Sevastopol-class battleships: success or failure? Part 2

Sevastopol-class battleships: success or failure? Part 2
Sevastopol-class battleships: success or failure? Part 2

The project of battleships of the "Sevastopol" type is very often called "the project of the frightened" - they say, Russian sailors were so scared of Japanese high-explosive shells in Tsushima that they demanded for their future battleships a complete booking of the side - and do not care about the thickness of the armor, just to protect themselves from monstrous land mines … In fact, everything was a little different.

The fact is that during the Russo-Japanese War, the twelve-inch guns of the Russian and Japanese battleships were rather weak - they could penetrate the newest Krupp 229-mm armor no further than from 25-30 kbt. This, of course, was not enough, since the battle distances increased significantly, amounting to 40 or even 70 kbt - and therefore the post-war artillery, in order to keep up with the delights of naval tactics, had to make a big qualitative leap. Our gunners made two important conclusions based on the results of the battles.

First, it became clear that the main weapon of our battleships of the last war - the old 305-mm cannon of the 1895 model, which, for example, was used on our Borodino-class battleships - was already outdated and definitely not suitable for future battles. At the main battle distances, which should now be considered 45-70 kbt, the shells of such a cannon of enemy armor no longer pierced. And secondly, the shells with which we entered the Russo-Japanese War turned out to be completely flawed: a meager amount of explosives and unimportant fuses did not allow decisive damage to the enemy. Practical conclusions from this were made quite quickly: the new Russian armor-piercing and high-explosive shells, although they had the same weight as the Tsushima ones (331, 7 kg), contained many times more explosives and were equipped with adequate fuses. Almost simultaneously with their creation, the Russians took up the development of a new 305 mm / 52 gun. If the old 305-mm / 40 Russian artillery system could disperse a 331, 7-kg projectile only up to 792 m / s, then the new artillery system had to accelerate it to a speed of 950 m / s. Of course, the armor penetration of the new gun was much higher, but due to the fact that the light projectile was rapidly losing speed, at long distances its power quickly dropped.

So, initially, when designing the Russian dreadnought, a requirement was put forward that its armor belt had a thickness of 305 mm. But the ship quickly grew in size - super-powerful weapons, high speed … something had to be sacrificed. And it was decided to reduce the armor - the fact is that according to the then calculations (made, it seems, on the basis of data from our new 305-mm cannon, firing a new 331.7 kg projectile), 225-mm armor reliably protected against 305-mm shells, starting from a distance of 60 kb and more. And the domestic admirals perfectly understood that in the future they would have to fight at distances even greater than 60 kbt. And therefore, the 225-mm armor (and even taking into account the 50 mm armored bulkheads and bevels) they were quite satisfied precisely as protection against armor-piercing 305-mm shells. Many even thought that 203 mm would be enough.

Alas, our sailors were wrong. They really did not take into account the crazy power that the naval artillery will soon acquire. But fear has nothing to do with it - there was certainly a miscalculation, but when designing protection, they were guided not at all by high-explosive shells, but by armor-piercing enemy shells.

But they wanted to make the height of the main belt much more than 1, 8-2 m for old battleships, and for good reason. The Russians were the FIRST IN THE WORLD to understand that the reservation area plays no less a role than its thickness and that the existing armored belts of battleships, and striving to hide under water with minimal overload or even just in fresh weather, are insufficient. Interestingly, later the Americans did the same (the height of their armor belts exceeded 5 m), but the British, delayed at the start, subsequently on their battleships of the Second World War (five "King George V") brought the height of the armor belt up to 7 meters! And, mind you, no one called the British and American battleships "projects of the frightened."

Here I anticipate objections. Speaking of the "project of the frightened", they do not mean the height of the main armor belt, but the desire to protect the entire side with armor. Completeness! Take a look at the booking scheme of the same "Orion" (the scheme of which I gave in the first part of the article). He has booked almost the entire side, with the exception of small areas in the bow and stern.

