For his diligence in an extraordinary order in 1732, Gregory was awarded the rank of midshipman and transferred to Kronstadt. Until February 1733 he sailed across the Baltic, after which he received a new direction - to Donskaya flotilla. Here he was attracted by the fleet commander himself, a veteran of the Peter's fleet, Vice Admiral Pyotr Petrovich Bredal, taking Grigory Andreyevich to him in February 1737 as adjutant of the "captain's rank". The Don military flotilla took part in the famous Azov campaign of the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1741. Spiridov accompanied the admiral during the war, took part in sea battles. Eyewitnesses noted that in the battles he acted bravely and competently.
In 1741, Grigory Andreevich was sent to the port of Arkhangelsk. For the next three decades, his life was closely connected with the northern seas. Twice he made difficult crossings on the route Arkhangelsk-Kronstadt on newly built ships (in 1742 and 1752). After returning to Kronstadt, he annually made trips to the Neva and the Baltic Sea. The service advanced successfully, the experienced seaman was repeatedly assigned responsible tasks. For example, in 1747, he brought Prince Golshtinsky to Kiel on the frigate “Russia”, and in 1750 Spiridov was entrusted with the management of court yachts.
In the 1754 year, Gregory, already a captain of the third rank, was ordered by the Admiralty Board to Kazan to oversee the loading and delivery of the ship forest for the St. Petersburg Admiralty. It is known that the sailor, who was on vacation near Belgorod, did not want to take on this assignment. Perhaps because he was warned that he would be charged if, upon arrival, “any disorder and loss to the treasury of Imperial Majesty” will be released. However, the college ordered him to go "at extreme speed", threatening to list all the property. He completed the assignment successfully, on his return from Kazan in 1755, he was appointed a member of the commission for reviewing maritime regulations, and the following year - as a company commander in the Maritime "gentry" cadet corps.
Despite the fact that the annual voyage enriched the experience of Grigori Alekseevich as a naval officer, his combat experience remained small. However, in 1760-1761, the captain happened to take part in a major military operation - the battle for the Pomeranian stronghold Kolberg. For the Russian army, the seizure of this fortress was of great importance, since it made it possible to organize a strategically advantageous springboard in Pomerania and, moreover, to supply troops by sea, which was cheaper and faster than the route that existed through Poland.
The first attempt to capture Kohlberg was made in the 1758 year, but ended in failure. It was decided to repeat the siege in 1760. Grigory Andreyevich took part in it, commanding the battleship "Sacred Dmitry Rostovsky", on which his sons were also eight and ten years old. Arriving at the fortress, the Russian ships landed troops and blocked Kolberg from the sea. However, this assault attempt also ended in failure — in spite of the enormous forces gathered under the walls of the fortress, there was no interaction between the sea and land units. In addition, there were rumors about the approach of the six-thousandth Prussian corps, causing confusion in the Russian camp. In early September, the ship Spiridov, taking troops from the shore, returned with a fleet to Kronstadt.
The decisive battle for this “annoying feudal serfs” took place in August 1761, when Rumyantsev's 15,000-strong corps marched on the march. A combined Russian-Swedish fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Andrei Ivanovich Polyansky, consisting of 24 battleships, 12 bombardier ships and frigates and a huge number of transport ships that brought seven thousand reinforcements to Kolberg, was sent to help him. In this campaign, Spiridov commanded the ship "St. Andrew the First-Called."
From the sea, the blockade of the fortress lasted from mid-August to late September. Bombardier ships of the Kronstadt squadron under the command of Semyon Ivanovich Mordvinov were set against enemy batteries. Captain Grigory Spiridov was instructed to lead the two thousand troops, landed to support the siege corps. The detachment took part in the unloading of provisions, after which he was sent into battle.
The commander of the assault showed himself from the best side, Mordvinov wrote to St. Petersburg that "he had heard more than once about the brave actions of the fleet captain Spiridov, in which he was handed to him (Spiridov) a certificate from Rumyantsev." Nevertheless, the end of the operation — the fall of the Kohlberg fortress — did not happen to Semyon Mordvinov, nor to Grigory Spiridov: the lack of provisions and firewood forced the fleet to return to Kronstadt in October.
