Russia versus Sweden -The Coast of Finland I

The Galley ‘Dvina’ (The galley – A unique in the Russian fleet 25- banked (50-Oared) three-masted vessel ) This is specially designed with a rosewood double plank on the hull. Truly a masterpiece! Meticulously crafted figurehead and head rails in quality material, size scale and color all according to the historical ship. Stern windows and taffrail decoration are sculptured with excessive attention to detail and all with first class craftmanship. Accurately reflect the beauty of the original Dvina– nowhere you can find this such beautiful ship model! This auction is for an exquisite scale model of the Russian Ship Dvina, with details including bound masts, yards with stun’s’l booms and foot ropes, carved full sails running and standing rigging with carved scale blocks, dolphin-striker, safety nets, carved fiddle-end prow with coat-of-arms, anchor with chains and hawse pipes, catheads, bitts, stove pipe, sail winch, belaying rails and pins, companionway, helm and tiller, ship’s bell and other details. The planked hull with open gun ports with metal guns, pressed stern and quarter gallery decoration boarding companionway and finished in black. Dimension: 42″ (L) x 27″ (W) x 26″ (H) NICE LARGE TEAK WOOD BASE WITH BEAUTIFUL SCULPTURE STRONG MEN HOLDERS! Historic of the ship: The galley – a unique in the Russian fleet 25-banked (50-oared) three-masted vessel. It was constructed on ” Venetian manner” by the apprentice I. Kalubnev under the supervision of Venetian galley shipbuilder Franchesko DePonty, invited to Russia in the beginning of 1720. The Name of the vessel was received after launching on May 16, 1729 (Old style) in St.-Petersburg in the galley shipyard. The dimensions of “Dvina” are not specified in any documents, and The drawings were not kept. By the measurements of a model, the galley had the greatest length 48,46 m and the greatest width 9,6 m. Artillery arms consisted of one 24-pounds gun, two 12-pounds and twelve 3-pounds of basses on boards – totally 15 guns. Oarsmen of the galley were the soldiers of Preobrazhenski and Semenovski regments. Every 5-6 soldiers were rowing one oar, hence, on a vessel there were 250-300 oarsmen The length of an oar was 13,2 m, the weight- 94 kg. “Dvina” did not participate In battle actions, but annually during several years it left for The Finnish gulf for practical sailing. The model of the galley , made probably in the beginning of the XIX century, is known in the Central Naval Museum in St.-Petersburg. The ships are built from scratch. They are not pre-fabricated kits that someone puts together. All handcrafted from real wood taking many hours of tedious labor. Double p lank on frame construction, wood is then placed piece by piece form the hull and deck. If you look closely, you can see the nails used to secure the strips of wood to the internal ribs. This attention to detail alone sets us apart from competitors. Some Admiral’s Line ships utilize double plank on frame construction. Wood is cut piece by piece and put over the base of the ship’s hull to the water line. It’s a lot of work and creates a fantastic look. Incredible quality & detail, one of the owner’s favorites! The rigging, stitching and attention to detail on each ship is outstanding. The ship is made from fine quality wood such as teak, mahogany, oak, rosewood and ash. 100% money back guarantee! No assembly required 100% Scratch Built

Peter returned to St. Petersburg on March 22, 1713, but spent only one month in his beloved city. During April, he learned from Shafirov in Turkey that, despite damaging Tatar raids in the Ukraine, the Ottoman Turks had no intention of making serious war in the south. The Tsar therefore was able to devote all his attention to readying the fleet and army to conquer the north shore of the upper Baltic.

Once the surrender of Stenbock, penned up in the fortress of Tonning, seemed inevitable, Peter turned to the opposite end of the Baltic, resolving to drive the Swedes out of Finland. He did not intend to keep the province, but any territory he took in Finland beyond Karelia would be useful for bargaining when peace negotiations began. It could, for example, be used to balance those Swedish territories such as Ingria and Karelia which Peter did intend to keep. There was another advantage to a Finnish campaign: He would be on his own, without wrangling allies to hinder his operations. After the agonizing delays in Pomerania over the delivery of artillery and the necessity of pleading with other monarchs to live up to their promises, it would be a relief to conduct a campaign exactly how and where he wished.

