One of the main questions of the then world and European policy was the Eastern question, the question of the future of the Ottoman Empire and the “Turkish heritage”. The Turkish empire rapidly degraded, was subjected to destructive processes. Its naval power was significantly weakened, and Turkey, which had previously threatened the security of European nations, became a victim. The great powers claimed various parts of the Ottoman Empire. So, Russia was interested in the straits zone, Constantinople-Istanbul and the Caucasian possessions of Turkey. In turn, England, France and Austria did not want to strengthen Russia at the expense of Turkey and tried not to let the Russians into the Balkans and the Middle East.
The peoples, previously subordinate to the Ottoman military power, began to break out of submission, fought for independence. Greece rebelled in 1821. Despite the cruelty and terror of the Turkish troops, the Greeks courageously continued their struggle. In 1824, the Port requested help from Egypt’s Khedive Muhammad Ali, who had just modernized the army to Western standards. The Ottoman government promised to make large concessions on Syria, if Ali helped to suppress the uprising of the Greeks. As a result, Muhammad Ali sent the Egyptian fleet with troops and his adopted son Ibrahim to the aid of Turkey.
Turkish-Egyptian forces brutally crushed the uprising. The Greeks, in whose ranks there was no unity, were defeated. Greece sank in blood and turned into a desert. Thousands of people were killed and enslaved. The Turkish sultan Mahmul and the Egyptian ruler Ali planned to completely cut out the population of Morea. In addition, famine and plague raged in Greece, claiming more lives than the war itself. And the destruction of the Greek fleet, which performed important intermediary functions in the trade of southern Russia through the straits, caused great damage to all European trade. Therefore, in European countries, especially in England and France, and of course in Russia, sympathy for the Greek patriots grew. Volunteers went to Greece, donations were collected. The Greeks were sent to the aid of European military advisers.
The new Russian emperor Nikolai Pavlovich, who took the throne in 1825, thought about the need to appease Turkey. He decided to do this in alliance with England. Sovereign Nicholas hoped to find a common language with England regarding the division of Turkey into spheres of influence. Petersburg wanted to get control of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, which was of great military-strategic and economic importance for the Russian Empire. The British, on the one hand, wanted once again to play off the Russians with the Turks, receiving maximum benefits from it, while avoiding the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the interests of Russia. On the other hand, London wanted to tear off Greece from Turkey and make it its “partner” (dependent state).
4 April 1826, the British envoy in St. Petersburg, Wellington, signed a protocol on the Greek issue. Greece was supposed to be a special state, the sultan remained the supreme overlord, but the Greeks received their own government, legislation, etc. The status of a vassal of Greece was expressed in annual tribute. Russia and England pledged to support each other in the implementation of this plan. According to the Petersburg Protocol, neither Russia nor Britain should have made any territorial acquisitions in their favor in the event of a war with Turkey. Paris, concerned that London and St. Petersburg are resolving major European affairs, without his participation, joined the anti-Turkish alliance.
However, the Port continued to persist and did not make concessions on the Greek question, despite the pressure of the great European powers. Greece was of great military strategic importance for the Ottoman Empire. Port hoped for contradictions between the great powers, the British, Russian and French had too different interests in the region to find a common language. As a result, the great powers decided to put military pressure on Istanbul. To make the Turks more pliable, they decided to send an allied fleet to Greece. In the 1827 year in London, the convention of the three powers was adopted, supporting the independence of Greece. At the insistence of the Russian government, secret articles were attached to this convention. They envisaged sending the Allied fleet in order to exert military-political pressure on Porto, stop the delivery of new Turkish-Egyptian troops to Greece and establish contact with the Greek rebels.
Postage stamp of Egypt, dedicated to Ibrahim Pasha
While negotiating with the governments of England and France on a joint struggle against Turkey, Russia, back in 1826, began preparations for sending a Baltic squadron to the Mediterranean Sea, which included the most battle-capable ships of the Baltic Fleet and two new battleships, Azov and Ezekiel , Built at the shipyards of Arkhangelsk. The commander of the Azov in February 1826 was appointed an experienced commander, the captain of the 1 rank M. P. Lazarev. Simultaneously with the construction of "Azov" Lazarev was engaged in manning the ship with personnel. He tried to select the officers who were most capable of him and who knew their business well. So, he invited to his ship well-known Lieutenant P. S. Nakhimov, warrant officers V. A. Kornilov, V. I. Istomin and other talented young officers, who had jointly rendered service with him, and later became famous in the Navarinsky and Sinop battles and in the heroic defense of Sevastopol in the Crimean War.
