In previous articles, we reviewed the history of design, the features of weapons and armor of battlecruisers of the Izmail type, but now we will try to assess the combat qualities of these ships as a whole.
I must say that this is very difficult to do.
On the one hand, if we compare Izmail with its foreign “colleagues”, it turns out that the domestic ship is very much on horseback. Officially, the Russian ships were laid down on December 6, 1912, so their closest analogs should be considered the Tiger in England (laid down in June 1912) and the Lutzov in Germany (laid down on May 15, 1912) - you can, of course, take “Hindenburg”, but generally speaking the difference between them is not too great.
So, with all the shortcomings we described earlier, twelve domestic 356-mm guns, even with an initial projectile speed of 731 m / s, certainly surpass the 8 * 343-mm guns of the English battle cruiser Tiger in their firepower. It goes without saying that the domestic 747, 8 kg projectile was much more powerful than the English 635-kg "heavy", but at the same time the difference in the initial speed between them was not too great (759 m / s for the British gun) and the muzzle energy of the English 13, 5-inch artillery system lost to the Russian by about 9%. In other words, not only was the Izmail superior to the Tiger in the number of barrels of the main caliber by one and a half times, but also its guns were individually more powerful.
If we compare "Izmail" with its German "one-year old" in the bookmark - the battle cruiser "Hindenburg", then the gap is even greater. With all the undoubted advantages of the German 305-mm cannon, its shell weighed only 405.5 kg, and although the Krupp artillery system gave it a very high speed of 855 m / s, it was still almost 35 times less powerful than the domestic 356-mm gun in terms of muzzle energy. %. And on the "Hindenburg" there were only eight guns, against a dozen "Ishmael".
As for the reservation, the Izmail occupied an honorable second place in this category - yielding to the Derflinger-class battle cruisers, the Izmail, without a doubt, significantly surpassed the Tiger. Of course, the advantage of less than 9 mm in the thickness of the Ishmael's armor belt can hardly be called significant, but behind it the citadel of the domestic ship was covered by 50 mm armored bulkheads, turning into a 75 mm bevel, while the Tiger did not have such a bulkhead at all. and the bevel was only 25.4 mm thick. True, the Tiger's artillery cellars received 50.8 mm box armor, which, perhaps, together with a 25.4 mm bevel, may have corresponded to the Russian 75 mm bevel, but the engine and boiler rooms of the British cruiser did not have such protection. The 229 mm armor belt of the English cruiser, like that of the Russian, defended the side to the middle deck, but at Ishmael the armor belt sank 1.636 m into the water, and at Tiger - only 0.69 m. True, during the last 0, 83 m, the Russian belt had a bevel, and the British ship had a separate 76 mm belt under the 229 mm belt, which protected the underwater board at a height of 1, 15 m.
However, the main drawback of the British 229 mm armor belt was that it was too short and did not protect the bow and stern turrets of the main caliber - there the Tiger's side was protected by only 127 mm armor (while the thickness of the barbet behind it was only 76 mm). Russian 237.5 mm armor belt was much more extended, and protected the side opposite all four 356 mm towers.
Ishmael's main caliber also had better protection - 305 mm turret forehead, 247.5 mm barbet against 229 mm Tiger armor, and the only thing the British battle cruiser had an advantage in was the upper belt and casemate protection (152 mm against 100 mm). The horizontal protection of the Izmail - 37.5 mm upper and 60 mm middle decks, of course, significantly exceeded that of the Tiger, which had one armored deck 25.4 mm thick. True, the forecastle and upper decks of the British battle cruiser were increased to 25.4 mm thick, but in general, this, of course, did not provide the armor resistance of the horizontal protection of the Izmail. The conning tower "Izmail" had a wall thickness of 400 mm, "Tiger" - 254 mm.
