Cruisers of the project 26 and 26 bis. Part 7. "Maxim Gorky" versus "Gatling Card Holder" and heavy cruisers

Cruisers of the project 26 and 26 bis. Part 7. "Maxim Gorky" versus "Gatling Card Holder" and heavy cruisers
Cruisers of the project 26 and 26 bis. Part 7. "Maxim Gorky" versus "Gatling Card Holder" and heavy cruisers

So, in the previous article we examined the chances of a possible confrontation between the Soviet light cruiser Maxim Gorky and its British counterpart Belfast. Today it's the turn of the Brooklyn, Mogami and heavy cruisers. Let's start with the American.

Maxim Gorky vs. Brooklyn

The American cruiser was a very unusual sight. The Brooklyn was undoubtedly an outstanding ship of its time, but at the same time it was rather strange: in an effort to reach other characteristics up to record values, American shipbuilders in a number of cases allowed simply inexplicable design blunders. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Very little is known about the Brooklyn in terms of fire control devices. It had two KDPs for controlling the main caliber fire, while each KDP had only one rangefinder, but it is not known whether there was a scartometer. The sources available to the author do not say anything about this, and from the description of the battles of this, alas, it is impossible to understand: the battles in which the British "towns" took part are described in the literature in more detail than an example. In the absence of accurate data, we will assume that the fire control system of the main caliber of the "Brooklyn" was not too inferior to that of the "Maxim Gorky", although there are great doubts about this. In any case, the three range finders of the Maxim Gorky KDP gave him a certain advantage against the possible presence of a scartometer at the Brooklyn.


The main caliber of the Americans was as much as 15 * 152-mm guns in five three-gun turrets, and the guns had an individual cradle and … did not have separate vertical aiming mechanisms. How to explain this paradox, and why was it necessary to make the tower heavier with guns in different cradles, if they could still only be guided all together, i.e. as if they were housed in the same cradle? Perhaps this was done in order to achieve a greater distance between the axes of the trunks, which in the towers of the main caliber of "Brooklyn" reached 1.4 m. But still it was significantly smaller than the British towers (198 cm), and, in addition, a similar the layout alludes to the fact that the Americans, like the British, planned to shoot and fire with full volleys, i.e. use the same archaic method of sighting on observations of falling signs. And one rangefinder in the KDP … everything seems to indicate the identity of the methods of fire control of the American and British cruisers. If we knew that the Brooklyn, like the British cruisers, fought with full volleys, then the conclusion would leave no doubt, but, alas, we do not know. Here is all we can say for sure: even if the Brooklyn missile launcher could provide zeroing with a "ledge" and here the placement of guns in different cradles did not give the Americans any advantages.

As for the shells, here the Americans did not differ from the British for the better: if the British six-inch shell fired a 50.8-kg projectile with an initial speed of 841 m / s, then the American one - only 47.6-kg with an initial speed of 812 m / s …At the same time, a semi-armor-piercing American projectile was equipped with only 1.1 kg of explosives against 1.7 kg in the British. True, "Uncle Sam" got back on the high-explosive: these shells from the Americans carried as much as 6, 2 kg of explosive against 3.6 kg of the British.

Realizing the excessive lightness of its "arguments", the United States created a "super-heavy" six-inch armor-piercing 59-kg projectile. Of course, its initial speed was lower than that of the light 47.6 kg and was only 762 m / s. But due to its greater gravity, the projectile lost energy more slowly, flew further (almost 24 km versus about 21.5 km for a light one) and had slightly better armor penetration. According to the last parameter, the Brooklyn cannons were now superior to Belfast: if the English 50, 8-kg 75 kbt projectile had a speed of 335 m / s, then the American 59-kg 79 kbt had 344 m / s, despite the fact that the angles the falls were comparable.

