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Odysseus_

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  1. ARA Moreno

    once more a great post Smederevac94 :honoring:
  2. It was plain to all observers that the Ottoman Empire was enfeebled and embroiled in internal upheavals. In 1912 the Balkan League judged the time ripe to strike. During the First Balkan War the cruiser Hamidiye made an eight-month raiding voyage against Greek commerce and fortifications, with marked success. This operation was skillfully commanded by Capt. Yüzbashi Hüseyin Rauf. Otherwise, the navy's performance in these small wars was deplorable and contributed to the Ottoman defeats. Troop landings were botched; bombardments devastated civilian quarters and left Bulgarian troops unscathed; Ottoman units proved unequal to the fast armored cruiser Giorgios Averof acquired by Greece in 1910. Matters climaxed on Dec. 16, 1912 at the Battle of Elli, when the Greek flagship Averof and three destroyers lunged aggressively at the antiquated Ottoman battleships as they emerged from the Dardanelles. Crossing the Turks' T, Greek Adm. Paulos Kountouriotis blasted the Ottoman flagship Hayreddin Barbarossa with six well-placed salvos, then turned to her sister-ship Torgud Reis. Nursing 56 casualties (15 killed), the two ex-German battleships retreated in disorder from the single armored cruiser and its cruelly precise gunnery, as the three old Greek battleships churned into range. The Turks withdrew to their forward base at Nagara and pondered their next move. the Greek flagship Averof This took the form of a diversion and a raid on the Greek fleet base at Mudros. The Hamidiye's sortie was intended as bait, hopefully to draw off the Averof while the Ottoman van wreaked havoc on the Greek base. But Kountouriotis refused to be drawn. His suspicions were confirmed when the Ottoman fleet was sighted at 0830 on the morning of Jan. 18, 1913. In the ensuing Battle of Lemnos, he repeated his performance at Elli with the added firepower of his old Hydra class battleships. The Turks got a good thrashing and retreated to the Dardanelles after only 30 minutes in action, pursued by a vengeful and undamaged Averof every league of that five-hour journey. Withdrawing into the Straits, the Ottoman fleet did not emerge again for the duration. Thus, the Ottoman generals were unable to send troopships or supplies safely to the theatre of war; this inability guaranteed their defeat because their extensive fortifications throughout the theatre of war could not be resupplied and furnished with replacements. Further, abandoning the Aegean left important Turkish-held islands there open to Greek attack. All these key positions fell in 1912-13, and Greek they remain to this day. Hydra class battleship In this time of widespread incompetence, Capt. Rauf proved one of the brightest lights in the Turkish service. He was given command of the battle fleet four days after the fiasco at Elli, but was unable to break the Greek blockade. Despite a few jabs at the Greeks, his forces invariably turned away from combat and, in effect, passively accepted the blockade of the Dardanelles, the Gulf of Izmir, and Mediterranean ports. On Jan. 23, 1913, the CUP took over the empire and installed a three-man rule at Istanbul: Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Minister of the Interior; Ismail Enver Pasha, Minister of War; and Ahmed Djemal Pasha, Naval Minister. The centralization of power in their hands effectively ended democracy and reinstated the same sort of authoritarian rule that the Young Turk Revolution originally had pledged to abolish. Rauf Bey proved one of their most adept officers; indeed, he became an important politician and statesman during the Great War and the early years of the Turkish Republic -- a cause he served assiduously through his death in 1964. But back in 1913, the coup marked the ascendancy of German influence in Istanbul. Gen. Otto Liman von Sanders was engaged to reorganize the Ottoman army, and the pro-German leanings of Enver Pasha became open. A treaty of military cooperation was signed in August 1914, even before the Ottomans formally entered the War. Through the final defeat of Ottoman arms in 1918, von Sanders and Enver remained at the helm, and Rauf Bey their loyal servant until casting his lot in with Atatürk's revolt. As German power waxed, British influence waned; but there was still a pesence. Adm. Gamble had departed in July 1910, to be replaced at the British militay mission by Adm. Trevor Williams, who had even less success than his predecessor; the British mission did remain at Istanbul until Turkey formally threw in its lot with the Central Powers in October 1914. As European tensions heightened and the prewar arms race picked up speed, the Turks proved adept at playing a weak hand. Giving up as little as possible, they managed to get a number of smaller ships laid down essentially without paying for them. The German naval attaché, Major von Stremple, played upon the ruinous Ottoman finances to further ingratiate himself to the Young Turk triumvirate. Did the effendi desire dreadnoughts, but find himself held back by mere lack of money? Why not raise the funds through public subscription, using a nationwide Navy League organization? The German Flottenverein was a fine example, Stremple argued. The Young Turks jumped at his suggestion and pursued grass-roots fundraising with marked success. Nearly every