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Soviet Naval Battles during Civil War (re-done)

Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 02 Aug 2013, 18:06
The naval warfare during the Russian Civil War was the first proper large naval warfare involving a communist nation and constituted a foundation stone of the Soviet Navy. Of particular importance, the naval warfare directly contributed the overall outcome of the conflict, with the defeat of the western Interventionist forces and the White counter-revolutionary armies.
The victorious western power (especially Great Britain and France) were horrified to see a socialist revolution establishing as new state and rightfully feared this could lead to a slow downfall of their colonial empires. Interestingly the participation of the United States of America was quite timid and limited (more pragmatically motivated by hopes to recover the funds expended supporting the Czarist Russia). The outcome of the Civil War was wrote since the beginning: the Interventionists never prepared a unique political line, and the White counter-revolutionaries split between multiple warlords distinguished for cruelty, incompetence, cowardice or even colorful messianic/paranoid figures.

The Soviet Navy (officially established as “Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Fleet” in 1918) operated on different fronts and geographical area, possessing different assets and strategic goals on each front.

The most remarkable area of naval warfare was the Baltic: the Soviet Navy inherited many warships from the Imperial Fleet, but a number of vessels placed in reserve due shortage of sailors.
This area saw some of the most significant naval warfare episodes: the Royal Navy dispatched some of its most advanced warships (including newly-built light cruisers, destroyers, submarines and an aircraft carrier), outnumbering and outclassing the Soviet Navy. Despite these shortcoming, the Soviet Navy managed to inflict losses to the Royal Navy, balancing the losses suffered (including a rare successful use of submarine, sinking a British destroyer). British historiography tends to address the result of the campaign as “indecisive”, stating a positive result was the independence of Baltic countries, while avoiding stressing the real purpose of such campaign. The real target of the Royal Navy was to eliminate the Soviet Navy as combat force and allow the White Army of General Yudenich to take Petrograd and inflict to the new Soviet State a crippling defeat striking at the cradle of the revolution. Miscalculation of losses inflicted to the Soviet Navy and restrain after suffering own losses, prevented the Royal Navy to achieve this essential target.

The naval warfare in Caspian Sea saw also relatively large naval action, including peculiar “merchant raiding”/corsair operations committed by both sides. The Royal Navy once again constituted the real opponent of the Soviet Navy, and while scoring a large victory, it was later reverted by a final Soviet successful operation (Anzali, 1920).

The Royal Navy was also involved in the northern front (Dvina River), against Soviet riverine forces essentially in support of ground offensive and counter-offensive. Similar operations occurred also in the rivers Volga, Kama and Dniepr, when the local Soviet riverine forces often clashed with White flotillas. Warfare in lakes was limited: Ladoga and Onega operations saw only brief episodes, while the Baikal Lake saw a single clash.

As last important note, the Black Sea saw only a limited amount of operations. Lenin ordered the scuttling of most of the Fleet to prevent enemy seizures earlier during the war, and subsequent actions (especially with the French Navy) were limited in goals and magnitude. The Black Sea witnessed also large mutinies committed by French sailors onboard their ships to protest the war and request to come back home, effectively reducing the French Navy assets for some time, similar mutinies occurred also in the Royal Navy in Baltic but on smaller scale.

NOTE: Plenty of western source mistakenly use the term “Bolsheviks” to identify the Soviet forces. While the term was far from being depreciative, it was fundamentally incorrect considering the establishment of the Soviet Russia as state (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) in 1917, obviously unrecognized by the western powers and thus unused as term at the time of the conflict by British/French press and literature. On the other hand, White counter-revolutionaries organized on different “Provisional governments”, often in competition, and the “White” term was widely accepted as collective-term.

NOTE: The following work its mostly based on the following official sources.
Боевой путь Советского Военно-Морского Флота. (=The Soviet Navy fighting the way ) Achkasov V. I., Basov A. V., Sumin A. I. ; 1988 (pro-Soviet source)
Великая речная война. (=Great River War) Aleksandr Borisovich Shirokorad ; 2006 (pro-White source)
Северо-Двинская флотилия 1918–1919 (=Northern Dvina flotilla of 1918-1919) Andrey Myatishkin ; 2004 (neutral source)



7 November 1917
October Revolution
During the operations in Petrograd, the participation of light cruiser Aurora was a landmark and evaluated as the true origin of the Soviet Navy. The ship was completely under control of the ship’s Soviet of sailors and it fired two blank shots as signal for the revolutionaries to begin storming the Winter Palace. Ship placed on reserve (like other units) during the subsequent fights with the Royal Navy in 1918 and 1919. As tribute for her role, the ship become a Museum Ship.

Photo of cruiser Aurora in 2010: the ship still in service of the Russian Navy for her historical importance

11 November 1917
German submarine SM UC-57 sunk by Russian mine in the Gulf of Finland. She has disembarked a group of Finnish nationalists in Hamnskär Island.
(NOTE: The mine was likely laid before the October Revolution, however it is worth to remember how Russian ships were effectively loyal to Soviet Petrograd since the February Revolution)

27 November 1917
Soviet torpedo boat Bditelny sunk on German mine in Gulf of Bothnia. Sometimes unfairly rated as destroyer

? November 1917
Soviet destroyer Orfey damaged by mine. Some sources say never repaired, while others said repaired but eventually written off like others of the fleet after the Civil War.

30 November 1917
Soviet small minesweeper n°1 sunk (likely while sweeping mines)

23 February 1918
Soviet submarine Edinorog sunk while leaving Revel (due German advance) while being on tow by tug. She was in repair (uncompleted) and sunk due taking water.
Sources stating she sunk two days later because crushed by ice are wrong (allegedly this happened during the“Ice Voyage” the retreat of the Fleet toward Petrograd).

28 March 1918
German patrol boat SMS Amrumbank sunk by mine off Cape Tachkuna in Estonia

18 April 1918
German patrol boat SMS Claus Groth sunk by mine off Cape Tachkuna in Estonia

February – May 1918
Ice Cruise
Due the progressive general German advance, Lenin directly ordered the retreat of the Baltic Fleet, at first evacuating Reval to Helsinki and later to Petrograd.
The evacuation proved to be essential for the survival of the fleet (due risk of seizure in harbor from advancing enemy or direct loss due scuttling to avoid capture).
The operation occurred on difficult iced sea and it was only possible thanks the invaluable activity of icebreakers Yermak (lead-ship), Tarmo and Volynets.
236 ships evacuated without suffering losses, including 6 battleships, 5 cruisers, 59 destroyers and torpedo boats, 12 submarines.
(NOTE: often the loss of Submarine Edinorog connected to this operation, but her loss was unrelated from the voyage itself).
The Ice Cruise long celebrated as one of the early founding moment of the Soviet Navy.

Painting of the icebreaker Jermak opening a way to other ships.

19 November – 21 November 1918
Soviet minelayers start mining operations at the entrance of Gulf of Finland.
During these actions, the minelayer Narva suffered two hits and damages by a Finnish coastal artillery battery.
British sources usually are not aware of the soviet minelaying operations at this time of the conflict.

5 December 1918
British light cruiser HMS Cassandra was sunk by mine. 17 (or 11) sailors killed. Usually British sources claim that was sunk on uncharted old German mines, but they weren't aware of more recent soviet minelaying operations. Soviet sources claimed the sinking due having mined the area.

Photo of the Cassandra: the only enemy cruiser ever sunk by Soviets with mines.

26 December 1918
Battle of Reval.
The Fleet is sent under the command of Raskolnikov to attack Reval: the squadron is formed by the battleship Andrey Pervozvannyi, the armored cruiser Oleg, the destroyers Spartacus (flag-ship), Avtroil and Azard. The patrol mission of the submarine Pantera has been aborted and the fleet was sent without a proper knowledge of the military force.
The Royal Navy deployed the light cruisers HMS Calypso and HMS Caradoc escorted by the destroyers HMS Vendetta and HMS Vortigen.
The first victory however was done by Spartacus that intercepted a small Finnish steamship (cargo of paper): the ship was boarded and led to Kronstadt by a soviet team.
Then the Spartacus found herself alone and chased by HMS Calypso and HMS Caradoc: the British cruiser were faster and more armed then the soviet unit that was chased until the bow gun, firing with a too much large angle, grazed the same Spartacus's bridge. There were no casualties by the self-inflicted hit caused chaos on the bridge and Spartacus was run aground being then surrounded and forced to surrender by the British.
Later HMS Calypso and HMS Caradoc found on sea the other destroyer Avtroil and surrounded her, capturing this second ship without firing a single shell.
The first mistakes during the engagement proved to be the lack of proper reconnaissance and coordination between the ships (the battleship and the armored cruiser didn't met the enemy).
Of the 251 (or 244 according different source) captured sailors, the Estonians murdered 15 (or 36 according different source) of them before the British could prevent it.

31 December 1918
Soviet submarine Tigr attacked on surface with gunfire by enemy ships, without damage. Soviet sources identified the enemy ships as destroyers.

Photo of submarine Tigr. Possibly attacked by British destroyers

20 January 1919
Estonians use ships (gunboat Lembit) to suppress a pro-soviet revolt in Saaremaa island.

13 May 1919
British light cruiser HMS Curacoa is badly damaged by an Estonian defensive mine.

18 May 1919
Battle of Koporsky Bay
British had started to deploy their ships closer to soviet lines, in order to bomb the soviet forces to help the White counter-revolutionary offensive planned for autumn. During this first clash, the soviet battleship Andrey Pervozvannyi is on sea together destroyer Gavril and four minesweepers.
British had the light cruiser HMS Cleopatra and the destroyers HMS Shakespeare, HMS Scout and HMS Walker.
Long distance firing between destroyers cause only splinter damages on Gavril with 3 wounded.
The battleship could not take part to action due machine failures, the Gavril however succeeded in defending the minesweepers.

26 May 1919
British submarine HMS L-16 attacked without success the Soviet destroyer Azard

28 May 1919
A soviet minesweeper is damaged by British hydroplane.

29 May 1919
British submarines HMS L-16 and HMS E-27 attacked without success the Soviet destroyer Azard.

31 May 1919
Battle of Kotlin Island.
A new naval clash result in the first Soviet victory over the Royal Navy: a large British squadron formed by light cruisers HMS Cleopatra andHMS Dragon, and destroyers HMS Galatea, HMS Wallace, HMS Voyager, HMS Vanessa, HMS Wryneck, HMS Versatile, HMS Vivacious and HMS Walker, spotted the single soviet destroyer Azard.
Previoysly the Azard was missed by 3 torpedoes and then other 2 torpedoes launches by British submarines HMS L-16 and HMS E-27.
The leading British ship was the HMS Walker that come into the range of the soviet battleship Petropavlovsk.
The Petropavlovsk caused 2 hits on HMS Walker with the secondary cannons, causing little damage, 2 wounded (or just one, according a different source), but forcing the enemy to draw back for the first time.

The Petropavlovsk (in this photo under Czarist flag, then renamed Marat) will be the first and only Soviet battleship to have hit an enemy ship in action.

1 June 1919
British destroyers fires against the Soviet destroyers Azard e Gavril: no reaction and no damage caused.

3 June 1919
British submarine HMS E-27 twice attacked without Success the Soviet destroyers Azard and Gavril.

9 June 1919
Again Azard and Gavril chase a British destroyer, on the way back they are attacked by the British submarine HMS L-55 but evaded the torpedoes.
Then the destroyers opened fire against the HMS L-55, chasing the submarine that remained emerged due presence of close minefields.
A shell of the bow gun of Azard hit the stern section of the submarine turret, causing the detonation of the bow-gun and the ammunitions and the sinking of the submarine. British suggested that the submarine could have been sunk because forced into the minefield but the available photos of the lifted L-55 show a large detonation exactly on the stern section of the turret that was disintegrated. (If the submarine was sunk while diving it could have been more reasonable to expect damage on the side or under the hull).
The sinking of the submarine was important because the Soviets will manage to recover it and use it to develop designs for other submarine classes.

Painting of the sinking of the L-55: the Azard will see action in the WW2 too, chasing and damaging a German auxiliary gunboat, before being sunk some time later by aircrafts.

10 June 1919
Soviet submarine Wolf attempted to attack British destroyers but could not get close enough.

11 June 1919
Azard and Gavril reports a short clash with 2 British destroyers and claims an hit on one of them. There are not British data of the event.

13- 16 June 1919
Battle of the Red Hill
Counter-revolutionary agents inside Kronstadt had organized a mutiny in support of the British Navy and the advancing White Army.
The mutiny found poor success, rallying a hundreds of men mainly on the stronghold of "Red Hill". However the Soviet intelligence was suspecting troubles and sent a group of 350 men (of them there were also 100 unarmed political militants) to check the situation.
It was too late: the rebels captured this group and slaughtered them from first to last after having disarmed the fighters.
Then they sent an ultimatum and started firing inside Kronstadt with the guns of the stronghold: they found the firm reaction of the battleships Andrey Pervozvannyi and Petropavovsk supported by destroyers that bombed the fortress.
A little group of rebels that mutinied in the other stronghold named "Gray Horse" captured the small minesweeper Kitoboy and despite being chased by the other minesweeper Yakor, they reached the "Red Hill" without damage.
The Red Hill fortress however will be then assaulted by 2100 men supported by hydroplanes, an armored train and obviously the ships of the Navy.
The only rebels survivors were the one of the Kitobiy: they escaped to the British that seized the ship even if they were actually allied.
During the whole engagement the British remained passive without supporting their allies and made only a naval blockade without firing a single shell.

