Project 26 and 26 bis cruisers. Part of 4. And a little more about artillery
So, the rate of MK-3-180. This issue has been highlighted many times in almost all sources - but in such a way that it is absolutely impossible to understand anything. From the publication to the publication the phrase is quoted:
So guess what it all means.
First, the rate of fire of the MK-3-180 was not a constant value and depended on the distance at which the shooting is conducted. The point is this: loading the guns of the MK-3-180 was carried out at a fixed angle of elevation in 6,5 degrees, and therefore the firing cycle (simplified) looked like this:
1. Make a shot.
2. Lower the guns at a vertical angle equal to 6,5 deg. (loading angle).
3. Charge the guns.
4. Give the guns the angle of vertical alignment necessary to defeat the enemy.
5. See p. 1.
Obviously, the farther the target was located, the greater the angle of vertical guidance should have been given to the gun and the longer it took. It will be interesting to compare the rate of fire of the Soviet MK-3-180 with the 203-mm turret of the Admiral Hipper cruiser: the guns of the latter were also charged at a fixed angle of elevation, which was 3 degrees. If the gun fired at a small elevation angle, which differed little from the loading angle, the rate of fire reached 4 shots / min, but if shooting was conducted at a distance close to the limit, it fell to 2,5 shots / min.
Accordingly, the definition of the planned rate of fire of the MK-3-180 is incorrect, since it is necessary to specify the minimum and maximum rate of fire of the installation. We traditionally give 6 shots / min. without specifying at what angle of elevation is required to achieve such a rate of fire. Or did it turn out that this indicator was not specified at the design stage of the installation?
And at what angles of loading the MK-3-180 showed the rate of fire 2 shots / min? At the limit or close to the loading angle? In the first case, the achieved result should be considered quite acceptable, because the rate of our installation is almost at the German level, but in the second case it is not good. But the fact is that the tower is a technically complex mechanism, and new tower constructions often suffer from “childhood diseases” that can be eliminated later. Although sometimes far from immediately - let us remember the turret installations of the “King George V” battleships, which throughout the Second World War produced an average of two-thirds of the shots from the salvoes (after the war, the flaws were corrected).
Were the shortcomings of the MK-3-180 towers fixed (if there were any at all, since the rate of fire at 2 rpm at the limiting elevation angles can hardly be considered a disadvantage)? Again, it is unclear, because the phrase “The planned combat training with properly working material part of the gunners“ Kirov ”could start only in 1940 g.” Does not specify what exactly this “good condition”, and whether an increase in the rate of fire was achieved compared to 1938 year.
In the same way, the author could not find data on how things were with the rate of fire of the 26-bis project cruisers. Serious publications like the Naval Artillery of the Russian Navy fleet", Written by a team of several captains of the 1st and 2nd rank, under the leadership of caperang, candidate of technical sciences E. M. Vasiliev, alas, are limited to the phrase:" Technical rate of fire - 5,5 rds / min. "
Thus, the question of rate of fire remains open. But nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that the first installation under the 180 mm gun, MK-1-180 for the cruiser "Red Caucasus", at a design rate of 6 rds / min, showed a practical rate of 4 rds / min, i.e. . was even higher than indicated as of 1938 for the installation of "Kirov". But MK-3-180 was designed taking into account the operating experience of MK-1-180 and with Italian help ... Of course, you should always remember that logic is the historian’s worst enemy (because historical the facts are often illogical), but it can still be assumed that the practical rate of fire of the MK-3-180 was approximately at the level of the towers of the German heavy cruisers, i.e. 2-4 rds / min, depending on the magnitude of the vertical aiming angle.
Interestingly, the practical rate of fire of 203-mm guns of Japanese heavy cruisers averaged 3 rds / min.
Here you can recall the well-known (and mentioned in the previous article of the cycle) the statement of A. B. Shirokorada:
But why such pessimism? Recall that foreign 203-mm projectiles demonstrated the ability to effectively hit light cruiser / heavy cruiser ships. Moreover, they were not so bad even in battle against battleships!
