Rig and communications
To some, such a combination may seem strange, but let's not forget that flag signals were the main means of transferring information between ships in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And even during the First World War, the radio stations were not yet completely reliable - in the same Battle of Jutland, many sent radiograms did not reach their addressee.
Oddly enough, but in terms of communications "Novik" does not deserve a single good word. He had only one mast, which created a whole range of problems. So, for example, A. Emelin points out the impossibility of raising multi-flag signals, although it is not entirely clear why - according to the author, the presence of only one mast could complicate, but not prevent a completely similar signaling. In addition, one mast made it difficult to locate the wireless telegraph antenna. There were other disadvantages not related to communication - the difficulty of pulling the linen rails, the absence of a second masthead fire on the ship - the latter made it difficult at night to determine the course of the cruiser, creating the danger of a collision. At the same time, according to A. Emelin, all these shortcomings were obvious even at the time of the ship's design, and why the MTK did not demand to add another mast is completely unclear. Perhaps, of course, it was due to the fear of overloading, we see that the German designers were striving for perfect minimization of weights, but in fairness, we note that Novik is far from the last "single-masted" cruiser of the Russian Imperial Navy. So, after the Russo-Japanese war, the armored cruiser Bayan was built with one mast, the other cruiser, Rurik, was originally designed as a two-masted one, but during the construction process one of the masts was abandoned, etc. In general, we can say that the reasons for installing just one mast are unclear, but this was not the optimal solution, creating the problems listed above.
Moreover, such a solution was in no way suitable for ships intended for service with a squadron. The fact is that, in addition to reconnaissance, small cruisers could play the role of rehearsal ships - the essence of this task was as follows. As you know, the control capabilities of the squadron of those times did not allow the admiral to exercise command from the middle of the formation. The flagship must have been the lead ship: it is interesting that the Japanese, who periodically used all-out-of-the-blue turns, were sure to put the junior flagship's ship in the trailing ones. Thus, the combat detachment was led by the flagship, and if the combat situation required a “all of a sudden” turn, the direct control of maneuvering was entrusted to his immediate deputy and the most experienced commander (after the admiral who headed the detachment).
Thus, if the admiral wanted to give the command a flag signal, he, of course, raised it, but the problem was that this signal was clearly visible only from the ship following the flagship. The third ship in the ranks saw this signal poorly, from the fourth it was almost invisible. That is why, according to the then rules, after the flagship raised the signal (say, to rebuild), the ships had to rehearse it (that is, lift it on the same halyard) and only then, when the commander was convinced that the signal was noticed and understood correctly by everyone, followed by the command "Execute!". All this took a lot of time, and it is not surprising that the admirals of those times preferred to rule by personal example, since in the absence of other signals, the rest of the ships had to, while maintaining formation, follow the flagship.
However, of course, not all orders and orders can be transmitted by changing the course of the flagship. Therefore, there was a need for rehearsal vessels - those had to be located on the opposite side of the squadron from the enemy, and immediately duplicate the flagship's signals - on a ship located out of order, these signals would be clearly visible along the entire line. "Novik", being a high-speed cruiser, could well perform this function after the enemy squadron would be within the line of sight of the main Russian forces, and the need for reconnaissance would have disappeared, but one mast was still not enough for this.
And the radio station was just as bad. The "wireless telegraphing apparatus" available on the ship provided a radio communication range of no more than 15-17 miles (28-32 km), but at the same time raised top flags interfered with its action. At the same time, on the move, the wireless telegraph refused to work at all, which was noted in the report of Stepan Osipovich Makarov (when he was the commander of the Pacific squadron in Port Arthur) to the governor E. A. Alekseev and a telegram to V. K. Vitgeft to the chief mine inspector, Vice-Admiral K. S. Ostreletsky.
In general, oddly enough it may sound, but the cruiser intended for the intelligence service was very poorly equipped for it.
There is also some ambiguity with its number, because 328 people are usually indicated, including 12 officers. Nevertheless, A. Emelin in his monograph indicates that the cruiser, during its transfer to the fleet, was manned by "three staff officers, eight chief officers, two mechanical engineers, 42 non-commissioned officers and 268 privates", that is, a total of 323 person. It is no less interesting that in the photo of the ship's officers we can see 15 people.
