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Black Sea Fleet (BSF) - Early History

In the second-half the 18th century Russia achieved the great successes in the fight for the access to the sea and was affirmed on the coasts of Azov and Black seas. As a result of the Russo-Turkish War 1768-1774, according to The kyuchuk-Kaynardzhiyskomu peace treaty, Russia obtained the part of the earth between the Dnepr and the bug, Kuban, Azov, Taganrog, Kerch', To enikale, Kinburn. Crimean khanate declared by independent variable from Turkey.

In 1773 in the Black sea the Black Sea squadron created on the basis of Azov flotilla successfully acted. It rested in Kerch' and by two forces it performed the cruising duty between The the balaklavoy, Feodosiya and Sudjuk- Calais (Novorossisk). After the end of war on to the Don continued the building of warships. Were constructed, mainly, sail- rowing vessels, 32- X cannon frigates and Cossack boats. In 1775 Russia began to determine the place, where it was possible to construct the glubokosidyashchiye seagoing vessels and to derive them directly into the Black sea. In 1778 on the instruction of Novorossisk governor general prince g.A.Potemkina was based g.Kherson "and to the construction with it of port" was assigned General i.A.Gannibal.

In spite of the signing of peace treaty, between Russia and Turkey unrolled complex diplomatic fight for the Crimea by the result of this fight it appeared the connection of the Crimea to Russia. By rescript of Ekaterinas P of 8 April, 1783. "peninsula Crimean, Taman' and entire Kuban side" were included in the composition of Russia. The Crimean khan forewent the throne. The connection of the Crimea to Russia had the progressive value: the threat of ruinous raids from the south to the Russian earth was forever removed with the liquidation of Crimean khanate, Turkey was deprived of the fundamental base of its aggression in the North Black Sea area. For the protection of the age-old Russian earth recaptured in Turkey and guarantee of navigation in the Black sea Russia needed strong fleet.

Long time dispatch the searches for convenient places for the basing of the main bodies of fleet. One of such bunches proved to be Akhtiarskaya, located on the southwestern shore of Crimean peninsula, in the ruins of ancient Khersonesa.

On 2 May, 1783, in The akhtiarskeye bunch arrived squadron of five frigates and eight of others was ship Azov flotilla under the command Vice Admiral f.A.Klokacheva. On 7 May into the bay entered 11 it was ship Dneprovsk flotilla. From this time sea forces in the south of Russia began to be named by Black Sea fleet. In the honor of its base in the same year was poured the medal "glory of Russia".

The akhtiarskaya bunch became the main point of the basing of the ships of fleet. On 3 June, 1783, in the solemn situation were placed the first four buildings of future city and port. Initially it was called Akhtiar (white rock), and then in accordance with the edict of Ekaterinas II of 10 February, 1784, it was named Sevastopol ("worthy city").

In 1785 was affirmed the first state of the Black Sea fleet, on which it had to have 12 battleships, 20 large frigates, 5 combat schooners, 18 transport and auxiliary ship. Fleet rapidly grew. Already to May 1787 it counted in its composition of 46 messages: 3 battleships, 12 frigates, 3 bombardirskikh ships, 28 other servicemen are ship.

However, Turkey could not be subdued to the loss of the Crimea and the appearance in the Black sea of Russian fleet. This led to the new war, in which Russia came out in the union with Austria. However, Turkey supported and helped it England, France and Prussia. During August 1787 Istanbul produced ultimatum with the requirement to return the Crimea, to recognize Georgia as the vassal possession of sultan and to agree to the establishment of Turkish control over Russian vessels with their passage through the straits for Russia. Russia answered by refusal. This served as occasion for the new war.

Such combat and battles at sea entered from the experience of this war into the history: on on island Fidonisi g.), in the Kerch strait (8.7.1790 g.), in Tendry (28.8.1790 g.) and in and in cape Kaliakra). The victories Of f.F.Ushakova foiled all plans of Turkey to attack the Crimea from the sea. They contributed, together with the successes of Russian army, to the acceleration of negotiations and to the conclusion Of yasskogo peace treaty, according to which Turkey forever transferred to Russia the Crimea, Ochakov, Kinburn and Azov.

In connection with further development of Black Sea fleet, arose the need for the building of more convenient and safer shipyard. Such dockyard was placed in the mouth Of ingula during June 1788 in yr, on 27 August, 1789, new city was named by Nikolayev, who became the center of shipbuilding in the south of the country. Simultaneously with the declaration of Sevastopol in 1804 with the main port of Black Sea fleet, in it so began ship building.

In 1826 in Sevastopol was built with 18- TI cannon brig "mercury", whose crew under the command the lieutenant commander Of a.I.Kazarskogo 14 May of 1829 gained the landslide above two Turkish battleships, which had tenfold superiority in the people and the armament. "mercury" by the first of the ships of Black Sea fleet is rewarded by stern Georgievskiy by flag.

Following the traditional Russian policy of resolving the "Eastern Question" by seeking to partition the Ottoman Empire and establish a protectorate over the Orthodox population of the Balkans, Russia fought a successful war with the Ottomans in 1828 and 1829.

In 1833 Russia negotiated the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi with the Ottoman Empire. Western statesmen believed mistakenly that the treaty contained a secret clause granting Russia the right to send warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. As a result, the major European powers intervened and by the London Straits Convention of 1841 affirmed Ottoman control over the straits and forbade any power, including Russia, to send warships through the straits.

In the middle OF THE XIX century by the efforts of the outstanding Admirals Of a.S.Greyga, M.P.Lazareva, P.S.Nakhimova and V.A.Kornilova Black Sea fleet became one of the best sailing fleets of Europe.

