May 18, 1703 is considered the founding date of the Baltic fleet. On this day, a detachment of 30 boats with soldiers of the Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments under the command of Tsar Peter I and Alexander Menshikov defeated the ships of the Swedish squadron of Vice Admiral Numers. This defeat forced the Swedish command to withdraw the squadron and leave the mouth of the Neva River forever. The Russian state took possession of the entire Neva and received a strategically important exit to the Gulf of Finland. To protect him, Sovereign Peter Alekseevich on May 27, 1703 founded a fortress on the island of Yanni-Sari (Hare Island). So the Peter and Paul Fortress and the city of St. Petersburg were founded - the future capital of the Russian Empire and the first Russian port on the Baltic Sea.
During the Northern War, the Russian army under the command of Field Marshal Boris Sheremetev approved the position of Russia in Izhora land (Ingermanlandia). This made it possible to proceed to the purification of Lake Ladoga and Lake Peipsi from the Swedish Navy. Swedish ships rendered a great help to their troops, hindered the advancement of the Russian army. It was decided to compensate for the absence of warships, which were just being built, using small ships. Detachments were formed from small river vessels — boats, rooks, carbas, planes, etc. Soldiers ’teams were put into the river courts. It is clear that in the linear battle the Russian units could not withstand the Swedish 10-20-gun ships with teams of experienced sailors. Therefore, the Swedish command did not expect serious opposition on the water, considering themselves masters of the situation. But the enemy underestimated the resourcefulness and courage of the Russian soldiers. They began to use river vessels not only for the transportation of goods, but also for attacks on enemy ships, which began to be captured on board the ship.
In May 1702, a detachment of Russian ships in a narrow strait that connected the Chudskoye and the Pskov Lakes, engaged the Swedish squadron under the command of Commander Lescherna. In the course of a fierce battle, the Russians seized the Flundran yacht for boarding, and then Vivat and the Watchman. 15 June 1702, the Russian ships under the command of Colonel Ostrovsky attacked the squadron of Vice-Admiral Numers at the mouth of the Crow River on Lake Ladoga. The moment was chosen successfully, the Swedes went ashore to plunder the surrounding villages. The Russians damaged the Swedish flagship - brigantine "Joya", the enemy was forced to retreat. Then the Russian flotilla under the command of Colonel Tyrtov attacked the squadron of Numers at Korela (Kexholm). The Swedes lost several ships and were forced to withdraw from Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland.
Russian troops were able to besiege the fortress Noteburg (Oreshek). Two Swedish strongholds - Noteburg at the headwaters of the Neva and Nyenskans near its mouth, prevented the Russians from entering the Baltic Sea. At the end of September 1702, the siege of Noteburg began. 11 (22) October 1702, during a fierce assault, which lasted for twelve hours, the fortress was captured. Prince Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn became the hero of the assault. When the Swedes repulsed all the attacks and Tsar Peter ordered to retreat, refused to carry out this order and continued the attack. Capturing Nut allowed launching an operation to capture the territory of the middle Neva and exit to the mouth of the river.
In the spring of 1703, the army commanded by Sheremetev reached the lower reaches of the Neva, and after a weekly siege against 1 (12) in May 1703, took the fortress of Nyenskans. The Swedish command had no information about the fall of the fortress, so after a few days a squadron under the command of Numers appeared at Nyenskans, she had to support the garrison. Swedish ships calmly anchored off the coast. The Russian command was warned about the appearance of the Swedish ships 9, they were noticed by a patrol under the command of Sergeant Mikhail Schepotyev, who was stationed on the island of Vitsasaari (Gutuyevsky Island). When the Swedish squadron filed a conventional sign - two gun shots, Sheremetev ordered to respond with two shots of fortress artillery. The password was correct. The fortress regularly in the morning and in the evening gave the conditional cannon signals, which convinced the Swedes that Nienshants still holds. May 6 from the squadron advanced two ships - 10-gun bot "Gedan" ("Pike") and 8-gun gun "Astrild" ("Star"). But before nightfall they did not have time to walk to the fortress and got up waiting for the morning.
