The problem of basing the Navy
It is necessary to start with the exact, namely with numbers - the modern United States has 33 naval bases. These are naval bases, the US has 800 bases in total. Before the United States, Great Britain ruled the seas, it had few foreign bases, the territory around its bases was captured and turned into colonies. But there were many colonies, about a third of the planet, and wherever possible there were naval bases, the very Royal Navy. Now China has taken the path of creating an ocean-going navy - 15 foreign bases.
Here the question arises - why are these very bases needed? We will set up nuclear ships, maybe more missiles, but how ... Opinion is not new, having begun the development of the Far East, the Russian and Imperial fleets suffered a terrible defeat from a state that was second-class in essence. No, coal was found, in peacetime without problems, in wartime - with problems, but found. But repairs, crew rest, and just safe places where you can fix, rest, and just feel safe - no.
The result is an odyssey of the Second Pacific, which, if not for the kindness of the French in the form of Nossibeisk and Cam Ranh with Wang Fong, is not a fact that it has reached. It came, however, to defeat, but without the support of the French and German coal miners, the campaign itself was impossible, and the development of Manchuria as a whole. Yes, and Alaska, which the turbopatriots love to remember so much - in many respects it was sold precisely because of its inaccessibility, it is still not cheap to drive ships around the world by distance, and if, in addition, there are no ports of its own along the way ... The development of the Far East was slowed down by the same - from Odessa to Vladivostok there are no ports for the Russian ship.
All this has been going on since the days of Ochakov and the conquest of Crimea: no bases - no sea trade, no trade - no ocean fleet, The Navy is degenerating into a narrow instrument against specific neighbors, and the level of politics is becoming a regional one. And in the era of the nuclear missile, nothing has changed: if you want to control trade routes and defend your homeland on distant frontiers, send squadrons. Where to send? Into emptiness? Where are the ships to replenish supplies, and the sailors to rest?
The problem, of course, was solved, solved with varying success, starting from Peter the Great, who created the fleet and was seriously ill with the sea, realizing that national wealth is in trade, and trade is all history humanity is mostly marine. And as soon as the problems with the Swedes were resolved and a more or less suitable fleet was built, in 1723 preparations began for an expedition to Madagascar and Bengal. The idea was beautiful: to take under the patronage of the Madagascar pirates, creating an intermediate base for trade with India. It didn't work out, the ships were equipped out of hand, and they could not even leave the Baltic:
The next attempt had to wait for a long time - in the era of palace coups, Russia had no time for the world's oceans. The second serious attempt to create an intermediate base for the fleet and a colony is associated with the famous RAC (Russian-American company) and Hawaii. It was there that three forts and plantations of the RAC were created, and the king was offered a plan for the occupation of the islands. There were chances, and the chances were not bad, but Petersburg was not interested in the idea. The Americans privately destroyed both the fortifications and plantations, expelling the Russians from the islands. It did not take off in 1820, when the expedition of Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discovered a number of Polynesian islands, but having neither the strength nor the instructions, they did not even think to gain a foothold.
The last attempt in the 19th century was Miklouho-Maclay's attempt in New Guinea, but the Naval Department considered the area remote, and the coast was unpromising for a cruising war. We can only guess how the presence of a base in Hawaii and coal stations in Polynesia would affect the fate of Russia, I don’t think it’s negative. But it turned out that it happened, even the Mediterranean Ships, where our ships were defended and repaired, was not a naval base, and the agreement on permission to use the French Bizerte brought the only result - the Black Sea Fleet, hijacked by the White Guards, rotted there.
And then timelessness came again, after the Civil Fleet - both merchant and military - there was little left, but what was being built was in the style of a new-fashioned school and was not suitable for trips to the ocean. And the bases ... The hopes for the World Revolution and the Comintern seemed more reliable. Illusions collapsed in the Spanish War, when the Francoists, possessing as many as two Washington cruisers, did whatever they wanted with the Soviet merchant fleet, but there was no one to send to guard. It was then, by 1941, that the understanding of the importance and necessity of foreign bases was again formulated, but the understanding was theoretical - then there was a war.
But according to its results ... Joseph Vissarionovich, with all the negativity, learned hard from his mistakes, and the first two bases appear under him - Porkalla and Port Arthur. And ships are beginning to be built en masse, and the emergence of pro-Soviet regimes and the beginning of decolonization inspired hopes for the future. For more, at that moment there were simply no ships, and there were no resources either, the European part of Russia lay in ruins.
The question arose sharply under Khrushchev, on the one hand, he handed over the Stalinist bases, and not with the smartest argumentation:
On the other hand, Khrushchev is Vlora in Albania, the base of the submarine project 613 in the Mediterranean, this is Guinea, Conakry, this is an attempt to penetrate Indonesia (Surabaya) and this is the beginning of work in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Berbera). True, all the ventures ended badly in the end, but the start was made to create a network of naval bases abroad, and the fleet began to turn into an ocean one.
Under Brezhnev, the trend continued, but it did not take root seriously for a long time. Cam Ranh became a pleasant exception, and this is not only the piers and warehouses, this is the 169th Guards Mixed Aviation Regiment (40 aircraft, including Tu-16 and Tu-95 RC), this is a Marine Corps landing group, this is a hospital and much more. The base made it possible to tightly take control of this area of the World Ocean, and the United States burned a lot of nerves and money to counter it.
And then there was a pogrom, practically everything was abandoned in the period 1991-2001, both the Cam Ranh and the PMTO, except for the Syrian Tartus, the ships were cut into metal ... Now it seems like thoughts are wandering about something like that, since the ships are being built, but. ..
It did not work to return Cam Ranh, everything that the Vietnamese allowed - PMTO and refueling of our air tankers. The attempt with Sudan was good, but ... Again it did not work out, the opposition to the presence of the Russian Navy in the oceans is strongest. Tartus is ours, of course, but this is only the Mediterranean. As for the rest, there is no Russian naval base either in Venezuela or Cuba, there is no our presence in the Horn region and in the Indian Ocean. To some extent, we have returned to the times of the Russian Empire, when, with a large number of ships, there are simply no basing sites, apart from, of course, those bases that are on our territory.
And without this, the further development of the Navy is simply impossible, however, as well as the development of the merchant fleet and the expansion of Russia's influence in the world as a whole. And just a good attitude is not an assistant here - the USSR followed this path, as a result, our presence in the ocean depended on the personality of the ruler of the Third World state. Now in the same Venezuela, the regime is friendly, but tomorrow? Somalia also allowed, and then changed its mind about the base in Berbera, where, by the way, we built a deep-water port, and left. And not only from Somalia. But the United States did not leave Guantanamo, and do not think. And maybe it's time to take an example not only from friends, but also from enemies?
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