New, 1917 year found "Glory" in the roads of the fortress Sveaborg. The ship was under repair. It was there that the battleship met the February revolution.
I must say that the crew of "Glory" in comparison with other ships met a revolution almost exemplary (if compared with other battleships). The team, united by the war, did not descend to the mass killings of the officers and did not allow reprisals against them by “foreign” sailors, preventing the “landing” forces from the “Andrey Pervozvanny” and “Emperor Paul I” battleships. But the revolutionary sailors of the latter reached the point that they aimed the guns of their ships at the Glory. They achieved, however, the opposite effect: you do not intimidate people who fought with the superior forces of the Germans in Moonsund, but there was a disturbance that the one who fought, fought in the rear and didn’t even smell gunpowder at you. Still, there were no casualties, the boatswain Vasilenko died. Interestingly, he was described as "the softest of all boatswains." In March, a new commander, VG, was assigned to the ship. Antonov, who had previously served on the "Glory" as a senior officer in the 1915 campaign and was respected in the sailor's environment.
But then it got worse. Part of the old servicemen left the ship, instead of them came a young recruitment, already "corrupted" by revolutionary propaganda. Those who remained in the crew first had a restraining influence on them, but in the end they got tired of it, and they moved away from politics.
On the whole, it can be said that, although revolutionary trends did not take on such “ugly” forms as on a number of other Baltic Fleet battleships, it is impossible to speak about a normal situation on the battleship. It is difficult to say how the exercises were conducted, because during the 1917, the logbook was almost not kept, records were made from time to time. On the one hand, given the revolutionary fermentation, one can hardly count on the fact that in 1917, the battleship intensively maintained its own combat capability. But on the other hand, Vinogradov mentions that since November, the nose tower of Glory 1916 made an 34 practical shot (meaning not stem, but full firing), which generally indicates a very intensive preparation. In any case, the discipline on the ship has not recovered. For example, having received an order to return to Moonzund, the battleship team refused to do this, arguing that neither “Andrew the First-Called” nor the “Republic” (the former “Emperor Paul I”) did not go to Moonzund and did not participate in the battles, so that and go. The situation was broken only by the statement of V.G. Antonov, that he will leave the ship-traitor, who has not fulfilled the military order. The team then adopted a resolution that with "it is ready to go anywhere."
Before proceeding to the description of the battle, let us pay a little attention to the geography of the Moonsund archipelago in the old (pre-revolutionary) names.
From the south, we see Kurland, located on the mainland, its most northern point, Cape Domasnes. Between this cape and the small island of Werder, located near the mainland coast, the sea crashes deep into the mainland, forming the Gulf of Riga. This bay is separated from the Baltic Sea by the island of Ezel, the largest island of the Moonsund archipelago. The southern extremity of Ezel ends at the Svorbe peninsula, where the Zusel Point is the southernmost point. Between the Peninsula Svorbe and Kurland is the Irbensky Strait. If we look at the northern tip of Ezel, then we will see between it and the mainland the smallest island of the Moonsund archipelago - Mawn. Between Mono and Ezel there is the Small Zund strait, between Mon and Werder, respectively, the Bolshoi Zund - however, this strait can only be considered large compared to the Minor Zund.
North of Ezel is the third island of the archipelago - Dago. Dago and Ezel are separated by the Soalosund Strait, which expands sharply to the east, forming the Kassar Reach. If we turn from the Gulf of Monon and Werder from the turn of the Bolshoy Zund Strait and further, having Dago on the left and the mainland on the right, then we rest on the island of Worms. This island is located between the northern tip of Dago and the continent, but much closer to the continent — between Moons and Dago is the Moonsund Strait, leading to the Gulf of Finland.
Two words about the main Russian bases. Ahrensburg was located on the island of Ezel, not far from the beginning of the Svorbe peninsula. Kuivast was on the eastern side of the island of Muon, opposite Werder Island.