When Peter was informed about this, he himself and Menshikov, for “no one else was, nobody knew the sea”, decided to carry out an operation to capture the enemy ships. The Russians took advantage of the fog, rainy weather and the fact that the Swedes did not expect an attack. In addition, when the enemy noticed the Russian boats, raised anchors and set sail to go to his squadron, a strong headwind was blowing, preventing movement. Part of the Russian boats came from the sea. The battle began. Despite the strong gun and artillery fire, the boats were able to get close to the Swedish ships. The soldiers went to board the ship. The sovereign was one of the first to burst onto an enemy vessel. Both ships were captured. Loss speaks about the rage of the fight: only 77 people survived from the Swedes from 13 (according to other sources, 102 remained from the 22 people). Russians lost 75 people, 20 killed (1 officer), 55 injured (6 officers).
The Swedish squadron, discouraged by the loss of two ships, was gone. Captured ships became part of the Russian fleet. 30 May Peter marked this first naval victory with a triple volley. Peter and Menshikov were awarded the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called by the military council. All participants in the battle were awarded: the officers - gold medals with chains, and the soldiers - silver medals without chains. On one side of the medal there was a bas-relief portrait of Tsar Peter I, and on the other side there was a fragment of the battle and the inscription: “The Unbeatable Happens. 1703.
December 19 1995 by the order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy of the Russian Federation 18 May is declared the day of the creation of the Baltic Fleet and since the year 1996 is celebrated as the Day of the Baltic Fleet.
Of stories Baltic Fleet
It must be said that 18 May 1703, as the day of the creation of the Baltic Fleet, the date is very conditional. It can be easily transferred to an earlier period. Even at that time, when the Baltic Sea was called the Varyazhsky or the Venetian Sea (the Slavic tribes were called the Vendes, the Vendians), the Slavic ships plowed the expanses of this sea. Researchers note that the Slavic element was very noticeable among the Vikings. If in the south of Russia horse heroes were heroes, then the heroes of the Novgorod epic epic Sadko and Vasily Buslaev were seamen. Since ancient times, Northern Russia had special connections with the sea.
The Baltic Sea was of strategic importance right from the very beginning of Russian statehood. The famous journey from the Varangians to the Greeks began in the Baltic. Ladoga and Novgorod became the first capitals of the Sokol-Rurik family. In the XI and XII centuries. Novgorod entrenched on the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland, which later became known as Vodskaya Pyatina. In the years of the greatest dawn of the Old Russian state, under the control of the great princes of Kiev, there was a significant part of the Baltic states and Finland. In particular, the city of Yuriev (aka Tartu and Derpt) was founded by the Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise.
At this time, Russia, both on the Black (Russian) and the Baltic (Varyazhsky) seas, used rooks (lodges) for conducting combat operations. These were sailing-rowing vessels capable of carrying from 40 to 100 people. They were used for both freight and military purposes. In addition, the following types of ships were known: planes, pens, canoes, beads, etc. The main tactical method of combat was boarding. For several centuries, Novgorod the Great was in fact a great power, whose possessions extended beyond the Urals. Novgorodians successfully used the river-sea type vessels, on which it was possible to cover enormous distances relatively quickly. The main enemy of Novgorod was the German Order and the Swedish Kingdom. The history knows not one sea voyage which the Novgorod army made. So, in 1187, the city of Novgorod seized and plundered the most important political, religious and economic center of the then Sweden - Sigtuna. In addition, Novgorodians actively used the ships to move to the east, beyond the Stone (Ural) and for trips to the lands of the Horde. Detachments of ushkuynik more than once walked with fire and sword on the Horde possessions (ushkuniki "dabbled in" and on Russian lands).
