Soviet Navy


The Soviet Navy () was the
naval warfare Naval warfare is human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
uniform service branch
uniform service branch
of the
Soviet Armed Forces The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union (, Вооружённые Силы Советского Союза) were the armed forces of the Russian SFSR ...
. Often referred to as the Red Fleet (), the Soviet Navy made up a large part of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a Political union, union of multiple national Republics of t ...
strategic planning Strategic planning is an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differenc ...

strategic planning
in the event of a conflict with the opposing
superpower A superpower is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

, the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
, during the
cold war The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its sta ...
period between the two countries. The Soviet Navy played a large role during the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its sta ...
(1945-1991), either confronting the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

western Europe
power projection Power projection (or force projection) is a term used in military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and ma ...
to maintain its
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. Russia, loca ...

eastern Europe
. The Soviet Navy was divided into four major fleets: the Northern,
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. T ...
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
, and Baltic Fleet, Baltic Fleets, in addition to the Leningrad Naval Base, which was commanded separately. It also had a smaller force, the Caspian Flotilla, which operated in the Caspian Sea and was followed by a larger fleet, the 5th Operational Squadron, 5th Squadron, in the Middle East. The Soviet Navy included Soviet Naval Aviation, Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry (Russia), Naval Infantry, and the Coastal Artillery. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation inherited the largest part of the Soviet Navy and reformed it into the Russian Navy, with smaller parts becoming the basis for navies of the newly independent post-Soviet states.

Early history

Russian Civil War (1917–1922)

The Soviet Navy was based on a republican naval force formed from the remnants of the Imperial Russian Navy, which had been almost completely destroyed in the two Revolutions of 1917 (February and October/November) during World War I (1914–1918), the following Russian Civil War (1917–1922), and the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921. During the revolutionary period, Russian sailors deserted their ships at will and generally neglected their duties. The officers were dispersed (some were killed by the Red Terror, some joined the "White movement, White" (anti-communist) opposing armies, and others simply resigned) and most of the sailors walked off and left their ships. Work stopped in the shipyards, where uncompleted ships deteriorated rapidly. The Black Sea Fleet fared no better than the Baltic Sea, Baltic. The Bolshevik (Communist) revolution entirely disrupted its personnel, with mass murders of officers; the ships were allowed to decay to unserviceability. At the end of April 1918, German Empire, Imperial German troops moved along the Black Sea coast and entered Crimea and started to advance towards the Sevastopol naval base. The more effective ships were moved from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk where, after an ultimatum from Germany, they were scuttled by Vladimir Lenin's order. The ships remaining in Sevastopol were captured by the Germans and then, after the later Armistice of 11 November 1918 on the Western Front (World War I), Western Front which ended the War, additional Russian ships were confiscated by the British. On 1 April 1919, during the ensuing Russian Civil War when Red Army forces captured Crimea, the British Royal Navy squadron had to withdraw, but before leaving they damaged all the remaining battleships and sank thirteen new submarines. When the opposing Czarist White Army captured Crimea in 1919, it rescued and reconditioned a few units. At the end of the civil war, Wrangel's fleet, a White flotilla, moved south through the Black Sea, Dardanelles straits and the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to Bizerta in French Tunisia on the North Africa coast, where it was interned. The first ship of the revolutionary navy could be considered the rebellious Imperial Russian cruiser , built 1900, whose crew joined the communist Bolsheviks. Sailors of the Baltic fleet supplied the fighting force of the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky during the October Revolution of November 1917 against the democratic provisional government of Alexander Kerensky established after the earlier first revolution of February against the Czar of Russia, Czar. Some imperial vessels continued to serve after the revolution, albeit with different names. The Soviet Navy, established as the "Workers' and Peasants' Red Fleet" () by a 1918 Soviet Decrees, decree of the new Council of People's Commissars, installed as a temporary Russian revolutionary government, was less than service-ready during the interwar years of 1918 to 1941. As the country's attentions were largely directed internally, the Navy did not have much funding or training. An indicator of its reputation was that the Soviets were not invited to participate in negotiations for the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921–1922, which limited the size and capabilities of the most powerful navies - British, American, Japanese, French, Italian. The greater part of the old fleet was sold by the Soviet government to post-war Germany for scrap. In the Baltic Sea there remained only three much-neglected battleships, two cruisers, some ten destroyers, and a few submarines. Despite this state of affairs, the Baltic Fleet remained a significant naval formation, and the Black Sea Fleet also provided a basis for expansion. There also existed some thirty minor-waterways combat flotillas.