peasant in every province contributed a coin or two, in a remarkable show of patriotism. When all the lira were counted, there was enough to pay for two new dreadnoughts. HMS Agincourt, ex-Sultan Osman-i Evvel, in the North Sea during World War I. The order was placed with Vickers Ltd. for two dreadnoughts similar to the latest British type, the Iron Duke class with five twin turrets mounting 13.5" guns (340 mm/45). The first ship, to be called Sultan Mehmet Reshad or Reshadiye for short, was completing at Vickers' fitting-out basin in Barrow-in-Furness when another nearly complete dreadnought became available at Armstrong Whitworth's gigantic facility in Newcastle-on-Tyne. This vessel was a superdreadnought, ordered by Brazil in a fit of megalomania. Her purpose was to trump the competition in a South American naval arms race, and she was designed by Armstrongs' pre-eminent architect/salesman, Tennyson d'Eyncourt. Three years and a worldwide economic slump later, the Latin arms race was winding down, and the Brazilians wanted out of their contract. Their ship, completing at Elswick, was the vessel known to history as HMS Agincourt. This huge oddity, the longest battleship to fight in WWI, was less strongly constructed than comparable Royal Navy ships; had thinner armor (9" belt versus 12") and less effective watertight subdivision. But she had more guns (14) and more main turrets (7) than any other battleship afloat -- a record she still holds. She appealed to Osmanli officialdom's love of show, of holding records -- their megalomania. They had to have her. Rechristened Sultan Osman-i Evvel, the great ship was completed with sumptuous interiors at the Turks' direction. In summer 1914 the two battleships' crews embarked for England to receive training, read the ships into their navy, and sail them back to Istanbul to an anticipated thunderous welcome. But it was not to be. As the delivery date approached, the European crisis deepened. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill put a freeze on the handover, delaying the ceremony again and again. The Turkish crews were held virtual prisoners on their rusty transport, fretting within sight of their huge floating homes-to-be. Armed guards would not permit them onto the pier. Then on Aug. 2, a company of British regulars confiscated the two warships in the name of the King, renaming them HMS Erin and Agincourt. The latter was nicknamed "The Gin Palace" in the Grand Fleet; her crew reveled in the unprecedented spaciousness and luxury of their accommodations. She turned out to be a perfectly practical warship, too, fighting at the Battle of Jutland without sustaining damage, as did the more conventional Erin. Although the British offered the Turks a £1,000-a-day fee for the use of each ship plus the return of the ships when the war was over, payment was contingent on Turkey's remaining neutral. The sense of betrayal and violation was overwhelming from one end of the Ottoman Empire to the other. Gone was the magic bullet, the wonder weapon -- the weapon paid for by every clerk, blacksmith, dressmaker, and goatherd in that vast empire. After this affront, every panjandrum and peasant would rather spit in John Bull's eye than accept his condescending offer.
  3. The First Balkan War: Ironclad Feth-i Bulend (1870) falls victim to Greek torpedo boat NF11 at Selanik (Thessaloniki), Oct. 31, 1912. Taking note of the creaky state of the Ottoman Empire, hostile powers nibbled away at its remaining territory in Europe in a series of small wars from 1911-13: the Italo-Turkish War and the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. In the former, ultra-nationalists in Rome sent their armies to sieze and occupy large parts of Libya, then an Ottoman protectorate. In this war, Avnillah was sunk at Beirut, and a number of other Ottoman gunboats were destroyed by Italian cruisers. Worse was yet to come, when the First Balkan War brought two humiliating naval defeats, triggering an even more disastrous thumping on land. In this conflict, the Balkan League chewed off nearly all the Ottoman-held lands remaining in Europe, making Albania independent and dividing the rest of the territories. Then in the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria quarreled with her allies over her share of the spoils while the Turks sat on the sidelines, licking their wounds; in the Bucharest settlement Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria all enlarged their share at Bulgaria's expense. Turkey's enemies had chosen an opportune time to strike, for an internal power struggle was convulsing the Ottomans. By 1908, instability had accelerated, soon to attain a dizzy momentum. A movement more than 20 years old, the ultra-nationalist Young Turks had become a revolutionary force with the organization of the Committee of Union and Progress political party (CUP). One manifestly talented army officer was eager to join the CUP: a Selanik native named Mustafa Kemal. In 1908 the army revolted in Kemal's home province of Macedonia, demanding a return to constitutional rule and the suspension of Sharia law. Under army pressure the 1876 Constitution was reinstated and parliament convened for the first time in nearly 30 years -- a parliament dominated by the CUP. This turn of events amounted to a coup d'êtat. Months later in the capital, on April 13, 1909, the First Army Corps mutinied in a counter-coup instigated by the sultan. The First demanded reinstatement