In fact, Peter had not waited until that spring to decide on this campaign. Already in the previous November, he had written from Carlsbad ordering Apraxin to intensify the preparation of troops and fleet for an advance into Finland. “This province,” Peter wrote, “is the mother of Sweden as you yourself are aware. Not only meat, but even wood is brought from it, and if God let us get as far as Abo [a town on the east coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, then the capital of Finland] next summer, the Swedish neck will be easier to bend.”

The Finnish campaign that summer and the next was swift, efficient and relatively bloodless. For this brillant success, the new Russian Baltic fleet was almost wholly responsible.

During Peter’s reign, there was a radical shift in warship design and naval tactics. In the 1690’s, the term “ship-of- the-line” first appeared when the confused melee of individual ship-to-ship duels was replaced by the “line” tactic-two rows of warships sailing on parallel courses and pounding each other with heavy artillery. The “line” imposed standards of design; a capital ship had to be powerful enough to lie in the line of battle, as compared to the smaller, faster frigates and sloops used for reconnaissance and commerce raiding. The qualifications were strict: stout construction, fifty or more heavy cannon and a crew trained in expert seamanship and accurate gunnery. In all these respects, Englishmen excelled.

The average ship-of-the-line carried from sixty eighty heavy cannon placed in rows of two or three gundecks and divided, port and starboard, so that even a full broadside meant that only half the guns aboard a ship could fire at an enemy. Some men-of-war were even bigger, goliaths of ninety or one hundred guns, whose crews, including marine sharpshooters posted in the rigging to pick off officers and gunners on the enemy decks, reached more than 800 men.

Apart from damage inflicted in battle, the effectiveness of warships was limited by the damage caused by time and the elements. Leaking hulls, loose masts, tattered rigging and parted lines were commonplace in ships at sea. For serious repairs, ships had to come into port, and the bases to support them were an essential element of seapower.

In winter-especially in the Baltic, where ice made naval operations impossible-fleets went into hibernation. The ships were brought alongside a quay, where sails, rigging, topmasts, spars, cannon and cannonballs were carried off and laid in rows or stacked in pyramids. At the Baltic naval bases-Karlskrona, Copenhagen, Kronstadt and Reval- the great hulls were lined up side by side like sleeping elephants, frozen into the ice for winter. In the spring, one by one, the hulls were careened-that is, rolled on one side so that rotten or damaged bottom planks could be replaced, barnacles scraped, seams recalked and tarred. This done, the ships went back to the quay, and the procedure of the previous autumn was reversed: Cannon, spars, rigging all came back on board and the hull became once more a warship.

Relative to England’s Royal Navy with its 100 ships of the line, the Baltic powers had smaller fleets, intended mainly for use against each other within the confines of that enclosed sea. Denmark was almost an island kingdom whose capital, Copenhagen, was wholly exposed to the sea. The Swedish empire when Charles XII came to the throne was also a maritime entity, its integrity resting on secure communications and freedom to move troops and provisions between Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Livonia and North Germany. From her new, strategically placed naval base built at Karlskrona in 1658 to curb the Danes and protect her sea communications with her German provinces, Sweden was able to control all the middle and upper Baltic. Even after Poltava had humbled the previously invincible Swedish army, the Swedish navy remained formidable. In 1710, the year after Poltava, Sweden had forty-one ships-of-the-line, Denmark had forty-one, Russia had none. The senior Swedish admiral, Wachtmeister, was primarily occupied against the Danes, but powerful Swedish squadrons still cruised in the Gulf of Finland and off the Livonian coast.