The following year, Spiridov was promoted to rear admiral and ordered to command a squadron of seven ships sent to the coast of Pomerania to cover Russian communications. The ships embarked on a raid in Kohlberg, from where they took turns sailing in pairs. By that time, hostilities had already ended, there was no need to protect their transports or to capture other people's needs. In early July 1962 of the year came news of a palace coup, Rumyantsev delivered a jury list and a copy of Catherine II’s manifesto to the squadron. Grigory Andreevich, having gathered the commanders of all the ships, as well as the officers of his ship, loudly read the manifesto. This was followed by an oath, together with a thanksgiving prayer. The change of power was accepted calmly; no incidents are mentioned in the magazine. Obediently they swore allegations and the commands of the courts, apparently, the deposed Peter III did not enjoy sympathy in the fleet. In August 1762, the squadron returned to Revel.
In 1762-1763 Spiridov lived and worked in St. Petersburg during the Admiralty, his name was heard at parades and during ceremonial visits to the squadron ships by Ekaterina II. 4 May 1764 Grigory Andreyevich was fired as vice admiral and appointed to command the Kronstadt squadron. And in July of the same year, a reputable sailor replaced Polyansky, who was seriously ill as commander of the Revel fleet. In October, Admiral Andrei Polyansky died, and Spiridov became the main commander of the port in Reval. A year later he was transferred to Kronstadt to a similar position.
In 1768, the captain of the first rank, Samuel Greig, a Scot who switched to the Russian service, proposed a new rigging system and sails, developed by him on the basis of the English. Grigory Andreyevich was present at the experiments and had to give an official conclusion. The new system really, facilitating the rigging, increased the speed of the ship, however, it could not be successfully applied on all ships. Spiridov's decision was notable for being balanced - the captains were allowed to decide the question on their own, whether to introduce an innovation on their ship or leave it as it was.
Such was the life of Gregory Spiridov to the beginning of the Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, the war that became his finest hour. Simultaneously with the onset of the land armies of Rumyantsev and Golitsyn, preparations for fighting at sea began in St. Petersburg. Hurried orders were made about the collection of material and the construction of ships in Pavlovsk, Tavrov and other Don shipyards. The Admiralty Board was instructed to “decide on the type of ships with which they could usefully act against the Turkish naval ships”. Admirals Senyavin and Spiridov were involved in discussing this issue, "for he was the first to act, and the second in the right places was himself." By the decision of Grigory Andreevich, only small, small-sitting ships with the number of guns no more than sixteen began to build.
At the same time, in Petersburg, under the project of Count Alexei Orlov, a daring plan was developed for joint actions on the Turkish coast at sea and on land, a plan aimed at raising the indigenous population of the islands of the Archipelago and the Balkan Peninsula against the Turks: Greeks, Montenegrins and other Christians. The command of the dispatched squadron was entrusted to Spiridov, a secret order from 20 in March 1769, read: "We entrust Spiridov, our vice-admiral, to some expedition, for which the Admiralty Board, at his request, has to repair him with all sorts of help."
The purpose of the campaign was kept secret, only 4 of June 1769 of the year Grigory Andreyevich was made admiral and already officially placed at the head of the fleet that was equipped for the expedition. Historians evaluate this appointment differently. French poet, writer and diplomat Claude Ruhler spoke of Spiridov as a man of direct, simple and courageous, rude, but easy temper. In his judgment, Grigory Andreyevich was obliged by his elevation to Orlov, whom he knew even sergeants. Rising with them, he remained the commander only by name, shifting glory to Orlov, and his works to Greig. This view is supported by another Frenchman who lived at the end of the XVIII century - the historian J.A. Custer. Unfortunately, some domestic historians partially agree with them, referring to Spiridov as a “respectable but quite ordinary worker”.
