Kronshtadt Class Battlecruiser - Construction



The Soviet shipbuilding and related industries proved to be incapable of supporting the construction of the four Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships as well as the two Kronshtadt-class battlecruisers at the same time. The largest warships built in the Soviet Union prior to 1938 were the 8,000-metric-ton (7,874-long-ton) Kirov-class cruisers and even they had suffered from a number of production problems, but the Soviet leadership preferred to ignore the industrial difficulties when making their plans. The shipyards in Leningrad and Nikolayev had less than half the workers intended. Shipbuilding steel proved to be in short supply in 1939–1940 and a number of batches were rejected because they did not meet specifications. An attempt to import 14,000 long tons (14,225 t) of steel and armor plate from the United States in 1939 failed, probably as a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September 1939. Armor plate production was even more problematic as only 27,438 metric tons (27,005 long tons) were delivered in 1940 of the anticipated 30,000–32,000 metric tons (29,526–31,495 long tons) and 30–40% of that was rejected. Furthermore the armor plants proved to be incapable of making cemented plates over 230 mm and inferior face-hardened plates had to substituted for all thicknesses over 200 millimeters (7.9 in).

Machinery problems were likely to delay the ships well past their intended delivery dates of 1943–44. The Kharkhovskii Turbogenerator Works never completed a single turbine before the German invasion in June 1941. Another problem were the 305 mm guns and turrets as the armament factories were focused on the higher-priority guns for the Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships. Prototypes of neither had been completed by the time the Germans invaded. The situation was not much better for the smaller guns as mountings for both the 152 mm and 100 mm guns were still incomplete on 22 June 1941 and all of these programs were terminated quickly afterwards.

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