Project 38 Destroyer Leader, Minsk - Returned from Death

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Project 38 Destroyer Leader, Minsk

Bluewater vessel, large and fast destroyer, very similar to Leningrad.

The Project 38 destroyer leaders were an improved version of the Project 1, which with lead ship Leningrad had shown to have poor stability and hull construction. Project 38 had an improved hull shape for better seakeeping at the cost of some speed, but was otherwise the same. 3 Project 38 ships were ordered, though only one Project 38 ship was constructed, Minsk, with the other 2 built as the modified Project 38bis with a domestic FCS.

Minsk was laid down in 1934 and completed in 1938. It participated in the Invasion of Poland and the Winter War, and visited the ports of the newly annexed Baltic States. In 1941 it was based at Tallinn, and along with the other ships of the Baltic Fleet was evacuated to Kronshtadt, hitting a mine on the way and taking heavy damage. Only a month later it was hit by Germany bombers and sunk. In 1942, the ship was raised from the shallow Kronshtadt waters and repair work started. The Italian Galileo fire control system was replaced with a domestic one, the main guns replaced with a newer model, the AA enhanced with autocannons and a twin 76mm turret from Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya, and a lend-lease radar fitted. By 1943 it was operational enough to provide fire support to Leningrad, but repairs were only completed in 1944. Post war, it was turned into a training ship, renamed Chorokh, and was expended as a missile target in 1958.

Specifications: (1945)

5x1 130mm B-13
1x2 76mm 81-K
2x1 76mm 34-K
8x1 37mm 70-K
6x1 12.7mm DShK
2x3 533mm TT
24-32 mines

Displacement: (these are as-built numbers, 1945 displacement definitely more than this, likely about 3000 tons full)
1952 tons standard
2597 tons full

Length: 127.5m

Beam: 11.7m

Draft: 4.14m

Propulsion: 3 geared steam turbines with 3 boilers, 66 900 hp, driving 3 shafts

Speed: 38.2 knots (70.7 km/h)

Range: 2100 nmi (at 20 knots)

Crew: 343

Type 291 search radar
B-12-4 Fire director
DM-3 Rangefinder
Mina FCS


Minsk in 1940, note the Italian fire director and rectangular gun shields
Aerial photos of Minsk after being hit by bombs
Minsk’s wreck in Kronshtadt
Torpedo training in 1945, note that these are only triple tubes
Minsk in camouflage

Minsk in 1953 as a training ship
Layout of Project 38bis leader Baku in 1944, which was very similar to Minsk at that time

This drawing also seems to be based on Baku

Budzbon, P; Radziemski, J; Twardowski, M. Warships of the Soviet Fleets 1939–1945 (pp. 100-102). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.
Kachur, P. I., & Morin, A. B. (2003). Lidery Eskadrennykh Minonostsev VMF SSSR (pp. 121-142). Izdat. Ostrov.
Shirokorad, A. B. (2002). Korabli i Katera VMF SSSR 1939-1945 gg.: Spravochnik (pp. 15-16). Kharvest.

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