History Сreators

Concrete “Phantom”. Essay on the biography and activities of Vladimir Yurkevich

The tenth essay from the “Creators” series is dedicatedto Vladimir Yurkevich, an outstanding shipbuilder. He built ships in Russia, France and America. He changed and improved the ship’s hull and developed ships without a crew. In the “Creators” project, together with RASA (Russian-American Science Association), T-invariant continues to publish a series of biographical essays about people from the Russian Empire who made a significant contribution to world science and technology, about those to whom we owe our new reality.

You’ve definitely seen a bulb, even if you don’t know what it is (speaking more technically, it’s called ‘bulbous bow’). When a sea vessel is not fully loaded, then on the bow, below the waterline, you can notice a semicircular protrusion protruding forward, like the ram of a trireme. The task of the bulb is purely hydrodynamic, and it became an obligatory attribute of a ship’s design thanks to Vladimir Yurkevich, a Russian, French and American engineer. And also to an amazing shipbuilding visionary who came up with superliners, the fastest battleships, and reinforced concrete tankers. Most of these plans did not come true: wars, revolutions and even the advent of passenger aviation interfered. But what came true was a milestone in shipbuilding.

In the first chapter of “One-Storied America”, Ilf and Petrov described their journey on the ultra-modern liner Normandie, “a masterpiece of French technology and art.” But it seemed too luxurious and pretentious to them. “I would like wonderful French artists and architects to be partners in the creation of Normandie,” Soviet writers edifyingly noted.

Normandie at sea. (Colorized photograph)

They would probably be surprised to learn that the main passenger airliner of the era was designed by their former compatriots – a group of emigrant engineers who settled in France. And the main one among them was Vladimir Yurkevich, a hereditary nobleman, staff captain and holder of the Order of St. Anne.

Usually, all biographers of Yurkevich write specifically about “Normandie”. Especially since this is a beautiful and slightly sad story that fits perfectly into the plot of the “Russian genius unrecognized in the West.”

In fact, Yurkevich received fame, recognition, and money in France and the USA. He taught at the best American universities and owned a large company. And at the end of his life, the shipbuilder inspired residents of both sides of the Atlantic with dreams of ocean travel accessible to everyone. But, of course, in the first years of emigration he managed to work both as a car repairman and as a turner at a factory.

Steamship “Yaroslavl” – a floating prison

There is much less evidence left about the pre-revolutionary life of Vladimir Yurkevich than about other members of his family. Father, Ivan Vikentyevich Yurkevich, was at one time a home teacher in the family of Savva Mamontov, his portraits were painted by Repin and Serov.

Ilya Repin. Portrait of Ivan Yurkevich

The younger brother Peter is Marina Tsvetaeva’s youth passion. She wrote letters to him, dedicated poems and later called him “the friend of my 15 years.” And the shipbuilder’s sister, Sonya Yurkevich, was Tsvetaeva’s gymnasium friend, and she introduced them to her brother. And then she left memoirs, where she wrote mainly about the poetess, and not about her older brother, an engineer.
The family was interested in art, was friends with creative people, but was engaged in more earthly things. After teaching at home in Abramtsevo, her father taught geography in the best Moscow gymnasiums and was a member of the Russian Geographical Society. Two younger brothers trained to be doctors: Peter lived to an old age, Sergey died in Civil War from typhus. Only Sophia, who got married and became Liperovskaya, really made creativity her profession and later wrote books about Turgenev and Prishvin.

Vladimir was the only one in the family who showed engineering inclinations.

Vladimir Yurkevich was born on June 5, 1885. In 1903, he graduated from the 4th Moscow Gymnasium with a gold medal; the younger Yurkevich brothers would later become its medalists. Then we had to go to the capital.

The center of technical education was then St. Petersburg. A year earlier, there, at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, the country’s first civilian shipbuilding department was opened, headed by the famous engineer Konstantin Boklevsky.

