Now the main base of the Russian fleet is located in Baltiysk in the Kaliningrad region, and the secondary one is in Kronstadt. The majority of Baltic Fleet vessels are located at Baltiysk in the Kaliningrad Oblast with a handful further north near St. Petersburg. Headquartered at Kaliningrad, the fleet’s mission focuses on specifically ensuring sea-lines of communication and trade are open between Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg, and in countering NATO forces in the region.
Baltiysk itself seemed like an ordinary Russian military city with artifacts from German-Swedish history. Baltiysk Naval Baseis located on the north bank of Kaliningradskiy Morskoy Canal immediately south of Baltiyskat 54-38N 19-55E. The Harbor Authorities Shipyard and a fishing basin are located west of the base. Two semiburied POL tanks are east of the base. The Baltiysk Port Facilities are used for berthing naval vessels. Extensive naval barracks and housing are located in the city. Other naval installations at Baltiysk are the Baltic Fleet Headquarters and a submarine training school.
Russia and its fleet until 1945 had no relation to these places. In 1952, the largest navy base in the Baltic Sea was created. Not only the sailors themselves are housed here, but also various support units. Pillau began to develop in the 16th century as a Prussian settlement. During the short Swedish presence, the Scandinavians built the Pillau Citadel - a star-shaped pentagonal fortress. The citadel is still occupied by the military. Facilities at the naval base consist of some 40 buildings, ten piers, one offshore wharf, one wharf and 8,000 feet of quayed shoreline. Other facilities are two torpedo checkout and storage buildings, storage buildings, a shop building, administration buildings, barracks, warehouses and numerous support buildings.
In a de-brief on 26 July 1965, defector Yuri Nosenko related: "At the end of 1952 I came to Moscow from Sovetsk in Primorskiy Kray, near Baltiysk. I had worked in the Naval Intelligence Point (MRP) there. My aim in coming to Moscow was to get out of this work in the MRP. I couldn't stand that work. I couldn't stand that work... I arrived in Moscow at the end of 1952, December... I don't remember exactly the date of the order appointing me an officer in the KGB. It was 13 or 15 March 1953."
The 23rd annual BALTOPS, a U.S. invitational, multinational exercise in the Baltic Sea, combined 37 ships, submarines and numerous aircraft in a two-week evolution conducted in the spirit of NATO’s Partnership for Peace. Participants in this year’s BALTOPS exercise included naval forces and observers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Russian sailors heaved a line as USS Taylor (FFG 50) tied on to the pier in Baltiysk, Russia, for a four-day port visit after successfully completing BALTOPS ’95. More than 1,500 Russians toured Taylor during the Baltiysk, Russia, port call.
The USS Carr conducted a two-day port visit to the city of Baltiysk, 3-4 August 2011, was said to be the first ever visit of a U.S. Navy vessel to Kaliningrad Oblast. The crew of roughly 200 personnel hosted local dignitaries from the city as well as from nearby Kaliningrad, including numerous political figures and senior military officials. In addition to several formal protocol meetings by the Carr’s Commanding Officer and a wreath laying event at the Baltiysk World War II memorial, the Carr’s crewmembers played sports with Russian counterparts, visited local museums, and were tour guests aboard a Russian warship. An evening reception aboard USS Carr was held for a local Russian veterans group, including retired admirals and senior officers, who also had their own tour of the ship. The Carr’s sailors built stronger community relations by volunteering to paint a local orphanage as well as sharing an “American” hamburger lunch and playing sports with the orphans.
Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) arrived in Baltiysk, Russia, to participate in the annual multinational Exercise FRUKUS 2012, 24 June 2012. While the ship remained anchored off of the coast, senior leadership went ashore to meet with local civilian and military officials in support of the exercise. The multinational training exercise FRUKUS 2012 began with an opening ceremony held at the Baltic Fleet Headquarters in Baltiysk, Russia, where participating senior leaders from France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States discussed the exercise objectives, June 25.
Baltiysk is a mysterious place with endless sandy beaches and no tourists, impressive fortress ruins with no archeologists and has a deep blue summer sea without being too hot. The town of Baltiysk was closed to ordinary visitors for many years. The biggest Russian naval base at the Baltic Sea was mostly used as a temporary barracks for young sailors who would come here with their families for military service. After their service many of them left to spend their lives in places with a more welcoming climate and a greater number of employment opportunities. Despite all of these demographic challenges, Baltiysk has one of the youngest populations of any city in Russia. Most of its inhabitants are in their early 30s. By contrast, the tourist attractions in Baltiysk are mostly pretty old. Even the railroad, which connects the town with Kaliningrad, is still not electrified and the locomotive runs on diesel.