As for the "Lyuttsov", then, oddly enough, although in terms of booking "Izmail" and inferior to him, it cannot be said that the protection of the domestic ship was completely incomparable. The height of the Lyuttsov's armor belt was higher - 5.75 m versus 5.25 m, but at the same time, the 300 mm thickness of the “German” had a height of only 2.2 m, and the rest was only 270 mm, decreasing to the upper edge to 230 mm. Of course, the 237.5 mm armor of the Russian belt is still weaker, even with the aforementioned reservations, but the situation is improved to some extent by a 50 mm armor bulkhead and a 75 mm bevel - the “Luttsov” bevel was thinner, only 50 mm, there was no armor bulkhead at all …
Comparison of the thicknesses of the armor of barbets and towers, although not in favor of the Russian ship, but the difference is extremely small - the forehead of the tower at "Izmail" is even thicker (305 mm versus 270 mm), the barbet is thinner (247.5 mm versus 260 mm), but with This is only half an inch thinner, and thicker than, for example, the "Seydlitz" (230 mm). The horizontal protection of the Izmail is definitely better than that of the Lyuttsov - 37.5 mm on the upper deck and 60 mm in the middle are noticeably better than 25.4 mm on the upper deck and 30 (up to 50 mm in the areas of the main caliber turrets) for Lyuttsov. Therefore, we can state that the booking of the Ishmael was not just “somewhere between” the Tiger and the Luttsov, but was much closer to the German battle cruiser than to the English one.
As for the power plants of the compared ships, the maximum speed of Izmail at the rated power of the machines should have been 26.5 knots, with afterburner - up to 28 knots, that is, equal to that of the Derflinger-class battle cruisers. "Tiger", with its nominal 28, 34 knots and "forced" 29, 07 knots, had a certain speed advantage, but the tongue would not turn to call it significant.
From this it is very easy (and I really want to!) Make the obvious conclusion: occupying an intermediate position in armor, but surpassing its "peers" in armament, "Izmail", no doubt, in a real battle would be a much more dangerous enemy than "Luttsov" or "Tiger" - and if so, the domestic naval thought deserves the utmost approval.
However, this logic will, alas, be wrong. And the reason is that, whatever one may say, the protection of a ship should be assessed not from the point of view of "better or worse than this or that ship", but from the point of view of compliance with the level of potential threats. And here, alas, the domestic project of the battle cruisers "Izmail" has absolutely nothing to boast of.
In the article "Battlecruiser Rivalry: Seydlitz vs. Queen Mary" we gave examples of how British 343mm shells penetrated 230mm Seidlitz armor at a distance of 70-84 cables. In one case (Jutland) at a distance of 7 miles, a British ship pierced 230 mm of the side, exploded while passing through the armor and its fragments pierced the 30 mm barbet of the Seidlitz main caliber turret and ignited the charges in the reloading compartment. In another case (Dogger Bank) a 230 mm barbet was pierced from a distance of 8, 4 miles. In other words, the armor plates of the indicated thickness did not protect the German ship even from the old, and in essence - semi-armor-piercing shells of the British battle cruisers, the fuses of which had almost no deceleration and detonated the ammunition when overcoming the armor plate or immediately behind it. But even such ammunition, most likely, would be quite capable of penetrating 237.5 mm armored belts and 247.5 mm Izmailov barbets at the main combat distances (70-75 cables). I would like to note that the section of barbets between the upper and middle decks of Russian ships also looked vulnerable - it is doubtful that a 100 mm upper belt would cause detonation of a 343-mm projectile, and after overcoming it, only 147.5 barbet armor (or 122.5 mm armor barbet and 25, 4 mm armored bulkhead) would separate the British projectile from the reloading compartments of the main caliber turrets. True, the Russian ships also had a "band of invulnerability" - the fact is that the 247.5 mm section of the barbet did not end on the upper deck, but went down, closing part of the space between the upper and middle decks - in order to overcome the Russian defense on In this area, the enemy projectile had to penetrate first either 37.5 mm of the upper deck or 100 mm of the upper belt armor, and only then meet with 247.5 mm of the barbet armor. This "safety belt" probably protected the "Izmail" from the hits of 343-mm shells of the old model, the only problem was that from the entire height of the barbets it was protected from the force of a little over a meter. Below things were … in some ways better, but in others not.
Formally, between the middle and lower decks, the feed pipes were protected quite well - with a combination of 237.5 armored belts and an anti-splinter 50 mm armored bulkhead. But … as we can see, the British 343 mm shells were able to overcome 230 mm armor without any problems, and the additional 7.5 mm was unlikely to radically solve anything here. On the other hand, the experiments of 1920 irrefutably testified that only 75 mm armor reliably protected from fragments of 305-356-mm guns. Thus, the British projectile, which exploded during the breakdown of 237.5 mm of the Izmail's main armor belt, had every chance of piercing the 50 mm armor bulkhead with its fragments, and there … and there, alas, the feed pipes of the Russian battle cruisers were no longer protected by anything - an armored barbet sadly, it ended on the middle deck. Nevertheless, and taking into account the fact that the 50 mm bulkhead nevertheless passed at a large slope, and the supply pipe, even if it did not have armor, was still steel and had some thickness, there are certain chances not to let the red-hot shell fragments into the reloading "Izmail" had branches.
