Storm. Ship wreck. Ivan Aivazovsky.1855 year
On November 14 of the 1854 year, the Crimean storm finally turned into a monstrous force of a hurricane. The ships and vessels of the occupying forces, loaded with ammunition, provisions, winter uniforms and other things, did not manage to go into the open sea and took the blow of the elements off the coast of Tauris. In order to systematize the enemy’s casualties at sea, it is necessary to geographically divide the areas in which foreign ships took the “last battle” with a raging storm. They found their sea graves at the bottom near Balaklava Bay, Kachi and Yevpatoriya.
Left to die at Balaclava
Even before the storm finally got stronger, ships and ships were no longer allowed into the bay of Balaklava, which was already dangerously overcrowded. In fact, they were left to their own devices. Soon, the waves and wind began to break the ships, like nuts on a jamb.
The first victim to go to the bottom was the American Progress transport, from which only two sailors managed to escape. The next to the bottom went “Resolute”, taking with them all but 9 people. The third dragged the entire American crew “Wanderer” to the bottom without exception. The fourth victim was the Kenilworth transport. Before his death, he flew into the Avon steamboat, losing all his masts. Only three sailors escaped with the Kenilworth.
Soon, along with the entire crew, the high-speed American clipper Rip Van Winkle was killed. The Peltoma and Maltese ships were also wrecked on the rocks and sank with all the people on board.
The fate of the Wild Wave transport is very significant. He tore off the anchors and carried straight to the rocks. Not having a steam engine and having lost the mast, Wild Wave was doomed. The corps of vehicles ran into stones, and the waves, like a steel hammer, split the sides. The crew escaped as best they could. Some were lucky to take shelter on stones, in small grottoes and clefts, but the almighty sea sought out its survivors with its waves and dragged to the bottom. As a result, by the morning of the 15 number, the rescue team from the British battleship of the 2 rank "Sans Pareil" was able to extract only two sailors from the "Wild Wave" from the narrow cleft - the young and the sailor.
Fate did not have mercy on Her Majesty's exclusively warships. The frigate "Retribution" lost the helm and broke from the anchors. The captain of the ship James Drumond ordered to cut down all the masts and throw overboard all the guns to one and all the equipment. Having lost part of the crew, the Retribution was still able to successfully land on the shore, although his condition was insignificant. The Vesuvius also cut down the masts, having lost part of the crew. As a result, only a dilapidated hull remained on the shore from the ship. The ships “Mercia”, “Caducens”, “Pride of the Ocean”, “Medora” and “Sir Robert Sale”, despite the large number of rescued, were completely destroyed. The ships “Niger” and “Melbourn”, which managed to survive almost a bit, were a little more fortunate, but they lost all the masts and received heavy damage to the steam pipes.
The lucky one was the already mentioned Avon. This steamboat, having forgotten about some orders of the managing director of the Balaklava port there, managed to deftly bypass the rocks and literally scurry to the saving bay. True, already inside the bay, he nobly “nadoeboshiril”, having passed an involuntary ram in the hull of many ships.
The death of the newest sailing-and-screw ship “Prince” became completely legendary, this legend even renamed “Prince” to “Black Prince”. The ship never received permission to take refuge in Balaclava, so the captain, hoping for a steam engine, remained close to the shore. However, an overwhelming storm proved the fallacy of this hope.
The death of the "Black Prince"
Captain Goodel gave the order to cut down all the masts, but the ship was disastrously unlucky. The rigging of the mizzen-mast fell into the area of propeller operation, which was soon blocked. Having lost the last mover, “Prince” after this lost its anchors. His fate at that moment was decided. A powerful element caught and crushed the ship on the rocks. According to eyewitnesses, after ten minutes of millstone from the once pride of the British fleet, only miserable pieces of the hull remained.
The six surviving crew members of the “Prince” crew testified that at the last moment before the ship was carried onto the cliffs, Captain Goodel and Captain Bynton (an admiralty agent), having removed their outer clothing, announced to the crew that there was nothing on their part lost to save the ship and that now everyone should take care of themselves. In fact, no one canceled the “save whoever can” command.
Death at Evpatoria
Evpatoria at that time was occupied by the enemy and turned into a fortress, bristled with artillery and supplied by sea. The enemy garrison consisted mainly of Turks, Tatars, immigrants and the French. So that such a powerful enclave of the enemy would not stop the supply of our troops through Perekop, the Russians themselves took the blockade of Yevpatoria.
Many ships off the Evpatoria coast became a victim of the elements. The French sailing frigate Fultan, which did not have a steam engine, was doomed. He was washed ashore and shattered into chips, only a small part of the crew managed to escape. The 100-gun battleship "Henri IV", a symbol of the power of the French fleet, which provided artillery support to the garrison of Yevpatoria, broke on the rocks. The entire crew, except 17 lucky, died. The Turkish 90-gun battleship “Peiri Messeret” went down with everyone who was on board. The only miracle that survived was the English Cyclops.
