The world's first underwater minelayer "CRAB" (part 1)

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The world's first underwater minelayer "CRAB" (part 1)
The world's first underwater minelayer "CRAB" (part 1)

The creation of the world's first underwater minelayer "Crab" is one of the remarkable pages in the history of Russian military shipbuilding. The technical backwardness of tsarist Russia and a completely new type of submarine, which was the "Crab", led to the fact that this minelayer entered service only in 1915. But even in such a technically developed country as Kaiser's Germany, the first underwater minelayers appeared only in the same year, and in terms of their tactical and technical data, they were significantly inferior to the "Crab".


Mikhail Petrovich Naletov was born in 1869 into the family of an employee of the Caucasus and Mercury shipping company. His childhood years were spent in Astrakhan, and he received his secondary education in St. Petersburg. Upon completion of secondary education, Mikhail Petrovich entered the Technological Institute, and then moved to the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg. Here he had to study and earn a living with lessons and drawings. In his student years, he invented a bicycle of an original design, in order to increase the speed of which it was necessary to work with both hands and feet. At one time, these bicycles were produced by a handicraft workshop.

Unfortunately, the death of his father and the need to support his family - mother and young brother - did not allow Naletov to graduate from college and get a higher education. Subsequently, he passed the exams for the title of a railway technician. MP Naletov was a very sociable and kind person with a gentle character.

In the period preceding the Russo-Japanese War, Naletov worked on the construction of the port of Dalniy. After the outbreak of the war, M. P. Naletov was in Port Arthur. He witnessed the death of the battleship "Petropavlovsk", which killed the famous Admiral SO Makarov. The death of Makarov led Naletov to the idea of creating an underwater mine layer.

In early May 1904, he turned to the commander of the port of Port Arthur with a request to give him a gasoline engine from a boat for the submarine under construction, but he was refused. According to Naletov, the sailors and conductors from the ships of the squadron were interested in the submarine under construction. They often came to him and even asked to enroll him in the PL team. Lieutenant N. V. Krotkov and a mechanical engineer from the battleship "Peresvet" P. N. Tikhobaev rendered great assistance to Naletov. The first helped to get the necessary mechanisms for the submarine from the Dalny port, and the second released specialists from his team, who, together with the workers of the dredging caravan, worked on the construction of the minelayer. Despite all the difficulties, Naletov successfully built his submarine.

The submarine body was a riveted cylinder with conical ends. There were two cylindrical ballast tanks inside the hull. The minelayer's displacement was only 25 tons. It had to be armed with four mines or two Schwarzkopf torpedoes. The mines were supposed to be placed through a special hatch in the middle of the boat hull "for themselves". In subsequent projects, Naletov abandoned such a system, believing that it was very dangerous for the submarine itself. This fair conclusion was later confirmed in practice - the German UC-type submarine minelayers became victims of their own mines.

In the fall of 1904, the construction of the minelayer's hull was completed, and Naletov began testing the strength and water resistance of the hull. To immerse the boat in place without people, he used cast iron ingots, which were laid on the deck of the submarine, and removed with the help of a floating crane. The minelayer sank to a depth of 9 m. All tests passed normally. Already during the tests, the commander of the submarine was appointed - warrant officer B. A. Vilkitsky.

The world's first underwater minelayer
The world's first underwater minelayer

After successful tests of the submarine corps, the attitude towards Naletov changed for the better. He was allowed to take for his submarine a gasoline engine from the boat of the battleship "Peresvet". But this "gift" put the inventor in a difficult position, since the power of one engine was insufficient for the submarine under construction.

However, the days of Port Arthur were already numbered. Japanese troops came close to the fortress and their artillery shells fell into the harbor. One of these shells sank an iron barge, to which Naletov's minelayer was moored. Fortunately, the length of the mooring lines was sufficient and the minelayer remained afloat.

Before the surrender of Port Arthur in December 1904, MP Naletov, in order to prevent the minelayer from falling into the hands of the Japanese, was forced to disassemble and destroy its internal equipment, and blow up the hull itself.

For active participation in the defense of Port Arthur, Naletov was awarded the St. George Cross.

The failure to build an underwater mine layer in Port Arthur did not discourage Naletov. Arriving in Shanghai after the surrender of Port Arthur, Mikhail Petrovich wrote a statement with a proposal to build a submarine in Vladivostok. The Russian military attaché in China sent a statement from Naletov to the naval command in Vladivostok. But it did not even find it necessary to answer Naletov, believing, obviously, that his proposal refers to those fantastic inventions that should not be paid attention to.

But Mikhail Petrovich was not like that to give up. Upon his return to St. Petersburg, he developed a new project of an underwater minelayer with a displacement of 300 and.


On December 29, 1906, Naletov filed a petition to the Chairman of the Marine Technical Committee (MTK), in which he wrote: to ask Your Excellency, if you find it possible, to appoint me a time at which I could personally present the above-mentioned draft and give an explanation of it to the persons authorized by Your Excellency."

Attached to the petition was a copy of the certificate dated February 23, 1905, issued by the former commander of Port Arthur, Rear Admiral I. K. gave excellent results on preliminary tests "and that the surrender of Port Arthur made it impossible for the technician Naletov to complete the construction of a boat that would bring great benefit to the besieged Port Arthur." Mikhail Petrovich considered his Port Arthur project as a prototype of a new project of an underwater minelayer.

In 1908-1914, Naletov came to Nizhny Novgorod several times, when the entire Zolotnitskys family lived in a dacha in the town of Mokhovye Gory on the banks of the Volga, 9 km from Nizhny Novgorod. There he made a cigar-shaped toy, similar to a modern submarine 30 cm long with a small tower and a short rod ("periscope"). The submarine moved under the action of a wound spring. When the submarine was launched into the water, it floated five meters on the surface, then plunged and floated five meters under the water, setting only its periscope, and then again came out to the surface, and the diving alternated until the entire plant came out. The submarine had a sealed body. As you can see, even making toys, Mikhail Petrovich Naletov was fond of PL …


After the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the Naval Ministry began preparations for the construction of a new fleet. A discussion unfolded: what kind of fleet does Russia need? The question arose about how to obtain loans for the construction of the fleet through the State Duma.

With the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian fleet began to intensively replenish submarines, some of them were built in Russia, and some were ordered and purchased abroad.