With strong winds blowing all year long Baltiysk is an ideal destination for all kinds of surfing. The so-called “dancing” sand dunes on the Baltic Spit are the main attraction here. Amazingly beautiful, they can reach 40 meters high and are able to literally “move” every day depending on the wind’s direction. You must use caution when riding a bike, as there could be deep holes beneath you – these are the former entrances to abandoned underground bunkers. The beaches enchant with their rich yellow color due to the many bits of amber pieces that appear after storms. For centuries amber fever attracted those looking to strike it rich to the region. Even today’s increased extraction of natural amber does not deplete your chances of bringing a shiny souvenir home from the Baltic shore.
Navy Day, the last Sunday of July, or on May 9, Victory Day, present a spectacular demonstration on either of these days with all types of warships including submarines. Despite being used by huge warships and tiny fishermen’s boats, the harbor is filled with numerous white swans. They are spoiled by locals and behave like domesticated pets, constantly begging for food.
The heart of the town, which was founded in the 14th century, is the pentagonal star-shaped fortress Pillau. The Pillau Citadel is the only place in town that is best seen on Google Earth – its perfect star shape is quite impressive. Its thick brick walls have been in use for hundreds of years. Their sturdiness is probably why the fortress still serves as a functional military base.
Most of the buildings in the German-style urban quarter were constructed at the beginning of the 20th century to host the German Army. The Naval Cathedral of St. George, which currently serves as an Orthodox Church, is apparently the oldest building in the district. It was originally a gothic church. The old German cemetery here now looks more like a landscape park with a few neat white crosses under bushy trees.
But the most impressive items of German heritage here are located outside of town in the middle of the Baltic Split. Huge metal constructions, former hangars for hydroplanes and other aircraft, make the landscape here look like a post-apocalypse movie and attract photographers and sci-fi fans. The Neutief Base was built in the 1930s. At that time it was already quite advanced with heated runways placed at 45-degree angles so that planes could take off and land at any time of year and in any weather.
The architectural jewel of Baltiysk is its 33-meter tall lighthouse. The original structure was built out of wood in 1741. In the next century it was rebuilt in stone by an unknown architect. Initially the light was produced by burning vegetable oil, although later it was replaced by petrol. Now the light, which can be seen 16 sea miles away, is electric.
The first mention of the Prussian village of Vogram, located on the northern outskirts of the modern city of Baltiysk, dates back to 1258. In 1363 and 1430, the village of Pil or Pile was mentioned, the name of which comes from the Prussian word "pils", which means "fortress, rampart". On September 10, 1510, a natural event occurred that was of fundamental importance to the entire subsequent history of the settlement. As a result of a severe storm, a strait formed that separated the Baltic Spit from the Zemland Peninsula. The strait appeared navigable, which led to the development of Pillau, as a major transport hub. In 1543, the first blockhouse was built on the Haken Peninsula, which marked the beginning of the Pillau fortress.
During the Polish-Swedish war, in which Prussia was also drawn, on July 6, 1626, Swedish troops, under the command of King Gustav II Adolphus, landed at the sea side near Pillau and, without encountering resistance, occupied the city in three hours. In an effort to secure a reliable base for an attack on Poland, the Swedes laid down a pentagonal fortress - the Pillau citadel , which was completed after 1635 at the direction of Elector George Wilhelm by the famous fortress Abraham von Don. In 1642, Pillau was visited by the great Elector Frederick Wilhelm I of Brandenburg. Secondly, the Great Elector visited Pillau on October 18, 1662. This time Friedrich Wilhelmarrived with an army of two thousand to suppress the rebellion of the Kneiphof opposition. In 1697, 1711 and 1716 respectively Pillai visited the Russian Tsar Peter I of.
In 1757, during the Seven Years War, the Russian fleet blocked Pillau, from January 24, 1758 to 1762 the city was occupied by Russian troops. On January 21, 1758, in the Royal Castle, the commander-in-chief of Russian troops, General Fermor, was given the symbolic keys to Pillau. During the Russian presence in Pillauharbor improvements were carried out, a 450-meter Russian Dam was built, which has survived to the present (Russian Embankment). The first Russian commandant of Pillau in 1758 was Major Engineer Rodion Nikolayevich Gerbel, who managed to organize a customs service and establish control over shipping along the strait during a year of work.
On June 1, 1807, the French army approached Pillau , but until July 2 of the same year, when the Tilsit Peace was concluded, the fortress could not be taken. When retreating from Russia on April 30, 1812, the French again occupied Pillau . January 26, 1813 to the walls of PillauRussian troops came under the command of Major General Sivars. The French commandant surrendered the fortress without a fight, despite the presence of a two thousandth garrison and 134 guns. The French were allowed to leave on the ice of the bay towards Balga.
In the 1850s , city newspapers and a telegraph appeared in Pillau. On September 11, 1856, the Pillau - Koenigsberg railway was opened . In 1866, a church was built in the city. After the opening of the shipping Koenigsberg Canal on November 15, 1901, allowing vessels to enter Koenigsberg without entering Pillau, the urban economy gradually began to decline. In 1902, Pillau, Old Pillau and Wogram are united in one settlement.