10 June 1827, the Baltic squadron under the command of Admiral D.N. Senyavina left Kronstadt for England. July 28 squadron arrived at the main base of the English fleet Portsmouth. Here D. N. Senyavin finally determined the composition of the squadron, which, together with the Anglo-French fleet, was to conduct combat operations in the Mediterranean: four battleships and four frigates. At the head of the Mediterranean squadron, under the personal instructions of Czar Nicholas I, Count Rear Admiral L. P. Heyden was appointed, and M. N. Lazarev, Captain 1, was appointed Chief of Staff of the Squadron D. N. Senyavin.
The 8 August squadron under the command of Rear Admiral L. P. Heyden consisting of 4 battleships, 4 frigates, 1 corvette and 4 Brigs, separated from the squadron of Admiral Senyavin, left Portsmouth to the Archipelago. The rest of the squadron Senyavina returned to the Baltic Sea. On October 1, the Heyden squadron was connected to an English squadron under the command of Vice Admiral Cordington and a French squadron under the command of Rear Admiral de Rigny near Zante Island. From where, under the general command of Vice Admiral Cordington, as a senior officer, the combined fleet headed for Navarin Bay, where the Turkish-Egyptian fleet was under the command of Ibrahim Pasha. In London, Condrington was considered a shrewd politician and a good naval commander. For a long time, he served under the command of the famous Admiral Nelson. In the Battle of Trafalgar, he commanded the Orion 64 gun ship.
5 October 1827, the allied fleet arrived at the Bay of Navarino. Codrington counted on demonstrating the strength to compel the enemy to accept the demands of the allies. The British admiral, following the instructions of his government, did not plan to take decisive action against the Turks in Greece. The command of the Russian squadron in the person of Heyden and Lazarev held a different point of view, which was prescribed to them by Tsar Nicholas I. Directing the squadron to the Mediterranean, the king handed the order to graph Heyden to act decisively. Under pressure from the Russian command Condrington October 6 sent an ultimatum to the Turkish-Egyptian command about the immediate cessation of hostilities against the Greeks. The Turkish-Egyptian command, confident that the allies (and especially the British) did not dare to enter the battle, refused to accept the ultimatum. Then, at the military council of the Allied squadron, again under Russian pressure, it was decided, after entering Navarin Bay, to anchor against the Turkish fleet and with its presence force the enemy command to make concessions. The commanders of the Allied squadrons gave "mutual promise to destroy the Turkish fleet, if at least one shot will be made on the Allied ships."
Thus, in early October 1827, the combined Anglo-French-Russian fleet under the command of English Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Cordington blocked the Turkish-Egyptian fleet under the command of Ibrahim Pasha in Navarino Bay. The allied command hoped to use force to force the Turkish command, and then the government, to make concessions in the Greek question.
Login Petrovich Heyden (1773 - 1850)
Admiral Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev (1788 - 1851). From engraving I. Thomson
The forces of the parties
The Russian squadron consisted of the 74-gun battleship Azov, Ezekiel and Alexander Nevsky, the 84 gun ship Gangut, the frigates Konstantin, Provorny, Kastor and Elena. In total, the Russian ships and frigates had 466 guns. The British squadron included battleships Asia, Genoa and Albion, the frigates Glasgow, Combrian, Dartmouth and several small ships. The British had a total of 472 guns. The French squadron consisted of 74-gun battleships "Scipio", "Trident" and "Breslavl", frigates "Siren", "Armida" and two small ships. In total, the French squadron had 362 guns. In total, the Allied fleet consisted of ten battleships, nine frigates, one sloop and seven small vessels that had 1308 cannons and 11 010 team men.
