Russian trap. As Admiral Senyavin turned the Dardanelles into the “trap”
May 22, 1807, the Russian squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Senyavin had defeated the Turkish fleet at the battle of Dardanelles.
At the turn of XVIII—XIX centuries, cov Russian army and Navy declared itself in Europe. The success of the Italian and Swiss campaigns of Alexander Suvorov, and also the Mediterranean campaign of Admiral Fyodor Ushakov showed that Russia militarily is one of the strongest powers in the world.
The old European monarchies have seen strong argument against the growing claims of the French, led by Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1805 Russia joined in the war of the third coalition against France. In order to prevent a possible Alliance of Napoleon with the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the French fleet in the Adriatic, Alexander I decided to send a Russian squadron to the Ionian Islands.
After the military successes of Admiral Ushakov under the formal protectorate of Turkey and the de facto control of Russia was a Republic of the Seven Ionian Islands. On one of the Islands — Corfu — were the base of the Russian fleet.
Talent, warring with Ushakov
The squadron commander was appointed Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin.
At the time, the Senyavin, a talented naval officer, was in sharp conflict with the Admiral Ushakov. This did not prevent him during the Mediterranean campaign to become commander of the 72-gun linear ship “Saint Peter”.
In this capacity, Senyavin distinguished himself at the storming of the fortress of Agia Mavra on Lefkada, as well as at the siege of Corfu.
September 10, 1805 the squadron under Vice-Admiral Senyavin, consisting of 5 ships of the line (the 84-gun flagship “Uriel” and the four 74-gun: “Yaroslav”, “Saint Peter”, “Moscow” and “Selfoil”), a 32-gun frigate “Childwin”, the Brigs “Argus” and “Phoenix” came from Kronstadt.
Senyavin had successfully avoided meeting with the French squadron in the Bay of Biscay and in January, 1806, came to the island of Corfu, where they joined the squadron of rear-Admiral Alexey Greig. In total, the combined squadron in its composition consisted of 10 battleships, 4 frigates, 6 corvettes, 7 Brigs, 2 sabaki, a schooner and 12 gunboats.
“Where no success of the British squadron, was unlikely to succeed any other”
In 1806, Senyavin’s squadron carried out a landing operation against controlled by France or its allies territories. The success of the Russian sailors became seriously alarmed Napoleon, for which the Senyavin became the obstacle to the realization of their plans.
France, in an effort to divert the forces of the Russian Navy, crossed efforts to involve the Ottoman Empire in the war with Russia and achieved success: the Turkish Sultan Selim III in December, 1806, declared war on the Russian Empire.
During the struggle with Napoleon, Britain was the ally of Russia, and in January 1807 London, in turn, declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
Senyavin’s squadron went to the Aegean sea, planning a large-scale operation together with the English fleet. However, the commander of the English squadron of Vice-Admiral Duckworth, to make this yourself unsuccessful operation against the Turks, had abandoned the plans, saying: “Where no success of the British squadron, was unlikely to succeed any other”.
Battle of Dardanelles
Have Senyavin had other ideas. March 6, 1807, he blockaded the Dardanelles, which put in a very difficult situation in Istanbul, desperately depended on Maritime supply. In the course of the siege, extending over two months in Istanbul broke out a revolt of the Janissaries, who overthrew the king and enthroned Mustafa IV.
The new Sultan ordered the Turkish fleet to break the blockade at any cost.
Fleet of the Ottomans under the command of Seit-Ali consisting of 8 battleships, 6 frigates and 55 support ships moved to the island Tenedos, developed by the Russians in their base in the Aegean sea. Seyit-Ali was intended to land troops and to clear the island from the Russians.
Senyavin went to meet the Turkish fleet. In 14 hours 10 (22 new style) of may 1807 Russian ships weighed anchor and began to line up in order of battle.
Two of the detachment of Russian ships, led by Senyavin and Greig, attacked the enemy. Ships Greig broke the vanguard of the Turkish squadron, while Senyavin concentrated fire on the flagship ships of the Turks.
The battle lasted to 21 hours, and a rare shooting — up to 23 hours. The Turks managed to escape, leaving under the protection of shore batteries. Despite this, all took part in the battle with Turkish ships received significant damage, and three battleships were completely destroyed. The Turks lost 2,000 killed and wounded, Russians — 27 killed and 56 people wounded.
The battle of the Dardanelles showed the qualitative superiority of the Russian fleet, the excellent training of crew and high morale.
All injuries received in battle on the Russian ships were eliminated within one or two days. The Turks, and not break the blockade, the restoration of combat capability it took almost a month.
The battle of mount Athos
However, the case was not brought to an end. Vice-Admiral Senyavin maneuvering, trying to lure the enemy out of the Straits. 15 (27) June, using the fact that the Russian squadron was detained near the island of Imbros weak wind, the Ottoman fleet moved to the island Tenedos and landed.
Russian garrison bravely repelled the attack of 7000 Turks, and the ships of Senyavin rushed to help. The commander of the Turkish squadron Seyit Ali again decided to shy away from battle and went West. However, on the morning of 19 June, the squadron senyavina caught the Turkish fleet near mount Athos.
Vice-Admiral decided to attack the flagships, the loss of which would cause a panic in the ranks of the enemy.
By 10 o’clock battered flagship the ships were forced to fail, and the Turkish squadron in disarray rushed to the Athos Peninsula.
In the middle of the day, the Turks, taking advantage of the wind, began to move away from the enemy. But one of the flagships was so damaged that he could only go on the tug for the battleship and two frigates. At the approach of the Russians the Turks threw a flagship adrift. Russian boarding team seized it along with aboard Admiral Bekir Bay.
In the next few days the Russian squadron continued pursuit of the enemy. Stragglers from the main force battleship, frigate and Corvette Turks themselves had run aground and burned to prevent their capture by the Russians. Two more Turkish frigates sank from before the injuries.
In the end of the 20 combat Turkish ships in the Dardanelles he returned only 12. Killed and wounded, the Turks lost over 1,000 people, 774 captured. Senyavin’s squadron did not lose a single ship, and the sailors were 78 killed and 183 wounded.
The Russian squadron headed for the island Tenedos. Its emergence forced the Turkish troops to lay down their arms.
The winner in the doghouse
Two victories of the Russian fleet under the command of Dmitry Senyavin deprived the Ottoman Empire efficient fleet of ten years.
However, on other fronts Affairs, Russia was not so successful. June 25, 1807, was signed the Treaty of Tilsit, by which Russia agreed to cede to France the Ionian Islands.
Senyavin had to sign a formal truce with the vanquished Turks and Russian ships divert from the region.
Vice-Admiral Senyavin, does not hide his hostile attitude to the Treaty of Tilsit, fell into a long disgrace, which is not ended even after the beginning of the Patriotic war of 1812. In 1813 he was dismissed, appointed only half a pension, for which the family Senyavin was experiencing great financial difficulties.
Only at the end of life, after the accession of Nicholas I, Senyavin was returned to service, appointed commander of the Baltic fleet and still awarded a long deserved rank of full Admiral.