The department was smaller than the others: every year only 25 future shipbuilders were recruited there. The competition reached 20 people per place, but Yurkevich successfully passed it. Such a small size had its advantages.

“The professors personally knew each student, memorizing even his handwriting, and all the work took place as if in a family friendly atmosphere. Everyone tried to keep up with the other, and after a whole day of lectures we all worked in the drafting room on our projects every day until 12 o’clock at night and left when the electricity was turned off in all the drawing rooms,” Vladimir Yurkevich would later write.
According to his recollections, the department’s equipment was the newest. And the dimensions of the plaza (the room for laying out the ship’s drawing) made it possible to draw life-size ship hulls.

The curriculum provided for extensive practice, and abroad. Students had to visit ports and factories and even take part in voyages.

So, in 1905, Yurkevich spent a lot of time in Le Havre, where destroyers of the “Lieutenant Burakov” type were then being built for the Russian fleet. While still a student, the young man visited shipyards and factories in Germany and Britain, in Reval (as Tallinn was then called), Vindava (Ventspils), Libau (Liepaja) and Helsingfors (Helsinki).

“I, a pampered student, had to work along with the workers from 7 o’clock in the morning to 6 o’clock in the evening with a break of 1 hour for breakfast – 10 hours of real work in a mechanical workshop is no joke, and here you will understand the hard way how to achieve with all your might shortening the working day,” he later recalled Finnish shipyards.

In the summer of 1907, serious sailing practice awaited the students. Yurkevich went to the Far East on the Volunteer Fleet steamship Yaroslavl. He later described this trip as “almost a trip around the world.” And he remembered how awkward it was for him to just hang around idle in the engine room. As he began to take a closer look at the operation of the mechanisms, the mechanic gradually warmed up and began to instruct the young man. And now “time did not pass so tiringly long when in such heat and stuffiness you are jostling around with nothing to do.”

A blissful picture, if you forget the fact that “Yaroslavl” was in the most literal sense of the word a floating prison. It was purposefully designed to transport prisoners from European Russia to Sakhalin penal servitude. And while the young enthusiastic engineer was listening to the instructions of an experienced mechanic, very close by, in a hold partitioned off with iron bars, in the heat and stuffiness, 800 convicts were traveling to Sakhalin. Many are like Yurkevich – recent students, participants in the just defeated first Russian revolution. But the young shipbuilder, both then and later, was much more interested in mechanisms than in politics.

Another consequence of the revolution was that universities were temporarily closed, so Yurkevich received his diploma only in May 1909. But he immediately entered the newly opened annual courses for military shipbuilders. In May 1910, he already set sail as a midshipman on the armored cruiser Bogatyr, and in December he was promoted to naval officer.

Cruiser “Bogatyr”

This turn away from civil shipbuilding is not accidental. All the most interesting things in the Russian Empire were then built for war. After defeat by Japan, the country hastily modernized its fleet.

In June 1909, four battleships of a new series, the Sevastopol, were laid down in St. Petersburg. These were the first Russian dreadnoughts, ships of unprecedented power, which the newspapers grandly called “the Kremlin of the vast sea fortress of the Russian Empire.” And so yesterday’s student Yurkevich had a chance to work on the lead ship of the series, “Sevastopol” (under the Bolsheviks, it was renamed “Paris Commune”) at the Baltic Shipyard.

In October 1911, he was already taken to the factory design bureau. It was a busy time, because the Baltic and Admiralty factories reached the finals of the competition for a new design of a battle cruiser for the Baltic Fleet. A great opportunity for a young engineer to prove himself.

The project was grandiose, expensive, with many revolutionary technical solutions and ultimately ended in nothing. First, an international project competition was held. Then they decided to leave only two St. Petersburg factories. Then they altered it several times both before and during construction, adding gun turrets and changing the armor.

