Kirov file photo [8837]


Ship ClassKirov-class Light Cruiser
Builder#189 Ordzhonikidze, Leningrad, Russia
Laid Down22 Oct 1935
Launched30 Nov 1936
Commissioned26 Sep 1938
Displacement7,890 tons standard; 9,436 tons full
Length628 feet
Beam58 feet
Draft19 feet
MachinerySix Yarrow-Normand boilers, Ansaldo geared turbines, two shafts
Bunkerage610t oil normal, 1,290t oil full
Power Output113,500 shaft horsepower
Speed36 knots
Range3,750nm at 17.8 knots
Armament9x180mm/57 MK-3-180 guns, 6x100mm/56 B-34 DP guns, 6x45mm/46 21-K guns, 4x12.7mm DK machine guns, 6x533mm 53-38 torpedoes, 96 mines, 20 depth charges
Armor50mm belt, deck, turrets, barbettes, and transverse bulkheads; 150mm conning tower
Aircrafttwo KOR-1 floatplanes
Peacetime Crew734
Sold for Scrap22 Feb 1974


ww2dbaseKirov was the lead ship of her class of light cruiser initially requested in 1933. Envisioned to be a light cruiser equipped with heavy armament (180-millimeter guns) while possessing high speed (top speed of 37 to 38 knots), the joint-venture with Italian firm Ansaldo 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. She would eventually had her issues resolved to a degree of satisfactory so that she could enter active service. Problems found with Kirov and sister ship Voroshilov were eventually addressed in subsequent variants of the class.

ww2dbaseKirov was commissioned into the Baltic Fleet in the fall of 1938, though she was still being worked on until early 1939. On 22 Oct 1940, she sailed into Riga, Latvia as a part of the Soviet occupation force. During the Winter War against Finland, escorted by destroyers Smetlivyi and Stremitel'nyi, she bombarded Finnish coast defenses near Hanko, but was turned back by near misses from Finnish coastal batteries after firing only 35 rounds; she was repaired at Liepaja, Latvia and then Kronstadt, Russia through May 1941. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Jun 1941, Kirov was near Riga, Latvia, trapped in the Gulf of Riga by the German Navy by surprise. She shed as much weight as possible, as was able to flee via the shallow Moon Sound to Tallinn, Estonia. Between 22 and 27 Aug, she provided naval gunfire support as German troops advanced near Tallinn, firing 36 salvos (235 shells) at German positions; on 25 Aug, she was hit by a 15-centimeter shell at the stern, killing 9 and wounding 30. Between 27 and 30 Aug, she acted as the flagship of the evacuation fleet out of Tallinn. During the siege of Leningrad, Russia, she provided gunfire support for the ground troops (firing almost every day in the month of Sep) as she was trapped in the region by the German blockade. On 23 Sep, she was hit by two bombs and suffered many near misses, killing three; she claimed three aircraft shot down, and German documents confirmed one Ju-87 aircraft lost to Kirov. On 4-5 Apr 1942, she was hit by an aerial bomb. On 24 Apr, she was hit by three bombs and one artillery shell, damaging all six 100-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, the aft funnel, and the mainmast, killing 86 and wounding 46. On the following day, she moved to receive repairs sustained on 24 Apr, with training ship Svir moving in to take her defensive position, where Svir would sink from a follow-up attack on the next day. On 19 Jan 1944, she fired in support of the effort to break the siege, and upon breaking the siege she remained in Leningrad. In Jun 1944, she shelled the Mannerheim Line during the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive against Finnish forces in the Continuation War. She participated in no further actions in WW2.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, on 17 Oct 1945 while leaving Kronstadt for a training mission, Kirov was damaged by a Type S magnetic naval mine, one which German forces laid down far before the end of the war months prior. She took on 1,000 tons of water within 10 minutes of the explosion, and after being brought back to Kronstadt, flooding increased to 2,000 tons, and her bow sank to the shallow bay floor. She was refloated and entered drydock for repairs on 28 Oct, which lasted until 20 Dec 1936.

ww2dbaseBetween Nov 1949 and Apr 1953, Kirov was modernized with new machinery and updated radar systems, fire control systems, and anti-aircraft guns. In Jan 1956, she participated in fleet maneuvers in the North Sea. On 29 Apr 1958, she was placed in reserve, but was brought back to service on 6 Sep 1960 as a training cruiser and a command ship. She was sold for scrap on 22 Feb 1974; two of her three gun turrets were preserved at Saint Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, as monument of Kirov's participation in the defense of Leningrad during WW2.

ww2dbaseSources: Warship 2009, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2009

Kirov 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.


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 7 photographs of Light Cruiser Kirov

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. ed says:
26 Feb 2019 07:14:08 PM

By definition of the class, Kirov was a heavy cruiser and there is no discussion about it.
Guns > 155mm = heavy cruiser. Hull size, speed, armor all don't matter. You have Aoba, Furutaka, Hawkins, Exeter and Kirov counted as heavy cruisers despite being weaker and smaller than Brooklyns or pre-upgrade Mogami class.
The subclassing was relatively short lived, but it was quite simple. You can call Kirov just a "cruiser", but not "light cruiser" because if you differentiate between light & heavy (London Treaty criteria) Kirov goes as a heavy one.

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Event(s) Participated:
» The Winter War
» Siege of Leningrad

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Light Cruiser Kirov Photo Gallery
Light cruiser Kirov, circa late-1930s
See all 7 photographs of Light Cruiser Kirov

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