The Turkish-Egyptian fleet was under the direct command of Mogarem Bey (Muharrem Bey). The commander in chief of the Turkish-Egyptian troops and fleet was Ibrahim Pasha. The Turkish-Egyptian fleet in the Navarinskaya Bay stood on two anchors in the form of a compressed crescent, the "horns" of which stretched from the Navarin fortress to the battery of the Sfakteriya island. The fleet consisted of three Turkish battleships (86-, 84- and 76-guns, a total of 246 guns and 2700 team men); Five double-deck 64-guns of Egyptian frigates (320 guns); Fifteen Turkish 50- and 48-gun frigates (736 guns); three Tunisian 36-gun frigates and 20-gun brig (128 guns); forty-two 24-cannon corvettes (1008 cannons); fourteen 20- and 18-gun brigs (252 guns). In total, the Turkish fleet consisted of 83 military vessels, more than 2690 guns and 28 675 team men. In addition, the Turkish-Egyptian fleet had ten firefighters and 50 transport ships. Battleships (3 units) and frigates (23 ships) were the first line, corvettes and brigs (57 ships) were in the second and third lines. Fifty transports and merchant ships anchored under the southeast coast of the Seas. The entrance to the bay about half a mile wide was shot through by batteries from the Navarino fortress and the island of Sphakteriya (165 guns). Both flanks were covered by firefighters (ships laden with fuel and explosives). Barrels with a combustible mixture were installed in front of the ships. On the hill from which the whole Navarinskaya bay was viewed, there was the Ibrahim Pasha rate.
The Ottomans had a strong position, covered by a fortress, coastal batteries and firefighters. Weak place was crowded ships and ships, ships of the line was not enough. If we count the number of guns, the Turkish-Egyptian fleet had more than a thousand more guns, but in terms of the power of the naval artillery, superiority remained with the allied fleet, and a considerable one. The ten battleships of the Allies, armed with 36-pounders, were much stronger than the Turkish frigates armed with 24-pounders, and especially the corvettes. The Turkish vessels, which were in the third line and, moreover, off the coast, could not shoot due to long distances and fears of hitting their own ships. Another negative factor was the weak training of the Turkish-Egyptian crews compared to the first-class allied fleet. However, the Turkish-Egyptian command was convinced of the strength of its position, covered by coastal artillery and firefighters, as well as the large number of ships and guns. Therefore, the Ottomans were not afraid of the arrival of the Allied fleet and were not afraid of an enemy attack.
Ship "Azov" in the Battle of Navarino
8 (20) in October, the British admiral sent an allied fleet to Navarino Bay to demonstrate his strength to the enemy and force him to make concessions. It was emphasized: “Not a single gun should fire without a signal, unless the Turks open fire, then those ships must be exterminated immediately. In the case of a battle, I advise you to memorize Nelson’s words: “The closer to the enemy, the better.” Thus, Codrington firmly hoped that the Turks would yield, and the matter would end in a mere demonstration of power.
Columns of the Allies entered the bay consistently. The British naval commander decided that it was risky to enter the tight bay in two columns. The English admiral was met by a Turkish officer at the entrance to the harbor, who reported that Ibrahim Pasha, who was allegedly absent, did not leave orders regarding the permission of the allied squadrons to enter this port, and therefore he demands that they return to the open sea without going further . Codrington replied that he had come not to receive, but to give orders, and that he would destroy their entire fleet if at least one shot was fired at the allies. The English ships calmly, as in maneuvers, entered the bay and, according to the disposition, stood on the spring.
Captain Fellous was subordinate to a detachment of small vessels, destined to destroy the firefighters that covered the flanks of the enemy fleet. Entering the port, he sent Lieutenant Fitzroy to one of the nearest firefighters to take him away from the Allied squadron. But the Turks, considering it an attack, opened gunfire, killed the officer sent and several sailors. The nearest British frigates responded. They opened fire on them from the Turkish ships. Then began the indiscriminate firing of guns and cannons of the Turkish fleet. After some time, shore batteries were also connected to the shootout. It happened about 14 hours.
The British responded with all available weapons. At this point, Heiden led his squadron into the port already covered with smoke, and barely “Azov” passed the fortifications, as the Turks opened fire on him. Admiral Codrington at the beginning of the battle had to deal not only with two Turkish battleships, but also with ships of the second and third lines. His flagship "Asia", having come under heavy fire, lost the mizzen-mast, with the fall of which some fowling cannons stopped firing. The English flagship was in a dangerous position. But at this moment Heiden joined the battle. His ship "Azov", covered with thick, suffocating smoke, showered with grapeshot, cores and bullets, nevertheless quickly reached its place, became from the enemy at a distance of a pistol shot and removed the sails in one minute.