As a result, the Baltic Shipyard began building two ships, and the Admiralty Shipyard began building the other two. And if in general they were unified, then the hull designs were different. And this is exactly the area that Yurkevich worked on. The hulls of the ships of the Admiralty plant – Borodino and Navarin – were quite traditional. But “Izmail” and “Kinburn”, which were built on the Baltic, planned differently. Their hulls, with slightly different contours, ended at the bow below the waterline with a small protrusion – the same “bulb” for which they had not yet even come up with a word.

Shortly before this, in 1910, the United States commissioned the new battleship Delaware, the world’s first ship with a bulb, developed by the American designer David Taylor. Apparently, Yurkevich was familiar with his works. Nonetheless, this was an innovation; tests of models in the Kronstadt naval experimental pool showed that this form required less machine power to achieve maximum speed.

It’s a matter of wave interference. A correctly positioned bulb creates its own wave, which dampens the wave from the bow of the vessel. On large-tonnage vessels at high speeds, the bulb provides 10-15% fuel savings.

Bulbous. The combined influence of the subsurface bulb and the normal nose on the formation of waves, when the wave created by the bulb dampens the wave created by the normal nose. 1) Profile of a bow with a bulb 2) Profile of a nose without a bulb 3) Wave created by a bulb 4) Wave created by a regular bow 5) Waterline

True, if you look at photographs of “Izmail” and “Kinburn”, which, although they were not completed, they managed to launch, you will not find any bulbs there. The book “The Social History of the Bulbous Bow” by Larry Ferreiro, who, in the process of writing it, had several telephone conversations with the engineer’s son George (Yuri) in 2004-2009, helps to solve the mystery.

“Since the bulb only slightly improved performance, the battlecruisers were built with a traditionally cut-off bow,” Ferreiro wrote down from his words. In general, the innovation remained on paper. This even benefited Yurkevich himself in some ways. After 10 years, he will be able, using his old developments, to make a revolution in shipbuilding.

Tanker “Baku”: passengers instead of oil

The registry book of the Church of St. Paul the Confessor of the Sea preserved an entry on January 25, 1915 about the marriage of the staff captain of the Corps of Naval Engineers Vladimir Yurkevich, 29 years old, with the 25-year-old widow Nadezhda Beckman. Born Tveritinov (or, more precisely, Tveritinova), she was the daughter of the famous electrical engineer Evgeniy Tveritinov.

After 5 years and 12 days, the names of Vladimir and Nadezhda will again appear next to another list – hundreds of passengers leaving Russia forever on the unfinished tanker Baku, hastily converted into transport. Then many officers emigrated from Odessa to Constantinople. But Yurkevich, unlike others, was not a White Guard. He did not go to the south of Russia to fight in the Volunteer Army; he ended up there by order of his superiors.

When the World War began, Yurkevich even briefly succumbed to a patriotic impulse and asked to be sent to serve on warships, but was refused. In military shipyards, an engineer was more needed.

In 1915, he was transferred to the factory department dealing with the submarine fleet and was assigned to build the Ruff and Forel submarines. Physically they were in Reval (Tallinn). And there the engineer met the revolution. A conflict between the factory council and the director, approaching German troops and an urgent transfer to St. Petersburg. And from there – an appointment to Nikolaev. The shipyards there were a branch of the Baltic Shipyard and built submarines of the same series.

Spring of 1918, the Civil War begins in the country, and a group of St. Petersburg naval engineers goes to the Black Sea to establish the production of submarines.

The journey took almost a month. On the way, the engineers were captured by Makhno’s comrade-in-arms, Atamansha Marusa Nikiforova, and barely escaped with their lives. They found Kherson under the rule of the Bolshevik “Council of Five,” which defended the city from German-Austrian units. It was in the presence of Yurkevich and his comrades that Kherson was taken, and they themselves came under rifle and gun fire. We drove further with the permission of the Austrian commandant.

After this, the engineer calmly built submarines at the Nikolaev plant, which already belonged to the Hetmanate, received a Ukrainian name and was located on territory occupied by the Germans. Yurkevich, it seems, didn’t really care who the submarines were built for.