The Crimean War flared up in 1853 as result of long standing economic and political contradictions between England, France, Turkey and Russia. Each of these countries aspired to strengthen its influence on the Near East and to win markets and new territories. The Crimean War was one of the most bloody wars of the 19th century. The United Kingdom, France and Turkey formed a united front against Russia. The war was fought in the Baltic and White seas, on the Danube and in the Caucasus, and even on remote Kamchatka. But the main theater of military actions was the Crimea. The Russian Black Sea Fleet ships were sunk in Sevastopol, and the European allies landed in Crimea, laying siege to a well-fortified base at Sevastopol'. After a year's siege the base fell, exposing Russia's inability to defend a major fortification on its own soil.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856 yr.) the squadron of the Black Sea fleet under the command of Vice Admiral p.S.Nakhimov on 18 November, 1853, gained the landslide above the Turkish fleet in The sinopskeye bunch. Of 16 ships the enemy lost 15. This was the last large battle of the epoch of sailing fleet.

The defense of Sevastopol 1854-1855 was the main event of the Crimean War. 349 days lasted the Sevastopol epic, during which valiantly battled on the bastions of Sevastopol the seaman- Black Sea sailors under the command of the Admirals Of v.A.Kornilova, V.I.Istomina, P.S.Nakhimova.

On 18 March 1856 the war ended with the "humiliating" Treaty of Paris. Russia lost the right to have by the Black sea fleet, to build fortresses and naval bases. The 1856 Treaty of Paris demilitarized the Black Sea and deprived Russia of southern Bessarabia and a narrow strip of land at the mouth of the Danube River. It was only in 1870 that Russia denounced the treaty clauses barring her from having a naval presence on the Black Sea and began to rebuild a naval presence there.

At the beginning 20th century Black Sea fleet became serious military force in the south of Russia. In its composition there were 7 squadron Battleships, 2 "popovki" (artillery floating batteries), 1 cruiser, 3 mine cruisers, 22 torpedo boats, 6 gunboats, 9 minonosok, 2 steamships, 8 transports. To the autumn of 1917 Black Sea fleet counted narrower than 177 warships, it had transport flotilla.

In the beginning of 1918 the revolutionary seamen of Black Sea fleet together with the population of the Crimea conducted militant struggle for the establishment of new authority, and then, from the spring, they participated in the fight with the advancing forces of German troops. In order not to allow the seizure of the ships of fleet by Germans, part of them was transferred into Novorossisk, where on the order of Bolsheviks, they were flooded. More than 130 ships left Sevastopol and left into the Tunisian port Bizerte and some others. Chances to the restoration of fleet appeared only after the final release of Sevastopol on 15 November, 1920, their first significant floating through the Black sea, in which participated more than 20 ships, the revived fleet completed in the fall of 1923.

In 1928 the restoration of fleet was in essence final and it began its technical reconstruction. In 1929 -1937 yr. Black Sea fleet obtained more than 500 warships of different classes, hundred of combat aircraft. Were created WITH VVS, coast defense and air defense system CHF.

At the beginning of World War II into composition CHF entered battleship "Commune of Paris" (later it it was renamed into "Sevastopol"), cruisers the "red Crimea", "Voroshilov", "Molotov", 3 leaders, 14 destroyers, 47 submarines, 15 trawlers, 4 gunboats, 2 destroyer escorts, mine layer, 34 PT boats, 10 launch- hunters, auxiliary ships; VVS of fleet counted 625 aircraft. In full combat readiness the fleet met the attack of Fascist Germany. Before the Black Sea fleet was set the task to cover and to support the seaside Front of ground forces with the fire of artillery and by air strikes. Ships CHF during the first days of war already completed audacious raids to the fundamental sea bases of enemy. Special position in the war shooting of fleet occupy the defense of Odessa, Sevastopol, Kerch -Feodosika4 landing operation, defense of the Caucasus, release of Novorossisk.

In the years of war the fleet conducted 24 landing operations, were heated 835 ships and it was ship enemy, 539 are damaged. 18 ships and to parts appropriated the title of guard, 228 people became Heroes of the Soviet Union, 54766 - were rewarded with orders and medals.

In the subsequent time, after restoring the infrastructure, destroyed by war, Black Sea fleet accomplished tasks in the protection of the southern boundaries of the country. Ships, submarines and aviation CHF accomplished tasks in the bearing of combat service in different regions of world ocean.

The Montreaux Convention was signed on 20 July 1936 by Turkey, Great Britain, France, Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Australia and Japan to resolve the issue of warship passage of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles (the Straits) by warships. The conference had been called by Turkey in order to clarify the 1923 Lausanne Treaty. Turkey cannot prevent the international use of the straits because navigation through both the Bosporus and Dardanelles is unrestricted under the 1936 Montreaux convention which provides safe passage for commercial traffic at all times except during the war. In practice the Convention did not hinder Soviet naval forces from traversing the Bosphorus/Dardenelles into the Mediterranean, nor did it prevent NATO naval contingents from entering the Black Sea.

US Navy ships regularly steamed into the Black Sea, to demonstrate freedom of navigation and exercise the provisions of the Montreaux Convention which govern passage through the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits. On 13 March 1986, two American warships, the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown and the destroyer USS Caron cruised through Soviet Crimean territorial waters, provoking a formal protest from the USSR five days later.

After the collapse of the USSR, after passing the complex and unhealthy period of the reduction of the zone of basing, division between Russia and Ukraine, reformation, fleet it withstood, preserved its combat efficiency and it is as before the reliable advance post, which protects the interests of the fraternal peoples of Russia and Ukraine in the Black sea.

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