Studying the list of officers who served on the Novik during his stay in the Russian Imperial Navy, we can conclude that their composition is as follows: commander, senior officer, auditor, navigator, artillery officer, four chiefs of watch and officers of watch, senior ship engineer, a bilge engineer, a junior engineer, a mine engineer, a ship's doctor, and there are 14 people in total, but this, again, is not accurate.
As for the accommodation conditions, the officers' cabins were comfortable and functional, but the conditions in which the rest of the crew were located differed from other cruisers of the Russian fleet for the worse. In those years, the classic place for sailors to sleep was a hanging bunk - a special type of hammock that became widespread on ships of the world. However, as N. O. von Essen:
"The strong heating of the deck is harmful to people who, in the absence of a place for hanging [bunks], have to sleep right on the deck, with tarps and a bunk folded several times under them: this arrangement of people makes it easy to get colds and does not give proper rest."
Note that the heating of the deck occurred, among other things, due to the fact that the designers of "Novik", trying to lighten the ship as much as possible, used linoleum to cover the decks, which, of course, never belonged to heat-resistant materials. But besides this, linoleum had a lot of disadvantages. The sun, salty air, heat from cars and boilers, loading coal - all these were such loads that linoleum was unable to withstand for some time. BUT. von Essen noted that the linoleum on the living deck softened so much that there were even traces of a person passing over it, and of course, it was torn and quickly turned into rags. In Port Arthur, linoleum was replaced, but it quickly fell into complete disrepair, and the proposal to lay asbestos sheets under it to prevent it from heating up was not implemented.
But the real problem, of course, was the linoleum on the upper deck. There he became extremely slippery from getting wet, in case of rain or strong excitement, it was almost impossible to walk along the upper deck without holding on to the rail - what can we say about firing from guns or fighting for survivability! And, of course, the linoleum on the upper deck just as quickly turned into tatters (however, perhaps it was for the best).
Cruiser weight distribution
It must be said that the weight statement of the 2nd rank cruiser "Novik" is not entirely clear. So, A. Emelin gives the following load of the ship's masses, taken, apparently, from the reporting documents of the "Shihau" (in brackets - the percentage of the normal displacement):
Normal displacement - 2 719, 125 tons (100%);
Hull - 1 219, 858 tons (44, 86%);
Various equipment - 97, 786 tons (3.6%);
Machines and boilers - 790, 417 tons (29, 07%);
Artillery - 83, 304 tons (3.06%);
Ammunition - 67, 76 tons (2, 49%);
Coal - 360 tons (13, 24%);
Team with clothes - 49.5 tons (1.82%);
Provision for 6 weeks - 38.5 tons (1.42%);
Fresh water for 8 days - 12 tons (0.44%).
Everything seems to be clear, but in the materials of S. O. Makarov, there are other data - a corps with supply 42, 3%, mechanisms, boilers and water supply for them - 26, 7%, armor - 10, 43%, artillery with ammunition - 4, 73%, mine weapons - 3, 36% … In the opinion of the author of this article, the data found in Stepan Osipovich's possession are incorrect. The fact is that the sum of all the shares in terms of mass loads gives 87, 52%, respectively, only 12, 48% remains for fuel (coal). But the fact that in the offset of the normal displacement of the ship there was a supply of coal in the amount of 360 tons is known for certain and is beyond doubt. And if the indicated 360 tons are 12, 48% of the normal displacement of the Novik, then it turns out that this displacement itself is 2 884.6 tons, and such a figure does not appear in any sources.
It is interesting to compare the weight loads of the Novik cruiser with its “older brothers” - large armored cruisers of the Bogatyr class.
To be more precise - with "Oleg", since of the load distributions available to the author, his list in its structure corresponds to "Novik" more than others.
The specific weight of the "Oleg" hull in the normal displacement was 37, 88%. The Novik seems to have more (44, 86%), but these are the peculiarities of compiling the weight statements: in the German statement, the armored deck was included in the mass of the hull, and in the Russian one it was taken into account under the heading “booking”. Excluding the armored deck (for the “noviks” of domestic construction, “Zhemchug” and “Izumrud,” its weight was 345 tons, and according to S. O. from the normal displacement. And this, again, is an overestimated estimate, since, apparently, the armor of the wheelhouse and pipes for it were also included in the "hull" article - Novik simply does not have the "reservation" article. But on the whole, it can be stated that the building in relation to the Bogatyr project is greatly lightened. Although, without a doubt, due to the greater specific weight of the hull, the "Oleg" had an advantage over the "Novik" both in seaworthiness and stability, as an artillery platform.
