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Kronstadt Naval Fortress

Kronstadt (from German Krone - “crown” and Stadt - “city”) is the cradle of the Baltic Fleet, it was here in 1713-1723 that the first five harbors were built under the leadership of Peter the Great - Kotlinskaya (in 1714), Srednyaya and Kupecheskaya, Lesnaya and Voyennaya (in 1723). These buildings belong to historical monuments and are the sights of Kronstadt. The warships that stand in the very center of the city - in the Middle Harbor, which is very convenient for tourists. This is one of the main attractions of Kronstadt and a visiting card of the city. Warships are something that must be seen and photographed. Photos against their background, of course, must be taken by every tourist who came here.

The ships of the Baltic Fleet, which took part in the celebrations dedicated to the 310th anniversary of the founding of the Baltic Fleet, began to carry out their immediate mission 20 May 2013. Today, the amalgamation of BF ships, led by the flagship destroyer Nastoyashchiy, left the port of Kronstadt and headed for the main Baltic Fleet base at the port of Baltiysk. During the interbase transition, the crews of the ships will have to complete combat training tasks in organizing anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defense and tactical maneuvering. During their stay in Kronstadt, Baltic sailors got acquainted with the sights of the oldest naval base in Russia, and also visited the fountain festival in the Lower Park of the Peterhof Palace. The flagship of the Baltic Fleet, the destroyer Nastoyashchiy, the small missile ship Liven, the missile boats Dimitrovgrad and R-2, the base minesweeper BT-212 were in Kronstadt from May 15 to 19, where their crews took participation in celebrations dedicated to the anniversary of the oldest association of the Russian Navy.

The festive program ending with colorful fireworks in honor of the Navy Day 2019. Dynamic display included 28 surface and submarine ships taking part in the naval parade. The sailing-motor yacht Saint Peter will open the system, followed by the base minesweeper Leonid Sobolev, the submarine Dmitrov, the corvette Boyky, the small anti-submarine ship Aleksin, the small missile ships Zeleny Dol and Geyser, landing boats “Michman Lermontov” and “Lieutenant Rimsky-Korsakov”, large landing ship “Korolyov”, hydrographic ship “GS-214”, small landing hovercraft “Evgeny Kocheshkov”, raid tugs and boats. In addition, the Su-30 and Su-27 multi-role fighters, the An-26 military transport aircraft, the Mi-8, Mi-24 and Ka-27PL helicopters, the Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicle, and also Grad multiple launch rocket systems, Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, Shilka anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, BTR-80, BTR-82A armored personnel carriers and other military equipment.

Static display included 12 modern ships, ships and boats will be built in the front line on the Kaliningrad Sea Canal: the flagship of the Baltic Fleet, the Nastoyashchy destroyer, the Soobrazitelny corvette, the Yaroslav the Wise patrol ship, the Kaliningrad large landing ship, and the average reconnaissance ship Vasily Tatishchev ”, the patrol ship“ Reliable ”, the small anti-submarine ship“ Kalmykia ”, the small missile ship“ Zyb ”, the missile boat“ Dimitrovgrad ”, the base minesweeper“ Sergey Kolbasyev ”.

Kronstadt Naval Fortress - History

The construction of the fortified city of Kronshtadt began in 1703 with a slip on the shallows next to the island of Fort Kronshlot (in translation - the Crown Castle). The purpose of the fortress was to close the fairway, which leads to the mouth of the Neva. May 7, 1704 the fort and two batteries came into operation. A month later, a squadron of Swedish ships tried to break past Kronshlot, but to no avail. In 1709, on the orders of Peter I, construction of marinas, harbors, and warehouses for the fleet began. At the cost of many human lives, the construction of the first harbor, completed already in 1714, was completed as soon as possible, and in 1723 the Merchant, Forest, Middle, and Military harbors began to operate.

In 1723, the construction of the central fortress, known as Kronstadt - “Crown City” began. The palace of Peter I and the palace of A.D. Menshikova (Italian). Immediately after the construction, the Kronstadt Fortress became a reliable shield of Russia and St. Petersburg. According to the plans of Peter Kronstadt, it is part of the capital of Russia, so it develops according to previously thought-out projects, with the involvement of the best architects: D. Trezzini, S.I. Chevakinsky, V.I. Bazhenova. As a result, a unique city-fortress-port is being built.

