Military Review

The first school of Russian subdivision

The first school of Russian subdivision

On April 9, 1906, the Russian Imperial scuba diving training detachment was formed fleet
В stories Russian Navy, and above all in the history of its submarine forces, the 1906 year occupies a very special place. He became the time from which these forces actually lead the count of his fate. On March 19 (in a new style), the emperor of All-Russian Nicholas II ordered the inclusion of a new class of submarines in the classification of the ships of the Russian navy. And less than a month after this momentous event (in memory of which 19 March is now celebrating the Russian Day of the submariner), another, no less important, and possibly more, happened. After all, it is not enough to introduce a new class of warships and start building or buying them - first of all, people are needed who will serve on these ships and without which they will remain a dead iron. So, the royal decree from 9 (in a new style) on April 1906 on the creation of the first in the country training squadron diving unit in the structure of the Libavsky sea port of Alexander III is of special importance for all generations of Russian submariners.

Like many other events in military history, the day of the signing of the decree on the creation of the Libavsky detachment, of course, should not be considered the true starting point of the fate of this unit. The earliest documentary mention of him is a document by which the State Council (the upper chamber of the legislative institution of the Russian empire of the time) approved the composition of ships and vessels of the scuba diving training detachment. According to the decision of the State Council, the Khabarovsk floating ship base and the Slavyanka steamer, as well as four submarines, which according to the classification adopted at that time were considered destroyers: Beluga, Salmon, Peskar, Sig and "Sterlet". And the squad leader was appointed the legendary hero of the Russo-Japanese War, the commander of the battleship Retvizan and one of the most active propagandists of scuba diving - shortly before being promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral Edward Shchensnovich.

Edward Schensnovich. Source:

He took up the matter with his usual energy, and soon enough the news that the legendary Shchensnovich was recruiting naval officers and sailors to serve on new warships - submarines - flew around the entire Russian fleet. This is how George Nicholas (Harald) Graf, at that time the midshipman, recalled his attempt to get into the new division of 2 rank captain: “At that time, submarines appeared for the first time, and the young officers, considering their enormous military significance in the future, began to strive to get on the squadron in order to become “submariners” My friend, warrant officer Kossakovsky, also came to the conclusion that why shouldn't we go along the underwater part. But we heard that the midshipmen were not very willing to take into the training squadron, which, in fact, was very correct, because the midshipmen were still too inexperienced officers. However, we, as participants of the 2 th Pacific Squadron and Tsushima battle, could be an exception. Therefore, before submitting official reports, we decided to go to the head of the detachment and obtain his consent to take us among the listeners. The head of the diving training detachment was appointed well-known to the entire fleet by its rigor and pickyness of the counter-admiral Schensnovich (he was called Scha for simplicity). Especially he found fault with the poor midshipmen. His favorite epithet was “the midshipman is not an officer,” which, of course, very much angered us. The admiral kept his flag on Khabarovsk transport, which stood in the canal at the avantport itself and served as a womb for submarines. All the personnel of the submarines lived on it, since it was impossible to live on the boats themselves. Finally we were called to the admiral's cabin. He was sitting at his desk, and when we appeared, he immediately began to look at us with a questioning eye. We bowed and stood at attention. He nodded his head in a particularly friendly way and said abruptly: “Sit down.” He tormented us for a good hour, asking tricky questions about the design of the ships on which we served. Finally, he said sternly: “Although you are midshipmen and you ought to serve as watch officers on large ships, you can submit reports of enrollment to the detachment; there will be no obstacles on my part. ”

By that time, which George Graf recollects, such famous officers as Alexey Andreev (commander of the Beluga submarine), Pavel Keller (commander of the Pescari submarine), Ivan Riznich (commander of the Sterly submarine ”), Alexander Gadd (commander of the SIG submarine), Viktor Golovin (commander of the Salmon submarine), and also Mikhail Babitsyn (assistant to the commander of Peskarya) and Vasily Merkushev (assistant to the commander of SIG). Later, four more submarines entered the Scuba diving squad: “Mackrel” under the command of Mikhail Beklemishev, “Minoga”, commanded by Ivan Brovtsyn, and “Okun” (commander - Timofey von der Raab-Tilen) and the world's first submarine with a single engine - "Postal", commanded by Appolinaria Nikiforaki.

Already one enumeration of the names of the submarine commanders who served as part of the Scuba diving training detachment shows what place this unit occupied from the first days in the structure of the submarine forces of the Russian fleet. Practically each of the named sailors managed to become the legend of the Russian submarin until the end of the First World War and to command not one boat. Especially since before the 1914 year, every single submarine of domestic and foreign projects that entered the Russian Imperial Navy passed through the Training Detachment. It was here, in Libau, that the crews were formed for them and they began to teach them how to handle the nodes and mechanisms of their submarines.

To cope with this task, the sailors who fell into the Libavsky detachment had to go through a serious training program. It included such courses as the device of submarines, the device of internal combustion engines, - electrical engineering, mine weapon, diving business, and even such a strange at first glance, but vital course in practice, as the hygiene of a submariner. The development of all the intricacies of these courses took the officers 10 months, the sailors - from 4 to 10 months, depending on the specialty. At the same time, the officers, who, of course, had to study much more intensively, were trained for two years in two classes - junior and senior. The first gave theoretical training, the second was responsible for the practical navigation on submarines. And training was completed with training torpedo firing at the Khabarovsk vessel - a floating base of the Libavsky detachment. In addition to the officers, it was also possible to pass a special exam, which was taken by the commission formed by the Main Naval Headquarters. Those who honorably withstood this test were given the title of “Scuba Diving Officer”, and from 1909 onwards a special breastplate with the image of a submarine, approved by Nicholas II 26 in January of the same year, was also awarded.

