On September 11, the Day of Military Glory of Russia is celebrated - the Day of the Victory of the Russian squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Fyodor Fedorovich Ushakov over the Ottoman fleet at Cape Tendra.
In the battle that took place between the Tendrovskaya Spit and the Khadzhibey fortress on September 8-9, 1790, the Russian squadron defeated the naval forces of the Ottoman Empire, which were trying to control the approaches to Sevastopol and block the exit from the Dnieper estuary.
The victory in the Battle of Tendra, according to historians, demonstrated the ability of the Russian fleet to effectively fight the Turks in the Black Sea basin and brought the signing of the Yassy Peace closer.
Struggle for the Northern Black Sea Region
For centuries, the activities of the Ottoman Empire in the Northern Black Sea and Azov regions have presented Russia with serious problems.
The troops of the Turkish Sultan and his vassal, the Crimean Khan, regularly made destructive raids deep into Russian territories.
Peter I, who seized the fortress of Azov, was able to press the Turks in the region for some time.
However, the failure in the Prut campaign in 1711 brought his successes to naught.
The Turkish sultan entered the war of 1768-1774, planning to seize vast lands on the territory of modern Ukraine.
However, Russian troops inflicted a number of serious defeats on the Ottoman Empire and entered the Crimea.
In 1774, the Turkish authorities were forced to sign the Kuchuk-Kainardzhi agreement, which was painful for them.
Turkey transferred to Russia lands in the North Caucasus, between the Dnieper and the Southern Bug, and also renounced the rights to a number of fortresses and the Crimea.
In addition, the Ottomans recognized the right of the Russian merchant fleet to move freely in the Black Sea, and they transferred Wallachia and Moldavia to a Russian protectorate.
The terms of the agreement aroused strong discontent among the Turkish authorities, and the Ottomans almost immediately began to sabotage it, limiting Russian merchant shipping in the region and organizing provocations in Crimea.
Against the background of requests from the population of the peninsula to restore order, Catherine II included Crimea in Russia in 1783.
In the 1780s, revanchist sentiments prevailed in the Ottoman Empire.
Sultan Abdul-Hamid I demanded that Russia give up Crimea, stop supporting Georgia and provide merchant ships for inspection.
St. Petersburg rejected the ultimatum.
In 1787, the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia, putting a 200,000-strong army and a powerful fleet against it.
However, Russian troops took the fortresses of Khotin and Ochakov, defeated the Turks in the Fokshan and Rymnik battles, and also drove them out of the Kinburn Spit.
Against the background of these failures, the Ottoman command pinned great hopes on the fleet.
Northern Black Sea region
© Wikimedia Commons
War at sea
"You need to understand that in the 18th century the Black Sea was, in fact, a" Turkish lake ", and this situation only began to change in the 1780s," said Igor Kurukin, professor of the Russian State Humanitarian University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, in an interview with RT.
In the 80s of the 18th century, Russia launched the construction of warships on the shores of the Black Sea.
The first shipbuilding base was Kherson, founded in 1778.
In 1783, the construction of Sevastopol began, and the Black Sea Fleet was officially created.
In 1788, a shipyard appeared at the mouth of the Ingul River, which served as a base for the foundation of Nikolaev a year later.
In 1787, the Black Sea Fleet was divided into two squadrons: Sevastopol and Limanskaya, based in the Dnieper estuary.
At the end of the 1780s, the Turkish fleet was more powerful in number than the Russian Black Sea.
The Turks understood that it was dangerous for them to give Russia time to build ships, and therefore tried to force events.
After the official start of the war, Grigory Potemkin began to demand active actions at sea from Russian sailors.
“Wherever you envy the Turkish fleet, attack it at all costs ... at least everyone will die, but must show his fearlessness to attack and destroy the enemy,” he wrote to the commander of the Sevastopol squadron, Rear Admiral Marko Voinovich.
Already at the initial stage of the war, Russian sailors successfully operated in the Kinburn area and did not allow the Turks to reach Kherson.
In 1788, the Russian squadron also won the battle at the island of Fidonisi (today - the island of Serpents).
In 1790, Rear Admiral Fyodor Ushakov was appointed commander of the Black Sea Fleet.
He began to act more decisively at sea than his predecessor Voinovich.
In May, Ushakov raided the shores of Anatolia and the Caucasus, and in July defeated the Ottoman squadron in the battle in the Kerch Strait.
© Pavel Balabanov
Battle of Tendra
In August 1790, Kapudan Pasha (commander of the Turkish fleet -
) Hussein placed the Ottoman fleet in the sea between the Tendra Spit and the Khadzhibey fortress.
He blocked the exit to the Black Sea from the Dnieper estuary, trying to disrupt communications between Sevastopol and the Liman squadron.
The Turks intended to prevent the connection of the two Russian squadrons in order to deprive them of the opportunity to operate jointly in the North-Western part of the Black Sea.
On September 8, 1790, a squadron under the command of Fyodor Ushakov stumbled upon the Turkish fleet in the Tendrovskaya Spit area.
The Russian forces consisted of ten ships of the line, six frigates, one bombardment ship and 21 auxiliary ships.
Kapudan Pasha Hussein had 14 ships of the line, eight frigates and 23 auxiliary ships.
The ratio of artillery pieces was 826: 1400 in favor of the Turks.
Not wanting to lose the advantage from a surprise attack, Ushakov marched against the Turkish squadron in marching order in three columns.
Not expecting a meeting with the Russians, the Turks, despite their numerical superiority, began to cut the anchor ropes and tried to evade the battle.
Ushakov tried to cut off the Ottoman rearguard from the main forces and forced the Turks to join the battle.
After a series of maneuvers, the Russian squadron delivered a powerful blow to the head forces of the Turks.
After two hours of battle, the Turkish crews could not stand it and tried to withdraw their ships in disorder.
The Russian squadron rushed after them and pursued them for several hours.
At night, the forces of the Russian fleet stopped to repair the damage received.
At dawn, the pursuit continued.
The Ottomans began to flee.
Several Turkish ships were captured or destroyed by Russian artillery fire.
The experienced Admiral Said Bey, Hussein's advisor, was captured.
The total losses of the Turks in the Battle of Tendra amounted to about 2 thousand people, about 700 of them surrendered.
The Russian fleet lost 21 people killed and 25 wounded.
“The battle of Tendra showed that we have learned to fight and win.
Russian ships acted faster and more accurately than Turkish ships, fired better, maneuvered better, ”noted Igor Kurukin.
According to him, the battle did not become decisive in the war, but it showed that the Russian fleet was establishing itself as the main force on the Black Sea.
Manifesto on the Yassy Peace Treaty
© Wikimedia Commons
As Konstantin Strelbitsky, chairman of the Moscow Fleet History Club, emphasized in an interview with RT, the Battle of Tendra ended in a crushing defeat for the Turks.
“Although the decisive battle took place later, the Battle of Tendra was an important step towards the Yassy Peace, which fully consolidated Russia's territorial acquisitions in the Northern Black Sea region, confirmed the Russian status of Crimea and transferred the vast lands between the Southern Bug and the Dniester to the rule of St. Petersburg.
It became obvious to everyone that Russia was finally entrenched in the Black Sea, ”summed up Strelbitsky.