Military Review

Sailors of Russia. The first operations and expeditions of the Russian Fleet


310 years ago, in October 1703, Peter I went on boats to the Gulf of Finland, examined the approaches to the St. Petersburg founded by him. On the island of Kotlin, he outlined places for harbors and a fortress, the future of Kronstadt. Ships were transported here from Arkhangelsk along rivers and portages. Shipyards appeared in St. Petersburg itself. The birth of the Baltic is associated with these events. fleet. Seven years earlier, Russian squadrons in the south, in Azov and Taganrog, raised sails and rattled cannons.

But quite ugly conclusions are often made from the achievements of our ancestors - that shipbuilding and navigation for a long time remained alien to the Russians. Unless they looked stupidly at the highly developed foreigners sailing towards them, and then the king-reformer urged them to adopt foreign science and experience. It would not be superfluous to note that such constructions have nothing to do with the truth. The regular navy in our country was really built by Peter. However, the beginning of Russian navigation is lost in the depths of the centuries.

On the Slavic squadrons of the Byzantines quite often mentioned from the VII century. In 773, as part of the army of Emperor Konstantin Copronym, who fought against the Bulgarians, a whole flotilla of "Russian ships" was marked. Another flotilla around the same years attacked the Crimea, the Great Novgorod Army, Prince Bravlin, landed from it, pressed the coast from Chersonese to Kerch, and after a ten-day siege, stormed Surozh (Sudak).

In the future, such mentions became permanent. Russians sailed to the Greek shores to trade and fight. One of the main reasons for the periodic wars with Byzantium was precisely the attempts of the Greek emperors to deprive our country of access to the sea, to wipe it off from the benefits of trade (and at the same time to protect themselves from raids from the sea). The threat was indeed serious. Squadrons from the north repeatedly appeared on the approaches to Constantinople, smashed the Greek possessions in the Crimea and in Asia Minor. Sometimes they also entered into unions, went along the Volga into the Caspian Sea, and struck at the Byzantine opponent, Persia.

In 937 – 944, under Grand Duke Igor, the Russians built permanent port bases. Landed on Kinburn, Tendrovskoy spit, in the Crimea. The Arab historian Al-Masudi in those years called the Black Sea “the sea of ​​the Rus, along which no other tribes swim, and they settled on one of its shores”. Established yet failed. After a series of clashes, the Greeks imposed a peace treaty that forbade the Russians to stop at the coast even for the winter. Slavic ships of this era were "monoxies", one-boat boats. The trunk of a large tree was hollowed out or burned, boards were built up, a mast with a straight sail was set. But no later than the middle of the 10th century. Rusich learned to build large ships, with cabins.

In 957, the Grand Duchess St. Olga paid a visit to Constantinople, with her went an impressive embassy, ​​35 would give her retinue, 88 boyars, merchants, representatives of cities. The Greeks in every way tried to designate a distance with the "barbarians", for three months they had an audience with the emperor and did not allow the visitors to leave the ships. It is clear that the ruler of a great power and court ladies did not live on boats, but with relative conveniences. And grandson of sv. Olha - St. Vladimir Baptist, around 985 - 986 joined the Khazar cities of Tamatarkha and Samkerts (Taman and Kerch), the Tmutarakan principality was founded here, our country finally acquired a port gate in the south.

Such gates since ancient times existed in the west - Ladoga, Novgorod. The local sailors plowed the expanses of the Baltic, maintained regular ties with the Scandinavians, with the principalities of the Baltic Slavs - encouragement, rugia, vagry. In Germany, near 750, the Ladoga merchants allocated the farmsteads in the city of Dorestad in the lower reaches of the Rhine, and Emperor Charlemagne appointed special officials to trade with them. "Varyagi-Rus" appeared off the coast of Spain, took by storm and plundered Seville. Merchants sailed to Syria and Egypt through Constantinople. Bylina o Sadko was composed in pagan times. And the Novgorod bishops recorded legends similar to ancient Greek or Irish - about how local sailors traveled to the edge of the world, to some “paradise” islands, or vice versa, inhabited by monsters.