In the summer of 1918, while the Reds and Whites, anarchists and supporters of independent Ukraine were fighting each other, the engineer managed to travel across several front lines to St. Petersburg, report on the state of affairs at the Baltic Plant and take his wife south.

In Nikolaev, power changed 12 times. The city was ruled by the Germans, Greeks, British, troops of Ataman Grigoriev, Makhno, Bolsheviks, and the Volunteer Army, replacing each other several times. Why Yurkevich finally decided to leave in 1920 with the Whites is an open question. One of the biographical articles says that it was the idea of ​​his wife Evgenia, who dragged her husband into emigration, and he himself did not want to leave Russia. But since an important source for this publication was the memoirs of the engineer’s second wife, it may be biased.
One way or another, in January 1920, the unfinished tanker Baku set sail from Nikolaev. A ship that changed hands several times, converted into a transport, but with a non-working engine. In general, the Baku with 493 passengers on board had to be towed from Nikolaev to Odessa.

There, in panic and under the bullets of the Bolsheviks, the car was not repaired either. And the ship was dragged to Constantinople in tow by the British cruiser Ceres.

British light cruiser of the Ceres series

In Constantinople, the Yurkevichs ended up in a refugee camp on the island of Halki in the Sea of ​​Marmara. Many Russian emigrants passed through it. At the same time, another outstanding engineer was on Halki – Stepan Timoshenko.

Unlike him and other professors who went to Yugoslavia, which had just announced the admission of Russian scientists, Yurkevich stayed in Istanbul. He found work at a small private shipyard. And then, with a group of emigrants, he organized an auto repair shop. In the second half of 1922, the engineer managed to move to France.

Normandie in pursuit of the Blue Ribbon

For the first six months, Vladimir Yurkevich was a simple worker at the Renault plant. But chance helped. One day, an emigrant got into a conversation with the editor of the local magazine “Yachts” about sailing. He was impressed by Yurkevich’s knowledge and helped him get a position at the Argenteuil shipyard. So the former battleship designer began building yachts and fishing boats.

“It was a small job as a draftsman. But I found myself at the shipyard again, and it was good,” Yurkevich later recalled in one of his American interviews.

The emigrant lived modestly and took on any additional work. For example, he became a local representative of the London firm of another Russian emigrant engineer, Vasily Chernikeev. He invented an electric log (a device for measuring speed) in Russia and began selling it. Another project in which Yurkevich took part in those years was the unsuccessful recovery of the French coastal defense battleship Furieux, which sank in the waters of Brest.

But an economic crisis began in France due to the colonial wars. The shipyard’s revenue fell sharply. Yurkevich complained about poverty and dreamed of returning to large shipbuilding. And then two big changes happened in his life at once.

Firstly, in the winter of 1927, the engineer met Olga Krestovskaya, his future second wife, in Paris. She was a bright and determined woman. The daughter of the writer Vsevolod Krestovsky, the author of the adventurous novel “Petersburg Slums,” who later fell into anti-Semitism and wrote a trilogy called “The Jews are Coming.” Smolyanka, actress of the Moscow theater F.A. Korsha. During World War I, she was a nurse in the Russian Expeditionary Force in France and was awarded the St. George Cross.

In Yurkevich, Olga, according to her own recollections, “was captivated by some very youthful modesty and shyness, his sincerity and ingenuousness.” So the engineer soon divorced Nadezhda (they had no children) and married Olga. A1 On September 9, 1932, their son Yuri was born.

And back in 1928, Yurkevich, at Olga’s insistence, founded his own small design bureau and began to study what had happened in large shipbuilding over the years. A surprise awaited him here.

“I thought that everything had gone so far ahead that my calculations, of course, would turn out to be outdated and unnecessary; Much to my surprise, when checking the data of the best ships… I noticed that none of them achieved the results that they should have given if they had been designed according to my method. Their width was too small, and the shape of the hull did not correspond well to the required speed,” Yurkevich recalled.