Painting of the battle.

18 June 1919
The British navy decide to use their newly arrived motor torpedo boats: the CMB-4 made a lonely raid just out of Kronstadt bay and attacked with torpedo the armored cruiser Oleg, escorted by destroyers Gaydamak and Vsandik. The Oleg was hit and sunk while the CMB-4 retreated without damage. The Oleg was lost with few casualties (5 kia and 5 wia) but it was the only Soviet cruiser operative at the time (another well-armed cruiser, the Rurik, previously flag-ship of the czarist fleet of the Baltic, was on reserve)

16 July 1919
The British lost on soviet mines the two sloops-minesweepers HMS Gentyan and HMS Myrtle that are sunk.

British sources provides a list of other ships that has been struck by mines during the campaign:
Sloop minesweeper HMS Banbury damaged
Motor-cutter ML-156 damaged
Tanker War Expert damaged
Minelayer HMS Princess Margaret damaged
Were also lost the Finnish minesweeper T-5 on June 1919, and the Finnish minesweeper MP-1 on 5 July 1919.

Photo of HMS Princess Margaret

19 July 1919
Soviet submarine Volk attacked with depth charges by British destroyers on Koporsky bay, suffering minor damages.

23 July 1919
Soviet submarine Pantera launches one torpedo each against the two British submarines HMS E-9 and HMS E-18, then suffer a counter-attack with torpedo launched by the enemy. There were no hits on both sides. (Note: other sources indicate the British submarines were E-11 and E-40).

27 July 1919
Soviet submarine Vepr try to attack the British destroyers HMS Valorous and HMS Vancouver, she is discovered before the torpedo launch and was damaged by launch of depth-charges.

At early august the British motor torpedo boat CMB-67 is lost during a storm

30 July 1919
Soviet sources report an attack by British motor torpedo boats against the minesweeper Nevod.
There is no British source about the attack, it is quite possible the Soviet vessel witnessed the CMB units making a recce patrol and believed to be under attack.

19 August 1919
Battle of Kronstadt
From early august the British had started aerial bombing on Kronstadt daily (on the first day of 1st of August were killed 11 civilians).
The British Admiral Crowan decided to use a mixed attack of hydroplanes and motor torpedo boats (that just proved to be successful sinking the Oleg) to sink the main soviet warships: it was important to eliminate the Soviet Navy because the White counter-revolutionary General Yudenich was preparing an offensive to Petrograd for the Autumn.
While the hydroplanes were planned to act mainly as baits, every motor torpedo boat had his purpose.
CMB-79: hit the depot-ship Pamyat Azova (used as support-ship for submarines).
CMB-31: hit the battleship Andrey Pervozvannyi
CMB-86: hit the armored cruiser Ryurik (even if it was on reserve).
CMB-88: hit the battleship Petropavlovsk.
CMB-72: hit with torpedo the entrance of the naval docks.
CMB-62: attack Andrey Pervozvannyi or Petropavlovsk if the two attacks fails.
CMB-4 : attacks destroyers from the eastern side of the harbor.
CMB-24: attacks destroyers defending the battleships.

CMB-86 before starting the operation had to abandon it because had engine’s problems.

The attack begins with the hydroplanes raids: they manage to hit and damage with a bomb the tanker Tatiana and cause machine-guns damage to destroyer Gavril.

CMB-79 manage to hit her designed target Pamyat Azova, causing the total loss of the ship. Then the CMB-79 is lost: some sources say it was hit by defensive fire after having torpedoed the Pamyat Azova, others that it was upside down by accident, but official records state it was sunk due collision with CMB-62 while she was coming out from the harbor and CMB-62 was entering.
CMB-31 manage to hit the Andrey Pervozvannyi: the battleship is badly damaged, even if she was run aground and didn't sunk, this old ship could not take part in other actions and after the war was considered as too old to be useful and was scrapped.
CMB-88 was hit by the light defensive fire of the harbor: the damage on the CMB-88 was light but the commander was killed by a single bullet. The unit proceeds with the attack but despite the British claim that the Petropavlovsk was torpedoed, actually the torpedoes didn't hit and didn't cause damage at the battleship.
CMB-72 while moving to hit the entry of the naval docks for the battleships, the CMB-72 was hit by light fire and received damage enough to force her to abandon the mission and retreat.
CMB-24 attacked as planned the soviet destroyer Gavril, that was keeping guard, but miss her target and it's then attacked by the soviet destroyer: the CMB-24 was stopped by a splinter and then suffered two hits from the Gavril's fire and quickly sunk.
CMB-62 while attempting to enter inside the harbor she collided with the CMB-79: this second unit was lost while the CMB-62 was then attacked by the same Gavril that had just clashed with CMB-24. The CMB-62 managed to launch torpedoes but without success and was then hit and sunk by the fire of the soviet destroyer.
CMB-4 launched from long distances her torpedoes against the destroyers on the east side of the harbor. She reported to have been received fire from the same Gavril and then retreated.


Painting of Gavril in battle.

The whole engagement proved actually to be a British failure. Despite the claim to have sunk "half Red Fleet", actually they managed to destroy a depot-ship (that wasn't vital for submarine actions, and this will be proved later by the success of submarine Pantera) and to put out of action the Andrey Pervozvannyi. She proved to be an unreliable unit due the old machines (during both the Battle of Reval and Battle of Koporsky Bay).
The fighting force of the Soviet Fleet (the Petropavlovsk, soon joined by the Sevastopol, and the destroyers) remained intact and the British forces paid an high price for their attack. 3 CMB lost of 7 (with almost all the others suffered medium, light or splinter damages), 4 dead, 3 wounded and 7 prisoners (the MTBs had only a crew of 3 men).

21 August 1919
A soviet minesweeper is damaged by a mine. Some crew wounded.

26 August 1919
A British Short-184 seaplane shot down at Kronstadt by artillery (unclear if it was naval fire or ground artillery). Pilot KIA and observer POW.

31 August 1919
Soviet submarine Pantera launched 2 torpedoes and with one of them managed to hit and sunk the British destroyer HMS Vittoria.

Painting of the sinking of the Vittoria: the British destroyer will be the only destroyer-class ship ever torpedoed by a Soviet or Russian submarine. In WW2 only a very large torpedo boat (destroyer-size class), the T-34, will be sunk by the submarine L-3, but with mine.


Painting of the submarine.

Between 2 and 3 September 1919
Soviet destroyers Konstantin and Svoboda lay 120 mines.

4 September 1919
British destroyer HMS Verulam sunk by the new soviet mines. It was of the same class of Vittoria and as the Vittoria was the proof that the British raid on Kronstadt failed in neutralize the soviet submarine force (with the destruction of the Pamiat Azova), even the soviet destroyers proved to be still an effective force, with their minelaying operations.

The same day, destroyer Svoboda was slightly damaged by aircrafts with splinters, but commander was heavily wounded.

3 October1919
British aircraft made their best raid, with a bomb that hit and damaged the training ship Zarya Svobody (former old battleship Emperor Alexander-II),

14 October 1919
A British Sowith 2F1 Camel shot down (pilot KIA) and a Short-184 also shot down (crew rescued by Estonian destroyer, likely Lennuk). Currently it is unclear what caused such losses: possibly, it was Soviet aircrafts. Interestingly, the British air forces lost another Short-184 on 26 October (crew POW), again for unclear reason. On 30 October, a British Sopwith 2F1 Camel lost on unique incident: shot down by the lonely action of defensive fire from a Soviet aviator on observation balloon (later awarded) at Krasnaya Gorka.

14 and 15 October 1919
Estonian forces, that regard their participation in the Baltic War as an "independence war", are directly deployed in offensive against Kronstadt after British orders: the former soviet destroyer Avtroil, now named Lennuk, while bombing Kronstadt got between the range of both Red Hill and Gray Horse fortress and received damage and is forced to leave.
At the same time, the white Russian minesweeper Kitoboy fled because feared of being captured by the "allied" Estonians: after being struck in Danish water it will be later moved to Black Sea.

20 and 21 October 1919
The most decisive day: the forces of the white General Yudenich advances from south against the Soviet strongholds in Kronstadt.
The Fleet, that has been claimed by the British to have been put out of action, is directly involved: the now re-commissioned battleship Sevastopol lead the destroyers Vsadnik, Gaydamak and the small destroyer Dmitriev in bombing the infantry forces that advance on Kronstadt, causing massive losses to the counter-revolutionaries.
According the same British sources, the deployed Estonian forces (that operate together the White counter-revolutionaries) lost 2/3 of their 2500 men forces in few days of battle.

20 October 1919
During these days of victory, came the most painful loss for the Soviet Fleet: the four destroyers Gavril, Svodoba, Konstantin and Azard were sent to lay mines and they got struck into a British minefield. Gavril, Svoboda and Konstantin are sunk with the loss of lives of 485.
British source usually say that the ships were "defecting": this assumption is false and the ships were simply on a mine-laying mission (similar to previous operations resulted in the loss of HMS Verulam). Such British claim moreover does not explain why destroyer Azard did not pursued such alleged defection.

27 October 1919
The desperate white forces calls help from the British Navy because the soviet fortresses (as the Red Hill) and the warships were making their offensive a failure. The royal navy deploy the powerful monitor HMS Erebus, armed with a large turret with 2 guns of 381mm.
The HMS Erebus fire against the "Red Hill" fortress, but after the soviet gunners understood what was firing at them, they replied fire and the HMS Erebus retreated after the visibility worsened.
No serious damage was caused to the soviet strongholds or on the British ship.

29 October 1919
British light cruiser and destroyers attempt to bomb the soviet fortress with poor result: the same day the destroyer Azard suffered moderate damage due aerial bomb. Also the minesweeper Yakor was damaged after it bumped against the sea-bed while evading aircrafts.

30 October 1919
Last attempt of the monitor HMS Erebus to attack the soviet fortress: the attack was stopped after the soviet gunfire reaction and also due the fact that the Erebus was running short on ammunitions. There are not many details, but a British descriptions of the events may imply some light splinter damages on the ship.

This powerful warship wasn't enough to suppress the Soviet defenses around the city, failing to save the situation for the White forces.

4 November 1919
The last naval action in Baltic is a coastal bombing by British destroyers.

22 December 1919
The last British mistake occurred when they ordered the Finnish ships (that saw little activity in war) to leave Koivisto and reach Helsinki.
Finnish officers advised to not make such voyage because risks due ice, but British insisted: as result the three torpedo boats C-1, C-2 and C-3 were all crushed by ice (only S-5 and other minor units escaped). There were no victims, but the Finns lost 20% of their stronger ships thanks their allies.

27 March 1920
Soviet submarine Ugor sunk: she was kept in reserve and iced water infiltrated from torpedo tubes. With spring, ice did melt and submerged the boat. She was raised in May but not returned to service, it is often incorrectly reported she sunk being crushed by ice.

In Spring 1920, a number of mutinies rise on British ships (the most important on the light cruiser Delhi and the aircraft-carrier Vindictive). Despite being ignited also by the bad living conditions, the same British sources admits that the mutinies were also caused by a "certain degree of Bolshevik propaganda".

After few months, the Royal Navy retreats her warships after the failure of the Yudenich's offensive.
Soviet cogitations: 1533
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Party Member
Post 06 Aug 2013, 06:44
Quite interesting! Nice to know that the Bolsheviks were not afraid of the mighty Royal Navy. Was there any action in the Black Sea or the Pacific?
We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 06 Aug 2013, 09:28
There was action on Caspian Sea against British and Azov Sea against White forces.
Also some minor clashes occurred in Artic (actually all inside Dvina river) against British and in Black Sea (against French)
And then some minor clashes on rivers.

I will write about them too (actually "re-write" but the old pages were deleted because had mistakes)

In the end the most strategically important naval front was this one of the Baltic Sea, that culminated in the defense of Kronstadt against the White offensive.
Minor but locally important the outcome of the Azov sea campaign.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 31 Jan 2014, 18:07
As promised, here the revised account of the campaign in Azov Sea.


Azov Sea

8 February 1920
A soviet armored train managed to hit and damage the White gunboat Terets: however it was not enough to prevent her bombing of soviet forces few days later.

Painting of the fight.

15 April 1920
Soviet sources describe a bombing made by the gunboat Danay and the patrol ship Proletariy against landed enemy troops: there are White boats, but there was no direct clash.

2 May 1920
The White armed boat Nikolay Pashich captured into the harbor of Mariupol (the main harbor of the Red Fleet in Azov Sea) the small boat Respublikanets and the steam schooner Sophia. Soviets opened fire from the docks but the enemy boat managed to retreat without damage towing the small boat, while the captured schooner fled with a white capturing party.
Soviet sources actually deny the capture of the Sophia and say about a clash occurred when gunboat Danay briefly fought against the White gunboats Starzh and Groznyi.

31 May 1920
The first naval clash occurred when the Soviet gunboat Svoboda, with support of a floating battery on towing, clashed and damaged (probably slightly) the White gunboat (former guard auxiliary cruiser: but was actually an armed merchant) Starzh. The enemy ship was involved in landing operations (there are few details of this meeting, possibly the White believed it was some coastal artillery fire).

Photo of Svoboda.

13 June 1920
The first real clear clash occurred between 12 and 13 June when the White gunboats Ural and Groznyi (the last one was an armed merchant as the Starzh), had a brief clash against a soviet gunboat (probably it was Znamya Sotsializma, there are no soviet sources) and the steam barge Orna (both were towing a barge). There was no damage on both sides.