In 1904 - 1905 24 submarines were ordered and 3 finished submarines were purchased abroad.

After the end of the war, in 1906, they ordered only 2 submarines, and in the next, 1907, not a single one! This number did not include the submarine of SK Dzhevetskiy with a single engine "Postal".

Thus, in connection with the end of the war, the tsarist government lost interest in the submarine. Many officers in the high command of the fleet underestimated their role, and the line fleet was considered the cornerstone of the new shipbuilding program. The experience of building the first mine layer by M. P. Naletov in Port Arthur was naturally forgotten. Even in the naval literature it was argued that "the only thing submarines can be armed with are self-propelled mines (torpedoes)."

In these conditions, it was necessary to have a clear mind and clearly understand the prospects for the development of the fleet, in particular, its new formidable weapon - submarines, in order to come up with a proposal to build an underwater mine layer. Such a person was Mikhail Petrovich Naletov.


Having learned that "the Ministry of the Navy is not doing anything to create this new type of warship, despite the fact that its main idea became generally known, M. P. Naletov submitted a petition to the chairman of the Marine Technical Committee (MTK) on December 29, 1906, in which he wrote: "Wishing to propose to the Maritime Ministry of the submarine according to the project developed by me on the basis of experience and personal observations of the naval war in Port Arthur, I have the honor to ask Your Excellency, if you find it possible, to appoint me a time in which I could

To personally present the aforementioned project and to explain it to the persons authorized to do so by Your Excellency."

Attached to the petition was a copy of the certificate dated February 23, 1905, issued by the former commander of Port Arthur Rear Admiral I. K. excellent results in preliminary tests "and that" the surrender of Port Arthur made it impossible for Naletov's technician to complete the construction of the submarine, which would have brought great benefit to the besieged Port Arthur."

M. P. Naletov considered his Port Arthur submarine as a prototype of a new project of an underwater mine layer.

Believing that the two shortcomings inherent in submarines of that time - low speed and small sailing area - will not be eliminated in the near future at the same time, Mikhail Petrovich analyzes two options for submarines: with high speed and small sailing area and with a large sailing area and low speed.

In the first case, the submarine must "wait for the approach of the enemy ship to the port near which the submarine is located."

In the second case, the task of the submarine "consists of two parts:

1) transfer to an enemy port;

2) blowing up enemy ships"

MP Naletov wrote: "Without denying the benefits of submarines in coastal defense, I find that submarines, mainly, should be a weapon of offensive war, and for this it must have a large area of action and be armed not only with Whitehead mines, but with barrage mines., in other words, it is necessary to build, in addition to coastal defense underwater destroyers - submarine destroyers and minelayers of a large area of operation."

For that time, these views of M. P. Naletov on the prospects for the development of submarines were very progressive. Lieutenant AD Bubnov's statements should be cited: "Submarines are nothing more than mine banks!" And further: "Submarines are a means of passive positional warfare and as such cannot decide the fate of the war."

How much higher than the naval officer Bubnov in matters of diving, the communication technician M. P. Naletov was!

He rightly pointed out that "an underwater minelayer, like any submarine, does not need the possession of … the sea."A few years later, during the First World War, this statement of Naletov was fully confirmed.

Speaking about the fact that Russia is not able to build a fleet equal to the British one, M. P. Naletov emphasized the particular importance of the construction of submarines for Russia: with which it is hardly possible to fight, and this will cause a complete stop of the country's marine life, without which England and Japan will not exist for a long time.


What was the project of an underwater minelayer presented by M., P. Naletov at the end of 1906?

Displacement - 300 t, length - 27, 7 m, width - 4, 6 m, draft - 3, 66 m, buoyancy margin - 12 t) 4%).

The minelayer must be equipped with 2 motors of 150 hp for surface travel. each, and for underwater running - 2 electric motors of 75 hp. They were supposed to provide the submarine with a surface speed of 9 knots, and an underwater speed of 7 knots.

The minelayer was supposed to take on board 28 minutes with one torpedo tube and two torpedoes, or 35 minutes without a torpedo tube.

The immersion depth of the minelayer is 30.5 m.

Submarine body - cigar-shaped, cross-section - circle. The superstructure began from the bow of the submarine and extended from 2/3 to 3/4 of its length.

"With a circular cross-section of the body:

1) its surface will be the smallest with the same cross-sectional area along the frames;

2) the weight of the round frame will be less than the weight of the frame of the same fortress, but with a different sectional shape of the submarine, the area of which is equal to the area of the circle;

3) the body will have a smaller surface and less weight, of course. When comparing submarines with the same combatant along the frames ".

Any of the elements he chose for his project, Naletov tried to substantiate, relying on theoretical studies that existed at that time or by logical reasoning.

MP Naletov came to the conclusion that the superstructure should be asymmetrical. The inside of the superstructure Naletov intended to fill with a cork or some other light material, and in the superstructure he proposed making scuppers through which water would freely pass through the gap between the layers of the cork and the hull of the submarine, transmitting pressure to the strong hull of the submarine inside the superstructure.

The main ballast tank of the submarine with a displacement of 300 tons of the Naletov project was located under the batteries and in the side pipes (high pressure tanks). Their volume was 11, 76 cubic meters. m. At the ends of the submarine there were trim tanks. Between the room for storing mines in the middle part and the sides of the submarine were located mine replacement tanks with a volume of 11, 45 cubic meters. m.

The device for setting mines (in the project it was called "apparatus for throwing mines"), consisted of three parts: a mine pipe (in the first version, one), a mine chamber and an airlock.

The mine pipe ran from the bulkhead of the 34th frame obliquely to the stern and exited the submarine hull outward under the lower part of the vertical rudder. In the upper part of the pipe there was a rail along which the mines rolled into the stern with the help of rollers, thanks to the inclination of the pipe. The rail went along the entire length of the pipe and ended on a par with the rudder, and special guides were placed on the sides of the rail during the laying of mines to give the mines the desired direction. The bow end of the mine pipe entered the mine chamber, where 2 people were taken through the airlock of the mines and put them into the mine pipe.

To prevent water from entering the submarine through the mine pipe and the mine chamber, compressed air was admitted into them, which balanced the seawater pressure. The compressed air pressure in the mine pipe was regulated using an electric contactor..