Against the Russians, the Swedish fleet was able to do little. It could ensure the arrival of supplies and reinforcements, but once an army was committed to action on land, a fleet was not much help. At the time the Russians were besieging Riga, the entire Swedish fleet assembled off the mouth of the Dvina, but could contribute nothing to the town’s defense, and eventually Riga capitulated. In the later phase of the Great Northern War, however, seapower became increasingly important. The only way to force an obdurate Sweden to make peace, Peter realized, was to reach across the Baltic Sea to threaten the Swedish homeland. One invasion avenue was directly across from Denmark to Sweden, a massive landing to be supported and covered by the Danish fleet; this projected assault occupied the Tsar during the summer and autumn of 1716. The other approach lay along the coast of Finland, then across the Gulf of Bothnia into the Aland Islands and thence toward Stockholm. It was this approach which Peter tried first, in the summers of 1713 and 1714.

Peter would have preferred to make this effort at the head of a powerful Russian sea-going battle fleet of fifty ships-of- the-line. But to lay the great keel beams in place, then add the ribs and planking, to cast the cannon, set the rigging, recruit and train the crews to sail and fight them so that they would do more damage to the enemy than to themselves, was a gigantic task. Despite the hiring of foreign shipwrights, admirals, officers and seamen, the project moved slowly. The herculean effort expended at Voronezh, Azov and Tagonrog was now fruitless; the construction of a new fleet on the Baltic had to begin from scratch.

Gradually, through 1710 and 1711, the big ships accumulated, but Peter still possessed too few to challenge the Swedish navy in a classic sea battle for control of the upper Baltic. Besides, once he had spent the immense effort in time and money necessary to build and equip the ships, he wanted to preserve them. Accordingly, he had given an order absolutely forbidding his admirals to risk the ships-of-the-line and frigates in battle unless the odds were overwhelmingly favorable. Thus, for the most part, the new big ships of Peter’s Baltic fleet remained in the harbor.

Although Peter continued to build ships-of-the-line at home and to order them from Dutch and English shipyards, the brilliant success of the Tsar’s naval campaigns in 1713 and 1714 in the Gulf of Finland was due to his employment of a class of ship never seen before in the Baltic, the galley. Galleys were hybrid ships. Usually around eighty to a hundred feet long, a typical galley possessed a single mast and a single sail, but also numerous benches for oarsmen. Thus equipped, it combined the qualities of sailing ships and rowed vessels and could move in wind or calm. For centuries, galleys had been used in the enclosed waters of the Mediterranean, where the wind was freakish and unreliable. Even in the eighteenth century, on these sun- baked bays and gulfs, the naval tradition of the Persian emperors and Roman republic survived. A few small cannon had been added, but the galleys were too small and unstable to carry the heavy naval guns of larger ships. Accordingly, eighteenth-century galleys fought using the tactics developed in the days of Xerxes and Pompey: They rowed toward their enemy and grappled with him, deciding the issue with a hand-to-hand infantry battle conducted on crowded, violent, slippery decks.

In Peter’s time, the Ottoman navy was made up mostly of galleys. Officered by Greeks, manned by slaves, they were behemoths, the biggest carrying as many as 2,000 men divided between two decks of oarsmen and ten companies of soldiers. To fight the Turks in the confined waters of the Aegean and the Adriatic, the Venetians also built galleys, and it was to Venice that Peter sent numerous young Russians to learn the art of galley building. France kept some forty galleys in the Mediterranean, rowed by convicts sent to the galleys for life in lieu of execution. Surrounded by stormy seas, Britain had no use for galleys.

Peter had always been interested in galleys. They could be built quickly and inexpensively, of pine rather than hardwood. They could be manned by inexperienced seamen, soldiers who could double as naval infantrymen to board and attack an enemy. The largest would carry 300 men and five guns, the smallest 150 men and three guns. Peter had constructed galleys first at Voronezh, then at Tagonrog, and those built on Lake Peipus were used in the cannon had been added, but the galleys were too small and unstable to carry the heavy naval guns of larger ships. Accordingly, eighteenth-century galleys fought using the tactics developed in the days of Xerxes and Pompey: They rowed toward their enemy and grappled with him, deciding the issue with a hand-to-hand infantry battle conducted on crowded, violent, slippery decks.

