Dedicated to the 159 anniversary of the battle in the Far East
Let us recall the battle, as a result of which two of the world's strongest states abandoned plans for waging war against Russia in the Far East.
So, 1854g, Russia is waging war against the sworn friends of England and France. We remember this war in the defense of Sevastopol. Rather, we remember two unsuccessful defenses. The first 1854-1855 and the second 1941-1942. Such an amazing thing. Everyone knows about two heroic, but unsuccessful defenses and few people remember about successful military operations in the White and Barents Seas, as well as on Kamchatka. Let's try to tell a little, so that descendants remember the feats of great-grandfathers.
There are not so much information in tyrnetes and almost always these are dry lists of the number of guns, dates, names - all hardly digestible, difficult for perception, moreover, dates are either in the old style or in the new. Therefore, I decided not to make a chronological description of the event, but rather to tell in my own words about the battle that went into history like the Peter and Paul Defense.
In the summer of 1854, in August, the combined Anglo-French squadron entered Avacha Bay and launched an assault on the city of Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka (now Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky).
The squadron consisted of 6 ships with 216 guns:
- 3 English ship: frigate "President" (52 guns), frigate "Pike" (44 guns) and the steamer "Virago" (10 guns)
- 3 French frigate "La-Fort" (60 guns), corvette "Evridika" (32 guns) and brig "Obligado" (18 guns)
- 2600 crew of sailors, of which 600 are professional marines.
In the picture steamer "Virago":
The squadron commanded the combat rear admirad David Price, the order bearer, a participant in several wars, who made a career from Junior to Rear Admiral, not in the office silence, but the roar of battles.
It's an amazing thing, but literally on the eve of the battle for Petropavlovsk, he was found in his own cabin, shot dead in the heart with his own pistol. There are several versions of what happened, one more beautiful than the other.
1. Careless handling weapons (professional military, ord),
2. Suicide from uncertainty in victory (hardened combat admiral on the eve of the battle with the enemy is three times weaker than him, ord)
3. Murder - "but try it!" ©. The admiral, in contrast to the rest of the commanding officers, insisted on an immediate assault without artillery preparation, which could not be liked by brave marines who did not want to commit a suicide attack by Russian artillery batteries.
The British consider this a suicide, and thus justify their lack of success. Price is buried on the shore of the Tar'inskaya Bay of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Rear Admirad David Price
On the Russian side, the frigate Aurora (42 guns) and the Dvina military transport participated in the battle. The 920 garrison personnel (41 officer, 476 soldiers, 349 sailors, 18 Russian volunteers, and 36 Kamchadal Itelmen), 18 coastal guns. The frigate "Aurora" and military transport "Dvina" were anchored by the left sides to the harbor exit, the right side guns (27 guns) were removed to enhance the coastal batteries. The entrance to the harbor was barred by bon. Frankly, the number of guns varies greatly in the sources, but it all comes down to the fact that there were no more than 70.
The picture of the coastal battery №2 "Koshechnaya", view of Avacha Bay, the hill Signal, in the distance the enemy squadron:
The commander of the port of Petropavlovsk, Major General VS, commanded the defense. Zavoyko (Little Russian origin, from the nobility of the Poltava province).
... Vasily Zavoyko received his first order in 15 years. On board the frigate Alexander Nevsky, he commanded four guns in the bottom deck and was head of the first corporal of the first boarding unit. Russian frigate led the battle with three ships at once. The fire of "Alexander Nevsky" was so disastrous that one Turkish frigate was launched to the bottom, the second one surrendered. Zavoyko participated in his capture. When descending from the roster of the boat, the core was interrupted by feed hoists. Vasily Zavoyko fell into the water, but got to the ship. He started a new hoist, lowered the boat and, together with Lieutenant Borovitsyn, went to the Turkish ship. Brought the flag, captain and officers ...
It was the beginning of a glorious path, Vasily Stepanovich accomplished his main feat in 1854, commanding the defense of Petropavlovsk. Coastal guns and ship guns were distributed in six batteries located on strategic directions. The gunners were covered by sailors, soldiers and volunteers from among the local residents.
Major General V.S. Zavoyko.
So, the Allies remembered Price and decided to continue the difficult task of storming the Russian port city. First of all, they appointed a new commander of French Rear Admiral Fevrier de Pointe (in fact, he played the role of a reserve commander). Then the assault, which began with an artillery duel, was appointed. In 9 hours, the ships "Fort", "President", "Pike" and the steamer "Virago" took a position to the west of Cape Signal and began to fire on the battery number 1, which stood at its tip. About her 5 guns were sent around 80 guns. Unequal duel lasted more than an hour. Only after two gunners died, and several were wounded, Zavoyko gave the order to leave the location of the battery. Then the enemy threw 15 landing craft and 600 Marines on the flank of the battery No. 4, which was protected by 29 people. The calculation riveted the guns, hid the powder and retreated in an orderly manner. The Aurora frigate team and the combined calculations of 1 and 3 batteries in batches with a total number of 130-180 fighters were thrown at the reflection of the landing. Counter-attackers supported the guns "Aurora".
