, etc. ). In this connection, the project was returned to the plant with a proposal to rework it in a three-week period. In response to the comments of the MTC, the plant's management was quick to announce that “all without exception, the requirements relating to the change of the project are recognized ... as certainly executable,” and insisted on the early issuance of a preliminary attire. Since the board has pledged to take into account all the wishes of the Committee, the 7 Shipbuilding Meeting on August 1909 of the year decided to transfer the construction of five Baltic Sea floating base transports to the Nevsky Plant. Four days later, the Department of Structures of the GUKiS issued a work order, after which the plant began to procure material, continuing to develop in parallel the drawings and specifications for steam engines, boilers and auxiliary machinery.
The process of correcting and approving the documentation stretched out for a whole year - only 20 of September 1910 of the year was signed a contract with the deadline for submitting ships for delivery of 17 of August 1911 in August. The specification provided for the following elements of a single hull of an icebreaking type: normal displacement in fresh water 1982 t, maximum length 72,49, waterline - 68,84, maximum width 10,97, draft at the specified displacement 3,66 m, overall completeness factor 0,756, power of 1000 mechanisms l. c, full speed 10 knots, navigation area 8-nodal course 750 miles. The power plant consisted of a triple-expansion steam engine (modeled on the Taimyr and Vaigach icebreaking vessels) and two cylindrical boilers with an operating vapor pressure of 12 atmospheres.
The ships of the floating base were intended to provide transportation and storage of the following goods: coal transport - 800 tons of coal, 20 tons of engine materials and 25 tons of food: ammunition vehicles - 496 tons of shells, cartridges and Whitehead mines, 115 tons of coal, 84 tons of boiler water, 30 t drinking water and 25 t food; transportation workshop - 84 t of boiler water, 65 t of drinking water, 75 t of machine materials and 75 t of other goods. Holds transport ammunition were equipped with shelves to accommodate thousands 12. 75-43,6 thousand mm. 57-mm ammunition (ammunition transported nomenclature changed repeatedly and 1916 was consisted of 1,5 thousand. 102-29,4 thousand mm. 75-mm cartridges) 1200 thousand ammunition for machine guns and Whitehead 20 mines. The transport workshop housed a foundry, a forge, a copper boiler room, and large machine tools of the machine shop — in the cargo hold; locksmith and other machines of the machine shop - on the residential deck; Iron-boiler workshop - on the upper deck. The loading device of coal transport consisted of four Temperley arrows, the total capacity of 250 t / h when loading coal from barge to transport and 50 t / h during transshipment from transport to destroyer.
The stacking assembly of the hulls of all transports began on 1 on October 1909 of the year, immediately after the approval of the theoretical drawing, and the official ceremony of laying the vessels, with the exception of “Oka” (in July 1910 of GUKiS informed the plant that three coal transports are assigned the names “Mezen”, “ Pechora "and" Sukhona ", transport of ammunition -" Oka ", transport-workshop -" Kama "), laid down on November 20 of 1910, was carried out on the day of launching. By order of the Maritime Office of February 4 of the year 1911, all ships entered the lists of vessels of the Baltic Fleet.
Work on the hull was carried out at a good pace, and ten months after the start of construction, coal transports were prepared for descent. After checking the watertight compartments, in August 1910 of the year “Pechora”, “Mezen” and “Sukhona” got off the stocks. In October, the Kama was launched, and the launch of the Oka, due to freezing on the Neva, was postponed until next spring.
If the slipway period lasted on average 12 months, the completion and testing process lasted for more than two years, since the construction of such vessels was a new thing for Russian shipbuilding, as well as due to the large number of deficiencies and faults caused by the contractor. The situation was further complicated by the fact that in October-November 1911, the plant laid out at the request of the Voluntary Fleet six freight and passenger steamships for the eastern lines, the construction of which diverted significant forces and resources, to the liberated, after the descent of transport berths.
Having completed the installation of mechanisms and systems, steam vehicles of boilers and 25 on July 1911 of Pechora, Mezen and Sukhona were carried out on transports, and exactly one month later Kama and Oka passed mooring tests. After that, the vessels were presented for the “12-hour mechanism for full-speed testing”, which was generally successful, with the exception of “Oka”, which had a malfunction in the aft feeding pump when going to sea on November 22; therefore, her trial in connection with the termination of navigation had to be postponed to the following year. The shortage of speed by Pechora transport to the contractual one is explained by a significant wind reaching six or more points, although under the contract tests were allowed with a wind of twice as little force. 24-hour testing mechanisms at speed 8 ties to navigation 1911, managed to spend only on the floating master "Kama" - and that December 10 during the transition to wintering in Helsingfors. At the same time, the average speed exceeded the agreed one and amounted to 8,9 knots. Similar tests of other vessels took place in spring 1912 of the year and ended not so well: due to lack of supervision from the plant, in winter 1911 / 12, in the boilers of all vessels, after the end of the test, a leak was found, which took about two months to eliminate. According to the April trial 14 test program in Kronstadt, they tested the icebreaking capabilities of the Pechora and Mezen transports. In the broken ice, they showed “excellent steering and total steering obedience”: hitting the zone of solid ice, the head Mezen was walking, despite the full revolutions of the car. The maximum thickness of the ice to be overcome was just 0,5-0,6 m, which was explained by the low power density of the machine (0,5 HP on 1 ton displacement).