So, of the four Prince Eugene shells that hit the Prince of Wells battleship in the battle in the Danish Strait, one managed to incapacitate as many as two command and rangefinding posts (KDP) of medium artillery (from port and starboard), and the second , caught in the stern, although it did not break through the armor, but, nevertheless, caused flooding, forcing the British to resort to counter-flooding in order to avoid the roll that they did not need in battle. Things were even worse with the South Dakota battleship in the Guadalcanal battle: it hit at least 18 eight-inch shells, but since the Japanese fired armor-piercing, and most of the hits fell on the superstructures, 10 Japanese shells flew without breaking. The hit of another 5 shells did not cause significant damage, but three others caused flooding of 9 compartments, and in four compartments the water fell into the fuel Tanks. Of course, the 203-mm caliber could not inflict decisive damage to the battleship, but, nevertheless, it was quite capable of delivering the tangible troubles of the eight-inch in battle.
And now let's compare foreign 203-mm shells with domestic 180-mm. To begin with, we note a slight contradiction in the sources. Usually for B-1-K and for B-1-P a figure in 1,95 kg of explosive (BB) in an armor-piercing projectile is given without any detail. But, judging by the available data, there were several armor-piercing shells for 180-mm guns: for example, the same AB Shirokorad in his monograph "Domestic Coastal Artillery" indicates two different types of armor-piercing shells for deep-cut 180-mm guns: 1,82 kg (drawing No. 2-0840) and 1,95 kg (drawing No. 2-0838). At the same time, there was another projectile with 180-mm small-sized cannons with 2 kg of explosives (drawing No. 257). In this case, all three of the above projectile, despite the obvious (albeit insignificant) difference in the design, are called armor-piercing shells of the 1928 model of the year.
But A.V. Platonov, in the Encyclopedia of Soviet surface ships 1941-1945, we read that the mass of explosives for an armor-piercing projectile sample 1928 g is as much as 2,6 kg. Unfortunately, this is most likely a typo: the fact is that Platonov immediately indicates the percentage of explosives in the projectile (2,1%), but 2,1% of 97,5 kg is (roughly) 2,05 kg, and not 2,6 kg. Most likely, Shirokorad is right with the 1,95 kg given by him, although it cannot be ruled out that there was another “drawing”, i.e. projectile with explosive content in 2,04-2,05 kg.
Compare the mass and content of explosives in Soviet 180-mm and German 203-mm projectiles.
We also note that the heavy American 203-mm 152-kg projectile, which the US sailors were quite pleased with, had all the same 2,3 kg of explosives, and the 118-kg eight-inch projectiles, with which the US Navy entered World War II, did 1,7 kg . On the other hand, among the Japanese, the explosive content in 203-mm projectile reached 3,11 kg, and the Italians had 3,4 kg. As for high-explosive shells, here the advantage of 203-mm foreign shells over the Soviet ones is not too large - 8,2 kg in Italian and Japanese, 9,7 in American and 10 kg in British. Thus, the explosives content of the Soviet 180-mm artillery system, although lower, is quite comparable with the 203-mm guns of other world powers, and the relative weakness of the 180-mm armor-piercing projectile was to a certain extent bought by the presence of semi-armor ammunition that neither Japanese had Neither the Italians nor the British, while this particular ammunition could become very “interesting” when firing at enemy cruisers.
Thus, nothing gives us a reason to reproach the domestic 180-mm projectiles in insufficient power. But they had another, very important advantage: all types of domestic projectiles had the same weight - 97,5 kg. The fact is that shells of different weights have completely different ballistics. And here, for example, the situation - the Italian cruiser is shooting with high-explosive shells - this is more convenient, because the high-explosive shells explode when hitting the water, and hits in the enemy ship are clearly visible. At the same time, the shooting of armor-piercing shells is certainly possible, but the water columns from their fall will be worse (especially if the enemy is between the firing ship and the sun). In addition, direct hits of an armor-piercing projectile are often not visible: he is an armor-piercing one, so that, after breaking through the armor, explode inside the ship. At the same time, if such a projectile did not hit the armor, it will fly away further, breaking through the unarmored board or superstructure right through, and even if it can “lift” a surge of sufficient height, it will only misinform the main gunner - he can count this drop as flight.