Undoubtedly, all such characteristics of the source have a hostile attitude of the French government to the Mediterranean campaign of the Russian fleet, as well as its leaders. His career, Grigory Andreevich could not have been obliged to Orlov, if only because in 1733, when Ivan (the eldest of brothers) was born, he was already twenty years old, of which he spent ten in the navy. Of course, this does not exclude his acquaintance with the Orlovs, as well as the fact that they could have contributed to his advancement in the later stages of his career. However, before them, for Spiridov, they added the word Bredal, Polyansky, Mordvinov .... All of them were quite noticeable figures in the national fleet of the time, and they all noted the talents and zeal of Grigory Andreyevich. With regards to the experience - his service lasted almost half a century, he started from the lowest ranks, performed the responsible tasks of the Admiralty. On his way to the admiral rank, this man served in all the seas, where Russia had at least some sea formations. At that time, Grigory Spiridov, of course, was the most worthy candidate for the role of leader of the march to the shores of Turkey.
The task assigned to the squadron was extremely difficult and responsible - the Russian fleet had not yet made such distant voyages and was not adapted to the long march. Many ships leaked, in order to prevent this, the underwater part of the ships was urgently needed - the empress hurried with the departure - she covered the pine boards, laying sheep wool between them. After that, the squadron was given the name "sheathing". 18 June Catherine II personally visited the finished court. Spiridov was awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky, the Empress also blessed him, wearing the image of the holy martyr John the Warrior around his neck, the officers and sailors were given a four-month salary "not to be credited." On the same night, the ships took off anchors. Seven battleships (66- and 84-gun), one 36-gun frigate and seven small ships set off on a long journey.
Grigory Andreyevich himself was swimming in the 66-gun "Evstafii". The Empress’s personal letter instructed him to “deliver ground troops along with artillery and military projectiles to support Count Orlov; to establish a whole corps of Christians to sabotage Turkey in a sensitive place for it; assist the rebel Greeks and Slavs and prevent smuggling into Turkey. ” The powers of the admiral, therefore, were enormous - he could issue his own letters of marque, issue manifestos "to divert the barbarian republics from Turkish domination." For extraordinary expenses 480 thousand rubles were issued to him.
Swimming turned out to be very difficult, the ocean gave a squadron a severe exam. Hurricane winds broke the spars and tore the sails of unsuitable for long voyage ships into shreds. Masts broke on the ships, each storm put several ships out of operation, forcing them to take cover for repair in the ports, “the weather was so bleak and strong, that half the squadron was rarely when it was possible to see.” We had to make long stops in order to wait for all stragglers. Elphinstone, who led the second squadron, sent after Grigory Andreyevich, also reported on the deplorable state of their ships - “not a single unit is available, everything has to be changed, the pumps are invalid,“ Svyatoslav ”cannot withstand the tremors from its large artillery ...”.
Exhausted not only the battle with the elements. There was also an accelerated preparation for the march: there was not enough ropes, sails, and a pump for pumping out water. The ships were cramped: in addition to the crews, ground troops, repairmen weapons and ships. For weeks, sailors unaccustomed to long voyages and terrible pitching could not eat, cook hot food for themselves, feeding only on breadcrumbs and corned beef. From the change of humidity and air, cold and poor nutrition, the team mowed down the disease. Then on one, then on the other ship lowered flags, throwing overboard the corpses wrapped in canvas. But the squadron Spiridov went ahead. Grigory Andreyevich's letter, written to Chernyshev from Hull from September 25, was the most gloomy. The admiral reported that of the fifteen ships, only ten came to this place with him, the rest suffered accidents and got up for repair. He also reported about six hundred sick people, a shortage of fresh provisions, and the absence of pilots in Gulla, who have to wait. Slow progress caused extreme dissatisfaction with Catherine II, who wrote Spiridov: “... do not allow shame in front of the whole world. The whole of Europe is watching you and your squadron. ”
Under the circumstances, Spiridov decided not to wait for the lagging ships, allowing their captains to continue the path "according to ability". Port Magon in Minorca was appointed a gathering point. Admiral "Evstafy" first reached the place 18 November. Months of waiting flowed. At the end of 1769, three more liners and four smaller ships approached, and the last ships arrived only in May of the following year. Many of them were in a deplorable state, and Spiridov himself was sick, having survived a personal tragedy - his youngest son, enrolled in the Archipelago expedition along with his brother for "practicing long-distance voyages", died. The arrival of the Balts provoked the surprise of the “Splendid Porta”, Mustafa III, who was a Turkish sultan, refused to believe this news. And, nevertheless, the delay at Port-Magona played into the hands of the Turks, allowing them to strengthen their garrisons, provide them with supplies, and take measures to suppress the incipient liberation uprising in the Balkans.