MP Naletov placed the mines' storage in the middle of the submarine between the center plane and the side mine-replacing tanks, and in the bow - along the sides of the submarine. Since normal air pressure was maintained in them, between them and the mine chamber there was an air lock with sealed doors to both the mine chamber and the mine store. The mine pipe had a cover, which was hermetically sealed after laying the mines. In addition, for laying mines on the surface, Naletov suggested making a special device on the submarine deck, the device of which remained unknown.


As can be seen from this brief description, the original device for setting mines did not fully provide the submarine with equilibrium when setting mines in a submerged position. So, the squeezing of water from a mine pipe was carried out overboard, and not into a special tank; the mine, still moving along the upper rail before being immersed in the water at the end of the mine pipe, disturbed the submarine's balance. Naturally, such a device for laying mines for an underwater minelayer was not suitable.

Torpedo armament underwater minelayer Naletov provided in two versions: with one TA and 28 mines and without TA, but with 35 mines.

He himself preferred the second option, believing that the main and only task of an underwater minelayer was laying mines, and everything should be subordinated to this task. The presence of torpedo armament on the minelayer can only prevent it from fulfilling its main task: safely deliver mines to the place of their setting and successfully set the setting itself.

On January 9, 1907, the first meeting was held at the ITC to consider the project of an underwater minelayer proposed by M. P. Naletov. The meeting was chaired by Rear Admiral A. A. Virenius with the participation of prominent shipbuilders A. N. Krylov and I. G. Bubnov, as well as the most prominent miner and submariner M. N. Beklemishev. The chairman briefed the audience on the proposal of MP Naletov. Naletov outlined the main ideas of his project for an underwater minelayer with a displacement of 300 tons. After an exchange of views, it was decided to consider and discuss the project in detail at the next meeting of the ITC, held on January 10. At this meeting, Naletov detailed the essence of his project and answered numerous questions from those present.

From the speeches at the meeting and subsequent feedback from specialists on the project, it followed:

"The project of Mr. Naletov's submarine is quite feasible, although not fully developed" (ship engineer I. A. Gavrilov).

"The calculations of Mr. Naletov were made absolutely correctly, in detail and thoroughly" (AN Krylov).

At the same time, the drawbacks of the project were also noted:

1. The submarine's buoyancy margin is small, which was pointed out by MN Beklemishev.

2. It is impractical to fill the superstructure with a plug. As A. N. Krylov pointed out: "Compression of the plug by water pressure changes the buoyancy in a dangerous direction as it dives."

3. Submarine immersion time - more than 10 minutes - is too long.

4. There is no periscope on the submarine.

5. Apparatus for setting mines are "not very satisfactory" (IG Bubnov), and the time for setting each mine - 2 - 3 minutes - is too long.

6. The power of the motors and electric motors specified in the project cannot provide the specified speeds. "It is unlikely that a submarine of 300 tons will pass at 150 hp - 7 knots and on the surface at 300 hp - 9 knots" (IA Gavrilov).

A number of other, more minor, shortcomings were also noted. But the recognition by prominent specialists of that time of the project of an underwater minelayer "quite feasible" is undoubtedly a creative victory of MP Naletov.

On January 1, 1907, Naletov had already submitted to the Chief Mine Inspector: 1) "Description

an improved mine apparatus for throwing sea mines "and 2)" Description of the modification of the superstructure."

In the new version of the device for setting mines, Mikhail Petrovich has already provided for a "two-stage system", i.e. mine pipe and airlock (without mine chamber, as it was in the original version). The air shield was separated from the mine pipe by a hermetically sealed cover. When mines were placed in the "combat" or positional position of the submarine, compressed air was supplied to the mine compartment, the pressure of which was supposed to balance the external water pressure through the mine pipe. After that, both covers of the air box were opened and the mines were thrown overboard one after the other along the rail running in the upper part of the pipe. When setting mines in a submerged position, when the back cover is closed, the mine was introduced into the airlock. Then the front cover was closed, compressed air was admitted to the airlock until the water pressure in the mine pipe, the back cover was opened, and the mine was thrown overboard through the pipe. After that, the back cover was closed, compressed air was removed from the airlock, the front cover was opened, and a new mine was introduced into the airlock. This cycle was repeated again. Naletov pointed out that new mines with negative buoyancy were required for setting. When setting mines, the submarine received a trim aft. Later, the author took into account this shortcoming. The time for laying mines was reduced to one minute.


AN Krylov wrote in his review: "The method of laying mines cannot be considered finally developed. Its further simplification and improvement is desirable."

IG Bubnov, in his review dated January 11, wrote: "It is rather difficult to regulate the submarine's buoyancy with such significant changes in weight, especially when the level in the pipe is fluctuating."

Working on the improvement of his apparatus for laying mines, Naletov already in April 1907 proposed "a barrage mine with a hollow anchor, the negative buoyancy of which was equal to the positive buoyancy of the mine." This was a decisive step towards the creation of a mine-laying apparatus suitable for installation on an underwater minelayer.

An interesting classification of "devices for ejecting mines from submarines", given by Naletov in one of his notes. Mikhail Petrovich subdivided all the "vehicles" into internal ones, located inside the strong submarine hull, and external ones, located in the superstructure. In turn, these devices were subdivided into feed and non-feed. In the outer side (non-feed) apparatus, mines were located in special nests in the sides of the superstructure, from which they were to be thrown out one by one using levers connected to a roller running along the superstructure. The roller was set in motion by turning the handle from the wheelhouse. In principle, such a system was later implemented on two French submarines, built during the First World War and then converted into underwater minelayers. The mines were in the side ballast tanks in the middle of these submarines.

The external stern apparatus consisted of one or two troughs that ran along the boat in the superstructure. The mines moved along a rail laid in the groove with the help of four rollers attached to the sides of the mine anchors. An endless chain or cable ran along the bottom of the gutter, to which mines were attached in various ways. The chain moved when the pulley rotated from the inside of the submarine. Raids came to this system of laying mines, as will be shown, in his subsequent versions of an underwater minelayer.

The inner bottom (non-stern) apparatus consisted of a cylinder installed vertically and connected on one side with a mine chamber, and on the other side through a hole in the bottom of the submarine's hull with seawater. As you know, this principle of the apparatus for setting mines was used by the raids for an underwater minelayer, which he built in Port Arthur in 1904.