And because the Italian cruiser is firing high-explosive shells. But the goal is covered! Suppose this is a well-armored cruiser like the French "Algerie", and it is quite difficult to cause him significant damage by land mines. Can an Italian cruiser go to armor-piercing shells?
Theoretically, it can, but in practice it will be one more headache for an artilleryman. Because the high-explosive projectile among the Italians weighed 110,57 kg, while the armor-piercing shell - 125,3 kg. The ballistics of the shells is different, the flight time to the target is also different, the angles of vertical and horizontal targeting of guns with the same parameters of the target are different again! And all the calculations were done by the automatic machine for high-explosive shells ... In general, an experienced gunner would probably cope with all this, quickly changing the input data for the automation, calculating the angles of vertical and horizontal guidance, etc. But this, of course, will distract him from the main task - constant observation of the target and adjustment of the fire.
But for the main artilleryman of the Soviet cruiser when changing a high-explosive ordnance to even semi-armored, even to a high-explosive, there are no difficulties: all the shells have the same weight, their ballistics are the same. In essence, nothing prevents the Soviet cruiser from firing simultaneously from a part of the guns with armor-piercing, from a part of semi-armor-piercing, if it is suddenly thought that such a “vinaigrette” contributes to the early defeat of the target. It is clear that for shells of different weight, this is impossible.
Surprisingly, but true: work on the creation of domestic CCP in the USSR began with the year 1925. By this time, the Red Army Naval Forces had three battleships of the “Sevastopol” type with highly sophisticated (by the standards of the First World War) shooting control systems. In the Russian Empire, the Heusler system of the 1911 model was created, but at that time it did not fully meet the requirements of seafarers. This was not a secret for developers, and they improved their system further, but the admirals found that the risk of failure was too high, and as a safety net, bought Pollen's devices, capable of independently calculating the course angle and distance to the target based on the initial movement parameters of their ship and the enemy. In a number of sources they write that the Heusler system and the device of Pollana duplicated each other, and the device of Pollen was the main one. After some research, the author of this article assumes that this is not the case, and that Pollan’s device complemented the Geisler system, providing it with data that the artillery officer had previously considered independently.
Be that as it may, but already for 20-ies the PUS of our dreadnoughts could no longer be considered modern, and in 1925, the development of new PUS called the “direct course machine” (APCN) began, but the work on it went rather slowly. For acquaintance with the advanced foreign experience, automatic course angle and distance (AKUR) of the British company Vikkers and schemes of the synchronous transmission of the automatic machine of the American firm Sperry were acquired. In general, it turned out that the British AKUR is lighter than ours, but at the same time they give an excessively large error when shooting, but the products of the Sperry company were recognized to be inferior to the similar system developed by the domestic Elektropribor. As a result, new PUS for battleships in 1929 were assembled from their own developments and modernized English AKUR. All these works, of course, gave our designers an excellent experience.
But the PUS for battleships is one thing, but for lighter ships other instruments were needed, so the USSR in 1931 purchased the control devices for leaders of Leningrad in Italy (Galileo company). But in order to understand the further development of events, it is necessary to pay a little attention to the existing methods for adjusting the fire:
1. The method of measured deviations. It consisted in determining the distance from the ship to the bursts of falling shells. This method could be implemented in practice in two ways, depending on the equipment of the command-ranging post (KDP).
In the first case, the latter was completed with one range finder (which measured the distance to the target ship) and a special device, a scatter meter, which made it possible to measure the distances from the target to the projectile bursts.
In the second case, the KDP was completed with two range finders, of which one measured the distance to the target, and the second - the distance to the bursts. The distance from the target to the bursts was determined in this case by subtracting the readings of one rangefinder from the readings of the other.
