Boat "squadron" of Lieutenant Makarov
A.P. Bogolyubov. The explosion of the Turkish monitor "Safe" on the Danube 14 May 1877.
June 2016 of the year. Mediterranean Sea. The rapprochement (real or imaginary) of the Russian patrol ship "Yaroslav the Wise" with the escort ships of American aircraft carriers caused a tremendous commotion in the corridors of the Pentagon.
And involuntarily forced to recall the sea story from the recent past ...
15 years without fleet
There is little in our stories wars that enjoyed such public support as the Russian-Turkish 1877-1878. - caused by the intercession of Russia for the southern Slavs oppressed by Turkey. Alexander II began to prepare for it in October 1876, and on April 12, 1877 declared war on the Turks.
The Russian plan envisaged a decisive offensive through Bulgaria against the Turkish capital, Istanbul (Constantinople). But for this it was necessary to overcome the 800 meter-wide water barrier - the Danube River. The Russian fleet could neutralize a strong Turkish flotilla on the Danube.
But after the Crimean War 1853-1856. Russia was denied the right to have a navy on the Black Sea. And since 1871, when this right was restored, too little time has passed. By the beginning of the Russian-Turkish war for the Black Sea, only the battleships Novgorod and Vice-Admiral Popov were able to build - powerful but suitable only for coastal defense.
And then they remembered the mineboats.
Checked: there are mines!
Mine boat 1860-x - 1900-x. - This is a deckless boat with a length of 10-18 meters with a steam boiler and a propeller. But this ingenuous vessel carried the 2-3 powerful explosive charge in a cylindrical or cylindrical-conical metal shell - mines. And they hit the most vulnerable part of the enemy fleet - underwater.
It was the highest martial art!
Hex mines were attached to the ends of the 6-12-meter poles, which the boat carried along the sides; two or three sailors were pushing poles in front of the forward-and-down attack, so that they would poke into the underwater part of the attacked vessel.
The towed mines on the floats before the attack were dropped overboard and dragged behind the boat on a cable at an angle 30-40o. This allowed the enemy to be “cut” by touching the submerged part with a mine.
Well, the self-propelled mine, called in the Russian fleet the Whitehead mine, is a torpedo. A spindle-shaped projectile equipped with screws that were actuated with compressed air and moved the mine forward until the air ran out ...
Mining boats - Anglo-Saxon invention. Boats with pole and towed mines were first used by the Americans during the American Civil War 1861-1865. The British in 1870 began to arm boats and mines Whitehead.
But it was the Russians who were able to use mineboats so that it influenced the course of the war.
A dozen steam boats, transferred by rail from the Baltic to the Danube, were intended for setting minefields. But the Turks could neutralize the barrage with trawls. It was then that the captain of the 1 rank, Ivan Rogulya, proposed to arm the boats with pole and towed mines and attack the enemy themselves.
What does this mean in practice?
The tiny boat, whose speed did not exceed 5-10 knots (9,3-18,5 km / h), was to come under fire to the board of an enemy vessel. At a distance equal to the length of the pole!
On the night of 14 in May, 1877, providing the crossing of the Russian troops from Brailov, Lieutenant Fedor Dubasov on the Tsarevich boat and Lieutenant Alexei Shestakov on the Xenia boat, imperceptibly approaching the Selfi monitor, attacked him coolly and struck him - each one with a pole mine - in those places where they were marked. "Tsarevich" flooded with a column of water, covered with debris, the Turks opened fire, but "Selfi" sank!
The first St. George Knights of the War 1877-1878, Lieutenants Dubasov and Shestakov. 1877 year. Photo: Franz Dushek
This so demoralized the enemy that he withdrew ships from the lower Danube, and the 10-11 of June the 14 of the Russian army corps carried out the crossing without interference.
At the crossing of the main forces, at Zimnitsa, the courageous "babies" also did not allow the Turkish ships to approach the bridges over the Danube. After hitting 8 in June near the island of Mechka with a pole mine, armed ship Erekli, Lieutenant Nikolai Skrydlov, on the boat Stukh, failed to sink the enemy, but forced him and the Hizber monitor that followed him to turn back.
On June 11, near the village of Flamund, the Mina attack (midshipman Yevgeny Arens) and the Jokes (midshipman Konstantin Nilov) fled the armored gunboat Podgorica.
And 16, on the island of Warden, the boats Peter the Great (midshipman Peter Theodosiev), Experience (midshipman Vladimir Persin) and the General-Admiral (midshipman Arens) drove off Erekli and Hizber by one approximation !
As a result of June 15, the first echelon of the Russian main forces - Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov’s 14 Infantry Division - was already beyond the Danube ...
