Login

 

Forgot password?
Vote
Will Russian Black Sea Fleet leave Ukrainian territory in the near future?
 Hope so
 No
 Never!
History of votings
submarines shipbuilding Black Sea Fleet exercise Pacific Fleet Russian Navy Northern Fleet strategy cooperation Ukraine visits Russia piracy missiles trials Sevastopol history Sevmash presence contracts drills Baltic Fleet industry incident anti-piracy shipyards training frigate Gulf of Aden Somalia India developments reforms opinion Borei procurements policy Russia - India aircraft carrier Crimea arms exports USA St. Petersburg tests financing France Bulava Yury Dolgoruky Serdiukov US Navy cruise Mediterranean Zvezdochka NATO innovations Indian Navy United Shipbuilding Corporation Medvedev Arctic agreements commission Admiral Gorshkov Admiralteyskie Verfi Mistral Vladivostok accident hijacking corvettes overhaul Russia - France anniversary Admiral Kuznetsov Vysotsky Rosoboronexport ceremony event Yantar Severomorsk negotiations defense order conflict aircraft China deployment naval aviation Putin investigations Black Sea Varyag coast guard Novorossiysk Vikramaditya landing craft marines crime Far East meeting Severnaya Verf scandals memorials traditions Syria escort South Korea Japan statistics Neustrashimy Yasen tenders Marshal Shaposhnikov Admiral Chabanenko convoys Ukrainian Navy Severodvinsk problems Chirkov reinforcement tension tragedy technology firings hostages Caspian Flotilla Baltic Sea search and rescue upgrade provocation Moskva Almaz frontier service court Dmitry Donskoy Turkey rumors keel laying World War II helicopters shipwreck Kilo class Kaliningrad Admiral Panteleyev Atalanta Petr Veliky death Admiral Vinogradov Rubin Norway patrols delivery launching

 

Search
Our friends russian navy weapons world sailing ships
 
Tell a friend Print version

Admiral Grigory I. Butakov

A.Y. LURIE, Candidate of History

Among the most talented fleet commanders of the nineteenth century a special place belongs to Admiral Grigory Ivanovich Butakov, who was a student and companion-in-arms of such famous Sebastopol defenders as Kornilov, Nakhimov, and Istomin. Being reckoned among the young generation of Admiral M.P. Lazarev’s sailing school, Butakov, long before the war of 1853-1856, had realized the importance of the first battle steam-powered vessels and decided to devote his life to creation of a modern Russian steam-powered (later armoured) fleet.

Grigory I. Butakov’s activity falls on the period of a remarkably rapid growth of capitalistic way of production in Russia. In the Russian naval history this period is characterized by the invention of steam engines and formation of a steam-powered armoured fleet instead of the out-dated wooden sailing ships.

The invention of new technical equipment, machinery and devices resulted in an urgent need to change the existing systems of fleet equipment and personnel training methods as well as the need to develop an absolutely new tactics.

Admiral Butakov was one the first to understand the importance and possible advantages of modern equipment and the necessity to develop new tactics. Being a true, ardent patriot of his country and a representative of the Russian advanced naval and technical thought of those times, Admiral Butakov has went down in the history of the Russian Fleet as not only a talented organizer, mentor to younger officers and experienced pro in all the spheres of battle training but also as one of the founders of the steam-powered armoured school of the Russian Fleet.

Grigory Ivanovich Butakov was born on 27 September 1820. His father, Captain of the battleship Tsar Constantine, had distinguished himself in the war against the Turks with his feats of arms at the Crete and during the blockade of Dardanelles. In May 1831, when he was eleven years old, Butakov entered the Naval College in Petersburg from which he graduated in 1837; afterwards he, being in the rank of lieutenant, was assigned as a flag-officer to the Silistria under famous Admiral M.P. Lazarev, who was Chief Commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

In May 1838, Butakov took part in a landing operation nearby Abkhazia for which he was awarded two orders “For Courage”. From September 1838 to August 1840, he sailed the Aegean Sea on the schooner Lastochka (“Swallow”), and, in 1844, he sailed the Mediterranean Sea on the schooner Vestnik (“Herald”). In August 1843, Grigory Butakov was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

It was then when his gift for technical improvements in the field of naval science became apparent (he came up with an absolutely new way of “fog signals” and invented a rather original version of windlass). Admiral Lazarev got interested in these inventions and ordered to make a model of Butakov’s windlass and even place it in the model room in the Admiralty.