Interwar period (1922–1941)

During the 1930s, as the industrialization of the Soviet Union proceeded, plans were made to expand the Soviet Navy into one of the most powerful in the world. Approved by the Labour and Defence Council in 1926, the Naval Shipbuilding Program included plans to construct twelve submarines; the first six were to become known as the .''Periods of Activities (1926–1941)''
Online (Accessed 5/24/2008)

SOE CDB ME "Rubin"
, Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Beginning 4 November 1926, ''Technical Bureau Nº 4'' (formerly the Submarine Department, and still secret), under the leadership of Boris Mikhailovich Malinin, B.M. Malinin, managed the submarine construction works at the Baltic Shipyard. In subsequent years, 133 submarines were built to designs developed during Malinin's management. Additional developments included the formation of the Pacific Fleet in 1932 and the Northern Fleet in 1933. The forces were to be built around a core of powerful s. This building program was only in its initial stages by the time the Operation Barbarossa, German invasion forced its suspension in 1941. By the end of 1937, the biggest fleet was the Baltic Fleet based at Leningrad, with two battleships, one training cruiser, eight destroyers including one destroyer leader, five patrol ships, two minesweepers, and some more older minesweepers. The Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol included one battleship, three cruisers, one training cruiser, five destroyers, two patrol ships, and four minesweepers. The Northern Fleet operating from the shores of Kola Bay and Polyarny, Murmansk Oblast, Polyarny was made up of three destroyers and three patrol ships, while the Pacific Fleet had two destroyers, transferred east in 1936, and six patrol ships assembled in the Far East. The Soviet Navy had some minor action in the Winter War against Finland in 1939–1940, on the Baltic Sea. It was limited mainly to cruisers and battleships fighting artillery duels with Finnish forts.

World War II: The Great Patriotic War (1941–1945)

Building a Soviet fleet was a national priority, but many senior officers were killed in Joseph Stalin, Stalinist purges in the late 1930s. The naval share of the national armaments budget fell from 11.5% in 1941 to 6.6% in 1944. When Nazi Germany invaded in June 1941 and initially captured millions of soldiers, many sailors and naval guns were detached to reinforce the Red Army; these reassigned naval forces had especially significant roles on land in the battles for Battle of Odessa (1941), Odessa, Battle of Sevastopol, Sevastopol, Battle of Stalingrad, Stalingrad, Novorossiysk, Reichskommissariat Kaukasus#German Caucasian campaign, Tuapse, and Siege of Leningrad, Leningrad. The Baltic fleet was blockaded in Leningrad and Kronstadt by minefields, but the submarines escaped. The surface fleet fought with the Anti-aircraft warfare, anti-aircraft defence of the city and bombarded German positions.Sergeĭ Georgievich Gorshkov, ''Red Star Rising at Sea'' (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1974) The U.S. and Britain through the Lend Lease program gave the USSR several of their ships with a total displacement of 810,000 tons. The composition of the Soviet fleets in 1941 included: * 3 battleships, * 7 cruisers (including 4 modern heavy cruisers), * 59 destroyers (including 46 modern and destroyers), * 218 submarines, * 269 torpedo boats, * 22 patrol vessels, * 88 minesweepers, * 77 submarine chasers, * and a range of other smaller vessels. In various stages of completion were another 219 vessels including 3 battleships, 2 heavy and 7 light cruisers, 45 destroyers, and 91 submarines. Included in the totals above are some pre-World War I ships (-class destroyers, some of the cruisers, and all the battleships), some modern ships built in the USSR and Europe (like the Italian-built destroyer and the partially completed German cruiser ). During the war, many of the vessels on the slips in Leningrad and Nikolayev (Ukraine), Nikolayev were destroyed (mainly by aircraft and Naval mine, mines), but the Soviet Navy received captured Romanian destroyers and Lend-Lease small craft from the U.S., as well as the old Royal Navy battleship (renamed ''Arkhangelsk'') and the United States Navy cruiser (renamed ''Murmansk'') in exchange for the Soviet part of the captured Italian navy. In the Baltic Sea, after Tallinn's capture, surface ships were blockaded in Leningrad and Kronstadt by minefields, where they participated with the anti-aircraft defence of the city and bombarded German positions. One example of Soviet resourcefulness was the battleship , an ageing pre-World War I ship sunk at anchor in Kronstadt's harbour by German Junkers Ju 87 aircraft in 1941. For the rest of the war, the non-submerged part of the ship remained in use as a grounded battery. Submarines, although suffering great losses due to German and Finnish Anti-submarine warfare, anti-submarine actions, had a major role in the war at sea by disrupting Kriegsmarine, Axis navigation in the Baltic Sea. In the Black Sea, many ships were damaged by minefields and Luftwaffe, Axis aviation, but they helped defend naval bases and supply them while besieged, as well as later evacuating them. Heavy naval guns and sailors helped defend port cities during long sieges by Wehrmacht, Axis armies. In the Arctic Ocean, Soviet Northern Fleet destroyers (''Novik'' class, Type 7, and Type 7U) and smaller craft participated with the anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defence of Allied convoys conducting Lend-Lease cargo shipping. In the Pacific Ocean, the Soviet Union was not at war with Japan before 1945, so some destroyers were transferred to the Northern Fleet. From the beginning of hostilities, Soviet Naval Aviation provided air support to naval and land operations involving the Soviet Navy. This service was responsible for the operation of shore-based floatplanes, long-range flying boats, catapult-launched and vessel-based planes, and land-based aircraft designated for naval use. As post-war spoils, the Soviets received several Italian and Japanese warships and much German naval engineering and architectural documentation.

