The battles of the Second World War did not play an important role in the large-scale sea battles that shook the skies over the seas and oceans for exactly six years, from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. They did not fulfill their function, did not justify the high hopes placed on them. But they spent a lot of money on their construction, and considerable funds were spent on their maintenance. The fate of these alleged "masters of the sea", the tools of the failed domination, is very instructive, and can serve as an example of a wrong calculation, a wrong prediction of the future nature of strategy and tactics and the irrational use of economic resources.
The state of naval tactical thought in the interwar period
Since the Anglo-Dutch naval battles rattled on the seas, and until the middle of the 20th century, the idea of an ideal ship existed in the minds of the fleet commanders of the whole world. The main tactical device was formed at the same time, in the XVII century, and he consisted in building all the forces in the wake column, and then open fire from all the trunks. Who will sink more enemy units, he won. Some confusion in the minds of naval commanders was made in 1916 by the Jutland battle, which took place in a somewhat different scenario. Carrying out an energetic maneuvering, the German squadron caused significant damage to the British forces with quantitative and qualitative superiority, bearing half the losses and "defeating" the enemy (in terms of sports terminology). However, the victorious outcome of the battle was hastened to declare and the British, do not bother to make an analysis of their, in general, unsuccessful actions. And to think about followed. Perhaps, then, the battleships of the Second World War would prove to be a more effective weapon in the fight against fascism, or, at least, they would be less, which would free up resources for other, more important defense programs. However, the correct conclusions were not made by the winners of Jutland, the Germans. They (at least Hitler and his immediate entourage) also considered power and size a priority factor in the enemy's efforts. And other countries, which were facing heavy fighting on the seas and oceans, had similar views. They were all wrong.
What is a battleship?
The question is not superfluous, and to answer it one should go back to history, to the times when the ships (then still sailing, and later the steam ones) were built in wake-up (that is, one after another), and the guarantee of victory was the advantage of artillery weapons. The formation was a straight line, this was dictated by the main principle of the battle, otherwise there would be interference on the line of fire, and the power of the cannons could not be used to the fullest. Ships with the largest number of guns built on the decks received the definition of "linear". In the Russian fleet, the abbreviation "battleship", which consists of the roots of two words "linear" and "ship", has taken root.
Sails gave way to steam engines and turbines, but the principle and purpose of a large artillery floating battery, protected by armor and fleet, remained unchanged. Combine all the required fighting qualities could only be on condition of large sizes. For this reason, the battleships of World War II had a monstrous displacement.
Battleships and economics
Shipbuilders of the thirties, carrying out orders of fleets and governments, tried to provide them with the most powerful and destructive weapon in the history of mankind. Not every country could afford to have at least one ship of this class, in addition to the defense function, he played the role of a prestigious fetish. Owning battleships, the state was affirmed in its own power and demonstrated to its neighbors. Today, possessors of nuclear weapons or aircraft carriers constitute a special club, access to which is allowed only to some countries with economic potential at the appropriate level. In the thirties, battleships served as a symbol of military might. Such an acquisition, not only that was very expensive, but still required additional allocations for the constant maintenance, maintenance and training of crews and infrastructure. The fleets were represented by units that survived the previous global conflict, but also new ones were launched. The battles of the Second World War, that is, built in the period from 1936 to 1945, were the focus of all the latest achievements of the technical thought of their time. Their presence served as a kind of guarantee for a new world massacre. It was possible to create such a powerful and expensive weapon only if it was to be used, and in the very near future. Otherwise, it makes no sense.
How many were there of all
For the entire period, called the pre-war period (in fact, the war was already going on, in Spain and the Far East, for example), and all the years of the "hot phase" of the world conflict, the most developed countries, seeking to establish or restore their regional (or world) seven units of ships belonging to the class of linear.
Most of all, the Americans launched the water, as many as ten. This testifies to the serious intentions of the US to maintain its level of influence in remote areas of the world's oceans, however, without the large-scale direct participation of the ground forces, at that time quite modest.
The second place is occupied by Britain with its five units. Good too.
Germany, which had just rejected the terms of Versailles, launched four.
Italy, claimed during the reign of Duce Mussolini for the role of regional Mediterranean leader, was able to overpower three large-tonnage units. The same number of dreadnoughts managed to produce France.
Japanese battleships of the Second World War are represented by two units of the Yamato series. Relatively compared to other members of the "club" a small number of the imperial fleet was going to compensate for the cyclopean size of the ships.
The figures given are actual. Plans were much more extensive.
Three Soviet battleships
Soviet battleships of the Second World War were laid in tsarist Russia. Before the World War, the Russian fleet was rapidly developing, the modernization program, launched at that time, became the basis for growth for many years, after the revolution.