In the autumn of 1846, G.I. Butakov was appointed Captain of the cutter Pospeshny (“Hasty”). “A cutter has to be agile, adroit and light just as an idea”, - wrote Grigory Butakov in the Naval Collected Articles.

Beginning with the summer of 1847, lieutenant Butakov together with his colleague I.A. Shestakov (commander of the cutter Skory) were given by Admiral Lazarev a very important task, namely, they were to examine the Black Sea shores and draw up detailed sailing directions of this area. This work continued up to 1850, and the result of this laborious, painstaking work was the “Sailing Directions of the Black Sea” published in 1851. This experience on examining the shores and compiling the sailing directions was exceptionally useful for the young officer as it was connected with calling at all the Russian and Turkish ports in the Black Sea as well as bays, harbours, etc. In 1850, Grigory I. Butakov was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.

Butakov served in the fleet at the time when steam-powered shipbuilding was in the very initial stages of its development. Russia was the first to start the construction of war steamships (the steamship Skory was built in 1817, and six years later, the 14-gun steamship Meteor was built). In 1851, Butakov was appointed Commander of the steamship Danube which was under construction. Since then, he served on steam-powered vessels except a short period of time when he was in command of the brig Argonaut. And gradually he became a great authority in the field of naval steam-powered fleet.

On 3 December 1852, Lieutenant-Commander Grigory I. Butakov was appointed Captain of the 11-gun steam-frigate Vladimir, which was considered best in the entire Black Sea Fleet.

In October 1853, the Crimean War began. On 5 November 1853, during the next mission in turn the steam-frigate Vladimir under the flag of Vice Admiral Kornilov met the Turkish 19-gun steamship Pervaz-Bakhri in the region of Penderakli. Following Kornilov’s order, the Vladimir joined battle against the enemy steamship. On noticing that the Turkish steamship had no bow and stern artillery, Butakov directed his steamship in the wake of the enemy’s one in order to avoid enemy side fire. Every time the Turks attempted to employ their side artillery, Butakov would invariably take up an advantageous position behind enemy stern and launch fire from bombing guns. Being on Vladimir, Kornilov saw that the battle was taking more time than expected and ordered to speed up the sinking or seizure of the Turkish steamship. Butakov gave an order to pick up speed and, on approaching the Pervaz-Bakhri at a distance of 100 meters, he opened canister fire from all the guns. As a result of the 3-hour-long battle the enemy, suffering heavy losses in manpower and serious damage, had to cease fire and haul down his flag. On 7 November 1853, the Pervaz-Bakhri was transported to Sebastopol where she underwent major repairs and was commissioned to the Russian fleet bearing the name of Kornilov. Kornilov was of a very high opinion of Butakov and would repeat with sincere admiration the following: “He behaves and gives commands as if it were just maneuvers or war games”. So, the world’s first steam-powered sea battle was won by the Russian Fleet. Foe excellence in this battle Grigory Butakov was promoted to the rank of Captain Second Rank and awarded the Order of St. George of IV Degree. Kornilov valued Butakov’s services highly. On the list of naval officers, near Butakov’s name, Kornilov wrote as follows: “Much respected and loved by the officers”.

During the Sebastopol siege by the enemy, substantial support of the Russian batteries was provided by the steam-frigates under general leadership of Vladimir’s Commander Grigory I. Butakov. Since he was an experienced commander and sea warfare pro, Butakov was of great help to the defenders of Sebastopol. Being able to take advantage of the favorable coastal positions, Butakov’s Vladimir would destroy enemy fortifications.

Later on, as some participants of the defensive operation said, the heroic deeds of Butakov’s steam-frigates during the Sebastopol defence “not only have showed us how steam-powered vessels can and should help our land forces and cooperate with them… but also have taught us that the spirit of close unity of land forces with naval forces and mutual assistance can really perform miracles”.