of Sharia law and dissolution of parliament. With characteristic savagery, they began executing CUP sympathizers in the army and government. Five days later after a forced march from Selanik, 30,000 Balkan troops, dubbed "the Army of Action," paraded into the capital, ostensibly to protest the mass executions. Loyal to the Young Turk faction, the Army of Action (above right) occupied Istanbul and restored CUP rule. Weeks later, the long-time Islamist Sultan Abdülhamid II was deposed much as shown in the cartoon below, and a puppet installed on the throne. A Young Turk (left, behind seat) reaches around to tip the sultan off the throne in a contemporary cartoon from Punch.This drawing is no exaggeration but an accurate lampoon of the CUP coup (or counter-counter-coup, to be precise) and the forced abdication of Abdülhamid. Meanwhile, Adm. Sir Douglas Gamble had taken over as attaché at the British naval mission on Sept. 18, 1908, expecting to administer the sensible program of modernization and new construction approved after the 1897 debacle. His duties included supervising training of personnel and soliciting construction and munitions contracts for British firms. From the first Sir Douglas had a hard time with the relaxed local standards of integrity. For example, it seemed every minister in the government demanded a piece of every naval contract, whether or not his duties had anything to do with the navy. By relentless jawboning, Sir Douglas succeeded in changing the procedures so contracts would be negotiated between the Naval Minister and Gamble. Predictably, the aggrieved officials whose income had been cut off ganged up on the Naval Minister and had him sacked. Although Gamble's competence and devotion to duty were widely admired among their naval officers, Osmanli Government officials took a narrow view of his influence in the service. That the traits of competence and honesty were considered suspect by the court reveals much about the state of the Ottoman Empire. Despite the unrest, the imperturbable Gamble and officers he had trained conducted fleet maneuvers in the Sea of Marmara during May 1909. This marked the first at-sea exercises by the Ottoman navy since the 1880s. The practice was considered a success. If it lacked the realism found in one of the first-rate navies, still it was a step forward. These operations cemented personal loyalty between the British naval mission and the Ottoman participants. Training program grads would remain anglophile through WWI, proving a persistent thorn in the side for the Germans commanding the Ottoman fleet. The Germans' star was in the ascendant in 1910, and the new government, following in the footsteps of the abdicated Abdülhamid, nimbly played the British and Germans off against each other. On April 27, 1909 the sultan was deposed in favor of his brother Reshad, a man with limited mental powers who served as a puppet for the CUP. While Abdülhamid lived under house arrest in Selanik (present-day Thessaloniki, Greece), Reshad was himself toppled early in 1910. The entire Ottoman fleet anchored off the sultan's palace at Selanik to demonstrate its allegiance to the new order. This incident, May 25 through June 12, 1911, was dubbed the Fleet Demonstration and placed the navy firmly on the side of the Young Turks. For the British attaché, all this instability was bad for business. In a country where business was pre-eminently a matter of personal relations, Sir Douglas had invested much time in cultivating oficials who were now swept away. Nor could he readily befriend the new men: In 1909-11 alone, there were three different sultans -- all powerless -- and no less than nine different navy ministers. It was worse than an Italian government reeling through a cascading bribery scandal. The Osmanli government felt it must have dreadnoughts to counter the Russian ships building at Nikolaiev -- the Imperatritsa Mariya class. Unable to afford the new dreadnoughts they lusted after, the Ottoman bureaucrats accepted a very fair deal on some old but recently modernized German battleships. On offer were all four Brandenburg class ships, completed in 1893. Istanbul accepted the two which had Krupp nickel-steel armor (the others were made with compound armor). The new acquisitions mustered into the Ottoman fleet Aug. 31, 1910. Meanwhile, Sir Douglas Gamble had managed a small but important reform. One of the persistent drains on the navy's finances was the large number of officers who collected their pay but never set foot on deck or did anything of value to the navy. In March 1909, the Osmanli Government issued a decree reducing the size of the officer corps. This immediately made a host of enemies for Gamble, who was seen as holding too much power for a foreigner, and having insufficient respect for local customs. The British attaché found the situation increasingly uncomfortable -- nay, untenable.
  4. thanks for the videos daantje8
  5. 1897: Disgrace and Regeneration

    turumaji, on 12 November 2013 - 11:57 PM, said: i think you make a mistake.. Osmanli treasury was not empty. There was 2000kg gold in that treasure :) how much is that in cash :teethhappy: The Ottoman Empire was one of the strongest empires (if not the strongest) in the XVI and XVII century. During the rule of Suleiman the Magnificient (1521-1566) the empire had its golden age after that they started to lose strenght step by step in in the end the Empire (like all others before) collapsed.