But the booking of domestic "Sevastopol" looks much more rational. Our dreadnoughts had 2 armor thicknesses - 225 mm for protection against armor-piercing 305-mm shells and 125 mm for the extremity and upper armor belt for protection against high-explosive shells. It was assumed that at distances of 60 kbt and more than 225 mm they would be rescued from an armor-piercing projectile, and 125-mm armor would reflect the blow of a land mine. If an armor-piercing projectile hits 125, then it will not make a break (a large hole), but pierce it and explode inside, leaving a neat hole in the armor, which will reduce flooding and simplify the fight for survivability. Well, but what, interestingly, were the British guided by, making the upper belt 203 mm thick? Against a land mine - too much, against armor-piercing - not enough. Ours were limited to 125 mm, but almost the entire board was booked.

And after all, what is interesting, ours were not so much wrong - as we can see, at distances of 70-80 kbt, excellent German armor-piercing shells took 229-mm armor every other time. But our "trouble" is that having said "A", we had to say "B". Realizing that the range of naval battles had grown greatly, our gunners wanted to have armor-piercing shells capable of penetrating enemy armor at these increased distances. The concept of "light projectile - high muzzle velocity" was no longer suitable for this, so our developers created the 470.9 kg "wunderwaffe", with which the new 305 mm / 52 gun was ahead of the rest in terms of armor penetration. By that time, the first series of our battleships had been on the stocks for a long time … And then they passed the tests, and we were horrified, realizing that the armor of the Sevastopol did not at all protect against our armor-piercing shells of the 1911 model. That the armor of other battleships of that time was also extremely vulnerable to this the creations of the gloomy domestic genius and that imported guns do not have such all-destructive power, they somehow did not think about it.

But back to the "project of the frightened". More than once, not twice, such criticism sounded - they say, why bother to strive for continuous armor of the side, even if of moderate thickness, if only they used protection according to the principle of "all or nothing", when the armor was pulled from the extremities into a thick, impenetrable for enemy shells, the main armor belt, that's then … But no, they were so frightened of the Japanese high-explosive "suitcases" with shimoza that the Tsushima horror knocked off all consideration. But you could have figured out - what kind of abnormal person would throw landmines at the enemy in a duel of dreadnoughts? Show it!

In fact, there was such a "abnormal" in the world. And this (drum roll) … none other than Great Britain, the mistress of the seas!

The British, who had their observers in Tsushima, came to very interesting conclusions. They understood that the distances at which sea battles were being fought were growing, they also understood that the armor-piercing shells of their 305-mm guns would not be able to hit enemy ships very well at long distances - there was not enough power. And at a time when the Russians, taught by bitter experience, rushed to create 305-mm shells capable of hitting the enemy at increased distances, the British … considered that the main role in the battles of the future would be played not by armor-piercing, but by high-explosive and semi-armor-piercing shells!

The idea was this: from long distances, the British battleships would unleash a hail of high-explosive and semi-armor-piercing shells on the enemy and inflict heavy damage on the enemy ships, even if they did not penetrate their main armor. And then, when the enemy is sufficiently beaten, they will come closer and finish off the enemy with armor-piercing shells without much danger for themselves.

So the question arises: if the trendsetter, "Mistress of the Seas", a recognized leader in the field of the navy, if Great Britain itself did not consider it shameful to use the "Tsushima" tactics of the Japanese fleet, then why should protection from such tactics be considered "a consequence of pathological horror? Russian sailors "?


I must say that both ours and the Germans considered it possible to use high-explosive shells until they reached the distance with which the enemy armor belt breaks through with armor-piercing shells - to shoot high-explosive shells, it is easier to shoot them, and they will cause some damage to the enemy, while armor-piercing shells shells, until the armor pierces, the enemy ship is only scratched. Not having mastered the armor, they will explode in vain, and if it hits the unarmored side, the detonator will not have time to go off, and the projectile will fly away without exploding. But they were going to fight with high-explosive only during a rapprochement, for ours and for German sailors the armor-piercing projectile remained the main projectile, but for the British … Armor-piercing projectiles before the war accounted for hardly a third of their ammunition load! For example, the British battlecruisers in peacetime had 24 armor-piercing, 28 semi-armor-piercing, 28 high-explosive, and 6 shrapnel shells. During the war, the ammunition capacity increased to 33 armor-piercing, 38 semi-armor-piercing and 39 high-explosive.