However, you should pay for any advantage: in the USSR, they also developed super-heavy projectiles (albeit for 305-mm artillery systems) and soon became convinced that the excess weight for its caliber deprives the projectile of strength. The Americans faced the same thing (although the mass of their new projectile was almost 24% higher than the old one, but the "heavyweight" was able to accommodate only 0.9 kg of explosives, i.e. even less than in the old 47.6 kg (1, 1 kg) and much less than in British shells).

The rest of the American towers should be recognized as very perfect. Just like the English ones, they did not have a fixed angle, but a range of loading angles (from –5 to +20 degrees), while, apparently, the chargers equally efficiently and quickly loaded the guns over the entire range. As a result, the towers turned out to be very fast-firing: for the cruiser "Savannah" a record was recorded - 138 rounds per minute from all 15 guns, or a volley every 6.5 seconds! But here are the technical solutions due to which such a rate of fire was obtained …

On the one hand, the Americans excellently defended their main caliber artillery. The frontal plate of the tower is 165 mm, on the sides, the side plates had 76 near the frontal plate, and then they thinned to 38 mm. 51 mm had a horizontally located roof. Barbet was protected by 152 mm armor. But…


First, to reduce the size of the artillery cellars, the Americans placed shells directly in the barbette, and this is extremely difficult to call a successful solution. Second: the heavy barbet could not reach the armored deck, as a result it ended without reaching one (and for elevated towers - two) interdeck spaces to the last one. Between the barbette and the armored deck, only a narrow feed tube for charges (76 mm) was armored. As a result, the extremely powerfully armored artillery mounts were completely defenseless from being hit "under the skirt", i. E. into the space between the end of the barbet and the armored deck - a shell that exploded under the barbet almost guaranteed to "touch" the shells stored there.


In general, the booking of the Brooklyn-class cruisers leaves a lot of questions. For example, the citadel is very high (4, 22 m), made of durable armor plates. From top to bottom, for 2, 84 m, the armor belt had a thickness of 127 mm, then it thinned down to 82, 5 mm, and the traverses had a single thickness of 127 mm. But the armored belt covered only the engine rooms, i.e. about 60 meters or less than a third of the length of the cruiser! A very narrow underwater armor belt (that is, it was completely under water) with a thickness of 51 mm went from the citadel to the nose, which did not even cover one interdeck space: its task was to cover the artillery cellars of the main caliber. But in the stern, the hull did not cover anything at all, but inside the hull there was a 120-mm armored bulkhead that protected the artillery cellars of the main turrets of the main battery. All of the aforementioned was "locked" with crossbeams 95, 25 mm thick. Above the citadel of the bow armor belt and aft armor bulkheads, there was a 51-mm armored deck.

In general, such protection can be described as "all or nothing" against 152-mm armor-piercing shells: the citadel's armor belt protected well from them, and hitting an unarmored side would lead to the fact that the shells simply flew away without exploding. But the shelling of the cruiser with six-inch high-explosive shells could lead to extensive flooding of the extremities, since nothing protected the ship at the waterline level. In this case, water would flow over the fore / aft armored decks located below the waterline.

In general, in a duel situation at a distance of 75 kbt against "Maxim Gorky", the American cruiser looks somewhat better than the English one. It will also have problems with zeroing (the flight time of an American projectile at such a distance is about 30 seconds) and, all other things being equal, will seek cover more slowly than the Soviet cruiser, and its 47.6 kg shells are not scary for Maxim Gorky. But for "super-heavy" 59-kg shells, there is still a small chance to penetrate the citadel of a domestic ship, but only if the "Maxim Gorky" is located strictly perpendicular to the line of fire of "Brooklyn", and this rarely happens in a sea battle. In addition, the Soviet cruiser, having an advantage in speed, could always overtake the American a little, or fight on converging / diverging courses, and here there was no longer a chance to penetrate the armor of the Brooklyn's guns. And in the case of armor penetration, there was little chance of causing serious damage with a charge weighing 0.9 kg of explosives.