According to the memoirs of one of the participants of the battle: “Then the position of the British changed, their opponents began to act weaker and weaker, and Mr. Codrington, whom our admiral helped by crushing the Tunisian captain, beat Mogarem: the ship of the first, sweeping along the line, was thrown at stranded, and the second burned, the vessels of the second and third lines, beating "Asia" from the bow and stern, were sunk. But on the other hand, Azov drew the enemy’s general attention, raging against it boiling, not only the cores, the canister, but even iron fragments, nails and knives, which the Turks put into a rage into cannons, poured onto it from one ship, five twin-guns. frigates that hit him in the stern and bow, and many ships of the second and third lines. The ship caught fire, the holes were widening, the mast fell. When the Gangut, Ezekiel, Alexander Nevsky and Breslavl adjusted to their places, when they also flew their cores on enemy ships, then the Azov began to leave the terrible hell in which it was located. 24 killed, 67 injured, beaten rigging, sails, and especially the spars, and more 180 holes except for 7 submarines prove the truth of what was said. ”
For several hours there was a fierce battle. The Turkish and Egyptian admirals were convinced of success. Turkish coastal batteries tightly covered with their fire the only way out to the sea from Navarinskaya bay, it seemed that the allied fleet had fallen into a trap and would be completely destroyed. Double superiority promised the Turkish-Egyptian fleet victory. However, everything was decided by the skill and determination of the commanders and sailors of the allied fleet.
Archipelago expedition of the Russian fleet of 1827. Navarino battle on October 8, 1827. Source: Naval Atlas of the USSR Ministry of Defense. Volume III Militaryhistorical. Part one
It was a high point for the Russian fleet. A flurry of fire struck the ships of the Russian and English squadrons. The flagship "Azov" had to fight immediately against five enemy ships. He was supported by the French ship "Breslavl". Having recovered, the Azov began to smash the flagship of the Egyptian squadron Admiral Mogarem Bey from all the guns. Soon this ship caught fire and from the explosion of the powder cellar flew into the air, setting fire to other ships of his squadron.
A participant in the battle, the future admiral Nakhimov, described the beginning of the battle as follows: “In 3 hours we set the anchor in the designated place and turned it with the spring alongside the enemy liner ship and the two-deck frigate under the Turkish admiral flag and another frigate. They opened fire from the starboard ... "Gangut" in the smoke pulled the line a little, then hesitated and was an hour late to come to its place. At this time we maintained the fire of six ships, and it was all those who were to occupy our ships ... It seemed that all hell turned in front of us! There was no place where knippels wouldn’t fall, cores and canister. And if the Turks would not beat us very much on the mast, and beat everything in the corps, I’m boldly confident that we wouldn’t have half the team left. It was necessary to fight truly with special courage to withstand all this fire and smash the opponents ... ".
The flagship "Azov" under the command of captain 1 rank Mikhail Lazarev became the hero of this battle. The Russian ship, fighting 5 with enemy ships, destroyed them: he sank the 2 large frigate and 1 corvette, burned the flagship frigate under the flag of Tahir Pasha, forced him to run aground on the 80-gun ship of the line, then lit it and blew it up. In addition, the Azov, along with the British flagship, sank the battleship of the Egyptian fleet commander, Mogarem Bey. The ship received up to 1800 hits, of which 7 is below the waterline. The ship was completely repaired and rebuilt only by March 1828. For combat exploits in battle, the battleship Azov for the first time in the Russian fleet was assigned the stern flag of St. George.
But the most appreciated was the commander of the Azov, M. P. Lazarev. In his report, L. P. Heyden wrote: "The fearless captain of the 1 rank Lazarev ruled the movements of Azov with composure, art and courage exemplary." P. S. Nakhimov about his commander wrote: “I still did not know the price of our captain. It was necessary to look at him during the battle, with what prudence, with what composure, he everywhere disposed of. But I don’t have enough words to describe all his commendable deeds, and I’m boldly confident that the Russian fleet didn’t have such a captain. ”
The powerful ship of the Russian squadron Gangut under the command of Alexander Pavlovich Avinov, the captain of 2, who sank two Turkish ships and one Egyptian frigate, also distinguished himself. The battleship "Alexander Nevsky" captured the Turkish frigate. The “Ezekiel” battleship, while assisting the Gangut battleship with fire, destroyed the enemy's brander. In general, the Russian squadron destroyed the entire center and right flank of the enemy fleet. She took the brunt of the enemy and destroyed most of his ships.
