With the beginning of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was faced with the need to defend its interests on a vast part of the planet. One after another, the newly formed states of Africa, Asia and the Middle East adopted a communist ideology, and now, the caravans of the Soviet courts with military help, advisers and technology rush to help loyal regimes on the other side of the Earth.
It was strong and “appeared from the shadows” of the USSR Navy - hundreds of warships entered the World Ocean, becoming one of the ominous arguments of the newborn Superpower. Transoceanic crossings and continuous watches in remote areas of the ocean - months-long trips are difficult, ships require compulsory rest and maintenance. Replenishment of fuel, provisions and fresh water. Emergency repair. All this far from home coast, in unknown southern latitudes, where there is not a single Soviet ship nearby. Only the ghostly shadows of reconnaissance "Orions" that are hovering above the waves.
The great the fleet a great basing system is needed. The solution could be only one - to cover the entire globe with a network of naval bases, airfields and strong points.
The naval base is not just a place to park and maintain ships. It is a powerful tool of the geopolitical game, a lever for suggesting the right ideas to the leadership of the designated country. Ready bridgehead for a new offensive, a major transportation hub and a platform for the placement of special equipment (for example, electronic intelligence systems and radio interception). From here it is convenient to monitor the situation in the selected region, and if necessary - to take emergency measures, intervene and nip possible problems. Finally, purely from a technical point of view, the system of naval bases (naval base) created unique opportunities for the effective work of the Navy at any distance from the coast of the metropolis.
Stop! What foreign military bases are we talking about ?! Foreign military bases - the privileges of the cunning Pentagon. Vile intrigues of Western imperialism, striving for world domination. And the USSR, which is engaged in peaceful constructive labor, cannot have any military bases abroad.
Brilliant poster 1955 of the year
In fact, the USSR was not averse to sticking a dozen needles in the underbelly of NATO.
In fact, the USSR was not averse to sticking a dozen needles in the underbelly of NATO.
Solving a difficult dilemma required the help of professional philologists. Right, you can only admire their imagination - on the world map there are many objects with funny names. For example:
A) item logistics (modest, but with taste).
Usually, the VMTO of the USSR Navy occupied an area of fifty or more square kilometers and was designed to accommodate several thousand personnel. All this was complemented by a developed infrastructure with moorings, a dock, a fuel storage facility, and an arsenal. The presence of ground vehicles and special equipment was obligatory. Security system
B) GSVSK (Group of Soviet Military Specialists in Cuba). Despite its soothing name, GSVSK was not at all like the peaceful Soviet delegation. It was a large grouping of various types of troops - from motorized riflemen and tankers, to signalmen and air defense - all this right under the nose of the “likely enemy”.
B) The limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Only 100-thousandth army with its artillery, armored vehicles and aircraft, nine years strained the entire Middle East.
There was a radio interception center in Lourdes (Cuba), there was a GSVG (Group of Soviet Forces in Germany), GSVM (the same thing, only in Mongolia), there were Soviet military specialists in Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique and other cases that are beyond the scope of this article .
Scheme of foreign facilities of the Soviet Navy at 1984 year
Today I would like in more detail to dwell on the PMEC - the legendary Soviet naval bases in all corners of the Earth. In view of the scale of the subject matter, in some cases it will be necessary to limit ourselves to general remarks and the stingy facts from the biography of these unusual places. It should be noted that PMTO is a vague concept with rather fuzzy criteria of conformity. In addition to the well-known "large" bases, there were many auxiliary facilities, such as a marine training ground on. Socotra (Arabian Sea). But, despite the cries of the Western press about the “Soviet military presence” at the Horn of Africa, there have never been any moorings and military installations on Socotra - only occasionally Soviet ships got up to anchorage near the coast of the island.
Finally, in the conditions of a constantly changing international situation, the PTE could temporarily be accommodated in the territory of any of the ports of friendly states - wherever you can moor a mother ship, a floating workshop, a tanker. Berths, cranes, port infrastructure - all at the disposal of Soviet sailors. Ready object for "friendly visits" warships of the Soviet Union.
Now it is necessary to go directly to the list of the most interesting locations for the Navy of the USSR:
Porkkala Udd (1944 - 1956's)
“Pistol at the temple of Finland” - a team of naval ships, minesweepers, a battleship of the coastal defense “Vyborg” and coastal batteries to cover communications in the Gulf of Finland were based here. On the territory of the base 300 defensive structures were built. The total length of the perimeter is 40 km. Base area - about 100 square. kilometers The lease term is 50 years. Rental price - 5 million Finnish marks per year.
However, by the middle of the 1950-s, the Soviet leadership came to the conclusion that it was time to cover the base: Porkalla Udd only irritates the Finns and worsens the relationship between the two countries, while it has no particular military significance. The base was completely eliminated in January 1956. Finland appreciated the friendly gesture, becoming a faithful mediator between the USSR and the Western world.