In connection with the outbreak of the Great War, the protection of the sea coast was strengthened. However, the Russian destroyer Novik in early November 1914 managed to deliver 50 mines west of Pillau , on which several ships of the German fleet were blown up. The military garrison of the Pillau fortress was reduced, most of it was sent to the front. In Kamstigalle, an infirmary with 800 beds was equipped. In the evening of August 8, 1914, the 2nd battalion of the 43rd regiment was sent to the front from Pillau by rail . In total, during the First World War , 903 people were called up from Pillau , 89 of whom died. In PillauGerman soldiers and officers who died from wounds and illnesses in hospitals or relatives transported from the battlefields were buried.
On November 9, 1918, revolutionary actions took place in the city; a Council of workers and soldiers was organized. Some of the ships joined the rebels, the rest went to Sweden. On March 9, 1919, the uprising was brutally crushed. In 1921, Pillau became the base of the German fleet, free entry into the city was prohibited. In 1936, the city received the official name " Pillau Sea City ", its population was about 10 thousand people, and the garrison reached 24 thousand people. In 1934, work began on the construction of the airfield. In 1935, the construction of the Himmelreysh artillery barracks was completed. In 1938, a promenade was laid along the seashore. In 1941, the Golden Anchor Hotel was built, in which, over the years, Joseph Brodsky will write a poem about Baltiysk .
On April 20, 1945 at 11 o’clock the soldiers of the 11th, 18th and 16th Guards divisions launched a decisive attack on the city and Pillau fortress . The Nazis put up fierce resistance at previously prepared lines. Two days later, the Soviet command brought into battle the 31st 1st, 84th and 26th Guards Rifle Divisions. On April 25, Soviet troops broke into the outskirts of the city. April 25-26, 1945, after a fierce and bloody assault, the cityPillau was taken by the troops of the 11th Guards Army of the 3rd Belorussian Front under the command of Colonel General K.N. Galitsky.
After taking Pillauthe remnants of the German troops managed to cross the Zetif Strait and take refuge in the Frisch-Nehrung spit. On the night of April 26, 600 volunteers from the 83rd Guards Rifle Division of the 11th Army chased the retreating enemy. One detachment of 25 volunteers was led by the commander of the mortar company of the 248th Guards Rifle Regiment, Captain Leopold Borisovich Nekrasov. On a self-propelled barge, a detachment approached the Frisch-Nehrung spit and landed behind enemy lines, delivering a sudden blow. The paratroopers repelled the onslaught of the superior forces of the Nazis for several hours and held the captured bridgehead. On April 26, after the landing of two Soviet naval landings, Noitif was taken.
On November 27, 1946 the city of Pillau was renamed Baltiysk.
Since 1952 in BaltiyskThe largest base of the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea operates. This was the reason that until the beginning of the XXI century Baltiysk remained a closed city.
The Pillau Citadel, the Star Fortress, a 17th-century defensive structure, has been repeatedly modernized, and is currently the site of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The Pillau Citadel was founded in 1626 by order of the Swedish King Gustavus-Adolf II, the construction was carried out under the guidance of civil engineer Matthias Wentz. The construction of the fortress took place after 1635 at the direction of Elector George Wilhelm, the famous fortifier Abraham von Don. The citadel is a pentagon with sides of 80 meters, in each corner of which there is a bastion, which has its own name: Albrecht, Prussia, Koenig, Koenigen, Kronprinz. The fortress is surrounded by a wide water moat, along which from the outside there are five ravelins: Ludwig, Storchnes, Falvinkel, Kronverk and Shinken-shanz. The fortress always carried out military functions, it housed a weapons arsenal.
From the post-war years to the present, the citadel is closed for visits by civilians, as indicated by warning signs on the approaches: "The restricted area. Passage (passage) is prohibited (closed)." In 1999, a branch of the Baltic Fleet Museum was opened in the fortress, periodically, by appointment, visits to the citadel are organized by organized excursion groups.
The Museum of the Baltic Fleet, created by the Directive of the General Staff of the Navy of the USSR No. 63 dated 09/28/1957, was located in the city of Baltiysk. After completing work on creating an exposition on February 23, 1959, its halls were opened for visiting by the Baltic Fleet soldiers and residents of the city. Three years later, the museum was transferred to the city of Tallinn to the main base of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, where its further development took place over the next thirty-odd years.
In the city of Baltiysk, in the building where the Fleet Museum was located before, the Museum of Military Glory was created, the team of which took an active part in the military-patriotic education of the fleet's military personnel and their families.
In 1992, during the withdrawal of fleet forces from the Baltic countries, the command of the Baltic Fleet decided to relocate the museum to Baltiysk. Currently, the fleet museum is located in a building built in 1903, which until 1945 housed the judiciary of Pillau. The museum has over 20,000 exhibits: photographs, documents, badges, ship models, weapons, fine art, and uniforms.
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