The death of the battleship Henri IV
I would especially like to note the fate of the English frigate "Culloden". The ship, armed with four guns and used as a transport, transported troops and at that moment had on board a load of ammunition in the form of 30 thousand cores, 700 pounds of gunpowder, not counting 32 horses. "Culloden" caught the elements and carried them to the area of the location of the Novoarkhangelsky Uhlansky Regiment, where the ship wrecked. Part of the British escaped, leaving the skeleton of the wrecked vessel not far from the shore in the hands of storms and waves, but on the shore they were captured.
It soon became clear that 25 Turks, allies of the British, remained on the broken ship. Officers of the regiment offered the British to help the Turks and even offered money for it, but they flatly refused, saying that "they would not be allowed to endanger their lives to save some Turks." As a result, a detachment of Russian volunteers set off to rescue the Turks, who were left to certain death by their "allies". The rescue operation lasted more than two hours.
At the mouth of Kachi and north of Sevastopol
In the region of Kachi, the storm gathered no less yield than that of Balaklava and Yevpatoriya. Only directly at the mouth of the Kachi River sank 12 merchant ships. Warships almost completely lost their weapons. So, the British ship "Queen" lost in the abyss before 116 guns and part of the rigging. The battleship "Trafalgar" lost 120 guns, not including damage to the masts. “London”, in addition to sending guns to the bottom of the 90, also lost steering wheels. Aedent, Terrible, Spitfire, and Sanson sailing-and-screw ships all got holes in the hull.
The French fleet battered no less. The Ville de Paris delivered overboard 120 guns, Firland 100 guns, Bayard 90 guns, and Suffren 90 guns. In addition, almost all of them lost steering wheels, lost their masts (when involuntarily, when cutting them down on the orders of the captain), etc. The Turkish frigate Arri Marseile, in fact, shared the fate of his compatriot Peiri Messeret. First, the ship lost its artillery and most of the crew, and later was broken by the waves on the shore.
French transport ships were completely destroyed. “Turone” washed ashore and thrashed in waves, “Pyrenees” burned out while on shore, “Ganges” shared the fate of “Pyrenees”, “Danube” also stranded, and “Arri Marseile” drowned anchored with everything available board property.
The consequences of the storm. Ivan Aivazovsky
It is worth noting here that, given the fighting, our fighters did not doze off. As soon as a foreign ship appeared near the shore, Russian troops of horsemen, despite the terrible wind, rushed to this place. Firstly, to capture the enemy, and sometimes, as indicated above, and save this very enemy. Secondly, to grab a load.
On November 21, after waiting for a storm far from dangerous rocks, the flagship “Agamemnon” returned to Balaklava Bay, anchoring in front of it. On board the ship was the English traveler George Taylor (already mentioned in the first part), who described the landscape as follows:
"The line of rocks was lined with the remains of ships washed ashore on a hurricane day; and in places where the remains lay in large heaps - from fragments of masts to pieces of wood no more than a matchbox - at a short distance it turned out that it was nothing but piles of chips "In the bay itself, all the ships were damaged to varying degrees ... For several days after the hurricane, numerous bodies swam in the bay, almost all were naked. Some had life jackets, many were badly torn, and often parts of the bodies swam around the ships."
Thus, on November 14 of the 1854 year, over 30 ships and ships were killed off the Crimean coast, and more than 40 were seriously damaged. It’s difficult to calculate the death toll for objective reasons - the motley crew of the dead (the British, French, Turks, Americans, etc.), the deaths of many survivors from the cold and wounds the next few days, the hired nature of some sailors and the presence of ordinary businessmen in the occupying forces . It is believed that about 1000 people died.
But these were far from all the consequences of the storm. The Secretary of the Crimean Army Fund, George Brackenbury, in his large report on the outcome of the disaster, cites, among other things, the following facts:
“His (hurricane) irresistible impulse instantly swept away from the bare and elevated plateau on which the armies camped, all the tents, and the heavy rain accompanying him drenched unhappy troops to the bones, having lost their only shelter. The camps were turned into one huge swamp of mud ... that it was especially disheartening for those who had just returned wet and hungry from the trenches and discovered the absence of tents, the inability to cook and the prospect of spending the night in the open. nglichane, exhausted by fatigue and vulnerability did not survive this new test and were found dead in the camps. "
Frostbite, sick and wounded after a storm in Balaclava
Together with the ships and their crews, a huge load of winter uniforms, provisions, medicines, went to the bottom weapons, ammunition and other things. The Resolute alone carried about 500 tons of cargo on board, and the contents of the Prіnce holds were estimated at half a million pounds. And winter has already entered Crimea. As a result, the Coalition troops began to lose people not during the battle, but from starvation and cold weather.
Caricature of the state of the English army without winter uniforms in Crimea
Oddly enough, but almost no investigation was followed. The head of the Balaklava port motivated the ban on entering the bay with the fear of a breakthrough of Russian forces and the capture of valuable cargo. Admiral Lyons, who had gone to sea on his flagship Agamemnon, did not dare to blame or question at all. However, many were indignant, especially witnesses. But the arrogant Coalition needed to continue the war at all costs. The very idea that one power can defeat the combined forces of almost the entire West and the Ottoman Empire scared them to horror. But with all the fierce vanity of the Coalition, she had to go into a state of siege for some time, and the anger of the guardians to gain justice in enlightened Europe was quickly forgotten.