Vlora, Albania (1955 - 1962)
It was based on a brigade of Soviet submarines from 12 - a real “awl” in the fifth point of the American fleet. In 1959, one of the submarines from the Albanian base broke through all anti-submarine barriers and conducted a training attack on the cruiser "Des Moines" with the US President on board.
History It ended sadly with the Albanian base: in 1961, there was a gap in relations between the two states due to ideological differences. An urgent evacuation of the base followed. Four Soviet boats that were being repaired at the time were seized by Albanians.
Surabaya, Indonesia (1962 year)
About this object is very little information. We only know that in December 1961, four submarines of the Pacific Fleet headed for the Indonesian coast. After a series of strange manipulations and conflicting orders, the submarines were transferred to the Indonesian Navy. In the summer, the second compound arrived - six more submarines and a supply base shipyard, and, soon, the Soviet sailors were almost drawn into an armed conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands.
However, the story of Indonesia ended on an optimistic note - according to the results of joint "exercises", the Soviet Union supplied Indonesians with military equipment worth 1 billion dollars (including a cruiser, 6 destroyers and 12 submarines, and 40 patrol ships, minesweepers and missile boats). To the credit of the leadership of Indonesia, this is perhaps the only country that has fully paid off Soviet debts — without any scandals and delays.
Berbera, Somalia (1964 - 1977)
First-class naval base on the shores of the Gulf of Aden, a true oasis of civilization in the middle of the Somali mess. The gate guard at the entrance to the Red Sea, which controls the strategically important transport route Europe-Asia (through the Suez Canal).
In addition to the infrastructure for the Navy ships, a unique runway 05 / 23 4140 meters long was built at Berbera airport - at that time the longest on the African continent. Here it was planned to base the base antisubmarine and reconnaissance aircraft, and, if necessary, to deploy strategic bombers and missile carriers.
As for Somalia itself - the USSR tried as best it could, supporting the economy and agriculture of a backward country; He trained her officer corps, supplied her with equipment and all the necessary goods. In the open press, there are data that Somalia’s unpaid debt to the USSR (and, consequently, Russia) is in terms of gold, 44 tons. How can you trust this incredible figure? In any case, no doubt - the Soviet Union at that time paid dearly for their ambitions.
Somalia, in this case, required a little: it was only not to let the Americans into its territory, and also to regularly raise your hand during the voice at the UN at the signal of the Soviet representative.
It all happened suddenly: in 1977, the Ethiopian-Somali war broke out. The Soviet Union, of course, was shocked by both “allies”; nevertheless, he had to choose who to support in this fierce civil strife between two strange nations. The choice fell on Ethiopia. Somalis did not tolerate resentment and demanded that the PMEC be evacuated within three days. They did not get involved in an endless conflict with the savages - they simply abandoned everything and left ...
The Americans came instead of us - the USAF appreciated the 05 / 23 take-off strip by adding it to the list of reserve lanes for landing the Shuttles.
So here, the Soviet Navy expelled from Somalia ...
Nokra, Ethiopia (1977 - 1991's)
The Soviet Navy was expelled from Somalia ... and the Soviet E & P safely moved to 400 km north, on the coast of Ethiopia. Superpower differs from ordinary states by the presence of numerous allies in almost any region of the Earth. It didn’t grow together in one place - there are always a dozen alternatives in stock.
To the question: where can I put the base, the Ethiopians just shrugged wherever you want. The ethicist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam kindly suggested the two largest ports of Massawa and Assab, but, alas, it was too risky to build something on the coast - the country was torn by endless strife. The choice fell on the Dahlak archipelago, more precisely, on one of its islands - Nokra.
Here, on the territory of the former Italian penal servitude, is located the point of material and technical support of the Soviet Navy. A floating dock PD-66, with a payload capacity of 8500 tons was delivered to the island urgently (enough for docking and emergency repair of a multi-purpose nuclear submarine or destroyer). Soon, diving and fireboats, tugs, sailors, tankers, and refrigerated vessels arrived. To ensure the actions of the marines, the BDK was permanently stationed here, and for the solution of anti-sabotage tasks, the special division of the Water Area Protection (Black Sea Fleet) carried the watch.
The place was hectic - there were several cases of shelling of Soviet ships and ships. In August, 1984 had to carry out the trawling of the Red Sea from the mines exposed by the Al-Jihad organization. The following year, a radiation accident occurred on the K-175 nuclear submarine - the submarine crew and personnel of the base received serious irradiation. Of course, the incident was shrouded in the strictest secrecy and hidden from the Ethiopian leadership.
Victoria, Seychelles. (1984 - 1990)
How great it is to be at the right time at the right time! 25 November 1981, a detachment of warships of the USSR Navy was located near the Seychelles when a coup attempt was made in the capital of a small state - a group of South African mercenaries was captured and neutralized right at Victoria airport.
Soviet ships immediately followed to the scene. It turned out to be very opportunely - and although the evacuation of the USSR Embassy was not required, such an operational arrival of the Soviet fleet made the most positive impression on the government of the Seychelles.
