Ice Cruise of the Baltic Fleet

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Ice Cruise of the Baltic Fleet
Part of World War I
Ledovyy-pokhod-2-3.jpg
The Ice Cruise.
Date February-March 1918
Location Baltic Sea
Result Successful transfer of the Baltic Fleet to Soviet held harbours.
Belligerents
Flag of Russian SFSR (1918-1937).svg Russian SFSR  Germany
Commanders and leaders
Alexey Schastny Rüdiger von der Goltz
Strength
Baltic Sea Division

The Ice Cruise of the Baltic Fleet (Russian: Ледовый поход Балтийского флота) was an operation which transferred the ships of the Baltic Fleet of the Imperial Russian Navy from their bases at Tallinn (known as Reval (Russian: Реваль) or (German: Revel) and Helsinki to Kronstadt in 1918.

Yermak, one of the icebreakers that took part in the operation.

Operation[edit]

On 17 February 1918 Vladimir Lenin ordered the ships of the Baltic Fleet to leave their bases at Tallinn and sail to Helsinki.[1] On 19 February, due to a new German offensive, the Baltic Fleet ordered the further transfer of ships located in Helsinki to Kronstadt. On the same day ships started leaving Tallinn.[1] A general evacuation began on 22 February, with a group of four ships, led by the icebreaker Yermak, departing for Helsinki.[1] They were followed on 24 February by a convoy of transport ships, accompanied by two submarines, three minesweepers and a minelayer.[1]

By the time German troops entered Reval on 25 February, most of the Russian ships had already left, escorted by the icebreakers Yermak, Tarmo and Volynets.[1][2] The operation, superintended by Alexey Schastny, succeeded in evacuating the bulk of the Baltic Fleet to Helsinki, where all of the ships had arrived by 5 March, with the exception of the submarine Edinorog, which had been crushed by ice.[1]

On 12 March, German forces captured Helsinki. Russian sailors scuttled four submarines in Hanko harbour on 3 April, just before the 10,000-strong German Baltic Sea Division landed in support of the White Guard. The 335 t (330 long tons) submarines—AG 11, AG 12, AG 15 and AG 16—were made by Electric Boat Co. in the United States.[3] The German Army later returned all of the ships captured in Helsinki under the terms of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk.[2]

All of the evacuated ships had reached Kronstadt or Petrograd by 22 March.[1]

Importance[edit]

The ships transferred included:

Two air force brigades and large amounts of military equipment were also transferred. The transferred ships went on to play an important role in the defence of Petrograd.[1][2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of the Soviet Navy". Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Fock. Z-vor!. p. 193. 
  3. ^ "History of the Finnish Navy". Retrieved 21 August 2014. 

References[edit]

  • Fock, Harald (1989). Z-vor! Internationale Entwicklung und Kriegseinsätze von Zerstörern und Torpedobooten 1914 bis 1939 (in German) 1. Koehler. ISBN 9783782202077. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Н. С. Кровяков. "Ледовый поход" Балтийского флота в 1918. Moscow, 1955.
  • В. И. Сапожников. Подвиг балтийцев в 1918. Moscow, 1954.