The actions of the German and Russian forces during the period of September 29 - October 2 1917 d)
We will not describe in detail the “Albion” operation undertaken by Kaiserlhmarin in 1917, but will focus only on those aspects of it that are relevant to the defense of mine-artillery positions. The operation began on September 29 (old style). Of course, the Germans once again concentrated the naval forces, knowingly and overwhelmingly superior to the Russian Baltic fleet, and if in 1915 r, the dreadnoughts of the first series (“Nassau” and “Helgoland”) went to 1917 then in XNUMX, these were the newest Bayern (Baden, though not) type ships, the Koenig and the Kaiser.
Russian forces numerically outnumbered those who tried to defend Moonzund in 1915 r - 2 of the old battleship (“Glory” and “Citizen”), 3 cruisers (“Admiral Makarov”, 3 gunners, 26 large and medium destroyers, 7 small, 3 British men boats. But now this fleet was revolutionary and did not fight as commanders ordered, but at its own discretion.
For example, excerpts from the “Report on the actions of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga 29 of September - 7 of October of 1917” for October 1, signed by the Chief of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga, M.K. Bakhireva:
“The Pripyat team, treacherously, almost without any risk, refused to perform the mine-laying operation. Neither the request of the commander, nor his indication of the extreme importance of the operation and the rarely favorable circumstances, nor the persuasion of two or three old sailors honored, nothing could induce people to fulfill their military duty. ”
"The chief of the 5 battalion of destroyers, captain of the 1 rank Green, voluntarily, without warning, despite my order to remain in the Ahrensburg patrol and support ground forces with my artillery, removed the post of communication service in Ahrensburg and around 19 hours with the Rider "and" Transbaikal "came to Kuivast".
The German plan was very different from what was planned in 1915. The previous time envisaged a breakthrough of large forces fleet to the Gulf of Riga, but only, while in 1917 it was planned to capture the islands of Ezel, Dago and Moon, that is, in fact, the entire Moonsund archipelago. The goal is to ensure the flank of the German troops and create an operational base for subsequent actions already in the Gulf of Finland.
Accordingly, the plan of operation has undergone significant changes. In 1915, the Germans sought to force the Irbensky Strait, whose minefields were covered only by fleet forces, but now everything has changed. Next to Cape Zorel in April 1917 g, the construction of the battery No.43 was completed consisting of four newest 305-mm guns, similar to those used for the dreadnoughts "Sevastopol". These guns could shoot at 156 kbts and almost completely blocked the Irben Strait, although, of course, the effectiveness of firing at such distances at a moving target is in doubt. But in any case, the new assault on the Irbensky Strait in the style of 1915 of the year could have cost the Germans much more than the previous one.
305-mm gun "battery Tserel"
But the Germans were not going to beat their foreheads against the wall. Instead, they chose to land on Ezel, seize the island, including, of course, the Svorbe peninsula and Tserel Cape from land, and only then cross the Irben Strait. Nevertheless, the trawling of minefields in Irbeny started from September 29: but, if in 1915, Slava immediately went to the defense of minefields when an enemy appeared there, this time nothing like this happened. The destroyers went to patrol, and even M.K. Bakhirev on the Bayan cruiser checked for the presence of German ships, going as far as the Dominesnes position (i.e., along the entire Strait of Irbene, up to the coast opposite to Ezel), but no battleships were used for defense positions. Only on October 10, the Citizen (former Tsesarevich) was sent to Cape Tserel, but he was sent not for a sea battle, but for the shelling of the German ground forces moving towards Svorbe, i.e. for battery defense No.2 from sushi. Why did the fleet defending the Irbens in 43 r hardly take any measures to protect them in 1915 r? To all appearances, there were two reasons for this.
First, the battery No. XXUMX was introduced to the commander of the Baltic Fleet and M.K. Bakhirev cornerstone defense of the Irbene Strait. In fact, it was so - the four newest 43-mm / 305 guns exceeded the main caliber of "Glory" and "Citizen" combined in their effectiveness. Accordingly, the stability of the Irben mine position was entirely dependent on the ability of this battery to fight the enemy.