There were three battles: the Paris Commune (Sevastopol), Marat (Petropavlovsk) and the October Revolution (Gangut), all of the same project. They survived the hard times, albeit with injuries, and served for some time after 1945. A thirty-year-old age for a warship is not considered advanced, and in 1941 they were just enough. Thus, at the time of entry into the war, after the German attack, the USSR possessed three fairly modern units of ships of the linear class, inherited from the tsarist regime. But this does not mean that the leadership of the USSR did not have plans to strengthen the Navy. They were, and not only plans, but also quite concrete actions. Stalin was preparing the most ambitious project in the history of Russian shipbuilding.
Plans of the USSR
Why did not the plans come true?
The battleship "Soviet Union" of project "A" was laid down in Leningrad by plant No. 15 in the summer of 1938, two units (Sovetskaya Belorussia, Sovetskaya Rossiya) began to be built in Molotovsk (today this city is called Severodvinsk), another one in Nikolaev ("Soviet Ukraine"). So in the projecting and manilovism of Stalin, you can not blame, the plans set by the party were carried out unswervingly. Another question is that there were objective difficulties for which, quite possibly, some comrades who could not cope with the task had responded subjectively to the law. At the time of the German attack, the ships under construction were in varying degrees of readiness, but not more than a fifth of the total workload. The most modern battleships of the USSR of the Second World War never entered the combat system, serving as donors for other important defense programs. Their guns and armor plates were used, but they themselves never left the sea. Not enough time and experience, technology development took too long.
And if we had time?
JV Stalin was often reproached (and continues to do so) because he did not prepare the country to repel the German invasion. In some ways, these claims can be considered justified. However, given the prevailing situation in the first months of Hitler's aggression, today one can conclude that even the most modern and large Soviet battleships of the Second World War could not influence the course of military operations that took place mainly on the land front. In the summer of 1941, the operational region of the Baltic Sea, due to its geographical peculiarity (closeness), was closed by mine barriers and blocked by underwater forces of the Kriegsmarine. The former Soviet battleships of the Second World War period were used as stationary batteries, similar to the coastal ones. With their heavy guns of the main caliber they inflicted damage on the advancing enemy, but aviation and long-range artillery succeeded in this more. In addition, the access to the sea of such a huge ship is associated with a huge risk. He, like a magnet, attracts all the forces of the enemy, who calms down, only by letting him to the bottom. A mournful example can serve as many battleships during the Second World War, which became a steel grave for their crews.
The Germans and their battleships
Gigantomania suffered not only Stalin, but also his chief opponent, German Chancellor. On German battleships of the Second World War, he had high hopes, their construction was too expensive, but they were supposed to crush the naval might of the arrogant Britain. This, however, did not happen. After the loss of the Bismarck in 1941, shot by a superior opponent, the Führer treated Tirpitz as an expensive and thoroughbred fighting dog, which is a pity to run into an ordinary dog dump, and it is necessary to feed it anyway and it is used as a deterrent. For a long time the second battleship plagued the British until they dealt with it, bombing the beauty and pride of the Kriegsmarine in the unknown Norwegian fjord.
So rest in the bottom of the battleships of Germany. In the Second World War, they got the role of huge animals, hounded by a pack of smaller but more agile predators. A similar fate awaited and many other ships of this class. Their loss attracted huge human casualties, they often perished along with the crews in full force.
Who built the largest and most modern battleships of World War II? Japan. "Yamato" and the second ship of the series, which became the last, "Musashi", had a titanic displacement (full), exceeding 70 thousand tons. These giants were and armed with the most powerful cannons of the main caliber 460 mm. Armor also did not know equal - from 400 to 650 mm. To destroy such a monster, dozens of direct hits of torpedoes, bombs or artillery shells were required. The Americans found all these lethal weapons in sufficient numbers, and the circumstances developed so that they could apply them. They were angry at the Japanese for Pearl Harbor and no pity.
The US battleships of the Second World War are represented by ships of various projects, including the newest, launched during the period from 1941 to 1943. These are primarily the Iowa class, which, in addition to the head unit, is represented by three more (New Jersey, Wisconsin and Missouri). On the deck of one of them, namely the Missouri, the last point in the six-year world war was put. The displacement of these giant ships - 57.5 thousand tons, they possessed excellent seaworthiness, but for modern naval combat they were practically unsuitable after the appearance of rocket weapons, which did not prevent their artillery power from being used for punitive purposes against countries that could not effectively them to resist. They served for a long time, and fought at different coasts:
- "New Jersey" - from the Vietnamese and Lebanese.
- "Missouri" and "Wisconsin" - from the Iraqi.
Today, all three of the last battleships of the US World War II are at the piers and take visitors-tourists.