Therefore, the most reasonable tactic "for Brooklyn" is the conduct of combat with high-explosive shells. The practical rate of fire of the American cruiser really amazed the imagination, reaching 9-10 rds / min per barrel, which made it possible (in rapid fire mode), even taking into account the pitching, to make a volley every 10-12 seconds. Accordingly, it made sense for the Americans to switch, after zeroing in, to rapid fire with "landmines" in the hope of "throwing" the Soviet ship with shells that had as much as 6 kg of explosives.

The problem was that Maxim Gorky was very well protected from high-explosive shells, but Brooklyn, whose citadel was more than half as long as that of the Soviet cruiser, was frankly bad. “Maxim Gorky” did not make a deep sense to fight with armor-piercing shells: the area of vertical armor of the American cruiser was too small, despite the fact that, falling into the unarmored side and superstructures, Soviet armor-piercing and semi-armor-piercing shells would fly away without exploding. But high-explosive 180-mm projectiles with their 7, 86 kg of explosives could mess things up in the unarmored Brooklyn hull. Of course, the American guns were faster, but this was compensated to a certain extent by the increased spread of their 152-mm shells.

At distances greater than 75-80 kbt, the Soviet cruiser also had an advantage: using low-combat charges, "Maxim Gorky" could penetrate the armored deck of "Brooklyn" at distances from which even the "super-heavy" 152-mm shells of the citadel of a domestic ship have not yet threatened. In principle, the 59-kg projectile had a chance to penetrate the 50-mm deck of a Soviet cruiser at extreme distances, but getting to Maxim Gorky from such a distance (taking into account the very large dispersion) was very difficult, and why would Gorky fight in disadvantageous position for him? The advantage in speed, and hence the choice of the battle distance, belonged to the Soviet ship.

But at short distances (3-4 miles) "Brooklyn" due to its enchanting rate of fire and ability to penetrate the citadel of "Maxim Gorky" would already have an advantage over the cruiser of the 26-bis project. But to some extent it was offset by a very strange American decision - the abandonment of torpedo tubes. Of course, the pair of three-pipe 533-mm TA, which were on the Soviet and British cruisers, could not withstand any comparison with the torpedo weapons of Japanese cruisers: neither in the number of torpedoes in an onboard salvo, nor in their range or power. Nevertheless, in a short battle, a three-torpedo salvo (especially at night) could prove to be a decisive argument in the dispute between the steel giants, but the American cruiser could only rely on cannons.

From the foregoing, the conclusion follows: although the Brooklyn against the Soviet cruiser looks somewhat better than the English Belfast, the advantage at medium and long distances still remains with Maxim Gorky. At short distances, the Brooklyn has an advantage in artillery, but its lack of torpedo armament greatly reduces the chances of an American cruiser being short-circuited. Thus, the Soviet ship is still more dangerous than its American counterpart, and this despite the fact that the standard displacement of the Brooklyn is 1600-1800 tons (for various cruisers of the series) more than that of the Maxim Gorky.

Maxim Gorky vs. Mogami


If someone thinks that the Soviet 180 mm B-1-P cannon with its bore pressure of 3,200 kg / sq. cm was overpowered, then what could then be said about the 155-mm Japanese artillery system, which had 3,400 kg / sq. cm? Even the Germans did not allow themselves this, and this despite the fact that the German industry, unlike the Japanese, did not experience a shortage of high-quality raw materials. However, it should be borne in mind that, like the main caliber of Soviet cruisers, the Japanese 155-mm guns had as a "common" 33.8 kg charge (analogous to our heavy-combat, which created a pressure in the barrel of 3400 kg / sq. Cm), and a reduced charge, at which the initial velocity of the projectile was lower, and the survivability of the barrel was higher.

"Reinforced-combat" charge accelerated 55, 87-kg projectile to an initial speed of 920 m / s, which gave the "Mogami" the best armor penetration among similar artillery systems in other countries. At the same time, the accuracy of firing of the Japanese cannons was quite at the level of their own 200-mm artillery systems, even at firing distances close to the limit. Such high characteristics had to be paid for both by the resource of the barrel (250-300 rounds) and by the practical rate of fire, which did not exceed 5 rounds / min, and even this, apparently, was achieved only when firing with a vertical elevation not too exceeding the fixed angle loading in 7 degrees.