The confrontation with Sweden and Livonia continued even after the subordination of Novgorod to the Moscow state. Moscow also organized ship raids against the Swedes. An attempt to establish a solid foothold on the shores of the Baltic Sea and to create a regular navy on it was undertaken during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In 1557, under the Tsar’s decree, the construction of the first Russian port in the Baltic began in the Luga Bay. Supervised the construction of a district officer Dmitry Shastunov, and a military engineer Ivan Vyrodkov helped him. In order for Russian trade to go through this port, Ivan Vasilyevich forbade Novgorod and Pskov merchants to trade in the Livonian cities of Narva and Revel. Now the “Germans” were to come to the Russian port. In 1558, the Livonian War began, as a result of which Russia was to receive a significant part of the Baltic states. Initially, the fighting was successful, Livonia was defeated and mostly captured. During the fighting, Narva was captured, which became the main trade gate to the Russian kingdom. The turnover of the city grew rapidly, and the number of ships entering Narva grew to 170 per year. And in order to resist Poland and Sweden at sea, which launched a wide privateer's activity against the ships going to Russia in the Baltic, Tsar Ivan the Terrible took on the service of the Dane Carsten Rohde. He formed a squadron and spoiled a lot of blood to the enemies of Russia (First Russian Fleet - Pirates of the Terrible Tsar).
The next attempt to gain a foothold in the Baltic was made by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich during the Russian-Swedish war (1656 — 1658). In the Smolensk region, on the upper tributaries of the Zapadnaya Dvina - the Obsch and Kasple rivers a flotilla of several hundred plows was built. This Russian flat-bottomed sailing-rowing vessel had a length of 20-45 meters and a width from 4 to 10 meters. It could carry up to 50 soldiers with weapons and supplies. The plow could have been armed with several small cannons. In addition, under the leadership of the boyar Athanasius Ordin-Nashchokin, they founded a shipyard in Tsarevich-Dmitriev and began building naval ships. However, the war did not bring victory. Shipbuilding program has been minimized.
It was possible to get to the Baltic Sea only during the Northern War (1700-1721). Tsar Peter the whole war actively built the fleet and achieved great results. In 1701, hundreds of plots began to be built on the Volkhov and Luga rivers, as well as on the Pola River, which flows into Lake Ilmen. At the same time, the government requisitioned all private vessels on the Ladoga and Onega lakes, the Svir and Volkhov rivers in favor of the armed forces. In 1702-1703 the Swedish Naval Forces were driven out of the Ladoga, Pskov and Peipsi Lakes. In 1702, the first battleships for the Baltic Fleet were laid at Syaca Shipyard: two small frigates “Fan Sas” No. 1 and No. 2, i.e. “Syaskie”, the first and the second (they were of poor quality, therefore they were later transferred to firefighters). In the same year, two more small frigates were laid - the “Mikhail the Archangel” and “Ivan-city”. A total of 1702 ships were built at the Syasskaya shipyard in 1706 - 48 for years, then the construction of warships was transferred to Olonets. In 1702, the Olonets shipyard was laid. 22 August 1703, the shipyard launched the first ranking ship of the Baltic Fleet - the 28-gun "Standard" frigate and several other small warships. In October, 7 28-gun frigates were laid, in 1704, seven more frigates. A few years later, the shipyard began to produce small battleships.
In May 1703 began to build Petersburg and the Peter and Paul Fortress, and in the winter 1703-1704. Kronstadt fortress. In 1704, the Admiralty Shipyard began to be built on the Neva River. The Baltic Fleet is involved in repelling the attack on Kronstadt, in the siege of Vyborg. From this point on, the Baltic Fleet took an active part in the campaign at the Baltic theater of military operations, actively conducted landing operations, transported troops, engaged in their supply. In 1714, the Russian fleet won the Battle of Gangut, captured the Aland Islands. Victories were won at Ezel (1719), Grengam (1720). By 1720, the Russian fleet was one of the five strongest in the world, having 25 combat-ready battleships, second only to the number of pennants only to such traditionally strong sea powers as England, France, the Ottoman Empire and Denmark. Russia surpassed Sweden in the Baltic, which until that time had a complete superiority in this area.