The British created a very powerful semi-armor-piercing projectile. It did not have as many explosives as there was in a high-explosive projectile, but it was stronger than a high-explosive one and could penetrate thick enough armor - in this it was similar to an armor-piercing one. But an armor-piercing projectile has a fuse delay - it is necessary that it first break through the armor plate and only then, having overcome the protection, it would fly another ten meters and explode deep inside the ship. And the detonator of the British semi-armor-piercing did not have such a delay - so the projectile exploded either during the breakdown of the armor, or immediately behind the armor …

In Jutland, semi-armor-piercing 343 mm shells penetrated 200 mm and 230 mm armor. But how?

16h 57m The second 343 mm projectile from the Queen Mary from a distance of 13200 - 13600 m (71-74 cab.) Hit the side armor 230 mm thick opposite the barbet of the left side tower and exploded in the hole it had made. Debris of armor and shell fragments pierced the wall of the barbette, which had a thickness of 30 mm in this place, entered the reloading room of the tower and ignited two main half-charges and two additional charging caps in the working compartment "(damage to the battle cruiser Seydlitz. ").

Usually British shells exploded at the moment of breaking through the armor. Therefore, if they hit relatively weakly armored places (100-127 mm), then their ruptures led to the formation of large holes in the hull, but the interior of the ship did not suffer from this too much, although, of course, such a projectile, if it hit the waterline, could cause extensive flooding. But if the projectile hit a sufficiently thick armor, the holes were not too large, and only fragments of the projectile penetrated inside, albeit at a high speed. In other words, the spaced armor of the Russian battleship could quite adequately withstand the English semi-armor-piercing 343-mm shells, although when hitting the 203-mm turret armor and 150-mm armor of the barbets, they could do things … just as, however, the Russians could do things. 470, 9 -kg shells hitting 225-280 mm armor of the British Orions turrets.

In general, the idea of a semi-armor-piercing projectile did not justify itself, and the British quickly sorted it out - after the Battle of Jutland, the ammunition of armor-piercing shells per gun increased from 33 to 77. But the neglect of armor-piercing shells cost the British fleet dearly - they only got high-quality shells of this type after the war. …And for the entire first world, the maximum thickness of armor pierced by a British armor-piercing shell was 260 mm, and it was pierced by a fifteen-inch shell from the battleship Rivenge.

Do you still think that the 275 mm of the total armor of the Russian dreadnought, covering the engine and boiler rooms and barbets, was such a bad defense?

There is no doubt that if Orion had full-fledged armor-piercing shells (at least similar to the German ones) in the Orion's cellars, it would have received an obvious advantage over the Sevastopol-class battleship had they met in battle. But in fact, the British battleship did not have high-quality armor-piercing shells, therefore, surprisingly, the duel of the "Gangut" against any "Monarch" or "Tanderer" would be almost equal.

A battleship is a complex alloy of armor, cannon, projectile, and so on and so forth. Therefore, for a correct comparison, one should take into account the mass of available factors, without limiting the analysis to the maximum thickness of the armor belt and the caliber of the main battery guns. Nobody disputes the fact that the booking of the Sevastopol-class battleships left much to be desired. But the weakness of his armor does not make him the worst battleship in the world, which they often try to imagine him to be.

A small note - most sources shout about the insufficient protection of Russian battleships. And how many authors can you find crying, say, about the weakness of the armor protection of American "battle ships"? I haven't seen one.

Consider, for example, the American "Wyoming".

Sevastopol-class battleships: success or failure? Part 2
Sevastopol-class battleships: success or failure? Part 2

“In theory, it is believed that the ship's armor should provide protection against the guns of its own main caliber - in this case, the project is balanced according to the“attack-defense”criterion. The developers believed that the 280-mm and 229-mm armor of Project 601 was sufficient protection against the fire of 305-mm guns at the expected combat distances, therefore, at the time of development, Wyoming was indeed a completely harmonious and balanced project and, moreover, one of the strongest in the world "(" Battleships of the United States of America ", Mandel and Skoptsov).

