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Soviet Fleet Shipbuilding
Second Five-Year Plan (1933-37)

The leading idea of the naval shipbuilding program during the second Five-Year Plan was the need to build in the first and foremost, submarines, bombers and mine and torpedo aircraft. Forecast of development of submarines and aircraft allowed to conclude that in the near future they will become even more important in military operations at sea. However, the actual level of technical development of submarines and aircraft had not yet provided evidence that they completely replace the surface ships as the main striking force of the fleet.

Especially, this was true of submarine capabilities, which were dramatically decreased in size in limited theaters of naval operations, in particular in the Baltic Sea, where conditions favored the organization ASW. To ensure submarine operations surface forces, particularly ASW ships and boats, were necessary. At the same time, in limited size naval theaters in which the value of mines particularly increased, required fleets of large trawlers and surface mine-layers (both large and small).

The Naval shipbuilding program for the second five-year plan to some extent took into account all these requirements. It provided for the construction of a number of cruisers, destroyers and smaller warships. As trawlers, ships and boats ASW, the construction of their planned in insufficient quantities, and construction of amphibious ships are not planned at all.

Completion of the Second Five-Year Plan of the technical reconstruction of the entire economy, has ensured that the USSR in the state advanced industry, contributed to the implementation of the naval shipbuilding program. The total tonnage of warships of the Navy during the first two five-year plans has increased significantly. Simultaneously develop naval aviation, coastal defense intensified, expanded system based Navy.

During the second five-year period ther was a dramatic increase in the fleet of naval aviation, in particular the number of heavy bombers and fighters. However, the material part of aviation in the last years of the Second Five-Year Plan was not enough. Moreover, the consistent increase in the importance of aviation (notably defined during the war in Spain) and the complexity of the tasks of the Navy demanded more quantitative growth of the Air Force.

Much was made during the Second Five-Year Plan for the construction of coastal defense, particularly in the Pacific theater. However, the major shortcoming of this construction is relatively little attention to the preparation of the land fronts the defense of naval bases. Continuing development of views on the strategic and operational-tactical use of the Naval Forces of the Red Army during the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s allowed greater certainty to justify the requirements for its construction during the second five-year plan. The plan of development of the Naval Forces of the Red Army at that time was an object - a reliable defense of the borders of the Soviet state on the four main maritime theaters.

The leading idea of the program of military shipbuilding in the second five-year plan was the need to build first and foremost submarines, bombers and torpedo aircraft. Forecast of development of submarines and aircraft allows us to conclude that in the near future they will become even more important in the hostilities at sea. However, the actual level of technical development of submarines and aircraft did not give further reason to believe that they will completely replace surface ships. as the main striking force of the fleet.

This particularly concerned submarines, which drastically reduced the possibility of the restrictions on the size of maritime theaters, in particular the Baltic Sea, where conditions are favorable for the organization ASW. At the same time, the limited size of naval theaters in which the value of mines is particularly increased, it was necessary to have in the fleet a significant number of trawlers and surface mine-layers (both large and small).

The program of military shipbuilding to a second five-year period to some extent took into account all these requirements. She provided for the construction of a number of cruisers, destroyers and smaller warships. As for trawlers, ships and boats ASW, the construction of their planned in insufficient quantities, and the construction of landing craft was not planned at all.

Completion in the Second Five-Year Plan included technical reconstruction of the entire national economy, to ensure the transformation of the USSR into a state of advanced industry, contributed to the implementation of the program of military shipbuilding. The total tonnage of warships of the Navy for the second of the five year plans increased significantly. At the same time naval aviation and coastal defense were intensified.

In the second five-year period has increased dramatically fleet of naval aviation, in particular the number of heavy bombers and fighters. However, the material part of aviation in the last years of the Second Five-Year Plan proved to be no longer sufficient. Besides the consistent increase in the importance Aviation (visibly identified during the war in Spain) and the complexity of the tasks of the Navy demanded more quantitative growth of the Air Force.

Stalin's "Great Shipbuilding Program"

The termination of work on major surface combatants was associated with a short-term victory in the leadership of the fleet of the ideas of the "young school", demanding the abandonment of heavy ships and their replacement by light coastal forces: submarines, torpedo boats and coastal aviation. This fully corresponded to the strictly defensive doctrine of the Red Army Navy - their task was not to allow the enemy fleet to their shores, and for this it was supposed to give him a fight at a previously prepared mine and artillery position. However, already in the "Basic Considerations for the Development of the Naval Forces of the Red Army for the Second Five-Year Plan" of 1933, it was stated that "the basis of the Navy's construction program is the development of the fleet (primarily and primarily underwater) and heavy aviation." Under the rwen aviation was meant coastal aviation.

