Black Sea Fleet Museum
The Black Sea fleet was created under Catherine II. She travelled to
Sevastopol, four years after its foundation. A plan of the defensive
fortifications of Sevastopol created by Marshall Suvorov hangs on the wall of
the Black Sea Fleet Museum. His army built the fortifications skirting the
shore of the north harbor. A painting depicts his troops standing on the shore
after the conclusion of the peace treaty with Turkey with a Turkish flotilla of
ships in the harbor. There were no Russian ships because the Russian fleet did
not yet exist at Sevastopol. The shores were doted with earthen ramparts, built
to threaten the flotilla of the Turkish Sultan Gaspan Pasha. They compelled him
to sail away without having fired a shot. After the Turks left, the Russian
ships built on the Azov Sea arrived. Prior to the arrival of those ships the
hills were devoid of constructions. The Black Sea Fleet consisted of those
eleven ships. Admiral Ushakov never suffered a defeat at sea. Just as Marshall
Suvorov never was defeated in land battles. Ships had two or three decks full
of cast bronze cannon.
When the allies landed on the Crimean shores prior to the battle of the Alma,
the Russians had prevented their landing directly at the city by sinking ships
at the entrances to the harbors of Sevastopol.
The Malakhov Kurgan is situated on the Korabel'naya side or Eastern side of the
South Harbor, which it dominates. In June, 1858, it occupied the crucial height
commanding the south shore. When it was taken by the French, including the
Zouaves, the Russian army command decided to evacuate 30,000 infantry and
20,000 sailors from the city. They built a bridge across the North Harbor,
evacuating the Southern side of the city. The painter Franz Aleseevich Rubo was
commissioned to paint ten scenes of the siege of Sevastopol for the Panorama
museum. Five more paintings hang in the Black Sea Fleet Museum. One painting
depicts the Malakhov Kurgan (mound), another the floating bridge across the
North Harbor also known as the large harbor.
Another painter Zhukovskyi was a first hand participant in the Crimean War.
Aivazovskyi, the most famous painter of maritime scenes, painted a picture
depicting the first bombardment of Sevastopol. The painting shows the
bombardment by the French and English ships of the Constantine (Constantinov)
battery. The Russian name for the Constantine battery was the Volokhov tower,
since it was built by a contractor by the name of Volokhov. There were only a
few guns on a battery on the hill above, which badly damaged three British
ships, and so was called the Wasp battery.
Dr. Valery Krestyannikov, Assistant Director of the Museum of the Heroic
Defense and Liberation of Sevastopol, known to the West as the Siege of
Sevastopol answers the question: "Why was it necessary to scuttle ships to
block the way into the North Harbor?" "It should be noted that there
was a call for shore batteries to defend the Sevastopol harbor, and there was a
serious shortage of ammunition, stores and even some parapets were without any
cannons. Of 533 pieces, aimed from the shore batteries in the fall of 1853
there were only 28 high trajectory 3 pound cannons and 169 pound Yedinorog. The
majority of cannons on the batteries were 36 to 12 pounders. At that time, many
line ships of the Russian and the Allies had on the lower decks only heavy high
trajectory canons, which is to say that one such ship had more canons than were
available to the entire Sevastopol fortress." Here are some photos outside
and inside the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet. mbsf54,
mbsf55, mbsf56, seva101s, seva100s,
crim08 Among the displays is a saber. Here is the
story of that saber.
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