However, in 1093, the Byzantine emperor Alexey Comnenus turned a brilliant intrigue - he supported Prince Oleg Svyatoslavich in the internecine strife, and he paid for his help, gave the Tmutarakan principality to the Greeks. Russia lost access to the Black Sea. A Baltic in the XIII century. the German crusaders captured, and the Swedes became more active, preventing the Russians from entering the Baltic. In 1230, Novgorod was tempted to join the Ganza, a trade and political union of German cities. But the alliance turned out to be unequal. The Hanseatic monopolized trade on the Baltic Sea, founded a residence in Novgorod, where one of the main offices of the Hanza settled down. The Russians were not allowed into their markets, they imposed prices. Novgorod navigation was gradually strangled.

But the art of shipbuilding in Russia has not disappeared. In the north, the Pomors built rather large ships, the Kochi. In size, they were not inferior to the Spanish or Portuguese caravels. Koch had one mast with sails, fastened with the help of “legs” (guy), steering at the stern. If the ship was military, a gun could be put. The team was 6 - 12 people led by the feeder-driver, and taken on board to 50. There were one or two cabins for the owner and the attendant, a hold below the deck. There were supplies, goods and the rest of the team - the residential part was separated from the cargo bulkhead. On board were special devices for gracing off the shoals (kochna - a sort of gate) and drainage devices - hydraulic pumps operated by windmills. With a fair wind, the Koch could go as far as 250 km per day.

There were compasses ("uterus"), they were found during excavations of Mangazeya and with finding traces of lost expeditions on the shores of Sims Bay, on Fr. Thaddeus at Taimyr. A deep lot and sundials were also used - all of these navigation devices were made by Pomeranian craftsmen. And the main feature of the Kochi was a small draft, which allowed them to swim in the coastal strip, cleared of ice. Boards had a convex, “barrel-shaped” shape. If the vessel did fall into the ice, it did not crush, but squeezed to the surface. It could drift along with the ice field.

The Pomors on such ships regularly went to Svalbard, to Norway, to Novaya Zemlya - this was considered commonplace. When Ivan III, in 1480 g., Got to England, and after that there were many times. Ivan III tried to revive the seafaring in the Baltic, in 1492 he ordered to build the port of Ivangorod - opposite Livonian Narva, but on its territory. However, Hansa and Sweden did not want to tolerate new competitors, they captured and sank the Russian ships that appeared at sea. Ivan III made an alliance with Denmark and started a war. In 1496, the first naval operation of Moscow Russia was marked. A squadron of Pomeranian ships under the command of Ivan and Peter Ushatykh sailed into the White Sea, rounded the Kola Peninsula, attacked and captured three Swedish ships, and landed troops in Lapland, taking the oath to the people of the king.

The goal of the war was achieved; in 1497, the Russians gained free trade rights in Sweden and Denmark. But the Swedes and Livonians constantly violated the treaty, tried to lock up the Russian roads to the Baltic. And at the same time, the Western powers fought for sea routes to rich eastern countries. In 1553, England sent Willloby's expedition in search of the Northeast Passage, which would allow her to enter China bypassing the Spanish and Portuguese possessions. Two ships were killed, and the third, Captain Chensler, was brought into the White Sea and rescued by the Pomorie. The British spoke that they "discovered" Russia! (Forgetting that Russian sailors “discovered” them on 70 years earlier).

Later, expeditions were undertaken to search for the Northeast Passage: Barrow, Pat and Dackman, Barents, Hudson. Endured hardships, died. But ... historians pass by the obvious facts. These captains traveled to the regions where lively sea traffic existed without them. In the same way as Chensler, the Pomors saved the remnants of the Barents team, who died during the “discovery” of Novaya Zemlya, long mastered by the Russians. Well, the British and the Dutch were excellent sailors, their ships in the XVI - XVII centuries. were considered the best. But the best only in the vast Atlantic. And for the Arctic Ocean, they were not adapted, unlike our vessels. And not by chance in the twentieth century. F. Nansen, creating his “Fram” for polar travels, chose for him a construction similar to Koch.

