Navy of the Russian Empire

Article

May 28, 2022

The Russian Imperial Fleet (Российский императорский флот, Rossijskij impieratorskij fłot) - one of the armed forces (navy) of the Russian Empire, existing from the 17th century to the civil war in Russia.

Beginnings

During the reign of Tsar Michael I Romanov in 1636 in Bałachna (Russian: Bалахна), Danish shipbuilders from Holstein built a three-masted ship according to a European project. It was the first armed ship built in Russia - thirty years before the first Russian frigate "Orzel". It was named "Frederik" after the Holstein prince Friedrich III - the principal of the project. During her maiden voyage in the Caspian Sea, the ship unfortunately ended up in a heavy storm and sank.

Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was a disaster for the Russian Navy, which lost most of its heavy ships, inflicting little damage on the enemy. On the night of February 8-9, 1904, the Japanese fleet under Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō launched the war with a surprise attack by torpedo ships on the Russian Pacific Squadron ships at Port Arthur base in China, heavily damaging two battleships and starting the squadron's ten-month combat to defend Port Arthur. The next morning, there was an unresolved confrontation with Japanese main forces at Port Arthur. In March, Vice Admiral Stefan Makarov took command of the Russian Pacific Squadron, with the aim of creating a plan to break through from the blocked port. At that time, both sides of the conflict started a mine war (it was the first time in history that mines were used for offensive purposes. Until now they were used only for defensive purposes, defending their own ports). The Japanese tactic of using offensive minefields proved effective, preventing Russian ships from going beyond Port Arthur. On April 12, 1904, two Russian battleships, the flagship "Petropavlovsk" and "Pobieda", crashed into Japanese mines near the port. The Russian flagship sank within an hour, along with Admiral Makarov, the second battleship was towed to the port for extensive overhaul. The Russians, in turn, built defensive mine pens, and on May 15, 1904, two Japanese battleships "Yashima" and "Hatsuse" sank near Port Arthur. The Russian fleet made an attempt to leave the besieged fortress and proceed to Vladivostok, but were intercepted. While no ships were sunk in the course of the Battle of the Yellow Sea, the Russian squadron had to abandon its intention to break. The Russian ships that survived the clash took refuge in the fortress, where they were successively drowned by the artillery of the besieging troops. Attempts to break the siege from the land side also failed, and after the Battle of Liaoyang in late August, the Russians withdrew to Mukden (Shenyang). The Port of Arthur finally fell on January 2, 1905 after a series of attacks that resulted in high losses. Of the 7 battleships of the squadron, six were sunk (four of them were raised and commissioned by the Japanese), and only one "Cesarewicz", interned in a neutral port after the Battle of the Yellow Sea, returned to Russia after the war. The Russians prepared to strengthen their Far Eastern fleet by sending part of the Baltic Fleet (Second Pacific Squadron, which was also joined by the Third Squadron) under the command of Admiral Zinoviy Rozestvensky to Asia. The journey around the Cape of Good Hope was over 18,000 miles. On October 21, 1904, while passing near Great Britain (which was an ally of Japan but remained neutral in the war), a war was nearly provoked when, during the Dogger Bank incident, Russian ships fired upon British fishing boats, believing they were Japanese torpedo boats. The duration of the cruise of Flota Bałtycka sp