Regarding the fire control system, alas, nothing definite can be said either: the sources available to the author of this article do not describe it with the required accuracy (there is only one rangefinder, but everything else …). But the booking of Mogami-class cruisers has been thoroughly studied.

Boiler rooms and engine rooms were protected by an inclined (at an angle of 20 degrees) armor belt 78, 15 m long, 2, 55 mm high and 100 mm thick (along the upper edge), thinning down to 65 mm. From the lower edge of the armor belt and further down until the very double day, there was an anti-torpedo armor bulkhead, with a thickness of 65 mm (top) to 25 mm (bottom). Thus, the total height of the armor protection was as much as 6.5 meters! But the citadel did not end there: less high (4.5 m) and only slightly protruding above the surface of the water armor belt, which had 140 mm along the upper edge with a decrease from below to 30 mm. Thus, the total length of the citadel of Japanese cruisers reached 132, 01-135, 93 meters! The thickness of the traverses reached 105 mm.


As for the armored deck, above the boiler rooms and engine rooms, it was 35 mm thick, but it did not lean on the armored belt. Instead, 60 mm bevels (at an angle of 20 degrees) went from its edges to the upper edge of the armor belt. Further in the bow and stern, such innovations were not observed: the 40-mm armored deck lay on the upper edge of the 140-mm armored belt.

In contrast to the very thoughtful and powerful protection of the hull, the armor of the turrets and barbets looked completely "cardboard", having only 25.4 mm of armor. True, for the sake of fairness, it must be pointed out that from the armored deck and approximately up to a height of 2.5 m (for towers No. 3 and 4), their central pins were protected by 75-100 mm of armor (for the other towers, the corresponding indicators were 1.5 m and 75 mm).

Cruisers of the project 26 and 26 bis. Part 7. "Maxim Gorky" versus "Gatling Card Holder" and heavy cruisers
Cruisers of the project 26 and 26 bis. Part 7. "Maxim Gorky" versus "Gatling Card Holder" and heavy cruisers

At the distance of a decisive battle "Mogami" for "Maxim Gorky" was the most dangerous of all the cruisers described earlier. The Soviet cruiser has no particular advantage in the speed of zeroing. The author of this article does not have exact data on the flight time of Japanese 155-mm projectiles at 75 kbt, but it is known that their muzzle velocity is equal to the muzzle velocity of Soviet 180-mm projectiles. And although heavier domestic "goodies" will lose speed more slowly than Japanese ones, the difference in flight time will not be as significant as in the case of British and American cruisers. Accordingly, some advantage to the Soviet ship could only be given by the superiority in the quality of the PUS, but we cannot say how great it is.

At a distance of 75 kbt, the 70-mm vertical armor of domestic cruisers is vulnerable to 155-mm Japanese shells, but the opposite is also true: even 140-mm armor, even at an inclination of 20 degrees, will not withstand the 97.5-kg B-1-P armor-piercing projectile … The same applies to the armored scoops above the engine and boiler rooms of the "Mogami" (60 mm), which also will not become an obstacle for Soviet shells. But in general, we have to admit that the protection of both cruisers is insufficient to withstand enemy artillery, and therefore the one who can ensure the greater number of hits on the enemy will win. And here the Mogami still has more chances: its 155-mm guns are at least as fast as the Soviet 180-mm guns in terms of rate of fire, the accuracy of the Japanese is quite good, but the number of barrels is 1.67 times more. Of course, the content of explosives in the Japanese projectile (1, 152 kg) is almost half that of the Soviet one, which gives Maxim Gorky certain advantages, but it must be borne in mind that the Mogami is much larger. The standard displacement of the Mogami-class cruisers was 12,400 tons, and the superiority in size provided the Japanese ship with greater resistance to damage than the Maxim Gorky had. That is why "Mogami" in a battle at a distance of 75 kbt would still have a certain superiority.