In the most dangerous moments of enemy bombardment Butakov asked Nakhimov to send him to some of the front batteries. However, Nakhimov refused point-blank. “I can not do that,-he told Butakov. - Such people like you are to be preserved for the future of the fleet”.

During the terrible days of the august bombardment and the last offensive operation, Butakov with his steamships protected from sea the left flank of the Russian fortifications. He performed quite a striking maneuver: he managed to approach the eastern shore of Killen-balka so close that he actually made himself inaccessible to the French battery as the cannons launched from that battery (just as it followed from his calculations) would overshoot the mark. Butakov “was the first to set his crew an example of remarkably cool behavior, self-control and fearlessness. Everyone would be just enraptured and stunned by his coolness and the way he gave orders; he did this as if there were no cannonballs and bullets flying around him, as if there were not any possibility for him to be killed any minute”.

Up to the very last day of the Sebastopol defence, Butakov remained on Vladimir and actively participated in repulsing enemy attacks.

In the night of 31 August 1855, Butakov, in accordance with the order of Admiral Novonilsky, withdrew the crew from his steam-frigates and sank them. Soon after the war was over, Grigory Butakov, who had been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, was appointed High Chief of the naval unit in Nikolayev and the naval governor of Nikolayev and Sebastopol. Being overloaded with various administrative and economic concerns, Butakov, nevertheless, did not abandon his studies of naval disciplines. He always found time for going into the sea with the purpose of developing key elements of the steamship tactics, which he started back in 1854 following Kornilov’s suggestion. Wind independence and freedom of steamship maneuvers as well as introduction of modern weaponry required an absolutely new sea battle tactics, modified rules of ships formation and joint war steamships maneuvering. As early as 1854, Butakov compiled a brief description of “evolutions”, i.e., such advantageous turns and maneuvering of the ships in line that would be necessary for taking up the most advantageous position during a battle and transfer. “I happened to develop a rather simple yet ingenious idea, - he wrote, - namely, two simple geometric lines – a circle and a tangent to it – should be considered the basis for steamship evolutions”. Butakov managed to find solutions to some tactical problems, drew up illustrative tables of courses and movements of ships, outlined three basic detachment formations, etc. According to Butakov, he managed to solve the very essence of the problem of developing the steam-powered tactics in a more radical, fundamental way, not just superficially.

However, it was only after his transference to the Baltic Sea Fleet in 1860 that Butakov could devote himself completely to the elaboration of the steamship tactics. When he was in Nikolayev, major hindrances to this were the abundant administrative duties he had to fulfill, which would take all his time. Apart from that, he was unlucky to confront with enormous pettifogging, red-tape, bribe-taking, embezzlement of state funds and property and many other loathsome obstacles on the part of the tsarist bureaucracy on the constant struggle with which Butakov had to waste his priceless time.

Starting from 1860 up to the last days of his service time, Grigory I. Butakov served in the Baltic Fleet where he, at first, commanded a screw ships squadron, from 1861 to 1862 – screw boats squadron and from 1867 to 1877 – armoured ships squadron. From 1863 to 1867, Butakov was in England and France serving as a naval attach?.

In the Baltic Fleet, Butakov, possessing the wealth of practical experience of squadron commanding, got down to theoretical work on steam-powered fleet tactics and put into practice the tactical principles he managed to develop. From the very first days of his service on the Baltic, Butakov had been paying his most serious attention to examining the theatre and, especially, to the possibility of sailing the Finnish skerries.

The invention of small-size screw ships, designed for coastal defence, presented ample opportunities for using them in the skerries district. Butakov knew that the skerries zone along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland would be a very important sector in the defence of the approaches to Kronstadt and Petersburg provided a close cooperation between movable detachments of gunboats and systems of island-based and coastal-based fortified points. After assessing the strategic importance of skerries zone, he practically proved that there was a possibility not only for shallow-draft vessels but also for battleships to sail skerries fairways.