Worse yet is the presence of a "window" in the protection of barbets. There was an angle at which an enemy projectile, breaking through the 100 mm upper armor belt, hit the 12 mm deck, naturally, broke through it - and then only 50 mm of armor separated it from the reloading compartments of the main caliber turrets
However, battleships and battlecruisers of other powers had similar problems - in those years it was the norm that the barbets inside the ship's hull were protected "in aggregate", that is, their armor protection was only more or less sufficient when the enemy projectile flew flat, hitting the armor belt and barbet behind him. Apparently, they tried not to think about the fact that the enemy projectile could fly more steeply, and hit the upper, weaker armor belt or deck, and then pierce the weakly protected barbet.
In fact, only the space behind 75 mm bevels was provided for truly reliable protection against old-style 343-mm shells (not counting the meter-long "safety belt" of barbets between the upper and middle decks). Here - yes, no matter how weak the Ishmael's 237.5 mm armor belt was, it certainly would have forced the British 13.5-inch projectile to detonate in the process of its overcoming, and the 75 mm bevel reliably protected from the fragments of the exploded projectile. In this case, the Russian system of "spaced" armor really worked, providing confident protection against British shells … exactly until the moment when the British adopted the new, full-fledged armor-piercing shells "Greenboy".
And again, someone can reproach the author of this article for some kind of bias - how can it be, because over the course of many publications he explained the sufficiency of protection of both the first Russian dreadnoughts and the first German battlecruisers precisely by the poor quality of English armor-piercing shells, whose fuse is almost not had slowdowns. Why is everything different for Izmailov?
The answer is very simple - everything depends on the construction time. Both "Sevastopoli" and "Empress Maria" entered service at the beginning of the First World War, in 1914-1915. And if it suddenly turned out that in this war we would have fought not against Germany, but against England, then our battleships would collide with the superdreadnoughts of the British, armed with old 343-mm shells. The British received full 343-mm armor-piercing ammunition only at the end of the war.
But the fact is that the Ishmaels, even according to the most optimistic estimates and assumptions, could not have entered service before the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917 and reached combat readiness by the fall of 1917, that is, just under the British “greenboys ". And for them, the protection of the Izmailov in no place presented a problem - at the main distance of 70-75 cables, they would easily have perforated 237.5 mm armor belts and would burst when hit in a 75 mm bevel - such an "outrage" could be transferred to a three-inch armor could not, in principle, she was able to keep the fragments of shells of this caliber only if they exploded at a distance of 1-1, 5 m from her. And the explosion of a shell on the armor led to a breach, and the space behind the armor would be struck not only by shell fragments, but also by fragments of shattered armor.
In other words, despite the fact that the English 13.5-inch gun was inferior in its capabilities to the Russian 356-mm / 52 cannon, even with the muzzle velocity reduced to 731.5 m / s, but it, being equipped with high-quality armor-piercing projectile, it was quite capable of overcoming the armor protection of the "Ishmael" even in its "strongest" sections. Alas, even the very good horizontal armor of the Russian ship did not guarantee absolute protection from shells hitting the deck.
The fact is that, as we wrote earlier, the scheme originally adopted for Izmail, in which the upper one was the thickest armored deck, was erroneous - firing tests showed that 305-mm shells burst when hitting the upper 37.5 mm deck, made a breach, and the lower decks were pierced by both fragments of the shell itself and the armor of the broken deck. Accordingly, "Izmail" received reinforcement of armor protection - the upper one remained as it is, 37.5 mm, but the middle one was strengthened to 60 mm.