The internal feed apparatus was supposed to consist of a pipe connecting the mine chamber with seawater in the lower part of the sub's stern.

Considering the options for a possible device for laying mines, M. P. Naletov gave a negative characteristic to bottom vehicles: he indicated the danger to the submarine itself when setting mines from such vehicles. This conclusion of Naletov regarding bottom vehicles was true for its time. Much later, during the First World War, the Italians used a similar method for their underwater minelayers. The mines were in mine-ballast tanks located in the middle of the submarine's robust hull. In this case, the mines had a negative buoyancy of the order of 250-300 kg.

To improve the ventilation of the submarine, a ventilation pipe with a diameter of about 0.6 m and a height of 3.5 - 4.5 m was proposed. Before diving, this pipe was folded into a special recess on the superstructure deck.

On February 6, in response to the inquiry of M. N. Beklemishev, A. N. Krylov wrote: "An increase in the height of the superstructure will help to improve the seaworthiness of the submarine in its surface navigation, but even at the proposed height it will hardly be possible to sail with an open wheelhouse when the wind and wave will be over 4 points … We must expect that the submarine will be so buried in the wave that it will be impossible to keep the wheelhouse open."


After MTK opted for a system of "aft external devices", MP Naletov, taking into account the comments of the committee members, developed a second version of an underwater minelayer with a displacement of 450 tons. The length of the submarine in this version increased to 45, 7 and, surface the speed increased to 10 knots, and the navigation area at this speed reached 3500 miles (instead of 3000 miles according to the first option). Diving speed - 6 knots (instead of 7 knots in the first option).

With two mine tubes, the number of mines with the "anchor of the Naletov system" was increased to 60, but the number of torpedo tubes was reduced to one. The time required to plant one mine is 5 seconds. If in the first version it took 2 - 3 minutes to plant one mine, then this could already be considered a great achievement. The height of the deckhouse hatch above the waterline was about 2.5 m, the buoyancy margin was about 100 tons (or 22%). True, the transition time from the surface to the underwater position was still quite significant - 10, 5 minutes.

On May 1, 1907, the acting chairman of the ITC Rear Admiral A. A. Virenius and etc. The chief mine inspector, Rear Admiral MF Loshchinsky, in a special report addressed to the Deputy Minister of the Sea on the project of the minelayer MP Naletov, wrote that MTC "on the basis of preliminary calculations and verification of the Drawings, found it possible to recognize the project as feasible."

Further in the report it was proposed "as soon as possible" to enter into an agreement with the head of the Nikolaev shipyards (more precisely, the Society of Shipbuilding, Mechanical and Foundries in Nikolaev), which, as Naletov reported on March 29, 1907, was granted "the exclusive right to build submarine minelayers "of his system, or enter into an agreement with the head of the Baltic Shipyard, if the naval minister finds it useful.

And finally, the report said: "… it is necessary at the same time to attend to the development of special mines, at least according to the project of Captain 2nd Rank Schreiber."

The latter is clearly puzzling: after all, M. P. Naletov presented not only the minelayer project as a submarine, but also mines with a special anchor for it. So what does Captain 2nd Rank Schreiber have to do with it?


Nikolai Nikolaevich Schreiber was one of the prominent mine specialists of his time. After graduating from the Naval Cadet Corps and then the mine officer class, he sailed mainly on the ships of the Black Sea Fleet as a mine officer. In 1904, he served as chief miner of Port Arthur, and in the period from 1908 to 1911 - assistant chief inspector of mine affairs. Apparently, under the influence of M. P. Naletov's invention, he, together with ship engineer I. G. Bubnov and Lieutenant S. N. Vlasyev, began to develop mines for an underwater minelayer, using the principle of zero buoyancy, i.e. the same principle that MP Naletov applied for his mines. For several months, until the MP. Nalov was removed from the construction of the minelayer, Schreiber sought to prove that neither the mines nor the system for setting them from the minelayer, developed by Naletov, were worthless. Sometimes his struggle against Naletov was in the nature of petty quibbles, sometimes even he gloatingly emphasized that the inventor of the minelayer was just a "technician".

The minister's comrade agreed with the proposals of the chairman of the ITC, and the head of the Baltic shipbuilding plant in St. Petersburg was instructed to develop a device for setting 20 mines from the Akula submarine with a displacement of 360 tons under construction at this plant, and also to give his opinion on the cost of the underwater minelayer Naletov with a displacement of 450 tons …

Along with the device for setting mines with a submarine with a displacement of 360 tons, which was being built at the Baltic plant, the plant presented 2 variants of an underwater minelayer for 60 minutes "system of the captain of the 2nd rank Schreiber" with a displacement of only about 250 tons, and in one of these options the surface speed was indicated, equal to 14 knots (!). leaving on the conscience of the Baltic shipyard the fidelity of the calculations of the minelayer with 60 mines and a displacement of about 250 tons, we only note that the two small underwater minelayers with a displacement of about 230 tons, started in 1917, had only 20 minutes each.

At the same time, in the same letter from the head of the Baltic plant to the ITC dated May 7, 1907, it was said: “As for the figure of 450 tons indicated in relation to the ITC (we are talking about a variant of the minelayer project MP Naletov), it is absolutely not justified by assignments and even approximately the cost of submarines, where almost half of the displacement was spent uselessly (?) is impossible."

Such a harsh "criticism" of the 450-ton minelayer project was obviously given by the plant not without the participation of the author of the "mine system" Captain 2nd Rank Schreiber.

Since the construction of a 360-ton submarine by the Baltic Shipyard was delayed (the submarine was launched only in August 1909), the preliminary testing of the device for laying mines on this submarine had to be abandoned.

Later (in the same 1907) Naletov developed a new version of the minelayer with an underwater displacement of 470 tons. The surface speed of the minelayer in this version was increased from 10 to 15 knots, and the underwater speed from 6 to 7 knots. The immersion time of the minelayer in the positional position was reduced to 5 minutes, in the underwater position - to 5.5 minutes (in the previous version, 10.5 minutes).

On June 25, 1907, the Nikolaev plant presented to the chief mine inspector a draft contract for the construction of one underwater minelayer, as well as the most important data on the specifications and 2 sheets of drawings.