  6. Some of the units of the Turkish fleet that could sortie anchored in the Dardanelles in 1897 during the brief Greco-Turkish War. Ships shown include (l-r, front row:) TBs Burhaneddin and Gilyum; (further row:) Aziziye, Orhaniye, and Osmaniye. This is the profile of a circa 1880 naval fleet, unsurprising since Abdülhamid II took power in 1876. In 1897 Greek agitators fomented a revolt against Ottoman rule on Crete, determined to annex the island. The response of the Ottoman ruler was characteristically harsh and a brief but ugly war erupted, lasting from January to May of that year. This was another case where the western powers intervened, blockading Crete to prevent Ottoman troops and munitions coming in to suppress the rebellion, while they allowed Greek soldiers to land. In this war, the Ottoman fleet proved to be of negligible value. After nearly 20 years at anchor in the Haliç, most of the warships were in poor repair and could not leave base; the three ironclads that could move had chronic engine troubles; the big gun mounts jammed under the stress of continued firing. The German naval attaché observed one of the two sorties by the Ottoman battle fleet. He recorded that crews were so slow in working their weapons that the fleet would have been vulnerable to approach by any well-trained enemy. He further wrote that many ships were unable to train their guns at all. The navy's inability to convoy troops to Crete and its pathetic performance in the Marmara sorties underlined the need for reform and renewal of the service. Abdülhamid II, the long-reigning sultan whose fear of naval treachery was largely responsible for the decrepitude of the fleet, reluctantly agreed to an overhaul. The Navy Minister was tasked with setting up a blue-ribbon commission to make recommendations for the modernization of the service. The commission issued its report in May, recommending modernization of the best surviving warships and a large buy of new warships abroad. The recommended purchase included two 10,000-ton battleships and four armored cruisers. This was a pipe dream: the Osmanli treasury was empty; it already owed vast sums to British and German shipyards and to foreign banks. Eventually the sultan's men settled for the possible. Most of the old ironclads were so badly deteriorated that no shipyard would touch them. Other uses were found for them. Cleverly pitting one builder against another, the sultan was able to shave enough off the price to purchase a trio of modern protected cruisers, eight destroyers, and an assortment of gunboats, tugs, and auxiliaries. The Osmanli government's fiscal habits caught up to him when the third cruiser Drama, on the stocks at Ansaldo, Genoa, was siezed by the Italian government in lieu of payment on long overdue armaments bills. A British naval mission was established in 1907 to assist with equipment and training. The new purchases proved to be good warships, their virtues soon proven in combat. The 1860s relics were mostly relegated to service as hulks: tenders, floating barracks and warehouses.
  7. thanks for this very interesting information bourdonnais
  8. imperiumgraecum, on 12 November 2013 - 12:10 AM, said: An excellent post as always. :honoring: Smederevac94, on 12 November 2013 - 12:45 AM, said: GJ :great: thank you
  9. HMS Eagle

    great information +1 :glasses:
  10. Glorious beginnings

    Under the Romanovs In the early years of the seventeenth century Russia experienced a period which historians call the "Time of Troubles," an interregnum marking the end of the Rurik Dynasty and the ascension of the House of Romanov. Russia's enemies took advantage of the internal strife which weakened the country, and Russia was obliged to honor the harsh demands imposed by Sweden in the Treaty of Stolbov. The Treaty dictated that Russia pay reparations to Sweden in the amount of twenty thousand rubles; surrender the forts of Ivangorod, Kanzi and Oreshek; and honor Sweden's monopolistic rights to trade in the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea became virtually Swedish territory. The British and Dutch, who also took advantage of Russia's weakness in the early 1600's, rapidly increased their fur trading in the White Sea. The growing number of ships, both foreign and Russian, that began appearing along the Mangazeya sea route alarmed Russia's merchants and boyars, who