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Project 82 Stalingrad class

After the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet Union again became interested in battlecruiser construction. These three vessels were laid down in 1952 and 1953, but the death of Stalin and Khrushchev's lack of interest in large vessels led to the cancellation of all three. Kronshtadt was briefly considered for conversion to a missile ship. Four more were planned but never started.

By 1945 domestic surface ships - battleships, cruisers and destroyers not only were substantially inferior to their American analogs introduced into service in 1941-45, but also they were extremely worn. The wear of Soviet ships was determined by intensive use in the War years in the absence proper repair. Actually by January 1, 1946, the Soviet fleet was unfit for action. However, the cost of repair and modernization of old ships in the majority of the cases was commensurate with the cost of building new. As a result Soviet Admirals and ship builders faced a simple selection: either to build artillery ships taking into account the experience of the Great Patriotic War, or to allow the fleet to go without such ships.

In the Soviet fleetm battlecruisers [literally "linear cruisers"] were named heavy cruisers (battlecruiser). First battlecruiser of Project 69 - "Kronstadt" and "Sevastopol" - were already laid, but after the war Project 69 was recognized as obsolete, and in 1948, the unfinished hulls of these cruisers were dismantled.

Operational-tactical task [OTZ] for designing battlecruiser of Project 82 was affirmed by the Chief of the Navies N.G.Kuznetsov in May 1941. Actually this was a somewhat altered version of Project 83, as the heavy cruiser "Lutzow" purchased in Germany was named. The battlecruiser of Project 82 had to have the same major caliber artillery (eight 203- mm of guns in four turrets) that was mounted on "Lutzow". The design of battlecruiser Project 82 initially occupied TSKB-17. Since in the period 1941-42 it was explained that German 203-mm guns that been acquired will no longer be delivered, just as to 305-mm of guns B-50 from the plant "Barricady", the designers OF TSKB-17 in 1943 they began to dream with the main battery, proposing to arm cruiser with nine guns of caliber 210-230 mm. This caliber was not then in Soviet sea artillery service, but Project originators risked nothing: it was clear that battlecruiser of Project 82 will not be built in the course of the war. It was considered that the cruiser, mounting 230-mm guns will easily manage any foreign cruiser, armed with 203-mm guns.

In November 1944 the new OTZ for Project 82 proposed to arm the cruiser with nine 220-mm guns targetting instruments [GK], along with 16 x 130-mm universal [ies, dual purpose] guns, 32 x 45-mm guns and the 12 x 25-mm anti-aircraft automatic weapons. The displacement of this cruiser was to be 25-26 thousand tons, with a running speed of not less than 30 units. At the end January 1947, a special conference on the problems of military shipbuilding took place in the Kremlin with the participation of I.V.Stalin. In the course of conference Stalin proposed to arm the Project 82 battlecruiser with 305- mm guns.

In the summing up of this conference on January 28, 1947, the decision of Council of Ministers of the USSR directed the Ministry of Naval Forces and the Ministry of Ship-building Industry to work versions of the Project 82 ship with 305-mm and 220-mm major caliber artillery, also, within a two-month period to present the Council of Ministers with a plan for consideration. At the beginning February 1947, the new Central Board of the Navy under I.S. Yumashev affirmed the OTZ to the study of the versions indicated. The selection of the 305-mm major caliber artillery was determined by the new enumeration of tasks for the heavy cruisers: giving combat stability to the light forces, which act in the composition of maneuverability compounds; the destruction of the cruisers of enemy forces with 203-mm and and 152-mm guns in naval combat action; inflicting powerful artillery impacts on especially important coast purposes in the operations against the bases and the coast of enemy (both with the independent operations and with interaction with the seaside flank of its troops and landing).

With the development of these versions there were examined different compositions of major caliber artillery (8 to 12 305-mm guns in two- or three-gun turret installations) and universal (with 130- mm or 152-mm instruments in the twin turret installations), the united composition of small-calibre antiaircraft artillery (45- mm and 25- mm automatic weapons).