Under the influence of the shooting of "experimental ship No. 4" 225-mm armored belt + 50-mm armored partition / bevel of Russian dreadnoughts, giving a total of 275 mm of armor and more (the bevel is located at an angle) were publicly declared insignificant protection. But the armor of the American Wyoming, laid down later by Sevastopol, is considered to be quite balanced. In this case, the protection of "Wyoming" consisted of armor plates, which at one edge had a thickness of 280 mm, and at the second - 229 mm, that is, the armor plate was beveled. These armor plates were stacked on top of each other, so in the middle of the armor belt its thickness really reached 280 mm, but towards the edges (lower and upper) it dropped to 229 mm. But, unlike the Sevastopol-class battleships, the armored belt was the only defense - the Yankee battleship did not have any armored bulkheads or bevels behind this armor.

Total: 275 mm of the total armor of the Russian ship is an almost complete lack of protection. Is 229-280 mm of American armor a harmonious and balanced design?

Formally, "Wyoming" had the same artillery as the Russian dreadnought - a dozen 305-mm guns. At the same time, they seemed to be better protected - the frontal plate of the American towers reached 305 mm, the side walls, however, were, like our towers - 203 mm, but the barbet was 254 mm thick against our 150 mm. It seems to be the superiority of the American ship. But this is if you do not notice the nuances. And they are as follows - the design of the American turrets was very unsuccessful, there was only one shell and charge lift for two turret guns. In each tower of the German "Ostfriesland", for example, there were four such lifts - for shells and for charges for each gun separately, on Russian ships shells and charges were supplied to each gun by their own lift. Accordingly, the supply of ammunition from the cellars of the American dreadnought was very slow and to ensure an acceptable rate of fire, the Americans were forced to … place part of the ammunition directly in the turret. In each of them, in the aft niche, 26 shells were stored. The turret armor was good, but by no means invulnerable, so we can say that the Americans were just asking for the fate of the British battlecruisers in Jutland. And we again face a seemingly paradox - the Americans' armor seems to be thicker, but unsuccessful design solutions make their ships even more vulnerable than ours.

When we take the reference book, seeing the twelve 305-mm guns of Wyoming and 280 mm of the thickness of its armor belt against the twelve 305-mm barrels of the Sevastopol and 225 mm of the armor belt, we unconditionally give the palm to the American ship. But one has only to look closely, and it becomes clear that in fact the American battleship does not have too many chances against the Russian ship.

It will not be difficult for me to give a detailed analysis of possible collisions of a battleship of the "Sevastopol" type with French and Italian dreadnoughts (it’s even a sin to remember the Japanese "Kavati", well, and I’m completely silent about any exoticism like Spanish dreadnoughts), but please believe on word - with any of them "Sevastopol" could fight on an equal footing, otherwise it would even have some advantage. But there is still an exception. German dreadnoughts of the König and Kaiser series are the only ships that, perhaps, surpassed the Russian battleships in terms of the combination of armor and shell power.

Battleships of the "Koenig" class - these are the twelve-inch ships with which the "Sevastopol" would have had a very difficult time. At distances of 70 kbt 350 mm, the armor belt of the "twilight Teutonic genius" Russian armor-piercing model of 1911, in principle, could well have penetrated. But with great difficulty, at hitting angles of about 90 degrees. At smaller angles, the penetration of the main armor belt was possible, but the projectile would not pass inside the ship, but burst in a slab, showering the inner compartments with fragments. However, the three-inch bevels of the German battleship and 80-mm barbets (they had exactly the same thickness behind the main armor belt) remained practically indestructible. At the level of the upper armored belt, it would have been easier for Russian shells - having broken through the 170-mm side, they had some chance of piercing the 140-mm barbets of the German battleships. But taking into account the designs of the enemy towers, even in this case, there is practically no chance of undermining the cellars.

At the same time, German 70 kbt armor-piercing shells had the ability to penetrate the 225-mm armor belt of Russian ships - even if not every shell, even after two to the third. But this very third projectile was quite high-quality armor-piercing - having pierced the main armor belt, it could well not explode and not collapse, but with all the power remaining with it, burst into a 50-mm armor bulkhead or bevel.