The construction and improvement of fortifications continued in Kronstadt until the beginning of the 20th century. In particular, a unique complex of forts of Kronstadt is being constructed. Forts at the moment have lost their military significance, but remained the most powerful fortification complex in the Baltic. For people remotely familiar with fortification, the fort is a fortress built on an island, or an artificially built fortress island. The forts of Kronstadt were created to protect St. Petersburg from a possible attack by enemies from the sea.

Squadrons equipped in Kronstadt won victories in battles at sea: in 1714 - at Gangut, in 1719 - at Ezel, 1720 - at Grengam, 1770 - at Chesma, in 1788 - in Gogland, in 1790 - in Krasnogorsk and the Vyborg battles, in 1807 at the Dardanelles and Cape Athos, in 1827 in the Bay of Navarino.

From 1771 to 1798, the Kronstadt housed the Naval Cadet Corps, which graduated from prominent Russian sailors, including: F.F. Bellingshausen, I.F. Kruzenshtern, Yu. F. Lisyansky. Famous admirals served in Kronstadt: F. F. Ushakov, P. S. Nakhimov, V. N. Kornilov, and many others. Of great importance for Russia was the commercial port of Kronstadt - cargo from sea vessels were loaded onto barges for delivery to St. Petersburg. The heyday of the port fell on the years 1860-1880. After the opening of the Sea Canal to St. Petersburg, the port was moved to the capital.

Kronstadt for three centuries of its existence was also an important scientific center. For example, here was built the world's first icebreaker Pilot. Here in 1895 A.S. Popov invented the world's first radio receiver. In 1898-1918, a laboratory manufacturing a vaccine against plague worked at Fort "Emperor Alexander I".

Kronstadt Naval Fortress Great Patriotic War

During the Great Patriotic War, Kronstadt played a crucial role in the defense of Leningrad. For 900 days, Kronstadt was in blockade from the whole country and from Leningrad. The Baltic fleet based in Kronstadt provided submarines with access to the Baltic Sea.

Before the Great Patriotic War, the main fleet base was located in the newly joined Tallinn. After the outbreak of war, in connection with the rapid advance of the enemy in August 1941, it was decided to transfer the fleet to Kronstadt.

In the fall of 1941, the fleet command was located in the Italian palace of Kronstadt. But even this seemed too dangerous, and in the winter of 1941-42. The headquarters of the fleet was relocated to the building of the Naval Academy. And yet, since this building was too well known, in February 1942 it was decided to adapt the former Transfiguration Church of the Grenadier Regiment, located on Leningrad's Aptekarsky Island, next to the Botanical Garden and the Electro-Technical Institute, to the needs of the Fleet Headquarters.

In the early 1930s, the LETI Acoustic Laboratory was located, and for the Fleet’s Military Council, a “Bunker” was built near the church. Both buildings were connected by an underground corridor-lost. And one more move went to the communication bunker of the KBF, which was located in the Institute building that has not been preserved now on ul. Professor Popov.

According to the design and the church, and the bunker had to withstand the hit of 250 kilogram bombs. Despite the harsh conditions of the siege, by summer the main work had been completed. The church is bounded by earth to the second floor. Due to the lack of concrete in the city, armor plates from the Rzhevsky landfill were used to build the bunker, and bags of cotton were placed on top of them (for sound and waterproofing), and they were also covered with earth. As such, the entire complex of buildings and structures of the Flagship Command Post of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet began military service on July 1, 1942. Command and headquarters were in it until the end of the war.

After the war, when the need for this complex of facilities disappeared, LETI returned the laboratory to the church, and the bunker was transferred to the maintenance of civil defense and emergency situations, under the “patronage” of the nearby Krasnogvardeets plant.

