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The Naval Academy and its Role in the Development of the Navy

A.I. Sorokin – Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rear-Admiral

The key role in the making and development of the Russian Navy was played by the scientists of the Naval Academy and scholars of military educational establishments that had been training officers and engineers.

The first educational institution in Russia called the Naval Academy (or Naval Guards Academy) was established in Saint Petersburg in 1715. Before the establishment of the Petersburg’s Academy of Sciences the Naval Academy had been training specialists in navigation, artillery, fortification, naval architecture. Since 1718 the first land-surveyors, topographers, and cartographers had been graduated from the Academy. The significance of the Academy was so great that there were almost no noble family in Russia not represented in the records of the Academy.

The Naval Academy trained many well known naval commanders, navigators, scientists. Among them were one of the founders of the Black Sea Fleet Admiral F.F. Ushakov, the president of the Navy Board Admiral A.I. Nagaev, General Admiral M.M. Golitsin, Admiral N.F. Golovin, S.G. Malygin and many others.

One of the key factors was the establishment of the printing house in the Academy that published books on maritime related subjects. One of the first significant works published by the Naval Academy was a treatise on navigation by S.G. Malygin (1733) that was highly estimated by L. Euler.

From the very beginning the Academy of Sciences and Naval Academy worked closely with each other on scientific works aimed at the solution of the navy related issues that were yet in the center of attention of the great Russian scientist M.V. Lomonosov. The members of the Academy that time and later took active participation in the training of students therefore increasing the degree of training of naval specialists. In their turn the seamen-scientists were elected into the Academy as members and were represented in the board of the Academy as well.

At the same time the native historiography dates back the establishment of the Naval Academy in the modern shape to 1827 when on the initiative of an honorary member of the Petersburg’s Academy I.F. Kruzenstern. This School was reorganized in 1862 into the Academic Department of Maritime Science comprised three divisions namely hydrography, shipbuilding and mechanic. The decree of Alexander II renamed the Academic Department of Maritime Science into Nikolaev’s Naval Academy. There were 10 honorary members of the Academy and among them the President of the Academy of Sciences Admiral F.P. Litke, Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences V.Ya. Buyanovski, Minister of Transport K.N. Posiet, Head of Navy Ministry Vice-Admiral S.S. Lesovski and naval historian F.F. Veselago.

The names of the graduates of the Academy are closely connected with the major hydrographic researches, expeditions, and explorations. The researches and discoveries in the Baltic Sea were carried out under A.I. Nagaev and G.A. Sarychev, in the Caspian Sea – F.A. Soimanov, in the Far East seas – A.I. Chirikov, in the Northern seas – S.V. Muraviev, S.G. Makygin, D.L. Ovtsin, Laptev’s brothers and other marine researchers.

The urgent necessity in the establishment of theoretical basis for the deployment of naval forces and technical means of the Navy appeared on the scene when the development of the steam armored ships took a rapid start. The pioneer in the development of issues in the area of naval battle techniques was remarkable Russian Admiral G.I. Butakov who was awarded with Academic Prize in 1863 for his work The New Fundamentals of the Steamers Tactics. Here we should not set aside the works devoted to deviation of I.P. Belavents who was the founder of magnetic compass school in the Russian Navy, K.N. Posiet’s treatise The Armament of Naval Ships, M.A. Rykcheev’s works on meteorology. In the late 80’s B.B. Golitsin and M.E. Zhdano graduated form the Hydrographic Department of the Academy and K.P. Boklevskiy and A.N. Krylov form the Shipbuilding Department respectively.

A great number of officers successfully graduated from the Academy in the end of the XIX century had fruitful career in many Navy related areas. For instance that was the design of I.G. Bubnov and M.I. Beklemishev that took a form of the first Russian submarines in 1904. I.G. Bubnov and A.N. Krylov took active participation in designing and construction of battleships. For the first time in the training process the course of naval warcraft history was introduced by N.L. Klado. The great contribution in the area of geography and oceanography was done by Yu.M. Shokalski. One of the successors of radio inventor A.S. Popov was A.A. Petrovski who established a new classroom discipline The Scientific Fundamentals of Wireless Telegraphy.

During the years of World War I there were completed such capital works as Ocenography by Yu.M. Shokalski, The Navy Means by L.G. Goncharov, Analysis of Vibration Caused by its Own Machine by A.N. Krylov, Newton’s work Philosophi? Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) was also translated into Russian and many other works.

In the time upon the October Revolution this list was added up by such capital works as Naval Strategy Fundamentals by B.B. Zherve, Treatise of Naval Artillery by L.G. Goncharov, The Essentials of Ship Theory and Earth Magnetism by A.N. Krylov, Theory and Practice of Gyrocompass by B.I. Kudrevich, Nautical Astronomy by N.N. Matusevich.

The given list of works speaks for both the wide variety of issues under consideration and depth of theoretical justification. The restoration of the Navy in the way of construction of new surface ships and submarines was going at full speed during the first five-year periods in accordance with the approved naval ship building programs.

The necessity appeared to increase the number of expertise naval personnel, increase the involvement of the teaching staff of the Academy (by that time renamed into the name of K.E. Voroshilov) in the development of new types of ships, warfare and means of combat. The regulations, manuals and instructions for the Navy had been developed with the participation or under supervision of scholars of the Academy. The new conditions of naval war were taken into consideration for the development of naval doctrine issues. This period can be highlighted with such remarkable works as Landing Operation by I.S. Isakov, Submarine Operations by A.I. Alexandrov, I.S. Isakov, and V.A. Belly, Air Forces in Naval Combat S.E. Stolyarovski and others.

