Kirov file photo

Kirov-class Light Cruiser

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Contributor: C. Peter Chen

This article refers to the entire Kirov-class; it is not about an individual vessel.

In 1933, the Soviet Union began the Second Five-Year Plan program which aimed to bolster the Soviet Navy. Among the program was a new class of cruisers, Project 26 originally requested to be 6,000 tons with two twin 180-millimeter turrets and top speed of 37 to 38 knots. Italian firm Ansaldo was employed to supply technical expertise and the powerplant, as Soviet industry did not yet possess the capability to produce modern naval engines at that time. In Nov 1934, the design came to a first conclusion, which saw the design modified to 7,100 to 7,200 tons in displacement, while still maintaining the firepower and the speed that the original requirements called for. In mid-1936, the Soviets announced during a meeting with the British that ten ships of what eventually would be named Kirov-class light cruisers would be built. The first ship, Kirov, was launched in Nov 1936. After equipping with armaments, she performed acceptance trials in Aug 1937, which ended in failure due to defective turbines. After Ansaldo repaired the turbines, the top speed reached during trials was just under 36 knots, one knot short of the requirement; the Italians blamed the Soviets for this failure, as the Soviets ended up making the ship displace 7,890 tons, when the Italians has previously noted that it could not displace more than 7,200 tons. During the second attempt at an acceptance trial, one of the dummy torpedoes fired circled back and hit the ship's own propellers. Although the primary guns were theoretically capable of firing 6 rounds per minute, cramped turret spaces led to a slow firing speed of two rounds per minute during trials. Within months, more problems surfaced: crowded turret design made firing failures frequent, while blasts of the gun distorted the Kirov's structure over time. Ansaldo was promptly dismissed by the Soviet Navy, and the Russian head of the acceptance commission was arrested and sent to prison where he would remain for two years. Some of the problems discovered were addressed in the subsequent variant designs, Project 26bis and Project 26bis2. Six hulls of the Kirov-class were laid down through Aug 1938. They were completed between 1938 and 1944. During the war, the first four ships completed saw action against Germany; the latter two of the Project 26bis2 subclass were assigned to the Pacific Fleet and saw no action. After the war, they remained in the Soviet Navy until as late as 1974, serving largely in secondary roles such as training.

Source: Warship 2009.

Photographs

Light cruiser Kirov, circa late-1930sLight cruiser Kirov, circa 1938-1939View of Kirov amidships, circa 1938-1939Light cruiser Kirov, 1940; note G-5-class torpedo boat in foreground
See all 23 photographs of Kirov-class Light Cruiser



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More on Kirov-class Light Cruiser
Ships of this Class:
» Kaganovich
» Kalinin
» Kirov
» Maxim Gorkiy
» Molotov
» Voroshilov

Related Books:
» Warship 2009


Kirov-class Light Cruiser Photo Gallery
Light cruiser Kirov, circa late-1930s
See all 23 photographs of Kirov-class Light Cruiser



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