The experiments carried out by our sailors in 1920 showed that in order to reliably block fragments of large-caliber artillery, not 50-mm, but 75-mm armor is needed. In this case, if the projectile exploded not on the armor, but 1-1.5 meters away from it, it will withstand all the fragments of not only a twelve-inch, but even a fourteen-inch projectile. But if the projectile exploded when hitting such armor, then a gap is formed, and fragments of the projectile and armor penetrate inside. The study of the damage of British battle cruisers suggests that at 70 kbt, the German 305-mm cannons still have some chances to pierce the 225-mm armor belt and jerk at the 50 mm bulkhead, or even go through it, but the chances are, that our shells will be able to inflict decisive damage on German battleships at this distance is almost illusory.

At 55-65 kbt battleships of the "Sevastopol" class would have found themselves in a completely unprofitable position - there their armor was penetrated quite well by German shells, but German by ours - almost not. True, if our battleships could get closer to 50 cables, then …

I must say that the Russian admirals and designers were seriously concerned about the booking systems of future battleships. For this purpose, already during the First World War, special compartments were created, armored in various ways, and the thickness of the plates imitating the main armor belt reached 370 mm. It was not possible to test various ideas of protection - a revolution took place, but, surprisingly, the case was not abandoned halfway, and in 1920, already under Soviet rule, the above compartments were tested with domestic 12- and 14-inch shells. Here is a description of the action of the Russian 305-mm armor-piercing projectile from a distance of approximately 45-50 kbt.

"Shot No. 19 (firing on July 2, 1920), on compartment No. 2 and plate No. 3 (370mm, extreme right), 12" unloaded armor-piercing projectile "sample 1911", reduced to the nominal weight of 471 kg, POC plant, batch of 1914 No. 528, a charge of gunpowder brand SCHD-0, 5, 7 batch of manufacture of 1916, for 8 "/ 45 guns with a weight of 40 kg and an impact speed of 620 m / s (according to various sources, it corresponds to a distance of 45-50 KBT. - Author's note). Subject to testing: the armor-piercing ability of 12 "unloaded armor-piercing projectile" sample 1911, and the resistance of 370-mm side armor and a 50-mm bevel of the lower deck behind it. The impact point from the right edge 43 cm, from the lower edge 137 cm. through the side armor with a jacket, 50-mm bevel of the lower deck, hold bulkhead (6 mm), 25-mm foundation sheet of the compartment and went into the earth fill of the foundation. No shell fragments were found ("The Last Giants of the Russian Imperial Navy", Vinogradov).

In other words, the Russian projectile pierced not only 420 mm of armor (actually even more, since the 50-mm bevel was located at an angle) but also 31 mm of iron and did not collapse at all. Even the thickest armor of German dreadnoughts will not save from such a blow.

The conclusion from this is the following. At a distance of about 80 kbt and above, our battleships could fight the German ones without receiving (but not inflicting at the same time) critical damage, although in general, a dozen barrels spitting 470, 9-kg shells at a lower speed (and a higher angle falls at such distances than those of the flat German guns) will have an advantage over the 8-10 barrels of the battleships "König" and "Kaiser". At a distance of 60-75 kbt, the Germans will have an advantage, but starting from 50 kbt and less everything is in the hands of the Lord, because there is already both German and Russian armor will perforate through and through. True, one can argue here that 50 kbt as a combat distance for dreadnoughts is a completely frivolous distance, but I want to remind you that in Jutland it happened to be at war with 45 kbt.

And I also want to note an important nuance. At a distance of 60-70 kbt, the commander of the German "Kaiser" will strive to fight from ten twelve-inch cannons, not eight. To do this, he will have to put his battleship almost aboard and on parallel courses to the Russian dreadnought (otherwise one of the middle towers will not be able to fight). But, having exposed its armor belt at 90 degrees to the guns of the Russian battleship, it will automatically put the guns of the Sevastopol in the best conditions, and its armor will still be vulnerable … 12 with a heavier shell …

Someone might say that I play along with the Russian dreadnoughts. I would like to remind you of the battles of the German "Goeben" against the battleships of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In theory, at distances of about 60 kbt, "Goeben" could shoot Russian ships in a shooting range, and they would not have had a chance to inflict decisive damage on it. In fact, we have the fact that the two attempts of the German ship to fight with the Russian battleships ended in the rapid flight of "Goeben".