At the same time, the main threat to the battery №43 did not come from the sea, there the battery could fight with good chances of success almost against any opponent. The real threat was an attack from the land, where the Kaiser troops attacked. The coastal defense forces failed to repel the landing on Ezel, and it was hardly possible, because the defense of Taga Bay, where the Germans landed, was frankly weak, respectively, all hope remained for the ground forces. And their replenishment and supply depended entirely on who controls the Soelosund Strait (between Ezel and Dago) and Kassar Reach (also located between Ezel and Dago).
Therefore, the head of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga forced him to prioritize the defense of Soelozund and the Kassar Reach, confining himself to the menacing patrols of the Irben position.
On the other hand, Soalosund was impassable for German heavy ships. Should the Glory be distracted by its cover, given that M.K. Bakhirev were quite impressive detachment of cruisers and destroyers? The Vice-Admiral himself later wrote in his “Report”:
"Glory" was necessary in the event of the overwhelming majority of enemy destroyers in the Kassar Reach. "
And he informed the fleet yusogram of 2 of October:
"Sozlozund distracts a large ship, boats and destroyers."
The author will allow himself to assume that in a normal situation, "Glory" was not necessary to protect Soelozund. But the problem is that the situation on the ships of the Baltic Fleet was anything but normal. M.K. Bakhirev was not, and could not be sure of his crews, and the presence of a “big heavy battleship” could obviously have a positive effect on the mood of the teams: one could expect that they would act more boldly with the support of the battleship.
Consequently, the decision not to withdraw "Glory", and "Tsesarevich" for the defense of the Irben position should be recognized as correct. Wrong in all this was a complete discouragement on the battery number XXUMX, whose personnel thought much more about retreat than about battles with the Germans.
The Germans started the trawling of the Irbensky Strait at the very beginning of the operation, on September 29, but on September 30, the Tserel battery gave a yuzogram (a telegram transmitted by the Hughes system) to the head of the mine division. Requested:
"Immediately send several destroyers and transports, because despite the decision of the team to stand up to the last shell and bring the guns to disrepair, they will have to flee with our help"
A detailed description of what happened on the battery number 43 in the period of September 29 - October 2 will require at least a separate article, if not the whole cycle. But, in short, the situation was as follows: in the period from 29 to 1 in October, the Germans trawled the Strait of Irbena smoothly. By October 1, their ground forces had practically already captured Esel, and in the southern part they reached the Svorbe peninsula. Ahrensburg was captured. To speed up the liquidation of the Russian troops remaining on the peninsula, the Germans launched a bombardment of battery # XXUMX from the sea, using the battleships “Friedrich der Grosse” and “König Albert” for this (it is mentioned in other sources that “Kaiserin” also took part in the shelling, but this seems to be a mistake).
The battery responded, and the official German история notes that
"The Tserelsky battery was adjusted very quickly and accurately, so the ships had to go dispersed and constantly change courses."
If the battery number XXUMX fought at full strength that day, it could inflict very sensitive damage on the German battleships. But alas: the servants of the two guns fled completely, at the rate of the third gun risked fighting only half, so that it led only episodic fire, but only one gun really fought. Nevertheless, even these guns and a half forced the German ships to retreat. The battle was fought at a distance from 43 to 60 KBT; neither Russians nor Germans suffered losses during it.
However, the morale of the “Zoerel Battery” turned out to be irreversibly undermined. At night, yuzograms were sent from her and demanded a fleet, but even the appearance of the “Citizen” could not help, the calculations ran. The next day, October 3, the German forces captured the Svorbe peninsula, while the battery number XXUMX was incapacitated, and the Germans got the 43-mm and 130-mm guns of the other two batteries located on the peninsula intact.
Mikhail Koronatovich Bakhirev characterized the following battery: No. XXUMX:
“The treacherous surrender of the 305-mm Tserelsky battery was of immense importance not only for the defense of the Gulf of Riga, but also predetermined the fate of Moonsund.”