No, bulbs were rarely used. Something similar was in the design of the two newest German airliners, Bremen and Europa. But in general, the obviously advantageous hydrodynamic form never became mainstream.

Just at this moment, the company Générale Transatlantique, which served passenger transport between France and the United States, announced plans to build a grandiose 300-meter superliner. For Yurkevich, this was a chance to return to large shipbuilding and apply his discoveries in practice.

All ships for the Générale Transatlantique were built at the Penhouet shipyard in Saint-Nazaire. And the engineer realized that he must definitely get there.

“Everything I have achieved,” he would say years later in an interview with The New York Times, “is due to the entrepreneurial spirit, open-mindedness and faith of the Penhouet managers. I had only worked with them for one year when I came up with Normandie. Not the name, of course, but the ship itself – its flared profile, proportions, wide deck.”

Former Russian Rear Admiral Sergey Pogulyaev helped Yurkevich get to Penhouet and propose his project. During the First World War he became a rear admiral of the French fleet. And then – a figure in the white movement and Russian emigration. In general, such a person could form a patronage. In 1928, Yurkevich began working as a consultant for Penhouet.

At first he tried to propose his own hull design for the L’Atlantique liner, which the shipyard was working on. They built a model, carried out tests, but Penhouet decided not to take risks, and the ship received classic lines.

“The first tests of my model for the Atlantic confirmed the correctness of this method, and I was absolutely convinced that for the future transatlantic it was possible to make a contour drawing that would give at least 15% savings on resistance, or an increase in speed by one and a half knots, which would allow instead 29 knots to approach 31 knots, if only it were possible to not only give the required shape, but also increase the width to 36 meters, which seemed unheard of… It took 2 years of continuous effort to prove the suitability of my method for such a giant as the Normandie,” Yurkevich will later remember.

“Normandie”, which was laid down two years later, was already being built with a bulb. Yurkevich managed to develop several housing options for it. But I settled on the one with a medium bulb. In 1931, its design was finally approved. The stock market crash of 1929 hit the shipbuilding and shipping industries hard. But construction of the Normandie continued. And on October 29, 1932, she was launched in the presence of 200 thousand spectators, among whom were not only Yurkevich and his wife, but also the President of France and his wife.

“Both the birth of a son and the birth of a ship, almost simultaneously, brought us both great joy and inspired us with hope. V. I. I was infinitely happy,” Olga Yurkevich recalled.

For the French, the superliner was a matter of national prestige. At this very time, a competing ship was being built in the UK – the same giant liner Queen Mary for the Cunard White Star Line. Completing their ship earlier and beating the British in the race across the Atlantic was a matter of honor for the French.

But not for Yurkevich. He was not a French patriot and thought in completely different categories. He dreamed of bringing his ideas to life as fully as possible. Therefore, he took a strange step, from the French point of view, – he wrote to Cunard and proposed using the bulb for Queen Mary.

All calculations showed that such a body would provide serious power savings and an increase in speed. But the British decided to go the proven route. They kept the classic hull, but strengthened the ship’s engines by 50 thousand horsepower. The Normandie record was needed for Yurkevich’s non-standard and non-obvious development to become a generally accepted solution for large ships.

It is difficult to say what motivated Yurkevich in this matter: technical visionarism or more mundane motives. Already in 1928, he patented his new hull shape in Germany. And in 1929 he applied for an American patent, which he received in 1931. And in May 1932, he also patented a method for remaking old ships, after which they also received bulbs and improved hydrodynamic characteristics. The engineer managed his own design bureau, which already had branches abroad. And he actively promoted his own version of a hull.

Page from Yurkevich’s American patent

Triumph awaited the designer in June 1935. The Normandie set out on its maiden voyage on May 29 and arrived in New York 4 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes later. Thus, she crossed the ocean with an average speed of 29.98 knots (55.52 km per hour) and set a new transatlantic crossing record, receiving for this the main challenge prize – the Blue Ribbon. Of course, Yurkevich and his wife were also on board.

