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Destroyer Leaders


Destroyer Leader Moskva
Project 1 / Leningrad Class

Moskva was one of six Leningrad-class destroyer leaders built for the Soviet Navy during the 1930s, one of the three Project 1 variants. They were inspired by the contre-torpilleurs built for the French Navy. They were ordered in two groups of three ships each; the first group was designated Project 1 and the second Project 38.

Ordered under the First Five-Year Plan, the three Project 1 destroyer leaders were intended to lead flotillas of destroyers in combat. Rather than copy the British concept of a slightly enlarged version of the standard destroyer like HMS Codrington was for the A-class destroyers, the Soviets chose to copy the French contre-torpilleurs like the Vauquelin class, a series of very large and very fast destroyers that were not intended to cooperate with other, slower destroyers. When the Leningrads were being designed the only destroyers in service for them to lead were old ex-Tsarist ones that were only capable of 30 knots, but the Leningrad-class ships were designed for 40 knots. They were the largest ships built thus far from the keel up by Soviet shipbuilders and were plagued with delays and design issues as the Soviets overestimated their ability to construct ships of their size, having only previously built the Uragan-class guard ships, only one-third the size of the Leningrads.

Destroyer Leader Moskva laid down on 29 October 1932 at the Shipyard No.198, Nikolaev (yard No.224), launched on 30 October 1934, commissioned on 10 August 1938 and was assigned to the Black Sea Fleet.

The war has found Moskva in Sevastopol. 25 June 1941, according to the order of Glavkom, the Black Sea fleet has begun performance of operation on drawing impact on Constance - port and main base of the Romanian fleet.

At 9 o'clock in the evening the leaders of Kharkov and Moskva send from Sevastopol. In area of a beacon on Chersonesus cape leaders with speed of 28 knots were directed on Odessa (for a deceit of air investigation of the opponent). With approach of darkness at 21.15 leaders have changed a rate and were directed to Constance - to the main port of Romania.

In the agreed time - 5.00 - the leaders have turned on a rate 221 and have increased a course up to 26 knots. In two minutes the ships send in a point of turn on a battle rate and have developed a course of 28 knots. The leader Moskva and leader of Kharkov has opened fire of main calibre - shooting from all of five guns of the ship with an interval per 10 seconds. Fire was conducted without updating, but after the first shots on a coast there was a flame of the large fire in area of petroleum tanks.

At 5.04 answer-back fire on the leaders was opened poorly distinct in morning on a background of a coast 2 Romanian destroyers. The Romanian destroyers slowly moved on north. At 5.06 on the head leader have noticed two cannon flares of 280-mm of the coastal artillery battery Tirpic. Moskva , having stopped at 5.12 artillery fire and having put a smoke, sharply has turned on a rate of a leaving. The unexpected turn of the leader has brought down aim shooting of the opponent. Behind of Moskva the zigzag went the leader of Kharkov .

At 5.20 from the ships have noticed a trace of two torpedos going directly on Moscow . From Kharkov have transferred to Moskva an order to increase speed and to go directly. But in one minute at the moment of evasion from torpedos to the right above Moskva the pole of water has risen, of fire and smoke on height more than 30 meters (are higher than masts). The ship has remained without movement. 76-mm the gun continued shooting on the appeared plane of the opponent.

At once after explosion the following picture was presented. The plating and set of the case in area of 1-st and 2 boiler branches from the left board were destroyed. The ship gone almost 30-central speed, began to break in the middle. Cracked in area of 1-st boiler branch a forward part by a flow of water has turned to a forage of the ship. Running cabin, first pipe and one mast have appeared in water. The sinking forward part of the ship carried away behind itself and fodder. The ship has remained without movement, but his machines still worked, and the left screw some time rotated in air.

In two minutes after explosion the forward part of the case has come off and quickly has sunk. Fodder still floated on a surface, and the people were on battle posts. The immersing of a fodder part quickly proceeded, and the assistant of the commander of the ship has submitted a team to leave the ship. Have given back the order to lower boats and have transferred on battle posts an order by all upward.

Time for a stop of machines of the ship any more did not remain. The crew of Moskva has left the sinking ship. So, the first fight of the leader Moskva in the World War II became for him and last.

There are some versions of the reasons of destruction of the leader Moskva . The basic version of destruction of the ship - having undermined on the Romanian mine.

The second leader - Kharkov - has stopped in 200 metres and has begun rescue of crew of Moskva. But because of bombardment of enemy coastal artillery and attack of aircraft it was compelled to refuse this attempt.

By evening 14 Romanian boats and the hydroplanes have picked up from water 69 men (7 officers and 62 sailors). The commander A.B. Tuhov in a unconscious condition has got in captivity.

The commanders of the ship were the captain 3 ranks A.I. Zubkov (since 10.08.1938), captain 3 ranks V.N. Eroshenko, captain-leytenant A.B. Tuhov (February, 1941 - 26.6.1941).

Displacement (tons):
Full load:3080
Dimensions (m):
Speed (knots):43,57
Range:2100 nmi at 20 knots

3 three-drum boilers, 3 geared steam turbines, 3 shafts, 66000 hp

Armament:5x1 130-mm B-13-2s guns
2x1 76,2-mm 34-K guns
2x1 45-mm 21-K guns
4x1 12,7-mm machine guns
2x4 533-mm torpedo tubes (16 53-F or 53-36 or 53-38 torpedoes)
124 Type 1908-1939 mines
30 M-1 depth charges


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