Here it is necessary to make a reservation: in all cases, the author of this article considers the performance characteristics of ships immediately after their construction, but in the case of the "Mogs" an exception should be made, since in its original version these cruisers were poorly navigable (they managed to get damage to the hulls in calm water, simply by developing full speed), and only immediate modernization made them full-fledged warships. And after this modernization, the standard displacement of the same "Mikum" just reached 12,400 tons.

So, at the main battle distances, the Mogami surpassed the Maxim Gorky, but at long distances (90 kbt and beyond), the Soviet cruiser would have had an advantage: here the Mogami's deck armor could not resist 180-mm shells, at that time how "Maxim Gorky" would remain invulnerable for the guns of a Japanese cruiser - neither the side nor the deck of the cruiser of the project 26-bis at such distances would take 155-mm shells. But it should be borne in mind that, unlike Brooklyn and Belfast, in the collision against the Mogami, Maxim Gorky did not have speed superiority and could not choose a suitable battle distance, but he could keep the current one, since the speeds of both cruisers were approximately equal.

Well, at short distances, the superiority of the Mogami became overwhelming, since four three-pipe 610-mm torpedo tubes were added to the artillery superiority, which was twice the number of the Soviet ship and, as it were, not as much in quality: torpedoes equal to the Japanese Long Lance ", Then there was no one in the world.

Thus, in assessing the possible confrontation between the Mogami in its 155-mm incarnation and the Maxim Gorky, a certain superiority of the Japanese cruiser should be diagnosed. But the fact that the Soviet ship, being one and a half times smaller, nevertheless does not look like a "whipping boy" at all, and even surpasses its rival at long distances, speaks volumes.

In general, from the comparison of "Maxim Gorky" with light cruisers of the leading naval powers, the following can be stated. It was the decision to equip Soviet ships with 180-mm artillery that provided them with an advantage over the "six-inch" cruisers, which the latter could not compensate for either by their larger size or better protection. The only ship carrying 155-mm artillery and gaining (not overwhelming) superiority over the Soviet cruiser ("Mogami") was one and a half times larger than the "Maxim Gorky".

Let's move on to the heavy cruisers and start with the same Mogami, which has changed its 15 * 155-mm guns to 10 * 203, 2-mm guns. This immediately made the Soviet cruiser noticeably weaker at long distances. The Japanese can fire with five-gun semi-salvoes, each of which fires only one gun in the tower, i.e. the influence of gases from neighboring guns is absent at all. A Soviet cruiser with its guns in one cradle will still have such an influence when firing alternately with four- and five-gun salvoes, therefore, at long distances, one should expect somewhat worse accuracy than the Japanese. At the same time, the Japanese eight-inch gun is more powerful: its 125, 85-kg projectile carried 3, 11 kg of explosives, which is one and a half times more than that of the domestic 180-mm "armor-piercing". Also, the Japanese cruiser remains stronger than the Soviet cruiser at medium and short range: if earlier its superiority was ensured by the ability to “reach” the enemy with a large number of hits, now it has a greater projectile power. With 203-mm guns, the Mogami already demonstrates a clear advantage over the Maxim Gorky, but at the same time he himself is by no means invulnerable: at any distance of battle for the 180-mm shells of the Soviet cruiser, either the sides or the deck of the Japanese cruiser are permeable, and "Cardboard" towers "Mogami" are extremely vulnerable at all ranges of combat. In other words, the superiority of the "eight-inch" "Mogami" in comparison with the "six-inch" one has grown, "Maxim Gorky" is definitely weaker, and yet he still has some chances of winning.

"Maxim Gorky" against "Admiral Hipper"


Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper class are not considered lucky ships. V. Kofman put it very well in his monograph Princes of the Kriegsmarine: Heavy Cruisers of the Third Reich:

"The high state of German technology and engineering thought simply did not allow the creation of an obviously unsuccessful project, although in the case of cruisers of the Admiral Hipper type, one can partly say that such an attempt was nevertheless made."

