Combat Capability [42%], Role and Missions, Structure of the Navy, in-service ships, surface ships, submarines, chronology.
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The Naval Art of Admiral Fyodor F. Ushakov
Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov was born in the village Burnakovo in the Yaroslavl gubernia in 1744. At the age of sixteen he was enrolled in the Saint-Petersburg Naval College. He graduated from this institution in the rank of midshipman and took part in the cruises from Kronstadt to Arkhangelsk and Sweden.
In 1776, Ushakov participated in a voyage from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. Starting from May 1781, he, being in command of the battleship Victor that guarded merchant ships from the piratical activities of the English Navy, spent a year sailing the Mediterranean Sea as a part of Admiral Sukhotin’s squadron whose mission there was specified by the famous declaration on armed neutrality signed by Catherine the Great. Soon after coming back to Russia, Ushakov took part in the building and formation of a new Black Sea Fleet; furthermore, he was the first to educate and train the Black Sea sailors.
During this period, line tactics was predominant in the sailing fleets of Northern Europe. Its main principles were formulated in the late seventeenth century by a French Paul Gost and detailed in his famous book which was published in 1697. In some navies, notably the Royal British and French, these principles were some sort of dogmas, while in England they were even reflected in official statutes and regulations. The Navies were expected to attack the entire enemy line at once, keep the formation and fire at the ship assigned only without heeding either the rest of the enemy ships maneuvers or their own ships fighting next to them. At the same time, the ships were categorically forbidden to leave the line as well as to be engaged in battle with the enemy whose superiority in ships was overwhelming. All these not only considerably hindered the initiative on the part of the captains and squadron commanders but also led to stagnation and standstill in developing the tactical thought as well as to stereotyped actions and routine approach to naval operations. Moreover, it could not but result in standing on the defensive as each of the enemies would fear of finding himself under a disadvantage. And, of course, any decisive battle was absolutely out of question. As a result of this, in the middle of the eighteenth century the navies of Northern European countries were experiencing a serious crisis in naval tactics.
The Russian Navy, on the contrary, was an absolutely different story because, from the very first stages of the tactical thought development, such things as routine, clich? and unimaginative work were alien to it. Peter the Great and, later, all the Russian naval commanders have greatly contributed to the naval tactics. The Battle of Gangut, for example, is a bright example of combination of war ruse, stratagem and maneuvers to which the Russian galley squadron resorted while facing the Swedish squadron. Very original was the tactics of destroying the Swedish sailing ships applied by the Russian galleys under the command of Golytsyn in the naval battle at Grengam (1720). Quite different from the tactics employed by European navies was the tactics of an outstanding Russian Admiral Grigory Spiridonov. In the Battle of Chesma (1770), along with arranging his squadron in line (during the battle at the Hioss Bay on 24 June) he managed to organize a skillful maneuver of a specially-assigned ship group which was to secure artillery support of the fire ships attack (in the battle at Chesma Bay on 26 June) as a result of which most of the Turkish Fleet was destroyed.
It is interesting that in the battles of Gangut and Grengam it was assault operations (galleys against sailing ships) that formed the basis of the tactics, whereas during the battle of Chesma – attacks of the anchored enemy ships that determined the victory. Ushakov has enriched the naval tactics with naval maneuvers which he would employ extensively during battles. The distinguishing features of Ushakov’s naval art lie in his creative potential, willingness to introduce new ideas, innovative solutions, in his giving up the out-dated methods and approaches to waging battles.
Unfortunately, the novelty of Ushakov’s tactical principles aroused fierce opposition, both overt and latent, on the part of the conservative representatives of the Russian Navy who were constantly fawning on foreign countries believing that everything that was coming from abroad was good. But the impressive results that Ushakov managed to achieve in his naval battles were the best possible defense of his progressive, advanced tactical theory. Struggling with conservative, obsolete points of view on methods and principles of waging battles, with unceasing attempts on the part of the foreign naval officers sent to serve in the Russian Navy to impose the tactics employed in the Northern European navies, Ushakov-introduced tactics was gradually yet steadily implemented into practice. Fyodor Ushakov would always keep in mind the words Peter the First used to say with reference to statutes and regulations “which should not be followed blindfold because they specify general ways of behavior with no mention of emergency cases and extreme situations”. Ushakov’s tactics of maneuvers did not at all exclude the line tactics as an essential element of battle formations, but the line was not the only one way of formation and it was completely subordinated to the maneuver. What Ushakov suggested was to combine the line tactics with maneuvering and re-formations. In order to illustrate his innovations and make them more comprehensible, he explained various offensive tactics of the sailing fleet, namely, outflanking, breaking-up of enemy columns, etc.
In his every battle Ushakov would employ some of his new tactical principles and methods which, in his opinion, were relevant to the situation and battle conditions given. It is remarkable that already in the Russian-Turkish war, in the battle of 1788 nearby Fidonisi Island, Ushakov proved to be a fleet commander-innovator.
On 18 June, 1788, the Russian troops besieged the fortress of Ochakov. In early July Suvorov was summoned to Ochakov from Kinburn to take command of the left flank of assault troops. The same day, on the 18th of June, the Russian squadron under Voynovich left Sebastopol to head for Ochakov. The squadron consisted of two battleships, two 50-gun frigates, eight 40-gun frigates, one 18-gun frigate, some twenty small sailing ships and two fire ships.
Voynovich’s squadron was ordered not to let the Turkish squadron help their troops besieged in Ochakov or come close to the shores of Tavrida, and its mission was also to assist the Russian troops in every possible way. Due to the strong head wind the Russian squadron was delayed reaching the Tendra Island as late as 29 June. On approaching the place, they saw the Turkish squadron which consisted of 15 battleships, 8 frigates, 3 bombing ships and 21 small-size ships.
Next morning, with a gusty northward wind, the Russian squadron set course to approach the enemy which had taken a windward position, formed up on the port tack and set ready for the battle waiting for the Russians to attack (Voynovich displayed hesitation so typical of him). The Turkish squadron, keeping 3,5 km away from the Russians, entered the attack line. At about 13.00 it became calm, and the ships stopped. With the wind blowing stronger, the Russians tried to engage the Turks once again. However, the Turkish ships taking advantage of the speed they could pick up (they had a copper plating) started to retreat not willing to accept the battle. The Russians started to chase the enemy who was heading for Rumelian shores, at that Russian ships were trying to have the weather. Towards the evening, the Turks slowed down; so did the Russians. As it became dark, the fleets disengaged once again. For three days the opposing fleets maneuvered in sight of each other, gradually heading toward the estuary of the Danube and farther away from Ochakov.