Compared to the breakdown of mechanisms, the results of which are generally quite satisfactory, the tests of special equipment were less successful. So, after testing 18 of October on the Sukhona transport device for loading coal, the commission refused to accept it, since the total performance of all Temperley arrows turned out to be just 1911 tons per hour instead of 149, according to the project. After a series of unsuccessful tests, they made a decision: they didn’t justify Temperley’s arrows, replaced with light cargo arrows. The “Kama” transport equipment left much to be desired - unsuccessfully located workshops interfered with each other at the same time, the machines did not have separate engines, they were driven from a common transmission, which also went so low that during work it was dangerous for people. Consequences of ill-conceived placement of equipment affected in February 250, when, during the production of foundry works, a fire broke out in a transverse coal pit, which was a result of contact between the outlet pipes of furnaces and smelting furnaces with coal.
A certain delay was also caused by changes in the initial design made during the completion and testing. At the beginning of 1913, a proposal was made to adapt on the Sukhona a part of the hold between 21 and 32 frames, for storing 20 tons of pre-frozen meat. In April, the Admiralteysky Plant received an installation for installing a chloromethyl unit capable of maintaining a negative temperature to –5 ° C, and completed it by the fall of the current year. The re-equipment of the internal premises on the Oka, which, unlike the rest of the ships manned by the civilian ship, should have had a military team also belonged to the category of unscheduled work.
At the beginning of May, 1913 on the Oka transport successfully completed secondary tests of the Whitehead mine storage and unloading device. Unlike the test conducted in September 1912 of the year, this time, “mine from the rack to the cart, was fed back freely, the cart moved smoothly along the rails.” At the same time, the commission adopted equipment for loading cartridges to the destroyers. After completing the entire 11 testing program in May, 1913, Pechora, Mezen, Sukhona, and Oka were taken to the treasury, and the final settlement with the plant was made in January of 1914 after the boilers expired.
The first months of the fleet service in the fleet were characterized by frequent malfunctions and the identification of a number of design defects. Particular dissatisfaction of the ship was caused by their poor seaworthiness. In his report on the transition to stormy weather from Revel to Kronstadt in September 1913, the commander of the Pechora noted that the vessel was very yawing and rolling, the helm was poorly listened, the roll during the roll reached 25-30 °, and the flat-bottomed hull design contributed strong lateral demolition. The blunt formations of the nasal extremities, which also caused strong wave formation, had a particularly negative effect on the nautical qualities. On this occasion, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, Admiral N.O. Essen wrote: “It is not known why their nose was given such an education, because of the weakness of the machines because of their weakness, they still cannot push in.”
Despite some design flaws, which, undoubtedly, should be attributed to the lack of experience in the design and construction of ships of this type, transports nevertheless played a large role in the supply and maintenance of warships in the Baltic during the First World War, fully justifying their the appointment of a floating fleet base. According to the end of 1916, the Oka was at the Mine Division, based on Revel, the Mezen was at the Skhorne detachment in Abo, and the Kam and Sukhona were part of the Transport Unit. Pechora killed 12 August 1915 of the year near the island of Worms, as a result of the torpedo attack of the German U-26 submarine.
The fate of the courts was different. “Mezen” in April 1918 of the year, due to the impossibility of withdrawal to Kronstadt, had to be left in Abo, where it was apparently captured by German troops and taken from Finland, since it is not on the list of ships returned by Finland to the RSFSR according to Article of the Peace Treaty of 14 in October 1920 of Sukhona in 1920 was converted into an artillery workshop, the staff of which staffed Petrograd factories with personnel, and with Kama and Oka after the civil war continued to remain auxiliary Navy ships of the Baltic Sea. By order of 31 in December 1922, the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR assigned new names for the workshops “Kama” and “Sukhona” - “Red Horn” and “Red Petrograd”. Subsequently, the Oka (from 1921) and Krasny Petrograd (from 1923) were stored in the port of Kronstadt and used as block files, and on January 17 of 1929, the latter was reclassified into a training ship with simultaneous renaming into “Red Leningrad ”and three months later they handed over to the training unit of the higher medical schools.
All three vessels took part in the Great Patriotic War: “Oka” and “Cadet” (as from 21 in August 1934 was called “Red Leningrad”) as submarines and surface ships of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet served as a floating base, and the “Red Horn” translated in the summer of 1935, to the North, provided repair of the ships of the Northern Fleet. During the years of the Patriotic War, the Red Mountain furnace carried out almost 300 repair of Soviet submarines, which would require a dock. After the war, this mother ship was put on eternal parking at Pala Guba. And in 1946, a complex was created on the basis of the “Red Mountain”, which laid the foundation for the Polyarninsk shipyard in the Navy. The workshops themselves in 1950 were renamed 10 and the Navy Ship Repair Plant. One of the microdistricts in the city of Polyarny was named after the “Red Horn”.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the construction of a series of auxiliary vessels of diverse purpose, designed to fully ensure the activities of the bearing compounds, the creation of which used unified hulls and mechanisms, was an unprecedented case for that time not only in domestic but also in world shipbuilding. Only much later, during the Second World War, a large number of various auxiliary vessels with identical hulls and mechanisms appeared as part of the American fleet. Despite certain difficulties in construction, the transports of the floating base of the Baltic Sea should be considered generally successful vessels justifying their destination. They proved to be a good idea when servicing fleet ships, for many years they were part of the Russian and Soviet Navy.
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