Therefore, I am still inclined to consider the battleships of the "Sevastopol" type approximately equal to the "Kaiser", but inferior to the "Kenig". However, it should be noted that even the Kaisers were laid down after the Sevastopol, and the battleships Kaiser are the third German type of dreadnought (the first is Nassau, the second is Helgoland), and the Germans have accumulated a certain base and experience, and "Sevastopol" is the first among the Russians. Well, and "Nassau" and "Heligolands" to meet in battle with the Baltic dreadnoughts was categorically contraindicated …

And here the reader may object again: “What difference does it make when the ship was laid down? The important thing is when it entered service, therefore it is necessary to compare not with those battleships that were laid down at the same time, but with those that simultaneously replenished the ranks of other naval powers …"

Of course, battleships of the "Sevastopol" type were built for 5, 5 long years. And here we have another myth, of which there are so many around our linear first-borns:

Russian industry and sworn tsarism were decisively uncompetitive with the advanced European industry, almost the worst dreadnoughts in the world were built for more than five years …

Well, it seems that we have already figured out how "the worst" battleships of the "Sevastopol" class were. As for the level of a domestic manufacturer, let me say the following.

The Russian industry, focused on the construction of squadron battleships, which were almost half the size of the new battleships, carried old artillery and two-gun towers instead of three-gun turrets, steam engines instead of turbines, and so on, and so on, fell into prostration after the Russo-Japanese War. There were almost no new orders, the pace of naval construction fell sharply, and therefore the factories had to make massive redundancies of workers, but even without that they quickly slipped into a pre-bankruptcy state. Nevertheless, when it suddenly became necessary to start building unprecedented ships, the domestic industry fulfilled its task in an extremely dignified manner. Workshops for the production of machines and mechanisms, tower workshops and others - all this had to be rebuilt for the creation of new, previously unseen mechanisms.

But the fact is that to build something as big as a battleship, you need three things - money, money, and more money. And it was with the money of our shipbuilders that the problem came out. Unlike Germany, where the "Sea Law" obliged the state budget to finance a certain number of battleships annually, financing the construction of battleships of the "Sevastopol" class is an extremely sad sight. Battleships with fanfare were laid down in June 1909 - but in reality, their construction began only in September-October of the same year! And they financed the construction in such a way that even a year and a half after the official laying down (January 1, 1911), 12% of their total cost was allocated for the construction of battleships!

What does it mean? The battleship is a very complex engineering structure. Almost simultaneously with the beginning of the construction of the hull on the slipway, it is necessary to start making turbines, boilers and artillery - otherwise, by the time the hull is ready to "accept" all of the above, there will simply be no guns, turbines, or boilers! And our domestic budget financiers have failed for almost two years. In fact, it is possible to speak of any consistent financing of the construction of the first Russian dreadnoughts only after the law on the allocation of funds for the completion of battleships was passed, i.e. On May 19, 1911, the Sevastopol-class battleships really took too long to build. But the blame for this lies not at all with the domestic industry, but with the Ministry of Finance, which turned out to be unable to find funds for such construction in a timely manner.

I would also like to warn those who prefer to compare the construction time of ships by bookmark / commissioning dates. The fact is that the date of the official bookmark usually does not correlate in any way with the actual date of the beginning of the construction of the ship. The beautiful legend about the British "Dreadnought" built "in a year and one day" has long been debunked - although it was a year and a day between its official laying and commissioning, but work on its construction had begun long before the official laying. The same applies to German ships - in the works of Muzhenikov you can find evidence that the "preparatory work" began several months before the official laying. And when our industrialists were given money on time, the same "Empress Maria" was completely built in less than 3 years.