However, the Naval Ministry recognized that it would be desirable to reduce the cost of building a minelayer. As a result of further correspondence, on August 22, 1907, the plant announced that it agreed to reduce the cost of building one underwater minelayer to 1,350 thousand rubles, but on condition that the displacement of the minelayer increased to 500 tons.

By order of the Deputy Minister of the Sea, the ITC informed the plant about the agreement of the ministry with the price of building a minelayer proposed in the letter of the plant dated August 22 "… in view of the novelty of the case and the transfer of mines developed by the plant free of charge." At the same time, MTC asked the plant to provide detailed drawings and a draft contract as soon as possible, and indicated that the submarine speed of the minelayer should not be less than 7.5 knots for 4 hours.

On October 2, 1907, the specification with drawings and a draft contract for the construction of "an underwater minelayer of the MP Naletov system with a displacement of about 500 tons" were presented by the plant.


The fourth, last version of M. P. Naletov's underwater minelayer, accepted for construction, was a submarine with a displacement of about 500 tons. Its length was 51.2 m, width along the midships - 4.6 m, immersion depth - 45.7 m Time transition from surface to underwater - 4 minutes. The surface speed is 15 knots with the total power of the four motors 1200 HP, in the submerged position - 7.5 knots with the total power of the two electric motors 300 HP. The number of electric accumulators is 120. The cruising range of the 15-knot surface course is 1500 miles, the 7.5-knot submerged course is 22.5 miles. There are 2 mine pipes installed in the superstructure. The number of mines is 60 of the Naletov system with zero buoyancy. The number of torpedo tubes is two with four torpedoes.

The hull of the minelayer consisted of a cigar-shaped part (strong hull) with a watertight superstructure along its entire length. A wheelhouse surrounded by a bridge was attached to the solid hull. The extremities were made light.

The main ballast tank was located in the middle of a robust hull. It was bounded by a sturdy hull plating and two transverse flat bulkheads. The bulkheads were interconnected by horizontally located pipes and anchors. There were seven pipes connecting the bulkheads in total. Of these, the pipe with the largest radius (1 m) was in the upper compartment, its axis coincided with the axis of symmetry of the submarine. This pipe served as a passage from the living compartment to the engine room. The rest of the pipes were of a smaller diameter: two pipes of 0.17 m each, two of 0.4 m each, two of 0.7 m each. high pressure ballast tanks. In addition, bow and stern ballast tanks were provided.


In addition to the main ballast tanks, there were bow and stern trim tanks, equalizing tanks and a torpedo replacement tank. 60 minutes were located in two mine tubes. The mines were supposed to move along rails laid in mine pipes using a chain or cable device driven by a special electric motor. An anchored mine made up one system and 4 rollers served for its movement along the rails. By adjusting the speed of the engine and changing the speed of the minelayer, the distance between the mines being placed was thus changed.

According to the specification, the details of the mine pipes were to be developed after the execution of the design of the mines and their testing at a special test site.

The specification and drawings submitted by the plant on October 2, 1907, were reviewed in the shipbuilding and mechanical departments of the ITC, and then on November 10 at a general meeting of the ITC chaired by Rear Admiral A. A. Virenius and with the participation of a representative of the Marine General Staff. At the meeting of the ITC on November 30, the issue of mines, motors and a hydraulic test of the minelayer's hull was considered.

The requirements of the MK shipbuilding department were as follows:

The draft of the minelayer on the surface is no more than 4.0 m.

Metacentric height on the surface (with mines) - not less than 0.254 m.

The time for shifting the vertical rudder is 30 s, and the horizontal rudders are 20 s.

When the scuppers are closed, the body of the trap must be watertight.

The transition time from the surface to the positional position should not exceed 3.5 minutes.

Air compressor capacity should be 25,000 cubic meters. feet (708 cubic meters) of compressed air for 9 hours, i.e. during this time, a full supply of air should be renewed.

In a submerged position, the minelayer must lay mines, walking at a speed of 5 knots.

The speed of the minelayer on the surface is 15 knots. If this speed is less than 14 knots, then the Naval Ministry may refuse to accept the minelayer. Speed in positional position (under kerosene engines_) - 13 knots.

The final selection of the battery system must be made within 3 months after signing the contract.

The body of the minelayer, its ballast and kerosene tanks must be tested with the appropriate hydraulic pressure, and the water leakage must not be more than 0.1%.

All tests of the minelayer must be carried out with its full armament, supply and with a fully staffed team.

According to the requirements of the mechanical department of the MTK, 4 kerosene engines were to be installed on the minelayer, developing at least 300 hp. each at 550 rpm. The engine system was to be selected by the plant within two months after the conclusion of the contract, and the engine system proposed by the plant was to be approved by the MTK.

After launching the "Crab" MP Naletov was forced to leave the plant, and further construction of the minelayer took place without his participation, under the supervision of a special commission of the Naval Ministry, which consisted of officers.

After Mikhail Petrovich was removed from the construction of the "Crab", both the Naval Ministry and the plant tried in every possible way to prove that mines and a mine device and even a minelayer were not … "Naletov's system". On September 19, 1912, a special meeting was held at the ITC on this occasion, the minutes of which were written: mines while she is in the submarine), since this issue was fundamentally developed at the mine department of the MTC even before Mr. Naletov's proposal. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that not only the mines being developed, but the entire minelayer under construction " ".

The creator of the world's first underwater minelayer M. P. Naletov lived in Leningrad. In 1934 he retired. In recent years, Mikhail Petrovich worked as a senior engineer in the department of the chief mechanic of the Kirov plant.

In the last decade of his life, in his spare time, Naletov worked on improving underwater minelayers and filed a number of applications for new inventions in this area. N. A. Zalessky advised M. P. Naletov on hydrodynamics.

Despite his advanced age and illness, Mikhail Petrovich worked until his last days in the design and improvement of underwater minelayers.

MP Naletov died on March 30, 1938. Unfortunately, during the war and the blockade of Leningrad, all these materials were lost.


The robust body of the minelayer is a cigar-shaped geometrically regular body. The frames are made of box steel and are placed at a distance of 400 mm from each other (spacing), the skin thickness is 12 - 14 mm. Ballast tanks also made of box steel were riveted to the ends of the robust hull; sheathing thickness - 11 mm. Between 41 and 68 frames by means of strip and angle steel, a keel weighing 16 tons, consisting of lead plates, was bolted to a strong hull. From the sides of the minelayer in the region of 14 - 115 frames there are "displacers" - boules.