25 June 1920
The White formation of the gunboats Strazh, Groznyi, Altay and Ural together the torpedo boat Zhivoyi (the group was towing barges) had a clash not far from Mariupol against a group of soviet units (gunboats). The Zhivoyi found herself in great risk because guns suddenly did not worked (also she had no torpedoes): however the only damage of the encounter was on the following night during the return, when Ural had an impact with mine: it caused moderate damages but also 3 killed and 12 wounded.
Soviet sources actually say about the presence of two units: gunboat Svoboda and floating battery Mirabo, and that the Mirabo suffered an hit from the enemy.

14 August 1920
White units made landing operations near Primorsko-Akhtarsk but they suffered heavy damages due mines, the transport Alma was sunk by mines together three small minesweepers boats and the steamer Smolensk (full of coal)

19 August 1920
Soviet gunboats bombed the White harbor of Akhtar and then laid mines, on these mines sunk the White torpedo boat Zharkyi and the transport Volga. (According another White source it was sunk Zvonkyi, and not Zharkyi as claimed by soviets: both of them are listed as survived by the site but this is likely a mistake, or possibly the sunk torpedo boat was later recovered by Soviets after the conflict).

28 August 1920
White gunboat Altay suffered heavy damages because of a mine (according another White source it was “lost”, meaning possibly un-reparable damages)

15 September 1920
Battle of Obytichnyi Spit
The largest and decisive naval battle in Azov Sea: the day before a White formation had bombed Berdyansk, and the Soviet command decided to run in battle and face the enemy. The White force, under the command of Captain Karpov, had two gunboats: Ural and Salgyr (both armed with 152mm), the two armed ice-breaker Gaydamak and Djigit, the patrol boat Petrel, the minesweeper Dmitri Geroy and the torpedo boat Zorkyi (all together the White had a total of 16 guns, of them five were of 152mm).
The soviet force was under the command of Lt. Hvistky and had four gunboats: Budyonny, Krasnaya Zvezda, Svoboda, Znamya Sotsializma also there were three smaller patrol boats: Danay, Pugachov and Proletaryi (all together the Soviets had a total of 19 guns, of them nine were of 130mm).
A first meeting caused no big damage on both sides (just few splinters on Salgyr).
Then the two forces clashed again with a prolonged fight: a lonely attack made by Zorkyi was fruitless (it was mostly a deceive attempt because she had no torpedoes) and when the two groups of ships started again to open fire, it was at first the Znamya Sotsializma that received a direct hit of 75mm by Gaydamak and was damaged.
The damaged unit had to be towed by the Krasnaya Zvezda, but the same Krasnaya Zvezda managed to hit with two shells the gunboat Salgyr under the waterline, causing the sinking of the enemy ship (there were two killed).
While recovering the Salgyr’s sailors also the Ural was hit and damaged by soviet shell.
Photo of Salgyr
With the two strongest ships out of action, the White commander decided to retreat: they were followed by the soviets for a little time (after some indecisions) and the White destroyer Bespokoynyy, came out from the harbor to intercept the soviet force with the gunboat Strazh.
However the destroyer was struck and damaged by a mine and had to abort the operation.
The action saw the end of most of the enemy operations in Azov Sea and the Soviet dominance (despite the temporary enemy ground advance to Mariupol, the White Navy played little role following this action and no more offensive attempts). A key element of the victory has been the fact that the White units had gunners who were mostly young volunteer officers without proper training. On the contrary, the Soviet flotilla had few officers, but a number of experienced veteran sailors.

Soviet painting of the battle.

21-26 September 1920
With the naval superiority gained in Azov Sea, the soviet flotilla manage to land with a number of voyages up to 8000 troops to reinforce the front-line that was moving close to Mariupol. During this operation the White flotilla was absent, however Mariupol fall due the enemy strong ground offensive.

5 October 1920
Counter-attacks by soviet forces toward the occupied Mariupol lead the liberation of the city: during this period, the soviet flotilla had to be retreated into the harbors of Taganrog and Rostov-on-Don but then they managed to kept on un-disturbed a series of operations to supply and land reinforcements once Mariupol was freed without interference of the enemy naval forces.
The enemy managed to organize only evacuation missions in the following weeks because the ground offensive liberated Sevastopol on 15 November and Kerch the next day. After these ground battles, the White retreated all their naval presence in Azov Sea.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 04 Apr 2014, 10:12
The first half of the campaign in Caspian Sea.


Caspian Sea (first half)

Early April 1918
Soviet gunships Ardagan and Kars bombed enemy targets close Baku.

19 April 1918
Soviet gunship Ardagan captured close Cape Turali the white transport Ondine, an enemy captured officer gave valued information regarding the enemy forces. Later soviet transports lands troops at Petrovsky that was conquered.

The two gunships Ardagan and Kars were the most important warships in Caspian at the beginning of the conflict (not being former civilian ships), but they remained struck in Baku for long time and later under Azerbaijani control, without having much other actions during the war.

15 October 1918
White Cossacks had took possession of the steamer Nizhnyi Novgorod. The soviet auxiliary cruiser Caspian managed to intercept and seize the ship.

16 October 1918
The auxiliary cruiser Caspian, with support of the armed ships Astrakhan and Kudeyr defeated the Cossacks close the coastal village of Karantinnom, also seizing the steamer Boris.

During the month of October, the soviet auxiliary cruiser Makarov-I with support of the gunboats Vega and Volodarskyi, accomplished a small but successful merchant-raiding operation, seizing in the bay of Staro-Terechnoy the following White merchants: Nicholas, Bunian, Moskva, Rossaul, Alexandr and Bombak.

20 October 1918
The soviet armed tug Mark was damaged by ground fire from a group of Cossacks and the commander was killed

At the end of October, a group of small destroyers and submarines reached the Fleet (they were dispatched by Lenin’s order to reinforce this naval front, from the Baltic: sailing through the Volga and its channels).

8 November 1918
British auxiliary cruisers HMS Nobel and HMS Alla Verdi prevent the White armed ship Pir Alagi (loyal to General Bicherahov ) to bomb a location already in hands of Whites. It appears, according the same white sources, that the whole crew was drunk.

10 November 1918
In Petrovsk, the White steamer Admiral Kornilov destroyed by fire. Ship used as headquarters by General Bicherahov, while there were no losses, there are indications someone started the fire intentionally (possible sabotage).

11 November 1918
Battle of the Bay of Staro-Terechnoy
White auxiliary cruisers Tsentrokaspiy and Orlenka under the command of V.A.Kukel has been dispatched to search the disappeared merchants that has been seized by Makarov-I (or to face their aggressor). They met the soviet auxiliary cruiser Caspian supported by the gunboats Prypiat, Kommunist and Vega. A shell from Caspian hit the Orlenka causing damage and loss of speed, but also Tsentrokaspiy manage to hit the machine-room of the Prypiat and quickly scoring a second hit. Caspian rushed to cover the damaged Pripyat that was towed by Kommunist while the Tsentrokaspiy after a brief attempt to follow the soviets, turned back to assist Orlenka.

8 December 1918
Battle of Chechen Island
British auxiliary cruisers HMS Zoroaster and HMS Alla Verdi were attacked by the soviet auxiliary cruisers Kolumna (strongest ship: with 4 guns of 102mm and 2 of 76mm) and Makarov-I, under the command of Kronberg.
It’s commonly (and wrongly) reported by British sources that they faced the cruiser Caspian (but the ship took part at the battle of 11 November, not 8 December). There were also on sea the small destroyers Deyatlenyi, the gunboats Sevsk, Vega and Volodarskyi, later reinforced by destroyer Rastoropnyy but all these ships didn’t took part at the battle (they had been busy making a partial landing at Staro Terechnoy).
The battle caused some damages to the British: HMS Zoroaster suffered 3 direct hits and heavy damages (but not deadly) from Kolumna’s fire, while this same soviet cruiser managed to inflict a number of splinter damages also to HMS Alla Verdi (Alla Verdi also suffered from self-inflicted structural damage made by the recoil of her own guns, because of the too thin bridges). Soviet ships suffered no damages at all, while the British suffered only one victim on the HMS Zoroaster.

29 December 1918
British auxiliary cruisers HMS Slava, HMS Venture and HMS Asia destroyed some barges at Staro-Terechnoy, and captured also a small hospital-ship and some soviet personnel on the shore. The soviets had already evacuated both the barges and the ship, but the White propaganda made a statement claiming that the soviets had blown-up such crafts with hundreds (later raised to "thousands") people inside. Following White sources deny this propaganda-claim.

During the last days of December 1919, the situation on the soviet gunships Kars and Ardagan (blocked in Baku due the political situation) has turned difficult and the sailors imprisoned some officers suspected to be prone to defect.

13 January 1919
British auxiliary cruisers HMS Venture, HMS Slava and HMS Alla Verdi intercepted a soviet ship with armed men, the Amassiya: crew and passengers abandoned in time the ship that was then seized by the cruisers.

At the end of January, White Russians sailors onboard of Zoroaster defected because low salaries and left the ship to the city.

28 February 1919
Divisions into the White movement lead the decision of the White General Denikin to seize all the ships loyal to General Bicherahov. When the ship Leytenant Shmidt refused to enters the Baku harbor, the British deployed for the first time their motor torpedo boats that even attempted torpedo attacks against the ships but failed for technical reasons. When the British feared the ship was even going to ram them after a failed torpedo attack, the Leytenant Shmidt turned and entered in Baku.
This was the only real British attempted attack using motor torpedo boats in Caspian Sea.

Meanwhile the British managed to put under their direct control almost all the White ships (including the Denikin’s ones).
During these days, the soviet gunships Kars and Ardagan in Baku, were abandoned by the soviet crew. They were took by the Whites but later put under Azerbaijani control (neutral, at this point of the war).

In March the British had control of almost all the not-soviet shipping in Caspian sea.

7 April 1919
Soviet motorboat Uspekh defected and sailed to the enemy, being integrated by Whites (and not by British).

19 April 1919
British auxiliary cruiser HMS Asia fired shots against a soviet steamer, without reaching her.

23 April 1919
British auxiliary cruiser HMS Venture fired shots against a soviet steamer, without reaching her.
Soviet warships rushed to search the attacker but could not find her.

29 April 1919
Soviet auxiliary cruiser Caspian and the gunboats Kommunist, Spartakovets and Adler landed troops at Alexander Fort. The enemy garrison surrendered without resistance, while most of their officers had already escaped. The harbor was turned into an important soviet base

5 May 1919
The enemy had not been alerted about the seizure of Alexander Fort, and sent messages to the fortress to warn about the voyage of the White transport Leila. The ship was under heavy escort of the British auxiliary cruisers HMS President Kruger and HMS Venture because she carried an important delegation from Admiral Kolchak to General Denikin, with strategic plans. The soviet small destroyer Karl Liebknecht found the Leila once the escort turned back (believing the transport was in safe waters), a boarding was carried on and the Leila was seized.
During the action, the leader of the delegation (General Grishin Almarov) was killed or committed suicide (according different sources) together 1 or 2 of his men.
The seizure of this important prize was the first of a series of important actions that saw the Karl Liebknecht rise as effective soviet flag-ship in the last phase of the war in Caspian Sea.

15 May 1919
British auxiliary cruisers HMS President Kruger and HMS Emile Nobel attacked the two soviet ships Alekber and Baku that were towing the schooners Useyn Abbad and Derband (both carrying coal and wood). It was present the small destroyer Yakov Sverdlov but alone could not prevent the enemy actions and didn’t attacked. The same Aleber and Baku just cut the tows and abandoned the schooners that were shelled and sunk by the cruisers.

18 May 1919
A large soviet operation against Chechen Island was planned, including also the use of at least 5 destroyers and the first planned mission for the submarine Makrel. However the mission was postponed due heavy fog and later canceled due the enemy attack at Alexander Fort.