believed that these incursions by unauthorized ships threatened their own right to fur-rich Mangazeya. Therefore, in 1616, the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail Fyodorovich, imposed the death penalty upon any seafarers apprehended along the Mangazeya sea route. Russia, however, continued to be a country with little interest in maritime matters. It was the war-like Cossacks from the region of the Dnieper and Don Rivers who most closely adhered to and continued the traditions of Ancient Rus. From 1575-1632 the Cossacks made seven voyages into the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, where they fought against the Ottoman Turks and Crimean Tatars. An approaching fleet of Cossack ships, called chaikas, inspired dread among coastal inhabitants. A Cossack chaika, meaning sea-gull, differed only slightly from the lodya of Kievan Rus. The upper part of the hull was bordered with twisted cane, a reinforcement which improved buoyancy and helped protect the crew from enemy fire. As many as seventy Cossacks could sail in a single chaika. Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein according to European design and was christened the Frederick. During its maiden voyage on the Caspian Sea the Frederick unfortunately sailed into a heavy storm and was lost at sea. In 1656 Russian forces seized the Swedish fortresses of Dinaburg and Kokengausen on the Zapadnaya Dvina and the latter was renamed Tsarevich-Dmitriev. A boyar named Afanasy Ordin-Nashchyokin founded a shipyard at Tsarevich-Dmitriev fortress and began constructing vessels to sail in the Baltic Sea. In 1661, however, Russia was once again forced to abide by the harsh terms of a treaty, this time the Peace of Cardis. Russia agreed to surrender to Sweden all captured territories, and all vessels constructed at Tsarevich-Dmitriev were ordered destroyed. Boyar Ordin-Nashchyokin, not grieving long over defeat, turned his attention to the Volga River and Caspian Sea. With the Tsar's approval, the boyar brought Dutch shipbuilding experts to the town of Dedinovo near the confluence of the Oka and Volga Rivers. Shipbuilding commenced in the winter of 1667. Within two years, four vessels had been completed: one 22-gun galley, christened the Oryol [Eagle], and three smaller ships. The ill-fated Frederick had been a Holstein vessel; the Oryol became Russia's first own three-masted, European-designed sailing ship but met with a similarly unfortunate end. The ship was captured in Astrakhan by rebellious Cossacks led by Stepan Razin. The Cossacks ransacked the Oryol and abandoned it, half-submerged, in an estuary of the Volga. During much of the seventeenth century Russian merchants and Cossacks sailed across the White Sea, exploring the Rivers Lena, Kolyma and Indigirka, and founding settlements in the region of the upper Amur. Unquestionably the most celebrated Russian explorer was Semyon Dezhnev, who, in 1648, sailed the entire length of present-day Russia by way of the Arctic Ocean. Rounding the Chukotsk Peninsula, Dezhnev passed through the Bering Sea and sailed into the Pacific Ocean. In 1682, at the age of ten, Peter Alekseevich became Tsar Peter I. Throughout his childhood, Peter I was fascinated by ships, shipbuilding and navigation. At Lake Pleshcheyevo, one hundred fifty kilometers northeast of Moscow, a recreational area was set aside for the young Tsar and his childhood friends. A miniature shipyard was created and in it were built replicas of Western sailing vessels. This preserve, named the "amusement flotilla," played an important part in Peter's naval education; he and his young friends spent all their waking hours sailing about the lake in their small ships, engaging one another in mock battles. Peter arrived at Arkhangelsk on the White Sea in 1693, ordered the creation of a state shipyard in Arkhangelsk, and sailed for the first time in a genuine ship on a real sea. A year later the ships Svyatoye Prorochestvo [Holy Prophesy], Apostol Pavel [Apostle Paul] and the yacht Svyatoy Pyotr [saint Peter] were sailing in the White Sea. Tsar Peter understood, however, that Arkhangelsk was extremely limited as a port. Because of its severe arctic climate and remoteness from the center of Russia, Arkhangelsk could never be the country's main port. Tsar Peter insisted that Russia must have direct access to the Baltic and Black Seas.
