Project 68 Cruiser, Frunze - Before the Lessons of War

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Project 68 Cruiser, Frunze

TL;DR:
Bluewater vessel, original Project 68 cruiser design, like a mid point between Voroshilov and Chapayev in-game.

Overview:
As part of the Ocean-going Fleet Program of 1936, a large force of cruisers were to be built in the Soviet Union over the next 10 years. It was considered to produce more Project 26 cruisers, but it was decided to design a new, more modern cruiser. Initially designated Project 28, this design would go through various iterations until becoming the Project 68 in 1939. It was armed with 4 triple 152mm cannons, which allowed for a much higher rate of fire than the flawed 180mm guns on the 26s, and had 100mm of belt armour, double the 26s. The design was approved in July 1939, and 5 initial ships were ordered. The construction progressed steadily, however the development of the various new weapons, mounts, and systems lagged behind, so in 1940 2 ships (later reduced to just 1, Chkalov) were redesigned to fit imported German weaponry and systems, but of course the later German Invasion prevented that from coming to fruition. After the start of Operation Barbarossa, all construction on the Project 68 ships was stopped, and any planned ships cancelled.

Frunze was in fact the first Project 68 ship laid down, starting work on the 29 August, 1939 at the A. Marti Shipyard No.198 in Nikolayev, Ukraine, and would be launched the following year. By the time of the German Invasion, it was 33% complete, second only to the Chapayev, which was 38.4% complete. At the start of the invasion it was towed away along with shipyard workers and their families to first Sevastopol, Crimea, and then to Poti, Georgia, where they would be mostly safe from German attack. In 1942, the cruiser Molotov was hit by a torpedo, which blew away part of its stern. Its propellers were fortunately undamaged and it was able to limp back to Poti, where in order to repair the damage, Frunze’s stern would be dismantled to replace it, the operation lasting until summer 1943, when Molotov was recommissioned for service. Additionally pieces of its armour were used to build armoured trains. By 1945, the Germans had been driven away from Ukraine, and the various unfinished ships at Poti were towed back for completion. By then the Project 68 design had been modified to become the Project 68K with new weapons and radar, and Frunze was completed to that standard in 1950. It would serve in the Black Sea Fleet for almost ten years, and would be scrapped in 1960-1961.

Specifications: (Project)

Armament:
4x3 152mm B-38 (1800 rounds)
4x2 100mm B-54 (-5° and 85° elevations, 2400 rounds)
6x2 37mm 70-K in 66-K mount (-5° and 85° elevations, 9600 rounds)
4x2 12.7mm DShK-M (16000 rounds)
2x3 533mm Torpedo tubes
2 DCR, 10 BB-1 and 20 BM-1 depth charges
90 M1931 mines

Armour: (Basically same as Chapayev)

175mm Main turret face
65mm Main turret sides
40mm Main turret rear
75mm Main turret roof
130mm Main gun barbettes
20mm Secondary turret and barbettes
14mm AA turrets
20mm Ammunition elevators
100mm Belt
120mm Fore bulkhead
100mm Aft bulkhead
50mm Deck
130mm Conning Tower
10mm Wheelhouse
14mm Fire directors

Displacement:
10 620t standard
13 420t full

Length: 199m

Beam: 18.7m

Draft: 6.5m

Propulsion: 2 GTZA TV-7 geared steam turbines with 6 KV-68 boilers, 110 000 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 35.6 knots (65.9 km/h)

Range: 4400nmi (at 18 knots)

Crew: 742

Systems:
2 KDP2-8 Fire directors (2 8m rangefinders each)
2 Gorizont-2 AA fire directors
6 Rangefinders, 1 in each gun turret, 2 side of forward superstructure
Molniya-ATs-68 FCS
Arktur MU-1 sonar

Auxiliary Vehicles:
3K-1 Aircraft catapult, 2 KOR-2 seaplanes

Images:

image
Frunze’s hull at Poti



Frunze post-war
image
The 66-K mount
Drawings:
image


The B-54 mount

Sources:
Budzbon, P. Radziemski, J. Twardowski, M. (2022) Warships of the Soviet Fleets 1939–1945 (Kindle, pp. 93-95). Pen and Sword.
http://and-kin2008.narod.ru/pr68.html
https://www.kchf.ru/ship/cruiser/frunze.htm
World of Warships (urgh, other ship game)
Архив фотографий кораблей русского и советского ВМФ.

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