Requirements [OTZ] for the development of alternative designs 220-mm artillery differed from the taskset in 1944. The ammunition of the main battery was reduced from 170 to 125 rounds, the quantity 130-mm universal (anti-aircraft ["zenith"] distant battle) guns was decreased from 16 to 12, the ammunition for 45-mm automatic weapons was readuced from 1500 to 1000 shots to the stem. The number of 25-mm of automatic weapons increased from 12 to 30, and their ammunition was reduced from 3000 to 2500 shots.

In August 1947, the ministers of the Armed Forces N.A.Bulganin), of the Ship-building Industry A.A. Goreglyad]) and of armament D.F.Ustinov presented for the consideration of the government three versions of the Project 82 battlecruiser: two with 305-mm gund and one eith 220-mm major caliber artillery. In their report to Stalin they based the expediency of applying 305-mm guns and noted that the represented two versions with the identical armament were characterized by the thickness of armor of the main onboard belt of ship, which was explained by the differences between the ministry of Armed Forces and Minsudpromom on the optimum thickness of armor. Bulganin proposed the version of #1 with a thickness of armor of 200 mm, which ensures the protection of major vitally important portions of the ship of 203- mm of the Projectiles of enemy from distance 70 cables and the high degree of freedom of maneuvering in combat with the same ships, what was his important tactical advantage.

However, Goreglyad proposed to accept the version #2 with 150-mm as armor belt, with the appropriate decrease of the displacement of ship and an increase in the speed of running. This, in the opinion Minsudproma, had to allow the ship of Project 82 to successfully conduct battle with the heavy cruisers of enemy with 203-mm by artillery on the distant distances, and in this case the armor protection of ship was completely sufficient from the projectiles on distance 85 cabels. The version of #3 with 220- mm by artillery was strongly inferior to the previous versions on the firepower and the combat vitality. The higher (factor of 1.5) speed of complete running and smaller (to 25%) displacement was to its advantage.

In March 1948 Stalin approved for further design the version #1 (with 305-mm artillery and 200-mm armoring, standard displacement of 40,000 tons and speed of running of 32 knots, and gave indication to accelerate the creation of such cruisers. Subsequently the battlecruiser of Project 82 was considered as the main opponent of the American "Alaska" battlecruisers.

After making a decision about the selection of the version battlecruiser of Project 82 prepared in 1947. the project of tactical-technical task for the design of ship was corrected by the Navy, it was coordinated with Minsudpromom, and in April 1948 it was presented to the Council of Ministers of USSR. On August 31 the same year came the decision of Council of Ministers about design and building of the head ship of Project 82. The chief designer on the Project it was assigned L.V. Dikovich, while by main observer from the Navies was Captain of 1st Rank M.S. Mikhaylov.

So at the end 1947, TSKB-17 began the development of the preliminary design of the ship, which was presented for consideration to the Ministry of the Navy and Ministry of Ship-building Industry in March 1949. Developers represented four versions of preliminary design, characterized by arrangement universal artillery [130-mm dual purpose] also of zenith [ie, anti-aircraft] automatic weapons, by the quantity and the steaming capacity of the main boilers and by the arrangement of main power plant.

  1. Version L-3-6 had the rhombic arrangement of 130-mm guns and mountings BL-110, with 12 boilers with a productivity of 80 t pair in the hour into four the boiler rooms and two machine rooms.
  2. In the version B-3-8 the gun and mounting of universal caliber were placed on four from each board, and 12 boilers of the same steaming capacity - in six boiler rooms.
  3. Version L -2-4 had rhombic arrangement of 130-mm guns BL-110, four machine- boiler departments (on two boilers with a productivity of 130 t/h and to one [GTZA] in each).
  4. But for technical designing the fourth version L-2-6 had the arrangement of universal artillery and main power plant was analogous with version L -3-6, but in each of the boiler rooms there were two main boilers instead of three, with a productivity of 130 t/h.

TSKB-17 had to present the engineering design to the customer at the end of 1949 in order to ensure the beginning of building ships in the 3rd quarter of 1950, and already in April 1949 the designers approached technical designing. But in autumn of the same year, with the examination in the Kremlin of the results of developing represented by the ministries Navy and of Ship-building Industry for a preliminary design, Stalin asked: "Is it not possible to increase the speed of running of the ship so that our heavy cruiser could overtake and destroy [enemy ships] that were less strong in the armament and the protection the ship of its enemy, and in proper time escape from any stronger ship?"

