An aging Russki throwback, some 35 years ago today
The big 16,000-ton Sverdlov-class (Project 68bis) light cruiser Aleksandr Nevsky of the Soviet Red Banner Fleet on 26 October 1983, photographed in the Baltic.
While she would have been a mighty foe in 1938, when compared to the NATO cruisers of the Reagan-era, she was hopelessly obsolete.
Some 30 of these all-gun cruisers, based on Soviet lessons learned from WWII and study of Allied and Axis cruisers that passed through their hands then applied to the 1930’s Chapayev-class design, were ordered in the early 1950s– notably the last of their type fielded in large numbers. These ships carried a full dozen 6 inch/57 cal B-38 guns in four triple Mk 5-bis turrets. They were roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Cleveland-class light cruisers (14,500-tons, 4 × triple 6″/47cal guns) of WWII.
Following Stalin’s death, just 21 were completed and by the 1960s those left in service (Ordzhonikidze, for instance, was transferred to Indonesia with disastrous results) were soon relegated to intermittent command ship tasking and use as naval gunfire platforms– much the same as seen in Western navies at the time. By the late 1970s, most were dockside reserve ships, only trotted out for photo ops or foreign port calls to wave the flag.
Nevsky was stricken in 1989 and scrapped.