Many sources, mainly Russian-language, report that Penhouet did not advertise Yurkevich’s authorship at first. But then his wife Olga intervened. She had friends in the Parisian press, and soon a publication appeared that the real father of the ship was Yurkevich. The scientist gained not only professional fame, but also journalistic popularity.

The following year, the record was broken by the finally completed Queen Mary. Then, after modernization and elimination of hull vibration, the Normandie took the lead again in 1937. This time she crossed the Atlantic in 3 days, 23 hours and 2 minutes. But a year later she again lost the championship to Queen Mary. And then the war began, and all this no longer mattered.

The fate of the Normandie was tragic. First, on May 15, 1940, she was interned in the United States. At the end of 1941, it was officially incorporated into the Navy and renamed Lafayette in honor of the French Marquis, a general of American forces in the Revolutionary War.

At first, they wanted to convert the former superliner into an aircraft carrier. Then – into a giant military transport. Work began to boil, it was necessary to remove the luxurious decoration, and the huge first class salons, swimming pool and other excesses had to be converted into something more functional. And so, on February 9, 1942, a welding spark fell on a pile of life jackets stuffed with flammable cottonwood fiber. The ship burst into flames, fell on its side and sank.

Yurkevich rushed to the scene of the fire. The police didn’t let him in. The engineer proposed to scuttle the ship to put out the fire, and then raise it. But the offer was rejected. And Yurkevich retained the grudge for a long time. He took a piece of the ship’s iron from the lost Normandie as a souvenir and used it as a paperweight for years.

At this time, Yurkevich was already an American citizen.

Phantom: concrete drones

After the triumph of the Normandie, American shipbuilding companies began to invite Yurkevich. There was money and prospects, and in France one could feel the approach of war. The engineer received an order for four ships and left for America. He opened Yourkevitch Ship Designs, Inc. in New York. With an authorized capital of 90 thousand dollars – almost 2 million dollars in modern money.
The family remained in Paris. In early 1937, France finally decided to give Yurkevich citizenship, but he chose America and applied for US citizenship. In 1939, the engineer took his wife and son from Europe.

In addition to his own bureau, Yurkevich worked for the Naycot corporation. Then he became its president. Dozens of steamships were built and rebuilt according to his design.

In those years, the engineer wrote scientific articles and began teaching. He has lectured at the University of Michigan and the Maritime Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1940, Yurkevich began working as a technical consultant for the US Maritime Administration. And when America entered the war, he participated in the design of ships for the navy. He and his wife also helped collect aid for Soviet citizens affected by the war. And the engineer himself tried to organize the construction of cargo ships for the USSR.

Perhaps Yurkevich’s most daring project dates back to this period – unmanned reinforced concrete tankers for sea convoys. At the beginning of the war, the German submarine fleet dominated the Atlantic. And the 57-year-old engineer came up with a radical solution to the problem. The idea was that the ships would rise just 1 foot above the water, while the center of gravity would remain deep underwater. Such a ship was supposed to run on diesel fuel. So it was quite difficult to notice it: the deck is very low above the water, and there is practically no smoke…

The ships were called “Phantoms” for their stealth. No superstructure with a bridge, no masts. All this is possible if you do without a crew, and the ships must be controlled by radio from escort ships.

“Phantom”, 1943

In April 1942, Yurkevich filed a patent application. And soon he began to build a smaller, but quite workable prototype. The first Phantom was 28 meters long and 14.3 meters wide, and was driven by a 6-cylinder diesel engine with 80 horsepower.

The reinforced concrete tanker itself weighed 78 tons and could carry another 100 tons of payload. During testing, it successfully traveled from Florida to Washington in 165 hours.