This wish of Stalin was perceived as indication about a change in the TTZ from the government a year earlier. As a result, TSKB-17 developed a preliminary design they did not affirm, but in the protocol of its examination they noted that the ship has too great a displacement and insufficient running speed.

On October 15, 1949. Council of Ministers of the USSR published the decision "about an improvement in the design of ships and about the measures for aid to design bureaus and to the Research Institutes of military ship building", in which one of the main reasons for delay in the execution of the plan was acknowledged as the unsatisfactory guarantee of plants with technical documentation. By the same decision Council of Ministers decided to organize design bureau for the design of battleships and heavy cruisers with the direct subordination to Minsudpromu - TSKB-16. From this time the heavy cruisers of Project 82 became to be occupied exceptionally new design bureau - TSKB-16.

At the beginning March 1950 a new conference took place in the Kremlin office of I.V. of Stalin on Project 82 with the participation V.A.Malyshev, I.S.Yumashev and deputy of Glavkoma Navy P.S. Abankina. About the designation battlecruiser the seamen answered to Stalin's question, that it must fight with the heavy cruisers of the enemy. On that Stalin objected that the basic task of the heavy cruiser must be different - to fight with the light cruisers of enemy, and necessary to increase his speed to 35 units so that it always could leave from under the impact of the heavy ships of the enemy.

Then Stalin proposed a number of measures for the decrease of displacement. When seamen objected against some of them, they made the valid observations as to the composition of the universal and antiaircraft artillery, also, on the fire unit of the artillery of all calibers, after noting that it is foolish to place on battlecruiser 130-mm anti-aircraft guns with the ceiling of shooting of 16 km, indeed enemy will bomb him from height 500-1500 m, and therefore small-calibre antiaircraft artillery is necessary. But Stalin also ordered to reduction in the quantity of zenith automatic weapons, counting which this ship will always have a protection, which must it protect. Seamen objected against the reduction of fire unit, referring to that US Navy and England had aboard their ships a heavy stock of such projectiles.

Stalin countered: "Do not blindly copy Americans and Englishmen, in other conditions, their ships depart far to the ocean, being torn off from their bases. We do not think to conduct oceanic combat, but we will war near its shores, and we should have large stock ammunition aboard the ship". For the same reasons Stalin permitted decreasing the cruising range and noted that to create a ship which would have all advantages is impossible. After learning that the lead cruiser was planned to place in Leningrad, Stalin said that he would want to first of all have two battlecruiser in the Black sea, "where it is necessary to have large fleet, once in ten is greater than now, and to know how to strongly lock the Dardanelles. In the second turn - build the heavy cruisers in the Baltic region".

Taking into account of the observations of Stalin for the preliminary design and the results of developing the preliminary stage of the technical project, the Council of Ministers of the USSR by decision dated March 25, 1950 affirmed the basic elements of task for the development of the technical of Project 82 with the partial changes to the TTZ of August 1948. Now the speed of complete running battlecruiser had to reach 35 knots due to the decrease of the artillery armament of universal caliber and small-calibre antiaircraft artillery, the displacement was 36-36,500 tons, and the cruising range and independence were reduced in comparison with the previous alternative designs.

Minsudprom had to represent the technical project [tekhproekt] in the assertion in February 1951. Simultaneously, the Council of Ministers of the USSR bound Mminsudprom to begin in the 2nd quarter of the same year the building of two cruisers of Project 82 at the plants of #444 in Nikolayev and #189 in Leningrad with the delivery to the customer in 1954 and 1955, respectively. In December 1952, the Tekhproekt 82 was completed at TSKB-16 and presented to the assertion of the Naval Ministry and Minsudprom.