  11. Glorious beginnings

    -Novgorod and Moscovy Rus Among the Slavic peoples it was foreordained that the people of Novgorod should become the innovators of sailing and shipbuilding. Owing to the diplomacy and judicious policies of its princes, Novgorod was never plundered by the Horde. With each successive year, craftsmanship developed; the merchants of Novgorod flourished as trade increased. In contrast to the people of southern Russia the Novgoroders designed larger boats for transporting cargoes on the Baltic Sea and for waging maritime battles. In fact, the citizens of the Free City of Novgorod became known for their maritime exploits. Novgorod's bigger lodyas were built with decks and posed a far greater menace to its neighbors. In order to protect and strengthen commerce, Novgorod waged land and sea battles against the Swedes and, during the same period, repulsed frequent attacks by bellicose German knights. Novgorod used its fleet to attack the Swedes at Sigtun. Novgorod pillaged that Swedish town and carried off the booty won in the battle. The most prized treasure was Sigtun's massive red copper gate, called the "Sigtunskiye Vrata," which to the present day adorns Novgorod's St. Sophia Cathedral. In the early fourteenth century the princes of Novgorod again waged war against the Swedes-this time for the right to sail freely on the Baltic Sea. To hold back the Swedish army, Novgorod built fortresses in the area near present-day Finland: at the mouth of the Vuoksa River, the fortress Karela (1310); at the source of the River Neva, the fortress Oreshek (1323); at the confluence of the Rivers Okhta and Neva, the fortress Kanzi (1349). Lodyas from Novgorod sailed into the Arctic Ocean (called in olden days the "Breathing Sea") and, by the end of the twelfth century, Novgorod governed the Northern colonies of Perm, Pechora and the Yurga region in the northern Urals. Explorers from Novgorod entered the White Sea, which they called the "Cold Sea," through the Severnaya Dvina estuary and founded the first Russian settlements along its coast. The hardy pioneers who settled in this region came to be known as the Pomors, meaning "[dwellers] by the sea." The princedom of Moscovy had, meanwhile, been gaining in strength and growing in territory. The first true Russian State was established when Moscovite Princes successfully annexed surrounding territories in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Yet, with all its territory, Moscow had no maritime port. After seizing the Crimean Khanate, the Ottoman Turks became the predominant power in the Black Sea. Moreover, Moscow's annexation of Novgorod in 1478 ended the trade monopoly of the Novgorod merchants and generally weakened Russia's position in the Baltic Sea. With no port and no fleet of vessels, Moscow was unable to challenge the strong grip that Western merchants from England, Holland and Germany held over Russian trade. Grand Prince and first Russian Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) sent an army to seize the southern Volga regions of Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan (1556), thus providing Russia with an entrance to the Caspian Sea. Russia captured the town of Narva (in modern Estonia) near the Baltic Sea and, for approximately twenty years, the so-called Narva Sea Route served to transport goods between Moscow and the Baltic. The greatest obstacle to trade in the Baltic Sea was the unabated piracy which severely restricted Baltic commerce. In response to the constant plundering of ships along the Narva sea route by Polish buccaneers and pirates from Danzig, Ivan IV enlisted the services of a Danish seafarer, Captain Carsten Rhode. Ivan IV financed the arming and outfitting of a ship and issued the Dane Letters Patent granting him the broadest possible powers-in essence, the right to pirate and plunder any and all ships not sailing under the Tsar's flag. Captain Rhode served with remarkable ardor. In time, the King of Denmark wearied of the incessant protestations issuing from the royal courts of Europe, felt compelled to intervene, and recalled the zealous Dane. In 1581 Swedish forces recaptured Narva, and trade along the Narva sea route ceased. In 1555 Ivan IV granted trade privileges to British merchants. They founded the Moscow Company and began sending ships annually into the estuary of the Severnaya [Northern] Dvina. Dutch merchants also began bringing their ships into the White Sea and Severnaya Dvina, and, in 1584, the town of Arkhangelsk was founded. Also toward the end of the sixteenth century a Cossack named Yermak Timofeyevich explored the lands of West Siberia and claimed them for Russia. The most rewarding discovery made by the European fur traders toward the end of the sixteenth century was an area of northwestern Siberia, east of the Yamal Peninsula, called Mangazeya. The Pomors had reached Mangazeya and trapped furs there in the early 1500's. They rounded the Yamal Peninsula by sailing on the iceutilizing a craft called a koch that they themselves had devised. (In fact, the Pomors originated a surprising number of navigational methods and devices that astounded European seafarers well into the nineteenth century.) By the seventeenth century the Pomors had built permanent settlements in and around Mangazeya.
