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Project 68 Chapaev class

The first series of Soviet type cruisers - the Kirov - was still under construction, and the team of designers, led by Anatoly Maslov, began to develop a new light cruiser, as provided for in the Big Fleet construction program. Project 68 light cruisers was supposed to be “stronger than all the cruisers of the same type of foreign fleets” and successfully fight even with heavy cruisers of the “Washington” type. It was planned to arm it with 152-mm main-caliber artillery and protect it with 100-mm side armor. The lead ship Frunze was laid in 1939, but the Great Patriotic War threatened Stalin’s plans to create an ocean fleet. The construction of the ship was suspended in 1941.

The experience of military operations during the Great Patriotic War and the progress of naval equipment put forward a number of new increased requirements for the effectiveness of weapons and ship protection. However, since 1942, while evacuating to Kazan, the designers of TsKB-17, under the leadership of the chief designer of project 68 Anatoly Maslov, worked on the implementation of these requirements in case a decision was made on the completion of the canned light cruisers of project 68. At the beginning of 1947, the adjusted taking into account all the requirements, the project received the number 68K was approved. A couple of years later, in the summer of 1949, the head cruiser Chapaev went to the Gulf of Finland for testing. During the year, the specialists of the Zhdanov plant brought the ship and in September 1950 the cruiser Chapaev became part of the 4th (South-Baltic) fleet.

Much on the ship for the domestic fleet was the first time. So, for the first time in the USSR Navy, the integrated application of domestic radar systems for the detection and recognition of air and sea targets, as well as artillery fire, was introduced. At the time of commissioning, the Chapaev cruiser became the largest and most modern artillery ship in the USSR Navy. He participated in numerous exercises, accompanied foreign visits by dignitaries, made several long trips - in general, he was actively exploited in the Baltic and the North. In 1959, "Chapaev" during the transition to the Atlantic Ocean in the Faroe Islands was in a severe storm, which seriously damaged the ship. In particular, a breakwater, ventilation fungi, and other equipment were destroyed in the bow, and the deck in the midship area was broken. The campaign had to be interrupted, and the ship itself should be sent for emergency repairs in Kronstadt. Nevertheless, already in the autumn of that year, the cruiser participated in the evacuation of personnel and military property of a nuclear test site on Novaya Zemlya Island.

Nevertheless, the ship, the roots of the project of which lay in the pre-war time, became obsolete quite quickly. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, new types of weapons, energy, and electronic equipment came to warships. The euphoria of missile weapons swept the whole world, against which large artillery ships seemed only good targets. In February 1960, the cruiser Chapaev was disarmed and reorganized into a floating ship, and in April 1963 it was removed from the Navy. In October of that year, the crew of the ship was disbanded, and in 1964 the cruiser itself was cut into metal at the Murmansk base of Glavvtorchermet.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:25:00 ZULU