But what is interesting is that after the shelling of the Chesma, one more tests were carried out, and they looked like this. They made a blockhouse, on top of which they laid 37.5 mm armor, on the bottom - 50.8 mm. When 470, 9 kg of a high-explosive projectile hit, the upper armor plate was expected to be pierced, but its fragments of 50, 8 mm could not penetrate the lower armor. However, even the two-inch armor could not hold the fragments of the projectile itself, they pierced 50.8 mm in four places. Accordingly, it can be assumed that the 60 mm protection of the middle deck of the Izmailov, if it could repel such a blow, it was only at the limit of the possible. Accordingly, it can be assumed that the horizontal protection of the Izmailov was quite capable of withstanding the strikes of the German 305-mm armor-piercing and high-explosive shells, because the latter had a low explosive content: 26.4 kg for a high-explosive, that is, the force of the explosion of such a projectile was significantly inferior to the Russian land mine the same caliber (61.5 kg). Perhaps, the decks of the Ishmael would have also resisted the impact of a semi-armor-piercing English 343-mm projectile (53, 3 kg of explosives), although questions are already arising here. The British used a more powerful liddite as an explosive, but it, having a higher explosiveness, apparently crushed the shell of the projectile into smaller fragments than trinitrotoluene, therefore, the effect of fragments of the English semi-armor-piercing and Russian high-explosive shells can be estimated (by eye!) As roughly equal. But the impact of a high-explosive 343-mm projectile, "Izmail", most likely would not have survived, because it had 80, 1 kg of explosives.
As for the hypothetical battle with the "Lyuttsov", then everything seems to be quite good for the Russian ship - I must say that from the point of view of opposing 305-mm shells, the protection of the "Ishmael" was quite good. Recall that in a real battle, in Jutland, German shells of this caliber 229 mm armor of British cruisers pierced through the third time - out of 9 recorded hits, 4 shells pierced the armor, while one of them (hitting the Tiger's turret) completely collapsed in the moment the armor passed, did not explode and did not cause any damage. Analyzing the capabilities of the English 343-mm "greenboy", we came to the conclusion that it was able to penetrate 70-75 cable armor of "Lyuttsov", albeit with difficulty (with the angles of hitting the armor plate close to the normal, that is, 90 degrees) …The Russian 356-mm / 52 cannon was more powerful, even with a reduced muzzle velocity, and this seems to indicate that it would be even easier for a domestic fourteen-inch "suitcase" to overcome the German defense. All this suggests that at a distance of 70-75 cables from the point of view of armor penetration, both Russian and German ships would find themselves in approximately equal conditions - their protection would be penetrated by enemy shells, albeit with difficulty. But taking into account the fact that Ishmael has one and a half times more guns, and the armor action of the projectile is much higher (due to the greater mass of the projectile and the higher content of explosives), the Russian battle cruiser in such a duel should have had an advantage.
But we must not forget that if the domestic 305-mm / 52 obukhovka received a real “doomsday” weapon - a magnificent armor-piercing 470, 9 kg projectile, a real masterpiece of artillery, then the first domestic 356-mm projectiles, alas, were far from the desired level. In terms of their armor-piercing qualities, they even lost to the 305-mm "brothers". Yes, of course, these shortcomings would have been corrected later, but … when? It is possible, of course, that the shortcomings of the experimental batch of shells were immediately corrected, and the ships would have initially received full-fledged ammunition, but we cannot know for sure. And if "Izmail" had to fight with "substandard" shells, then its superiority over "Lyuttsov" sharply decreased, and it is not a fact that it would have survived at all.
And what happened if “Ishmael” was opposed not by “Luttsov”, but by “Mackensen”? Alas, nothing good for a Russian ship. The newest German 350-mm cannon, oddly enough, had a muzzle energy of 0.4% (exactly like that - four tenths of a percent) lower than the 356-mm / 52 cannon - the reason lies in the fact that the German projectile was too lightweight (600 kg, initial speed - 815 m / s), and this meant that at a distance of 70-75 kbt, the armor penetration of the Russian and German artillery systems would be quite comparable, perhaps slightly lower for the German one. However, the protection of the Izmailov is obviously weaker - being more or less sufficient against 305-mm shells, it easily penetrated 343-350 mm ammunition. Thus, "Ishmael" for "Mackensen" was a "glass cannon" - despite the one and a half superiority in the number of barrels, most likely, in a duel with the brainchild of the "gloomy German genius", he would have received decisive damage faster than he could have inflicted them himself …
In general, it can be stated that in the class of battle cruisers, the Izmail received an obvious advantage only over the Lyuttsov, and even then - provided there were high-quality armor-piercing shells on the Russian ship. A duel with the "Congo", "Tiger" or "Ripals" would be a lottery, because if their defense was penetrable for the guns of the domestic battle cruiser, then the Ishmael was quite vulnerable to their shells. However, Izmail had slightly more chances to win in this lottery, due to the superiority in the number of barrels of the main caliber, as well as due to the good horizontal reservation, which, most likely, could protect against hitting 343-mm armor-piercing shells (against 356-mm projectiles "Congo" - doubtful, from 381-mm guns "Repalsa" could not for sure).