The displacers, made of angle steel and 6 mm thick planking, were attached to a sturdy body with 4 mm thick knuckles. Four watertight bulkheads divided each displacer into 5 compartments. Along the entire length of the minelayer, there was a light superstructure with frames made of angular steel and plating 3.05 mm thick (the thickness of the superstructure deck was 2 mm).

When submerged, the superstructure was filled with water, for which the so-called "doors" (valves) were located in the bow, stern and middle parts on both sides, which opened from the inside of the robust hull of the minelayer.

In the middle part of the superstructure there was an oval-shaped wheelhouse made of low-magnetic steel 12 mm thick. A breakwater towered behind the wheelhouse.


Three ballast tanks served for immersion: middle, bow and stern.

The middle tank was located between the 62nd and 70th frames of the solid hull and divided the submarine into two halves: the bow - living room and aft - engine room. The passage pipe of the tank served for communication between these rooms. The middle tank consisted of two tanks: a low pressure tank with a capacity of 26 cubic meters. m and high-pressure tanks with a capacity of 10 cubic meters. m.

The low-pressure tank, occupying the entire section of the submarine amidships, was located between the outer skin and two flat bulkheads on the 62nd and 70th frames. The flat bulkheads were reinforced with eight ties: one flat of sheet steel (the entire width of the submarine), which ran at the height of the deck, and seven cylindrical ones, of which one formed a passage pipe for the living quarters, and the other four - by high-pressure tanks.

In a low-pressure tank, designed for a pressure of 5 atm, two kingstones were made, the drives from which were displayed in the engine room. The tank was purged with 5 atm compressed air supplied through a bypass valve on a flat bulkhead. The filling of the low-pressure tank could be done by gravity, a pump, or both at the same time. As a rule, the tank was purged with compressed air, but the water could not be pumped out even with a pump.

The high-pressure tank consisted of four cylindrical vessels of different diameters, located symmetrically relative to the center plane and passing through the flat bulkheads of the middle tank. Two high pressure cylinders were located above the deck and two below the deck. The high-pressure tank served as a tear-off keel, i.e. performed the same role as the detachable or medium tanks on the submarine of the "Bars" type. It was blown with compressed air at 10 atm. The cylindrical vessels of the tank were connected side by side with branch pipes, and each pair of these vessels had its own kingston.

The arrangement of the air duct made it possible to let air into each group separately, which made it possible to use this tank to compensate for significant heel. The filling of the high-pressure tank was carried out by gravity, a pump, or both at the same time.

Bow ballast tank with a volume of 10, 86 cubic meters m was separated from the solid hull by a spherical partition on the 15th frame. The tank was designed for a pressure of 2 atm. It was filled through a separate kingston located between the 13th and 14th frames and a pump. Water was removed from the tank with a pump or compressed air, but in the latter case, the pressure difference outside and inside the tank should not exceed 2 atm.

Aft ballast tank with a volume of 15, 74 cubic meters. m was located between the solid hull and the aft trim tank, and it was separated from the first by a spherical bulkhead on the 113th frame, and from the second by a spherical bulkhead on the 120th frame. Like the bow, this tank was designed for a pressure of 2 atm. It could also be filled by gravity through its kingston or pump. Water from the tank was removed with a pump or compressed air (provided that it was also removed from the nasal tank).

In addition to the listed main ballast tanks, auxiliary ballast tanks were installed on the minelayer: bow and stern trim and leveling.

Bow trim tank (cylinder with spherical bottoms) with a volume of 1, 8 cubic meters. m was located in the superstructure of the submarine between the 12th and 17th frames.

According to the initial project, it was inside the bow ballast tank, but due to a lack of space in the latter (it housed the clinkets of torpedo tubes, the shafts and the drive of the bow horizontal rudder, the underwater anchor well and pipes from the hawses of the anchors) was moved to the superstructure.

The bow trim tank was designed for 5 atm. It was filled with water by a pump, and the removal of water by a pump or compressed air. Such an arrangement of the bow trim tank - in the superstructure above the submarine's cargo waterline - should be considered unsuccessful, which was confirmed during the next operation of the minelayer.

In the fall of 1916, the nasal trim tank was removed from the submarine, and its role was to be played by the nasal displacer cisterns.

Aft trim tank with a volume of 10, 68 cubic meters. m was located between the 120th and 132nd frames and was separated from the aft ballast tank by a spherical bulkhead.

This tank, as well as the bow tank, was designed for a pressure of 5 atm. In contrast to the bow, the aft trim tank could be filled both by gravity and with a pump. Water was removed from it with a pump or compressed air.

To extinguish the residual buoyancy on the minelayer there were 4 equalizing tanks with a total volume of about 1, 2 cubic meters. m Two of them were in front of the wheelhouse and 2 behind it. They were filled by gravity through a crane placed between the cabin frames. The water was removed with compressed air.

The minelayer had 2 small centrifugal pumps in the bow compartment between frames 26 and 27, 2 large centrifugal pumps in the middle pump compartment between frames 54-62, and one large centrifugal pump on the deck between 1-2-105- mi frames.

Small centrifugal pumps with a capacity of 35 cubic meters.m per hour were driven by electric motors with a capacity of 1, 3 hp. each one. The starboard pump served the replacement tanks, drinking water and provisions, the starboard oil tank and the torpedo replacement tank. The port side pump served the bow trim tank and the port side oil tank. Each of the pumps was equipped with its own onboard kingston.

Large centrifugal pumps with a capacity of 300 cubic meters m per hour were driven by electric motors with a capacity of 17 hp each. each. The starboard pump pumped and pumped water overboard from the high-pressure tank and the bow ballast tank. The port side pump served the low pressure tank. Each pump was supplied with its own kingston.

One large centrifugal pump of the same capacity as the previous two, installed in the stern, served the stern ballast and stern trim tanks. This pump was also equipped with its own Kingston.

The ventilation pipes of the low and high pressure tanks were brought out to the roof of the forward part of the deckhouse enclosure, and the ventilation pipes of the bow and stern ballast tanks were brought to the superstructure deck. Ventilation of the bow and stern trim tanks was brought inside the submarine.

