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TheZeke00

Battlecruiser Kronshtadt - the Soviet Gneisenau

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Who doesn’t love cool, weird shippies? I know I do. That was my immediate impression of the Krondshtadt-class battlecruisers while I was researching for the Wiki. Officially dubbed Тяжёлые крейсера проекта 69 or “Project 69 heavy cruiser”, she reminded me of a soviet version of the upgraded Scharnhorst-class; or the in-game Geneisenau. I thought it would be pretty neat to highlight this rather obscure ship to the forum community, and so, I present Battlecruiser Kronshtadt

 SkhlB3i.jpg

Artist's 3D render of Kronshtadt's sister-ship, Sevastopol

 

The initial requirement for a new Soviet heavy cruiser was responded by two designs of the 1930s: Project 22 and Project 25. Project 22 was envisioned as a capital ship of over 20,000 tonnes, mounting 10" guns with the express goal of hunting down foreign "treaty cruisers". But a newly drafted naval alliance with the British forced the Soviet Navy to adhere to the limitations of the Second London Naval Treaty, so Project 22 was dropped in favour of Project 25: a “treaty battleship” of over 35,000 tonnes, designed to operate in the Black seas. By 1937 the design was accepted and construction started, but along came the Great Purge; the lead designers of Project 22 and Project 25 were sent to the great workshop in the sky and summarily Project 25 was cancelled as it was deemed inadequate. 

zDtmiNl.png

Project 'X', an earlier iteration of Project 22

 RtyrMtI.jpg

Project 24, the direct predecessor of Project 25

 

When the requirement re-surfaced again in the late 1930s, the work was revamped as Project 69 (teehee); a large cruiser with a displacement of over 26,000, with an armour belt of 230mm, mounting the same 10” rifles, and planned speed of 34 knots. However, new rivals soon emerged in the form of the German Scharnhorst-class, the French Dunkerque-class, and the modified Japanese Kongo-class, which demanded a Soviet response. With the known specs of the ships at the time, the designers quickly realized the new Project needed to be bolstered in order to stay competitive; increasing displacement to 35,000 tonnes and decreasing speed to 31 knots in order to mount 12” rifles and add extra armour. With this, the sketch design was approved in 1939 and work on the detailed design began. Scrutinous armour testing during this period proved that Armour-piercing bombs above 500kg could penetrate the thin deck armour, so the middle deck and lower deck were increased to 90mm and 30mm respectively. By 1940, the detailed designs were approved by the State Defense Council, although humorously, ship construction had already began. 

 OmGR1o7.png

The perceived rivals to the Kronshtadt-class: Scharnhorst-class, Dunkerque-class, and Kongo-class

 

Here again, the consequences of the Purge reared its ugly mug. Putting aside the fact that the shipyards were ill equipped for such a daunting project – always under-manned and constantly strapped for resources – there was no hope for the B-50 guns and MK-15 turrets to be complete in-time to mount on these ships. So what would someone under desperate circumstances do: 'buy weapons from the enemy, you say? That’s a great idea!' And thus, the Soviet government formalized an agreement to purchase 12 SKC/34 rifles and 6 Drh LC/34 from Krupp; equivalent main armament as the ones on the Bismarck-class and the very weapons that were supposed to be refitted onto the Scharnhorst-class.  

ctqEdAd.jpg

The two proposed main armaments for the Krontshtadt-class: On the left, schematics for the Soviet MK-15 turrets, on the right, the schematics for the German Drh-LC/34 turrets.

 

With the rearmament in mind, Project 69 underwent its final transformation. All the barbettes had to be increased in diameter; the barbette for Turret 2 had to be increased in height to clear Turret 1; and the conning tower had to be increased in height to clear both forward turrets. In conjunction with the barbettes, the magazines had to increase in size to accept the larger shells and powder charges. Finally, bigger turrets mean more power required operating them, and so a more powerful electrical generator had to be installed. Overall, this increased displacement by further 1,000 tonnes, and with all the modifications complete, the new design was dubbed Project 69-I (Importnyi - “Imported”), with the Committee approving this change by 1941. 

PlmZ4Dd.jpg 

The line drawings of the Project 69 (top) vs. Project 69-I (bottom). Note the differences in the main armaments, and the main superstructure. 

 

We will never know how this Battlecruiser would perform in battle, as the two ships of the class: Kronshtadt and Sevestapol would never be completed, due to the aforementioned limitations of Soviet heavy industries at the time, and the eventual commencement of the Great Patriotic War; with most of their resources reallocated for other uses. After WW2, the Navy had no further use for them, both scrapped by 1948. 

 xKuuNiK.jpg

Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance photograph of the Kronshtadt under construction.

 

If you’re still with me here, I thank you for taking this time to read this article, and I hope you’ve been enlightened and entertained! I’ll see y’all on the high seas, Cheers!

 

- Zeke 

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I want this ship and Stalingrad to be Tier VII and VIII respectively.  With such high speeds and long range, they could easily do it.

 

I'd love to have them in the game; the Gneisenau is an objectively fun ship, and I don't doubt the Kronsthtadt and Stalingrad would give them a a good run for their money. Being a battlecruiser, they most likely will be tricky to play, but I'd totally put up with the learning curve. 

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I'd love to have them in the game; the Gneisenau is an objectively fun ship, and I don't doubt the Kronsthtadt and Stalingrad would give them a a good run for their money. Being a battlecruiser, they most likely will be tricky to play, but I'd totally put up with the learning curve. 

 

Likely Stalingrad would be in the game first since she has unique attributes with her 12 inch guns.  Read that link I put above for more info.

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Likely Stalingrad would be in the game first since she has unique attributes with her 12 inch guns.  Read that link I put above for more info.

 

Mhm, I know what you're talking about. IIRC, her guns were designed to be 61 calibres long. Comparing with the Scharnhorst, it means, she potentially would've been able to generate greater muzzle velo and reach farther. Extrapolating that into game, i could see that as having similar handling Scharnhorst-guns that have a flatter trajectory, and a larger range and greater penn, at the cost of a ship that is less-tanky; in other words, a more difficult, yet rewarding Scharnhorst-esque boat.

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I find the layout of the propellers and rudder to be quite odd.

 

It's a little funky, but i think it adds to the design charm. Basically it's a three-propellor, two-rudder system, but instead of putting the rudders behind the central-propeller screw, they decide to put them behind the wing-propellors. Go figure. 
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