The following information as to the present status of the former Russian Navy has been derived from all available sources. The reports on this subject have been many, and often conflicting, and of doubtful authenticity; all such reports have been carefully collated, and reliance has been placed only upon those which seemed worthy of credence. It is believedl that the conclusions thus formed are in general correct, but it is impossible to guarantee the accuracy of each detail of information herein set forth.
At the time of the October Revolution, 1917, the Russian Navy was divided into four main forces, namely:
1. The Baltic Fleet.
2. The Black Sea Fleet.
3. The Arctic and White Sea Squadron.
4. The Pacific Squadron.
In addition to these principal forces, a flotilla of gunboats and special service vessels were operating independently (1) in the Danube River and (2) in the Caspian Sea. The present status and disposition of these several forces will now be considered separately:
1. BALTIC FLEET.
LIGHT CRUISERS BUILDING.
In January, 1918, the Baltic Fleet included about 86 destroyers, of which 14 were large new vessels ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 tons. There were also a number of small torpedo boats. A large number of the destroyers, perhaps 30, were unable, on account of the ice, to leave Helsingfors when the Germans occupied that port in April, 1918; they have since been disarmed and probably stripped. They are under control of the German-Finnish Government. The remainder of the destroyers and torpedo boats are reported at Cronstadt or Petrograd, while some are said to have taken refuge in Lake Ladoga. All of those are, of course, under control, such as it is, of the Soviet Government. Sixteen destroyers under construction at Revel are doubtless in the hands of the Germans; 10 are under construction at Petrograd.
In January, 1918, the Baltic Fleet included probably 32 submarines. Six or eight of these fell into the hands of the Germans at Revel, and about 15 at Helsingfors. The remainder are reported at Petrograd or Cronstadt under control of the Soviet Government. It is possible that several were blown up by their own crews at Hango just before the German occupation of that port. Seven British submarines that had been operating with the Russian Fleet in the Baltic were thus destroyed outside of Helsingfors by order of the Admiralty between 3 and 8 April, 1918. A number of unfinished submarines may have fallen into the hands of the Germans at Revel. There are also a few unfinished in Petrograd.
An immense train of auxiliaries is thought to be for the most part in Cronstadt and Petrograd under the control of the Soviet Government, but a few fell into the hands of the Germans at Revel and Abo, and a considerable number remained at Helsingfors until after the German occupation. The latter have been seized by the Finnish Government.
All dreadnaughts, battleships, unfinished battle cruisers, and cruisers are in the hands of the Soviet Government with the possible exception of the cruiser Admiral Makharoff, which may have been sunk by a mine, and of the cruiser Rurik, which may have remained in Revel and fallen into the hands of the Germans. The cruisers Admiral Greig and Svietlana, building at Revel, are in the hands of the Germans. Torpedo craft, submarines, and auxiliaries are partly in Soviet hands, partly in German or Finnish hands, and partly destroyed as above set forth.
The fleet in the hands of the Soviet Government is completely demoralized; many of the ships have been stripped by their crews; discipline is practically nonexistent, and in all cases the crews have been much depleted.
The Baltic Fleet can not be considered as a fighting force; it is practically at the mercy of any enemy force that may occupy Cronstadt or Petrograd.
2. BLACK SEA FLEET.
LIGHT CRUISERS, BUILDING.
At the time of the negotiation of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Black Sea Fleet included 27 destroyers, 17 of which were of large modern type, the remainder being small second-class boats with maximum speed of 14 knots. Some of these destroyers fell into the hands of the Germans upon the occupation of Sevastopol 4 May, 1918, while the remainder fled to Novorossisk. When in June thc Germans demanded the return of the latter to Sevastopol, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk nine or ten were blown up by their own crews, while the remainder returned to Sevastopol in accordance with the German demands. Therefore, at least, 17 or 18 of these boats are now in thc hands of the Germans, but no information is available to identify them.
In March, 1918, four large modern destroyers building at Nicolaieff, and almost completed, also fell into the hands of the Germans upon their occupation of that port.
At least 14, and possibly 16, submarines comprising the whole Black Sea Flotilla, fell into the hands of the Germans at Sevastopol, 4 May, 1918. There also fell into their hands at Nicolaieff, in March, l918, two other nearly completed submarines, as well as the parts for six more, in packing cases.
A large number of miscellaneous auxiliaries fell into the hands of the Germans at Sevastopol, but the available information is not sufficient to give an accurate list of these.
In German hands:
4 light cruisers.
4 auxiliary cruisers.
14 scout cruisers.
It is reported that the Germans have demobilized the Russian, crews of aU the shiPs in their control, and are refitting the entire Black Sea Fleet ana manning aU the ships with full complements. drawn from the German Navy.
(3) ARCTIC AND WHITE SEA SQUADRON
Chesma: Guardship, Kola Inlet; demobilized; care and maintenance party left.
Askold: At Murmansk; shortly to be commissioned with British personnel.
Two of the White Sea destroyers are repairing at Liverpool; the remaining four are at Murmansk, each boat with a crew of six men All four boats are in charge of one officer.
One at Archangel and one at Alexandrovsk.
A very considerable train of merchant cruisers, transports, and fleet auxiliaries are in the warious White Sea and Murman ports.
All the White Sea and Arctic forces, although largely demobilized, are under allied and American control.
(4). PACIFIC SQUADRON.
Twelve destroyers at Vladivostok were ordered demobilized by the Soviet Government, 22 February, 1918, and in July, 1918, these boats were disarmed. Two destroyers of this flotilla are at Hong-kong, as is the auxiliary cruiser Orel.
A number of mine layers and other auxiliaries form part of this force, but no satisfactory information is now available concerning them.
A flotilla of 28 gunboats was formerly maintained on the Amur River. It is known that most of these have had their engines and guns removed by the Bolsheviki; but no further reliable intormation is available.
From the foregoing it would appear that the Pacific Squadron can no longer be considered as a fighting force.
DANUBE RIVER FORCES.
A number of barges, river gunboats, and auxiliaries were formerly detailed for duty on the Danube River in connection with two naval brigades. All the vessels of this force are probably in the hands of the Germans.
CASPIAN SEA FORCE.
Two gunboats and four auxiliaries were formerly maintained on the Caspian Sea. No information is available as to the fate of these vessels.