The problem of skerries development had occupied his mind throughout his service time in the Baltic Fleet. By the beginning of the1860s, he had accumulated in Helsingfors some 40 gunboats of his flotilla which were capable, in his opinion, of gyration and joint actions. Butakov set his flotilla a very important yet difficult task, namely, it was to explore all the Finnish skerries thoroughly and carefully as it was the place where, in case of war, battle activities could take place.

Grigory Butakov would always bring the crews of his ships to love what they did, teach them the art of combined maneuvering and the secrets of being courageous and independent.

His remarkable orders, which played a significant role in the successes of Butakov’s flotilla, deserve special attention. They were aimed at encouraging his officers to steer their gunboats in a daring manner. He recommended they should risk rather than be too cautious.

“…In the period of war, - he wrote, - risk is an absolute necessity. Moreover, I would like to add that in time of peace one must learn to risk in order to know how to risk in time of war, i.e., it is essential that one should acquire self-confidence and strength of spirit”. In one of his orders he pointed out the following: “…I have never punished or even rebuked those who caused unavoidable damage to his own ship or admiral steamship through daring steering, on the contrary, I have always appreciated and encouraged this kind of behavior…I have always been pleased to see such a courageous, daring way of steering…”. What Butakov taught them was not a blind, reckless kind of courage; it was the courage every true sailor should possess, the courage that comes together with self-control, faultless eye, scientific thinking and a firm grasp of the current operational situation.

In 1863, the fundamental work of Grigory Butakov called “The New Grounds of Steamship Tactics” was published; it attracted immense interest both in Russia and abroad. For this work the Russian Academy of Sciences awarded Butakov the Demidov Prize. The Chairman of the Naval Scientific Committee, Rear Admiral Zeleny, stated in his review that the principles and rules of this “Tactics”, tested in real conditions, “are absolutely new…and help to conduct any re-formation correctly, swiftly, with mathematical exactness, without any confusion. The world has not seen such detailed rules of maneuvering specified for any particular steam-powered vessel…” Butakov’s work, as I have already said, aroused a keen interest abroad and was translated into French, English, Italian, and Spanish.

On 28 October 1866, Butakov was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral. By that time he had already enjoyed the world-wide fame, being considered an outstanding scientist, experienced fleet commander and a sailor of impeccable reputation. On 6 February 1867, he was appointed the Chief of the Baltic armoured ships squadron.

He put all his indefatigable energy to the improvement of battle training methods and techniques. Grigory Butakov paid serious attention to artillery preparation of his squadron. It should be mentioned that the forms of artillery engagement used in the sailing period became outdated. In the field of artillery, the distinguishing feature of the new period was the replacement of smooth-bore guns with rifled weapons and deck weaponry of a relatively small caliber – with guns of bigger calibers including 12-inch ones. The wide range of types and systems of artillery guns available at those times made battle training even more difficult a task. The invention of armour posed absolutely new challenges to the artillery. Now they had to develop radically new schemes and forms of artillery engagement. The system of artillery preparation in Butakov’s squadron was based on the thoroughly developed plan which included, first, firing from one ship at a fixed shield, then at a towed one and, finally, firing at a moving target. He also concentrated his attention on distance measuring. Butakov insisted that apart from using the distance-measuring devices available at hand, specially appointed officers, signalmen and sailors should conduct continuous distance measuring every time they entered the sea. In order to transmit the message on target distance, dial plates with movable hands were installed in all the ships of Butakov’s squadron. Among other innovations of artillery preparation was a widely-applied method of so-called “training guns” which were used at the initial stages of artillery crews practice shoot training when a rifle tube was inserted into a bore of the barrel. This was done to save shells.

Realizing the immense importance of developing fortitude in his soldiers, Butakov tried to conduct training in the conditions reproducing as accurately as possible those during war operations. Starting from the very first year of his time in command, the admiral would train his officers and sailors to fearless behavior and efficient performance under the constant whizz of shells flying above their heads, i.e., he would put them in the conditions close to those during war. “In order to train our crews to the sounds of shells and cannonballs in advance, - he wrote in one of his first squadron orders, - I suggest sending our oar-propelled vessels with officers on board for about an hour to each of the two buoys placed on the both sides of the shield stationed close to the squadron …”

According to Butakov, courage to face danger and risk, daring and valour are the distinguishing characteristics of brave sailors and it is exactly these qualities that he wanted to deeply inculcate in the men of his armoured squadron. Especially desirable for his squadron ships captains was the ability to maneuver. Grigory Ivanovich was vigorously opposed to any reckless boldness and bravado which could be fraught with dangerous consequences; however, he would encourage his officers to compete and show what they were capable of in “cutting in the stern of the enemy ship” because it was thought to be a sign of self-control and unsurpassed skill of the one commanding the ship.