Kronstadt Naval Fortress Cold War

The Kronstadt Naval Fortress (KVMK) in 1952 was an operational association directly subordinate to the main command of the Navy. The western border of the fortress zone passed through the Koporskaya Bay of the Gulf of Finland, and the eastern border through Lisiy Nos and Malaya Izhora. The city of Kronstadt was part of the fortress and was a closed city. According to the regulations on closed cities, there the city government was not elected, but appointed. In Kronstadt, it was the Civil Administration Directorate (CAA) led by Lieutenant General Lloek. The UGA included the police, the registry office, the department of public education, the health department and all the services that were in all other open cities. There was a strict access regime in the fortress, a passport with a Kronstadt residence permit served as a permanent pass for city residents. In those years, the word "fortress" most fully corresponded to the meaning and tasks of KVMK. It was a real naval fortress, protecting Leningrad from the sea. There were few naval fortresses around the world that could match their strength and combat stability with KVMK. German troops and the German fleet could not approach the sea from Leningrad. The coastal defense of the Kronstadt fortress was built according to the following scheme: the southern coast - forts Krasnaya Gorka and Sera Horse, as well as naval railway artillery, the marine part - island forts, the northern coast - Fort Ino, built before the First World War, blown up by the Soviets during the transfer of the territory of Finland in 1918, and newly built in 1952-1954. Fort Krasnaya Gorka consisted of several batteries of various calibers, the main of which were twelve-inch. The batteries consisted of several structures for various purposes, including firing units that housed artillery pieces. The fire unit was a complex engineering structure, with an armored tower in the upper part, inside which was the rear of the gun and the team. The tower was made of high-strength steel, capable of withstanding a direct hit by an enemy shell. Only the gun barrel stuck out of the tower, the tower had the ability to rotate in a circular fashion. Under the tower, deep in a pound, there were ammunition cellars and other rooms that provided for battery operation. All this is protected by the multimeter thickness of reinforced concrete of the highest degree of strength, The principle of defining the criteria for protecting coastal battery structures was as follows: of what caliber the guns were installed on the batteries — direct coastal battery structures should also be able to withstand a direct hit of the same caliber of an enemy shell. Artillery systems from the battleship Andrei Pervozvanny, which was withdrawn from the operating fleet for a number of reasons after the Civil War, were installed at Fort Gray Horse on the firing blocks of the main battery. It was a unique battery. The artillery part of the battleship, with its towers, cellars and a feeding system, etc., was cut out, delivered to shore, reassembled and walled up in a multimeter thick reinforced concrete. The result was a battleship on the shore. Naval railway artillery had a different defense principle - maneuverability. He fired, the enemy spotted the place of the shot, prepared to shoot there, and the engine had already moved the artillery transporter to another place. A maritime railway artillery brigade was based on the south coast. The engineering equipment of the area consisted in the creation of a network of railway tracks with the device of firing positions, an indispensable element of which were concrete supports for outriggers of artillery transporters. The Kronstadt Marine Plant was the largest and most advanced shipyard in the Navy. In addition to civilian workers, the shipyard also had a ship-repair crew, staffed by urgent service sailors with special training. Kronstadt since its inception is the main pantry of the Russian fleet. KVMK continued these traditions, and huge stockpiles of ammunition, weapons, technical equipment, etc. were stored in the arsenals and warehouses of the fortress in the fifties. In parallel, there were two lives. One official - socialist obligations, socialist competitions, slogans, wall newspapers, Komsomol meetings, appeals. All this is impossibly formally and ineffective. The second was the foremen at the work sites. Here, through natural selection, leaders emerged who had put together good teams and worked sensibly. They did not need to be called, they did not have to be urged. They had to be given a clear task, to say how much the work costs and to provide materials. Naturally, they snatched up good pieces of work. The Kronstadt fortress of the fifties saw tens of thousands of sailors and officers serving in the fort's concrete casemates, on ships, arsenals, factories, this is a forge of personnel for the entire Soviet fleet. Kronstadt at that time was an interesting city. The working day at all enterprises and in all institutions began at eight in the morning. Before work, all the streets of a small town were full of people. Ship repair battalions of sailors marched at the marine plant, military construction battalions to construction sites, sailors' divisions into arsenals, warehouses, etc. marched along the pavement. The Kronstadt forts are a naval fortification legend of Russia, its past pride and its past glory. The structures of all forts and railway artillery positions were built not only solidly, but also beautifully. Iron castings, elements made of natural stone, steel parts, concrete structures - all bore the seal of high skill and talent of performers. All this is now abandoned, plundered, destroyed. After the "perestroika" the complex began to decline. The plant ceased to exist, a car service appeared nearby. The bunker room, which by that time had completely lost its defensive significance, was transferred from the Ministry of Emergencies to the ownership of the Russian Federation and gradually began to resemble a garbage can.

Now Kronstadt is one of the districts of St. Petersburg, its population is about 35 thousand people. There are projects to create a free economic zone on the island.

In 1996, the fortified city was open to tourists.