Why didn't “Glory” and “Citizen” try to counteract the German breakthrough through the Irbensky Strait after the battery was dropped? Both Bakhirev and Razvozov (commander of the Baltic fleet) did not see any reason to defend the mine position, both of which were captured by the enemy, despite the fact that the enemy’s large (albeit light) forces could break into Kassar Reach and the Gulf of Riga through Soelosund at any moment. Therefore, it was decided not to enter into a decisive battle for the Gulf of Riga and focus on the defense of the Strait of Moonsund, leading from Riga to the Gulf of Finland. On October 2, M.K. Bakhirev received a telegram from the fleet:
"In the case of the fall of Tserel, considering the Strait of Irbena to be strategically lost and not finding expedient, having our land operation on Ezel developing in the rear, to defend Irben by the forces of the Gulf of Riga, in the absence of battery and observation it is now impossible, I order: by all means, strengthen the defense of the approaches to the southern the entrance to Moonzund; second, by minefields, by separate operations in the gulf, it is difficult for the enemy to use the Gulf of Riga and the ways to power the expedition detachment on Ezel, forcing him to conduct operations across the open sea; third, to increase Pernov’s defense capability with the help of obstacles, fourth, to help, as far as possible, from the sea, with ships to advance our detachment in Ezel; Fifth, certainly to secure the inner waters of Moonsund. No. 1655. Rear Admiral Razvozov ".
This decision made sense: while maintaining control over the Strait of Moonsund and Bolshoi Zund, there was theoretically the possibility of delivering reinforcements to all three Moonsunda islands, and indeed this water area was, in fact, the “last bastion” allowing us to hope for the archipelago. The Germans had already invaded the Gulf of Riga, but the lack of bases on the islands of the archipelago and the inability to control the Strait of Moonsund forced them to leave. This could be expected now.
The reasons for which Mikhail Koronatovich Bakhirev made the decision to fight the enemy, many times overwhelming him in strength, are remarkably expounded by him in his “Report”:
“Despite the great inequality of forces in order to maintain the spirit of the Moonsund garrison, based on the minefield to S from Kuivast, I decided to accept the battle and, as far as possible, delay the capture of the enemy by the southern part of Moonsund. If I succeeded in this and his appearance with Moonzund was ineffectual, his position in the Gulf of Riga, if he had decided to stay there for a while, without a base for large ships, if there were submarines in the sea and mined cans set at night. Moreover, it was made very possible attacks of our destroyers. With the departure of the German fleet from the Gulf of Riga and the slowing down of southern Moonzund even for a short time, it was still possible to bring fresh infantry and cavalry units and artillery through Möhn and through Ezel to it and, therefore, there was still hope for improvement. In addition, I believed that the withdrawal of the naval forces without a battle would have led to the rapid retreat of our unstable ground units not only from Werder, but also from points to N and O from him and even from the island of Dago. ”
It was necessary to fight in much more constrained conditions than was possible with the Irben position, but there was nothing to choose from. In order to go to the Moonsund Strait, the Germans had to overcome the Bolshoi Zund, located between the islands of Moan and Werder, it was there that the Bakhirev ships were to defend. If you look at the map, there seems to be a lot of places, but the problem was that large ships could go along the Big Zoo by only a very narrow fairway. Accordingly, while in the 1915 battles of the year, “Glory” calmly moved along minefields to the south, then to the north, here she had to fight almost at anchor.
On the other hand, on the side of the Gulf of Riga, approaches to the Big Zundu were covered with two minefields, set up one after the other with a small gap between them: closer to Mon and Werder there was an obstacle exposed in the past, 1916, and a bit more seaward - the second, which was put in 1917 d. In order to break through to the Big Sound it was necessary to overcome both of them. But the Russians had one more advantage - the battery No.36, located on the south coast of the island of Muon, consisting of five 254-mm guns.
254-mm battery tool №36
In addition, the batteries of the 32 and 33 batteries with four 152-mm guns were also located on the Món and Werder.