In Peter’s time, the Ottoman navy was made up mostly of galleys. Officered by Greeks, manned by slaves, they were behemoths, the biggest carrying as many as 2,000 men divided between two decks of oarsmen and ten companies of soldiers. To fight the Turks in the confined waters of the Aegean and the Adriatic, the Venetians also built galleys, and it was to Venice that Peter sent numerous young Russians to learn the art of galley building. France kept some forty galleys in the Mediterranean, rowed by convicts sent to the galleys for life in lieu of execution. Surrounded by stormy seas, Britain had no use for galleys.

Peter had always been interested in galleys. They could be built quickly and inexpensively, of pine rather than hardwood. They could be manned by inexperienced seamen, soldiers who could double as naval infantrymen to board and attack an enemy. The largest would carry 300 men and five guns, the smallest 150 men and three guns. Peter had constructed galleys first at Voronezh, then at Tagonrog, and those built on Lake Peipus were used in the campaigns of 1702, 1703 and 1704 to drive a Swedish flotilla from the lake. Galleys would be perfect to circumvent the Swedish advantage in big men-of-war in the Baltic. Given the nature of the Finnish coast, studded with myriad rocky islands and fjords fringed with red granite and fir trees, Peter could neutralize the Swedish fleet simply by conceding to it the open water while his more maneuverable shallow-draft galleys moved in the inshore coastal waters that the larger Swedish ships would not dare enter. Cruising along the coast, the Russian galleys could carry supplies and troops, almost invulnerable to the larger Swedish ships outside. And if the Swedes came in to meet them, the big ships might easily founder on the rocks, or if the wind dropped and left them becalmed, the Swedes would lie helpless before the Russian galleys rowing to attack.

For Sweden, Russia’s surprising appearance as a Baltic naval power and Peter’s heavy reliance on galleys created a painful dilemma. Traditionally, Swedish admirals were accustomed to maintain a regular fleet of modem, heavy ships-of-the-line ready to confront their traditional adversaries, the Danes. When Peter’s galleys began splashing down from the construction ways, Sweden faced an entirely different kind of naval warfare. Already financially exhausted, Sweden lacked the means simultaneously to maintain its fleet against the Danes and to build a huge galley fleet to combat Russia. Thus it was that Swedish admirals and captains could only watch helplessly from their larger ships outside as Peter’s oar-driven, shallow- draft galley flotillas moved inshore along the coastline, swiftly and efficiently conquering the coast of Finland.

The overall commander in these successful naval campaigns was General Admiral Fedor Apraxin, who usually also took personal command of the galley fleet. Vice Admiral Cornelius Cruys, the Dutch officer who had helped Peter build his fleet and train his seamen, customarily flew his flag on one of the ships-of-the-line, while the Tsar himself, always insisting on calling himself “Rear Admiral Peter Alexeevich” when afloat, switched back and forth between commanding squadrons of larger ships and flotillas of galleys. Apraxin impressed his foreign officers with his manner and skill. One of his English captains described him as a man “of moderate height, well-made, inclining to feed, careful about his hair which is very long and now grey; and generally wears it tied up in a ribbon. A widower of long date, without issue, yet you observe an incomparable economy, order and decency in his house, gardens, domestics and dress. All unanimously vote in behalf of his excellent temper; but he loves to have men comport themselves according to their rank.” Apraxin’s relations with Peter, ashore and afloat, were conducted with a delicate blend of dignity and circumspection. At court, having given his word, and convinced of the merit of his case, Apraxin continued

“even if opposed by the Sovereign’s absolute will to maintain the justice of his demand until the Tsar, in a passion, by his menaces enforces silence.” But at sea Apraxin would not give way to Peter. The General Admiral had never been abroad and had not himself been trained in seamanship and naval tactics until he was well along in years. Nevertheless he refused to submit. even when the Tsar, as junior flag officer, differing in opinion, will endeavor to invalidate the General Admiral’s opinion by alleging his inexperience as never having seen foreign navies. Count Apraxin will instantly overrule the same invidious charge, to the utmost provocation of the Tsar; though afterwards he will submit with the following statement: “Whilst I as Admiral argue with Your Majesty in quality of flag officer, I can never give way; but if you assume the [rank of] Tsar I know my duty.”