The supply of compressed air on the minelayer was 125 cubic meters. m (according to the project) at a pressure of 200 atm. The air was stored in 36 steel cylinders: 28 cylinders were placed in the stern, in fuel (kerosene) tanks, and 8 in the bow compartment, under torpedo tubes.

The stern cylinders were subdivided into four groups, and the nasal ones into two. Each group was connected to the air line independently of the other groups. To reduce the air pressure to 10 atm (for a high-pressure tank), an expander was installed in the bow of the submarine. Further pressure reduction was achieved by incomplete opening of the inlet valve and by adjusting the pressure gauge. Air was compressed to a pressure of 200 atm using two electric compressors, 200 cubic meters each. m per hour. Compressors were installed between the 26th and 30th frames, and the compressed air line was on the port side.

To control the minelayer in the horizontal plane, a vertical balance-type rudder with an area of 4, 1 sq. m. The steering wheel could be controlled in two ways: using electric control and manually. With electric control, the rotation of the steering wheel was transmitted by means of gears and a Gall chain to an on-board steering wheel, which consisted of steel rollers.

The steering gear, connected by a gear drive with an electric motor with a power of 4.1 hp, received motion from the steering wheel. The motor drove the subsequent gear to the tiller.


On the minelayer, 3 vertical rudder control posts were installed: in the wheelhouse and on the bridge of the wheelhouse (a removable steering wheel connected to the steering wheel in the wheelhouse) and in the aft compartment. The steering wheel on the bridge was used to control the steering wheel when sailing the submarine in a cruising position. For manual control served as a post in the stern of the minelayer. The main compass was located in the wheelhouse next to the steering wheel, spare compasses were placed on the bridge of the wheelhouse (removable) and in the aft compartment.

To control the minelayer in the vertical plane during diving, for diving and ascent, 2 pairs of horizontal rudders were installed. A bow pair of horizontal ores with a total area of 7 sq. m was located between the 12th and 13th frames. The rudder axes passed through the bow ballast tank and there they were connected by a screw-toothed sector bushing, and the latter was connected to a worm screw, from which a horizontal shaft went through a spherical bulkhead. The steering gear was located between the torpedo tubes. The maximum rudder shifting angle was plus 18 degrees minus 18 degrees. The control of these rudders, as well as the vertical rudder, is electric and manual. In the first case, a horizontal shaft using two pairs of bevel gears was connected to an electric motor with a power of 2.5 hp. With manual control, an additional gear was turned on. There were two rudder position indicators: one mechanical, in front of the helmsman, and the other electrical, at the submarine commander.

A depth gauge, an inclinometer and a trim gauge were located near the helmsman. The rudders were protected from accidental blows by tubular barriers.

The stern horizontal rudders were similar in design to the bow rudders, but their area was smaller - 3.6 sq. m. The steering gear of the aft horizontal rudders was located in the aft compartment of the submarine between the 110th and 111th frames.

The minelayer was equipped with two anchors and one underwater anchor. Hall's anchors each weighed 25 pounds (400 kg), with one of these anchors being a spare. The anchor hawse was located between the 6th and 9th frames and was made through on both sides. The hawse was connected to the upper deck of the superstructure by a sheet steel pipe. Such a device made it possible to anchor at will from each side. The anchor spire, rotated by an electric motor with a power of 6 hp, could also serve for mooring the submarine. The underwater anchor (the same weight as the surface anchors), which was a steel casting with a mushroom-shaped expansion, was located in a special well on the 10th frame. To raise the underwater anchor, an electric motor on the left side was used, serving the anchor.

6 fans were installed to ventilate the minelayer's premises. Four fans (driven by electric motors of 4 hp each) with a capacity of 4000 cubic meters. m per hour were located in the middle pump and in the aft compartments of the submarine (2 fans in each room).

In the middle pump room, about the 54th frame, there were 2 fans with a capacity of 480 cc. m per hour (driven by electric motors with a power of 0.7 hp). They served to ventilate storage batteries; their productivity is 30-fold air exchange within an hour.

On the barrier, 2 ventilation pipes were provided that automatically close when they are lowered. The bow ventilation pipe was located between the 71st and 72nd frames, and the aft one was between the 101st and 102nd frames. When immersed, the pipes were placed in special enclosures in the superstructure. Initially, the pipes in the upper part ended with sockets, but then the latter were replaced by caps. The pipes were raised and lowered by worm winches, the drive to which was located inside the submarine.

The pipes from the bow fans passed through the middle ballast tank and connected in the fan box, from which a common pipe went to the downstream part.

The aft fan pipes went on the right and left sides up to the 101st frame, where they were connected into one pipe, laid in the superstructure to the rotary part of the fan pipe. A tube of battery fans was connected to a branch tube of the main bow fans.

The minelayer was controlled from the wheelhouse where his commander was. The deckhouse was located midships of the submarine and in cross-section was an ellipse with axes 3 and 1, 75 m.

The sheathing, the bottom and 4 frames of the wheelhouse were made of low-magnetic steel, with the thickness of the skin and the upper spherical bottom being 12 mm, and the lower flat bottom 11 mm. A round shaft with a diameter of 680 mm, located in the middle of the submarine, led from the cabin to a solid hull. The upper exit hatch, slightly shifted towards the bow of the submarine, was closed by a cast bronze cover with three zadriki and a valve for releasing spoiled air from the cabin.

Periscope pedestals were attached to the spherical bottom, of which there were two. The periscopes of the Hertz system had an optical length of 4 m and were located in the aft part of the wheelhouse, with one of them in the center plane, and the other shifted to the left by 250 mm. The first periscope was of the binocular type, and the second was of the combined-panoramic type. An electric motor with a power of 5.7 hp was installed in the foundation of the wheelhouse. for lifting periscopes. A manual drive was available for the same purpose.

The wheelhouse contains: the steering wheel of the vertical rudder, the main compass, indicators of the position of the vertical and horizontal rudders, an engine telegraph, a depth gauge and control valves for the high-pressure tank and equalizing tanks. Of the 9 portholes with covers, 6 were located in the walls of the wheelhouse and 3 in the exit hatch.