20-22 May 1919
Battle of the Bay of Tyub- Karaganskom (also known as the Battle of Alexander Fort).
The British planned a large raid aiming to destroy the soviet base in Alexander Fort.
They deployed the auxiliary cruisers HMS President Kruger (flag-ship, with 4 guns of 102mm and 1 of 75mm), HMS Zoroaster (that was forced to return, due engine troubles, without taking part to the battle), HMS Emile Nobel, HMS Asia, HMS Venture, HMS Windsor Castle, the seaplane-carrier HMS Aladir Useynov and the mother-ship for motor torpedo boats HMS Sergie (she wasn’t actually involved in the action and remained far from the battle).
They were under the command of D. Norris: his fleet could count on an amount of 1 gun of 120mm and 14 guns of 102mm.
Soviet ships were inferior both in numbers and fire-power, having just one auxiliary cruiser, the Caspian (with 4 guns of 102mm), the small destroyers Moskvityanin, the mine-layer Demosthenes, the floating battery n°2 (with 2 guns of 152mm), the submarines Minoga and Mackrel plus 6 small patrol boats (in the harbor there were also 18 merchants/transports and support ships, including the depot-ship Revel).
Among the soviet command there was A.V.Burov even if actually the decisions were took by the collectives (soviets) of the sailors.
An aerial reconnaissance mission was made on 20 May by one of the two British seaplanes of the HMS Aladir Useynov, but the plane crashed and two auxiliary cruisers (HMS Slava and HMS Bibi-Eybat) that were supposed to be part of the mission didn’t join the fleet while Zoroaster was forced to return because of engine troubles.
On the day of the battle the British had an amount of 5 auxiliary cruisers directly involved.
Soviets attempted to put on sea the two submarines but Minoga could not sail while Makrel could not manage to came close to the enemy to carry on the torpedo attack.
As soon as the enemy sailed to the harbor, three soviet patrol boats moved at high speed attempting to divert the enemy attention and slow them: Schastlivyy was lost during this action due accidental grounding while the British ships didn’t open fire (they correctly valued the patrol boats action as nothing more than a nuisance).
As soon the main battle started, the soviet gunfire proved to be effective: the floating battery n°2 scored one hit on the flag-ship HMS President Kruger, but even if she was hit on the bridge, the damage was little and there was only one wounded. HMS Emile Nobel suffered heavier damages after 2 direct hits from the same floating battery (or less likely from the destroyer Moskvityanin: there were 5 killed and 7 wounded and the ship was forced to retreat. Insignificant splinter damage was caused also on HMS Venture.
The first phase of the battle ended with a soviet success: the British ships were forced to retreat and Norris had now only 4 operative cruisers.
However the British commander managed to re-group his ships and focus their fire on the soviet ones.
The floating battery n°2 was struck by two direct hits (almost surely fired from HMS President Kruger) and sunk with the loss of 12 men.
The destroyer Moskvityanin had failures on all the main guns and when the engines started to have similar problems, the ship basically turned into a defenseless target, the crew decided to ground the ship and abandon her (sometimes it’s wrongly reported that the destroyer was hit by HMS Venture).
At this point only the cruiser Caspian and the minelayer Demosthenes were able to fight but a British shell struck the depot-ship Revel with deadly effects: she was full of fuel and despite the ship was quickly evacuated, the fuel was spread on water and set afire.
The submarine Minoga was damaged by the fire but the crew managed to save her with huge efforts.
Suddenly Revel exploded and the large detonation engulfed the small mine-carrier Tuman, the auxiliary ship Gelma, the smaller Zoroaster and a number of small barges.
The explosion damaged also Demosthenes while at the same time Caspian suffered 2 hits from the enemy.
At first it had been proposed to scuttle the cruiser using the Demosthenes guns, but the minelayer was so badly damaged that had to be abandoned while Caspian wasn’t self-sunk.
Has been reported that HMS Windsor Castle suffered a splinter damage during this second phase but it’s unconfirmed.
The British ships ceased fire: they had used most of their ammunition.
During the battle the submarine Makrel had made attempts to move close the auxiliary cruisers but had troubles because of the seabed and could not launch the torpedoes.
(Old soviet sources reported that the enemy sighted the submarine and retreated because of her, but actually the British never noticed Makrel).
As soon as the enemy retreated, the soviets took advantage to organize a first evacuation convoy.
Five ships departed during the night under escort of the same Makrel, without British interference.
The next day, the last seaplane of Aladir Useynov scored a direct hit with bomb on the wreck of the grounded destroyer Moskvityanin but later it crashed (the pilots were saved after hours in water).
The second (and last) main evacuation convoy was led by the same Caspian (on the cruiser were made temporary emergency repairs during the night): the whole garrison of 400 men and all the remained ships were evacuated.
HMS President Kruger and HMS Venture attempted to attack the convoy but the sudden arrival of the destroyers Karl Liebknecht and Yakov Sverdlov resulted into a short and bloodless clash that made the British desists from the chase.
Despite the British victory, the White Admiral Kolchak wasn’t grateful and accused them to have wasted the opportunity to score a complete victory: it was criticized the lack of deployment of the motor torpedo boats and lack of use of the full-force of cruisers.
Indeed it was only the following day (23 May) that British motor torpedo boats were put on sea by the mother-ship: they made claims to have sunk targets in the harbor but the Soviets had already evacuated all the ships and it’s credible that the units had finished some of the wrecks left in the harbor.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 02 May 2014, 10:48
Caspian Sea (second and last half)

Details about the following naval campaign in 1919-1920 are rare and sadly incomplete. This is the most detailed account that could have been made in English. Most of the following events often provide details if the data came from Soviet or White sources

28 May 1919
Soviet sources report that submarine Makrel suffered a torpedo attack from an enemy vessel. The torpedo was evaded and remain unclear the identity of the attacker. Almost surely a British motor torpedo boat.

At the end of May, the Whites start operating a small flotilla of schooners used as corsair ships.

30 May 1919
The soviet armed steamer Elizabeth (only a gun of 47mm) had a short clash against two White corsair schooners: a soviet sailor was killed and two Whites were wounded.

From late May and June 1919
The White flotilla of corsair schooners carried on a campaign under the command of Shubert. They deployed nine schooners (all of them with a dozen of sailors, only two however (n°6 and n°7) had a single gun of 76mm, all the other units carried no weapons apart the ones of the crew).
The White claimed to have seized 2 small transport ships, 1 schooner and 3 motorboats.
Most of the actions occurred in front of the Volga estuary.
On the same time, the Whites confirm that some soviet gunboats were deployed in a similar action in the same place: gunboats are said to have seized some fishing boats (possibly civilians or suspected to operate for the Whites): according the Whites, the already mentioned armed steamer Elizabeth took part at these actions.

During June 1919 the Soviet warships were mostly active deep inside Volga river, supporting a Red Army counter-offensive against the White Army at Tsaritsyn (the future Stalingrad, today Volgograd).
Details of these actions (that saw no White naval opposition) will be seen later.

During summer 1919 the Soviets managed to put in use schooners too, but not as corsair ships.
A flotilla of a dozen of private-owned schooners in Baku, was deployed for covert transport missions, smuggling fuel and oil out of Baku to the Soviet territory.
These actions were strategically important and British and Whites had not enough numbers to prevent them.
Only a single schooner was seized by British warships (while the sister-ship that was sailing on the same mission managed to escape) and the crew of 3 was executed.
Usually the schooners returned to Baku to land agents or saboteurs.
During the whole Caspian naval campaign, these voyages transported away from Baku 20.000 tons of fuel and 3.000tons of lubricating oil, providing a major support to the Red Army operations.

16 July 1919
The White gunboat Arag had an inconclusive engagement with two soviet armed steamers.

From 21 July 1919, British started transferring their ships to the Whites.

27 July 1919
White corsair schooners had infiltrated into the Volga estuary to carry on operations inside the channels (they even planned to board and seize a soviet destroyer), they were however trapped inside the channels by a number of soviet armed ships. The Whites had carried also with them the two steamers Yekaterina and Synovya (probably they were the two small transport ships previously seized in June campaign) and were forced to ground them and set them afire, while the smaller schooners managed to came out from the Soviet trap.
Unclear the identity of soviet armed ships.

On that same day there was a naval engagement between the soviet armed pontoon n°4 against the White gunboat Arag and the auxiliary cruiser Asia (former British). The battle was difficult for the Arag, but no serious damage appears to have been caused on both sides.
However the Whites had successfully managed to land troops the Lagan Island (that will be the theatre of most of the following naval clashes).

8 August 1919
At Ashuranda (on the southern coast of Caspian Sea) a pro-soviet uprising had took control of the city.
According British source, at least a ship was deployed from the city for corsair attacks but the results of the campaign are poorly known.
British and White forces attacked and conquered the city, involving during the operations also the seaplane-carrier HMS Orlenok (she has been previously used as auxiliary cruiser by Whites). Another British source indicate presence of HMS Bibi-Eyba: both vessels having forced to surrender the corsair-ships Van and Chastevoy, manned by Byelorussian Cossacks. In the harbor were also seized other two ships and six barges. It’s possible that some of the units seized were former prizes captured by the soviet ship in the previous corsair campaign. It is worth to stress that there is no clear Soviet record of these alleged corsair operations, and it is also possible they were unaffiliated or some kind of had-hoc units.

15 August 1919
The white gunboat Nadezhda has a ship-vs-ship duel against a soviet armed ship close the Lagan Island. Nadezhda fired 90 shells of 102mm and claimed the target as damaged and grounded.
Due lack of details, the actual result it’s still unconfirmed.

20 August 1919
Inconclusive battle, close Lagan Island, between the White gunboats Kizil-Agacha and the Nadezhda against two soviet armed ships with support of an armed pontoon (with guns of 152mm).
The following day, soviet warships bombed the island, while another similar inconclusive clash (involving the same pair of White gunboats) occurred on 23 August.

28 August 1919
White gunboats Nadezhda and Arag fight against Soviet gunboats, the Nadezhda had some troubles at guns and engines.

Between end of August and beginning of September 1919
The soviet minelayer Friedrich Engels lay a field of mines close Lagan Island.

8 September 1919
On the mines laid by minelayer Friedrich Engels, was sunk the White gunboat Arag (she was armed with 2 guns of 102mm). There were only 4 dead, but her loss was serious because at the time she was the best White gunboat suited to operate in the low waters close Lagan Island.
Around these days and during the whole month of September, soviet gunboats kept on bombarding the Island.

28 September 1919
Five soviet warships and an armed pontoon face the White gunboats Dmitriya Donskogo, Slava and America (the last two sometimes classified as cruisers, for their size). Whites claimed that the Dmitriya Donskogo scored a 152mm hit on the pontoon, but this is unconfirmed.

During the night, the Whites attempted to lay a field of mines but a petty officer was secretly sided with the Soviets and he managed to sabotage all the mines before the ships departed for the mission: once they were laid, being defused, none of the mines could sink the intended target.
Once the Whites discovered the sabotage, the petty officer was arrested and shot.

30 September 1919
Ship-vs-ship duel between the White gunboat Nadezhda and the Soviet gunboat Altvater (armed with 3 guns of 102mm): no damage on both sides.

5 October 1919
The White gunboat Nadezhda struck one of the mines previously laid by the soviet minelayer Friedrich Engels and quickly sunk. There were only 2 wounded. It was another important loss for the Whites: she had been a very active gunboat.

On that same day, the White gunboat (sometimes classified as aux. cruiser) America intercepted a suspect schooner. The Soviets had armed 3 schooners with concealed torpedo-launcher and this was supposed to be the first operation: the Whites discovered the torpedo launcher and the schooner was seized. The soviet sailors were shot and no more operations were attempted.

14 November 1919
After having been deployed by the depot-ship Kama (here used as motor torpedo boats carrier), a pair of former British motor torpedo boats carry on a raid into the Volga estuary.
They attacked the Soviet armed pontoon n°4 (at the time, armed with 2 guns of 102mm): one of them had troubles at the engine and stopped, while the second one managed to hit the target.
It appears that the torpedo actually exploded under the pontoon, causing probably a leak and the n°4 had to be grounded to prevent the sinking (a direct hit however could have caused the complete destruction: the pontoon was reported to have not been lost because this action).
Soviet gunboat Altvater opened fire but could not hit the two motor torpedo boats: both of them retreated after the one with engine troubles was put on tow and brought away by the sister.
It was the first and only successful motor torpedo boat action in Caspian Sea: but occurred too late for the Whites, to have a significant consequence on the campaign.

18 November 1919
The Whites decided to evacuate Lagan Island: apart the ongoing naval shelling, the situation had worsened due the incoming winter and the difficulties to supply the garrison.

22 March 1920
The new year campaign was opened with a return in action of the soviet auxiliary cruiser Caspian: she laid a field of mines together the gunboat Roshal.

31 March 1920
On the mines laid by the auxiliary cruiser Caspian, was sunk the White auxiliary cruisers (sometimes rated only as gunboat, due her weapons) Prince Pozharsky (only 2 guns of 102mm).
The ship was actually mortally damaged and finished by the same White auxiliary cruiser Dmitry Donskoy, after having evacuated the crew.
The two White ships were on escort mission for the minelayer Gorchakov that was supposed to lay her field, but the loss of Prince Pozharsky caused the mission to be abandoned.
Soviet sources wrongly list also the ship Chasovoy as victim of the field of Caspian: but actually the ship didn’t sunk and defected to Soviets on 4 April.

4 April 1920
The Soviet destroyers Karl Liebknecht e Zorkyi attacked Alexander Fort while the Whites were already evacuating. The two ships attacked and clashed with the White auxiliary cruiser Opyt.
After an hour of confused fight, the White retreated.
Soviet sources usually list also the Milytuin fighting alongside the Opyt, but she wasn’t involved.
Moreover no unit was damaged despite the Soviets believing to have hit at least a cruiser.
The Karl Liebknecht was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner for this action.
Soviet forces that captured up to 1200 men that had not been evacuated (including 70 officers and 2 generals) and conquered the harbor.
Even if the action was less successful than believed by Soviets (the fire on both sides wasn’t accurate), the destroyers had still engaged the enemy while the evacuation wasn’t complete, forcing them to accelerate the retreat and leaving behind the soldiers that were captured.

Painting of the Karl Liebknecht during the battle: the outcome was actually inconclusive, but it has been put pressure on the White ships to rush away without having completed the evacuation.

On that same day, the White auxiliary cruisers Australia and the support ship Chasovoy defected and sailed to the Soviet harbor of Krasnovodsk. Once they reached it, they were welcomed with a band singing the International song, and the cruiser was re-named Bela Kun.

8 April 1920
When the war was almost over, the Soviets suffered a sad loss: the auxiliary cruiser Caspian with the Proletaryi was escorting the transport Konstantin Kaufman for a landing operation, however there was an heavy storm and the Caspian was sunk: 52 sailors of the veteran cruiser were killed (including the commander, I. Peterskyi), and 13 were saved.
The ship was recovered only in 1934 (after an attempt in 1921) and will have a long service first as transport and late as training ship until 1960.