Spiridov moved into action in March 1770. First, a landing party was landed near the coast of southern Greece in Vitulo Bay, after which an uprising of local residents immediately broke out under the direction of Russian officers. Then Grigori Andreevich decided to strengthen the coast. For this, his squadron was divided: one part of 24 March 1770 was sent to Navarin under the command of Pushkin's great-uncle Ivan Abramovich Hannibal, the other under the direction of Spiridov to the Crown. 10 April Navarino fortress fell, Russian sailors captured one of the most convenient fortifications in the Peloponnese. It was not possible to take the crown from the swoop, and the entire squadron gathered in Navarino Bay.
Throwing the enemy out of a number of fortresses, the Russians forced the Turkish command to withdraw considerable ground forces from the Danube. The Greek rebels on the peninsula, meeting with serious enemy forces, began to scatter. Due to miscalculations during the planning of land operations, the Turks also managed to smash the landing assault troops, pushing them back to Navarin. The siege of the fortress began from the land. Under the threat of an attack by the Turkish squadron, Spiridov brought the battleships out of Navarino harbor and went to join the second squadron of Admiral Elphinstone.
May 22 squadron successfully connected, but then intervened in the "human factor". Despite the fact that Admiral John Elphinstone was younger than Grigory Andreyevich, he declared that he would not obey him. The problem was solved by Alexey Orlov, who, having blown up the walls, left Navarin, and joined them on June 11. He took over the main command and led the squadron to meet with the Turkish fleet with the only hope of destroying it and seizing the sea.
Despite the fact that the Sultan clearly ordered the daring aliens to be smashed, the commander in chief of the entire Turkish fleet, Ibrahim Hosameddin, was famous for his caution and indecision. At the meeting, the Turkish forces, consisting of eighteen ships, rushed to retreat. The chase lasted for three days, until finally the more high-speed ships of the Turks disappeared from view. The idea of the enemy was obvious and was to lure the Russian ships into the labyrinths of the Archipelago, gather all their strength and deliver the final blow. Also Sultan sent Vice Admiral Gassan Pasha, who had the nickname “Crocodile of sea battles” to help Hosameddin. He was a brave sailor and an experienced naval commander who won a number of naval victories. It was rumored that on ships Algerian was pacing with a lioness on a leash. "I will find the Russians and arrange fireworks from their ships," he promised the Sultan. However, Spiridov himself was looking for a meeting with him.
Finally, on June 23, the enemy was spotted in the Strait of Chios. The crews of Russian ships were able to contemplate almost the entire Turkish fleet, built in a double arc-shaped line in a checkerboard pattern. The ships of the second line stood in the spaces between the ships of the first and could fire the whole board. The total number was sixteen battleships, six forty-frigates frigates, about sixty brigantines, semi-trailers and other ships. There were fifteen thousand people on board and over 1400 guns, and about 700 guns could fire simultaneously.
The Russian squadron was twice as small as the enemy (nine battleships, three kicks, three frigates and one packetboot plus thirteen small prize and chartered ships) carrying 6500 people and 600 guns. About his impressions of what he saw, Orlov wrote to the empress: "Terrified, I was in the dark, what should I do?" The bereaved commander-in-chief chose to concede the development of a plan of action to Grigori Andreevich.
All night the crews were preparing for battle, and in the morning of 24 on June 1770, the battle of Chios began. The attack was led by the Russians. In complete silence, their ships in the wake column, without opening fire, went to rapprochement with the enemy perpendicular to his line. The first column was commanded by Gregory Spiridov himself, the second column was flying the flag of Orlov, the third - by Elphinstone. Several small ships under the command of Hannibal covered the flanks. The rapprochement lasted four hours, which, combined with complete silence, caused the Turkish fleet to be confused. The enemy opened fire on the squadron, as soon as she approached the distance of the shot. Russian ships delivered a concentrated blow to the avant-garde and part of the Turkish center only after approaching the distance of 50-70 meters. The speed, onslaught, sudden heavy fire and the fleet of the Turks began to lose control. The idea of the admiral broke the usual basics of linear tactics and was fully justified. 35 years later, Nelson uses this method of naval combat in the Battle of Trafalgar.