2. The method of measured distances (when the range finder measured the distance to its own bursts and was compared with the distance to the target, calculated by the central firing machine).
3. By observing the signs of the fall (fork). In this case, the flight or undershoot was simply recorded with the corresponding proofs. In essence, for this method of shooting the KDP was not at all necessary, it was enough binoculars.
So, Italian PUS were focused on the method of measured deviations in the first embodiment, i.e. Italian KDP were completed with one range finder and skartometrom. In this case, the central automatic shooting was not intended to carry out calculations in the case of zeroing on the observation of signs of falling. Not that such an adjustment was completely impossible, but for a number of reasons it was very difficult. At the same time, the method of measured distances could not “cheat” the brainchild of the firm Galileo. In addition, the Italians had no instruments to control shooting at night or in conditions of poor visibility.
Such approaches to fire management, the Soviet experts found vicious. And the first thing that distinguished the Soviet approach from the Italian was the device of the control tower.
If we use the method of measured deviations for zeroing, then theoretically, of course, there is no difference whether to measure the distance to the target ship and to the bursts (which requires at least two range finders), or measure the distance to the ship and the distance between it and the bursts (for which you need one range finder and skartometr). But in practice, the determination of the exact distance to the enemy before the opening of fire is very important, because it allows the machine to give accurate initial data to the firing machine and creates the prerequisites for the fastest covering of the target. But the optical range finder is a very peculiar device that requires very high qualification and perfect vision from the person controlling it. Therefore, even during the First World War, the distance to the enemy was tried to be measured by all range finders, which only are on the ship and which are able to see the target, and then the main artilleryman discarded obviously wrong values at his discretion, and took the average value from the others. The same requirements were also put forward by the “Charter of the Artillery Service on the RKKF ships”.
Accordingly, the more rangefinders capable of measuring the distance to the target, the better. That is why the KDP of our modernized battleships of the “Sevastopol” type were equipped with two rangefinders each. Before the start of the battle, they could control the distance to the enemy ship, and during the battle one would measure the distance to the target, the second - to the bursts. But the KDP of the German, English and, as far as the author was able to figure out, the American and Japanese cruisers, had only one range finder each. Of course, it should be borne in mind that the same Japanese cruisers had quite a few range finders and in addition to those deployed in the control tower, many cruisers also carried additional range finders in the towers. But, for example, the German cruisers of the type “Admiral Hipper”, though they carried one range-finder in the KDP, but they had three KDP themselves.
But still these additional range finders and KDP, as a rule, were located relatively low above sea level, respectively, their use at long distances was difficult. The 26 and 26-bis cruisers also had additional rangefinders, both openly placed and placed in each turret, but unfortunately they had only one control tower: the sailors wanted a second one, but they took it down for reasons of weight saving.
But this unique KDP was unique in its kind: there were THRE range finders in it. One determined the distance to the target, the second - to bursts, and the third could duplicate the first or second, which gave the Soviet cruiser significant advantages over not only the Italian, but also with any other foreign ship of the same class.
However, the improvement of the Italian PUS was not limited to range finders. Soviet sailors and developers were completely unhappy with the work of the central shooting machine (CAS), which the Italians used to call the “Central”, namely, its “commitment” to the only method of zeroing on measured deviations. Yes, this method was considered the most advanced, but in some cases the method of measured distances turned out to be useful. As for the method of observing the signs of falling, it was hardly worth using it while the KDP is intact, but anything can happen in combat. It is quite possible that the KDP has been destroyed and can no longer provide data for the first two methods of zeroing. In this case, the adjustment with a “fork” will be the only way to harm the enemy, if, of course, the central automatic firing machine is capable of effectively “calculating” it. Therefore, when designing the PUS for the newest cruisers, the following requirements were set.
The central automatic firing shall be capable of:
1. "Count" all three types of shooting with equal efficiency.