It seems to be not so bad - but we must not forget that the tactical purpose of "Ishmael" was not the fight against enemy battlecruisers, but the role of a "fast wing" in the line fleet. And here the 380-381-mm artillery of the British and German dreadnoughts did not leave the Ishmaels a single chance at all.
Did our ancestors understand this? Apparently - yes, but the realization of the completely inadequate protection came to them after the tests of "Chesma" in 1913, when the construction of battle cruisers was already in full swing. Nevertheless, it was then that calculations were made, according to which it turned out that "Ishmael" is an almost perfect combination of "sword and shield", and can successfully destroy almost any foreign ship of the line. This is how L. A. describes the results of these calculations. Kuznetsov, in his, we will not be afraid of this word, an exemplary monograph "Battlecruisers of the" Izmail "type":
“… MGSH even considered hypothetical battles of an armored cruiser of the Izmail type (with a 241, 3 mm side belt at heading angles of 30-90 degrees) with a number of foreign battleships: French Normandy, German Kaiser and König, and the English "Iron Duke". As a result of the calculations made by the specialists of the headquarters, the following became clear: during the battle with the first (12 * 343-mm guns, 317.5 mm belt, speed 21.5 knots), the Russian cruiser had considerable freedom of maneuvering and, possessing a large stroke, pierced its armor at all meeting angles, and the distance advantage could exceed 20 kb; in a collision with the second (10 * 305-mm guns, 317.5 mm armor belt, speed of 21 knots), the advantages in freedom of maneuvering, armor penetration at different angles and tactical speed also remained with Izmail, in the battle with the third (8 * 380- mm guns, 317, 5 mm belt, 25 knots) freedom of maneuvering, though insignificant, (5-8 degrees) remained with the German ship, but in tactical speed and number of guns the Russian was superior; the same was the case with the British battleship (10 * 343-mm guns, 343 mm belt, speed 21 knots), but taking into account the advantages of an armored cruiser in the course and angles of fire (tactical speed), the superiority of its enemy could be less than the above 5 -8 degrees ".
The first thing I would like to note is the erroneous data on the performance characteristics of foreign battleships, but this is quite understandable: in 1913, the MGSh might not know the exact data about these ships. The second is much more important - it is obvious that these calculations were made taking into account the passport initial speed of domestic 356-mm projectiles (823 / sec), and not actually achieved (731.5 m / sec), that is, the real armor penetration of the guns would be much lower the one that is accepted in the calculations, and this alone should nullify their value for our analysis. But the fact is that even ignoring the overestimated armor penetration, we are forced to admit that the MGSh calculations are erroneous, and, apparently, are designed to mislead those who will get acquainted with their results.
The fact is that according to the results of the tests of the Chesma, the artillery department of the GUK (apparently, at that time it was headed by E. A. Berkalov), calculations were carried out, the essence of which was to determine the armor penetration of shells with a caliber of 305, 356 and 406 mm at a distance 70 cables, depending on the heading angle of the ship. In fact, there are some questions about the accuracy of these calculations (to which there may be quite adequate answers, but, unfortunately, they are not given in the sources known to the author), but now this is not important - regardless of how much these the calculations are accurate, they were adopted by the MGSh in 1913 as a tool for determining the required level of booking for future battleships already in October 1913. Taking into account that the debate over the booking of the Izmailovs continued until November, E. A. Berkalov at the time of the decision were known and already used by MGSH.
The essence of these calculations was reduced to the following diagram
The vertical axis represents the thickness of the penetrated armor in projectile calibers, and the oblique lines represent the deviation from the normal. That is, with a deviation of 0, the projectile hits the armor plate at an angle of 90 degrees, adjusted for the angle of incidence of the projectile (which was 9-10 degrees). In other words, with a deviation of 0, the projectile hit the slab at an angle of 90 degrees in the horizontal plane and 80-81 degrees - in the vertical plane. With a deviation of 20 degrees, the angle of hit of the projectile in the horizontal plane will no longer be 90, but 70 degrees, etc.