Yet Butakov preferred self-control, resourcefulness and quick wit to blind courage in difficult situations. He would always praise these qualities in his subordinates whether an officer or a sailor. It was like that, for example, during artillery exercises when two young, inexperienced sailors, following the officer’s order, remained at the shield not having the slightest idea that there was a bombardment under way (“they forgot to let them know”). When the bombardment started they realized the danger and were quick to snatch up axes and chop off the ends of the small anchor which secured the shield. As soon as one of the anchor cables was cut off, the shield was turned by the wind, and this sudden, unexpected event made the artillerymen on the ironclad understand that something had happened and seize the bombardment. It is owing to the sailors’ resourcefulness that their lives were saved. “They have brilliantly passed an examination in the best academy possible”, - stated Butakov and he issued a special order following this occasion. He ordered to give them gratuities “not because they were shot at – it was a good school for them – but because they managed not to lose self-control amidst the whizz of cannonballs directed right at them…” He also awarded the signalman who was the first to notice the sailors at the shield.

Apart from that, Butakov attached great importance to boat races both under sails and without them. Butakov used to say that those rowing competitions were neither mere entertainment for young sailors nor the vestiges of the sailing fleet era when boat races were extremely popular. “I believe it is by far one of the best and most appropriate means available, - he said, - for our young sailors to try their wings, start strengthening their will, nerves and stamina, train their faultless eye and prepare themselves to face any unforeseen circumstances which are so frequent throughout our service…Besides, boat race is a wonderful and effective way to find out what metal each of us is made of”.

With the purpose of encouraging and stimulating the contestants Butakov secured annual allocations of 1500 rubles for prizes; he also worked out and published the “Rules of Boat Race”. Especially interesting were the sailing boats race without using the steering wheel introduced by him. His imagination knew no bounds when it came to developing various versions of rowing competitions, for example, races round a frigate or in the skerries around an island, etc.

On termination of every race Butakov would give orders where he usually analyzed the mistakes made by his sailors while steering and praised those distinguished themselves in competitions. Once he even ordered to fire a volley of six guns in honour of midshipman Fedotov’s crew for their team-spirit and excellence in racing “without steering wheels”.

All these served one purpose in peace time – Butakov trained his sailors and strengthened their will in the harsh surroundings that resembled those in time of war. He would continuously and persistently suggest to them that the main and ultimate goal of such exercises was preparation to war, to that “decisive half an hour” of the war when the quality and importance of the preparation trained in peace time become quite obvious. It is this idea that is reflected in the motto suggested by Admiral S. Makarov, one of Butakov’s favorite students and followers, which goes as follows: “Remember the war”.

Display of courage, resourcefulness and initiative, together with the ability to keep one’s head in critical situations, were the qualities seen by Butakov as the guarantee of future success.

Once, an armoured battery Pervenets (“The Firstling”) met with an accident at sea due to damaging the bottom of the ship. The captain ordered to pick up full speed and headed for a slimy bar after which a patch was put and the Pervenets could join the squadron. Butakov not only abstained from reprimanding Captain Kopytov but he also complimented his resourcefulness: “It is quite easy to get into trouble in everyday life and in our case it is even easier. Whereas to extricate oneself can quite often be too difficult a task unless one is strong enough to pull himself together and take the situation in his full control. The self-control and composure demonstrated by Captain Second Rank Kopytov when he put his battery Pervetents to silt in order to close the hole through which the water was leaking heavily deserves nothing but praise and admiration on the part of the whole crew”. Apart from that, Butakov points out that he is extremely pleased with “the way the crew members behaved themselves deciding to join the squadron and continue the mission instead of heading for Kronstadt for repairs. In the time of war it meant receiving the reinforcement needed avoiding the weakening of our forces. We must be proud of such a deed”.