At last, on 3 July, off the Fidonisi Island, the fleets met. The enemy still had the weather. At 8 o’clock, the Russian squadron tacked about and formed up on the port tack. At 14 o’clock, the enemy taking advantage of his windward position formed two columns the first of which was under the command of Hassan Pasha. An experienced commander, Hassan Pasha knew the weak points of the Russian fleet and directed his main offensive, six ships of the line, at the Russian vanguard, whereas the second column concentrated on the center and rearguard intending to paralyze them and hinder any help to the Russian vanguard (led by Ushakov). Soon afterwards, the battle began. Two battleships and two 50-gun frigates of Ushakov’s vanguard were attacked first; at that, there were five enemy ships against each of them. Holding the advantageous windward position, the Turks kept such a distance so as not to let the Russian 40-gun frigates with 12-pound guns fire effectively, as a result of this only the vanguard ships (i.e., the vanguard under the command of Ushakov) were able to operate more or less successfully.
In spite of such unfavorable conditions, the ships of Ushakov’ vanguard managed to fire accurately at the Turks who were launching unceasing attacks and 40 minutes later the enemy attack was eventually repulsed and his line of ships disrupted. The flagship of the first column was forced to leave the line. The enemy’s attempt to cut off two Ushakov’s frigates, the Borislav and Strela (“Arrow”) failed. Meanwhile, Ushakov on his frigate Saint Pavel taking advantage of the confusion in the ranks of the enemy passed to the offensive. He ordered to set more sails and, approaching it, caused serious damage to the Turkish flagship Kapudania making her sail back. While the enemy ship was turning back, the frigates Borislav and Strela fired in salvoes at him making it impossible for the enemy ship to fire back. The rest of the vanguard ships were helping their flagman firing heavily at the disrupted Turkish column.
The battle went on till 16.55, after which the enemy ships set sails and left the battle field in haste. The losses of Ushakov’s vanguard totaled five men in killed and two wounded. The offensive headed by Ushakov could have been even more successful and could have produced more results but for lack of assistance on the part of Voynovich who was intimidated by the massive Turkish forces and limited his actions to occasional firing at the distant ships of the second enemy column. Nor did Voynovich help Ushakov in chasing the retreating enemy. As a matter of fact, the battle was fought between the vanguard led by Fyodor Ushakov and the first column of the Turkish squadron far outnumbering his own.
On 5 July the Turkish fleet was spotted nearby Akh-Mechet. A Russian squadron, which was patrolling that area, did not let the enemy approach, and the latter had to retreat to the Kherson Cape from where, on 6 July, he headed for the open sea to sail to the Rumelian shores.
On 1 July, 1788, the Russian troops undertook their first attack on Ochakov. As a result of the success achieved by Suvorov-led army, the Turkish fortress, which had long been considered impregnable, was taken on 6 December, 1788.
The battle at Fidonisi is an illustrative example of joint efforts on the part of the fleet and land troops while besieging the well-protected and fortified fortress of Ochakov. Ushakov taking the initiative in his own hands, in defiance of all the established canons of formal line tactics, decides to enter the battle with a superior enemy and, by launching a daring counterattack, he directs his main offensive at the Turkish flagship (the first column).
During the battle at Fidonisi Ushakov broke some other rules of the formal line tactics in accordance with which the flagship was to be in the center of the line of ships. Setting a personal example to the rest of the ships, Ushakov was at the very front line. It was his favorite pattern of behavior during battles which never failed to bring success.
On 8 July, 1790, Ushakov headed the battle of Kerch. Prior to this battle there had been a cruising undertaken by Ushakov’s squadron along the Anatolian shores, which started on 16 May and ended on 5 June 1790. Ushakov wrote about this cruising the following: “…Starting from Sinope, I sailed the eastern part of the Anadolian and Abazin shores; being in full control of the situation, I made two groups of ships, which had left Constantinople this spring, seek salvation staying within the fortress...Staying at Sinope for three days, I kept the city, the fortress and the vessels on the constant alert. All the time we would capture the cruising vessels which we encountered on our way and capture merchant vessels right at the walls of the fortress…thus, we have captured eight vessels two of which have been burnt and the rest six have been taken to Sebastopol…”
On his way back, on 2 June, Ushakov’s squadron had a battle with batteries of the fortress of Anapa and the vessels stationed there. Ushakov reported to Potemkin about this battle: “I sent all the oar-propelled vessels I had to fire at enemy ships with cannonballs, bombs and other explosives facing an extremely heavy bombardment from all the enemy batteries in return, they also threw small bombs our way which would explode in the air all over the place; some ships were burning on the shore near the batteries and bombs would explode all the time…” It was the lack of fire ships in his squadron that did not allow Ushakov to destroy the Turkish ships. However, this fight was not the main objective of this campaign in the first place. Ushakov had long been striving to deliver such a powerful attack against the Turkish fleet that would completely undermine the enemy’s plan to land his landing party in the Crimea. As early as 30 July, 1789, Ushakov informed then-Chief Commander of the Black Sea Fleet Rear-Admiral Voynovich about the Turks’ plans to land in the Crimea and that the enemy had chosen Anapa as a place to concentrate his forces from where he planned to attack Yenikale and Kerch. Due to the fact that at that time the Turkish ships were ill-prepared, the planned Crimean lading operation did not take place, and it was re-scheduled for the 1790 campaign.
The urgent necessity to replenish the supplies and to do current repairs of some ships made the Russian squadron make its way to Sebastopol. By that time, Ushakov had already been appointed Commander of the Fleet to replace the hesitant and timorous Voynovich. On 2 July 1790, Ushakov put to the sea once again holding the flag on the battleship Rozhdestvo Khristovo (“Christmas”). There were 10 battleships, 6 frigates, 1 bombing ship, 1 repeater, 13 light cruising vessels, and 2 fire ships in his squadron. Before embarking, all the ships received the following order: “I want every single man in the fleet remember that the Russian fleet that has become famous for its brilliant victories over enemy fleets has no other way but to enhance the glory of the Emperor’s flag so I order you to demand that each and every soldier, sailor and officer discharge their duties in the finest, praiseworthy and selfless manner”.
