Caspian Naval Flotilla
Caspian Naval Flotilla
the oldest Russian naval flotilla.
It was created by order of Peter I in November 1722 in Astrakhan; it participated in the Persian campaign of 1722–23 and assisted the Russian troops in the capture of Derbent and Baku in 1796 and during Russia’s war with Iran of 1804–13. According to the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813, the Caspian Naval Flotilla was to be the only naval flotilla in the Caspian Sea. In 1867, Baku became its main base. As the situation in the Caspian Sea stabilized, the strength of the flotilla was gradually reduced, and by the early 20th century it had two gunboats and several armed steamships.
The sailors of the Caspian Naval Flotilla actively participated in the revolutionary movement in Baku in 1903–05 and in the establishment of Soviet power there in 1917. In April-June 1918 the Astrakhan Krai Military Fleet was formed in Astrakhan to support the troops of the Red Army; in the autumn of 1918 the fleet was reinforced by torpedo boats and submarines sent from the Baltic Sea; on Oct. 13, 1918, it was renamed the Astrakhan-Caspian Naval Flotilla. In August 1918 the ships of the Caspian Naval Flotilla in Baku were seized by the Socialist Revolutionaries’ and Mensheviks’ counterrevolutionary government formed in August 1918.
In July 1919 the Astrakhan-Caspian Flotilla was combined with the Volga Naval Flotilla and renamed the Volga-Caspian Naval Flotilla. On May 1, 1920, the ships of the flotilla entered Baku, where the Caspian Military Fleet was formed; the fleet was composed of three auxiliary cruisers, ten torpedo boats, four submarines, and other vessels. The Red Fleet of Soviet Azerbaijan was at Baku at the same time as the Caspian Fleet. In 1920 both fleets liberated the Caspian Sea from the White Guards.
In July 1920 the Caspian and Azerbaijan fleets were combined into the Naval Forces of the Caspian Sea, which was renamed the Caspian Naval Flotilla on June 27, 1931. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the Caspian Naval Flotilla covered important naval troop transports and the transportation of war matériel and freight, especially during the battle of Stalingrad of 1942–43 and the battle for the Caucasus of 1942–43. The flotilla was awarded the Order of the Red Banner in 1945.
REFERENCESBoevoi put’ Sovetskogo Voenno-Morskogo flota, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Makovskii, A., and B. Radchenko. Kaspiiskaia krasnoznamennaia. Mos-cow, 1961.
V. I. SHLOMA