1 May 1920
Soviet warships led by destroyer Karl Liebknecht reached Baku, already in Soviet hands.
Whites had already evacuated most of their ships to Anzali, in Persia.
At Baku were integrated the few ships of the Azerbaijani Fleet, including the gunships Kars and Ardagan (that has been blocked in Baku for most of the conflict).
Some ships had been left behind by Whites and were seized (have to be remembered that they were already abandoned and without crew, so they can’t be classified as ships seized in action): the auxiliary cruiser Pushkin (2 guns of 130mm), the minelayer Gretsiya, 8 other ships (including an hospital ship).
The two gunships was renamed Lenin and Trotsky, the cruiser was renamed Soviet Azerbaijan.
All the ships in Baku will be actually gathered into an independent Flotilla.

18 May 1920
Anzali Operation
The Soviet Navy decided to plan a final offensive against the last enemy harbor: the base of Anzali on the Persian shores. Flag-ship of the flotilla was the destroyer Karl Liebknecht, leading the other destroyers Delnyi, Deyatelnyi, Rastoropnyi, the auxiliary cruisers Proletariy, Rosa Luxemburg, Pushkin, Bela Kun, the gunships Kars and Ardagan, the transport Gretsiya (former enemy minelayer), and other minor units.
The ships were organized in groups, each with a specific mission: reconnaissance, landing, bombing,
engaging enemy warships.
The Soviets achieved a complete surprise over the enemy due early hour of morning: a shell of the Rosa Luxemburg fall very close to the main British headquarters.
There was basically no naval opposition and no coastal artillery fire: the British weren’t intentioned to engage in open warfare and the Whites were demoralized after the general course of the conflict.
Only a motor torpedo boat attempted to move close the Bela Kun with a white flag to ask a truce but it was perceived as an attack and was opened fire.
After some time the motor torpedo boat returned with a larger flag (it seems it was actually a blanket) and the truce was agreed, later followed by surrender.
The Persian governor of Anzali promptly accepted the Soviet presence and the whole White Fleet surrendered without having fired a single shell.
There are still some unclear details about the landing operations and it appears that some British Gurkha (Indian) troops made only little resistance and some machine-guns nests were bombed by the Soviet warships: the ground engagement was very short and the only casualties were 2 killed and 5 wounded, among the Gurkha, due the naval shelling.
White personnel had left the city and retreated by land, Soviets installed the Soviet Republic of Gilan in Northern Persia (survived until 1921).
The fleet captured included the following ships: the auxiliary cruisers President Kruger, America, Europe, Africa, Dmitry Donskoy, Asia, Slava, Mylutin, Opyt and Merkur, the motor-torpedo-boat carrier (previously seaplane-carrier) Orlenok, the seaplane-carrier (previously m.t.b carrier) Volga, four seaplanes, four motor torpedo boats (former British), 10 merchants, a number of support, auxiliary and minor units and a big amount of supplies and ammunition.

The quick and successful action was praised by the Soviets and was seen by the British press (as the newspaper The Times) as an unexpected sign of British passivity (that was heavily criticized).

Following the surrender of the enemy in Anzali, the entire Caspian Sea was fully in soviet hands, and soviet warships were involved in undisturbed bombing and landing operations of shore localities still in hands of White (on the south-eastern coasts of the Sea) during the second half of 1920 and in few occasions in 1921.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 03 Jun 2014, 12:25
Volga River (First campaign in 1918).

Note: Details about the following Volga River campaign are rare and sadly incomplete.

8 June 1918
The small Czech armed tug Prishlepala (only 3 machine-guns) boarded and captured a soviet barge with a cargo of flour.

20 July 1918
Soviets reported that the gunboat Delo Sovetov clashed against 3 “White” ships claiming one was sunk. The event it’s unclear: she could have attacked a boat of smugglers. However on these days, Czechs claimed that machine-guns fire against a convoy caused moderate damages on the gunboat Milyutin, with 1 killed and 2 wounded. The event occurred on night and it’s unclear who attacked, on the Czech version of events (if Delo Sovetov or ground forces).

22 July 1918
It’s also unclearly reported that the soviet gunboat Delo Sovetov was attacked by 3 Czech gunboats, hit, grounded and abandoned by crew: the whole event lacks of details.

Last days of July 1918
On unknown day, the Czech gunboat Wolf captured the Soviet small tug Gorchitsa

1 August 1918
Inconclusive short skirmish between Soviet gunboats Bratstvo, Lev and Olga against Czech units.

5 August 1918
Engagement between the Czech gunboat Wolf against the Soviet gunboats Bratstvo, Lev and Olga and the armed boats Burlak and Belaya Akatsiya . The two smaller units grounded (it appears accidentally) and have to be abandoned.

On ground, the Czechoslovak Legion capture the city of Kazan.

7 August 1918
Leon Trotsky personally depart from Moscow to reach the front: Soviets used a small number of old torpedo boats for the counter-offensive.

27 August 1918
Leon Trotsky personally led the old torpedo boat Prochnyy , sailing together Prytkiy and Retivyy.
Their mission was to bomb Kazan: both for tactical purpose and as propaganda coup (the personal participation of Trotsky aimed to rise the moral).
The mission was successful and a barge full of fuel was hit and exploded.
During the action, the same Prochnyy had problems at weapons and engines and she was briefly immobilized: if Czechs were more organized, they could have killed or captured the Leader of the Red Army, but Prochnyy restarted the engine and moved away.

Photo of Reshitelnyy, sister-ship of Prochnyy and Retivyy: despite being very old and obsolete torpedo boats (and without torpedo launchers), they were still the faster ships and the more advanced in Volga river, and were a key factor of the soviet success.
Prytkiy was similar, but even older (entered in service in 1898: a single-ship and the first ever Russian torpedo boat).

30 August 1918
Torpedo boats Prochnyy, Prytkiy and Retivyy with gunboats Olenya, Olga and Lev accomplished another bombing operation against Kazan. Prochnyy shelled and destroyed some small tugs and barges at the Verkhniy Uslon village. Olenya and Olga engaged artillery batteries and Olga was damaged (3 wounded), was grounded and even suffered a ground attack from Czech infantry: however the Czechs were repulsed by machine-gun fire.
Olenya managed to tow the Olga and brought her away.
Also Lev was accidentally rammed by Prochnyy causing mutual damages.

1 September 1918
A new shelling done by Prytkiy and Retivyy: some Czech gunboats opened fire from large distance. Gunboats Vanya, Dobryy and Olenya joined the torpedo boats but in the end, the two torpedo boats took (moderate) damages only from enemy ground artillery. For the first time, a soviet seaplane operated providing support mission.

5 September 1918
Soviet units once again attacked Kazan, but gunboats Dolphin and Tashkent were hit by ground artillery: the first unit was quickly sunk, while the second one had to be towed away. Due these losses, also the other units (including Prytkiy and Retivyy) retreated. White seaplanes attacked the ships but without effect.
Later, in afternoon, Prytkiy and the armed pontoon Sergei accomplished a bombing.
Other bombing operations from gunboats were done on 8 and 9 September.

7 September 1918
Whites were also retreating from Volks and there occurred a violent clash between the White small armed boats Sofiya, Groznyy, Chechenets, Gorets, Moguchiy and Vandal against the Soviet ones Andrey Lyakhov, Mikhail Krutov, Svoboda, Revolyutsiya, Moskva and Kazanka and two very small boats.
Only minor damages were caused on Moskva and Mikhail Krutov but the Whites retreated.
A following clash in the same place occurred on 12 September (with participation of the Soviet armed icebreaker Saratov): once again ended with a White retreat and a White unidentified unit was damaged.

On 10 September 1918, while Soviet units moved close to Kazan (including torpedo boats Prytkiy and Retivyy) they found the city already abandoned by Whites and Czechs. Enemy gunboats had been busy to bring away 650 millions of Czarist rubles to Samara, rather than fighting the Soviets.

11 September 1918
An inconclusive engagement on long distance between Soviet and Czech units (the Czechs were retreating south). Were involved the Soviet armed pontoon Sergei and the Czech armed pontoon Czechoslovakia.

14 September 1918
A small Soviet motorboat with mines (she was supposed to lay them) accidentally grounded and was abandoned. During that same day, Soviets accomplished some landing operations.

25 September 1918
Soviet armed pontoon Sergei (4 guns of 102mm, 1 gun of 47mm, 2 of 37mm and 12 machine-guns) hit from long distance a White boat used to carry troop from one side to the other of the river: the hit unit was grounded and lost.

28 September 1918
Two White ships attempted to prevent a landing operation but they were repulsed (with no damage on both sides) by Soviet units. It was present the armed pontoon Sergei.

7 October 1918
Whites leave Samara: their gunboats are decommissioned, disarmed and abandoned.

The Campaign in Volga River of 1918 was directly followed by the Campaign in Kama River (tributary river of Volga).
Subsequent fighting in Volga during1919-1920 involved the Soviet flotilla in numerous bombing and transport operations (suffering some damages and losses due ground artillery) but with no presence of White boats or crafts this time.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 04 Jul 2014, 09:42

17 September 1918
At the entrance of river Kama, Soviet gunboat n°1 captured the tug Deyatel with 3 barges and the boat Luna. However while taking in tow the Luna, n°1 was grounded after a trap made by the Whites (sunk barges full of stones), and was shelled by ground artillery. Soviets abandoned the gunboat, suffering 1 killed, 1 wounded and 3 captured.

18 September 1918
Prolonged fight between the Soviet floating battery Ataman Razin and White units.

20 September 1918
Soviet gunboat n°7 escaped from White ships only thanks her speed. The next day the Soviet torpedo boats Prytkiy and Retivyy were involved in inconclusive fight.

22 September 1918
Without enemy opposition, the Soviet gunboats Olga, Dobryi and the armed boat Peresvet, together the torpedo boats Prytkiy and Retivyy made a raid at Chistpol, landing troops (were captured many barges and 3 small transports, but by troops).

23 September 1918
Prytkiy, Retivyy and gunboat Olga engaged White gunboats. An enemy armed boat was damaged, Prytkiy alone fired 150 shells, however there are a number of failures.

25 September 1918
Short inconclusive fight between Soviet Ataman Razin and Prytkiy against enemy retreating ships.

28 September 1918
A new clash was repeated with the same units of 25/Sept, in addition to gunboats Dobryi, Tovarishch and n°2. It appears that the Whites wanted to make a similar trap as the one of day 17/Sept, but the engagement was inconclusive, only Prytkiy had issues with her guns.

29 September 1918
Soviet ships advanced in the River: additionally to the ones engaged during the past days, was also involved the gunboat Vanya: there are a number of clashes at high distances with the Whites, but all inconclusive. Torpedo boat Prytkiy was heavily engaged, but only the transport Mezhen suffered the commander wounded.

1 October 1918
A famous event: soviet gunboats Vanya and Olga and the torpedo boats Prytkiy and Retivyy came under fire from enemy coastal artillery, ground forces and (from distance) enemy ships (including the floating battery Chekhoslovak).
Olga suffered an hit, but it was Vanya that suffered worse: she was heavily damaged and the commander Markin ordered to abandon the ship. 48 crewmember were saved while 30 were killed, however Markin wasn’t among the saved: he stayed behind, firing with a machine-gun and covering the evacuation of the ship. Markin was killed by enemy fire, sacrificing his life to allow his men to be saved. Markin was considered a martyr in the Soviet Navy, in the following years many ships will be named after him. Sometimes the Vanya is referred as “Vanya Kommunist”, but the change of name, despite being planned, was not done before the loss.
Old soviet sources claimed also that a White ship was hit and destroyed but actually the Whites fired on higher distance.
Painting of Vanya, from

Another painting.

7 October 1918
After the loss of Vanya, the Soviets remained on defensive and laid a number of mines.
White gunboats advanced, led by the gunboat Orel (with 130mm guns).
However the Soviet mines managed to sunk the gunboat Trud.
After that, Prytkiy, Retivyy, Dobryy and Ataman Razin waited for the enemy but only 4 days later the floating battery Ataman Razin opened fire against the enemy, without consequences.
Old soviet sources claim the sinking of the White gunboat “Milutin”, but the existence (and the loss) of such ship it’s not confirmed.

Photo of Trud, after being recovered post-war.

16 October 1918
Soviets receive reinforcement, including the gunboat Volga dobrovolets (that will be very active). On that same day, Soviet gunboats intercepted and captured the White steamer-tug Alexey.

17 October 1918
Soviets accomplish a daring action: torpedo boats Prytkiy, Prochnyy and Retivyy sail until the enemy harbor of Golyany, with the White Navy's flag, to deceive the enemy.
Intelligence had got news that the Whites were going to execute a large number of prisoners, and it was decided to attempt saving them.
Whites suspected nothing, because the prisoners were scheduled to be carried into the “barge of the death” and be moved in another location to be shot and buried.
Prytkiy take control of the tug Rassvet to tow the “barge of the death”, while Retivyy’s sailors assured of the presence of the POWs.
While sailing away, the Whites suspected the deceive, and Rassvet attempted to flee just to be re-captured by the torpedo boats. The “barge of the death” was approached and boarded by the just arrived Soviet gunboat Volga dobrovolets: Soviet sailors captured the guards and freed the prisoners.
According two different sources, 432 or 522 prisoners, were set free: however in the barge were also found 30 bodies of prisoners that were already been executed and transported alongside the living ones.

Photo of the very old torpedo boat Prytkiy when was under Czarist flag: she entered service in 1898! (first ever russian torpedo boat).
However she and her sisters were useful to Soviets in Volga and Kama rivers, Leon Trotzky was aboard the Prochnyy during a mission in 1918.

