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MR_Barbarossa

Sverdlov class Soviet cruiser

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Sverdlov class cruiser (project 68-bis)

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Type:
light cruiser
Completed:

1951-55
Number in class:
14
Displacement:
13,230 tons standard,
16,340 tons full load
Dimensions:
Lenght: 210 m overall, 205 m waterline
Beam: 22 m
Draught: 6.9 m
Propulsion:
2 shaft geared steam turbines, 6 boilers, 118,100 hp
Speed:
33.1 knots
Range:
9000 nm at 18 knots
Armament:
12 x 6in (152,4mm)/57 B-38 guns in four triple Mk5-bis turrets,
12 x 3.9in (100mm)/56 Model 1934 guns in 6 twin SM-5-1 mounts
32 x 37 mm AA (16x2)
10 x 533 mm torpedo tubes (2x5)

Armor:
Belt: 100mm
Deck: 50 mm
Bulkheads: 120mm
Conning tower: 152mm
Complement:
1,250

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History

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In the early postwar years, until the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union with no real technical capabilities to create a powerful ocean-going nuclear missile fleet was forced to build ships with conventional artillery and mine-torpedo weapons.

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During this period, the fleet of the USSR maintained the status of the coastal fleet, and was intended primarily to address the defensive problems. The Soviet Union had been expanding its navy before the German invasion in June 1941 and although much of the new construction had been destroyed either by enemy action, or by the Russians to keep it out of German hands, a number of hulls survived in 1945.

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(Mikhail Kutusov as floating museum)

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Joseph Stalin had always dreamed of a big navy and his naval commander-in-chief,  Admiral Kuznetsov, was given funds to complete five of the Chapayev class cruisers. While work was being restarted on the Chapayev class (project 68K) a new class of slightly improved and enlarged ships was laid down.

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It was originaly proposed to build only 7 improved (Project 68-bis) cruisers, with 18 cruisers of completly new design (Project 65) to follow. This cruisers would be build in two versions; with 152mm and 180mm guns. Joseph Stalin personaly ordered to stop Project 65, to build only Project 68-bis ships with 152mm guns and further development of a new Stalingrad class battlecruiser (Project 82).

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24 ships were planned but construction came to an abrupt halt when Nikita Khruschev assumed power and promptly declared the naval program out-dated. Only 14 units were completed.

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Constuction

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First Sverdlov class cruiser laid down was actualy Dzerzhinskiy (21.12.1948). Later cracks on her hull were discovered, due to pure steel quality, and new hull has to be laid down. Supisingly and contrary to common repression in the Soviet Union, noone was found responsible for this incident.

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Design was enlarged version of Chapayev class. Sverdlov cruisers had the same machinery, main armament and side protection, but had much increased fuel capacity (for an endurance of 9000 nm, suficed provisions for 30 days). The project 68-bis has also been designed to implement the post-war technological advances in the Soviet shipbuilding. An all-welded hull (low-alloy steel was used rather than riveted) has been introduced , together with a new type of underwater protection, including a double bottom over 75% of their lenght, and 23 watertight bulkheads. The new welding process turned out to be quite chalenging and expirience with tank welding together with knowledge gained in German shipyards, immediately after the war, helped a lot in this matter.

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Armament

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The ship's main armament was composed of twelve 6in (152,4 mm)/57 guns mounted in 4 triple turrets. Turrets were a modified version of the MK-5 of the Chapayev class (MK-5-bis).

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The secondary battery was composed of twelve 3.9in (100 mm)/70 German-style guns mounted in 6 double turrets and 32 37mm AA guns mounted in 16 double turrets.

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Ten torpedo tubes (2x5) were mounted, and leter (until 1960) removed.

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This ships had new fire control radars as well as new type of directors.

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Service and Modifications

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After the first 15 ships were laid down, the Soviet Navy ordered another 6 protected against radioactive fallout as Project 68zif. None was completed.

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One, Ordzhonikitze, was transferred to Indonesia in 1962, her arrival causing some initial alarm among South-East Asian navies, but she quickly became unserviceable. She was leter returned and stricken.

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Several were converted to missile ships, while two (Zhdanov and Admiral Senyavin) were converted to command ships in 1970-72.

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Another four (Oktybrskaya Revolutsiya, Admiral Ushakov, Aleksandr Suvarov and Mikhail Kutusov) were given limited modernisations in the 1970s.

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Mikhail Kutusov later became floting museum, while all other survivors were stricken in the late 1980s, the last to go being Murmansk in 1992.

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(Sad end for a ship: Murmansk was not as lucky as M.Kutusov. She was sold for scrapping in 1994, but was wrecked while being towed to the breakers)

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Sverdlov compared to NATO cruisers

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The Chapayev class did not attract a great deal of comment in the West but in 1953 the Sverdlov was sent to Britain to represent the Soviet Union at Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Naval Review. There her elegant lines and immaculate handling made a big impression. Speculation was rife about her capabilities, and her essentially old-fashioned features were overlooked.

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Sverdlov was the most advanced Sovjet cruiser in that time but, on the other hand, Project 68-bis ships were only the improved pre-war design. Nevertheless, she was still one of the best artilery cruisers.

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Russian source claims that compared to British cruisers of the time (Belfast, Sheffield, Tiger) Sverdlov is better ship, with greater firepower. Similar American cruisers, armed with 152mm guns (Cleveland, Worcester), would probably outguned Sverdlov at middle range, while Sverdlov had way better max. firing range (30,2 km). (look Spoiler)

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Conclusion

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The Sverdlovs are the last all-gun-armed cruisers to be build and thats why also very interesting for WOWs. I expect this cruisers to be tier 9 or 10 in the future Russian/Soviet tech tree. This probably also depends on how much data from some never completed projects ( like Project 65 mentionet in this article) actualy exist. However, I look forward to see this cruiser in the game.

Sources:

  • Крейсера типа«СВЕРДЛ0В» (Kreysera tipa «SVERDL0V»); A.B.Shirokorad
  • The illustrated directory of warships; D.Miller
  • All the worlds fighting ships 1947-95; Conway Maritime Press
  • An illustrated guide to modern warships; H.Lyon
  • An illustrated guide to modern Soviet Navy; J.Jordan
  • Cruisers, an illustrated history; A.Preston

Pics:

Edited by MR_Barbarossa
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Yes Mr_Mistery there are a lot of nice pics of this class on internet. Specialy from Mikhail Kutusov. On second picture is M.Kutusov in dry dock, prepearing to become museum ship. I didnt want to put to many pictures to my article, so great that you posted some more. Thanks for contribution :honoring:

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View PostMR_Barbarossa, on 30 September 2013 - 05:49 PM, said:

Yes Mr_Mistery there are a lot of nice pics of this class on internet. Specialy from Mikhail Kutusov. On second picture is M.Kutusov in dry dock, prepearing to become museum ship. I didnt want to put to many pictures to my article, so great that you posted some more. Thanks for contribution :honoring:
any time bro :honoring:

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Here are some other interesting pictures:

 

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Dzerzhinskiy after conversion to AA missle cruiser. Note: one of the aft turrets was replaced with armys SA-2 missile louncher

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Admiral Ushakov in 1981

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Mikhail Kutuzov before modernization in 1970s

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Zhdanov (in the middle) after conversion to command ship. No.3 turret was replaced by command spaces, with a pop up SA-N-4 missile louncher. Admiral Senyavin (same conversion to command ship)

also lost no.4 turret and had a helicopter hangar aft. On the starboard side of Zhdanov is Bezzavetnyy, Krivak class frigate, on port side Magomed Gadzhiev, Don class submarine tender.

Edited by MR_Barbarossa
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