  12. Glorious beginnings

    Kievan Rus From earliest times the life of the Slavs has been connected with water. Like most ancient peoples, the Slavs built settlements near rivers and lakes. Fishing provided an important food source and waterways became main transportation arteries. Even in a rough-hewn boat it was easier and safer to travel long distances than it was to cut through a dense forest. Boat building techniques gradually improved. The canoe-like vessels of the Slavs, which were originally pushed through the water with punt poles, became considerably faster with the introduction of oars and sails. By the seventh century boat construction had sufficiently advanced to allow the Slavs not only to navigate rivers but also to venture into the open seas. They sailed to Thessalonica, Crete, the southern coast of Italy, and, at the very walls of Constantinople, engaged the Byzantines in naval battles. Among the most famous of the ancient trade routes was the one called "from the Vikings to the Greeks." To a large degree Kiev and Novgorod, the principal cities of Ancient Rus, flourished because they were located along the waterways of this important route. For long voyages these early Russians built a light, open vessel called a lodya. The Byzantines called it in Greek monoxile because it was made from a single tree, usually the hollowed-out trunk of an oak or linden. Layers of planking were secured to the hull to increase its height and oars were affixed to the planking. A single mast with a square sail made the lodya seaworthy, and it was light enough, when the need arose, for portage. Although it seldom exceeded twenty meters in length, a lodya often held a crew of forty. In the ninth century Kievan Grand Prince Oleg, with a fleet of lodyas, launched an attack against Constantinople, called Tsargrad by the Slavs. His victorious campaign proved the might and independence of Kievan Rus. According to the Chronicles, Prince Oleg "hung his shield upon the Gate of Tsargrad" and sailed back to Kiev with the treasures of his conquest. In 941 Grand Prince Igor Rurikovich sailed against Tsargrad with a large force of lodyas. In a sea battle off the northeast coast of the Bosporus, the Byzantine galleys, called dromons, decimated the Kievan fleet by using a terrifying instrument of war known as "Greek fire." (Developed during the Middle Ages, Greek fire consisted of catapulting fireballs at enemy ships.) Igor Rurikovich retreated back to Kiev; however, in 943, having assembled an even more powerful force, he launched a successful assault against Constantinople and claimed for Kievan Rus the right to trade with the Byzantine Empire. Many of Russia's earliest heroes-some true historical figures, others purely legendary, or often a combination of the two-emerged from Kievan Rus. Along with his faithful warriors, Kievan Grand Prince Svyatoslav Igorevich became fabled for his acts of valor. Prince Svyatoslav's most celebrated deed was his conquest of Khazaria in 966 following a great sea battle. Sixteen years later Grand Price Vladimir, son of Svyatoslav, attacked Byzantium and engaged the Byzantines in yet another naval battle. The peace that resulted from friendlier relations with Byzantium permitted Kievan Rus to begin to develop craftsmanship, to engage in trade, and to learn how to construct in stone. Nevertheless, advancements in the art of shipbuilding proceeded very slowly. The early Russians continued to ply the lakes and seas in their dug-out boats and to transport their simple goods by river on crude, raft-like vessels. In 1043 Kievan Rus began its ninth naval campaign against Constantinople. Prince Vladimir, son of Yaroslav the Wise, sailed into the Bosporus with his flotilla of lodyas and utterly routed the Byzantine naval force. This marked the last assault of a Kievan Rus fleet upon Tsargrad. After the death of Vladimir Monomakh in 1125, the struggle for power between the princes of Ancient Rus intensified. Disunited and weakened through internal strife, the princes could give little thought to warring against neighboring states. The princes of Rus began to use their fleets of lodyas to fight against one another. In 1151 Prince Izyaslav Mstislavich used a more advanced type of sailing vessel in a battle against the forces of Prince Yury Dolgoruky: Prince Isyaslav's lodyas had decks and were constructed with rudders in both bow and stern. In the years that followed few other changes were made in the design of this yet primitive sailing craft. By the end of the twelfth century Vladimir-Suzdal had become a significantly strong princedom. Prince Vsevolod (son of Yury Dolgoruky and nicknamed Bolshoye Gnezdo, meaning "Great Nest") claimed for himself the title of Grand Prince of Kiev and proclaimed himself Grand Prince of Vladimir as well. Both Vsevolod and his son, Prince Yury II, equipped flotillas of lodyas and sent them against the Volga Bulgars. During one of his military campaigns Yury II founded the eastern-most of the Russian princedoms, Nizhny-Novgorod, at the place were the Volga flows into the Oka River. Yury II's efforts to strengthen the eastern boundaries of fledgling Russia were doubtless inspired by a presentiment of things to come. For it was in the East that the might of the Golden Horde was gathering; it was from the East that the Tatar-Mongols would descend and impose upon Russia the "yoke" that was to last for nearly three centuries.