19 October 1918
Soviet gunboat Volga dobrovolets suffered damage due enemy ground artillery, with 1 killed and 5 wounded.

Between the end of October and beginning of November, Soviets captured the city of Golyany (with a number of shelling made by gunboats). Whites defended only with ground artillery.
Due freezing of water, the operations were closed for December and early spring.

With the spring, there was an heavy ground offensive made by the White Admiral Kolchak.
During the end of April, Soviet gunboats made many shelling, with some success but wasting much ammunition.

1 May 1919
Soviet gunboat Pronzitelnyy accidentally rammed the gunboat Ilim that sunk, but was recovered on 12 June and repaired.

9 May 1919
Soviet gunboats Alexandr and Uchreditel captured in the tributary river Vyatka, a barge full with a cargo of 90tons of oil.

11 May 1919
Between river Kama and the tributary Vyatka, Soviet gunboat Lyubimets was sunk by enemy ground artillery. Recovered after the war just to be scrapped.

14 May 1919
The first serious engagement in Kama River:
Soviet gunbaots Vanya Kommunist (flag-ship, named after the previously sunk Vanya), Avangard Revolyutsyi, Kuban and Volga dobrovolets
clashed against the White gunboat Grozyashchyi (armed with 75mm): Volga dobrovolets scored an hit and caused damage after 15 minutes of battle.
However the White gunboat was saved by the arrival of the two British ship on this front: the gunboat HMS Kent and the floating battery HMS Suffolk, even if this second engagement caused no damage.
Avangard Revolyutsyi had issues with the engine, and was forced to be towed, while 2 Soviet seaplanes attempted to attack the HMS Suffolk, just to be shot down (pilots executed).
HMS Kent and HMS Suffolk were the only British units active in this naval front.

Painting of Volga dobrovolets, from

21 May 1919
Soviet gunboat Tovarishch Markin (ex Dobryy ) accidentally rammed and sunk the smaller n°107.

24 May 1919
Battle of Yelabuga
The most serious fight and only larger scale battle of this naval front.
There were 7 Soviet gunboats involved: Vanya Kommunist (named after the Vanya that was previously sunk), Avangard Revolyutsyi (ex-Olga), Volga dobrovolets, Pamyat Volodarskogo, Terek, Roshal and Kuban.
There were also 7 enemy gunboats in addition to a floating battery, among them, the most powerful and manned by skilled sailors were the British gunboat HMS Kent (4 guns of 76mm) and the floating battery HMS Suffolk (1 of 156mm).
Soviet units had the duty to engage the enemy to protect the ongoing landings aiming to capture the key city of Yelabuga.
The first stage of battle however turned bad for the Soviet: flagship Vanya Kommunist had issues to the guns and attempted to turn around, such movement was misinterpreted as an order of retreat and the Soviet formation ended in chaos.
British and White gunfire took this opportunity: the Terek was strayed behind due engine troubles and was heavily hit and run aground. Shortly after this, the Soviet attempted to pull back and the gunboat Roshal suffered the same fate of Terek, after being directly hit by HMS Kent’s fire.
At this point the British-White formation attempted to chase the Soviets, but gunship Kuban (sister-ship of Terek), managed to hit the White gunboat Gordom that was left helpless and with guns out of order. The British gunboat HMS Kent was forced to stop the chasing and to cover the damaged Gordom with smoke-screen.
HMS Kent and HMS Suffolk had been the key of the enemy success: HMS Kent fired 288 shells, while HMS Suffolk fired 42, both reported minimal damages due splinters, suffering 2 killed and 8 wounded.
The battle itself had a mixed result: it was clearly a British-White tactical victory due the losses inflicted and Soviet retreat during the first phase, however the Soviets successfully prevented the further enemy advance and saved the landing operations, during the second phase, scoring a strategic success.
Soviet landing operations suffered only the loss of transport Alexander, due enemy ground artillery.
The landing caused the liberation of Yelabuga after 1 day of fighting, thus allowing a fast Soviet ground advance and the collapse of the White front.
Whites managed to recover the wreck of Terek after 10 days, but they were forced to scuttle her alongside their whole flotilla.

Photo of Roshal, after being recovered post-war.

27 May 1919
An inconclusive fight between the Soviet gunboat Trotsky and two White ships, that retreated.
A second inconclusive fight occurred the following day.

2 June 1919
While the White flotilla was retreating, the gunboat Statnyi was hit and sunk by Soviet ground artillery, while Skoryi was hit and grounded but was saved and towed away.

Most of the White flotilla was scuttled at the end of June to prevent the capture.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 12 Sep 2014, 10:26

In March 1919 bands of the Green Army captured a number of boats and ships (mostly unarmed) in Dniepr river. There are not many details, but it’s probable that such ships were captured by armed gangs on shore or in small harbors, without ship vs ship actions.

On April 1919, Soviet armed ships and patrol boats made a number of operations against the Green Army positions, landing troops and bombing. However the Greens made no actual naval opposition and the ground artillery reaction was usually weak. On rare occasions, they used some of the previously captured ships to move away. During the operations, the Soviet armed paddle steamer Samuel was damaged by Green artillery.

The beginning of May 1919, saw the soviets liberate Chernobyl from the Greens.

In mid-June 1919, the Soviets renewed their offensive against Greens and all the other bands operative in the region.

26 June 1919
While engaged in an attack against the village of Khalepye, the soviet patrol boat n°3 and the steamer Vladimir Krakht, captured the two Green steamers Dneprovets and Sanitarnyy (they were two former soviet ships, probably captured in March). The Greens left the village, while the Soviets lost 3 killed and 2 wounded during the landing.

By the time of the last actions against the Green Army, new enemies surfaced on Dniepr rivers: the Poles and the Whites of Denikin.

27 June 1919
Soviet armed paddle steamer Arnold and patrol boats n°2 and n°5 managed to destroy important bridges at Osobovichi village, because the Poles were advancing.

29 July 1919
Soviet armed paddle steamers Kuryer, Traktomirov and Dr. Max Mandelstam (this ship was armed with 2 guns of 107mm, while most of the ships of this naval campaign, at this time had at the best only 76mm) supported an offensive against locations hold by Greens. During the actions were re-captured the ships Zeus and Charlotte (the former one (that has been captured by Anarchists in 29 June) was seized with full cargo: military documents of the Greens, four machine guns and other weapons, four pounds of silver, uniforms and supplies).

28 August 1919
The Whites of General Denikin captured Kiev. A number of ships (abandoned or civilians) were captured and integrated by the Whites. Soviet warships retreated north, without engaging the enemy

On unclear date, during the retreat, the soviet lost the armed paddle steamer Kuryer: she has been cut out from the retreat and the crew blown her up to prevent capture.

In September 1919 the Soviets made big changes in leadership into the Dniepr flotilla, dispatching new and better prepared commanders. The same flotilla ceased to be independent and many of the warships were re-named, re-armed and re-classified as heavy gunboats (with up to 2 guns of 130mm) and light gunboats (up to 4 guns of 76mm) and other ships were integrated.

2 October 1919
Battle of Pechek
The largest and main engagement of this front: Whites dispatched a group of warships from Kiev with the purpose to hunt and destroy soviet warships and also to land troops. The Whites sent the gunboats Dobrovolets, Bogatyr (former Venera), the armed barge Bolinder (not the famous Bolinder-class of Black Sea: she got the same name for similar purposes), with a gun of 152mm, the steamer Kremenchug and two small boats.
The Whites were going to land troops at Pechek when the three soviet gunboats Grozyashchiy, Gnevnyy and Geroyskiy (flag-ship) noticed the enemy action.
The three soviet gunboats sailed straight to the enemy, opening fire, and an artillery battle erupted.
Grozyashchiy scored a direct hit on the Bolinder, that was damaged, and the White group started to retreat: Geroyskiy pressed on the attack and the Dobrovolets was grounded and the soviet gunboat focused artillery and machine-gun fire on her.
The Whites abandoned the Dobrovolets while Geroyskiy managed to seize her.
With incoming darkness, Grozyashchiy and Gnevnyy did not keep on the chasing to fear of grounding and few horus later the soviets managed to move away the Dobrovolets.
The prize will be renamed Gubitelnyy and joined the Flotilla.
During the whole action the Soviets suffered no damage or casualties.
Unknown the White human losses (there are no White records survived of this battle. The only clear detail it’s that the Soviets overestimated the result achieved: they believed 2 enemy warships were sunk apart the capture of Dobrovlets).
The armed barge damaged appears to have been named “K-5” or “K-7”: two identical barges were named both “Bolinder” after the Bolinder-class in Black Sea (but they were not of the same class!). It’s not known which of the two ships took part at the battle.

5 October 1919
Soviet gunboats attempted an attack toward Kiev, but they pulled back quickly, mostly because the ground offensive was failing.

11 October 1919
Whites capture Chenihiv. At least 9 ships are integrated by the Whites.

14 October 1919
Another failed Soviet offensive toward Kiev and once again the gunboats didn’t engage for long time the enemy coastal positions.

Two soviets operations at the mouth of the Desna river (including a mine-laying action) were proposed but not made due fear of strong enemy presence.

With the incoming of winter and ice on the river, naval actions were ended.

In November, with a short and sudden rising of temperature, the Whites managed to evacuate most of their ships (the smaller ones) from river on train. However some of them opened fire against Soviet advancing troops in Kiev, and the armed barge Bolinder (“K-5”) was sunk by her own accidental gunfire (possibly cracks caused by excessive use and the recoil of the 152mm guns).

16 December 1919
Soviet troops take Kiev.

With the liberation of Kiev, the Soviets captured there a number of White warships that were not evacuated.

25 April 1920.
Heavy offensive of the Poles.
On Pripyat, the Poles seized a number of abandoned vessels.

27 April 1920
The soviet gunboat Gubitelnyy (former Dobrovolets) while covering the evacuation from Chernobyl, was hit and sunk by Polish ground artillery fire. She will be recovered after the end of the war.

28 April 1920
The Polish tender ship T-2 was captured and seized while on travel with a cargo of ammunition by Soviet patrol boats (unclear which ones). She was previously the Soviet steamer Voron, and has been captured three days before in Pripyat by Polish troops. The ship will be returned to the former name Voron.

During Polish offensive, soviet gunboats made a number of bombing action but could not prevent enemy attacks (there was sporadic ground artillery fire against them).
Captured vessels, were not used by Poles to clash against the remaining Soviet ones.

As the Poles were advancing to Kiev, the Flotilla had to choose the direction of evacuation. Even if moving to south posed the problem of being closer to the White general Wrangler, the Flotilla commander Smirnov decided to split the Flotilla and move the ships both on north and south (probably to reduce the risk of losing all the ships).

Once Kiev was captured, the Poles captured 18 abandoned vessels.

In the northern section of the Dniepr, Soviet warships made some successful bombing at Loyev.
Later the ships managed to accomplish a breakthrough at Loyev bridges: despite heavy enemy shore defense, the operation was successful and the soviet ships passed the strict point, with only the loss of the gunboat Metkiy (she run aground and got the paddles broken, was abandoned and later shelled by Polish fire).
The gunboat Molodetskiy was grounded but was quickly helped and saved by the tug Vernyy.
Also the gunboat Malyy received a dud shell but without effects.
The whole operation was accomplished with just a wounded (on gunboat Mstitelnyy).
Painting of the breakthrough.

Some of the minesweepers that took part in the Breakthrough at Loyev, laid mines at Pripyat: Poles forced local civilians to clean the fields with their fishing trawlers. Such mines caused no known losses to the enemy.

At Svaromy, Soviet sailors learned of war crimes committed by Poles: wounded soldiers of the 63rd Regiment and civilians that previously ferried soviet troops with their boats, were all thrown in the river and shot by Poles or drown.

17 May 1920
In the southern section of the Dniepr, soviet gunboats supported a successful landing that took the city of Kanev. The enemies of this battle weren’t the Poles, but an unaffiliated Ukrainian communist group (the “Borotbists”) that at the time collaborated with the Poles.

22 May 1920
In the southern section of the Dniepr, during an action of supporting landing operation, the soviet gunboats Gubitelnyy and Grozyashchiy shortly faced a Polish gunboat that was landing troops at Rzhyshchiv: they managed to chase away the opponent, but at some point abandoned the chasing in fear of enemy shore batteries.
Rzhyshchiv was secured by Soviet forces.

23 May 1920
Soviet ships had to compete the sweeping of the same mines laid previously at Pripyat: during such operations a mine accidentally exploded and destroyed the small minesweeper Mina.

25 May 1920
In the southern section of the Dniepr, Poles made a counter-attack toward Rzhyshchiv. Also aircrafts launched bombs at soviet ships (no hits), and Polish gunboats opened fire from distance.
The gunboat Grozyashchiy suffered 2 hits by artillery (or less probably gunboat’s fire).
Also the gunboat Moguchiy suffered 2 hits (by artillery fire) with several wounded, but managed to retreat when the crew had to manually move the blades after big efforts and under enemy fire.
The soviet garrison was defeated, but 200 surviving men managed to retreat to Perejaslav and the gunboat Gubitelnyy directly followed them and supported them with gunfire to chase away the enemies.

On 27 May 1920, the Soviets re-captured a defenseless Rzhyshchiv, but they were once again driven off by a Polish counter-attack.

3 June 1920
In the northern section of the Dniepr, first Polish aerial attack against soviet warships, attempting to prevent the ferrying of troops at Pechek. The bombing caused 10 killed and 60 wounded and 6 horses killed among ground forces, and 6 sailors were wounded, but the large operation wasn’t stopped.

