Hitler's last hope didn't become the first Soviet aircraft carrier

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Soviet military fleet and aircraft carriers... Throughout a long time these concepts were incompatible. But despite their actual birth which has come true by the outcome of 60-x years of last century, first-borns were "ugly ducklings" in comparison with the American and English aircraft carriers which already strongly entered by then a time of mature perfection.
In the history of domestic aircraft carriers the first "introduction" head begins with the Moscow helicopter carrier which yet wasn't a full-fledged aircraft carrier. And we modestly called the subsequent "aianesushchy cruisers". Though, on a twist of fate and the history, the Soviet Union got the real aircraft carrier long before it is in 1945, - when "into hands" the Red Army was fallen by a unique trophy - the German aircraft carrier of "Columns Zeppelin". Which we "tried" quicker... to destroy.


It is accepted why - that to consider that in the USSR then of aircraft carriers didn't think, but it not so. For the first time aircraft carriers got to the construction plan of the fighting ships in 1937. In total it was offered to construct two aircraft carriers - for Northern and Pacific fleet as on these theaters it was most difficult to organize aviation ensuring linear forces. However this plan, as well as all subsequent premilitary plans, wasn't approved. The last time before war these ships included in the program of shipbuilding of the Navy on the third five-years period (1938-1942) where the laying of the first aircraft carrier was planned in 1941, the second - in 1942, and delivery - in the fourth five-years period.
Even during war, at the beginning of 1943 the question of cruiser "Red Crimea" re-equipment in the hydroaircraft carrier armed with twelve planes was considered. However similar plans on the Black Sea with its ship-building base in 1943 were simply frivolous.
Nevertheless the project of the Soviet aircraft carrier in premilitary years nevertheless was created! Were engaged in it in an initiative order in central research institute-45 (now central research institute of a name of the academician A. N. Krylov).There by May, 1939 developed the preoutline sketch of an aircraft carrier of small displacement in which it was offered to use widely the case and mechanisms of the easy cruiser.
In premilitary fascist Germany already built the aircraft carriers. By the war beginning with the USSR readiness of "Count Tseppelin" made 85%, crew and aviagroup formation began.
By the way, visited Germany in 1939-1940 Soviet торгово - the purchasing commission under the leadership of the people's commissar of the ship-building industry I.T.Tevosyan visited under construction "Columns Zeppelin". The Soviet representatives expressed the offer on its purchase, or, in case of that impossibility, acquisition of the order for construction of the second ship which has received by then the name "Peter Strasser", for the Soviet fleet. But the German party didn't show desire to sell aircraft carriers. Though in April, 1940 officially construction of "Count Tseppelin" is stopped, and the second ship sorted on a building berth. The reason as experts consider, - expectation of fast completion of war; the Fuhrer decided to continue aircraft carrier construction... after the end of east campaign.
However blitzkrieg it didn't turn out, and in March, 1942 the new order followed - to complete in the shortest time. By this time aircraft carriers already showed all the many-sided qualities, and the need for them became obvious to all at war sea powers.
However time was missed though Germans tried to use all opportunities. When with summer of 1940 Paris was occupied by the German armies, to them the office of plans and archives of the French fleet fell into hands. This was extremely valuable production as in the taken documents there were a justification and technical documentation on an aircraft carrier "Zhoffr".
His French put in Seong - Nazere on November 26, 1938, and by the time of capitulation of France the ship still was on a building berth. At the end of 1941 remembered "Zhoffre". Nearly a year attempts to resume works were made, but eventually them refused, and in November, 1942 made the decision to sort the ship on metal. There is a lot of reasons for that, but, on - visible, main from them I was that the similar ships are built truly by all country, and Germans couldn't cooperate in the conditions of occupation of ten French firms for creation of so difficult object.