Right before the Great Patriotic War the fundamental work Conducting of Naval Operations written in the Academy was published. This very work was taken as the basis for the development of Instructions for Naval Operations Conduct that was published in 1940 and used by the Navy Command and Staffs through out the war.

From the very start of the war the studies of the Academy were aimed at the solution of pressing issues set up by the Fleets and General Navy Staff. The were also a number of studies on consolidation of experience gained during the World War I and naval operations of the Fleets of capitalist countries.

Since 1942 being in evacuation the teaching staff kept on going with the researches including Fire Support of the Land Army from the Flank, Naval Camouflage, Theory of Ship Structures, Tactics of Naval Air Force, Tactical Use of Naval Artillery, Interference Resistance of Radio Receiver Sets, The Basis of Design of UHF Communication Lines and others.

That time the Academy greatly contributed to the shipbuilding industry in Astrakhan responsible for execution of orders issued by Navy Commissariat. This work involved admirals and officers L.G. Goncharov, E.L. Bravin, P.F. Papkovich, A.N. Schukin, Yu.A. Dobrotvorski, N.B. Pavlovich, V.F. Chernyshev, E.E. Shvede, N.V. Petrovski, N.G. Fedorov. After moving of the Academy to Samarkand there were completed such works as Offensive Combat, Defensive Combat, Accidental Engagement, Night Naval Combat, Tactical Use of Naval Artillery and others.

In August 1945 due to the instructions of the government the Engineering Faculties of the Naval Academy were reorganized into the Naval Academy of Shipbuilding and Armament named for A.N. Krylov.

The principle concept of studies in both Academies of that time was the reasoning, assimilation and implementation of the experience gained during the World War I and Great Patriotic War. The teaching staff was led by notable scholars and experienced teachers such as Academicians V.V. Shuleikin, A.N. Schukin, Corresponding Members of the USSR Academy of Sciences P.F. Papkovich, M.I. Yanovski.

Many graduates became notable scientists and occupied leading positions in the Navy and scientific institutions. Nowadays many of them keep on going with the scientific and teaching activities in the Navy establishments, industry and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Special importance was given to the issues of strategic use of the Navy and its cooperation with other branches of the Armed Forces, issues of support means development for combat and day-to-day activities of the Navy. The new concept was developed for the theory of naval operations governing the ways for naval forces enhancement and their use in military conflicts. The technical engineering recorded several hundred inventor's certificates covering wide variety of issues related to the activities of the Navy.

Many of the works completed in different time by Academy’s scientists remain still relevant nowadays. Among these works we can reckon in A.N. Krylov’s works on ship theory, Basis of Design of Radiotechnics by A.I. Berg, Electric propulsion of Ships by V.I. Polonski, Undersea Warfare Experince by A.V. Tomashevich, Engineering and Construction of Ordnance by B.D. Yanshov, Tides and Waves by V.A. Berezkin, works of V.E. Egoriev and E.E. Shvede on naval geography.

The modern stage of the combined Academy was started by the decree of presidium of the supreme soviet of the USSR as of January 15, 1960 named “About Considerable Reduction of USSR Forces”. According to this decree by the resolution of the Minister of Defense K.E. Voroshilov’s Naval Academy and A.N. Krylov’s Naval Academy of Shipbuilding and Armament were joined into one Naval Academy. Since 1980 the Academy bears the name of Admiral of the USSR Fleet N.G. Kuznetsov.

The leading position in the combined Academy was taken by the commanding faculty responsible for training of command staff for all the branches of the Navy. The training of officers and engineers with higher military education is being performed at three faculties namely armament, shipbuilding, and radioelectronics.

Scientific and technical progress in the military art, dramatic changes in the Navy structure in concepts for its challenges, development and deployment, fitting with the up-to-date weapons and technical means required to revise educational and scientific activities of the Academy.

Kuznetsov’s Naval Academy comprises a number of schools with the numerous scientific teams. Scientific foresight based on the system approach has become of significant importance. The carried out studies found a wide utility in the methods of probability theory, game theory, information theory, queuing theory, linear and dynamic programming and complete large-scale automation for the solution of prestrategic, engineering and commanding issues based on the usage of electronics and computer technologies.

For the last 16 years Kuznetsov’s Naval Academy carried out over 1000 defenses of doctoral and candidate dissertations. The leading scientists of the Academy take active part in the activities of the Superior Assessment Committee of the Russian Federation, technical and coordinating councils of many scientific and educational institutions of the Ministry of Defense and other ministries and departments. As the form of constructive cooperation with other institutions the Academy runs scientific seminars under the lead of Academy’s scientists and involving experts from various ministries and departments. The scientists of the Academy participate actively in all-Russian and international scientific workshops, conferences, and symposiums. The last decade is highlighted with the close cooperation between the Academy and research and development institutes and design bureaus responsible for the development of new samples of weapons and military equipment.

Thus for the time of its existence the Naval Academy had trained a great number well known naval commanders, discoverers, researches of seas and oceans, inventors and creators of naval weapons and equipment, builders of surface and underwater crafts. The Academy gave a start to different branches of concepts of naval theory and other sciences related to the construction and development of the Navy. The Academy employed 43 members of the Academy of Sciences, over 300 Doctors of Science and professors, thousands of experienced teachers and mentors, 153 graduates became Hero of the Soviet Union (five of them twice), 7 became Hero of Socialist Labor.

To summarize all the above mentioned it can be said that the scientists of the Academy had always been taken active part and direct involvement in construction and development of the Russian Navy, its weapons and military equipment. Many scientific solutions found application not only in the Navy but other areas of military construction and national economy. Beyond all question the results of scientific researches of the Naval Academy make up considerable part of the military and scientific potential of the Navy in particular and national defense capability in general.

Translation: RusNavy.com