Cold War (1945–1991)

In February 1946, the Red Fleet was renamed and became known as the Soviet Navy (russian: Советский Военно-Морской Флот, Sovyetsky Voyenno-Morskoy Flot, Soviet Military Maritime Fleet). After the war, the Soviets concluded that they needed a navy that could disrupt Sea lines of communication, supply lines, and display a small naval presence to the developing world. As the natural resources the Soviet Union needed were available on the Eurasian landmass, it did not need a navy to protect a large commercial fleet, as the western navies were configured to do. Later, countering seaborne nuclear delivery systems became another significant objective of the navy, and an impetus for expansion. The Soviet Navy was structured around submarines and small, maneuverable, tactical vessels. The Soviet shipbuilding program kept yards busy constructing submarines based upon World War II German ''Kriegsmarine'' U-boat#U-boat developments, designs, which were launched with great frequency during the immediate post-war years. Afterwards, through a combination of indigenous research and technology obtained through espionage from Nazi Germany and the Western nations, the Soviets gradually improved their submarine designs, though they initially lagged behind the western North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries by a decade or two. The Soviets were quick to equip their surface fleet with missiles of various sorts. Indeed, it became a feature of Soviet design to place large missiles onto relatively small, but fast, missile boats, while in the West such an approach would never have been considered tactically feasible. The Soviet Navy did also possess several very large and well-armed Cruiser#Later 20th century, guided-missile cruisers, like those of the and classes. By the 1970s, Soviet submarine technology was in some respects more advanced than in the West, and several of their submarine types were considered superior to their American rivals. The 5th Operational Squadron (:ru:5-я Средиземноморская эскадра кораблей ВМФ) operated in the Mediterranean Sea. The squadron's main function was to prevent largescale naval ingress into the Black Sea, which could bypass the need for any invasion to be over the Eurasian land mass. The flagship of the squadron was for a long period the ''Zhdanov''.