During those ten years that Grigory Butakov was in command of the armoured squadron (from 1867 to 1877) he neither stopped putting tactical principles to practice nor conducting competitions and daring ship maneuverings. Every time it reached the Transzund roads (in the Gulf of Finland) Butakov’s squadron would take up a quadrangular disposition with the admiral’s ship being in the centre. Here, in the Transzund roads, separate steamships of the squadron would conduct the so-called “cruising”, i.e., they would sail round the quadrangle rounding first the vessels inside the disposition and then those outside the disposition and so on. This exercise carried out at a full speed was called the “figure of eight”.

In the long run Admiral Butakov managed to achieve his goal. The detachments of armoured vessels conducted numerous combined movements in the roads (which had been thoroughly described and calculated by Butakov in his famous “Tactics”).

Just as in 1861-1862, when Butakov commanded the screw ships squadron, he attached great importance to honing the officers’ skills in delivering ram attacks. For this very purpose they used to fix a long pole behind the sterns of the ships which was to be “rammed” by the attacking vessel. At that, ram attacks were delivered by both detached vessels and groups of vessels.

The maneuvers and moves practiced by small-size screw ships could not be conducted by large armoured ships. So for training the ram attacks delivering he usually used out-dated gunboats and wooden steam-powered “ram boats” of 6-7 knots designed specially for this purpose. Their sides were covered with fagotwood in order to damp the blow. These exercises were performed in the roads. The admiral would give a signal and the captains would start a “battle” tending to deliver as many ram attacks as possible and dodge the enemy’s counterattacks. Such exercises were designed to develop quickness of mind, ability to make decisions under pressure and make accurate circulation calculations in a timely manner. Butakov believed that victory in ram battles was determined, to a great extent, by self-control, resourcefulness and coolness demonstrated by the participants in those critical moments of the battle when even the slightest hesitation and confusion could lead to disastrous consequences. In one of his orders summarizing the results of the battle training Butakov wrote the following: “Who was beaten more often, after all? Those whose mechanics failed to maintain the speed needed; those who stopped their ships halfway and especially those who thoughtlessly tied their hands by reversing their ships. Those were rammed who failed to estimate the situation adequately and did not hone the skill to attack the ships being anchored because the enemy, making a cleverer and more skilful approach, managed to enter the circle of your circulation. Those were rammed who let the enemy take up a position in your column and did not bother to find a way out of this defensive position…And who was actually ramming? The one who, despite being exposed to such a high level of agitation and pressure, was able to keep his head and remain calm in the face of difficulties and, keeping a vigilant eye on the enemy’s movements, was quick to take advantage of his even most insignificant mistakes…”

Furthermore, Butakov devoted special attention to the improvement of mine weaponry and development of new tactics of mine attacks. Russia has always exercised leadership in developing both new types and kinds of mine weaponry and application of new technology in this field of science. It was in Butakov’s squadron that the first laboratory for mine experiments under supervision of Lieutenant Terentiev was set up in 1867. It was used to carry out various experiments on laying galvanic mines under obsolete ships and testing barrage mines. Theoretical lessons were also given and, finally, on 1 October 1874, Officers’ Mine Class and Mining School for the Lower Ranks were opened.

Thus, Butakov’s armoured squadron became with time the center accumulating the researches conducted by his most talented and promising naval students. By that time, Russia’s leadership in the field of naval science had been self-evident and unquestionable. Foreign naval officers and admirals would go to Russia, notably to the Transzund roads, in order to learn the art of war and the naval tactics introduced by the leading Russian armoured squadron. During the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, Butakov elaborated the rules for fairway mine laying and was actively involved in the preparation of Kronstadt mine defence.

In March 1878, at the Admirals and Generals meetings under the chairmanship of Grigory Butakov perspectives of mine defence of approaches to Petersburg were discussed. Admiral Butakov suggested an array of practical issues to be detailed and he, unlike some other members who made rather superficial and unprofessional statements, provided well-grounded, well-thought answers.