None of the foreign expeditions could not break through the ice east of Novaya Zemlya! And the Russians went there regularly and did not consider it as a feat. Pomeranian ships sailed in the Kara Sea as early as the 15th century, reached the Ob Bay, and no later than the 1570s established themselves on the Taz River, establishing the city of Mangazeya there. By the beginning of the XVII century. it was a fairly large center with a population of 2 thousand people, and only in 1610 was 16 Kochi from Kholmogor and Arkhangelsk arrived at the Mangazeya port. From here, the roads were laid and further east to Taimyr, to Khatanga Bay. By the way, our ancestors were highly skilled researchers. V.N. Skalon, making a map of r. In 1929. Taz, discovered that “drawings of the XVII century. were closer to reality than those that were released two centuries later. ” But the map compiled by Barents turned out to be completely erroneous.

Another center of polar navigation was formed in the 1630-ies, after the Russians left the river. Lena. There were shipyards in Ust-Kut, Yakutsk, Zhigansk. In the Laptev Sea, the routes of the ships that traveled from Mangezei and from Lena to the “eastern rivers” - Yana, Indigirka, Kolyma closed up. The intensity of navigation can be judged by the fact that in 1647, the Yakutsk customs hut registered 15 kochi, which proceeded to the ocean. Well, in the next, 1648, an expedition of Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnev set off from Srednekolymsk - a very difficult expedition, when 5 kochi died in a hurricane in the Chukchi Sea, but the remaining 2 rounded the “Big Stone Nose” (now Dezhnev Cape) and discovered “ land and end of the land of Siberia. ”

It is curious to note that there were also pirates in the Arctic Ocean! One of them was the discoverer of Lena, the Cossack foreman Vasily Bugor. He made several expeditions in the service of the government, and then he wanted to “take a walk”. With a band from 22, a man drove a goch in Yakutsk, robbed merchant ships, and coastal villages. Mining was drunk in the taverns of the polar игigansk region, where there were no authorities. The same was done in the Laptev Sea by Gerasim Ankudin, who escaped from service, with a team of 30 people. There were not enough military forces in these parts, and the government looked right at such “mischief”. It was indicated to the governors: if the “thieves” declare and repent, compensating the victims for injuries, then fine, let them continue to serve, atone for the blame. They redeemed. Ankudinov stuck to the squadron Popov and Dezhnev, died in Kamchatka. The hill went with an expedition to Anadyr, also joined Dezhnev. After many years of heroic work, he was sent to Moscow with reports, with maps of open lands, and piracy was forgiven for him.

Shipbuilding in Russia existed not only in the North. Rooks, planes, plaques, Boudars walked along the rivers. Among them were ships that were by no means small: the planes had a displacement of 30-35 t., There are references to strugi “attic boardwalkers from attics and with closets” (with cabins and holds). A shipyard in Voronezh existed long before Peter I - it was founded in 1620 by Patriarch Philaret Romanov, there were budars (barges) built for the annual transportation of “bread salaries” to the Don Cossacks.

And almost every year the canoes of the Donets and “gulls” of the Cossacks would spill out into the Black Sea. These were large boats without deck. Each side had 10-15 jolly, and in good weather, a mast with a straight sail was raised. The crew was 30-70 man, weapons - 4-6 falconet (light guns). By the way, famous filibusters in the Caribbean used the same vessels. Magnificent multi-frigates they have appeared only in art novels and films. For all history Caribbean piracy, the gentleman of fortune had only one frigate, the British governor gave them an Oxford gun 36. The filibusters got drunk with joy, someone climbed into the camera with a pipe, and the ship took off into the air.

But the frigates were them unnecessarily. In naval battles, they never entered. The boats were more convenient to track down a Spanish ship in the straits of the Antilles, lagging behind the convoy, sneak up at night and take on board the ship. Or suddenly collapse on the coastal city. Cossacks acted similarly. The low canoes, almost merging with the water, followed the Turkish ships in the distance, attacking them in the dark. Or, gathering in squadrons, plundered the shores of Turkey, the Crimea. Flew, when no one is waiting. In the meantime, the enemy wakes up, the troops and fleet will lead, the Cossacks have already caught a trace. They managed to sail off, scattered across the sea, disappeared into the mouths of rivers.