Coming Soviet parts took "Columns Zeppelin" in Stettin where the ship since April, 1943 was laid up in Oder Canal.When the Soviet armies rushed into the city, the special German team of the captain 1-го a rank Kalera by means of explosive devices managed - to damage the ship, having put out of action the turbine and electric generators. Through the formed cracks water tons got to the case, and the ship appeared in the submerged state.
But in August 45-го it was lifted and included by forces of emergency service of Baltic Fleet in structure of the Soviet Navy. It seemed that as a whole the German experience quite could give the chance to the Soviet management to reduce sharply lag in aircraft carriers from the same Americans.
"Columns Zeppelin" even to present measures I was a large aircraft carrier - its length made 250 m, displacement - 25 000 t, board height - 22 m, and length and width of the flight deck respectively - 241 m and 31 m
Externally this ship looked the then quite traditionally that in any way couldn't be told about separate engineering decisions. Germans created an aircraft carrier - the cruiser allocated with ability to conduct with the opponent a direct fire battle. At a design stage it it was planned to arm 203 - millimetric tools, but subsequently the caliber was reduced to 150 mm. The aircraft carrier received armored protection of a class of the easy cruiser, in particular the armor deck and onboard vertical armor of variable thickness. Thus the flight deck was conceived so that to strengthen the general durability of the case.
The most interesting part of the project of "Zeppelin" was aviation. Take-off of planes from the deck had to be made by means of two pneumatic catapults while on other aircraft carriers of similar devices yet wasn't. Both at Americans, and at British, and at Japanese planes flew up only from independent running start. The catapult allowed to increase the weight of fighting loading of the starting plane.
The starting carts providing a hitch of the plane with a catapult during dispersal appeared one more interesting detail of equipment of take-off from "Zeppelin". Carts connected to plane in a ship hangar and together with them elevators moved upward. There the cart with the aircraft had to move on rails force of draft of the plane screw on a free catapult. Time and start speed as the cart was calculated on instant connection with a catapult were as a result won. After a separation from the deck of "the" plane the cart came back to a hangar on inclined chain conveyors.


In due time the German experts very attentively studied the Russian experience when cutting sold to them (on thoughtlessness or intentionally) the linear cruisers "Borodino", "Navarin" and "Kinburn". This experience was useful to them at design and construction of battle ships like "Sharnkhorst", and then and "Bismarck". "Zeppelin" could be repaired and used in quality ispytatelno - an educational platform at creation of own aircraft carriers. In the conditions of rigidly centralized power of that time for this purpose was to make one basic decision enough. Quite so the admiral N. Kuznetsov - the old supporter of idea of construction of aircraft carriers suggested to make. Its offers were supported by Narkomat of the ship-building industry, and the Leningrad Baltic Shipyard agreed to production of all necessary works. However the Soviet management arrived differently. According to the government decision (the resolution of March 19, 1947) the trophy ships which have got to the Soviet Union in the damaged state, were liable to destruction. Kuznetsov appeared in the disgrace, the new commander of fleet admiral I. Yumashev suggested to carry out the aforesaid destruction with "advantage" for business. Some researchers assume - for working off of blows to the American aircraft carriers.
In "day of execution", on August 16, 1947, the aircraft carrier reclassified by then in not self-propelled barge, brought to the sea range. Throughout this experiment by the ship undermined 24 fighting charges in advance placed on it (including demolition air bombs weighing from 100 to 1 000 kg and 180 - millimetric shells of sea tools). After a break in explosions which was used for studying of damages, on the ship отбомбилось 25 bombers "Pe-2" (the whole regiment! ) which dumped about 100 more bombs. The mark, however, hit only 6. The aircraft carrier remained afloat and after that blow. Finally drove in it 2 torpedoes, and only then "Zeppelin" sank.
The made experiment was original "a survivability lesson". If to consider that attacking forces "worked" in polygon conditions, at good weather, on the fixed big target, without meeting thus neither antiaircraft fire, nor counteraction of deck aircraft that would be a natural element of a real fighting situation, "Zeppelin" showed simply fantastic survivability. Together with it for a long time "drowned" also a key to the solution of many problems connected with creation of aircraft carriers and big fleet of the future.


Amazingly, but fact. After war the Soviet experts, having found considerable lag in a number of leaders voyenno - technical areas (rocket production, jet aircraft, helicopter engineering, a radar-location, hydroacoustics, underwater and surface shipbuilding, etc.) with huge enthusiasm, it is possible to tell, with greed began to study, use, in some cases it is simple to copy and reproduce trophy or tapes - lizovsky samples (Fau's combat missiles-1 and Fau-2, the Tu-4 bomber, submarines of the ave. 613, etc.) that allowed subsequently quickly enough or very quickly to come to world level or to reach leading position in the world. Unfortunately, to an aircraft carrier - essentially new, absolutely unknown ship - such it didn't happen. Even the most unsuccessful, barbarous option of its "utilization" described above, gave a plentiful material for thoughts, the analysis and direct use in design.
Quite so specialists of central research institute of military shipbuilding (Central Research Institute VK or 1-го Navy institute) arrived when developing the project of a domestic aircraft carrier at the beginning of 1950-x. In any degree, but already in smaller, materials on "Zeppelin" were considered and when developing later project of an aircraft carrier which "cut" already at N. S. Khrushchev. When the construction era "the ocean began is rocket - nuclear" fleet, about "Count Tseppelin" already and didn't remember. Started from scratch.


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