Stepan Osipovich Makarov was a hereditary naval officer. His father Osip Fedorovich Makarova (1813-1878) served in Nikolaev, and then in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur. Stepan Osipovich was born in 1849 in Nikolaev and, like his father, chose for himself the career of a naval officer. In 1865 Stepan Makarov graduated from the Naval School in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, where he trained personnel for the Corps naval navigators.
After graduating from the school, the 16-year-old non-commissioned officer was assigned to the Varyag corvette, commanded by rank 2 rank captain Robert Alexandrovich Lund, an outstanding man, a navigator and a participant in a world tour. The commander spoke of the young Makarov as a very promising sailor, who demonstrated great success in maritime art. Makarov served on corvettes for two years - first on the Varyag corvette, then on the Askold corvette, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Peter Ivanovich Polozov. In 1867, he was promoted to the midshipmen of the Naval Cadet Corps, and only in 1869 was he granted the first officer title of midshipman of the Russian fleet. Already at that time, the young midshipman not only served in the service, like most other naval officers, but sought to combine it with research work.
The battleship Rusalka, to which Makarov was assigned, was a new type of coastal defense for Russia at that time. First, the Mermaid's corps was armored, and secondly, the main caliber guns were placed in a rotating turret. When the ship followed the narrow skerries, it collided with a pitfall. A large amount of water got on the ship, after which the commander decided to ground the “Mermaid” and start diving work. The young navigator was very interested in the reasons for the flooding of "Mermaids" and soon an article by midshipman Stepan Makarov, "The Battleship of the Mermaid", appeared in the Sea Collection. Studies of the buoyancy of the boat and the means proposed to eliminate this quality. ” In it, the midshipman offered his vision of a solution to the problem in detailed recommendations that were approved by the Russian Maritime Ministry. The essence of the proposals of midshipman Makarov was reduced to the separation of the ship by impenetrable partitions, which would preserve its buoyancy even in the case of flooding of individual compartments of the vessel. In addition, with the help of a stationary water pumping system, the crew was able to quickly remove the water that entered the ship through the damaged hull.
Makarov's further service was associated with the numerous wars waged by the Russian Empire. The young officer, being a good commander, did not forget about technical innovations. When the Naval Ministry mobilized civilian steamboats for military needs during the Russo-Turkish War, one of them, the “Grand Duke Konstantin”, was given the command of Lieutenant Makarov. He made a large-scale re-equipment of the vessel, turning it into a base for mine-boats. It was the steamer "Grand Duke Constantine" after the outbreak of war that first went out to carry out combat missions into the Black Sea. During the fighting in December 1877 - January 1878. in the Batumi area, Makarov successfully used the advantages of the steamer, including mineboats, for the first time using self-propelled mines - torpedoes.
In 1880-1881 Russia embarked on the famous Akhal-Teka expedition with the aim of conquering the warlike Turkmen tribe of Tekins. The main role in the Akhal-Teke expedition was played by ground forces, but combat missions were found for the fleet. The ships supplied Russian troops in Turkmenistan, transporting cargo from Astrakhan to Krasnovodsk. Served on the Caspian Sea at this time and Makarov. He was even honored to exchange St. George's crosses with General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev, who commanded the Russian troops on the Akhal-Tekinskaya expedition. Participation in the Russian-Turkish war, in the Akhal-Teke expedition, technical inventions allowed Makarov to make a quick career. In 1881-1882 he commanded the steamer Taman, and in 1885 the frigate Prince Pozharsky, then in 1886-1889. commanded the corvette "Vityaz", making a voyage around the world.
Makarov’s participation in world voyage is another great page in the life of the legendary sailor. In 1886, 37-year-old Makarov was the captain of the 1 rank - a very good maritime career for that time. Having received under the command of the corvette "Vityaz", he took him on a world tour through the Atlantic Ocean, then circled South America and arrived in Yokohama, and then, almost a year later, arrived in Vladivostok. During the world tour, the crew of the ship carried out priceless oceanographic and other studies. Thus, the temperature and specific gravity of sea water were measured during the trip every four hours. The crew measured the depths in different parts of the ocean, explored the sea currents.
After a round-the-world voyage, during which the Maritime Ministry received a huge amount of valuable information, the authority of the captain 1 of Makarov's rank both in the fleet and in the scientific community ascended to unprecedented heights. The merits of an outstanding officer appreciated. Already in 1890, he was promoted to rear admiral and appointed junior flagship of the Baltic Fleet. Makarov was just 41 year. A year later, serving as the junior flagship of the Baltic Fleet, Stepan Makarov was transferred to the post of chief inspector of naval artillery. This was a very serious assignment - artillery always played a key role in sea battles, and Makarov was to be responsible for the combat effectiveness and effectiveness of the entire naval artillery of the Russian fleet. And he coped with this task with honor, making a personal contribution to the strengthening of naval artillery. For example, it was Stepan Makarov who developed the so-called. "Makarov caps" - tips for armor-piercing shells, which the fleet adopted for use after the death of the admiral. After serving for about two years as chief inspector of naval artillery, Rear Admiral Makarov assumed command of a squadron in the Mediterranean in 1894, and the next year he was at the head of the squadron transferred to the Pacific Ocean.
