Volga Military Flotilla
Volga Military Flotilla
a flotilla created in June 1918 upon V. I. Lenin’s instruction under the leadership of N. G. Markin. By September the flotilla consisted of five armed steamboats, three torpedo boats, four floating batteries, four cutters, and four seaplanes with a base in Nizhny Novgorod (now Gorky). It participated in the rout of the White Guards at Sviiazhsk (August 28-29), in the landing of amphibious forces in and the capture of Kazan (September 10), and in the liberation of Vol’sk (September 18), Syzran’ (October 3), and Samara (October 7). After Aug. 23, 1918, the commanders of the Volga Military Flotilla were F. F. Raskol’nikov (until November 1918), V. N. Varvatsi (until April 1919), and P. I. Smirnov (until June 1919). In September the flotilla was divided into two detachments: the Volga and Kama detachments. The latter numbered 21 gun-boats, six patrol vessels, one floating battery, and 11 sea-planes. In October the Kama Detachment fought two battles with a White Guard flotilla near P’ianyi Bor and defeated it. The Tsaritsyn Detachment (until October a separate military Volga flotilla) assisted the Tenth Army in the defense of Tsaritsyn. In October the Vol’sk Flotilla, which was formed in April, became part of the Volga Military Flotilla. In the spring and summer of 1919 the Volga Military Flotilla, operating on the Kama, Belaia, and Ufa rivers, supported the troops of the Second, Third, and Fifth armies in the defense and then in the counteroffensive against Kolchak’s troops and participated in the liberation of Chistopol’ (May 5) and Sarapul (June 2) and in the crossing of the Belaia and Ufa rivers by Soviet troops. At that time the Volga Military Flotilla was composed of five battalions numbering 20 gun-boats, six patrol vessels, one floating battery, nine seaplanes, and one landing detachment of more than 850 men. In July 1919 it became part of the Volga-Caspian Military Flotilla.
In October 1941 the Volga Military Flotilla was recreated from vessels of the Volga Steamship Line to ensure transportation on and the defense of the Volga (with Ulianovsk as a base). In July 1942 it had seven gunboats, 14 armored cutters, 33 minesweepers, 2 floating antiaircraft batteries, one rail-road battery, and two battalions of naval infantry. It was commanded by Rear Admiral D. D. Rogachev. The Volga Military Flotilla conducted combat operations from July 1942 until February 1943, sweeping mines from Saratov to Astrakhan, supporting troops with artillery fire during the Battle of Stalingrad, ensuring river crossings of troops and cargoes, landing amphibious forces, and carrying out air defense along the Volga Waterway. Under continuous fire the vessels of the flotilla made more than 35,000 runs and transported more than 120,000 men and more than 13,000 tons of freight. In 1943-44 the Volga Military Flotilla conducted operations to clear the Volga of mines. It was inactivated in June 1944.