Carriers and aviation

In the strategic planning laid by the Soviet strategists, the aircraft carriers had little importance and received little attention in a view of supporting the naval strategy of disrupting sea lines of communication— nonetheless, the program of aircraft carriers pursued as way of keeping up the competition with the United States Navy, U.S. Navy. The Soviet Navy still had the mission of confronting Western submarines, creating a need for large surface vessels to carry anti-submarine helicopters. During 1968 and 1969 the s were first deployed, succeeded by the first of four aircraft-carrying cruisers of the in 1973. Both of these types were capable of operating ASW helicopters, and the ''Kiev'' class also operated V/STOL aircraft (''e.g.'', the Yakovlev Yak-38, Yak-38 'Forger'); they were designed to operate for fleet defense, primarily within range of land-based Soviet Naval Aviation aircraft. During the 1970s the Soviets began Project 1153 Orel (Eagle), whose stated purpose was to create an aircraft carrier capable of basing fixed-wing fighter aircraft in defense of the deployed fleet. The project was canceled during the planning stages when strategic priorities shifted once more. It was during the 1980s that the Soviet Navy acquired its first true aircraft carrier, ''Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Tbilisi'', subsequently renamed ''Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov'',The Self-Designing High-Reliability Organization: Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations at Sea
." Rochlin, G. I.; La Porte, T. R.; Roberts, K. H. Footnote 39. ''Naval War College Review''. Autumn, 1987, Vol. LI, No. 3.
which carries Sukhoi Su-33, Sukhoi Su-33 'Flanker-D' and Mikoyan MiG-29, MiG-29 fighters, and Kamov Ka-27, Ka-27 helicopters. A distinctive feature of Soviet aircraft carriers has been their offensive missile armament (as well as long-range anti-aircraft warfare armament), again representing a fleet-defense operational concept, in distinction to the Western emphasis on shore-strike missions from distant deployment. A second carrier (pre-commissioning name ''Varyag'') was under construction when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Construction stopped and the ship was sold later, incomplete, to the China, People's Republic of China by Ukraine, which inherited part of the old Soviet fleet after the break-up of the USSR. It was commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012 as the . Soon after the launch of this second ''Kuznetsov''-class ship, the Soviet Navy began the construction of an improved aircraft carrier design, , which was to have been slightly larger than the ''Kuznetsov'' class and nuclear-powered. The project was terminated, and what little structure had been initiated in the building ways was scrapped. In part to perform the functions usual to carrier-borne aircraft, the Soviet Navy deployed large numbers of strategic bombers in a maritime role, with the ''Soviet Naval Aviation, Aviatsiya Voenno-Morskogo Flota'' (AV-MF, or Naval Aviation service). Strategic bombers like the Tupolev Tupolev Tu-16, Tu-16 'Badger' and Tupolev Tu-22M, Tu-22M 'Backfire' were deployed with high-speed anti-shipping missiles. Previously believed to be interceptors of NATO supply convoys traveling the sea lines of communication across the North Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America, the primary role of these aircraft was to protect the Soviet mainland from attacks by U.S. carrier task forces.


Due to the USSR's geographic position, submarines were considered the capital ships of the Navy. It was submarines that could penetrate attempts at blockade, either in the constrained waters of the Baltic and Black Seas or in the remote reaches of the USSR's western Arctic. Surface ships were clearly much easier to find and attack. The USSR had entered World War II with more submarines than Germany, but geography and the speed of the German attack precluded it from effectively using its more numerous fleet to its advantage. Because of its opinion that "quantity had a quality of its own" and the insistence of Sergey Gorshkov, Fleet Admiral Gorshkov, the Soviet Navy continued to operate many first-generation missile submarines, built in the early 1960s, until the end of the Cold War in 1991. In some respects, including speed and reactor technology, Soviet submarines achieved unique successes, but for most of the era lagged their Western counterparts in overall capability. In addition to their relatively high speeds and great operating depths they were difficult anti-submarine warfare (ASW) targets to destroy because of their multiple compartments, their large reserve buoyancy, and especially their double-hulled design.Norman Polmar, ''Guide to the Soviet Navy'', Fourth Edition (1986), United States Naval Institute, Annapolis Maryland, Their principal shortcomings were insufficient noise-damping (American boats were quieter) and primitive sonar technology. Acoustics was a particularly interesting type of information that the Soviets sought about the West's submarine-production methods, and the long-active John Anthony Walker spy ring may have made a major contribution to their knowledge of such. The Soviet Navy possessed numerous purpose-built guided missile submarines, such as the , as well as many ballistic missile and attack submarines; their are the world's largest submarines. While Western navies assumed that the Soviet attack submarine force was designed for interception of NATO convoys, the Soviet leadership never prepared their submarines for such a mission. The force also targeted American carrier battle group, aircraft carrier battle groups. Over the years Soviet submarines suffered a number of accidents, most notably on several nuclear boats. The most famous incidents include the , and the ''Soviet submarine K-278, Komsomolets'', both lost to fire, and the far more menacing nuclear reactor leak on the , narrowly averted by Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev, her captain. Inadequate nuclear safety, poor damage control, and quality-control issues during construction (particularly on the earlier submarines) were typical causes of accidents. On several occasions there were alleged collisions with American submarines. None of these, however, has been confirmed officially by the U.S. Navy. On 28 August 1976, ''K-22'' (Echo-class submarine, Echo II) collided with frigate in the Mediterranean Sea.