Prior to putting to the sea, Ushakov received the information from the observation stations located along the Crimean coast in accordance with which the Turkish fleet was seen near Tarkhanov-Kut on 28 June, after that it was spotted in immediate proximity to Sebastopol and Balaklava heading eastward. It was oblivious that the Turkish squadron was bound for Anapa in order to meet the troops and, being reinforced with the other ships anchored there, set to approach the Crimean coast to conduct the long-planned landing operation. Having assessed the existing situation, Ushakov decided to leave the Bay of Sebastopol and head for the Kerch Strait to take up a position near the Cape of Takla which he thought to be the most likely direction of the Turkish landing party. Meanwhile, in order to obtain more data Ushakov sent a group of light cruising vessels to conduct reconnaissance. On 8 July, at 10 o’clock, the Turkish squadron consisting of 10 battleships, 8 frigates and 36 small-size vessels was spotted approaching from Anapa. The wind was moderate, east-north-east. The Ushakov-led squadron, contrary to the rules of formal line tactics, which required to be anchored while fighting and not under sails, weighed anchor and, sailing under sails, formed an attack line. At about 12 o’clock, the Turks launched an attack against the Russian vanguard, which was under the command of Captain-Brigadier G. Golenkin.
The vanguard managed to repulse this attack totally confusing the enemy who did not expect anything of that kind given the fact that the Turks outnumbered the Russians not only in ships but also in weaponry. After the unsuccessful first attack, the Turkish squadron’s Commander (Kapudan Pasha) engaged two more ships to reinforce the attack against the Russian vanguard. After that Ushakov deliberately led six frigates out of his attack line, forming them into a reserve corps to be used in a crucial moment in the right direction. The rest of the ships of the center sailed closer to the vanguard and help it in repulsing the enemy’s attacks. By 14 o’clock the wind had changed to north-north-east for the benefit of Russians. Taking advantage of that, Ushakov approached the enemy at a case-shot, prepared all the guns for action and pass to the offensive. Failing to withstand the Russians’ intensive, concentrated fire, the Turkish ships that were closer to the Russian flagship started to turn back and withdraw. The two Turkish ships, which masts were severely damaged, entered the Russian line of ships. In order to cover these ships Kapudan Pasha tried to set counter-course and sail by the Russian line. The Russian ships, having stayed, plastered the Turkish ships with heavy fire once more causing them substantial damage. Ushakov was especially persistent in attacking the Turkish Commander’s ship and his second flagship which were trying to cover their most damaged ships. By 17 o’clock, the enemy could not withstand the assault any longer; the Turks abandoned further attempts to resist and, being chased by the Russians, started to retreat in disorder. Intending to carry the assault to its logical conclusion, Ushakov ordered his ships to form up and chase the retreating enemy in the way most convenient for them to do that, i.e., not taking up the positions assigned to them, while he himself went at the head of his squadron.
This successful battle undermined the Turkish plans to land their landing party on the Crimea. Most of the Turkish ships were seriously damaged, at that, one messenger vessels with its crew was sunk. The Turks suffered serious losses in killed and wounded. The losses from the Russian side totaled 29 men in killed and 68 wounded. On 12 July, Ushakov came back to Sebastopol with flying colours.
With respect to tactics, the battle of Kerch is notable for Ushakov’s self-evident, irresistible urge towards conducting decisive offensive operations. Ushakov seeks to approach the enemy at a minimal distance in order to employ both the artillery (case-shot) and gun fire, thus, inflicting as much damage to the enemy’s landing party on ships as possible. Another distinctive feature of this battle is concentration of fire on the Turkish flagships in order to destabilize the enemy and shake his confidence and fortitude. Such element as leading frigates out of the formation is also worth mentioning; this maneuver allowed achieving maximum density of squadron line forces and enhancing artillery fire efficiency as well as forming the necessary ships reserve corps which could be used by the flagship. Finally, it should be added that at the final stage of that remarkable battle Ushakov, having assessed the current tactical situation, ordered his ships to form up not taking up the positions assigned to them, while he himself chose to stand at the head of his ships, which was against all requirements and rules of the formal line tactics.
Having done all the necessary repairs after the battle of Kerch and having replenished the supplies, Ushakov resumed preparations for meeting the enemy, whose ships started to be seen at the Crimean coast. Ushakov never let them out of his sight, keeping a vigilant eye on their slightest movements, constantly receiving information from the observation stations erected along the coastline; he even sailed to the coast himself from time to time from where the enemy was clearly visible. Apart from that, he was receiving detailed information from Kherson sent by Commander of the Liman flotilla de Ribas who informed Ushakov on every single Turkish ship spotted in the north-western region of the Black Sea. Spending lots of his time on gathering the reconnaissance data needed, Ushakov was preparing the ground for resuming an active detection of Turkish ships at sea. On 6 August, Ushakov wrote to Kherson the following: “…As of today we have spotted 29 vessels…It is vitally important we find out their intentions and plans so that we could not only hinder them but also take advantage of them…Is there any chance, Sir, to use our channels to get some information from the Danube and find out about the disposition of the Turkish Fleet, where it is now, whether the enemy is concentrating his forces or forming squadrons so that we could meet him being fully armed and perfectly ready for action”.
Ushakov was allowed to enter the sea once again only after the construction of ships, intended to reinforce his squadron, had been completed in the Port of Kherson. Having been told that the ships were finally ready, Ushakov gave an order both to his squadron and Liman flotilla to set out. On 25 August, 1790, Ushakov’s squadron left Sebastopol and headed for the Dnepr-Bug estuary where it was to meet the Liman flotilla and the ships that had left Kherson. Ushakov had 10 battleships, 6 frigates, 1 bombing ship, 1 repeater, and 17 cruising vessels. Meanwhile, the Turkish squadron, consisting of 14 battleships, 8 frigates and 14 small-size ships under the command of Kadudan Pasha Hussein, was cruising the Black Sea north-western coast.
On 28 August, at 6 o’clock in the morning, the Russian squadron spotted the Turkish one being anchored between the Tendra Island and Hadjibey (Odessa). The Russians’ appearing there took the Turks off guard. Ushakov was determined to take advantage of the situation and, not wasting precious time on re-forming his squadron from marching order to battle one, ordered to attack the enemy straight away.
Being taken unawares, the Turks, despite their numerical superiority, began to cut anchor cables in haste, and, at 9 o’clock, they followed their flagship in a disorderly retreat sailing in the direction of the Danube. Having the weather, Ushakov with all the sails set rushed for the enemy intending to capture the ships failing to catch up with the rest. The risk of the Russians’ capturing his rear ships made the Turkish Kapudan Pasha set back course and cover his ships dropped behind. Having taken leeward, the Turkish Fleet formed up in an attack line. Keeping on advancing, Ushakov re-formed his squadron in a battle order as well after which he set back course, took the windward side and set the course parallel to that of his enemy. At the same time, he ordered his three frigates to leave the attack line, form a reserve and remain windward close to the vanguard in order to repulse the enemy’s attack on the vanguard, should anything of that kind happen.