2. Have a shooting scheme with a spotter plane (the Italians did not provide for this).
In addition, there were other requirements. For example, the Italian MSA did not give acceptable accuracy in assessing the lateral displacement of the target, and this, of course, required correction. Of course, the Soviet PUS, in addition to the courses / speeds of its own ship and the target ship, took into account many other parameters: shooting of the trunk, wind direction and force, pressure, air temperature and “other parameters”, as many sources say. By “other”, according to the author, is understood at least as the temperature of the powder in the charges (also the “Geisler and K” CCP of sample 1911 was taken into account) and the air humidity.
In addition to the KDP and CAS, there were other innovations: for example, fire control devices were introduced at night and in conditions of poor visibility. Thus, in terms of the aggregate parameters of the PUS, the 26 and 26-bis cruisers of the project were in no way inferior to the best world analogues. Interestingly, V. Kofman, in his monograph Princes of Kriegsmarin. About the CACs of the Admiral Hipper cruisers, which had similar functionalities to the CAC-1. Heavy cruisers of the Third Reich "writes:
It should be noted that the PUS of our cruisers (the “Lightning” for the 26 project and the “Lightning-AC” for the 26-bis project) had quite serious differences between them: The PUS of the 26, “Kirov” and “Voroshilov” project cruisers were still worse than PUS cruisers project 26-bis. It turned out this way: simultaneously with the development of the CAS-1 (central firing machine - 1) with the parameters described above, it was decided to create the CAC-2 - a lightweight and simplified analogue of CAC-1 for destroyers. For him was adopted a number of simplifications. For example, only the method of measured deviations was supported, there were no firing algorithms with the participation of a spotter plane. In general, CAC-2 turned out to be very close to the original Italian version. Unfortunately, as of 1937, the CAC-1 was not yet ready, and therefore the CNC-26 was installed on both 2 cruisers, but the 26-bis cruisers received an improved CAC-1.
A small remark: the allegations that the PUS of the Soviet ships did not have the ability to produce data for firing at super-long distances at an invisible target are not entirely correct. According to them, only the Kirov and Voroshilov PUS could not “work” (and even with great reservations), but subsequent cruisers just had such an opportunity.
In addition to a more sophisticated central shooting machine, the Molniya-AC center for cruisers of the Maxim Gorky type also had other advantages. For example, PUS of Kirov-type cruisers corrected only for rolling (which was compensated for by a change in the vertical pickup angle), but for Maxim Gorky-type cruisers, for both onboard and keel.
But it is quite difficult to compare the PUS of the Soviet cruisers with the Italian “ancestors” - “Raimondo Montecuccoli”, “Eugenio di Savoia” and the “Giuseppe Garibaldi” following them.
All of them had one KDP, but if it was located in 26 meters above water in the 26 ships, in 26-bis in 20 m (AV Platonov gives even larger values - 28,5 m and 23 m, respectively), then in Italian cruisers - about 20 m. At the same time, the Soviet KDP was equipped with three rangefinders with a six-meter base (the larger the base, the more accurate the measurements), Italian - two rangefinders with a five-meter base, and one of them was used as a skartometr. The author of this article could not figure out whether it was possible to use the rangefinder-skartometr simultaneously with the second rangefinder to determine the distance to the target, but even if it was possible, three 6-meter rangefinders are much better than two five-meter ones. The Italians did not use the “Central” of their own design as the central shooting machine, but the Barre and Strood English RM1 - unfortunately, some exact data about its characteristics were not found on the network either. It can be assumed that, at best, this device corresponds to the domestic CAC-1, but this is somewhat doubtful, since the British in the period between world wars were desperately saving on everything and the cruisers received only the minimum necessary. For example, LUS-type cruisers could only be adjusted in the oldest way possible - by observing signs of falling.
Soviet fire control devices at night and in conditions of poor visibility were probably more perfect than Italian ones because they had (albeit a simple) computing device that allowed not only to give initial target designation, but also to give the towers corrections based on the results of shooting. But according to the data available to the author, similar Italian devices consisted only of a reticle and communication devices and computing devices did not have.