It was assumed that full-fledged Phantoms would be 80 meters in length and have a carrying capacity of 2 thousand tons. That they will be able to travel at a speed of 10 knots on a 1000-horsepower engine. And that such a design will cost approximately half as much as a similar-sized tanker made of steel and wood. Well, to protect against submarines, each concrete ship had to be divided into 10-15 waterproof compartments.

Another engineer, F. Woodworth, who previously worked at Bell Laboratories, was responsible for autonomous control. It was assumed that one escort vessel would be able to control a convoy of 10 phantoms. And if it is sunk, the tankers will move on the same course for another 2 hours, and then transmit a distress signal and their approximate coordinates.

It was this autonomy that caused concern among the military. Retired Admiral William W. Pratt sharply criticized the project in the pages of Newsweek in January 1943. He insisted that any ship, in fact, sometimes requires maintenance, and therefore the unmanned concept is doomed to failure. And the admiral also wrote that since the Phantoms themselves will not have any weapons, the need for escort vessels will increase.

As a result, the bold idea never received government funding. And the experienced concrete tanker remained in the New York port for several years and carried fresh water there.

“Peace” and “Goodwill”: maritime low-cost airlines

Shortly before the war, Yurkevich conceived another revolution in shipbuilding. This time – economic. It was supposed to be a kind of “Normandie” in reverse, which the engineer wanted to call “Brittany”. Not a luxury liner for the elite, but a ship with standard cabins of the same class. Immediately 5 thousand of the same type, clean, comfortable and affordable cabins in a 350-meter liner.

The idea was to make a low-cost ship, much cheaper than the tourist class of competitors. Reduce the team, reduce additional services. The tickets did not have to include food, but gave passengers a choice of how to eat on the trip, from fine dining restaurants to self-service cafes.

Before the war, Générale Transatlantique did not dare to undertake this bold experiment. And then Yurkevich decided to implement the same idea in the USA.

In the mid-1950s, he found a partner company and planned the construction of two 335-meter liners. Peace and Goodwill, that is, “Peace” and “Goodwill”, for 9 thousand passengers each.

Fragment of an advertising poster: to Europe for 50 dollars

It was planned that the ticket would cost $50. That is, approximately $575 in modern money. The plan was for American vacationers.

But aviation was changing. Flights became more affordable. And when the project of two superliners came close to implementation, it was no longer really needed.

The engineer himself was getting old. He could devote less and less time to work. Vladimir Yurkevich died on December 13, 1964 in New York, in his 14-room house overlooking the Hudson. And he was buried at the Novo-Diveevo cemetery.

Olga Yurkevich lived another 12 years. She soon transferred all her husband’s archives to the USSR. And she herself began to write novels dedicated to him under the pseudonym Olga Yurke. Their son, an American architect, also bore the same shortened version of the surname. He died in 2022 at the age of 90. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the engineer and inventor also live in America.


Yu.V. Belcic. “V. I. Yurkevich: ships and countries”

Yu.V. Belcic. “Russian wives in exile: Olga Yurkevich”

Shirokov Alexey Nikolaevich. “Normandy”. The death of the flagship of the era

V.P. Borisov, A.V. Volkov “Plenipotentiary representative of the Russian school of applied mechanics” (New materials about the life and work of V.I. Yurkevich)

Larrie D. Ferreiro. The Social History of the Bulbous Bow

Leonid Kuznetsov. Izmail-class battlecruisers. M., Eksmo, 2013. Series: “War at Sea.”

“Our Baku.” “The adventures of the motor ship – tanker – transport “Baku”

Shippingtandy.com Vladimir Yourkevitch

Kino-Teatr.Ru. Olga Krestovskaya

The New York Times. Vladimir Yourkevitch, 75, Dies; Designed Ill‐Fated Normandie

Kenneth W Swezey. “Battle of the Superliners,” Popular Science 130, no. 5 (1937)

“Crewless Ships for Phantom Convoy “Popular Science 142, no. 3 (1943)

Concrete Curiosities – Edition 1 — The ‘Phantom’


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