The Kirov-class (Project 26) cruisers were a class of six cruisers built in the late 1930s for the Soviet Navy. After the first two ships, armor protection was increased and subsequent ships are sometimes called the Maxim Gorky class. These were the first large ships built by the Soviets from the keel up after the Russian Civil War, and they were derived from the Italian cruiser Raimondo Montecuccoli, being designed with assistance from the Italian Ansaldo company. Two ships each were deployed in the Black and Baltic Seas during World War II, while the last pair was still under construction in the Russian Far East and saw no combat during the war. The first four ships bombarded Axis troops and facilities after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. All six ships survived the war and lingered in training and other secondary roles, with three being scrapped in the early 1960s and the other three a decade later.
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