After the outbreak of the First World War, the scuba diving training squadron was evacuated from Libau first to Revel (present-day Tallinn) and in April 1915 of the year to St. Petersburg, where he is, to be more exact, his present heir, and is still located today. In Soviet times, it was called the Red Banner Kirov Scuba Diving Training Unit, in 2006, it was reorganized into a naval school for junior specialists, and since December 2010 was included in the Baltic Fleet Training Unit of the Baltic Fleet. But the traditions laid down by the first commanders, teachers and students of the Scuba diving training detachment remain to this day - after all, they simply do not allow the high rank of the Russian submariner.
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  1. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 07: 46
    Under. boat "Salmon".
  2. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 07: 49
    Submarine "Gudgeon".
  3. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 07: 57
    Under. boat "Sterlet".
  4. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 08: 00
    Submarine "Sig".
  5. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 08: 03
    Submarine "Lamprey".
  6. bionik
    bionik April 10 2016 08: 19
    In 1903, engineer S.K. Drzewiecki proposed to build a submarine with a "single" engine for surface and underwater passage.

    As a single engine, two four-stroke gasoline engines of the Panar and Levassor firm with a capacity of 130 hp were assumed. each, using gears, worked on a propeller shaft with a four-blade propeller.

    In the above-water position, gasoline engines worked according to the usual scheme - exhaust gases through the muffler and non-return valve were released into the atmosphere; in the underwater position, the air stored in 45 air guards at a pressure of 200 atmospheres was supplied to the engine room to ensure the operation of gasoline engines. The total air supply was about 11 cubic meters and was supposed to ensure the operation of gasoline engines for 4 hours.

    Air pressure from 200 atmospheres to 18 was reduced in the pressure reducing valve (expander), after which the air entered the piston pneumatic engine, which actuated the gas pump, pumped the exhaust gases through a superstructure, which served as a kind of silencer, into the exhaust pipe located under the keel and had a large number of small holes. Leaving in small streams from the numerous openings of the outlet pipe, the exhaust gases (mainly carbon dioxide) had to dissolve in water.

    In a pneumatic engine, air pressure decreased from 18 to 1,2 atm. and at the same time, safe for personnel pressure, air entered the engine room.

    There were no rowing motors and a battery on this boat.

    To illuminate the interior, a dynamo was used, driven by a 5 hp petrol engine of the same company, and the same petrol engine powered the steering machine.

    The submarine proposed by S.K. Dzhevetskiy, was highly appreciated by A.N. Krylov, who was at that time acting. Chairman of the Marine Technical Committee and was ordered by the "Company St. Petersburg Metal Plant" at the expense of the "Special Committee for Strengthening the Navy on Voluntary Donations."

    The project was developed by the Metal Plant under the direction of Dzhevetsky and submitted for approval in 1905.

    Despite the fact that the operation of the Pochtovy submarine confirmed the possibility of diving with internal combustion engines operating in a submerged position, the submarine of this type remained the only one.
    It was not possible to achieve the trace of the boat’s movement under water - the bubbles of exhaust gases were noticeable on a light ripple, an oil trail stretched for 2-3 boats behind the boat. The power of the gas pump turned out to be insufficient for pumping exhaust gases from both gasoline engines, so only one left engine was working in the underwater position. The complexity and low structural reliability of the mechanisms required an extremely high qualification of the personnel serving the boat. Great complaints were caused by high noise of gasoline engines; it took 2 to 3 days to charge the air fuses.
    1. bionik
      bionik April 10 2016 08: 21
      Mortgaged in 1906 at Metallichesky for water in St. Petersburg for voluntary donations and on August 30, 1908 was added to the lists of the ships of the Baltic Fleet, launched in 1908, entered service in 1909: it was the first underwater in the world boat with a single propulsion system.

      November 29, 1906 was transferred to Kronstadt, where her preliminary tests began. In 1907-1908 the factory eliminated the comments of the selection committee and carried out the necessary alterations. In March 1909 she was enrolled in the Scuba Diving Squad. June 4, 1909 was listed in the Training Unit.

      July 27, 1913 was withdrawn from combat, disarmed, deposited at the St. Petersburg military port. August 5, 1913 expelled from the BF.

      In September 1913, at the suggestion of the chief of the submarine brigade and the head of the training detachment, Rear Admiral Levitsky, she was transferred to the Baltic Plant, where it was supposed to conduct experiments on the use of an oxygen engine proposed by Midshipman M. Nikolsky. In October 1914, it was used near Kronstadt to determine the effect on submarine structures of submarine explosions. September 16, 1924 transferred to the State Collective Funds for dismantling and cutting for metal. November 21, 1925 is excluded from the lists of the ships of the RKKF.
  7. Amurets
    Amurets April 10 2016 09: 45
    The memoirs of one of the first submariners, MM Tieder, are interesting. In the book "From the Abyss of Waters" there is his memoirs about the first submariners of Russia. Here are the links.
  8. Resistance
    Resistance April 10 2016 10: 41
    St. Petersburg squad, 1911
  9. Resistance
    Resistance April 10 2016 10: 46
    Submarine Beluga
  10. Kibl
    Kibl April 10 2016 19: 46
    And now, in Liepaja (Libava), on the site of the submarine barracks, there are only ruins, well, like after the New Year’s assault on Grozny!