The line arrangement of the artillery of the main caliber of the Russian battleships is stupidity and anachronism

In fact, neither one nor the other. For some reason, many believe that the linearly elevated scheme allows you to save on the length of the citadel - they say, the layout is denser. But this is not the case. If we look at almost any section of battleships of those times, we will see that they were assembled extremely tightly - the barbets and cellars of the main battery towers, the engine and boiler rooms were closely adjacent to each other.

Watching the German Bayern.


As we can see, the length of the citadel is made up of the length of the two towers (in the figure these are arrows A), the length (more precisely, the diameter) of the two barbets of the towers (arrows B), the engine room (C), boiler rooms (D) and … space (E).

And now we are looking at the section of Sevastopol.


And we are surprised to find that the length of the citadel of the Sevastopol LK is all the same two lengths of towers (A), two lengths of brabets (B), the length of the engine room (C) and two boiler rooms (D), but the unoccupied space (E) much less than that on the Bayern. Thus, having assembled the guns into a linearly elevated scheme, we won nothing.

But we lost a lot. The thing is that with a linear scheme, all 4 towers are located at the level of the upper deck. But in a linearly elevated scheme, two towers must be raised above the deck by about the height of the tower. In other words, the height of the barbets of the two towers is greatly increased. How critical is this? It's easy to calculate. The diameter of the barbet is 9-11 meters, let's take 10 for clarity. The height to which it is required to raise the tower is in no way less than 3 meters, or rather, even higher - I do not have accurate data on the height of the towers, but all photographs indicate that the tower is about two human heights.


So, I suppose, we will not be much mistaken in accepting an increase in the height of the barbet by 3.5 meters. Which roughly corresponds to the height of the average main armor belt among the Germans. The thickness of the barbet also usually corresponded to the thickness of the main armor belt. So, the circumference is 2 * Pi * Er, i.e. 2 * 3, 14 * 5 = 31, 42 meters! And this is only one barbet, and we have two of them. In other words, abandoning the linear-elevated scheme in favor of a linear one, we can lengthen the main armor belt by about 30 meters, or, without increasing the length of the main armor belt, increase its thickness - given that the length of the main armor belt usually did not exceed 120 meters. then, by abandoning the linearly elevated scheme, it would be possible to increase the thickness of the main armor belt by more than weighty 20-25% …

Of course, the linearly elevated scheme provides fire from two towers in the bow and stern, but how critical is this for battleships? Taking into account the fact that they usually tried not to fire directly on the course, the risk of damaging the bow of the ship with muzzle gases was too great. At the same time, due to the insignificant width of the superstructures, Russian dreadnoughts could fight with full volleys already at a 30-degree course angle, so, although the advantage of the linearly elevated scheme is obvious, it is not that great.

In fact, the main reason for abandoning the linear scheme was the need for advanced add-ons on the battleship. There are several reasons for this. First, it is very inconvenient to control the ship from the narrow wheelhouse. It is desirable to have a normal bridge over the entire width of the ship - but the presence of such a bridge (superstructures) sharply reduces the firing angles of artillery placed in a linear pattern. Second, with the advent of aviation, it became necessary to place numerous air defense batteries on the superstructures, and it was no longer possible to limit ourselves, as in the good old days, to small armored cabinets in the bow and stern. And third, an important drawback of the linear scheme was the reduction in deck space. Obviously, the trunks of the higher turrets of the main battery, hanging over the lower ones, save 10, or even all 15 meters of the deck. In other words, by placing 4 towers in a linearly elevated manner, you can carve out 20-25 meters of additional deck space. And this is a lot.

In general, it is understandable why, after the First World War, the linear arrangement of artillery quickly sank into oblivion, but before and during the war, such an arrangement was fully consistent with the tasks of battleships. The only thing worth regretting is that our admirals demanded to place all 4 main battery towers on the same level - the presence of a forecastle on the Sevastopol would be more than appropriate. You can understand the admirals: they feared that the different heights of the towers would entail an excessive spread of shells in a salvo, but here they were clearly reinsured. If the "Sevastopol" had a forecastle, their seaworthiness would have been significantly higher.

By the way, about seaworthiness …

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