In the future, the Baltic Fleet, as part of the Russian state, experienced ups and downs. During the period of palace coups, the fleet was not honored. Money went to more important needs than the construction of new ships and the maintenance of existing in combat readiness. Theft, entertainment, and ostentatious luxury were more important than the military. Thus, at the end of 1731, less than half of the ships of the Baltic Fleet were fully or partially combat-ready. From the 36 of the battleships Petersburg could bring the 8 ships into the open sea, to the coastal navigation - another 5. The position of the galley fleet only was more or less satisfactory. Dramatically decreased the level of combat training. The level of discipline has fallen, affairs in the issuance of cash and clothing allowance have been bad, and embezzlement and bribery of maritime officials flourished.
During the reign of Anna Ioannovna, the situation improved somewhat. They laid the new ships, restored the Port of Arkhangelsk and the shipbuilding of Solombala. Solombalsk shipyard turned into the second, and then the main construction base of the Baltic Fleet. Over the period 1731-1799. in St. Petersburg (with Kronstadt) 55 ships were launched, and in Arkhangelsk - 100. There was also an increase in the combat readiness of the fleet. The main fleet bases in 18-19 centuries. were Kronstadt, Helsingfors and Revel.
The tense international situation in Western Europe in the 2-th half of the 18 century forced the government to increase the fleet’s combat capability and give it considerable attention. During the Russian-Swedish Wars 18-19 centuries. and the Crimean War 1853-1856 The Baltic Fleet fulfilled its task of protecting the capital of the empire and the Baltic coast. In the course of the fighting in the Baltic during the Crimean War, for the first time in world practice, mines created in the Russian fleet were used. The Anglo-French fleet in 1855 was planning to seize the Russian capital, but after finding a large number of mines, it retreated. The enemy command concluded that it was impossible to conduct combat operations in the waters of the Baltic Sea and conduct an operation to seize Petersburg.
In the second half of the 19 century, the Baltic Fleet was equipped with armored ships. The fleet suffered heavy losses during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), when the best ships died in the 2-th Pacific Squadron. In 1910-s, the fleet was revived due to a large-scale shipbuilding program. The Baltic Fleet defeated the Baltic Fleet during the First World War. In 1920-1930, the fleet was reorganized and modernized.
The Baltic fought valiantly during the years of World War II. The fleet defended the Moonsund Islands, Tallinn and the Hanko Peninsula, participated in the heroic defense of Leningrad (1941-1943), supported the advance of the Red Army in the Baltic States (1944), East Prussia, and East Pomerania (1944-1945). During the Great Patriotic War, the Baltic Fleet was destroyed by forces of surface and submarine fleets, sea aviation more than 1200 warships, transport and auxiliary vessels of the enemy, over 2,5 thousand aircraft. More than 100 thousand Baltic people fought on land fronts, having traveled a long way from Leningrad to the island of Bornholm.
The fleet played a major role in scientific discoveries and expeditions. Baltic naval commanders, heroes of sea battles, admirals F. F. Ushakov, M. P. Lazarev, P. S. Nakhimov, V. A. Kornilov, S. O. Makarov and N. O Essen, pioneers and travelers V. I Bering, F. F. Bellingshausen, G. I. Nevelskoy, the great scientists A. S. Popov, the physicist B. S. Jacobi, and many other prominent people.
Currently, the Baltic Fleet still performs the task of protecting Russia's borders from the north-west. Its main bases are Baltiysk and Kronstadt. The basis of the ship structure of the Baltic Fleet consists of two squadron destroyers of the project 956 “Persistent” (the flagship of the fleet) and “Restless”. At the beginning of the 21 century, the fleet combat fleet was replenished: the patrol ship (frigate) Yaroslav the Wise, the corvettes Steregushchy, Soobrazitelny, Boiky, the submarine of the 677 Lada project St. Petersburg. In the near future, the fleet should replenish the 20380 “Resistant” corvette.