Already in 1934 Stalin was increasingly becoming aware and confident of the Soviet heavy industry built during the first and second (still unfinished) five-year plan. In particular, the naval historian I. V. Kasatonov emphasized the Soviet achievements in the construction of tanks and warplanes. As usual, Stalin did not speak publicly on the Navy; he let others do it for him. One such proponent of the Big Fleet Program was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Commissar for Defense Kliment E. Voroshilov. At the XVIIth Congress of the CPSU in 1934, he linked the achievements in fast industrialization, with the expectation that "on the basis of victorious industrialization we shall be able to create our shipbuilding industry and soon to produce our fleets, which will become the most powerful among workers-and-farmers navies."

In fact, in 1934, Soviet designers started developing the design of a new battleship. The matter progressed with difficulty: the experience of creating large ships they completely absent. I had to attract foreign specialists - first Italian, then American. In August 1936, after analyzing the various options, the technical specification for designing battleships of the type "A" (project 23) and "B" (project 25) was approved. The latter was soon abandoned in favor of the heavy cruiser of Project 69, but type "A" gradually poured into an armored monster that left far behind all its foreign counterparts. Stalin, who had a weakness for the giant ships.

The first version of the Great Shipbuilding Program of the People's Commissariat of Defense was presented to the government in 1936. In July 1936, the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR, with the blessing of the Secretary General, approved the seven-year program of "large-scale marine shipbuilding" for 1937-1943 (because of the cacophony of the official name in the literature, it is usually called the "Big Fleet" program).

It was decided to build battleships, heavy cruisers and other classes of surface ships, that is, a large surface fleet. A large number of submarines were also built. The construction of an aircraft carrier was not ruled out, but it was postponed only for the last year of the five-year plan. In accordance with it, it was planned to build 533 ships, including 24 battleships! For the then Soviet economy, the figures are absolutely unrealistic. All this was understood, but no one dared to object to Stalin.

Before 1943, it was planned to put into operation 8 large and 16 small battleships, 20 cruisers (including already built ships of the Kirov type), 17 leaders (including 6 ships of the Leningrad type), 128 destroyers of the Gnevny type ( Project 7), as well as 90 large, 164 medium and 90 small submarines. There was not a word about the aircraft carriers in the program.

However, subsequent events violated these plans. The mass political repressions that unfolded in the Soviet Union in 1937 severely struck the highest command and commanding staff of the Red Army, including its naval forces. All persons involved in the development and implementation of the shipbuilding program of 1936 for the creation of a "large" fleet (the chief of the naval forces of the Red Army, the flagship of the 1st rank fleet, VM Orlov, the chief of the Naval Academy, the flagship of the 1st rank, IM Ludri, Deputy people's Commissar of defense industry RA Muklevich etc.), during the summer and autumn of 1937 were arrested and declared "enemies of the people", and soon shot. Accordingly, a complete change of the leadership of the MC of the Red Army affected the fate of the shipbuilding program, which was constantly revised and adjusted.

On August 13/15, 1937, the Soviet government issued a decree on the processing of the shipbuilding program of 1936, the creators of which (VM Orlov, RA Muklevich and others) were already in the prisons of the NKVD. By January 1, 1947, the new plan provided for 599 main class ships , including six A-class battleships, 14 B-class battleships, three Marat-class battleships, two aircraft carriers, ten heavy cruisers, 22 light cruisers, three "Old cruisers", 20 leaders of destroyers, 144 destroyers, 84 large, 175 medium and 116 small submarines. Compared with the 1936 program, the "Plan for the construction of naval ships of the Red Army Naval Forces" looked more tactical: the number of destroyers was increased with a reduction in the number of battleships; for the Pacific and Northern fleets, for the first time, one aircraft carrier with a displacement of 10,000 tons was provided.

In August-September 1937 a new version of the program appeared - the changes were motivated by the fact that the old one was created by the "wreckers" VM Orlov, IM Ludry and RA Muklevich, who had already been arrested as "enemies of the people". The new program, sponsored by MV Viktorov and LM Galler, turned out to be more balanced, it took into account the opinions of the specialists of the Naval Academy (a year earlier, the Chief of the Naval Forces of the Red Army, V. M. Orlov, ordered to stop consulting the shipbuilding industry with Professors from the WMA).

The number of battleships was reduced to 18 (6 large and 12 small), in addition to conventional light cruisers decided to build heavy with 254-mm artillery, and most importantly - for the North and Pacific fleets, it was planned to build two aircraft carriers, and not one, as before. The first of them was supposed to be laid in 1941, The second one a year later. Completion of both ships belonged to the Fourth Five-Year Plan (1943-1947).