We are interested in the graph under the number 2 (it denotes the capabilities of armor-piercing shells, when the shell overcomes the whole armor and explodes behind it). So, we see that a projectile hitting the armor with zero deviation from the normal is capable of penetrating armor with a thickness of 1, 2 of its own caliber, for 305 mm it is 366 mm, for 356 mm - 427 mm, etc. But with a deviation from the normal by 25 degrees (the angle between the surface of the plate and the trajectory of the projectile is 65 degrees) - only in its own caliber, i.e. in 305 mm, 356 mm, etc.
So, for example, the 241, 3 mm armor belt, which was adopted for "Izmail" (why not honest 237, 5 mm ?!), is roughly 0.79 caliber of a twelve-inch projectile. A 317, 5 mm armor belt, adopted for the "Kaiser" - about 0.89 caliber for a 356-mm projectile. One glance at the diagram presented suggests that the German battleship is capable of hitting the Ishmael when deviating from the normal of 33 degrees or less (that is, at heading angles of 57 degrees or more), while the Ishmael is able to pierce the enemy armor belt only when deviating from normals 29 deg. and less (that is, at a heading angle of 61 degrees or more). In other words, from the point of view of armor penetration at various course angles, a battleship with 305 mm cannons and 317.5 mm armor has a slight (by about 4 degrees) advantage over a battle cruiser with 356 mm guns and 241.3 mm armor. However, MGSH calculations claim that Izmail has an advantage! German 380-mm cannons generally leave Izmail deeply behind - they penetrate 241.3 mm armor when deviating from the normal by about 50 degrees (that is, the heading angle is 40 degrees or more), the difference with Izmail is 21 degrees, but not 5 -8 degrees indicated in the calculations!
In general, the MGSH calculation regarding the Izmailov could only be correct if it was considered that the German guns were much … no, not even so: MUCH weaker than the domestic artillery systems of the same caliber in terms of armor penetration. But why would MGSh think so?
But that's not all. Making calculations for 241, 3 mm armor at fairly sharp heading angles (30 degrees), MGSH specialists somehow "missed" the fact that such battles for Izmailov were extremely dangerous due to the extreme weakness of traverse armoring. What is 100 mm of armor for enemy heavy shells covering the space between the forecastle deck and the upper deck? And how would you like to assess the armor resistance of the space between the upper and middle decks, which were "protected" by as many as two partitions 25 mm thick each spaced 8, 4 m apart?
While Izmail kept the enemy abeam (that is, at a course angle of 90 degrees) and close to this, such traverses did not create critical vulnerability, especially since in order to get to the traverse, it would be necessary to pierce 100 mm armor boards. But as soon as the ship turned its nose in the direction of the enemy, the latter opened a real gate deep into the battle cruiser. For example, there was such a "wonderful" trajectory, in which a projectile, hitting the forecastle deck, pierced it in the unarmored part, then punched a 25 mm vertical "traverse" and hit the bow tower barbet straight at 147.5 mm. The only consolation was that the deck steel here had a thickening of up to 36 mm, but … after all, it was not armor, but ordinary shipbuilding steel.
So, we conclude that the MGSH specialists were rare laymen and in vain ate their bread? This is doubtful, and, according to the author of this article, the most likely version of deliberate disinformation. What for?
The fact is that at the end of 1913 it was obvious that the war was already on the doorstep and could flare up at any moment. But the Baltic Fleet was completely unprepared for it - in order to create a full-fledged and effective squadron, it was considered necessary to have two brigades of 4 battleships and one brigade of battle cruisers, while in fact the fleet should soon receive 4 Sevastopols and that's it. That is, battlecruisers were needed like air, and any measures that would increase the construction time of the Izmailov were to be like a sharp knife in the heart for MGSH.
At the same time, the Marine Ministry was offered projects for the radical restructuring of these ships (for example, the project of M. V. Bubnov), which had three global shortcomings. The first of them was that the defense of "Izmail" was turned into a "trishkin caftan" - some parts of the ship were re-armored, but at the same time others were critically weakened, which, of course, was unacceptable. The second problem was even more acute - such alterations required a lot of time to implement.