This is partly due to the very archaic booking scheme, almost unchanged (not counting the changes in the thickness of the armor), borrowed from light German cruisers. The Admiral Hipper's armored belt was very long, it protected the freeboard almost along its entire length, covering the boiler rooms, engine rooms and artillery cellars, and a little more beyond that, protruding beyond the barbets of the bow and stern towers. But this, of course, affected its thickness - 80 mm at an angle of 12, 5 degrees. At the ends of the belt, the citadel was closed by 80 mm traverses. But even after the traverses, the armor belt continued: 70 mm thick at the stern, 40 mm thick at the bow, 30 mm thick three meters from the stem.


There were also two armored decks, an upper and a main one. The upper one extended over the citadel (even a little further in the stern) and was 25 mm thick above the boiler rooms and 12-20 mm in other places. It was assumed that it will play the role of a fuse activator for projectiles, which is why they may detonate in the interdeck space, before reaching the main armored deck. The latter, throughout the entire length of the citadel, had a thickness of 30 mm, thickening to 40 mm only in the areas of the towers. Of course, the main armored deck had bevels, traditional for German ships, which had the same 30 mm thickness and adjoined the lower edge of the armor belt. The horizontal part of the main armor deck was located about a meter below the upper edge of the armor belt.

The towers of the main caliber of the cruiser "Admiral Hipper" carried rather heavy armor: 160 mm forehead, from which a strongly sloping 105-mm armor plate went up, the rest of the walls had 70-80 mm of armor. The barbets all the way up to the main armored deck had an equal thickness of 80 mm. The deckhouse had 150 mm walls and 50 mm roof, in addition, there was other local booking: rangefinder posts, control room and a number of important rooms had 20 mm protection, etc.


The fire control system of the German heavy cruiser was probably the best in the world (before the advent of artillery radars). Suffice it to say that the "Admiral Hipper" had as many as three controllers. In addition, the LMS turned out to be truly "unkillable", since the Germans managed to reach double and even fourfold redundancy of some types of equipment! All this absorbed a lot of weight, making the ship heavier, but had a positive effect on the quality of the CCP. Eight German 203-mm cannons were a masterpiece of artillery - due to the provision of the highest initial velocity, the shells flew flat, which achieved a gain in accuracy.

What can you say about the duel situation between Maxim Gorky and Admiral Hipper? Of course, the Soviet cruiser does not have a free maneuvering zone: at any range, its opponent's eight-inch shells are capable of penetrating either 70 mm side or traverse of the citadel, or 50 mm armored deck. German cannons are more accurate (when firing with semi-salvoes, German shells do not experience the influence of powder gases from neighboring guns, since only one gun of each turret participates in a semi-salvo), the rate of fire is comparable, and the German PUS is more perfect. Under these conditions, the superiority of the Soviet cruiser in the number of guns per barrel decides absolutely nothing.

And yet a one-on-one fight between "Admiral Hipper" and "Maxim Gorky" will not be a "one-sided game" at all. At a distance of a decisive battle (75 kbt), an armor-piercing projectile of a Soviet cruiser is capable of penetrating both an 80-mm armor belt and a 30-mm bevel behind it, and this possibility remains in a fairly wide range of angles of encounter with the armor. German barbets of the main caliber turrets also do not provide protection against Soviet 180 mm shells. And at long distances, when firing with low-combat charges, the armored decks of the German cruiser, having an aggregate thickness of 42-55 mm, become vulnerable. In addition, between the upper deck (where the first armored deck is located) and the main armored deck there is more than one and a half interdeck spaces of the unarmored side - if a Soviet projectile gets there, then only 30 mm of the main armored deck will remain in its path.

