Kirov file photo [8837]

Kirov-class Light Cruiser

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

ww2dbaseIn 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.

ww2dbaseSource: Warship 2009.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2009

Kirov-class Light Cruiser Operational Timeline

26 Sep 1938 Kirov was commissioned into service.
1 Dec 1939 Firefight between Finnish coastal batteries at Russaro and the Soviet cruiser Kirov and her destroyer screen; Kirov and one of her destroyers were damaged.
20 Jun 1940 Light cruiser Voroshilov was commissioned into service.
12 Dec 1940 Maxim Gorkiy was commissioned into service.
14 Jun 1941 Molotov was commissioned into service.
15 Jun 1941 Light cruiser Voroshilov began participation in a week-long exercise.
20 Jun 1941 Light cruiser Voroshilov completed a week-long exercise.
23 Jun 1941 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Constanza, Romania.
19 Sep 1941 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Axis troop positions near Sevastopol, Russia.
2 Nov 1941 Light cruiser Voroshilov was damaged by two 250-kilogram bombs from German aircraft, flooding a magazine, causing a fire in turret No. 3, and jamming the rudder.
4 Nov 1941 The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov, damaged two days prior by German aircraft, began.
29 Dec 1941 While offloading troops at Sevastopol, Russia, Soviet cruiser Molotov was damaged in the stern by German artillery.
30 Dec 1941 Soivet cruiser Molotov departed from Sevastopol, Russia with 600 wounded men on board.
1 Jan 1942 Soviet cruiser Molotov arrived at Sevastopol, Russia with 700 men of the Soviet 386th Infantry Division.
22 Jan 1942 Soviet cruiser Molotov was damaged by a storm, causing her to be out of commission until 18 Feb 1942.
18 Mar 1942 The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov completed.
2 Apr 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Axis troop positions Feodossiya, Russia.
9 Apr 1942 Soviet light cruiser Voroshilov was damaged by German aircraft at Novorossiysk, Russia.
10 Apr 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov received light damage from German Ju 88 aircraft.
8 May 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded German troop positions near Tash-Alchin, Russia.
11 May 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded German troop positions near Tash-Alchin, Russia.
27 May 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov delivered troops of the Russian 9th Naval Infantry Brigade to Sevastopol, Russia, suffering damage by German air attack but also claiming two He 111 aircraft shot down.
12 Jun 1942 Soviet cruiser Molotov delivered 2,998 men from the Soviet 138th Infantry Brigade to Sevastopol, Russia.
24 Jul 1942 The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov completed.
2 Aug 1942 Italian torpedo boats and German He 111 torpedo bombers attacked Soviet cruiser Molotov off Feodossiya, Ukraine, scoring one hit, killing 18, and put the ship out of commission until 31 Jul 1943.
29 Nov 1942 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Axis positions near Feodonisi, Russia and was damaged by German naval mines.
10 Dec 1942 The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov, damaged by mines on 29 Nov 1942, began.
31 Dec 1942 Kalinin was commissioned into service.
30 Jan 1943 The repair work on light cruiser Voroshilov completed.
31 Jan 1943 Light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded German troop positions near Novorossiysk, Russia.
6 Dec 1944 Kaganovich was commissioned into service.
8 Jul 1945 The crew of light cruiser Voroshilov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
17 Feb 1956 Maxim Gorkiy was decommissioned from service.
17 Feb 1956 Light cruiser Voroshilov was reclassified a testing vessel for missile weaponry and would soon be decommissioned for this conversion.
31 Dec 1961 Upon completion of conversion work, light cruiser Voroshilov was recommissioned as OS-24, a testing vessel for missile weaponry.
11 Oct 1963 Testing vessel OS-24 was decommissioned for modernization.
1 Dec 1965 Testing vessel OS-24's modernization completed.
6 Oct 1972 Testing vessel OS-24 was converted into a floating barracks ship and was renamed PKZ-19.

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

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» 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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