The basic contractors by the armament, the instruments, the electrical equipment, the main turbine plant, the boilers and their auxiliary mechanisms did not cease the development of engineering designs and working drawings even in the period of a change in the elements of ship in connection with the requirement to increase its speed. Therefore in the first months of 1951. they could transmit working documentation into the production. A number of the models of auxiliary mechanisms were prepared and accepted by the interdepartmental commissions toward the end of 1950, because of the combination of the stages of design and preparation for production. In the creation of the battlecruiser of Project 82, toward the end of 1950, some 45 collectives of the leading scientific research institutes, PKB and largest plants participated: Izhorskogo, Kirov, Leningrad metal-working, Baltic, Novokramatorsk Heavy Machine Building Plant.

By January 1951 the solution of the Naval Ministry and Minsudproma the association TSKB-16 began the urgent preparation for working documentation, in order to accelerate the beginning of the building of the heavy cruisers immediately at three plants, without waiting until the examination and the assertion of the tekhproekta. On June 4, 1951, the Council of Ministers of the USSR affirmed technical Project 82. And on November 14 the same year it was accepted the decision of the government about the building of third battlecruiser at the plant of #402 Mmolotovsk Plant (now Severodvinsk).

There was to be on the Project battlecruiser: 3 x 3 305-mm of S-31 guns in the turrets (general ammunition of 720 shots); 6 x 2 130-mm universal turret installations BL -109[a] (2400 shots); 6 x 4 - 45- mm antiaircraft sites S-20-3[iF] (19,200 shots total) and 10 x 4 - 25-mm antiaircraft sites BL -120 (48 000 shots). Into the composition of control system of artillery shooting entered RLS and optical means. Each S-31 turret installation was equipped with "Sea-82" and range-only radar "Tgrotto", while each installation BL-109[a] had a range-only radar "Sirius-B".

The main armor belt (with a thickness of armor of 180 mm) for the elongation of citadel had a slope angle from the vertical line of 15 and protected the board of lower than the average (main armor) deck; the deepening of its lower edge on the midship section under the water line was 1.7 meters. The transverse sortings of citadel had a thickness to 140 mm (bow) and 125 mm (stern), the walls of conning turret were to 260 mm, roof - 100 mm. of deck in the region of citadel had a thickness of the armor: upper - 50 mm, average - 75 mm, lower - 20 mm. The frontal wall of the turrets of the main battery was protected by 240-mm of armor, side walls 225-mm, the roof 125-mm, and the rear wall, which carried out the role of counterweight, consisted of three plates with a total thickness of 400-760 mm.

The anti-mine protection [PMZ], which covered the vitally important sections of ship (storage of ammunition, main posts, the accomodation of main power plant) for the elongation of citadel, it consisted of three-four longitudinal sortings. From them the second (with a thickness 8.25 mm) and the third (50 mm) had cylindrical form, and the first (8.15 mm) and the fourth (15.30 mm) were flat. Volumes between the first (the second) and third sortings were used under the fuel-, which in proportion to expense was replaced by outboard water. For an increase in the extent of armor protection on the vertical line by third (basic shielding) sorting [PMZ] hung up additionally the armor plates with a thickness of from 20 to 100 mm.

For the first time in the domestic shipbuilding on the cruisers of Project 82 was provided with three-layered bottom protection, executed along the longitudinal-transverse system for the elongation of the citadel. Its height from the outer covering to the third bottom was 2250 mm, the outer covering it was carried out from the armor with a thickness of 20 mm, the second bottom had a thickness of 18 mm, and the third was 12.18 mm.

The main power plant was four GTZA with a power of 70,000 hp and 12 main boilers with a steaming capacity on 110 t/h, with the parameters of vapor 66 atm and 460C, which for that time was the most powerful in the world. The USA similar GE adapted on the aircraft carriers of the type "Kitty Hawk" and "John F. Kennedy", which entered service only in the period 1961-68.

In 1950 the sea general staff developed the tentative Project of state for the battlecruiser of Project 82, on which was provided for the craft commander the title of Rear admiral, for the senior Zampolit (Deputy Commander for Political Affairs) and the commanders BCh-2 and BCh-5 - captains of 1st Ranks.