After the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Navy, like other branches of Armed Forces, eventually lost some of its units to former Soviet Republics, and was left without funding. Some ships were transferred to former Soviet states: * Baltic Sea: Estonian Navy, Latvian Navy and Lithuanian Navy. All three countries joined NATO in 2004. * Black Sea: Ukrainian Navy and Georgian Navy. The Georgian Navy was defeated by the Russian Navy at the battle off Abkhazia in 2008. Most of the Ukrainian Navy ships were captured back during the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014. * Caspian Sea: Azerbaijani Navy, Kazakh Naval Forces, Kazakh Navy and Turkmen Naval Forces, Turkmen Navy.


In 1990, the Soviet Navy had: * 63 ballistic missile submarines: :: 6 Typhoon-class submarine, Project 941 (Typhoon-class) submarines :: 40 Delta-class submarine, Project 667B (Delta-class) submarines :: 12 Yankee-class submarine, Project 667A (Yankee-class) submarines :: 5 Hotel-class submarine, Project 658 (Hotel-class) submarines * 72 cruise missile submarines: :: 6 s :: 6 Yankee-class submarine, Yankee Notch submarines :: 14 s :: 30 s :: 16 s * 68 attack submarine, nuclear attack submarines: :: 5 s :: 2 s :: 6 s :: 46 s :: 6 s :: 3 Yankee-class submarine, Yankee SSN submarine * 63 attack submarine, conventional attack submarines: :: 18 s :: 20 s :: 25 s * 9 auxiliary submarines :: 1 :: 1 :: 2 s :: 4 s :: 1 * 7 aircraft carriers / helicopter carriers: :: 1 :: 4 s :: 2 s * 3 battlecruisers: :: 3 s * 30 cruisers: :: 3 s :: 7 s :: 4 s :: 10 s :: 4 s :: 2 s * 45 destroyers: :: 11 s :: 11 s :: 18 s :: 3 s :: 2 s * 113 frigates: :: 32 s :: 1 s :: 18 s :: 31 s :: 31 s * 124 corvettes: :: 10 s :: 36 s :: 78 s * 42 amphibious warfare ships: :: 3 s :: 19 s :: 14 s :: 6 s * ≈425 patrol boats

Soviet Naval Aviation

The regular Soviet naval aviation units were created in 1918. They participated in the Russian Civil War, cooperating with the ships and the army during the combats at Petrograd, on the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Volga, the Kama River, Northern Dvina and on the Lake Onega. The newborn Soviet Naval Air Force consisted of only 76 obsolete hydroplanes. Scanty and technically imperfect, it was mostly used for resupplying the ships and the army. In the second half of the 1920s, the Naval Aviation order of battle began to grow. It received new reconnaissance hydroplanes, bombers, and fighters. In the mid-1930s, the Soviets created the Naval Air Force in the Baltic Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet and the Soviet Pacific Fleet. The importance of naval aviation had grown significantly by 1938–1940, to become one of the main components of the Soviet Navy. By this time, the Soviets had created formations and units of the torpedo and bomb aviation.