At about 15 o’clock, Ushakov approached the enemy and engage all his line in battle concentrating his main assault on the enemy’s centre where the Turkish flag officer’s ship was located. An hour and a half later, the Turkish ships were seriously damaged and, suffering heavy losses in manpower, started to gradually withdraw. In response to this, the Russian ships intensified their fire even more and, by 17 o’clock, the enemy had been thrown into complete confusion. The Turks could not stand all this any longer and, having worn, began to retreat in disorder. While turning, they exposed their vessels to devastating for-and-aft salvoes of the Russian ships.
Willing to destroy the Turkish squadron utterly and completely, Ushakov gave an order to “Oust the enemy” and led the chase after the retreating Turkish flagship by himself. It was only the approaching darkness that ended the chase and prevented Hussein’s capture. At 22 o’clock, Ushakov directed his ships to Ochakov to come to anchor there. At dawn, the Turks were spotted not far from the Russian squadron. As Ushakov later stated in his report, the Turkish ships were retreating in disorder in different directions.
Chasing the enemy, the Ushakov-led squadron cut off two damaged battleships, one of which – the Meleki-Bakhri – was captured and the other – the flagship Kapudania, enveloped in flames – blew up soon. The Turkish Admiral Seid Ali and some 100 officers and sailors from Kapudania were taken prisoners. In its hasty retreat to the Bosporus, the Turkish fleet lost another severely damaged battleship and several small vessels. The Turks’ losses in manpower totaled over 2 thousand people, whereas the Russians lost only 41 men, 25 of which wounded. Having undergone major repairs, the captured Meleki-Bakhri was put in service with the Black Sea Fleet under the name of John the Baptist.
Due to a strong head wind, the Liman flotilla failed to join Ushakov’s squadron before the battle. After the battle, however, it was ordered to transfer the captured ships to Kherson.
The distinguishing feature of the tactics employed by Ushakov in that battle was a surprise attack without re-forming the squadron from marching order to battle one. In other respects, the techniques are much the same as were used in the battle of Kerch (in particular, leading frigates out of the attack line to form them into a reserve corps; approaching the enemy and giving battle at a case-shot distance; attacking the enemy flagships in order to disable them in the first place).
After the success of the battle of Tendra, Ushakov relying on the profound battle experience gained during the recent battles (notably at Kerch and Tendra) suggested assigning a special group of ships for conducting attacks against enemy flagships which was approved by Prince Potemkin. Such a ships group was named the Keiser flag squadron.
Ushakov’s tactical methods should not be regarded separately, i.e., regardless of a whole set of tactical methods and techniques employed by him in every single sea battle. In that way, the tactics of assaulting the Turkish squadron straight off in the battle of Tendra (28-29 August, 1790) would not have produced the desired effect if he had not in due time ordered to form an attack line, form a reserve corps, attack the flagships, chase the enemy, etc.
The fact that he would always introduce new tactical devices and was capable of skillfully combining them with those already in use demonstrates how clever he was at assessing the situation and finding the right solution. In his battles, the excellence of his unique, innovative, Suvorov-influenced doctrines of naval art is evident.
In the second part September 1790, when the Russian troops were approaching the Danube, there arose a need to send the rowing flotilla from the Dnepr-Bug estuary to the Danube. Ushakov personally worked out an order of flotilla transfer, which was handed over to its Commander on 28 September, 1790, and a plan of covering the flotilla from sea from any counteraction on the part of the Turkish Fleet. The general situation after the defeat of the Turkish squadron at Tendra was rather favorable; however, strong unfavorable winds did not allow the flotilla to leave the estuary as a result of which Ushakov could not put out to sea either. It was not until 16 October when he was informed that the flotilla could finally move out that Ushakov entered the sea. His squadron was formed of 14 battleships, 4 frigates, and 17 cruising vessels. On 17 October, after a short riding at Hadjibey, the Liman flotilla consisting of 36 oar-propelled vessels and a group of transports with an 800-strong landing party reached the Dniester estuary where the next day it was joined by a 48-vessel-strong Zaporozhye Cossack flotilla and headed for the Danube’s Sulinskoye arm. There the Russian flotilla’s way was blocked by the Turkish river flotilla and two coastal batteries (13 guns).
It was owing to the Russian flotilla’s decisive actions and courage that this obstacle was removed. The batteries were stormed by a landing party (around 600 people) landed from the flotilla’s vessels, while the enemy flotilla, routed in the battle, lost its floating battery and 7 transport vessels with ammunition and food supplies and had to retreated up the Danube River in haste. Proceeding with their operations at the Danube, the Russian Liman flotilla’s landing party took the Turkish fortress Tulchah on 6 and 7 November, and, on 13 November, - the fortress Isakchah. In the battle against the enemy flotillas that were stationed at those fortresses a large number of Turkish vessels, pieces of ordnance, ammunition and food supplies were destroyed, burnt and captured.
> In accordance with the elaborate plan of actions, the Ushakov-led squadron reached the Danube on 21 October when the Liman flotilla’s rearguard was entering the estuary. Ushakov’s most important task was not to let the enemy’s reinforcement come to the Danube from sea, thus ensuring successful actions of the Russian rowing flotilla which had been sent to assist Suvorov. Ushakov remained in the Danube estuary till 10 November, after which he headed for the Rumelian shores to sweep this area for enemy ships, and, on 14 November when it was already clear that the Turkish Fleet could no longer hinder the Russian flotilla’s action on the Danube, he returned to Sebastopol with his duty discharged.
On 18 November, the rowing flotilla began systematic bombardments of Izmail and Turkish vessels anchored within the fortress. Between 18 and 27 November, the Russian flotilla destroyed 43 coasting vessels, 45 transport vessels, 10 boats, 1 schooner and over 40 ferries.
Immediately before Suvorov’s troops started the Izmail assault operation, a flotilla (567 guns) together with batteries of the Chatal Island had conducted a bombardment of Izmail and, during the storm itself, it was active in taking the fortress. It is well-known that Izmail was taken as a result of a concentrated attack of nine columns: six of them were attacking from land and the rest three, formed of landing parties, were storming the fortress from the riverside.