5 June 1920
In the northern section of the Dniepr, still attempting to prevent the crossing of the river at Pechek, the Poles deployed for the first time their gunboats in addition to aircraft and ground force.
Soviet gunboat Mstitelnyy (2 guns of 130mm) shelled the Polish ground artillery while Malyy (4 guns of 76mm) shelled the enemy advancing infantry. Both the gunboats opened fire for hours and shot thousands of shells (with columns of men supplying ammunition one-by-one, from ground).
The Polish infantry retreated after serious losses.
Polish aircrafts achieved no success.
Two Polish gunboats attacked Soviet ground forces, but as soon as the gunboat Geroyskiy opened fire against them, they retreated.

On that same day, but in the southern section of the Dniepr, Polish aircrafts managed to damage the Soviet gunboat Moguchiy at first with a direct bomb hit, causing 4 killed and 14 wounded, and later with a second miss that caused splinters and killed another sailor, wounding other 8.

6 June 1920
In the northern section of the Dniepr, soviet gunboats Mstitelnyy, Zapal, Malyy and Tral supported further crossing operations: they successfully shelled Polish positions and ground batteries.
A Polish gunboat appeared, but after a short skirmish, she retreated.

After such actions in northern section of the Dniepr, Polish forces retreated from the banks of the Dniepr: a counter-attack attempt on 9 June at Irpen failed (also on Irpen the Soviet gunboats accomplished successful bombing actions).

10 June 1920.
In the southern section of the Dniepr, Soviet gunboat Gubitelnyy during an observation mission, received gunfire from a Polish gunboat.

10-11 June 1920.
Poles scuttled many of their ships in Kiev.

12 June 1920.
In the southern section of the Dniepr, Soviet gunboat Gubitelnyy (soon followed by other ships) was the first soviet ship to re-enter into the Kiev harbor, while the Poles were leaving the city.
There was no clash between them and Polish units.

27 June 1920
A successful Soviet landing operation was achieved at Mozyr. During the night, soviet gunboats directly prevented the capture of landed scouts firing against a group of Poles that was attempting to capture them, one soviet scout was wounded but all returned.
After this date, the Poles attempted a number of time to re-capture Mozyr but the support of the Soviet gunboats was decisive to prevent these attempts.

29 June 1920
Once again in Mozyr, the Soviet gunboats Gubitelnyy and Groznyy at first damaged a Polish armored train not far from the shore, later they hit a steamer standing at the pier.
The steamer was abandoned while under Soviet fire: it was also the headquarters for the officers of the Polish 9th Infantry Division. However the Poles managed to successfully obstruct a channel and blew up a railway bridge.
The following day however, soviet minesweeper managed to clean the passage.

1 July 1920
A surprise attack was achieved by Soviet gunboats Moshchnyy, Gubitelnyy, Groznyy, patrol boat Tral and tender-ship Pinks (when the Polish still believed the passage to be obstructed) with a landing party of 80 men. The ships had a white flag and on the deck were put men able to speak in Polish to deceive the enemy. They attacked Novosyolki (due shallow waters they could not proceed more) and was captured lots of precious material: documents of the 34th Regiment of Poznan, a group of 30 military horses, machine guns, rifles and canned food.
The Polish forces had been took by surprise and by the time they organized a reaction, the Soviets were already retreating.
Further Polish shelling from other locations caused no damage on the Soviet units, and the gunboat Moshchnyy scored a 130mm direct hit on an enemy armored train.

2 July 1920
As soon as soviet warships sailed at Mozyr, Poles fully retreated (they even left behind ammunition).

These were the last actions in the Dniepr river: soviet gunboats made also some other bombing operations in the second half of 1920 against White irregulars.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 19 Dec 2014, 10:13

27 January 1918
Soviet sources claim Romanian mutiny among sailors: a clash between soviet and Romanian units ended because of this, according the Soviets. There is lack of known details.

9 February 1918
Battle of Valcov
Soviet forces manage to prevent the conquering of Valcov, repelling Romanian ground force and naval units. Soviets had the armed pontoons: K-1, K-2, K-3, K-7, K-8, K-13, K-14 and K-15, the gunboats Teretz, Donetsk, Kubanetz, the command-ship Provornyi.
Romanians sent in battle the monitors Ioan C. Bratianu, Lascar Catargiu, Alexandru Lachovari and Mihail Kogalniceanu.
Ioan C. Bratianu fired against K-15, but suffered a direct hit herself and retreated together Catargiu, while also Lachovari and Kogalniceanu retreated after an intense gunfight (Lachovari focused her fire on Teretz).
Soviets had suffered damages on K-1 and K-3.
Soviets could achieve a tactical victory, because prevented the Romanian offensive on 10 February, but the general effects were short-lived.
Ioan C. Bratianu

14 February 1918
Soviet gunboat Donetsk was damaged and grounded by Romanian shore artillery.

Because of the Romanian ground offensive, Soviets abandoned Valcov between 14 and 15 February.

15 February 1918
Soviet tug Kilgis was grounded and destroyed after an attack by Romanian patrol boats n°4 and
n°5. This was the last notable action on Danube river.

12 March 1918
Soviet midget-submarine n°3 abandoned in Danube River and seized by Austro-Hungarian troops.
Due bad technical status it was never used and later was captured by Romanians (her fate is unknown but likely scrapped soon after).
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 9365
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Post 06 Jan 2015, 21:42
I just want to say thanks to 1reditalian for being the only one keeping this whole subforum afloat (heh).

"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 09 Jan 2015, 11:10
Kirov wrote:
I just want to say thanks to 1reditalian for being the only one keeping this whole subforum afloat (heh).

Thanks! It's just an hobby for me ^^ I suggest you also to check back the previous pages, because most got updates.
Also i'm ever eager to chat on private messages and reply to questions, comments etc...
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Soviet cogitations: 260
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Dec 2011, 00:54
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 21 Jul 2015, 01:53
Don't have time to read right now but I will later because this is damn impressive.
"A shiny bauble from Capitalism is worthless when the cost is Children & the Elderly going hungry, The Infirm & Sick dying because of Greed & Education reduced to a token few to placate the masses with Illusions of freedom."
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 21 Jul 2015, 15:11
Thanks! Just to say it's some days I am working to complete the part for the Black Sea.

(PS: for everyone, don't be shy to leave a comment or further questions on this or other pages in the Fleet folder).
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 23 Aug 2015, 13:11
Added some paintings.

For the readers: comments, questions, suggestions or grammar corrections are extremely welcome! Thanks ^^

Next part: battles in Black Sea.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Party Member
Post 06 Sep 2015, 17:42
I just finished reading the first post about the battles in the Baltic Sea.

Fantastic work Comrade Admiral. I love the way you highlight with blue and red colors to identify between the Reds and the Whites; even better when you emphasize sunken and lost ships in bold characters to distinguish them from damaged boats.

With all those beautiful images the whole thing read almost like a novel, and my favorite part was about the Defense of Kronstadt. The Reds really handed it to them!

It was a lot of fun. I always imagined myself to have served in the Navy were I required to join the military, specifically in a submarine.

I'm perfectly fine with working in claustrophobic conditions for months on end, and growing up as a child on an island in the Atlantic has familiarized me with the raging waters.

I'm going to read one post every day now. I can't wait till I get to the Dniepr River post. I've swum in and sailed that river many times.

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that you exist, even in pain.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 07 Sep 2015, 09:37
Yeqon wrote:
I just finished reading the first post about the battles in the Baltic Sea.

Fantastic work Comrade Admiral. I love the way you ....

SELF-EDIT (to avoid long replies here, I will wrote in private messages)
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 07 Nov 2015, 16:33
Note: Data concerning the battles in Black Sea are extremely poor, the following list probably lacks some events.

3 March 1918
Brest-Litovsk Treaty.

29 April 1918
Soviet destroyer Gnevnyy was hit by German field batteries close Sevastopol, damaged and grounded. Other Soviet ships (including battleships Volya and Svobodnaya Rossiya) left the harbor; they did not engage the Germans.

16 May 1918
German submarine SM UB-42 seized the Soviet schooner Sergej (97 GRT) (cargo: 2 three-inches guns, 200 shells, 50 rifles).
Interestingly, it was the only German submarine success against Soviets before WW2. Also, it was the only Soviet full-loss suffered by enemy submarine during the Civil War.

Sister-vessel SM UB-42. Coastal submarines.

6/7 June 1918
Soviet landing operations at Taganrog in attempt to make a offensive against German and Turkish forces: Turkish cruisers Hamidiye and Mecidiye made a shelling against Soviet ground targets.

11 June 1918
Soviet coastal artillery (just two guns), opened fire on enemy ships and one hit was reported to have been scored on the Turkish cruiser Mecidiye (wrongly believed to be a destroyer).

10 June 1918
Some minor soviet warships sailed to meet the enemy: the minesweeper Adolf (armed with 120mm), the tender Yastreb, and the two Bolinder-class armed barges n°2 and n°4 (both armed with guns of 150mm). These ships managed to capture the Austrian-Hungary patrol ship SMS Afanasiy Feofani (the former Russian auxiliary minesweeper T-237, ex-merchant Afanasiy Feofani, rearmed with a single 120mm): the captured ship was brought to Yeisk. A second German or Austrian vessel fled from the action. There are conflicting report of the exact name and it seems it was also used the original merchant name, sometimes called “Athanasia”, but apparently Austrians just retained the original Russian merchant name.

NOTE: According a different Soviet source, the capture of the ship occurred on 13 June, but this appears wrong.

NOTE: A number of online sources describe an engagement with Turkish cruisers (including the cruiser Yavuz Sultam Selim) against larger Soviet ships: such accounts, uploaded on some Russian forums, are fictional. No Soviet major warship (destroyer, cruiser or battleship) engaged the Turkish or Germans on sea.

The Soviet minesweeper Ayu-Dag (armed with guns of 76mm), shelled German forces close the shore, with help from one of the Bolinder barges.

13 June 1918
Soviet minesweeper Ayu-Dag was damaged by German coastal artillery: the captain was killed.
Soviet ships also re-embarked troops, to leave their position due heavy German counter-attack.

14 June 1918
The Soviet military operation in Taman peninsula was over. Lack of experience in amphibious landing and lack of naval support were a serious shortcoming for the Soviets: the campaign ended with very heavy human losses (estimates of 6000 soviets killed, for only 700 Germans killed). Only 2500 Soviet soldiers were saved.

Between 18 and 19 June 1918, by orders of Lenin, the main warships of the Black Sea fleet were scuttled (including the battleship Svobodnaya Rossiya) to prevent the capture.

15 December 1918
Sailors on the Bulgarian small auxiliary cruiser Nadezhda in Sevastopol committed a mutiny installing a revolutionary committee demanding not to fight the Soviets and return home (once in Varna, the sailors were all arrested). They abandoned the ship.

3 April 1919
White submarine Tyulen shelled Genichesk harbor on repetitive attacks (120 shells with the 75mm gun) damaging the Soviet guard boat Korshun (ship was sometimes rated as a “custom cruiser” but was effectively a 100tons ship armed with two 37mm guns).

Photo of Tyulen. Effectively she scored the only submarine success (damaging) of a White vessel against a Soviet target!

19 - 22 April 1919
Mutiny of sailors on the French the battleships "Jean Bart" and "France", after refusing to shell Sevastopol. The next days the ships raised red flags, demanding to not fight the Soviets and wanting to return home.
Other mutinies occurred and red flags were lifted on the battleships "Justice", "Mirabeu" and "Vergniaud".
Sailors of the "Vergniaud" took part into a pro-soviet rally and six of them were shot and killed by anti-communist Greek sailors: crew of the "Vergniaud" wanted to attack the Greek cruiser Kilkis for revenge, but such action was not done.
Eventually battleship "France " left on 23 April.
Another mutiny occurred on cruiser "Waldeck-Rosseau" on 26-29 April in Odessa.

Other mutinies occurred in Mediterranean, on the battleships "Provence" (at Tolone, with lifting of Red Flags), "Voltaire”, “Diderot”, on the cruiser "Guichen"," and on the gunboat "Touareg". Crew of "Provence" and "Voltaire" acted also to prevent further French operations.

Such mutinies scored some success, especially for their political impact, however the French Navy was active the following year in confronting the Soviets in Black Sea: obviously with different sailors.

12 May 1919
British destroyers HMS Parthian and HMS Forester shelled Genichesk, with an unclear number of small ships and boats in the harbor destroyed or damaged by the fire.
A Soviet battery shelled and sunk a motorboat of the Parthian.

22 June 1919
Close Genichesk, the White motor-schooner Pericles was going to land troops (she carried 80 men), but due heavy rain, the ship landed extremely close to a train station that was nearby the quay.
Just after she landed the troops, the two Soviet armed trains n°4 and n°85 opened fire and hit the Pericles, killing the captain and other 3 sailors: the grounded ship was lost.

? 1919
On unclear date, the French submarine-hunter C-40 (sometimes said CH-40) was sunk by mine close Odessa. It was originally an American ship (SC174). After the war, the Soviets recovered her and used her as SK-14. There are few data regarding this boat.

Late April 1920
The White destroyer Zharkiy while attempting to penetrate the Dieper-Bug estuary, was briefly faced by a soviet floating battery and it seems she suffered an hit.