Soviet Naval Infantry

During World War II, about 350,000 Soviet sailors fought on land. At the beginning of the war, the navy had only one naval brigade in the Baltic fleet, but began forming and training other battalions. These eventually were: * 6 naval infantry regiments (650 marines in two battalions) * 40 naval infantry brigades of 5–10 battalions, formed from surplus ships' crews. Five brigades were awarded Russian Guards, ''Gvardy'' (Guards) status. * Numerous smaller units * 1 division - the 55th Naval Infantry Division, formerly a Red Army formation The military situation demanded the deployment of large numbers of marines on land fronts, so the Naval Infantry contributed to the defense of Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Sevastopol, Stalingrad, Novorossiysk, Kerch. The Naval Infantry conducted over 114 landings, most of which were carried out by platoons and companies. In general, however, Naval Infantry served as regular infantry, without any amphibious training. They conducted four major operations: two during the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, one during the Battle of the Caucasus, Caucasus Campaign and one as part of the Moonsund Landing Operation, Landing at Moonsund, in the Baltic Sea, Baltic. During the war, five brigades and two battalions of naval infantry were awarded Guards status. Nine brigades and six battalions were awarded decorations, and many were given honorary titles. The title Hero of the Soviet Union was bestowed on 122 members of naval infantry units. The Soviet experience in amphibious warfare in World War II contributed to the development of Soviet combined arms operations. Many members of the Naval Infantry were parachute trained, conducting more drops and successful parachute operations, than the Russian Airborne Troops, Soviet Airborne Troops (VDV). The Naval Infantry was disbanded in 1947, with some units being transferred to the Coastal Defence Forces. In 1961, the Naval Infantry was re-formed and became one of the active combat services of the Navy. Each Fleet was assigned a Marine unit of regiment (and later brigade) size. The Naval Infantry received amphibious versions of standard Armoured fighting vehicle, including tanks used by the Soviet Army. By 1989, the Naval Infantry numbered 18,000 marines, organized into a Marine Division and 4 independent Marine brigades; * 55th Naval Infantry Division, at Vladivostok * 63rd Guards ''Kirkenneskaya'' Brigade at Pechengsky District, Pechenga (Northern Fleet) * 175th Brigade, at Tumanny in the North * 336th Guards Brigade at Baltiysk (Baltic Fleet) * 810th Brigade, at Sevastopol (Black Sea Fleet) By the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its sta ...
, the Soviet Navy had over eighty landing ships, as well as two s. The latter could transport one infantry battalion with 40 armoured vehicles and their landing craft. (One of the ''Rogov'' ships has since been retired.) At 75 units, the Soviet Union had the world's largest inventory of combat hovercraft, air-cushion assault craft. In addition, many of the 2,500 vessels of the Soviet Merchant marine, merchant fleet (''Morflot'') could off-load weapons and supplies during amphibious landings. On 18 November 1990, on the eve of the Paris Summit where the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) were signed, Soviet data was presented under the so-called initial data exchange. This showed a rather sudden emergence of three so-called coastal defence divisions (including the 3rd Guards Motor Rifle Division, 3rd at Klaipėda in the Baltic Military District, the 126th in the Odessa Military District and seemingly the 77th Guards Motor Rifle Division with the Northern Fleet), along with three artillery brigades/regiments, subordinate to the Soviet Navy, which had previously been unknown as such to NATO. Much of the equipment, which was commonly understood to be treaty limited (TLE) was declared to be part of the naval infantry. The Soviet argument was that the CFE excluded all naval forces, including its permanently land-based components. The Soviet Government eventually became convinced that its position could not be maintained. A proclamation of the Soviet government on 14 July 1991, which was later adopted by its successor states, provided that all "treaty-limited equipment" (tanks, artillery, and armored vehicles) assigned to naval infantry or coastal defense forces, would count against the total treaty entitlement.