While assaulting the fortress of Izmail, the flotilla was formed up in two lines: the first one consisted of vessels with landing parties aboard, the second – of vessels which were covering the landing of troops with fire. Early in the morning of 11 December, the flotilla protected by the non-stop ships’ fire managed to land the troops. The first column was able to quickly capture the coastal fortifications, while the second, facing a more determined resistance, managed to take enemy batteries in the end. The third column had to operate in the most difficult conditions, under heavy, intensive fire from the enemy’s redoubt. After the fierce battles were over, all three columns joined the troops which had been storming the fortress from land. On that day, all the Turkish fortifications were captured by the Russians. After that they began to storm the city itself; the troops landed from the flotilla’s vessels were among the first detachments to break through to the centre of the city.
Suvorov’s capture of Izmail and Ushakov’s actions at the Black Sea theatre were based on a common strategic plan. By inflicting a crushing defeat on the Turkish squadron at Tendra and carrying out further successful maneuvers, Ushakov not only secured the flotilla’s safe transfer to the Danube but he also covered its actions from sea while it was approaching Izmail thus rendering an invaluable service to Suvorov’s troops. Suvorov and Potemkin gave a very high appraisal of the Liman flotilla’s fearless actions.
The campaign of 1791 was marked by a string of brilliant victories gained by the Russian troops. With the assistance of the river flotilla, the city of Brailov was taken by storm. On 28 June, the Repnin-led troops smashed the 80 000 –strong Turkish army at Machin. Having lost his army, the enemy had no other reserves. Soon afterwards the peace talks between Russian and Turkey were resumed. The Russian government’s desire to make peace as soon as possible was caused by the fact that Catherine the Second intimidated by the revolution organized in France and possible negative consequences believed that now the main goal of her country’s foreign policy should be a struggle against it. Having suffered serious losses on land, Turkey was not capable of waging war in any more or less effective way but, still relying on its strong fleet, did all it could to procrastinate the truce talks intending to bargain for more advantageous articles of the peace.
Fortunately, the brilliant victory of Ushakov’s squadron in the battle against the Turkish fleet at Caliakria that took place on 31 July, 1791, hastened the course of events. In that battle, Admiral Ushakov, accustomed to being outnumbered, could advance 16 battleships, 2 frigates, 3 bombing vessels, 1 fire ship, and 13 light ships, while the Turks had as many as 18 battleships, 17 frigates, and 43 light ships. The Kapudan Pasha Hussein was in command of the Turkish fleet.
On 29 July, Ushakov’s squadron left Sebastopol to head for the Rumelian shores. At midday of 31 July, Ushakov spotted the Turkish squadron anchored at the Cape of Caliakria. Employing the same tactics as in the battle of Tendra, Ushakov launched a swift surprise attack without re-forming his squadron into battle order. In order to have the weather (northern wind was blowing), Ushakov decided to lead his ships between the coastline and the Turkish squadron, notwithstanding, the heavy fire from enemy coastal batteries. At 14.45, he cut off the enemy ships from the coastline. The Russian fleet’ appearing and attacking was so sudden and unexpected that some of the personnel which were allowed to go ashore (it was a Muslim fixed feast) could not return to the ships. So the enemy began to cut off anchor chains and retreat hastily retreat in disorder trying to form up an attack line. Attacking the enemy constantly and persistently, the Russian squadron’s three columns held the marching order. Yet the Kapudan Pasha managed to form up some of his ships to the starboard tack but soon he had to tack about. At 15.30, Ushakov attacking the enemy with the north-north-east wind re-formed his ships into the attack line parallel to the Turks.
The Turkish vanguard under the command of Seid Ali speeding up was trying to take to the windward side. This made Ushakov leave the line and attack Seid Ali’s ship. In his report to Prince Potemkin, Ushakov described this battle episode as follows: “I have noticed Seid Ali with the red-flag Vice-Admiral’s ship and some other big ships and frigates trying to gain the weather so, in order not to let him attack us, I with my ship Rozhdestvo Khristovo chased him sailing ahead of our attack line, after which I gave my ships a signal to form up at a short distance. Once I have formed them all up, overhauled Seid Ali’s ship and sailed back to our vanguard, I ordered my ships to approach the enemy at a half cable’s length distance and attack”. With her hull and spars seriously damaged, Seid Ali’s ship moved leeward. After that, Ushakov attacked another flagship, which was also severely damaged and had to turn back. Those accurate attacks on enemy flagships have greatly contributed to the Turkish squadron’s complete demoralization.
This stubborn and violent sea battle, during which the Turkish ships (especially their flagships) were seriously damaged, some disabled, continued for more than three and a half hours. The Russian squadron’s decisive attacks resulted in the Turkish ships’ clustering together and retreating in disorder to the Bosporus. Ushakov organized a chase after the defeated Turkish fleet. At about 20.30, as the darkness approached, the Turkish ships passed out of sight. Later on, the chasing conditions worsened even more because of a dead calm followed by a wind favorable for the Turks. It was not until 1 August, 6 o’clock, that Russians saw the Turks hastily retreating to Constantinople. Ushakov set more sails in order to catch up with the enemy but the increasing northern storm wind and rough, heavy sea did not allow him to do that. Furthermore, some of the ships from Ushakov’s squadron had been very seriously damaged during the last battle, while the battleship Alexander had developed a dangerous leak in her hull as result of cannonball attack making it impossible to continue chasing in such difficult weather conditions. Having sent several ships to cruise the Rumelian shores, Ushakov approached the Cape of Emine to do the necessary repairs. After that the squadron returned to Sebastopol. Ushakov wrote in his report: “Throughout the battle of 31 July, all the officers and sailors of the Black Sea Fleet were demonstarating exceptional fervour, unparalleled courage and fortitude in fulfilling their duties…” In that report Ushakov also emphasized the importance of the reserve corps. In particular, the reserve of 24 bombing ships and a frigate was used in the main attack; the other reserve consisting of small-size ships and cruising vessels was engaged in chasing enemy separate ships and destroying the boats with retreating Turks aboard. Ushakov stated that “the cruising ships sent by me managed to either set a lot of enemy vessels ashore…or sink, or set them on fire; a vast majority of retreating enemy was killed and sank…” In that remarkable battle, a new tactical trick was employed by Ushakov, namely, an off-shore attack, which was later adopted by the English Admiral Nelson and employed seven years later in the battle of Abukir against the French squadron.
The glorious victory gained by Ushakov at Caliakria was crucial for the entire campaign. On 29 December, 1791, Turkey initiated the signing of peace treaty to Russia’s advantage. Under the Yass Peace Treaty of 1791, the articles of Kuchuk-Kainardzhyisk Treaty were confirmed; a new Dniester border was established; the Crimea’s annexation by Russia was stipulated.