Machines and boilers at "Novik" are much lighter - due to the use of "mine-bearing" boilers, as well as due to lighter and more compact screws and shafts (it is clear that for more than twice as heavy "Oleg" they required "a little" larger) Novika "had roughly 790.5 tons, with a rated power of 17,000 hp, while Oleg had 1,200 tons with a rated power of 19,500 hp. That is, in terms of specific power, the Novika "(22, 14 hp / t) was slightly more than 36% higher than that of" Oleg "(16, 25 hp / t). But, despite this, the share of machines and boilers "Novik" was 29, 07% for "Novik", and only 18, 63% - for "Oleg". Here it is - payment for speed!
The Novik was booked for 12, 48% of the normal displacement, and for the Oleg - 13, 43%, but in practice this meant that the Novik received only 345 tons of armor (taking into account the felling - a little more), and "Oleg" - 865 tons. Is it any wonder that on "Oleg" not only the armored deck turned out to be thicker (35-70 mm versus 30-50 mm on "Novik"), but also chimneys and ammunition feed elevators were booked above the armored deck (which was completely absent on the Novik). The more spacious conning tower received powerful 140 mm armor, and of the 12 main caliber guns, 8 were in the towers and casemates. In fact, the placement of four guns in the towers was a very dubious innovation (different firing rates with deck and casemate guns, difficulties with centralized fire control), but if we consider this decision solely in terms of protection, then, of course, the towers were much superior to the scanty armor shields. guns "Novik".
And, of course, the main thing is artillery weapons. The "Novik" artillery and ammunition were 5.55% of the normal displacement, or just a little more than 151 tons. Moreover, there is a reasonable assumption that the indicated 151 tons also included mine weapons (it is not separately identified, and the total weight of artillery installations is much less than 83, 3 tons indicated in the statement). Oleg's artillery (together with the weight of the turret mechanisms, but without the turret armor) weighed 552 tons, and together with the mine weapons - 686 tons, or 10, 65% of the normal displacement! There is no doubt that the 12 * 152-mm and the same number of 75-mm guns of "Oleg" (not counting the 8 * 47-mm, 2 * 37-mm and machine guns) surpassed the firepower of even two cruisers of the "Novik" class.
Thus, we see that, despite the use of lighter boilers, despite the comprehensive lightening of the hull and significant "gaps" in the armor relative to the armored cruiser "Oleg", all the same, the maximum reduction (both in absolute and relative terms) was subjected to firepower ship. It was she who had to sacrifice for the record speed of "Novik".
The total cost of the armored cruiser of the 2nd rank "Novik" was 3,391,314 rubles, including:
1. Hull (including the cost of combat and deck electric lighting and artillery supply) - 913,500 rubles;
2. Mechanisms and boilers - 1 702 459 rubles;
3. Armor - 190,578 rubles;
4. General equipment - 89 789 rubles;
5. Artillery - 194,808 rubles;
6. Artillery supply - 168 644 rubles;
7. Mine weapons and electrical engineering - 72,904 rubles.
8. Mine supply - 58 632 rubles.
I would like to note that the cost of the contract with the Shikhau company was a smaller amount - 2,870,000 rubles, but it did not include artillery and mine weapons with supplies and ammunition, and in addition, apparently, also the goods passing through under the article "General equipment". If we sum up the cost of the hull, mechanisms and boilers, as well as the armor from the above calculation, we get 2,806,537 rubles, which is extremely similar to the amount of the contract.
I would like to draw the attention of a respected reader to such a nuance. The cost of all the cruiser's artillery was 194.8 thousand rubles. but the cost of ammunition for them (it is unlikely that it was more than a double ammunition load) - 168, 6 thousand rubles. that is, almost as much as the artillery itself. This ratio clearly demonstrates how costly and complicated the production of ammunition was in those years, and can give an understanding (but, of course, not an excuse) for the desire of our Marine Department to reduce costs under this item of expenditure of the maritime budget.