The relations of the Russian Empire with neighboring Japan were exacerbated. "The Land of the Rising Sun" had its far-reaching plans for the Pacific coast of China and Korea, which the Russian Empire considered as its potential sphere of influence. Since Makarov was well acquainted with the military-political situation in the Pacific, he insisted on the need to strengthen the Russian naval forces in the region. Ten years before the start of the Russian-Japanese war, Rear Admiral Makarov was well aware that sooner or later the Russian and Japanese empires would enter the stage of direct military confrontation, and believed that the Russian fleet should prepare very well for the inevitable war. According to Makarov, the Japanese naval forces should not be underestimated. The admiral was well aware that Japan was striving to modernize its armed forces and fleet in the first place, therefore Russia should not ignore the Pacific direction, being engaged only in the development of the Baltic and Black Sea fleets.
However, Makarov did not succeed in checking with his own hands the situation with the development of the fleet in the Pacific. In 1896, he was again transferred to the European part of Russia - to the Baltic Sea, where Makarov was appointed commander of the Practical Squadron of the Baltic Fleet, and in 1899 he was appointed chief commander of the Kronstadt port and governor of Kronstadt. This was, above all, an administrative position, but the admiral did an excellent job with such work, not forgetting about scientific research. In 1896, Stepan Makarov was given the rank of vice-admiral of the fleet.
Back in 1895, Admiral Makarov developed the Russian semaphore alphabet, which is still used in the navy. The alphabet is compiled in accordance with the Russian alphabet and includes 29 alphabetic and 3 service marks. Each letter or symbol in the semaphore alphabet corresponds to a certain position of the hands with flags, and the semaphore message, respectively, includes words composed of letters denoted by the positions of the hands with flags. Only in 2011, the semaphore alphabet was excluded from the training programs for the training of junior communications specialists of the Russian Navy.
It is noteworthy that it was Admiral Makarov who became one of the most ardent supporters of the development of the Northern Sea Route, about which the foremost minds of the Russian fleet spoke more and more often. A traveler and naval commander, Stepan Makarov, understood that it was the detour through the northern seas that was the fastest and safest from a military-political point of view by sea from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. However, to open the Northern Sea Route, special conditions were required for the passage of ships through the ice, and Makarov began to actively develop the theory of icebreaking vessels. He took the most active part in managing the construction of the Yermak icebreaker, and in 1901, while on this icebreaker, he made an expedition to the islands of Franz Josef Land.
In his post as commander-in-chief of the port of Kronstadt, Vice-Admiral Makarov served for more than four years - until February 1904. In early February, he wrote an analytical note in which he emphasized that in a few days Japan would start a war against the Russian Empire. As it turned out, the vice admiral was really right. 27 January (9 February) 1904, the Russian-Japanese war began. The naval ministry immediately recalled the “genius of the Russian fleet” - Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov, who commanded the port of Kronstadt. As the most valuable specialist, he was transferred to the Far East - 1 (14) in February 1904, Vice-Admiral Makarov was appointed commander of the Pacific Squadron. February 24 (March 8) 1904, he arrived in Port Arthur - on one of the main bases of the Russian fleet in the Pacific.
Stepan Makarov literally breathed new life into the Russian crews stationed in Port Arthur. He immediately began organizing regular combat training for the crews - training sessions at sea, maneuvering and firing, laying mines, mines were started. Stepan Makarov was able to convince the Russian naval officers and sailors of the possibility of victory over the Japanese fleet, although earlier enough pessimistic moods prevailed in the crews. Two times the fleet under the command of Makarov prevented the attempts of the Japanese admiral Togo to block Russian ships in the outer roads and to begin the blockade of Port Arthur. The Vice Admiral demanded that the Marine Department send the 8 destroyers and 40 destroyers in a disassembled form by rail to Port Arthur, but the leadership of the Ministry did not satisfy the admiral’s demands. The battleship Petropavlovsk, where Stepan Makarov personally participated in the hostilities, became the flagship of Vice-Admiral Makarov.
30 March 1904, Vice-Admiral Makarov sent a detachment of destroyers to the reconnaissance raid, and in the morning 31 March found out that the destroyer "Terrible" had entered an unequal battle with Japanese ships. The commander sent the Bayan cruiser to help the Terrible, and then decided to go to the aid of the destroyer himself. The squadron commander set sail on the flagship battleship Petropavlovsk and managed to ward off the Japanese ships, but soon collided with the main forces of the Japanese fleet. Departing from the superior enemy forces, the battleship Petropavlovsk turned towards Port Arthur harbor, but two and a half miles from the coast the flagship was blown up on an anchor mine. From the explosion of a mine detonated ammunition in the bow artillery cellar. Battleship "Petropavlovsk" sank. From the other ships, whose crews observed the Petropavlovsk blast, the lifeboats were lowered. It was possible to pick up 80 people, among whom were the commander of Petropavlovsk, captain of the 1 rank Nikolai Matveyevich Yakovlev, and chief of the naval department of the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet captain 2 rank Grand Prince Kirill Vladimirovich (cousin of Emperor Nikolai II). But Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov was not found - he was missing. The brilliant Russian naval commander died along with 10 staff officers, 17 or 18 ship officers and 650 or 652 sailors of the battleship Petropavlovsk. The tragic death of 55-year-old Vice Admiral Makarov, who could serve Russia for a long time and make an even greater contribution to the development of the Russian fleet, was a colossal loss for the country.
The name of Stepan Osipovich Makarov is inscribed in gold letters in history Russian fleet, the navy’s educational institutions are named after him - both military (Pacific Naval Institute in Vladivostok) and civilian (State University of Maritime and River Fleet and St. Petersburg College of State University of Maritime and River Fleet in St. Petersburg), Streets of Russian cities, ships. In a number of cities in the country, monuments have been erected in memory of Admiral Makarov.