Ushakov’s tactical genius was not limited to just sea battles; he was perfectly capable of achieving the same success and impressive results in landing operations, enemy coastline blockade, fortress attacks as well. In military operations, just as in sea battles, he was against any routine and lack of innovative approach. His unique ability to introduce something new to the established naval tactics, his strong character, inflexible will and talent as a commander helped him pull off a victory in the hardest situations. The most glaring example is the siege and capture of Corfu which had always been considered an impregnable fortress.
Ushakov took the fortress at the time when the French upper trade-and-business-oriented bourgeoisie was activating its expansionist policy. The France’s expansion was directed, first of all, against England but with that it was threatening Russia and Turkey as well. Having gained control over the Ionian Islands and several fortresses in Albania after Austria’s defeat, and it goes without saying that Napoleon Bonaparte was doing his best to keep them for himself. In his statement to the Directory of 27 August, 1797, he wrote as follows: “The Islands of Corfu, Zante and Kefalonia are of more importance to us than the whole of Italy together”. Bonaparte spoke, first and foremost, of the advantageous strategic position of the Ionian Islands, the capture of which would serve as a springboard for his follow-up attacks on Egypt, Asia Minor, the Balkans and Russia’s Black Sea possessions. Moreover, once consolidated his positions in the Ionian Islands, Bonaparte could get closer to Turkey, which would enable him to exert a serious political pressure on this country. This fact should be stressed because Turkey had already experienced a rather strong influence of France as it was and was even thinking of merging into alliance with Bonaparte against Russia.
So, Napoleon’s aggressive plans jeopardized Russia’s interests and the Russian ruling groups could not but understand this. Their concerns and anxiety deepened even more when it became evident that the French in Toulon and Marseilles were strenuously preparing to conduct military operations. There were rumours spread that the French fleet under the Turkish flag would enter the Black Sea to launch war operations against Russia. Soon, however, the direction of French expansion in the Mediterranean became more or less clear. Having abandoned an idea to conduct an all-out attack against the British Isles, Bonaparte, in May 1798, unveiled his Egyptian campaign, the main aim of which was to conquer Egypt and from there threaten Britain’s possessions in India. By invading Egypt the French have undertaken an act of direct aggression against the Turkish Empire one of whose provinces at those times was Egypt, thus exerting an imminent threat on Turkey forcing the latter to ask Russia for help.
Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign also jeopardized Russia’s interests. If the French had consolidated their positions and asserted their dominance in Egypt, the French could have consistently threatened the Black Sea straits and, consequently, Russia’s Black Sea possessions. It was also self-evident that without Russia’s assistance Turkey would have had no chance to defend its outlets to the Black Sea.
To sum it up, the French invasion of the Mediterranean Sea created an extremely difficult military and political situation not only in the Mediterranean but also in the entire Europe. The complexity of that situation was further aggravated by the fact that there started a violent internal struggle within Italy: the Bourbons had been overthrown and Italy had to ask the Russian Emperor Pavel the First for help. Under these circumstances Russia opposed France.
In order to participate in the Mediterranean campaign, a squadron consisting of 6 battleships, 7 frigates, and 3 message vessels under the command of Admiral Ushakov was assigned, which left Sebastopol on 13 August, 1798. These ships were carrying 1 700 marines on their boards. On reaching the Dardanelles, a Turkish squadron formed of 4 battleships, 6 frigates, and 14 gunboats reinforced Ushakov’s squadron. On 12 September, Ushakov directed 4 frigates and 10 gunboats under the command of Captain Second Rank Sorokin to blockade Alexandria and destroy the French batteries in Abukir because the British squadron under the command of Admiral Nelson had by that time been so seriously battered and damaged after the victory over France that it was no longer capable of fulfilling any naval missions and was planning an urgent retreat to Sicily. On 20 September, the Russian and Turkish squadrons left the Dardanelles. Within a relatively short period of time, from 28 September to 5 November, Admiral Fyodor Ushakov succeeded in knocking the French out from the Cerigo, Zante, Kefalonia, and Santa Maura Islands. This success was soon followed by an effective blockade of Corfu with the purpose of its further capturing.
The Corfu Island had long been considered the key to the Adriatic Sea. For more than five centuries it had been in the Venetians’ possession who had done a lot to fortify it. After the island was taken by Napoleon, the French naval and construction engineers turned it in an even more fortified and impregnable place. By the first day of the fortress’ siege, it had already had up to 650 guns, 3-thousand-strong garrison and the food supplies that would last them the next six months. From the sea, the fortress was sheltered by two islands – Vido and Lazaretto – the first of which was protected by powerful fortifications with a large number of guns on them.
In late October, a detachment under Captain Selivachev approached Corfu which was, in accordance with Ushakov’s order, to carry out its blockade. On 9 November, Ushakov with the main body came there, too. His squadron anchored to the south of the fortress. The Allied fleet was in an acute want of food. What was even worse, it lacked the sufficient number of troops to launch an attack. The troops promised by Turkey failed to appear and the arrival of the reinforcement needed was delayed due to the lengthy negotiations.
Despite all the difficulties, Ushakov managed to impose a close and effective blockade of Corfu, thus depriving the French garrison of the opportunity to get any help from the outside. Moreover, in order to suppress the French’s attempts to store up provisions by way of robbing local citizens, a special landing party was landed in Corfu and batteries were erected. The battery built on the northern side of the island was used from November 1798 to conduct systematic bombardments of the French fortifications.
On 22 November, Ushakov was reinforced by two brigantines and a schooner with food supplies sent from Sebastopol. On 30 December, Rear-Admiral Pustoshkin with two new 74-gun ships came to Corfu. As of 1 January, 1799, Ushakov had already 12 ships, 11 frigates and several small-size vessels. On 25 January, the long-expected reinforcement arrived.
> The entire period of the three-month-long siege of Corfu abandoned in numerous passages of arms between the Russian and French ships anchored off the island. These skirmishes together with regular bombardments of the fortress by Russian batteries led to the enemy’s complete exhaustion. However, a decisive assault of the fortress required close cooperation and combined actions of all the parties involved which could not be guaranteed since the Turkish Command had failed to fulfill its direct obligations on adequate food supplies and were constantly postponing the date of sending the landing troops promised making the situation in which Ushakov eventually found himself more complicated and even desperate.
Despite all the difficulties, Ushakov was actively preparing the future assault operation. Having carefully examined the approaches to Corfu, he came to the right conclusion that the Vido Island was the key to the fortress. At the same time he knew that it was practically impossible to take the well-fortified Vido Island with landing troops alone, yet, he was determined to capture it. He planned to give a general signal to storm Corfu together with a signal to storm Vido. Right before the storm, a council of admirals and captains was held at which Ushakov announced his decision and revealed his plan of actions.