Heads of the Soviet Naval Forces

Commanders of the Naval Forces

Commanders of Naval Forces of the RSFSR ("KoMorSi") * Vasiliy Altfater, Vasili Mikhailovich Altfater (15 October 1918 – 22 April 1919), * Yevgeniy Berens, Yevgeny Andreyevich Berens (24 April 1919 – 5 February 1920), * Aleksandr Nemits, Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Nemits (5 February 1920 – 22 November 1921). Commander-in-Chief's Assistant for Naval Affairs (from 27 August 1921 Commanders-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of the USSR ("NaMorSi") (from 1 January 1924) * Eduard Pantserzhanskiy, Eduard Samoilovich Pantserzhansky (22 November 1921 – 9 December 1924), * Vyacheslav Zof, Vyacheslav Ivanovich Zof (9 December 1924 – 23 August 1926), * Romuald Muklevich, Romuald Adamovich Muklevich (23 August 1926 – 11 June 1931), * Fleet Flag-officer 1st RankA naval rank from 1935. Vladimir Mitrofanovich Orlov (11 June 1931 – 15 August 1937), * Fleet Flag-officer 2nd Rank Lev Galler, Lev Mikhailovich Galler (10 July – 15 August 1937) Acting, * Fleet Flag-officer 1st Rank Mikhail Viktorov, Mikhail Vladimirovich Viktorov (15 August 1937 – 30 December 1937). People's Commissars for the USSR Navy ("NarKom VMF USSR") (from 1938) * Army Commissar 1st Rank Pyotr Alexandrovich Smirnov (30 December 1937 – 5 November 1938), * Army Commander 1st Rank Mikhail Frinovskiy, Mikhail Petrovich Frinovsky (5 November 1938 – 20 March 1939), * AdmiralFleet Flag-officer 2nd Rank from 17 January 1938, Admiral (June 1940), Admiral of the Fleet (February 1944), Rear Admiral (1948), Admiral of the Fleet (1953), Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union (March 1955), Vice-Admiral (February 1956), Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union (1988, posthumous). Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov (from 27 April 1939). Commanders-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy ("GlavKom VMF") (from 1943) * Fleet Admiral Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov (to January 1947), * Admiral Ivan Yumashev, Ivan Stepanovich Yumashev (17 January 1947 – 20 July 1951), * Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov (20 July 1951 – 5 January 1956), second term, * Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Sergey Gorshkov, Sergey Georgyevich Gorshkov (5 January 1956 – 8 December 1985), considered the officer most responsible for reforming the Soviet Navy, * Fleet Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, Vladimir Nikolayevich Chernavin (8 December 1985 – December 1991; CIS Navy through August 1992).