Well, for example, the project of Vice Admiral M. V. Bubnov assumed equipping the cruisers with an armor belt of 305 mm. This, of course, looked great - if you only forget that the maximum thickness of armor plates of the required dimensions that the factories of the Russian Empire could produce was only 273 mm. That is, it was necessary either to modernize production, or to switch to smaller slabs, which also created a number of technical problems that could not be solved at once. Or here's his proposal to increase the thickness of the turret armor to 406 mm - again, a good thing, only the three-gun turret installations would have to be redesigned, because the additional armor is the weight of the rotating part of the turret, which was not planned and for which, of course the powers of the corresponding mechanisms rotating the tower were not calculated.
And finally, the third problem was that the increase in booking was achieved at the cost of speed, so that the Ishmael essentially turned from a battle cruiser into a dreadnought, which the admirals did not want at all. They understood very well that high speed would give the Ishmaels the opportunity to operate even in conditions of superiority of the enemy fleet, because, if necessary, battlecruisers would be able to “retreat to prepared positions”.
In general, MGSH obviously preferred to have 4 powerful and fast, albeit not too well-protected battle cruisers in the fleet in the coming war, than 4 improved (but still not perfect) ships after it. From the standpoint of today, this was quite correct. Still, the basis of the German "Hochseeflotte" was made up of battleships and battle cruisers with 280-305-mm artillery, and against such cannons, the Ismailov's armor defended relatively well.
Nevertheless, it was necessary to notify the tsar-father about such projects, who loved the fleet, but did not understand him too well and could well be tempted to formally improve the performance characteristics. Accordingly, the hypothesis of the author of this article is that the comparison of Ishmael with the battleships of France, Germany and England was made in order to convince everyone that in their existing form the ships are quite combat-ready and formidable for any enemy - although in fact, of course, there was nothing like that.
In fact, "Izmail" was a type of heavily armed high-speed ship, the armor of which protected well against shells up to and including 305-mm. Nevertheless, for any ship with guns from 343-mm and above, "Izmail" was a completely "accessible" target, and no tricks with heading angles could solve anything here. As a matter of fact, if someone took these course angles seriously, then one should expect a mandatory strengthening of the traverses, which at such angles would have to be "shown" to the enemy, but this was not done.
Due to a design error, the actual performance characteristics of 356-mm / 52 guns turned out to be much lower than expected, and therefore Izmail, in fact, had no advantage over any battleship equipped with 10-12 356-mm guns, and even ships with cannons 380 mm and above were significantly superior. The smaller number of barrels here was fully compensated for by the increased armor penetration and the power of the shells. But at the same time, "Izmail" was inferior in armor to almost all dreadnoughts with cannons of 356 mm and above. Yes, he surpassed most of them in speed, but in this case it gave only one advantage - to escape from the battlefield in time.
We have to admit that the Ishmael, if built, in terms of free maneuvering zones would categorically lose to any 356-mm dreadnought, and even inferior to some "305-mm" battleships ("König" and "Kaiser"). This does not mean that he could not fight the latter, moreover, most likely, in a duel with the same "Koenig" "Ishmael" would have been successful due to superiority in artillery, but the battle with the same "Iron Duke" was for " Ishmael "is deadly, and" Queen Elizabeth "or" Bayern "would simply tear the Russian battle cruiser to pieces.
If by some miracle, a brigade of battle cruisers of the "Izmail" class were at our disposal at the beginning of the First World War, they would be extremely useful and timely ships capable of supporting many active operations. Possessing superiority in speed, very powerful armament for 1914 -1915 and acceptable armor against 280-305-mm German guns, they could well dominate the Baltic, and in order to counteract this, the Germans would need much more numerous forces. At the same time, the "Ishmaels" could get away from the enemy dreadnoughts, if there were more of them, and the battle cruisers who could catch up with them, in the battle with the four "Ishmaels", "did not shine" at all.
However, under no circumstances did the Ishmaels make it to the beginning of the First World War, they had to enter service later, in the era of superdreadnoughts armed with 356-406-mm artillery, which the Russian battle cruisers, due to their weak defense, could not successfully resist … And this, unfortunately, does not allow us to consider the battle cruisers of the "Izmail" type a great success of Russian naval thought.