Russian Navy's Northern Fleet celebrates 79-th anniversary today, on June 1, 2012. It was established in 1933 as Northern Flotilla, so is the youngest one amid Russia's four fleets.
First attempt to create a naval force in the north was made over 300 years ago. By decree of Peter the Great, the Solombalskaya Shipyard was founded in Arkhangelsk in 1693 to build warships. Nonetheless, regular Northern Fleet took its rise in 1933 when the Red Army Chief of Staff issued a circular order to establish Northern Flotilla based in the Kola Bay. In 1937, the flotilla was transformed to Soviet Navy's Northern Fleet, and then in 1991 it turned into Russian Navy's Northern Fleet.
During the Great Patriotic War, the fleet defended coastline, provided overseas transportation, protected convoys of USSR's allies heading for Arkhangelsk and Murmansk and back to the UK and the US, operated at enemy's sea lanes, supported land troops, performed landing activities, and took part in the Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive (1944). The fleet had done its duties in full then. Over 48,000 NF servicemen were awarded medals, 85 were titled Hero of the Soviet Union, and three of them achieved that highest national reward twice. Twelve ships and divisions deserved the Guards title, 47 were awarded medals, and 14 obtained honorable names.
Being the most powerful force in Russian Navy, Northern Fleet operates nuclear-powered missile and torpedo submarines, missile-carrying and ship-based aviation, aircraft-carrying and antisubmarine warships.