In 1984, an agreement was reached with the leadership of the island nation on the business visits of Soviet ships and ships to the port of Victoria and the landing of our military aircraft at the capital’s airport.
In exchange, the USSR acted as one of the guarantors of the country's security - in fact, the Seychelles kept neutrality and tried to make friends with the whole world. In addition, three patrol boats were donated to the Seychelles to protect the maritime economic zone. So here, almost for free, the Soviet Navy acquired an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean - the length of the concrete runway 2987 meters!
Cam Ranh, Vietnam (1979 - 2002's)
The best of the foreign naval bases of the USSR. The mild climate, warm and calm South China Sea, deep and clean waters, mountains that protect the bay from the winds - Cam Ranh Bay is recognized as one of the most convenient places for ships and ships in the Pacific.
Officially, this place was called 922-nd PMTO, and, in addition to the parking of ships and vessels in Cam Ranh Bay, included the Bashon shipyard (Ho Chi Minh) and a large airfield located nearby.
Initially, during the Vietnam War, Cam Ranh Bay was a large rear base where the 12 fighter and 483 air transport wings of the United States Air Force were located. American experts have built here a wonderful airfield with a four-kilometer-long concrete, and nearby - a modern port with all the necessary infrastructure.
As a result, all these objects became the property of the Soviet Navy. Moreover, the PSTO Camran went to the Soviet Navy for free - on the rights of a grant lease for a period of 25 years. The image of the Superpower opened up incredible opportunities for the Union and brought fabulous dividends.
In accordance with the Agreement, in the military port of Cam Ranh, they could simultaneously base up to 10 Soviet surface ships, 8 submarines with a floating base and up to 6 other naval vessels. At the aerodrome, 16 rocket carrier aircraft, 9 reconnaissance aircraft and 2-3 transport aircraft are allowed to stay simultaneously. Based on the situation, the number of ships and aircraft could be increased by agreement between the USSR and Vietnam. In other words, the Vietnamese did not object if the entire Pacific Fleet would come to Cam Ranh.
Debris of abandoned American armored vehicles
Entry to PMTO Cam Ranh
The total area of the base was about 100 square. kilometers The number of military and civilian base contingents in different years could reach 6-10 thousand people. By the time they left Kamrani, on the territory of the base were built:
- PMTO residential area: 31350 headquarters and personnel barracks, personnel dining room for 250 seats, a bakery, a bath and laundry complex, a club, secondary school No. 183, 18 residential houses, a joint storage and distribution of materiel, an automobile park (along with special equipment);
- diesel power plant with a capacity of 24 MW to provide electricity to the garrison and the adjacent Vietnamese villages;
- fuel storage capacity 14 000 cube. meters;
- 2 refrigerated with a total capacity of 270 tons of products;
- 6 wells to provide PMEC and ships with fresh water;
As well as a pier zone with moorings and port armaments, an arsenal, storage facilities and a large naval hospital.
Alas, with the collapse of the USSR, problems began - Vietnam, realizing that the state, which the whole world respected, no longer required, demanded a revision of the contract and the introduction of a rent for the base. Timid attempts by the Vietnamese remained unanswered, however, in 2001, the Russian Federation refused to extend the contract and began an early withdrawal of troops from the territory of Vietnam. The last Russian military left the Cam Ranh in May 2002.
A snapshot of the Cam Ranh airbase, made by SR-71 scout
The story of the seven naval bases, anti-tank logistics and ship stops - just the NOTHING part of the entire basing system of the Soviet fleet. In addition to objects in Finland, Albania, Indonesia, Vietnam, Seychelles and in the Horn of Africa, the Soviet Navy had time to "light up" in many other places:
- The naval base Cienfuegos and the communications center of the Navy "Surf" in the town of El Gabriel (Cuba);
- VMB Rostock (GDR);
- Navy Hodeidah (Yemen);
- Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh (Egypt);
- Tripoli and Tobruk (Libya);
- Luanda (Angola);
- Conakry (Guinea);
- Bizerte and Sfax (Tunisia);
- Tartus and Lattakia (Syria);
This list is so incredible that it sounds in today's reality as a joke.
Angola's President A. Neto on the deck of a Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser
To date, the Russian Navy has only a few foreign objects:
- 720-nd ETR in Tartus (Syria);
- 43 communication node of the Russian Navy "Vileyka" (Belarus). It provides communication with nuclear submarines, carrying duty on the expanses of the Atlantic, Indian and, partially, the Pacific Oceans.
- 338 communication node of the Russian Navy "Marevo" (Kyrgyzstan), a similar purpose.
- and, of course, the main base of the Black Sea Fleet - Sevastopol (Bay of Sevastopol, South, Quarantine, Cossack) with the adjacent infrastructure and a number of objects on the Crimean peninsula.
PMTC Tartus, Syria
The description and illustrations of the Camryon PMTO are taken from the book 17-I Operational Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, N.F. Matyushin