  13. Decker. Astrakhan. Panorama of the “Eagle” in the end of the XVII Century It was the cherished “firstling” of the Russian military shipbuilding which was built in 1668 in the village of Dedinovo on the Oka River. This vessel was of approximately 250 tons displacement with 24,5 m length, 6,5 m breadth, 1,5 m draft. There were 22 harquebuses of armaments on that ship; while the crew consisted of 58 people (one captain, 22 seamen and 35 archers). The organization of the service procedure and actions of the crew were determined by the 34 “Article Clauses” which were, basically, a prototype of the first Naval Statute of the Russian Fleet. In 1669, the “Eagle” was transferred to Astrakhan’ to protect the Russian mercantile ships and vessels at the Caspian Sea. In 1670, it was seized by the revolted peasants and Cossacks under the leadership of S.T. Razin. For many years it stood idle at one of the Volga River channels. Since that time it was not used for military purposes. “On a sunny day of 19 May, 1668, on the bank of the Oka River near the shipyard, which was erected following the decree issued by Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich, all the citizens of the court village Dedinovo gathered together. On the launch-ways of the stock there was a gorgeous two-deck ship – the “Eagle”. Boyar A.L. Ordin-Naschokin, who was delegated by the tsar to the business of shipbuilding, with a help of a famous Dutch shipbuilder Colonel Kornelius Van-Bukoven (following his thoroughly developed project the Russian shipbuilders Yakov Poluektov and Stepan Petrov constructed the “Eagle”) inspected the shipyard and saw for themselves that nothing prevented the ship launching procedure. Superior of the Kolomna Temple of John the Baptist also attended this great event. Accompanied by a local priest, deacon and Van-Bukoven, he made his way straight on the board of the ship. At this very moment all the huge flags and the long pennant ribbon on the flagpoles and masts of the ship were solemnly raised. A religious service and public prayer were conducted; and after all the ship flags and ensigns had been consecrated, they set their feet back on Dedinovo land. There were only several people under the command of the Dutch Captain Butler who remained on the “Eagle”. They were to cast the anchor as soon as the ship was launched. Ordin-Naschokin waved his hand, and the bell ringers struck all the bells of the Dedinovo belfry. The “Eagle” started off and slowly slid off the stock. Ceremonial ring chimes were so loud that they just muffled up the salute salvoes. In a minute or so the first Russian warship was already rolling on the Oka River’ blue mirror-like surface. The ship was named after the Russian National Emblem. Unfortunately, Fate was not particularly favorably disposed toward the Russian Fleet’ firstling and treated it in an unexpected way. In summer of 1669, the “Eagle” together with a yacht, an armed boat and two rowing boats, which escorted them, came to Astrakhan only to be captured by insurgents under the leadership of Stepan Razin. In spring 1670, those insurgents, out of fear that Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich would use this warship against them, drove the Eagle” to the Kutum channel where it was destined to stay for many years completely dilapidated. Even though, the “Eagle” was not meant to fulfill its mission of domestic navigation protection on the Khvalynskoe (Caspian) Sea, yet it played a rather significant role in the history of the Russian shipbuilding. Based on the facts taken from a book “The Fleet of the State of Russia. The roots and origin of the Russian Navy” written by V.A. Dygalo.
  14. The Haliç Navy Base

    Imperial Naval Dockyard, Istanbul: Wooden corvette Sinop at the Haliç, the main navy base on the Golden Horn. At left some of the yard buildings; at right, the stately offices of the Ottoman Navy Ministry. The Ottoman navy's principal base was situated right in the capital, along the waterway known as the Golden Horn (Haliç in Turkish), across from the old, conservative neighborhoods of Balat and Fener and the ancient lighthouse in the latter. Chart The Golden Horn, separating sections of present-day Istanbul and providing a natural deepwater harbor, is a flooded prehistoric estuary 7.5 km long and 750 m across at its widest point (4.7 mi long by 2,461 feet wide). The Ottoman navy base began on the site of existing Byzantine navy shops, and in our period included a large drydock (below) and two small ones, anchor and gun foundries (the latter disused since most artillery was purchased abroad), cordage works, machine and boiler shops, and a number of covered and open marine railways, including the Hasköy Dockyard. The offices of the Naval Ministry were housed in a campus of monumental buildings in the Italianate style next to the navy base. Incompetence housed in grandeur bequeathed by the past -- it reflected the nature of government all over the empire in its final years. Some of the buildings still exist today, chiefly housing the Rahmi Koç Museum -- a terrific collection related to transportation and, secondarily, to scientific and technological matters. The Museum's headquarters is housed in the 17th-century Ottoman anchor foundry. Visitors can take in antique autos, steam locomotives and ornate rolling stock, or classic boats and beautiful ship models, all in the very buildings where gunboats, frigates, and caiques were built for the sultans in centuries past. Outdoors in the still-active Hasköy Dockyard, a number of classic boats afloat and in cradles are open to visitors. Imperial Naval Dockyard, Istanbul: Muin-i Zafer being converted to a torpedo training ship, 1912. Torpedo boats and destroyers were based at Izmir and Istinye, the latter of which had a smallish floating dock. With the coming of the Germans in 1914, the navy began taking a far more aggresive rôle. Adm. Souchon favored the nearby base of Gölçük for operations -- it was out of the city and not limited by the large volume of water traffic on the Bosporus. After the War, Gölçük became the main navy base for the resurgent navy of the new Turkish Republic. A large floating drydock was purchased for the Yavuz and her war damage was repaired beginning in 1927, just as the Turks found their wounds healing after a long, rough patch.
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