... Hiding from the fire of Russian ships, the paratroopers lay down. But at this time, to their positions, gliding along the green slopes, aiming at the enemy, Russian sailors and Kamchadals rushed swiftly. The impulse that engulfed them, the passionate desire to defeat the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, were so strong that people represented a single solid mass, which frightened the enemy with an irrepressible pursuit. In a bayonet battle, the battery was beaten off, and the Allied paratroopers, in a panic, dropping their weapons, falling, headlong into the water, jumped into the boats, which one after another hurried off.
Later, one of the participants of this fight wrote: “Despite our small number, despite the fact that he was at least four times stronger than all our connected parties, the enemy began to retreat at a run and with such speed that before we arrived at the battery he occupied, he was already in the boats ”...
In turn, in the memoirs of the allies, the counter-attacking Russian sailors are described as an adversary, three times superior in number, terrifying with their fearlessness and contempt for death. In general, fear has big eyes. Until now, military historians have been arguing how 150 can be mistaken for 1800, and why the assault flight was so hasty.
Subsequent attempts of the Anglo-French to land the troops south of the battery number 3 on that day were also repulsed. Then the enemy ships concentrated fire on the battery number 2, which had 11 cannons and covered the entrance to Petropavlovsk Harbor. For ten hours the Russian artillerymen fought an unequal battle with enemy frigates. And eighty of his guns could not silence the coastal battery. As soon as any enemy ship approached it, the exact volleys of the Russian gunners struck him. With the onset of darkness on August 20, the shooting stopped, the first onslaught of the enemy was successfully repulsed by the defenders of Petropavlovsk.
It is noteworthy that in several sources there are references to the memories of the British, as the very first volleys Russian guns shot down the flag on the commander's frigate and that this was considered a bad omen, which had a bad effect on the morale of the allies.
For three days, the Allies licked their wounds, patched up ships, and conducted reconnaissance of the area. At this time, the 1,2 and 4 batteries were repaired in the city. buried the dead. Interestingly, in Tarja, the British met two American sailors who, perfidiously violating their duty to the country that offered hospitality, reported a lot of useful information about the area of Petropavlovsk, which prompted the Allies to a different direction of attack.
A second assault followed.
... Michman Nicholas Fesun, who was on the frigate Aurora, recalled this eve of the last battle in the following words: "For our part, we were perfectly ready and, having decided to die once and for all, and not to step back, waited for the battle as a means to finish the cause at once. The evening of the 23 number was beautiful - as seldom in Kamchatka. The officers conducted him in conversations about the fatherland, in memories of distant Petersburg, of relatives, of loved ones. The shooting parties were cleaning their guns and learning how to fight with bayonets, yet they were generally calm ... "
Captain Arbuzov, having gathered his team that evening, addressed her with the following words: “Now, friends, I am with you. I swear by the cross of St. George, who honestly has been carrying 14 for years, I will not shame the name of the commander! If, however, you see a coward in me, then go with bayonets and spit on the dead! But know that I will demand an exact fulfillment of the oath - to fight to the last drop of blood! .. ”
“If we die, we won't back down!” Was the unanimous response of the team. ...
It is not by chance that the battery # XXUMX “Pedestrian” carries the second name “Mortal”. This battery covered the isthmus between the Signal and Nikolskaya hills. This is the most convenient place for landing, almost the gate to the city and the most inconvenient to protect. The rocky rear gave a stone crumb that hit the defenders when the nuclei hit.
In the photo the battery number XXUMX so this place looks now:
... So that the battery No. 3 on the isthmus between Nikolskaya Sopka and Signal Cape did not interfere with the attack, the first blow was struck on it. The ship "Virago" around 7 in the morning began to bring the French frigate "Fort" to its approaches. In 7 hours 30 minutes, a five-battery battery opened fire on the "Fort". An unequal battle began. Badly protected from the cores of the battery stood up to the enemy's 30 guns. The steamboat Virago, which was freed from being installed in front of the battery number 7 of the English frigate President, was connected to the shelling. In this duel, the battery commander, Lieutenant Prince A.P. Maksutov, showed resilience and courage. He himself pointed the guns and left the battery, only being mortally wounded. In the 9 hour, the battery could no longer respond with shots. ...
Lieutenant Alexander Maksutov in this battle lost his hand, which was torn off by a direct hit by the nucleus. In Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky there is a street named after him.
Monument to the heroes of the 3 battery.