Leningrad Naval Base - LenVMB

The Leningrad Naval Base ia an administrative formation, not a facility. The Leningrad Naval Base administers the naval faciloity at Kronstadt. The Base was created more than a century ago, but its birth was preceded by the history of marine parts of St. Petersburg. Since the Petrine era of tremendous transformations, Russia confidently taken its rightful place among the great sea powers, and the city on the Neva River initially became and remained the sea capital of Russia. It was here that the domestic regular Navy was created, passed the formation, and received regular development.

By Order No. 117 of March 15, 1919, according to the Baltic Fleet, the Naval Forces of Petrograd were transformed into the Petrograd Naval Base, on March 29, the naval officer Alexander Nikolayevich Spolatbog, a graduate of the Naval Cadet Corps, was appointed. At that time, the marine base was responsible for the deployment of ships and vessels, as well as for taking measures to defend the city from sea directions. Then the first detachment of warships was created, which included three battleships, three cruisers, destroyers and five yachts.

Throughout history, at first the Petrograd, then the Leningrad Naval Base, it was abolished several times, reorganized and re-created. But her story has a lot of pages worthy of description. Already in the summer of 1919, the crews of the destroyers Gabriel and Azard, as well as the Panther submarine under the command of the brilliant naval officer A. Bakhtin, opened the combat account of the base, sinking the submarine L-55 and the destroyer Vittoria of the British Navy. Then in the Gulf of Finland there were 28 English and 4 French warships that directly threatened Petrograd. The Petromorbaz command took all measures to ensure the protection of the city’s water area.

When the Great Patriotic War began, the command and headquarters of the naval defense of Leningrad and the Lake District were formed on the basis of the Administration of Naval Educational Institutions and Navy Units. They began to prepare the coast of the Neva Bay and the Neva River for anti-airborne defense, the construction of artillery batteries, the formation of brigades of the marine corps. In early September, when the enemy entered the fire zone of naval artillery on the southwestern approaches to the city, they began to conduct effective fire on the Nazis in different directions of the front.

About 100,000 sailors fought on all sections of the Leningrad Front. In 1941-1944, ships and boats participated in landing operations in the areas of Strelna, Peterhof, Lake Ladoga, in the Vyborg and Narva bays. During the years of hard times, minesweepers made more than 2,000 combat exits. The ships of the base transported several divisions, thousands of tanks, guns, mortars and vehicles, about 200,000 tons of various cargoes.

During the blockade of Leningrad, the fleet provided communication of the besieged city with the country through Lake Ladoga. Only along the waterway of the Road of Life, 1.7 million tons of goods were transported and 1 million Leningraders evacuated to the rear.

After the war ended, LenVMB faced another extremely important problem - ensuring the safety of navigation in the Baltic Sea. Only in the waters of the Gulf of Finland the warring parties left more than 70 thousand mines. Therefore, combat trawling became the main task of the LenVMB sailors. Only in 1955 was the wiring of ships behind trawls stopped. Thousands of Baltic seamen were awarded high state awards for the courage and heroism shown during the performance of combat missions, including during minesweeping. By a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of April 30, 1975, the Leningrad Naval Base was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for its enormous contribution to strengthening the country's defense capabilities.

Since 1994, LenVMB has been a member of the Baltic Fleet. The importance of the Baltic Fleet and its component part - the Leningrad Naval Base in the Baltic Sea Zone - is very great. Indeed, behind her "back" is St. Petersburg, the largest port, a center for the concentration of shipbuilding potential and scientific and production capacities of the country, the northern capital of Russia.

It should be noted that the main tasks of ther formaion remain the same:

  • maintaining a stable operational regime in the designated area of ??responsibility, ensuring the defense and protection of based forces;
  • ensuring the construction, repair, training of crews, testing of ships and vessels coming from industry and from repairs;
  • providing research work on the study of the seas and oceans, as well as testing of new equipment and weapons;
  • providing training for warrant officers and warrant officers, foremen and sailors, as well as training and retraining of naval reserve officers in the system of training units, schools and officer courses, providing training practice for cadets and students of naval military high schools on ships and ships of the Navy;
  • operational (combat), technical and logistical support for the combat and daily activities of ships and naval units based in the LenVMB zone;
  • provision of cantonment, public utilities and cultural and educational services for personnel in the area of responsibility of the base.

In addition, LenVMB provides all activities related to the life of the fleet and the city - visits of foreign ships, the celebration of memorable dates, parades and regattas. Such a wide range of tasks determines the uniqueness of the formation.

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Page last modified: 02-12-2019 17:59:33 ZULU