Italian developers quite interestingly solved the issue of duplicating their own CCP. It is well known that the Montekuccoli and Eugenio di Savoie-class cruisers had 4 towers of the main caliber. In this extreme nasal (№1) and aft (№4) were ordinary towers, not even equipped with a range finder, but the elevated towers №2 and 3 had not only a range finder, but also a simple automatic shooting each. At the same time in the tower №2 even equipped with the post of the second artillery officer. Thus, in the event of failure of the KDP or CAS, the cruiser did not lose the centralized fire control while the towers of the No. XXUMX or 2 tower were alive. However, on Soviet cruisers, each of the three towers of the main caliber had both its own rangefinder and a machine gun. It is difficult to say how significant this advantage is, because the towers are not located too high above the water and the view from them is relatively small. For example, in the battle of Pantelleria, Italian cruisers fired according to the KDP, but the rangefinders of the towers did not see the enemy. In any case, even if this advantage was small, it was still left for the Soviet ships.
In general, according to the main caliber of the 26 and 26-bis cruisers, the following can be stated:
1. 180-mm guns B-1-P were very formidable weapons, the combat capabilities of which came close to the 203-mm artillery systems of the heavy cruisers of the world.
2. The PUS of the 26 and 26-bis cruisers of the project had only one major drawback - one KDP (although, by the way, many Italian, English and Japanese cruisers had such a drawback). The rest of the domestic fire control system of the main caliber was at the level of the best world samples.
3. The Soviet PUS are by no means a copy of the acquired Italian SLA, while on the Italian and Soviet cruisers there were completely different PUS.
Thus, it would not be a mistake to say that the main caliber of Soviet cruisers was a success. Unfortunately, the rest of the artillery of the 26 and 26-bis ships cannot be said.
Rang Caliber (ZKDB) represented six one-gun 100-mm guns B-34. I must say that the design bureau of the Bolshevik plant, while designing this artillery system in 1936, “swung” very widely. While, for example, the British 102-mm QF Mark XVI gun, developed two years earlier, accelerated an 15,88-kg projectile to a speed of 811 m / s, the Soviet B-34 had to shoot an 15,6-kg with a projectile with an initial speed of 900 m / sec. This should have given our gun a record range of 22 km and a ceiling of 15 km, but, on the other hand, increased its weight and recoil momentum. Therefore, it was assumed (and quite rightly) that such an installation would not be able to be guided by hand manually: the speed of vertical and horizontal pickup will be lower than low, and the commanders will not have time to aim at flying planes. Accordingly, the aiming of the instrument on the target was to be carried out by electric drives (synchronous power transmission or MTSP), which according to the project provided the speed of vertical guidance in 20 degrees / sec and horizontal guidance - 25 degrees / sec. These are excellent indicators, and whether they were achieved ... but the MTSP for the B-34 was not developed before the war, and without it, the vertical and horizontal targeting speeds did not reach 7 degrees / sec (although the project on manual control should have made 12 degrees / sec). It can only be recalled that the Italians, with its vertical and horizontal speed in 100 degrees / sec, did not consider the Minnini 10-mm Minizini its anti-aircraft “Sparka”, in the pre-war and military years, to be considered a weapon that could be dangerous for enemy aircraft In this case, they tried to replace these installations with 37-mm automata.
The meager speed of aiming deprived the B-34 of any anti-aircraft value, but the lack of MTSP is just one of the many shortcomings of this tool. The idea of a pneumatic shearer capable of loading a gun at any angle of elevation was great, and probably could provide a design rate of fire in 15 fps / min., But the existing rammer could not cope with its task, so you had to load it manually. At the same time at the corners of the pickup, close to the limit, the projectile spontaneously fell out of the breech ... but if you still managed to shoot, the shutter did not always open automatically, so you also had to open it manually. Finally killed the B-34 as an anti-aircraft gun disgusting work installer fuses. As you know, at that time no radar fuses did not exist yet, therefore anti-aircraft shells were supplied with a remote fuse that operated after the projectile would fly a certain distance. To install a remote fuse, it was necessary to turn a certain metal ring of the projectile to a certain number of degrees (corresponding to the desired range), for which, in fact, needed a device called “distance installer”. But, unfortunately, he worked poorly on the B-34, so that the correct distance could be set only by accident.
