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Destroyer Besposhchadny
Project 7 / Gnevny Class

The Gnevny class were a group of 29 destroyers built for the Soviet Navy in the late 1930s. They are sometimes known as the Gremyashchiy class and the official Soviet designation was Project 7. These ships fought in World War II.

The Gnevnys had an overall length of 112.8 meters, a beam of 10.2 meters, and a draft of 4.8 meters at deep load. The ships were significantly overweight, almost 200 metric tons heavier than designed, displacing 1612 metric tons at standard load and 2039 metric tons at deep load. Their crew numbered 197 officers and sailors in peacetime and 236 in wartime.

The ships were powered by two geared steam turbine sets, each driving a single three-bladed 3.18-meter propeller using steam provided by three water-tube boilers. The turbines, rated at 48,000 shp (36,000 kW), were intended to give the ships a speed of 37 knots.

The Gnevny-class ships mounted four 130-millimeter B-13 guns in two pairs of superfiring single mounts fore and aft of the superstructure. Each gun was provided with 150 rounds. The manually operated mounts had an elevation range between -5° to +45° and had a rate of fire of 6-10 rounds per minute. They fired a 33.4-kilogram shell at a muzzle velocity of 870 m/s, which gave them a range of 25,597 meters. Anti-aircraft defense was provided by two 55-caliber 76.2-millimeter 34-K AA guns and two 46-caliber 45-millimeter 21-K AA guns, all in single mounts as well as a pair of 12.7-millimeter DK or DShK machine guns. The ships were equipped with six 533 mm torpedo tubes in two rotating triple mounts amidships; each tube was provided with a reload. The ships could also carry a maximum of either 60 or 95 mines and 25 depth charges.

Destroyer Besposhchadny laid down on 15 May 1936 at the Shipyard named after 61 kommunara, Nikolaev (yard No.322), launched on 05 December 1936, commissioned on 02 October 1939 and was assigned to the Black Sea Fleet.

When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, the ship was assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Division of the Black Sea Fleet. On 23-25 June Besposhchadny laid 114 defensive mines off Sevastopol. On 9 July, the 2nd Destroyer Division, including the destroyer leader Kharkov, Besposhchadny and her sister ships Bodry, Boyky and Bezuprechny made an unsuccessful attempt to interdict Axis shipping near Fidonisi. Besposhchadny ran aground near the Eupatoria lighthouse on 14 July and damaged her propellers. After repairs, she began escorting cargo ships to Odessa while also transporting supplies and troops there. In addition, the ship provided gunfire support. On 14-17 August, Besposhchadny escorted the incomplete ships being evacuated from the shipyards at Nikolayev. The destroyer helped to escort transports ferrying the 157th Rifle Division to Odessa on 16-21 September. While providing fire support during the amphibious landing at Grigorievka on 22 September, Besposhchadny was attacked by Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers of StG 77. They nearly blew her bow off and she steamed to Odessa for emergency repairs. The following day, she was towed, stern-first, to Sevastopol by the destroyer Soobrazitelny. The ship was repaired using the salvaged bow from her sunken sister Bystry. While still under repair, Besposhchadny was attacked by Stukas from StG 77 on 12 November; they hit her once in the aft boiler room and near missed her several times. The bombs badly damaged her propulsion machinery and started a large fire. She was drydocked for emergency repairs on the 14th and was towed to Poti, Georgia three days later by the destroyer Shaumyan for further repairs that lasted until September 1942.

While still under repair, Besposhchadny was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 4 April. The ship completed her post-repair sea trials and working up by 9 October and helped to ferry the 8th, 9th and 10th Guards Rifle Brigades and other troops from Poti to Tuapse on 19-28 October. On 29 November, Besposhchadny and Boyky were tasked to attack Axis shipping off the Bulgarian coast and to bombard the port of Mangalia, Romania. They failed to locate any ships and mistook coastal rocks for a convoy in heavy fog on 1 December, firing 141 shells from their main guns and six torpedoes at them. Besposhchadny, together with the light cruiser Krasnyi Krym and the destroyer Nezamozhnik, transported the 9th Mountain Rifle Division and other troops from Batumi, Georgia, to Tuapse in early December. Together with Soobrazitelny, Besposhchadny covered the sortie of a division of minesweepers off the Romanian coast and then unsuccessfully patrolled south of Fidonisi themselves on 26-29 December.

The destroyer bombarded German positions around Novorossiysk on 1 February 1943 with 206 shells from her 130 mm guns. On 4 February, she provided fire support during the amphibious landing west of Novorossiysk, firing 151 illumination and 56 high-explosive shells. Besposhchadny fired 105 shells at Axis troops near Anapa on 13 February. During the rest of the month, the ship helped to ferry 8,037 troops from Tuapse to Gelendzhik. On the night of 30 April/1 May, Boyky and Besposhchadny shelled Axis positions on the Kerch Peninsula and then the ship bombarded Alushta on the night of 20/21 May. Boyky and Besposhchadny, together with the destroyer Sposobny made an unsuccessful attempt on 30 September to intercept German transports evacuating troops and equipment from the Kuban Bridgehead. During the night of 5/6 October, Kharkov, Besposhchadny and Sposobny attempted to intercept German evacuation convoys off the Crimean coast, but were again unsuccessful. Kharkov bombarded Yalta and Alushta while the two smaller destroyers steamed to do the same to Feodosia. The latter pair were attacked by five S-boats of the 1st S-Boat Flotilla en route. The Germans failed to damage either destroyer and Sposobny claimed one hit on S-45. On their way home the three ships were spotted by German reconnaissance aircraft and were attacked by Stukas of III./StG 3. Kharkov was damaged by their first attack and had to be towed by Sposobny. The second attack damaged all three ships and Sposobny alternated towing Besposhchadny and Kharkov. The next attack sank both Kharkov and Besposhchadny with only 41 crewmen rescued from the latter. This incident prompted Stalin to issue an order forbidding the use of ships destroyer-sized and larger without his express permission.

Displacement (tons):
Full load:2039
Dimensions (m):
Speed (knots):38,3
Range: 2640 nmi (20 knots)
Autonomy (days):10
Propulsion:2 geared steam turbines, 48,000 shp (36,000 kW), 3 water-tube boilers, 2 shafts

4x1 130-mm guns
2x1 76,2-mm AA guns
2x1 45-mm AA guns
2x1 12,7-mm AA machineguns
2x3 533 mm torpedo tubes
60-95 mines
25 depth charges

Complement:197 (15 officers, 44 warrant officers)


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