The minelayer was equipped with 2 bronze three-bladed propellers with a diameter of 1350 mm with rotary blades. To the mechanism for transferring the blades, located directly behind the main electric motor, a transfer rod went through the propeller shaft. Changing the course from full forward to full rear or vice versa was carried out manually and mechanically from the rotation of the propeller shaft, for which there was a special device. The propeller shafts with a diameter of 140 mm were made of Siemens-Marten steel. Thrust bearings are ball bearings.

For the surface course, 4 kerosene two-stroke eight-cylinder Curting engines with a capacity of 300 hp were installed. each at 550 rpm. The motors were placed two on board and were connected to each other and to the main electric motors by friction clutches. All 8 cylinders of the engine were designed in such a way that when the two halves of the crankshaft were separated, each 4 cylinders could work separately. As a result, a combination of power on board was obtained: 150, 300, 450 and 600 hp. Exhaust gases from the engines were fed to a common box on the 32nd frame, from which a pipe ran to release them into the atmosphere. The upper part of the pipe, which went out through the breakwater in the aft part, was made downward. The mechanism for lifting this part of the pipe was operated manually and was located in the superstructure.

Seven separate kerosene cylinders with a total capacity of 38.5 tons of kerosene were placed inside a strong case between the 70th and 1-2th frames. The spent kerosene was replaced by water. The kerosene necessary for the operation of the engines was fed from the tanks with a special centrifugal pump to 2 supply tanks located in the superstructure, from where the kerosene was fed to the engines by gravity.

For the underwater course, 2 main electric motors of the "Eklerage-Electric" system with a capacity of 330 hp were provided. at 400 rpm. They were located between the 94th and 102nd frames. The electric motors allowed a wide adjustment of the number of revolutions from 90 to 400 by different grouping of anchors and half-batteries. They worked directly on propeller shafts, and during the operation of kerosene motors, the armatures of the electric motors served as flywheels. With kerosene motors, the electric motors were connected by friction couplings, and with thrust shafts - by pin couplings, the inclusion and disconnection of which was carried out by special ratchets on the motor shaft.

The rechargeable battery of the minelayer, located between the 34th and 59th frames, consisted of 236 batteries of the Mato system. The battery was divided by-board into 2 batteries, each of which consisted of two half-batteries of 59 cells. Half-batteries could be connected in series and in parallel. The accumulators were charged by the main motors, which in this case worked as generators and were driven by kerosene motors. Each of the main electric motors had its own main station, equipped for connecting semi-batteries and anchors in series and in parallel, starting and shunt rheostats, braking relays, measuring instruments, etc.

On the minelayer, 2 torpedo tubes were installed, located in the bow of the submarine, parallel to the diametrical plane. The devices, built by the GA Lessner plant in St. Petersburg, were intended for firing 450 mm torpedoes of the 1908 model. The minelayer had ammunition of 4 torpedoes, 2 of which were in the TA, and 2 were stored in special boxes under the living deck …


To transfer torpedoes from boxes to apparatus, rails were laid on both sides along which a trolley with hoists moved. A replacement tank was placed under the deck of the bow compartment, where water from the torpedo tube was lowered by gravity after a shot. Water from this tank was pumped out with a nasal pump on the starboard side. For flooding the volume between the torpedo and the TA pipe with water, tanks of the annular gap from each side in the bow of the displacers were intended. The torpedoes were loaded through the bow inclined hatch using a minibar mounted on the deck of the superstructure.

60 mines of a special type were located on a minelayer symmetrically to the diametrical plane of the submarine in two channels of the superstructure, equipped with mine paths, aft embrasures through which the loading and laying of mines was carried out, as well as a folding rotary crane for loading mines. Mine tracks are rails riveted to a solid body, along which vertical rollers of mine anchors rolled. To prevent the mines from going off the rails, frames with squares were made along the sides of the minelayer, between which the side rollers of the anchors of the mines moved.

The mines were moved along the mine paths with the help of a worm shaft, into which the driving rollers of the mine anchors rolled out between special guiding shoulder straps. The worm shaft was rotated by an electric motor of variable power: 6 hp. at 1500 rpm and 8 hp at 1200 rpm. The electric motor, installed in the bow of the minelayer from the starboard side between the 31st and 32nd frames, was connected by a worm and a gear to a vertical shaft. The vertical shaft, passing through the stuffing box of the strong submarine body, was connected by a bevel gear with the worm shaft of the starboard side. To transmit the movement to the left side worm shaft, the right vertical shaft was connected to the left vertical shaft using bevel gears and a transverse transmission shaft.

Each of the rows of mines on the side began somewhat in front of the forward entrance hatch of the minelayer and ended at a distance of approximately two minutes from the embrasure. Embrasure covers - metal shields with a rail for mines. The mines were equipped with an anchor - a hollow cylinder with brackets riveted at the bottom for four vertical rollers that rolled along the mine track rails. In the lower part of the armature, 2 horizontal rollers were installed, entering the worm shaft and, when the latter rotated, sliding in its thread and moving the mine. When a mine with an anchor fell into the water and occupied a vertical position, a special device disconnected it from the anchor. A valve was opened in the anchor, as a result of which water entered the anchor and it received negative buoyancy. At the first moment, the mine fell with the anchor, and then floated up to a predetermined depth, since it had positive buoyancy. A special device in the anchor made it possible to unwind the minrep to certain limits, depending on the set depth of the mine. All preparations of mines for setting (setting the depth, ignition nozzles, etc.) were carried out in the port, because after the mines were accepted into the minelayer's superstructure, it was no longer possible to approach them. The mines were staggered, usually at a distance of 100 feet (30.5 m). The speed of the minelayer when setting mines could be changed from 3 to 10 knots. The rate of setting mines also varied accordingly. Launching the mine elevator, adjusting its speed, opening and closing the aft embrasures - all this was done from the inside of the submarine's robust hull. Indicators of the number of delivered and remaining mines, as well as the position of mines on the elevator, were installed on the minelayer.

Initially, according to the project, artillery weapons were not provided for on the underwater minelayer "Krab", but then one 37-mm gun and two machine guns were installed on it for the first military campaign. However, later the 37 mm gun was replaced with a larger caliber gun. So, by March 1916, the artillery armament on the "Crab" consisted of one 70-mm Austrian mountain gun mounted in front of the wheelhouse, and two machine guns, one of which was installed in the nose, and the other behind the breakwater.

Part 2

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