The cost of the armored cruiser "Bogatyr", taken from the "All-Subject Report on the Naval Department for 1897-1900" "with mechanisms, armor, artillery, mines and combat supplies", amounted to 5,509,711 rubles. In this case, the comparison with “Bogatyr” is correct in that both “Novik” and “Bogatyr” were built at German shipyards, that is, the difference in pricing and production culture is minimized. But the comparison results are difficult to judge unambiguously.
On the one hand, of course, Novik is much cheaper - its full cost is 61.55% of that of Bogatyr, but on the other hand, it turns out that 3 Noviks and one 350-ton destroyer would cost the Russian treasury even a little more. than 2 "Heroes". At the same time, in terms of artillery, even one "Bogatyr" surpasses 2 "Noviks", the speed of the "Bogatyr", although lower than the "Novik", is still higher than that of the overwhelming majority of armored cruisers in the world, combat resistance is also higher, and the only indisputable advantage "Novikov" is that three ships of this type can be in three different places at the same time, and two "Bogatyrs" built with almost the same money - only in two.
Even more dubious is the construction of Novik-class cruisers against the backdrop of the Bayan armored cruiser. The latter, built at a French shipyard, cost the Russian treasury 6,964,725 rubles, that is, about two Noviks."Bayan" was also noticeably inferior to "Novik" in speed - on tests, the armored cruiser was not able to "reach" up to 21 knots, developing 20, 97 knots. However, "Bayan" was an armored cruiser with a turret arrangement of two 203-mm guns and a casemate - 152-mm, as well as a very powerful armor belt up to 200 mm thick.
In other words, both "Bayan" and a pair of "Noviks" could conduct reconnaissance and detect the enemy squadron. But it was dangerous for the Noviks to accept a battle with enemy cruisers of a similar purpose, a pair of second-ranked enemy cruisers could well, if not destroy, then push them back. But "Bayan" would not even have noticed such an enemy. "Bayan" not only could go into line of sight with the enemy squadron, but also watch it for a long time, maintaining contact - and the enemy reconnaissance cruisers could not drive it away. For this, large armored cruisers would have to be sent into battle, that is, to crush the battle formation, which was not very good near the enemy's forces. The Bayan, with its powerful armor and well-protected artillery, was a warship extremely dangerous for any armored cruiser, but it could also support its main forces in artillery engagement without too much fear of return fire. Only the 305-mm cannons of the battleships were really dangerous for him, but even under their fire, he could still hold out for some time. But for Novik, any hit from a heavy projectile was fraught with critical damage.
However, two cruisers will always have a big advantage over one, simply because there are two of them and they can tackle missions in different locations. In addition, there are still situations where high speed becomes critical. But, again, speaking of speed, the Askold cruiser, although it did not have the same combat stability that distinguished the Bogatyr-class cruiser, was obviously superior in this indicator to Novik, almost not inferior to the latter in speed (1-1, 5 knots). Artillery "Askold" cost two "Noviks", and it cost less than "Bogatyr" (5,196,205 rubles). Who knows what was better for the fleet: two Askolds, or three Noviks?
If we compare "Novik" with destroyers, then everything is ambiguous here. Four 350-ton destroyers, built for Russia by the same "Shikhau", cost the treasury 2,993,744 rubles, that is, one destroyer cost about 748 thousand rubles. (with weapons, of course). In this case, the German destroyers (type "Kit") turned out to be quite successful ships. With armament 1 * 75-mm, 5 * 47-mm and three torpedo tubes caliber 381-mm, "Whales" became one of the most heavily armed Russian "fighters". At the same time, the Germans were able to provide these destroyers with a forecastle, which had a great effect on their seaworthiness, and their speed exceeded 27 knots (during tests, of course, in everyday operation it was less). It turns out that for the cost of one "Novik" one could build 4, 5 such destroyers, and how to say which is better here? In some situations, a cruiser would be more useful, in some - destroyers.
We have now compared the Novik with very expensive Kit-type fighters. Domestic shipyards built 350-ton destroyers cheaper - the average price was 611 thousand rubles, but if we take the 220-ton "Falcon-class destroyers" then their price did not exceed 412 thousand rubles. It turns out that one "Novik" could build five and a half "350-ton" or eight "220-ton" destroyers!