Within three hours, the Turkish fleet, despite stubborn resistance, was completely destroyed. The skill level of the Allied commanders, crews and gunners has affected. More than fifty enemy ships were destroyed during the battle. The Ottomans themselves drowned the surviving ships the next day. In his report on the Battle of Navarino, Rear Admiral Count Heyden wrote: “The three Allied fleets competed one another in courage. There has never been such sincere unanimity among different nations. Mutual benefits were delivered with unwritten activities. Under Navarin, the glory of the English fleet appeared in new splendor, and in the French squadron, beginning with Admiral Rigny, all the officers and ministers showed rare examples of courage and fearlessness. Captains and other officers of the Russian squadron performed their duty with exemplary zeal, courage and contempt of all dangers, the lower ranks excelled in bravery and obedience, which are worthy of imitation. ”
Navarin battle, National Historical Museum, Athens, Greece
The Allies have not lost a single ship. Most of all in the battle of Navarino, the flagship of the English squadron suffered the ship "Asia", which lost almost all its sails and received many holes, and two Russian ships: "Gangut" and "Azov". On the "Azov" all the masts were broken, the ship received dozens of holes. In manpower, the British suffered the greatest losses. Two parliamentarians, one officer were killed and three were injured, including the son of Vice Admiral Cordington. Of the Russian officers, two were killed and 18 injured. Among the French officers, only the commander of the Breslavl ship was slightly wounded. Total Allies lost killed 175 and wounded 487 people. The Turks lost almost the entire fleet - more than 60 ships and up to 7 thousands of people.
The commander of the "Azov" M. P. Lazarev for this battle received the rank of rear admiral and was simultaneously awarded four orders - Russian, English, French and Greek. For the courage, courage and marine art of the crew, the battleship Azov, for the first time in Russian maritime history, was awarded the highest combat distinction - the stern George flag. "Azov" became the first guard ship of the Russian fleet. “In honor of the commendable deeds of the chiefs, the courage and courage of the lower ranks,” the Tsarist script said. At the same time, it was prescribed "to continue raising the St. George flag on all ships bearing the name" Memory of Azov ". Thus was born the naval guard.
Russian Emperor Nicholas I awarded the Order of St. George 2 degree to Codrington, and de Rigny - the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. Received orders and many Russian officers. For the lower ranks, ten ships were given to each ship, and five crosses to the frigate. The reaction of the English king was peculiar: at Cordington’s submission to the Order of Victoria (and the monarch simply could not reward him, given the enormous international resonance of this battle), he wrote: “He deserves a rope, but I have to give him a ribbon”. The plans of London did not include the complete destruction of the Turkish fleet, therefore, as soon as the excitement calmed down and the jubilant public calmed down, Cordington was quietly dismissed.
Militarily, the battle is interesting because the Turkish-Egyptian fleet had a positional advantage, and its trump cards were coastal batteries with large-caliber guns. The miscalculation of Ibrahim Pasha was that he missed the Allies into the Bay of Navarino. The most convenient place for defense was a narrow entrance to the bay. By all the rules of naval art, it was at this line that Ibrahim Pasha was supposed to give the allies a battle. The next miscalculation of the Turks was the unsatisfactory use of numerous artillery. Instead of hitting the hull of the vessel, the Turks fired at the mast. As a result of this serious mistake, they failed to sink a single ship. The enemy ships (especially large ones) put up fierce resistance. However, their fire was not effective enough, since they led it not according to the hull, but according to the mast. In a letter to Reynard, P. S. Nakhimov wrote: “There was no place where there were no knocks, cores and a canister. And if the Turks wouldn’t beat us very much on the spars, and beat them all into the corps, I’m boldly confident that we wouldn’t have half the team ... The British themselves admit that there was nothing like this under Abukir and Trafalgar ... ". Russian sailors, on the contrary, as well as other naval battles, acted on the main line - against the most powerful enemy ships. The death of the flagships paralyzed the will to resist the more numerous Turkish-Egyptian fleet.
The news of the battle of Navarino horrified the Turks, and the Greeks - in delight. However, after the Battle of Navarino, England and France did not go to war with Turkey, which persisted on the Greek issue. The port, seeing disagreements in the ranks of the great European powers, stubbornly did not want to give the Greeks autonomy, and to comply with agreements with Russia on the freedom of trade through the Black Sea straits, as well as the rights of Russians in the affairs of the Danubian principalities of Moldova and Wallachia. This in 1828 year led to a new war between Russia and Turkey.
Thus, the defeat of the Turkish-Egyptian fleet significantly weakened the naval power of Turkey, which contributed to the victory of Russia in the Russian-Turkish war 1828-1829. The battle of Navarino provided support for the Greek national liberation movement, which resulted in the autonomy of Greece under the Adrianople Peace Treaty of 1829 (de facto Greece became independent).
Naval Battle of Navarin Aivazovsky's picture