While getting ready for the storm, Ushakov conducted a number of trainings in the course of which he paid special attention to how exactly siege ladders and fascines should be made and how they should be used in a more efficient way. He also spent a lot of time on intercommunication which resulted in developing a special table of 130 flag-signals.
The Vido Island’s attack was launched on 18 February, 1799, at 7 o’clock in the morning. Sailing under sails, the frigates opened fire on the batteries, coastal defensive works and fortifications. Then other ships, which were anchored according to their disposition, opened concentrated, rapid fire on enemy manpower and coastal batteries. Some of the ships were formed in a separate corps to fire at the roads and to prevent any reinforcement from coming to the island. This corps was also ordered to bombard enemy ships and frigates on the western side of Vido.
Admiral Ushakov aboard his ship Saint Pavel accompanied by a frigate checked the correctness of ships’ disposition personally; after that he approached the enemy’s biggest battery at a case-shot distance and, together with the frigate, destroyed it. By 11 o’clock enemy batteries’ fire became weaker. The signal “start landing troops” was given. In all, more than 2 000 men were landed. The ships did not cease fire during the landing operation. At 14 o’clock Vido was captured. Out of the garrison totaled up to 800 men, 422 were taken prisoners.
Simultaneously, a storm of the Corfu fortress was launched. The troops landed rushed to the attack of outside fortifications. The first attack was repulsed, while the second one was a success. The French commandant sent Ushakov a letter in which he asked to agree on a 24-hour truce for him to sign an act of capitulation. On the very next day, French General Chabot came to Ushakov’s ship Saint Pavel to sign the act of unconditional surrender.
Ushakov’s capturing the most formidable and impregnable naval fortress was an unprecedented case in history. In that battle he once again demonstrated his unsurpassed naval skill and talent as a commander while the Russian sailors – their perfect training and personal qualities. The success of that battle was, to great extent, the result of Ushakov’s ability to assess the current tactical situation and attack Corfu from sea first and only after that from land even though it was against the established naval traditions, which by that time had already become obsolete, in accordance with which navies were used to block only seaside fortresses. The Corfu battle went down in history as one of the most brilliantly fought naval battles. One little-known fact: during the assault of Corfu, French soldiers preferred to surrender to Russians rather than to Turks. They had all reason to do so because Turks were paid for each dead Frenchman. The Russians were more humane than their Turkish allies: they even bought out French prisoners of war from Turks in order to save their lives.
When Ushakov was leaving the Ionian Islands, the grateful islanders gave him and his squadron a hearty farewell. They presented him with medals that bore the following inscription: “Thou art unanimously proclaimed our father”.
During the Corfu fortress’s siege and its follow-up capture, Ushakov demonstrated a much more skilled, competent performance and balanced approach than the renowned English Admiral Nelson did, who at that time was storming Malta and its less formidable fortress La-Valetta. For example, it took Ushakov three months to seize Corfu, whereas Nelson spent more than a year on besieging Malta. At that, he returned to England without waiting for the taking to actually take place.
On receiving the happy news about Ushakov’s victory, Suvorov exclaimed: “Our Peter the Great is alive!.. It was a victory worthy of him. The words he said after routing the Swedish fleet at Aland Islands in 1714 are still true to life, namely, “Mother Nature has created only one Russia: She has no match, no rivals”. So we have seen today. Hurrah to the Russian Fleet!... And I keep on saying to myself now: why on earth I was not there at Corfu at least as a midshipman?”
Ushakov’s mission in the Mediterranean did not end with the liberation of the Ionians. Soon his squadron received an order to move to the southern coast of Italy. His legendary compatriot Field-Marshal Alexander Suvorov, who was in command of the Allied Russian-Austrian army, suggested Ushakov sending a ship group to the Adriatic coast to blockade the Ankona because the French ships stationed there could intercept Austrian transport vessels, thus hindering lines of communications which were strategically important for Russia’s ally – Austria. On May, 1799, at Suvorov’s request, Ushakov directed 3 battleships (with one Turkish among them), 4 frigates (two Turkish), and 5 smaller vessels under the command of Rear-Admiral Pustoshkin to Ankona. A bit earlier he sent another detachment formed of 4 frigates, 2 light vessels, and 4 gunboats under the command of Captain Second Rank Sorokin to Otranto. On 9 May, this detachment landed troops under Captain-Lieutenant Belly on the eastern coast of the Apennines (between Brindisi and Manfredonia), which played a very important role in the Russians’ military activities in Italy. With these troops whose overall strength was 600 men belly crossed the peninsula from the east to the west and, having approached the Tyrrhenian Sea on 3 June, 1799, took part in Naples’ assault.
In late June 1799, Ushakov with the main body of his squadron (10 battleships, 7 frigates, and 5 other vessels) reached Sicily.
After clearing the whole Northern Italy of the French, Suvorov started preparing his advance on Genoa Riviera in early August 1799. In his plan of Riviera attack, Suvorov focused special attention on the fleet. He wrote as follows: “…the joint fleet must be notified of out intentions and future actions in advance so that it could assist us either in covering our water transports or providing any other kind of help”.
When he was in Messina in early August, Ushakov received a letter from Suvorov in which the Russian Field-Marshal asked him to assign a ship division for imposing a blockade on Genoa in order to stop French Army’s food supply by sea.
Ushakov immediately sent to Genoa a detachment of two battleships and two frigates under the command of Rear-Admiral Pustoshkin, who excelled himself in the recently-fought battle at Ankona. Sorokin was sent to Naples this time. Pustoshkin’s detachment assisted Suvorov until the very last day of his staying in Italy.
On 13 and 14 September, the great Field-Marshal undertook his world’s famous march across St. Gotthard and the Devil’s Bridge. Meanwhile, the Ushakov-led squadron was in Italy taking thorough preparations for its Rome campaign. Ushakov worked out a plan of this campaign himself. He formed a detachment of 820 grenadiers and 200 sailors and appointed Colonel Sciport its commander. Later on, this detachment was reinforced by 2 500 men from the King of Naples’ army. While the Russians were preparing their attack on Rome, British Admiral Nelson arrived in Rome. Willing to prevent Russians from taking Rome, Nelson sent a military vessel to the port of Chivita-Vekkia (near Rome) proposing the French to surrender before the Russians came to Rome. The terms of capitulation proposed by Nelson were very attractive to France. In particular, they were not deprived of the right to bear guns and wage wars in the future. The British promised to transport them back to France on their ships. The French naturally agreed to such a “capitulation”, the more so because they could throw these troops into the battle against the Allies on the Genoese coast. Ushakov was filled with rage and burning indignation at Nelson’s treachery; however, he did not cancel his Rome campaign. The mission of the Russian squadron’s troops in 1799 campaign was ended with the Russian sailors solemnly entering Rome which had been surrendered by French under the terms of capitulation. In 1800, Emperor Pavel the First summoned Ushakov’s squadron back to Russia, to the Black Sea.