Among the decisions made at those regular meetings were the following ones: to erect the second line of mine fields at the southern fairway between the Tolbukhin lighthouse and the London sandbank and to protect this new line with turret frigates and the armoured ship Peter the Great. It was also decided to send the Petropavlovsk and Sebastopol (and Svetlana and Prince Pozharsky, if possible) to Sveaborg.

On 16 October 1878, Vice Admiral Grigory I. Butakov was promoted to the rank of Admiral and was appointed Chief of the Sveaborg coast and sea defence. Although the Sveaborg fortifications were equipped with large-caliber weapons, they were poorly protected against enemy landing troops and assaults. Having seriously assessed the tactical situation, Butakov took a set of measures designed to improve home defence and prepare the garrison. He supervised tactical exercises and maneuvers at the batteries. Under his direct guidance telegraph offices and semaphore signal posts were built and plans and systems of mine laying and mine fields erection were worked out.

At the beginning of 1881, he was appointed the Chief Commander of the Petersburg port.

Holding the position of the Petersburg port commander he stayed true to his convictions and high principles: he never gave up fighting against abuses of power and kept on encouraging initiative on the part of his subordinates no matter their rank and position. In one of his orders Butakov wrote: “I think it will not be unnecessary to let you know that in my department I would like all the technicians remember that in discussing technical issues I am more of a technician just as they are and less of a superior and they are more of qualified technicians than just my subordinates. That is why I suggest they should not blindly, implicitly agree to all my views and directives and persist in their own opinions presenting sound, convincing arguments supporting their points of view and advancing their own ideas and suggestions until I make the final decision since in this respect I treat them all like my equals. However, after I have made one, we are becoming nothing but the immediate superior and subordinates following the established system of subordination”. Statements of that kind, as one would have guessed, could not but provoke rage on the part of the top brass.

In March 1882, Grigory Butakov was elected a member of the State Council.

But this “honorary transfer” was perceived by Butakov as a sort of him being shelved or consigned to oblivion. He took this assignment as the end of his life’s work, the end of his life as such because it signified not only the termination of his active naval service but a complete non-recognition of his principles and methods of fleet organization and training. Soon after that he fell seriously ill and died on 31 May, 1882.

The importance of Admiral Butakov’s activity for the Russian Navy can not be overestimated. Being an ardent, sincere patriot of his Motherland who deeply believed in and loved his people, Butakov put his outstanding organizational talent and a wealth of knowledge and practical experience at the service of the Russian Navy. He was one of the founders of the Russian armoured fleet and the school for Russian sailors which produced an impressive number of worthy sailors including S.O. Makarov.

Despite the Tsarist government’ extreme conservatism, inertia and rejection of new developmental trends, Butakov’s diligent, selfless work and remarkable indefatigability made the Russian Fleet one of the world’s leading and most powerful fleets. Butakov, having received a superb, all-rounded naval education from M. P. Lazarev, Kornilov, Nakhimov, and Istomin, managed, in his turn, to bring up and train executive officers and engineers of the new steam-powered armoured fleet and was, by right, named its “father”.

* * *

Admiral Butakov was the first man in the world to have elaborated the solid theoretical principles of steamship tactics thus leaving the most distinguished foreign naval theorists, despite their arrogance, haughtiness, and self-assurance, no other choice but to recognize the Russian talented admiral-scientist as an outstanding authority on naval science. The valuable experience, technical solutions and practices introduced by Butakov in his Law of tactics aroused a genuine interest in the officers of foreign fleets, and they, undoubtedly, benefited from adopting all this knowledge. American, French, German admirals and officers would go to the Transzund roads to make a careful study of Butakov’s impressive achievements, to watch his unique method and pedagogical principles of personnel bringing up and training in practice as well as to study his ram attacks and innovations in the field of mining. The style of his original orders, his humane and kind treatment of sailors, his independent attitude towards the naval superiority bodies remind very much of those practiced by Suvorov and Nakhimov. Butakov managed to integrate in quite a unique and surprising manner the heroic courage of an officer, the high educational and cultural standards and organizational gift of a flag officer with the restless inquisitiveness of mind and the scholastic aptitude for generalization worthy of an outstanding scientist.