The enemy landed an assault force of 700-900 people on 23 boats to replace the destroyed 3 battery. The battle on Nikolskaya Sopka is described by different colors, but in general one can say the following. Russian soldiers and sailors, 3 times yielding in number to the enemy, under fire by enemy ship artillery in a brutal bayonet battle overturned the landing force in the sea. The enemy lost up to 300 people killed, including the commander. 7 officer sabers, 56 rifles and the banner of the Royal British Royal Marine Corps were captured.
In the picture the trophy banner:
A few days later, the significantly depleted Allied squadron left Avacha Bay. After that, the Master of the Seas and her ally finally abandoned the idea of fighting the Russians in the Pacific. As you know, Russia lost the 1853-1856g to the Allies, but thanks to the victory in the defense of Petropavlovsk, neither the French nor the British in the future have ever challenged Russia's sovereignty over the Far East and Kamchatka.
... “The board of one Russian frigate and several batteries,” United magazine Magazine’s United Service Magazine wrote at the beginning of 1855, turned out to be invincible in front of the sea power of England and France, and the two greatest powers of the globe were mastered and defeated. Russian garrison. ...
Monument-chapel at the mass grave of the defenders of the city 1854g.
It should be noted that the Russian troops were obviously worse armed with obsolete smooth-bore guns, were deprived of any hope for reinforcement and supply of ammunition and gunpowder from the mainland. In total, the enemy, having a triple numerical superiority in people, ships and artillery, lost up to 450 people killed, while the losses of the Russians are estimated to be 100 people. In different sources, the figures of losses of allies differ (150-450), this is due to the serious unreliability of data from allies. However, it is noteworthy that one of the Spanish captains who met the frigate "President" immediately after the battle in the neutral port noted his surprise that the sails on the English frigate were raised in turn, separately on each mast, and not at the same time at all at once, as demanded maritime regulations. The reason is simple - there were not enough people, with losses in 150 people. this would not be.
Shackles (!) Found in the killed French and English paratroopers on the battlefield, historians explain the desire to profit from the slave trade, which at that time flourished in the region.
The Peter and Paul Defense in August 1854, during which the victory over the Anglo-French squadron was won, is one of the glorious pages of the history of Petropavlovsk. A small military garrison on the outskirts of the Russian Empire took over the enemy, surpassing him in military force several times. Against the background of Russia's failures during the Crimean War (1853 – 1856), this insignificant episode on the scale of military operations was Russia's only victory in this war. Not only Russia, but the whole world learned about the defenders of Petropavlovsk.
For conducting artillery duels and bombardment of coastal batteries, the allies with the help of the steamer "Virago" towed sailing ships and set them in position. Thus, against any Russian battery (from 5 to 11 guns) there were always guns of several frigates (30-40 guns) the ship itself connected one of its sides (5 guns) to that.
The enemy used 38kg nuclei, which fired "bomb weapons".
The ammunition of the Russian coastal batteries was 37 shots on the gun, on the Aurora frigate - 60 and Dvina transport on 30 shots on the gun.
The squadron tried to intercept the Aurora back in April, even before the news of England and France entering the war reached the Russian captain. However, Ysyltetiev managed to put down the vigilance of the allies by imitating the repair of the frigate. After the "friendly visit" of the captain to the flagship of the squadron, under the cover of darkness and fog, the Aurora slipped away from Price's nose and headed for Kamchatka. The American Consul and King of the Hawaiian Islands warned about the beginning of the Russian war in friendly letters. This is a prime example of how friendly relations with neighbors allow you to win battles. Hello hurray-patriots, out of place repeating the famous phrase of Alexander III about the two sole ally of the army and navy.
After the victory over the squadron, it was decided that it was impossible to further defend the city. The houses were dismantled, local residents had their ears to the north, the Cossacks and soldiers settled in the distant village of the Avacha River. The sailors, after cutting through the ice, liberated the ships. "Aurora" and "Dvina" went to sea before the arrival of the second squadron.
The second squadron in May 1855 already in the number of 5 French and 9 English ships found the bay empty, uninhabitable and used for its intended purpose, and then retreated back home.
In contrast to the fighting in the Crimea, the British and French could not take advantage of the quality of small arms - in the close range of the battle rifled barrels, the range and accuracy of the battle did not play a special role.
For the defense of Petropavlovsk, V. S. Zavoyko was re-certified as rear admiral and awarded the orders of St. George of the 3rd degree and St. Stanislav of the 1st degree. The streets of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky are named after the heroes of defense, and the Nikolskaya hill itself became a sacred historical monument of the courage and valor of the Russian army and fleet.
cycle of paintings "Defense of Petropavlovsk"
thin Dyakov V.F.
painting "Defense of Petropavlovsk-on-Kamchatka in 1854" by G.S.Zorin and Ya.S.Kurylenko, 1950,