152-mm gun on Werder Island
Unfortunately, the Germans already knocked to the rear of this position - starting October 10, their destroyers under the cover of heavy artillery of battleships passed through Soalosund, and then independently (they could not pass through the battleships of Soalosund) and were active in Kassar Bay. M.K. Bakhirev tried to fight with them, involving not only destroyers and gunboats, but also the cruiser “Admiral Makarov”, as well as the “Glory” itself. By October 1 in the north of the Moonsund Archipelago, the picture was as follows: German troops almost completely captured Ezel and fought already on the defensive Russian positions of Orissara. The value of this position was difficult to overestimate, because it covered the dam connecting the islands of Ezel and Mawn. Understandably, if the Germans invaded Mawn with land forces and captured it, the defense of the Bolshoi Zunda would be extremely complicated, if possible, so that the ships of Bakhirev and the heavy guns at Kuivast supported the defenders of Orissard. The German destroyers, on the contrary, supported the troops, the attacking Orissar drove them away, but they returned again.
As for the situation around the Strait of Irbena, here the Germans managed to get rid of the barricades by October 3. The entrance to the Gulf of Riga was open.
Events 3 October 1917 g
The Citizen has returned to 09.00 in Kuivast. British submarines turned around in positions in the Gulf of Riga, but the Russians didn’t fit, which Bakhirev notified the fleet. Suddenly, it turned out that enough Russian troops had retreated to the southeastern coast of Ezel, and Bakhirev sent a detachment of light ships to help them gain a foothold and support them with fire. Then enemy destroyers appeared on Kassar Reach - our gunboats entered the battle with them, and Bakhirev sent destroyers to support them, and also ordered the cruiser Admiral Makarov "to approach the shallow water of the Kassar Reach as much as its draft allows it to take 5 degrees and be ready to support the destroyers with fire. Glory received a similar order.
At this very time, the fleet commander telegraphed to Bakhirev that the Germans were preparing a night landing on the Mone from Kassar Reach. The head of the Naval Forces of the Gulf of Riga was forced to prepare a night battle plan, intending to attack the German ships with destroyers. But on the whole, the circumstances were such that the German ships quite freely acted at the entrance to the Small Sund from the side of the Kassar Reach and could not be driven out from there, even with the use of the newest destroyers, the Novikovs. By evening, the fleet reported to Bakhirev that the Germans had postponed the landing on Mone. "Glory" and the batteries at Kuivast that day shot at German troops on the other side of the dam on Ezel.
While the Russian ships 3 of October defended Mawn, a large German squadron forced the Strait of Irbene. Despite the fact that the fairway was trawled, no one wanted to risk, so 26 minesweepers and 18 minesweeper boats were ahead, and in the KNT cable 6 behind them, the light cruiser Kohlberg, the dreadnoughts König and Kronzprinz and two light cruisers , "Strasbourg" and "Augsburg". Destroyers and transports were five miles behind them.
Between 11 and 12, the squadron entered the Gulf of Riga, climbed north, past the Svorbe peninsula and stood within sight of Arensburg. Here, at 13.30, Vice-Admiral Behnke, commander of the ship group in the bay, received an order "to attack Russian ships in Moonsund and the Gulf of Riga with all available forces." In pursuance of the order, Behnke divided his forces - he left Augsburg and transports in the Arensburg raid, while he himself, having an 2 battleship, 2 light cruisers, 10 destroyers, 16 minesweepers and 9 boats and minesweepers, together with their base, Indianola, moved to Monon . They walked slowly behind the trawl caravan, fearing the mines, but because of this the detachment became vulnerable to attacks from under the water. In 19.00, the British submarine C-27, which torpedoed Indianola, was under attack. The base of the minesweeper boats did not sink, but was forced to return to Ahrensburg.
Benke did not expect to start operation 3 of October, but he wanted to come as close as possible to the Russian positions in order not to waste time on this the next day. The German squadron stopped for the night in 35 miles from Moonsund in order to begin the operation with the dawn of October 4.
To be continued ...