By a Decree of the Central Executive Committee of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR of December 30, 1937, Soviet naval forces were separated from the People's Commissariat of Defense and transferred to the People's Commissariat for the Navy of the USSR, among the commissars were: PA Smirnov (30.12.1937 - June 30, 1938), M. P. Frinovsky (08.09.1938 on April 6, 1939), N. G. Kuznetsov (28.04.1939 on February 25, 1946). The People's Commissar of the Navy was simultaneously the Commander-in-Chief of the fleet. The Central Naval Headquarters became the central body of fleet management.

Finally, in February 1938, a third version of the "Great Shipbuilding Program" appeared for 1938-1945. It no longer had small battleships, but the number of large battleships (such as the "Soviet Union") increased to fifteen: 6 - for the Pacific; 4 - for the Baltic Sea; 3 - for the Black Sea; 2 - for the Northern Fleet. At the same time, the development of operational-tactical assignments for new ships was transferred to the newly created Main Naval Staff, headed by LM Galler. Design itself was carried out by the design bureaus of the People's Commissariat of the shipbuilding industry under the supervision of the Naval Commissariat of the Navy.

July 14, 1939, the Defense Committee under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR received for consideration a 10-year plan for the shipbuilding program presented by the People's Commissar of the Navy N. G. Kuznetsov. Based on the instructions of the Defense Committee, on August 6, N. Kuznetsov introduced IV Stalin, VM Molotov and K. Ye. Voroshilov a revised and signed "10-year plan for the construction of ships of the RKKF". At that time, the construction of 3 battleships of the project 23, 2 heavy cruisers of the project 69, 5 light cruisers of the project 68, 5 light cruisers of the 26 and 26 bis projects, 2 leaders of the destroyers of the project 48, 2 project leaders 2, 6 destroyers were already under construction at the shipyards of the USSR. Project 30, 20 destroyers of Project 7, 18 destroyers of Project 7U, 5 Project 29 watchdog ships, 12 high-speed trawlers of Project 59, 21 basic diesel minesweepers, 6 river minesweepers.

The new plan for military shipbuilding, designed for 10 years (1938-1947), was built on the idea of creating "strong fleets in all maritime theaters of the Soviet Union", taking into account the forces of the fleets of possible adversaries. Moreover, the fleet included those ships that were commissioned before January 1, 1940. Together with them, by 1948, all naval theaters required 699 warships of main classes with a total displacement of 2,563 thousand tons, not including small Combat and auxiliary ships. In total, according to the 10-year plan, it was planned to build 15 battleships of the type "A", 2 aircraft carriers, 16 heavy cruisers, 32 light cruisers, 36 leaders, 162 destroyers, 88 submarine mine barriers, 225 medium submarines, and 120 small submarines. In addition, it was necessary to build another 358 torpedo boats, 8 gunboats, 274 hunters for submarines and 263 minesweepers with a total displacement of 465,000 tons. Thus, the total tonnage of the fleet was 3028 thousand tons, of which 1,154,000 tons were accounted for by the Pacific Fleet and 518,000 tons by the Northern Fleet

On August 6, 1939, the People's Commissar of the Navy N.G. Kuznetsov presented to the Council of People's Commissars a revised "Ten-Year Plan for the Construction of Navy Ships" (for 1938-1947), including the construction of 15 A-class battleships, 16 heavy and 32 light cruisers Six types of "Kirov"). The plan was to be carried out in two stages: the five-year plan for shipbuilding (1938-1942) and the five-year program (1943-1947). Within the five-year shipbuilding plan, eight battleships, five heavy and 16 light cruisers were to be laid down. The final version of the "Decade Plan for the Construction of Navy Ships" was to have by 1946: 15 battleships of Project 23 (type "Soviet Union").

Estimating the plan for the construction of the Navy on August 6, 1939, compared to the plan of 1938, in the new version of the program, the number of heavy and medium surface ships changed somewhat. If the battleships and aircraft carriers remained in the same proportion as before, the number of cruisers, leaders and destroyers, on the contrary, increased. Probably, this was done to ensure the combat stability of the naval maneuvering formations.

"Big Fleet" program / Great Shipbuilding Program

Jul
1936
13 Aug
1937
14 Jul
1939
06 Aug
1939
Project 23A-class battleships 86315
Project 25B-class battleships 1614.--
Project Marat battleships..3.
Project Aircraft Carrier..2.
Project 69heavy cruisers 2010216
Project 68light cruisers 22532
Project 26light cruisers -5-
Project Old Cruisers..3.
Project 48destroyer leader 1720236
Project 2destroyer leader 2.
Project 7destroyer 12814438162
Project 29Watchdog ships 5
Project minesweepers 263
Project 59high-speed trawlers 12
Project basic diesel minesweepers 21
Project river minesweepers 6
Project torpedo boats 358
Project gunboats 8
Project hunters for submarines 274
Project mine barrier submarine88
Project Large submarine9084.
Project Medium submarine164175.225
Project Small submarine90116.120




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