Chiefs of the General Staff of the Navy

Chief of the Naval General Staff * Yevgeny Berens, Behrens, Evgeny Andreevich (1 November 1917 – 22 May 1919) * Vecheslov, Vladimir Stepanovich (wreed, 22 May – 11 September 1919) * Melentyev, Alexander Nikolaevich (11 September 1919 – 27 August 1921) Chief of Staff of the Commander of the Republic Naval Forces * Radzievsky, Boris Stepanovich (22 July 1919 – 3 July 1920) Chief of Staff of All Republic Maritime Forces * Radzievsky, Boris Stepanovich (3 July 1920 – 11 January 1921) * Dombrovsky, Alexey Vladimirovich (11 January 1921 – 27 August 1921) Chief of the Naval Staff of the Republic * Dombrovsky, Alexey Vladimirovich (27 August 1921 – 23 December 1923) Chief of Staff of the RKKF * Dombrovsky, Alexey Vladimirovich (23 December 1923 – 17 December 1924) * Georgy Stepanov, Stepanov, Georgy Andreevich (wreed, 17 December 1924 – 2 January 1925) * Blinov, Sergei Pavlovich (17 December 1924 – 31 August 1926) Head of the Training Directorate of the UVMS of the Red Army * Toshakov, Arkady Alexandrovich (31 August 1926 – 23 August 1927, vred until 29 October 1926) * Petrov, Mikhail Alexandrovich (23 August 1927 – 12 October 1930) * Ludry, Ivan Martynovich (28 November 1930 – 9 March 1932) * Eduard Pantserzhanskiy, Panzerzhansky, Eduard Samuilovich (13 April – 4 October 1932) Head of the 1st Directorate of the UVMS of the Red Army * Gorsky, Mikhail Emelyanovich (4 October 1932 – 20 January 1935) Head of the 2nd Directorate of the UVMS of the Red Army * Eduard Pantserzhanskiy, Panzerzhansky, Eduard Samuilovich (4 October 1932 – 20 January 1935) Head of the 1st Department of the Red Army Naval Forces Directorate * Eduard Pantserzhanskiy, Panzerzhansky, Eduard Samuilovich (20 January 1935 – 5 March 1937), 1st rank flagship Chief of Staff of the Red Army Naval Forces * Stasevich, Pavel Grigorievich (20 March – 19 August 1937), Captain 1st Rank * Kalachev, Vladimir Petrovich (19 August 1937 – 3 February 1938), Captain 1st Rank Chief of the Main Naval Staff of the Navy * Haller, Lev Mikhailovich (10 January 1938 – 23 October 1940), flagship of the 2nd rank fleet * Ivan Isakov, Isakov, Ivan Stepanovich (23 October 1940 – 21 April 1945), Admiral, from 1944 Admiral of the Fleet * Alafuzov, Vladimir Antonovich (Wreed, July 1942 - March 1943), Rear Admiral * Stepanov, Georgy Andreevich (Wreed, March 1943 - July 1944), Vice Admiral * Alafuzov, Vladimir Antonovich (Wreed, July 1944 - April 1945), Vice Admiral, from 1944 Admiral * Kucherov, Stepan Grigorievich (21 April 1945 – 18 February 1946), Admiral Chief of the Main Staff of the Navy * Ivan Isakov, Isakov, Ivan Stepanovich (18 February 1946 – 19 February 1947), Admiral of the Fleet * Golovko, Arseny Grigorievich (19 February 1947 – 10 February 1950), Admiral Chief of the Naval General Staff * Golovko, Arseny Grigorievich (10 February 1950 – 6 August 1952), Admiral * Eliseev, Ivan Dmitrievich (interim, 6 August 1952 – 10 March 1953), Vice Admiral Chief of the General Staff of the Navy * Eliseev, Ivan Dmitrievich (interim, 15 March – 11 May 1953), Vice Admiral * Fokin, Vitaly Alekseevich (11 May 1953 – 16 March 1955), Vice Admiral, from 1953 Admiral Chief of the Main Staff of the Navy * Fokin, Vitaly Alekseevich (16 March 1955 – 19 February 1958), Admiral * Zozulya, Fyodor Vladimirovich (19 February 1958 – 25 May 1964), admiral, died on 21 April 1964. * Nikolai Sergeyev (admiral), Sergeev, Nikolai Dmitrievich (13 June 1964 – 1 July 1977), Vice Admiral, Admiral from 1965, Admiral of the Fleet from 1970 * Georgy Yegorov, Egorov, Georgy Mikhailovich (1 July 1977 – 18 November 1981), Admiral of the Fleet * Vladimir Chernavin, Chernavin, Vladimir Nikolaevich (16 December 1981 – 29 November 1985), Admiral of the Fleet * Konstantin Makarov, Makarov, Konstantin Valentinovich (30 December 1985 – 12 September 1992), Admiral, since 1989 Admiral of the Fleet

See also

* Naval history of World War II * 1966 Soviet submarine global circumnavigation * List of ships of the Soviet Navy * List of USSR navy flags * List of Russian admirals



* Goldstein, Lyle; Zhukov, Yuri (2004)
"A Tale of Two Fleets: A Russian Perspective on the 1973 Naval Standoff in the Mediterranean"
''Naval War College Review''. * Goldstein, Lyle; John Hattendorf; Zhukov, Yuri. (2005
"The Cold War at Sea: An International Appraisal"
''Journal of Strategic Studies''. ISSN 0140-2390 * Gorshkov, Sergeĭ Georgievich. ''Red Star Rising at Sea'' (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1974) * * Nilsen, Thomas; Kudrik, Igor; Nikitin, Aleksandr (1996)
''Report 2: 1996: The Russian Northern Fleet''
Oslo/St. Petersburg: Bellona Foundation. . Chapter 8, "Nuclear submarine accidents". * James Oberg, Oberg, James (1988).
Uncovering Soviet Disasters
'. New York: Random House. . * Rohwer, Jürgen, and Mikhail S. Monakov, ''Stalin's Ocean-Going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programmes, 1935–1953'' (Psychology Press, 2001) * * * Sontag, Sherry; Drew, Christopher; Drew, Annette Lawrence (1998). ''Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage''. Harper. .

External links

Russian Navy

Soviet Submarines

Russian Navy Weapons

All Soviet Warships – Complete Ship List (English)

All Soviet Submarines – Complete Ship List (English)

Understanding Soviet naval developments (English)
{{Authority control Soviet Navy, Military of the Soviet Union Disbanded navies Military units and formations established in 1918 Military units and formations disestablished in 1991 1918 establishments in Russia 1991 disestablishments in the Soviet Union