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Red Fleet 1917 - The Baltic Fleet

Dreadnoughts Gangut, Poltava, Petro Pavlosk, Sevastopol - new dreadnaughts, all at Cronstadt, were in the hands of the Soviet Government.

Battleships Respublika, Andrei Pervozvanni (older battleships, were reported to be at Cronstadt). Grazhdanin, at Petrograd; all in the hands of the Soviet Government.

Battle cruisers Izmeril, Kinburn, Borodino, Navctrin were building at Petrograd; at least two were nearing completion in January, 1918; they were all in the hands of the Soviet Government.

Cruisers, armored, Gromoboi, Bayan, Rurik were reported at Kronstad or Petrograd, in the hands of the Soviet Government. The Admiral Makharoff struck a mine and sunk off Reval, April 9, 1918. There is also a report that the Rurik was caught in the ice near Reval, and fell into the hands of the Germans in March, 1918. Varyag was dismantled at Liverpool, June, 1917.

Light cruisers Aurora, Bogatir, Oleg.Roasiya, Diana (mine layer) were reported to be at Kronstadt or Petrograd, in the hands of the Soviet Government.

Ligfil (building) Admiral Butakov, Admiral Spiridov were building at Petrograd and nearly completed in January, 1918. They were in the hands of the Soviet Government. Admiral Greig, Admiral Svietland, of the same class, were building and nearly completed at Reval. These doubtless fell into the hands of the Germans when they occupied that port, early in 1918.

Torpedo craft - In January, 1918, the Baltic Fleet included about 86 destroyers, of which 14 were large, new vessels ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 tons. Then, there were also a large number of small torpedo boats. A large number of the destroyers, perhaps 30, were unable, on account of ice, to leave Helsmgfors, when the Germans occupied that port, in April, 1918. They had since been disarmed and stripped. They were under control of the German-Finnish Government. The remainder of the destroyers and torpedo boats were reported at Kronstadt or Petrograd, while some were said to have taken refuge in Lake Ladoga. All of these are, of course, under control, such as it was, of the Soviet Government. Sixteen destroyers under construction at Reval were doubtless in the hands of the Germans. Ten were under construction at Petrograd.

Submarines - In January, 1918, the Baltic Fleet included probably 32 submarines. Six or eight of these fell into the hands of the Germans at Revel, and about 15 at Helsingfors. The remainder were reported at Petrograd or Cronstadt under control of the Soviet Government. It is possible that several were blown up by their own crews at Hango just before the German occupation of that port. Seven British submarines that had been operating with the Russian Fleet in the Baltic were thus destroyed outside of Helsingfors, by order of the Admiralty, between April 3 and 8, 1918. A number of unfinished submarines may have fallen into the hands of the Germans at Revel. There were also a few unfinished in Petrograd.

Auxiliaries - An immense train of auxiliaries was for the most part in Kronstadt and Petrograd under the control of the Soviet Government, but a few fell into the hands of the Germans at Revel and Abo, and a considerable number remained at Helsingfors until after the German occupation. The latter had been seized by the Finnish Government.

Summary - All dreadnaughts, battleships, unfinished battle cruisers, and cruisers were in the hands of the Soviet Government, with the possible exception of the cruiser Admiral Makharoff, which was sunk by a mine, and of the cruiser Rurik, which may have remained in Revel and fallen into the hands of the Germans. The cruisers Admiral Greig and Svietlana, building at Revel, were in the hands of the Germans. Torpedo craft, submarines, and auxiliaries are partly in Soviet hands, partly in German or Finnish hands, and partly destroyed.

The fleet in the hands of the Soviet Government was completely demoralized; many of the ships had been stripped by their crews; discipline was practically nonexistent, and in all cases the crews had been much depleted. The Baltic Fleet could not be considered as a fighting force; it was practically at the mercy of any enemy force that may occupy Kronstadt or Petrograd.




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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:18:06 ZULU