Ushakov’s tactics and strategy were dedicated to one goal – the destruction of enemy forces. Just as Suvorov, Ushakov was always after decisive battles. This was reflected in the offensive nature of his tactics, at that, the techniques and methods of Ushakov-introduced offensive tactics of maneuver conduction were richer and more versatile than those employed by European admirals. Ushakov was never afraid of being engaged into battle with a superior enemy. Despite all this, adventurism and ill-considered behavior were absolutely alien to him; moreover, he never defied due caution and prudence.
Special attention was attached by Ushakov to the level of his squadron’s training. Intensive, unceasing battle training, both in time of peace and war, was a key component and usual style of Admiral’s everyday work. Even in the busiest and hardest days preceding the battle of Kerch, Ushakov would never break off the training of his squadron and in his order of 5 July, 1790, he instructed captains on how to train and teach gunners. The order stressed the necessity to conduct regular firing practice on rate of gun fire; to master direct laying (for that purpose three gunners were assigned to each gun and they were supposed to fire in turns). In addition, captains were expected to conduct examinations and test their gunners’ abilities and efficiency personally. After that in order to summarize the results of artillery preparation, Ushakov would organize combined maneuvers with gunfire.
Apart from that, Fyodor Ushakov managed to achieve impressive results in the field of proper performance of duties on ships and at seaside fortresses. For this purpose we revived the traditions which had first been introduced by Peter the Great, namely, an exchange of conventional signals to greet ships at sea and on approaching fortresses. Admiral never forgot the importance of reconnaissance at the theatre of war and a preliminary close study of the enemy.
The golden age of Russian naval art in the second part of the eighteenth century naturally concurred with the flowering of military art as such. From the very day of the regular army and fleet formation under Peter the First the development of Russian military art has always been side by side with the development of naval art and science resulting in a steady growth of the Russian State’s regular armed forces. In this respect, Ushakov had the right understanding of the fleet’s importance and its place in the system of the Russia’s armed forces.
All the above-mentioned allowed Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov to become an outstanding master of organizing close cooperation between the fleet and land troops. Ushakov thought it was strategically important to form regular land forces units (marines) with the fleet. Fyodor Ushakov devoted his entire life to the Russian Fleet. It was Rumiantsev and, mainly, Suvorov who not only preserved the finest battle traditions of the Russian Army but also managed to multiply them, whereas in the Russian Fleet the same great merit belonged to Ushakov.
Ushakov gave a total of 40 naval battles and lost none and he believed his sailors’ courage and fortitude was the key factor that made all his victories possible. Ushakov would always take care of his team and often, when there were delays in supply, he spent his own money on food and things for his squadron. Ushakov’s humane and kind attitude to sailors and well-thought personnel training system was the very thing that in many respects united him with Suvorov. As for Suvorov, a Russian soldier’s personal qualities, his courage and selfless service were of great value for Ushakov.
At that time Suvorov’s and Ushakov ‘s innovative educational and training principles were understood and welcomed by a very limited number of people, mostly by the most advanced and forward-looking representatives of the court elite, the most progressive of whom were Rumiantsev and Potemkin. They were farsighted enough to understand that in order to withstand external enemies a strong, highly-trained and skilled army was needed and they also could not but realize that it was impossible to create such by drilling alone. Potemkin and other like-minded persons were perfectly aware of the fact that only a competent commander who carried authority could lead troops against the enemy. Such man in the Russian Fleet was Fyodor Ushakov who enjoyed immense authority with the squadrons’ personnel and earned their confidence and unshakable loyalty.
The description of Ushakov’s naval career would be incomplete without mentioning his remarkably broad knowledge and understanding of politics and his abilities as a diplomat which became especially evident during 1798-1800.
Ushakov’s activity in the Mediterranean Sea was complicated by Admiral Nelson’s hostile attitude. The latter wanted to distract Russians from Malta and the Adriatic Sea and direct the Russian squadron to Levant, thus winning a free hand to fight Malta and preventing Russians from consolidating their positions on the Ionian Archipelago. By doing so, Nelson intended to disengage British troops operating nearby Levant and send them to reinforce the army in Malta, which was of more strategic importance for Great Britain. At that Nelson tried every possible foul means to achieve his end. On the one hand, he was flattering Pavel I as the “Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta” sending him reports of honour and presents. On the other hand, he insisted that his ships’ captains do everything they could in order not to let Russians hoist their flag in Malta, and was constantly stirring up Turks’ suspicions and distrust sowing discord between Ushakov and the Allied Turkish admiral.
However, Ushakov did not yield to Nelson’s dirty, cunning tricks and stood his ground in a brave and honest manner and pursued his policy aimed at defending Russia’s interests in the Mediterranean
Ushakov’s naval art could have been developed even further but for the numerous obstacles put in his way by some representatives of the upper echelons of the Russian Imperial administration who envied his fame and could not stand his independent behavior.
On returning to his native land, Ushakov did not obtain the Tsarist government’s recognition he really deserved. Early in 1802 he was appointed the Commander of the Baltic Sea galley fleet which, basically, meant his removal from active naval service since the importance of the galley fleet as such was weakening. In 1807 the great admiral was compelled to hand in his resignation from the Navy. He settled down in his estate in Temnikov district of Tambov gubernia, central Russia, where he died on 4 October, 1817.
The Russians and the Russian Fleet have always cherished the memory of Ushakov. A great captain, viewed from the standpoint of any age of military history, he functions as the great captain of the Russian nation, for the character of his leadership responded to the character of the Russian soldier. His tactical art was further advanced by his favorite student and closest associate Admiral Dmitry Nikolayevich Senyavin and through him it became the heritage of the School of lazarev and was passed on to the famous Russian admirals of the next periods of Russian Fleet’s development and improvement.
On 3 March, 1944, the Presidim of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR established the Order of Ushakov and the Uskakov’s medal which were awarded to many officers and sailors of the Soviet Navy who distinguished themselves in battles against the fascist aggressors during the Great Patriotic War. The Order of Ushakov, among other decorations, was preserved in Russia upon the dissolution of the USSR, thus remaining one of the highest military awards in the present-day Russian Federation.