When the advanced ship "Europe", suddenly making a turn, failed, the lead was "Saint Eustathius" with the admiral on board. Three Turkish ships immediately fell on the battleship. Grigory Andreyevich pacing the shkantsy in full dress, with a naked sword and with all orders, coolly leading the battle and encouraging the sailors. There was music on the ship's poop: “Play to the last! - That was the order of the admiral.
The enemy fire interrupted the tackle on the Eustathia, depriving it of the ability to move independently. The ship drifted directly to the flagship of the Turkish squadron - 84-gun "Real Mustafa". When the "Saint Eustathius" stuck into his bowsprit, the sailors from both ships rushed into a fierce hand-to-hand fight. They fought to the death. A fire broke out at Real Mustafa, which soon spread to Evstafy. Russian sailors in boats tried to pull the ship from the Turkish ship, but to no avail. In accordance with the requirements of the Naval Regulations, Admiral Gregory Spiridov left the sinking ship, transferring his flag to the Three Saints and continuing to lead the naval battle. A few minutes later, the Real-Mustafa grotto-mast collapsed in flames, its fragments fell into the Eustathia powder magazine. The ship exploded, after a couple of moments, his fate was shared by Real Mustafa.
The explosion of the flagship caused a real panic among the Turkish ships. In order not to catch fire, in a hurry they departed from a terrible place directly into the Chesme Bay. Many of them collided with each other, which only increased the general confusion. The panic was obviously disproportionate to the current situation - after all, only one ship was lost, and the commander of the battle, Gassan Pasha, escaped, sailing in a boat on the Kapudan Pasha, from where he could continue to lead the battle. Watching the Turks hiding under the cover of coastal batteries in the cramped waters of the Chesme Bay, Grigory Andreyevich said: "This refuge will be their coffin."
25 June evening on the battleship "Three Hierarchs" met the military council, chaired by Count Alexei Orlov. Numerical superiority, as before, remained on the side of the Turkish squadron. The enemy ships were faster, and in case of no wind they were accompanied by towing rowing galleys. However, the enemy was demoralized and locked in a tight bay, so the majority of sailors were in favor of immediate and decisive action. Plan to defeat the enemy was proposed Spiridov and Hannibal. The idea was to blow up near the enemy fleet several transport vessels, which were of no value, were saturated with turpentine and loaded with combustible materials - saltpeter, sulfur, tar, and also equipped with hooks to hook onto the superstructures of the enemy vessel. For the implementation of the plan, it was necessary not only to prepare the incendiary vessels, but also to find people who were cold-blooded and not afraid to risk their lives. It is known that teams were recruited from volunteers. In total, four fireworks were prepared.
The Chesme battle took place on the night of June 26 of the year 1770. Russian battleships entered the bay and engaged the enemy fleet in battle, diverting the attention of the Turks to themselves. Spiridov from the Three Hierarchs gave orders, commanding an attack. At two o'clock in the morning, after destroying two Turkish ships, the Russian fleet ceased firing, and firefighters appeared in the bay. Turks managed to shoot only two of them. The third brander reached the front line of the enemy ships, but clung to the already burning ship. The team, led by the future rear admiral and founder of Sevastopol, Thomas MacKenzie, left the brander and went ashore. There, the sailors managed to capture several small vessels and return to the main fleet.