But the history also included the unprecedented feats of mineboats in the Black Sea!
Aide-de-camp and George Cavalier Stepan Makarov.
Chesma, Sinop, Navarin and Miner
At sea, the mineboats were intended for the defense of ports. However, Lieutenant Stepan Makarov - the future famous admiral - suggested using them offensively. Search for the enemy in the sea and destroy it!
But how can a fragile boat with an insignificant supply of coal be able to cruise far from the coast?
Makarov, a shaped generator of ideas, proposed the use of "kateronostsy". Under the leadership of the lieutenant, the Grand Duke Constantine armed ship was re-equipped, after which along its sides four mine launch boats were hung on the boarding (inclined bars) - Chesma with copper and wooden Sinop, Navarin and Miner wooden . The suspension system, lifting and lowering also developed Makarov. In order not to spend two hours on dilution of vapors, Makarov invented before descending to fill the boilers with boiling water from the boilers of "Konstantin", and to warm the cars of the boats with steam from them.
Lev Lagorio. The steamer "Grand Duke Konstantin", converted by Lieutenant Makarov. Photo: Central Naval Museum, St. Petersburg
Boats could start running within 15 minutes after receiving the task!
Painted in camouflage gray, they began to appear in various parts of the Black Sea and attack the Turks even in their ports.
On the night of April 30, 1877, Lieutenant Ismail Zatsarny, at a high-speed 11-node "Chesme", brought a towed mine under the bottom of an armed steamer in the Batum roadstead.
On the night of May 29, the mined boats N 1 (Lieutenant Leonid Pushchin) and N 2 (Lieutenant Vladimir Rozhestvensky) brought by Konstantin in tow attacked the battleship Idzhalie on Sulina roadstead with mines.
On the night of August 12, on the Sukhum roadstead, lieutenants Sergey Pisarevsky (on Sinop) and Fedor Vishnevetsky (on Navarin) and midshipman Pavel Nelson-Girst (on Miner) blew up three towed mines at the side of the battleship Assari- Shevket. " “Sinop” at the same time came across a Turkish boat standing at the side, with the crew of which I had to fight hand-to-hand; Lieutenant Pisarevsky had a head oar.
Lieutenant Ishmael Zatsar.
On the night of December 16, the lieutenants Zatsarenny (on "Chesme") and Osip Shcheshinsky (on "Sinop") fired two Whitehead mines on battleships stationed in the Batum road. And the first one was fired from a wooden pipe, reinforced under the keel of the boat, and the second - from a raft lowered overboard.
And, finally, on the night of January 14 1878, on the same Batumi roadstead, with "the light of the moon and the brilliance of snowy mountains" 1, Zatsirovanny on Chesme and Shcheshinsky on Sinop drowned the Intibah gunboat with two mines of Whitehead . It was the first ever successful torpedo attack!
A.P. Bogolyubov. Sinking of the "Intibah" parahod on the Batumi raid.
The efforts of the four small boats were enough for the Turkish fleet to reduce activity and, fearing mine attacks, did not dare to carry out the blockade of Russian ports announced at the outbreak of the war. When 7 August 1877, the Turkish battleship, who was shooting at Gagra, the road along which the detachment of Colonel B.M. Shelkovnikov, the Grand Duke Constantine steamed on the ship, he immediately left the road alone and rushed in pursuit of Constantine. So feared the enemy of this nest, from where the stinging wasps flew out! Meanwhile, the main forces of Shelkovnikov safely passed by the seashore to Sukhum ...
Of course, only a poorly prepared Turkish fleet could allow mine boats to handle this. But the fact remains: never again did Russian sailors manage to achieve so much with such small forces. This was the logical result of combining advanced technology with advanced tactics.
And it is also quite an expected result of the Great Reforms, which awakened the initiative, including the young naval officers.
PS Thirty years later the squadron destroyers "Lieutenant Pushchin", "Lieutenant Shestakov" and "Lieutenant Zatsarenny" became part of the Black Sea Fleet. The first of them, 16 in October, 1914, repeated the feat accomplished in Lieutenant Pushchin himself in 1877. Led by the destroyer battalion commander, captain of the 1 rank, Prince V.V. Trubetskoy, "Lieutenant Pushchin" bravely rushed near Sevastopol into a torpedo attack on the German battle cruiser "Goeben" and turned away, only after receiving heavy damage from 150-mm shells.
Lieutenant Pushchin 9 of March 1916 was killed on a Bulgarian mine, Lieutenant Zatsarenny - 17 of June 1917 on a German mine, and Lieutenant Shestakov scuttled 18 of June 1918 of the year in Novorossiysk to avoid the German fleet.