Formally the laying of the lead ["head"] cruiser "Stalingrad" took place on 31 December 1951. at the plant of #444 in Nikolayev, although the bottom sections of the ship were established on the stock in November. The association of plant took upon itself the "socialist obligation" to complete the ship before the appointed time, that the ship would be launchd ["go down to the water"] on the 36th anniversary of October (i.e. by November 7, 1953.), . In September 1952 on the stocks "A" of the plant #189 in Leningrad was placed second battlecruiser - "Moskva". In October 1952, in the northern dock of the building-slip shop-airshed of the plant of #402 in [Molotovske] was laid the third heavy cruiser of Project 82, which did not receive a name of its own [sources diverge on this point].

The cruiser "Stalingrad" was built more rapidly than the others. Toward the end of 1952 contractors placed on it 118 models of the peripheral equipment: armament, boiler and turbine installation, electro and diesel-generator installations, auxiliary mechanisms, heat exchangers, ship devices and equipment, the system of automation and instrument technology.

But on March 5, 1953, Stalin died, and already on April 18, 1953 the order #00112 from the Minister of Transportation and Heavy Machine Building I.I.Nosenko provided for the curtailment of the building of all three battlecruiser of the type "Stalingrad". It is understandable that this solution was carried out not by minister himself, but by someone of the highest leadership, which arrived at authority after Stalin's death. All this occurred rapidly and quietly, without the objections from the side of Admirals or ship-builders.

In June 1953, the Minister of Transport and Heavy Machine-building and the Central Board of the Navy made the decision to use a part of the hull of the unfinished cruiser "Stalingrad", the included citadel, as the full-scale test section for the checking by firing tests under test range [polygon] conditions of the durability of the design (armor and anti-mine) protection of ship to the action of the new models of naval weapons, finalizing their fuses and warheads. Documentation on the re-equipment of section was developed by branch TSKB-16 in Nikolayev. The Nikolaevskiy branch was shut after this. In 1954 the section was launched, and in 1956-57 it was used as the target for the tests of cruise missiles, artillery shells, aircraft bombs and torpedoes and in this case did not lose buoyancy in the absence on it forces and means of the struggle for survival, which confirmed the high efficiency of the provided by project protection of cruiser. The unfinished hulls of other two [TKR] were cut into the metal on the stocks of the plants of #189 and #402.

The finished parts of the 305-mm guns of the main battery battlecruiser were decided to use with the creation of the railroad batteries of coast defense. On January 19, 1955, the decision of Council of Ministers about the creation four 305- mm of batteries with the use of 12 instruments S-33 of turret guns and mountings S-31 called for their delivery Navy in 1957-1958. In TSKB-34 was begun the work on the creation 305-mm of railroad installation S-41. The development of drawings and technical documentation on the installation was finished in July 1954 ; however work on it was soon ended on Khrushchev's order.

By decision of government dated March 19, 1955. "About the use of material values, which were remained from the curtailment the building of the ships of Project 82" Mintransmash and Minsudproma were charged to ensure storage at the Kharkov turbogenerator plant of reserve on the production of eight main turbine gear aggregates TV-4 for battlecruiser Project 82, and at the plants #402 and #444 the machine- boiler equipment. By the same decision to the ministry of defense industry were prescribed to transmit to Defense Ministry twelve parts of 2[M]-109, prepared with plant "Bolshevik" for the 130-mm of the guns and mountings BL-109[a] of cruiser "Stalingrad".

The expediency of the curtailment of works on Project 82 was understandable, in that there was no sense in this in the future of the fleet. At the end of the 1960s it became clear that the paralyzing impact on the carrier-based striking forces US Navy from the position of tracking on the combat service could effectively bring an end to artillery cruisers of Project 26-bis and Project 68-bis. At the crisis moments they actively were used in the forces of tracking, continuously retaining with the aircraft carriers of the potential enemy the effective distance of artillery fire.

It was obvious to advocates that the unfinished heavy cruisers of Project 82 cut into the metal could be used in this case still more effectively, since any aircraft carrier in the effective distance of artillery fire its 305-mm guns in 1-2 minutes could be turned into a blazing ruins. Finally, heavy artillery ships - battleships and cruisers - possessed significant combat stability and were capable [before their loss] of inflicting defeat to an aircraft carrier even in the retaliatory attack. All this confirmed to some old rule that new military equipment of the fight at sea do not reject the old, but supplement them.

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