The last incendiary ship under the command of Lieutenant Dmitry Ilyin grappled with the 84-gun Turkish ship. Ilyin and the team managed to leave the Brander, he heard a terrible blast as he swims up to his own. Brander and the Turkish ship blew up at the same time. The explosion dispersed the flaming debris throughout the raid and across the decks of the enemy ships, having burnt most of them. Russian ships resumed fire, but it was already superfluous, the flames destroyed the ships of the Turks one after another. Some rowing ships sank or overturned from a multitude of people who threw themselves at them. The bombings continued until eight in the morning. The Turks by this time burned sixty-three ships, in the fire killed more than ten thousand people. The Russians lost eleven people and managed to capture one Turkish ship and six galleys. The impression of the Battle of Chesmen in Russia, in Turkey and in European countries was immense.
Chesma was the highest achievement of Gregory Spiridov, the greatest success of the Archipelago expedition. The Empress honored him with the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, and he himself demanded immediately, before the enemy came to his senses, to sail to the Dardanelles, to break through the Black Sea through the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara. All the sailors agreed with his plan, but commander-in-chief Orlov made a different decision, and Elfinston swam to the Dardanelles to block them. The task of the Englishman failed, and in addition he committed a number of misconduct and smashed his largest battleship Svyatoslav on the reefs. After that, Orlov removed him from command, sending him to Russia. And soon Orlov himself went for treatment, leaving Spiridov as commander-in-chief of the fleet.
Grigory Andreyevich engaged in the arrangement of the island of Paros, a new base of the Russian fleet: fortifications were built here, an admiralty, hospitals, shops, a church were built; organized dock for ship repair; placed camp for ground forces. Reinforcements from Kronstadt also went there, and the detachments of ships went into cruise to prevent the supply of raw materials and food from Greece to Istanbul. In 1771 alone, about 180 of Turkish merchant ships were seized. In the 1770-1772, the Russian fleet under the leadership of Spiridov continued fighting, which consisted in finding congestions of Turkish ships and their destruction. Land expeditions did not bring major results - among the Albanians and Greeks, demoralized by the first failures, the uprising did not flare up, and the Russian landing forces were too small for decisive action. At the beginning of 1771, Grigory Andreevich accepted eighteen islands of the Archipelago into Russian citizenship. At the end of the war, he wanted to save them for Russia. “The British and French would gladly give more than one million ducats for owning such a base in the Mediterranean,” he said. Unfortunately, his ideas did not interest Orlova and Rumyantsev.
By the summer of 1772, the health of 59 Spiridov was completely shaken. Returning to the squadron Orlov, gave the admiral a vacation in Livorno. Climate change helped for a while, in March 1773, Grigory Andreyevich returned and took command of the Russian fleet. By this time, the Turks had already recognized the rule of the Russians at sea and conducted operations only against coastal fortresses. Spiridov launched a major expedition to the shores of Egypt and Syria in order to support the uprising that broke out there. Despite the fact that the expedition burned a number of ports and small ships, it did not have any success, besides diverting large enemy forces to itself. Unfortunately, Grigory Andreevich could not remain until victory in the Archipelago. The disease worsened again, persistent headaches, seizures, and the growing conflict with Orlov forced him to resign in the summer of 1773. In February, Spiridov passed 1774 a squadron to Vice Admiral Andrei Elmanov and left for Russia. For impeccable years of service, exceptional services to the Fatherland, the admiral was given the right to a pension in proportion to the "full salary of his rank."
At home, Grigory Andreyevich lived sixteen years. During this time, he only once dressed in his parade uniform - after he received the news of the victory of Ushakov under Fidonisi. Ushakov’s victory was brought by a conscious repetition of the maneuver Spiridov carried out under Chios - the destruction of the enemy flagship. But if Spiridov largely succeeded by accident, then for Fedor Fedorovich became the main method of achieving victory in battles with the Turks. Grigory Andreyevich died in Moscow two months and eighteen days before the Kerch victory of the squadron of Ushakov - April 19 of the year 1790. The admiral was buried in his estate, the village of Nagorny, Yaroslavl Province, in the crypt of a church built earlier at his expense. His best friend, Rear Admiral Stepan Petrovich Khmetevsky, the captain of the Three Hierarchs in the Chesma battle, attended the funeral among local peasants.
According to the materials of the resource http://100.histrf.ru/ and books: A.A. Chernyshev “The Great Battles of the Russian Sailing Fleet”, E.S. Jung "Admiral Spiridov"