The B-34, designed in 1936 and presented for testing in 1937, successively failed the tests of 1937, 1938 and 1939, while in 1940 it was nevertheless put into service "with the subsequent elimination of deficiencies", but in the same 1940, discontinued. However, it was commissioned by the first four Soviet cruisers, and only Pacific ships were spared from it, having received the 8 with fully adequate single-gun 85-mm anti-aircraft installations 90-K (Kalinin was commissioned with eight 76-mm installations 34-K). Not that 90-K or 34-K was the top of anti-aircraft artillery, but at least it was quite possible to shoot at planes (and sometimes even get).
Anti-aircraft "machines" were represented by single-gun 45-mm installations 21-K. The history of the appearance of this weapon is very dramatic. The naval forces of the Red Army perfectly understood the need for small-caliber rapid-fire machine guns for the fleet and very much counted on the 1930-mm and 20-mm machine guns of the German company Rheinmetall purchased in 37, the prototypes of which, along with the documentation for their manufacture, were transferred to factory No. 8, in which, according to the then plans, they were going to concentrate on the production of anti-aircraft artillery systems for the navy and for the army. However, over three years of operation, it was not possible to manufacture a single operating 20-mm machine (2-K) or 37-mm machine (4-K).
Many authors (including A. B. Shirokorad) blame the failure of the plant's design bureau. But in fairness it must be said that in Germany itself these 20-mm and 37-mm automata were not brought to mind. Moreover, even at the beginning of the Second World War, when Rheinmetall was the largest supplier of automatic rifles of this caliber for the German fleet, no one would have called its products very successful.
And in the USSR, exhausted from attempts to bring the underdone and realizing that at least in some small-caliber artillery system the fleet needed, and urgently, offered to install an anti-tank 45-mm 19-K gun on the anti-aircraft machine. This is how 21-K was born. The installation turned out to be quite reliable, but it had two fundamental flaws: the 45-mm projectile did not have a remote detonator, so that the enemy aircraft could only be hit by a direct hit, but the absence of an automatic fire mode left such a chance a minimum.
Probably only the 12,7-mm DShK machine guns best suited their purpose, but the problem was that even the 20-mm Oerlikon in the general anti-aircraft defense of the ships was considered something of a last chance weapon: the 20-mm projectile energy was still not high for a serious battle with the air enemy. What to say about a much weaker 12,7-mm cartridge!
No matter how sad it is to state, but at the time of the commissioning of the air defense, the cruisers of the 26 project and the first pair of 26-bis represented the nominal value. The situation improved somewhat with the advent of 37-mm 70-K assault rifles, which were a somewhat degraded version of the famous Swedish 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns, and ... one can only regret how the production of the best small-caliber anti-aircraft guns of those years was missed.
The fact is that the USSR acquired the 40-mm Bofors and used it to create the ground-based 37-mm 61-K submachine gun. One of the reasons that the Swedish machine gun was not put into service in its original form was the desire to save on the production of shells, reducing their caliber by 3 mm. Given the huge needs of the army in such artillery systems, such considerations can be considered justified. But for the fleet, which required significantly fewer such machines, the cost of the ships they protected was enormous, where it would be more sensible to supply more powerful Bofors. But, unfortunately, instead, it was decided to make an anti-aircraft gun for the fleet based on the ground 61-K.
However, it was impossible to call unsuccessful 70-K. Despite certain shortcomings, he fully met the requirements of the air defense of those times, and in the course of modernization, the ships of the 26 and 26-bis projects received from 10 to 19 such machines.
In more detail, the capabilities of our cruisers' air defense systems will be considered when comparing ships of the 26 and 26-bis project with foreign cruisers, and in the next article of the cycle we will look at the booking, hull and main mechanisms of the first domestic cruisers.
To be continued ...
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