Bulgarian torpedo boat Drazki
Drazki museum ship at the Naval Museum in Varna
|Ordered:||24 February 1904|
|Launched:||23 August 1907|
|Commissioned:||5 January 1908|
|Fate:||museum ship at the Naval Museum in Varna (actually original Drazki was stricken, and Strogi is a museum ship under her name)|
|Propulsion:||steam engine 1900 hp, 2 boilers|
|Armament:||3 x 47 mm guns, 3 x 450 mm torpedo tubes|
Drazki (Bulgarian language: Дръзки; also transliterated as Druzki, translated in English as "Intrepid") was a Bulgarian Navy torpedo boat from the beginning of the 20th century. It is now a museum ship.
Drazki was one of a series of six torpedo boats built for Bulgaria by the French Schneider et Cie works in Chalon-sur-Saône. The other five ships were: Smeli (Смели, translated in English as "Brave"), Hrabri (Храбри, translated in English as "Valiant"), Shumni (Шумни, translated in English as "Noisy"), Letyashti (Летящи, translated in English as "Flying") and Strogi (Строги, translated in English as "Stern"). The ships were built in France and transported in parts to Bulgaria, where they were launched and completed at Varna. Drazki, Smeli and Hrabri were ordered in 1904 and sent to Bulgaria in April 1905. Drazki was launched on 23 August 1907, and commissioned on 5 January 1908. Her two sisters entered service around the same time. The three boats of the second series were ordered in January 1906, launched in August 1908 and commissioned in August 1909.
The Bulgarian Navy's torpedo boats took part in the First Balkan War between 1912 and 1913, serving in the waters of the Black Sea. On 20 November 1912 Letyashti, Smeli, Strogi and Drazki were sent from Varna to intercept a group of Turkish transports. The overall commander was Captain 2nd Rank Dimitar Dobrev, who was embarked on the Letyashti. The Drazki was commanded by Warrant-Officer Georgi Kupov. Shortly after midnight on 21 November they encountered the Ottoman protected cruiser Hamidiye accompanied by two destroyers approximately 32 miles from Varna. Dobrev ordered the ships to close and attack, and at 0043 the Bulgarian ships fired their torpedoes. The first three ships missed, but Drazki was more fortunate. Since she was the last ship in the line, she fired her torpedo at a close range (about 100 m) and scored a hit in the front part of the Hamidiye, causing serious damage. (The latter managed to return to Constantinople/Istanbul for repairs.) Their torpedoes expended, the Bulgarian boats returned to Varna. This engagement was the greatest achievement up to that point in the history of the small Bulgarian Navy. Before the torpedo attack the Ottoman naval commander had declared an ultimatum to the garrison of Varna to surrender as condition for the town to avoid shelling by the Ottoman Navy.
World War I
They did not take an active part in the Second Balkan War, however they did see active service in World War I, during which Shumni was sunk by mine on 11/12-9-1916. After World War I the remaining five were judged to be obsolescent and were subsequently reclassified as patrol boats.
World War II
When Bulgaria entered World War II on the Axis side, Drazki and her four remaining sisters were antiquated but still capable of carrying out patrols. On 15 October 1942, Drazki sank in Varna harbour after a magazine explosion, but she was soon repaired. In 1944 however, she became a gunnery target ship and remained in service in that capacity until the 1950s.
In 1957 it was decided to commemorate the 50-year-old Drazki, as she was by far the most famous ship in the Bulgarian Navy. However, by that time she had been at least partially broken up for scrap. Her gun, funnel and some of the deck and hull fittings were installed on board her sister ship Strogi, which, after 21 November 1957, became the museum ship Drazki. She is currently preserved as a static land display at the Naval Museum in Varna. Her other sister Hrabri was scrapped in 1962.
In 2006 a Wielingen class frigate Wandelaar bought in Belgium for the Bulgarian Navy was named Drazki, and given the identification code F41.