3 May 1920
One of the most interesting naval engagements of the Civil War.
The French Sloop Scarpe faced into a ship-vs-ship battle the Soviet floating battery n°1 Krasnaya Zarya (armed with 1 gun of 130mm and 2 guns of 102mm) under command of J.P. Chernyshev: despite being larger, the sloop was armed with 4 guns of 100mm, and after a brief fight the French ship surrendered.
Such engagement resulted in the capture of the Scarpe, it was the most ever successful result achieved by a Soviet warship in a direct artillery engagement with an enemy ship, because the Scarpe was the largest and most powerful enemy ship to be fully defeated (sunk or captured) by Soviet surface action after a gunfire battle.

Photo of sloop Ancre, sister-ship of Scarpe (even if Scarpe had a slightly different bow: clipper rather than straight).

The Scarpe was returned to French after the war. Her technical data were 76.2 meters of length, 602tons of displacement, 107 crewmembers; weapons consisted in 4 guns of 100mm, 1 gun of 65mm and depth charges.

17 June 1920
A heavy accident occurred when the British tanker Lady Thea (1814 GRT) while loading kerosene in Batumi, suffered a fire. To prevent a catastropher, the ship was shelled and sunk by the British destroyer HMS Swallow.

July 1920
Soviet begun mine-laying operations south Odessa, and mainly close the Dniepr-Bug estuary.
Such operations were made on night, and they were not delayed or interrupted by the enemy forces: during the whole campaign, up to 1000 mines were laid.
Usually western sources of the time believed losses due mine were caused by older fields, being unaware of the new ones.

20 July 1920
Soviet coastal batteries opened fire against the White armored cruiser General Kornilov (former Ochakov) claiming one hit scored.
Claim of hit is so far unconfirmed.

21 July 1920
The Italian leader destroyer Carlo Alberto Racchia was sunk on mines. The warship was escorting a convoy carrying former Russian prisoners of war (according a Italian source, they were supposed to be sent to the Soviet themselves, but this make little sense considering Italy was part of the international coalition fighting against the Soviets: it is more likely they were going to be sent to the Whites).

Sister-ship Augusto Riboty.

From 1 July to 5 November, White ships shelled Soviet ground targets in Ochakov and Dnieper-Bug estuary area.
Particularly heavy was the shelling between 3 and 8 August: there was reaction from Soviet ground artillery, but without clear result.
Some sabotages were reported in the White Fleet, made by pro-soviet sailors.

12 November 1920
British destroyer HMS Tobago was destroyed by mines: ship did not sunk, but could not be repaired and Tobago was scrapped on 1922.

In November 1920, the Soviet submarine Trotsky was the first Soviet submarine to start operate in Black Sea.
According some Soviet reports, there could have been a shelling attack against a sailboat, but this is unconfirmed.

9 January 1921
The French Navy achieved revenge for the loss of Scarpe.
The Soviet gunboat (actually a multipurpose ship) Elpidifor n°415 was just returning after having laid a field of mines when she was intercepted close Anapa by French destroyers Sakalave and Seneglais. The difference in weapons and speed was too much (gunboat was officially armed with 3 guns of 130mm, but it appears that before the battle two of them were removed), after being hit the ship was grounded and lost (wreck was scrapped on 1922). Up to 70 soviet sailors were killed or wounded.

Photo of sister-ship Elpidifor n°413

27 February 1921.
Soviet submarine Trotsky launched the first and only torpedo attack against a French destroyer in Georgian waters; the target was not hit probably due excessive distance.

21 July 1921
Soviet submarine Trotsky made her third mission, with a specific target: she intercepted the defecting ship Sawa (it appears that some of the leaders were former political commissars who committed robberies, and they were possibly seeking refuge sailing to the Whites): the ship refused to surrender and it started a surface gunfire battle, lasted 2 hours. The soviet submarine scored hits with the 47mm gun and the ship Sawa (? GRT) was sunk with most of crew, except four men who were recovered alive from sea.

2 August 1921
Soviet submarine Trotsky made her fourth mission: this time she intercepted and seized the White transport ship Afanasiy Feofany (482 GRT). The ship had raised French flag in an attempt to receive protection and flee from the Black Sea.

On that same day, also the submarine Lunacharsky made her first mission, and after having sailed together submarine Trotsky, she seized the White transport ship. Energiya (664 GRT)
Details are poor, but both ships were seized in Romanian waters, and it appears (according Soviet claims) that some of the crewmembers wanted to defect (or surrender) to the Soviets and clashed onboard with their officers.

Photo of submarine Trotsky on 22 Septmeber 1920, when entered in service.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 10 Dec 2015, 17:58

14 July 1918
Soviet protected cruiser Askold (manned by few sailors) forced to surrender once the Interventionist forces moved to the offensive in the north. There was no opposition to the capture by Royal Navy. The United Kingdom offered to return the cruiser in 1922 but eventually scrapped due old age. Other smaller ships suffered a similar fate.

1 August 1918
British offensive against Archangelsk.
Seaplanes from the British aircraft carrier HMS Nairana bombed the Soviet fort in Modyuski Island. Light cruiser HMS Attentive assisted the carrier.
During an artillery fight between the Soviet garrison and the cruiser, HMS Attentive suffered one hit with few light casualties (wounded), (Soviets claimed 3 hits); the fort’s defenders suffered 8 KIA and 3 WIA.
The defense however could not prevent the occupation of Archangelsk.
Soviet icebreakers Svyatogor and Mikula Selyaninovich scuttled by crew to avoid capture.

2 August 1918
British light cruiser HMS Attentive captured the soviet yacht Gorislava.

On the same day, a White forces in Archangelsk took possession of the icebreaker Prince Pozharsky and armed her with 3-inch field guns.
The White ship sunk the minesweeper T-15 while the tug Ob managed to escape into the Dvina river (western sources usually wrongly claim the minesweeper sunk by British guns).

10 August 1918.
The first engagement occurred close Bereznitsky. Soviet gunboats Murman, Moguchyi, Lyubimets and Uchreditel led by Fleet’s commander P.F.Vinogradov, engaged an enemy ship. The enemy vessel’s identity is unknown, probably a British small monitor (claimed hit and damaged but no British vessel suffered damages).

18 August 1918
Soviet gunboats Bogatyr, Feniks and Moguchiy fought against two British monitors: the first Soviet ship suffered three hits.
British sources provide no details on this clash (probably believed to be an insignificant skirmish).

28 August 1918
Another unclear skirmish. British small monitor M-25 hit and damaged during a fight (4 KIA, 7 WIA).
British sources claim the sinking of a Soviet vessel, but no real loss. Soviet likely did not notice the damage inflicted to enemy.

8 September 1918
During a ground battle the commander of the Soviet Dvina flotilla, Pavlov F. Vinogradov killed in action

14 September 1918
Another battle between Soviet gunboats Bogatyr and Moguchiy against British small monitors.
Moguchiy sunk after direct hits (18 KIA, 7 POW, 5 survivors).

16 September 1918
Soviet minelayer Kotlas laid the first field of mines.

On the same day, the Soviet ship Dedushka (cargo of supplies) sunk by the enemy: unclear, but probably sunk by ground artillery.

20 October 1918
Soviet gunboats shelled and sunk a floating battery. While Soviet sources have poor details of the action (with unclear reported date), British sources actually define the date and describe the battery as manned by Canadians. While the battery likely had no name (and no HMS or HMCS designation), it was indeed the only direct loss due Soviet gunfire on this front, and the first and only Canadian loss by Soviet fire. Unclear the Soviet warships, but possibly there was gunboat Pavlov Vinogradov (very active vessel).

12 November 1918
Soviet gunboat Pavlov Vinogradov, (former Murman and re-named after the commander of the flotilla) attacked and damaged by enemy seaplanes; however one White Sopwith 1 1⁄2 Strutter biplane shot down by 40mm anti-aircraft fire from the ship (sailor later awarded). Co-pilot died in the crash, Russian pilot (Nikolai Kossovsky) captured and executed shortly later.

1 May 1919
First bombing operation by soviet gunboats, but with little results. During the operation, the gunboat Pavlov Vinogradov suffered technical troubles.

6 May 1919
Soviet minelayer Sverdlov laid a field of mines.

11 May 1919
A devastating accident avoided on the Soviet floating battery n°2 Kronstadt when a fire almost reached the depot containing 300 armed shells. Accidental fire extinguished just in time.

18 May 1919
Interventionist offensive against Soviet positions in Tulgas, with Soviet retreat (30 POW, no enemy casualties).
British monitors hit and damaged (two shells on the right paddle wheel) Soviet Arngold that was towing the floating battery n°1 Moskwa.
Soviet sources claims hits on enemy monitors, but it denied by British sources.

19 May 1919
Battle of Troitsa
Another British ground offensive between Topsa and Troitsa brought to the first large-size battle of the campaign.
British large gunboats HMS Cockchafer and HMS Glowworm and the small monitors M-27 and M-33 engaged Soviet gunboats Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Kommunist, Volodarsky (only shrapnel), and Uritsky, floating batteries n°1 Moskwa, n°4 Turkestan, n°5 Kanks, n°6 Vengriya and tugs Arngold and Chastnik.
During the fight, British seaplanes provided direct support and scored deadly hits on floating battery n°5 Kansk, grounded and scuttled without casualties. Soviet gunboats Rosa Luxemburg, Kommunist, Volodarsky and Uritsky suffered damages, while Karl Liebknecht and n°6 Vengriya experienced failures on guns. Involvement of British large monitor HMS Humber as well as damage on M-33 is wrong.

20 May 1919
Before leaving the area after the previous defeat, Soviets warships laid mines.

24 June 1919
British minesweeper HMS Sword Dance sunk on mine laid by retreating Soviet warships (1 KIA).

Photo of the minesweeper after being hit by mine.

2 July 1919
A floating mine was close to approach a British hospital barge. A skiff manned by four men quickly attempted to defuse it: the mine exploded, destroying the skiff and killing the British sailors.

3 July 1919
British minesweeper HMS Fandango (sister-ship of HMS Sword Dance) suffered the same fate of her sister, sinking on mine (8 KIA).

8 July 1919
Battle of Selmenga
Soviet Dvina Flotilla made a counter-offensive and this time scored victory against the Royal Navy.
After lessons-learned from the first battle, Soviet floating batteries n°1 Moskwa, n°4 Turkestan opened fire at large distance with better results.
British small monitor M-33 suffered a direct hit (no casualties) and continued fighting alongside M-27.
British large gunboat HMS Cicala, engaged the Soviets but retreated after gun failures and replaced by HMS Cricket: the newly arrived gunboat suffered a direct hit under the waterline and retreated to avoid sinking. The sudden arrival of powerful monitor HMS Humber alongside M-27, M-31 and M-33, to save HMS Cricket, ended the battle.
While this second riverine battle ended with a positive outcome for the Soviets (2 enemy vessels damaged, no own damage), the ground counter-offensive ultimately failed. A further White offensive failed to gain extra ground from the Soviets.
Interestingly, during the battle a small mutiny on HMS Cicala resulted in several arrests (5 sailors sentenced to death, but later commuted).

Photo of HMS Humber. The Soviet units quickly retreated without engaging such enemy: she was part of a three-ships class ordered by the Brazilian Navy for use in the Amazon River but eventually bought by the Royal Navy. Her weapons including a turret armed with two guns of 150mm, capable to engage and defeat the German cruiser Königsberg during the Battle of Rufiji Delta in 1915.

10 July 1919
Interventionists gained ground and took Borok (on the right bank) and Puchenga (on the left bank) on the Dvina river.
The Red Army had many POWs, British ships claimed the sinking of a Soviet gunboat but this is wrong.

14 July 1919
Soviet messenger-ship Nekrasov shot down a British seaplane Fairey-IIIB with concentrated rifle fire from the crew. Both British pilot and co-pilot (Lt. Marshall and Lansdowne) MIA. Soviet sources seized from wreckage a Lewis machinegun and rockets but there is no indication of capture of prisoners.

18 July 1919
Mutinies among White forces at Chinova, joining the Soviets.

22 July 1919
Mutinies among White forces close Onega Lake, joining the Soviets.

6 August 1919
British large gunboat HMS Cicala damaged by mine, but quickly repaired.

Photo of HMS Cicala

10 August 1919
Further Interventionist advances, with direct support of British powerful monitor HMS Humber, gunboat HMS Cicala, and small monitors M-27, M-31, M-33.
A long distance skirmish with Soviet vessels caused no damage.

11 August 1919
White tug Archangel sunk by a mine while on minesweeping duty. A British officer KIA.

14 August 1919
Soviet patrol boat Skorpion sunk by enemy ground artillery.

25 August 1919
British large gunboat HMS Glowworn suffered heavy damage due explosion of a nearby small barge full of ammunition.
20 KIA, including the commander, and multiple WIA. British believe it could be an incident as well as a deliberate sabotage.

3 September 1919
Soviet ground counter-offensive.

16 September 1919
British small monitors M-25 and M-27 grounded due low-level of water in Dvina River.
Both scuttled to avoid capture from the advancing Soviet troops.

Photo of M-27

23 September 1919
British warships laid mines before retreating north: Soviet minesweeper Belogor sunk on them the same day.

24 September 1919
In the same area of Belogor’s loss, minesweepers Posylnyy and Udachnyy sunk by mines.

14 October 1919
Last shelling operation made by Soviet floating batteries against ground targets without opposition, and last riverine action of the front.
Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 28 Apr 2018, 09:55
NOTE:Added two soviet subs lost by accident in 1918 and 1920 (Baltic). Planned a future single final post gathering actions in Lakes (Onega, Ladoga, Baikal)
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