6 The Cruiser That Never Gave Up

The Cruiser That Never Gave Up

Posted on May 16, 2013 by team


This ship can often be found in various photo collections of submerged vessels. And it is quite a spectacle indeed! The combat ship with turrets and cannons stuck in the shallow waters! But what heppened to this Soviet ship? Why is it at the Norwegian banks now?

This pride of all the Russian fleet is standing today waterlogged with its weapons up as trying to protect fjords of Norway.

It’s a really beautiful cruiser, famous for its history and for its discipline. In the Soviet times it was one of the few ships which sailed to many foreign ports. It managed to overcome so many miles which could be compared with eleven cruises around the world along the equator line. Many sailors were dreaming to serve on the “Murmansk”.

Its history began in the times of WWII. In 1943 it was one of those American and English vessels given to the USSR instead of Italian ships to be used in the north for allied convoys and coast protection. All those ships had been built in the times of WWI and had to be exchanged for Italian ships after the war. One of those shops was an American cruiser “Milwaukee”.

When it came to Severomosrsk it got the name of a Russian city – “Murmansk”.

“Murmansk” had been protecting other ships, the city and allied convoys from German bombers there till the end of the war.

After the war it was given back to previous owners.

But it’s not the end of the story. In fact it’s only the beginning. That “Milwaukee” cruiser gave name to another ship “Murmansk” which was built after the war together with other ships intended to revive the navy of the country. Its full displacement was 16300 tons, its length – 210 m, width – 22 m, its draft – 7,26 m. The new “Murmansk” was armed with twelve weapons (two nose turrets, two stern turrets) of 152 mm major caliber, twelve  wepons of 100 mm universal caliber, thirty two 37 mm guns, five quintuples – 533 mm. Maximum speed – 31,5 knots.

The crew of the “Murmansk” was 1270 sailors. The ship was built in January, 1958 in the city called Molotovsk (present-day Severodvinsk). In April 1955 it was put afloat.

The ship even had its own printshop which published a newspaper “Severomorets”.

But N. Khruschev and Secretary of Defence G. Zhukov wanted another fleet – nuclear, missile-armed, mostly undersea one. Any disputes with the nation’s leadership were doomed to failure. As well as the destiny of the existing gunships.

Everything started from reduction of naval armed forces. Finished ships were sent for scrap, unfinished ones remained unfinished… In the period from 1955 to 1958 240 ships were scapped. “Murmansk” was under threat too. But instead of sharing the destiny of other gunships it was sent for gun practice to fire at the low-flying targets. “Murmansk” managed with the task perfectly but nevertheless in April 1957 they started to prepare it for laying up. The crew reduced from 1270 to 925 and later to 495 sailors. Its destiny was still being up in the air – there always was someone who was trying to defend it.

In 1961 the policy towards gun cruisers started to change.

“Murmansk” cruiser started to revive – such ships seemed to be useful in the situation of growing power of the American fleet. The ship started to perform training maneuvers together with nuclear, diesel submarines aтв other ships.

Then it began its first long-range cruise to the Atlantic. In 1964 it had several cruises with other warships taking part in the target practice. Since 1964 it started to sail to other countries too. Thus it was invited to the Trondheim port of Norway to participate in the celebrations of the 20th anniversary the Norway liberation by the Karelian troops and sailors of the Northern Fleet.

When it came back from Norway it participated in operations of the “cold war” against the USA.

In June 1967 it joined the Mediterranian squadron which was formed to protect interests of the USSR after the beginning of the Arab-Israeli military conflict.

The cruiser took part in numerous rescue and military operations, was repaired several times.

It even seemed that the cruiser was doomed to succeed in any operation. It came back safe from numerous disaster zones and sea fightings. Its awards are almost countless.

In 1989 “Murmansk” completed its last gun practice and was called the best ship for artillery training among all the ships of the USSR and was awarded by with the Challenge Cup by the Commander of the Navy.

In December 1st, 1989 it was finally removed from active service, in December 31st, 1992 the cruiser “Murmansk” was fully deactivated.

It was sold to India for scrap but it seemed the ship felt everything as a living being and refused to leave its native shores, the waters of the Barents sea didn’t want to let it go too…

The sea was furious, the storm rave didn’t let anyone to come close to the ship and it was left there forever – in the shallow waters doomed to look at this world sadly with its the empty sockets of the weapons.

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6 Responses to “The Cruiser That Never Gave Up”

  1. RB says:

    why did they have to take it apart a wee bit of paint and she would have been good as new?

  2. MaLV says:

    Excellent story and pictures!
    You learn something new everyday.

  3. Boris says:

    What a sad fate for such a fine ship…

  4. mis says:

    It’s hard to believe that this cofferdam structure, even after removal, is less damaging to the local environment than simply leaving the wreak in place, especially after it has already leaked all of its oil.

    I’m also curious as to how the wreck went from being nearly on its side to upright. Was there an earlier salvage effort?

  5. Uroš says:

    Great story, but not true. There were 2 Murmanks ships and this is a mix of their both stories. One was from the forties in Soviet navy and one from the fifties onward. The first one was really called Milwaukee and from USA from WWI but was crapped in 1949. Second one was built by SSSR in 1953 and sunk in 1994 in Norway…

  6. MAXDMG says:

    What a waste… Norway can repare it for museum(like its sistership Mikhail Kutuzov)…

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