On the whole, our preliminary analysis of Novik on the cost / efficiency scale (we can only speak about the final one when we study the combat path of this ship) suggests the following. "Novik" was certainly cheaper than the "standard" Russian armored cruiser in 6,000 - 6,500 tons displacement, but it was not a cheap ship for sure. As a matter of fact, it turned out like this - for the same money it would be possible to build either a series of large armored cruisers, or one and a half times more "Noviks", which were somewhat superior to the Russian 23-knot ships in speed, but were categorically inferior to them in combat power and sustainability. Was it worth the candle? At the end of our cycle, we will try to answer this question.
Build and test
As we said earlier, the construction of Novik began in December 1899. At the end of February 1900, when the cruiser was officially laid down, its hull had already been brought to the level of an armored deck. Launching took place on August 2 of the same year, but on May 2, 1901, the ship entered the first tests, and they were completed only on April 23, 1902. Thus, the slipway period was approximately 7 months, completion - 9 months, but the tests the ship took almost a year - all in all, from the start of work to the entry of Novik into the Russian Imperial Navy, it took 2 years and 4 months.
It is interesting that the construction of the ship, on the one hand, was carried out with purely German pedantry: for example, the captain of the 2nd rank P. F. Gavrilov 1st, who later became the commander of the cruiser, and while acting overseeing the construction of Novik and four more 350-ton destroyers, also ordered from the Shikhau by the Russian fleet, was delighted with:
"The striking precision of the fit of the parts of the set … We can safely say that not a single spool of excess metal has been brought to the stock so far - the chisel is missing, all the holes are exactly the same."
On the other hand, oddly enough, the German shipbuilders were not alien to such, many recognized for purely Russian qualities, as storming and the desire to "report before the holiday date." So, for example, the company was in a hurry with work in order to launch Novik into the water six months after the laying - and this was done solely out of a desire to attract the emperors of Russia and Germany to the solemn ceremony, who were supposed to meet in May-June. Danzig. But as soon as the meeting was postponed, as soon as the "extra-urgent" launching was canceled - the director of the company immediately "remembered" that it is more convenient to carry out installation work on the slipway …
It is not for nothing that the testing of the mechanisms of the newly built ship is called progressive - their power is increased gradually, in the course of several exits to the sea, checking how well they "behave" under a consistently growing load. But the representatives of "Shihau", apparently, were eaten by impatience, therefore, already during the first exit, contrary to generally accepted rules, they gave 24 knots. Nothing terrible happened, and on May 11, 1902, during the second release of Novik, they tried to give full speed. Alas, everything happened in full accordance with the proverb "Hurry - make people laugh": the cruiser developed 24, 2 knots. and got a breakage of the coupling of one of the screws. Subsequently, overseeing the construction of Novik, its first commander P. F. Gavrilov wrote:
"The forcing of machines, allowed by the plant at the very first moves, was the main reason for the protracted tests and a number of various accidents."
Of the seven exits to the sea in 1901, four ended in breakdowns of propellers and machines. In mid-September, the tests had to be interrupted due to weather conditions, due to strong autumn winds. In addition, the "Novik" had several serious, but not yet resolved problems: the presence of shells on the rowing shafts, the problem of flooding the aft cartridge cellar (instead of the prescribed 15 minutes, it "drowned" for 53 minutes), and most importantly - on September 23, it was discovered " significant movement of the hull in the horizontal plane near the middle of the ship's length, that is, near the premises of the onboard vehicles."
Naturally, all this required elimination, with such shortcomings the cruiser could not be accepted by the fleet, so Novik had to stay for the winter in Germany. All these problems were solved and on April 23, 1902 Novik completed the official tests successfully.
The German magazine Die Flotte wrote:
“Upon clarification of the test results, it turned out that the Novik cruiser fully satisfies all those difficult conditions stipulated in the contract, and is a successful type of military vessel, the speed of which has never been reached at these dimensions. "Novik" is a masterful work of German shipbuilding, which every German and every German woman should be proud of."
Omitting the amusing fact that the article appeared in the January issue of this venerable magazine, that is, before Novik completed the official tests, we are left to fully agree with the opinion expressed in it. One can argue about how correct the tactical justification of this type of ship was, but the fact that it really was a completely new type of high-speed cruiser, and its design and construction was a very difficult engineering task, which the German shipbuilders coped with excellently, there is no doubt.