But the first Russian naval victory in the Baltic was won by the Cossacks. In 1656, the next war with Sweden began, and Patriarch Nikon offered to send several hundreds of Donts there. They were included in the detachment of the governor Potemkin, who made a raid on the same places where Peter I would fight in half a century. The detachment blocked the fortress Noteburg (Nut), then descended along the Neva and suddenly raided the city of Nyenskans at the mouth of the river. The Cossacks entered the Gulf of Finland and near the Kotlin Island they found a squadron of Swedish warships carrying soldiers. They were attacked, crushed and burned - they distinguished themselves right near the future of Kronstadt!

And on the Volga and the Caspian Sea twice attempts were made to build a fleet in the likeness of Europe. Here lay the most important trade route to Persia, spices, jewels, and, most importantly, silk were supplied to Moscow. In Europe, it was fabulously expensive. The British, French, Dutch, repeatedly persuaded the Russian tsars to allow transit through Russia to trade with the Persians directly. But every time they were refused. To yield to someone a fabulous profit was stupid.

However, in 1633, the Holstein duke Frederick III made a similar request and made an exception for him. His poor principality had neither money nor goods. The Russian government considered that such competitors were not terrible for us, and Russia received through Schleswig-Holstein an excellent access to Western markets. Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich granted Holstein citizens the right to trade with Iran for 10 years, in Nizhny Novgorod it was planned to build 10 large ships that would cruise to Persia and carry silk. The contract also took into account the possibility of acquaintance with foreign technologies: the Germans were allowed to hire Russian carpenters and sailors, but with the condition that they should not “hide the craftmanship” from them. ”

German-born German Hans Burke (aka Ivan Berezhitsky) and specialists from Germany led the work. In 1635, the ship “Friedrich” was launched. Flat-bottomed, but otherwise built by the type of ships - three-mast, 12-gun, with cabins for the team and a large hold for the goods. True, Russian and Persian merchants who traveled to Iran on light vessels (Olearius wrote, “like small barges”), expressed doubt whether Friedrich would be suitable for local navigation. They were right. On the Volga, a heavy ship continually ran aground, from the Lower to Astrakhan it was six weeks. And in the shallow, but stormy Caspian Sea fell into a storm. The bulky flat-bottomed construction was unstable, the ship was wallowing and beating in waves. The corps, which had suffered on the Volga shoals, began to collapse. To save people, the ship was stranded off the coast of Dagestan. The remaining ships did not build.

The second such attempt took place under Alexey Mikhailovich. The expansion of the silk trade was hampered by the “thieves of the Cossacks” who robbed ships in the Caspian and Volga. The Russian Chancellor Ordin-Nashchokin had an idea to create a regular fleet for the protection of goods. 19 July 1667 was signed a decree on the basis of the shipyard and the construction of ships on the Oka, in the village of Dedinovo. For this, Dutch specialists were involved. Plotnikov, “whipping and sailing masters” recruited Russians. By order of Alexei Mikhailovich, tsarist painters and woodcarvers were sent — he wanted his ships to be beautiful.

Soon, a three-mast 22-gun “Eagle”, a single-mast 6-gun yacht, two augers and a bot began to sway on the water. The crew included the Dutch 15, led by Captain Butler, the ordinary sailors were Russians. Butler and Ordin-Nashchokin developed the first Russian naval charter approved by the tsar. But the sad experience of “Friedrich” did not take into account. The same was repeated. The squadron moved on the Oka and Volga in May 1669, and the heavy “Eagle” was crawling from the bank to the bank. I traveled to Astrakhan for three months and got up for repairs. And in 1670, Stenka Razin came up to the city with “thieves Cossacks” - for the fight against which “Eagle” was intended. But it turned out that in military terms it is useless. On the river he could not maneuver, was helpless in front of the brisk canoes. The Dutch team threw him without a fight, ran on boats to Persia. "Eagle" Razintsy burned.