At the same time, the speed of the German cruiser, even in tests when forcing boilers, was no more than 32.5 knots, and in everyday operation it barely reached 30 knots. “Maxim Gorky” was certainly faster and had a good chance of “retreating to prepared positions”. Of course, the German heavy cruiser could not choose the range of the battle.

At the same time, an interesting nuance should be taken into account: the German semi-armor-piercing projectiles were closer in quality to high-explosive than armor-piercing, for example, the maximum thickness of armor that a 50 kb semi-armor-piercing projectile could penetrate did not exceed 100 mm. As a result, fighting at 75 kbt with similar projectiles with a cruiser with 70 mm vertical armor did not make much sense: armor penetration, perhaps, is possible, but every third time. Therefore, the protection of the Soviet ship, with all its insufficiency, nevertheless required the German artillerymen to use armor-piercing shells, and those in terms of explosive content (2, 3 kg) were not too different from the Soviet 180-mm (1, 97 kg).

Of course, the German cruiser outnumbered the Maxim Gorky in battle at any distance. Of course, his artillery was more powerful, and his defense was more solid. But it is surprising that neither in terms of any of these parameters, individually, nor in their totality, "Admiral Hipper" did not have a decisive superiority over the cruiser of the 26-bis project. The only thing in which the German heavy cruiser was superior to the Soviet light cruiser was its combat stability, but again, as in the case of the Mogs, this was the merit of the large size of the German cruiser. "Admiral Hipper" had a standard displacement of 14,550 tons, ie. more than "Maxim Gorky" by almost 1.79 times!

Comparison with the Italian "Zara" or the American "Wichita", in general, will not add anything to the conclusions made earlier. Just like "Mogami" and "Admiral Hipper", due to powerful 203-mm artillery, they could hit a Soviet cruiser at any battle distances and, in general, had superiority over it, but their protection was also vulnerable to 180-mm Soviet cannons. why a fight with "Maxim Gorky" would become very unsafe for them. All these cruisers, due to their size, had greater stability in battle (the larger the ship, the more difficult it is to sink it), but at the same time they were inferior to the Soviet cruiser in speed. None of the above heavy cruisers had an overwhelming superiority over the domestic ship, while all of them were much larger than the Maxim Gorky. The same "Zara", for example, surpassed the 26-bis with a standard displacement by more than 1, 45 times, which means it was significantly more expensive.

Thus, in terms of its fighting qualities, "Maxim Gorky" occupied an intermediate position between light and heavy cruisers - surpassing any light cruiser in the world, it was inferior to heavy ones, but to a much lesser extent than its "six-inch" counterparts. The Soviet ship could have escaped from the overwhelming majority of heavy cruisers, but the battle with them was by no means a death sentence for him.

A little remark: some respected readers of this series of articles wrote in the comments that such a head-to-head comparison of cruisers in a dueling situation is somewhat divorced from reality. One can (and should) agree with this. Such comparisons are speculative: it would be much more correct to determine the correspondence of each specific cruiser to the tasks that were assigned to it. Is Belfast inferior to Maxim Gorky? So what then! It was created to counter "six-inch" cruisers like "Mogami", and for these purposes, the combination of its protection and firepower is perhaps optimal. Is Brooklyn weaker than Project 26-bis cruiser in duel? So the American light cruisers faced night battles close by with Japanese cruisers and destroyers, for which the "Gatling canister" was very suitable.

But the task of the Soviet shipbuilders was to create a ship-killer of light cruisers in the displacement of a light cruiser and at the speed of a light cruiser. And they coped with their task perfectly, creating well-protected, fast-moving and reliable ships. But nevertheless, the key parameter that provided our cruisers with the combat qualities they needed was the use of 180 mm artillery.

At this point, the series of articles devoted to the cruisers of projects 26 and 26-bis could be completed. But one should nevertheless compare the anti-aircraft armament of the Maxim Gorky with foreign cruisers and answer the burning question: if the 180-mm cannons turned out to be so good, why were they abandoned on subsequent series of Soviet cruisers?

And that's why…

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