Some members of the crew were captured, including Jan Streis - by the way, a professional pirate who had robbed the Indian Ocean, then went to Russia as an ambassadorial groom and hired an "Eagle". It seems that the Dutch pirates had a gut in front of the Russians. By the way, Streis's notes are the only source mentioning the episode from the Persian princess that was included in the songs. In fact, in his raid on Iran, Razin captured Prince Shabyn-Debey, who was later liberated. In the diplomatic correspondence on this issue, no princess appears. Other contemporaries described not a princess at all, but a certain obscure Tatar, drowned by Stenka in a drunken affair.

But if we return to our topic and sum up some results, it is not at all difficult to see — it was not at all ignorance that prevented Russians from creating their own naval forces. On the contrary, they built ships that were much better than European ones for specific operating conditions in the then Russian waters. And when the Azov campaigns of Peter I and the Northern War opened the way for the creation of a large regular fleet, it immediately appeared.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. patriot2
    patriot2 14 October 2013 10: 37
    Russia without a fleet and access to the oceans is not Russia. To the Russian fleet and coastal cities - to be! This is the testament of our ancestors!
  2. biglow
    biglow 14 October 2013 10: 42
    wonderful written, without any pseudo-historical tinsel
  3. nnz226
    nnz226 14 October 2013 16: 52
    Quote: "In 773, a whole flotilla of" Russian ships "was marked as part of the army of Emperor Constantine Copronymus, who fought against the Bulgarians." And we are told that the Russian state became "civilized" only with baptism in 988! And before that, they say, our ancestors almost jumped along the branches. But - no! The presence of ships implies a significant degree of civilization!
    1. Uhe
      Uhe 14 October 2013 19: 46
      Our civilization was stronger than the Romance. The Slavs in general, and the Russians in particular, owned vast lands of Europe from the north of Scandinavia to Tmutarakan in the south and from the center of Europe in the west to the Caucasus in the east (remember even a hike to Berdaa), fought with Arabs, Greeks, later with the Franks, took tribute from them.

      It’s just that in the end we lost to the Franks and Greeks a strategic battle for the future, so we began to erase our history. Lost due to the internal betrayal of fratricide Vladimir. It was after his reign that Russia lost a little less than 30% of its settlements and population, as modern archeology testifies, and the Pechenegs began to rob Russia, although they could not utter a word before, but on the contrary, they went on the orders of our princes against our enemies. Well, due to sad circumstances like the death of Igor and the subsequent death of his son Svyatoslav.

      A good book on the topic was written by Lev Prozorov.
  4. Uhe
    Uhe 14 October 2013 19: 40
    Peter 1 won the main naval victories with the help of the old galley fleet built before him, and the main battle on land - Paltavskoye - was won with the help of the Streltsy army, and not his vaunted regiments of the western type;) This is about the issue of substituting meanings.

    Russians have been excellent sailors for centuries. And shipbuilders and gunsmiths, too. They sailed both at sea and along rivers, raided other countries not only by land, but also by water. And there were many types of ships too - for all occasions. And just Peter 1 began to prohibit the use of certain types of Russian ships and switch to western ones. Well, by the time of Peter 1, some access to the sea was lost. Well, then the Germans under Catherine tried to pervert our history beyond recognition. This is if in short :)
  5. catapractic
    catapractic 15 October 2013 01: 46
    the article does not really cover the topic of the Caspian campaigns of the Russes in the 10th century and their raids on Persia and the ter-ju sovr of Azerbaijan, as for the battles with the Byzantine fleet, the Slavs had no chance, however, as well as other peoples of Iceland with flamethrowers and ballistas against lodges -without options. Russian flotillas were good for swift raids and robbery, but not for war
  6. mikkado31
    mikkado31 15 October 2013 23: 22
    They only forgot to write that the Russians are not Slavs but Varangians, Vikings, that is, Scandinavians. They built their drakkars. Until now, the Finns and Sámi have Sweden called Ruotsi, and Russia - Venyaia (from the word Veneda)