how the Turkish “Intibah” was sunk – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

In the dead of night on January 14, 1878, on the roadstead of the port of Batum, the boats of the Russian Black Sea Fleet “Chesma” of Lieutenant Ishmael Zatsarenny and “Sinop” of Lieutenant Osip Shcheshinsky sank the Turkish steam-propeller gunboat “Intibah”.

After the Crimean War of 1853-1856, Turkey dominated the Black Sea: the ratio of the number of fleets was not in favor of Russia. Then, already during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, a naval officer, captain-lieutenant Stepan Makarov (future admiral), proposed to use a technical innovation – torpedoes – to reduce the numerical superiority of the Turks. Tests of self-propelled sea mines designed by Whitehead under his leadership were carried out in the bays of Sevastopol and gave good results. At that time, the launch tube of a torpedo tube was made of wood and placed under the bottom of a steam boat. The launch range was short: only 100 meters, so the boat had to come as close as possible to the enemy ship. The ship “Grand Duke Konstantin” was the carrier of the first torpedo boats. Two boats were launched from it to carry out the attack. In December 1877, the ship took on board both ships and set off for the port of Batum.

6 miles from the port, “Konstantin” unloaded the boats “Sukhum-Kale” and “Chesma”. It turned out that the Turks knew about the approach of the Russian ship: they strengthened the security and used the camouflage of the ships. As a result, it was not possible to carry out the attack covertly. In a hurry, a torpedo aimed at the Makhmudiya battleship and fired from the Chesma hit the anchor chain, broke, and only then exploded. At the same time, the explosion did not reach the side of the Mahmudiya. And the torpedo fired from Sukhum-Kale completely passed by and flew ashore.

Based on the results of this trial attack in combat conditions, Makarov drew certain conclusions. A month later, they decided to repeat the military expedition to the port of Batum. This time, “Grand Duke Konstantin”, in addition to the aforementioned “Chesma”, took on board the boat “Sinop”, which was equipped with an outboard torpedo tube (unlike the “Sukhum-kale”, where the torpedo did not fit under the bottom and was mounted on a raft).

The new attack was carried out more covertly, in the darkness of the night and in heavy fog. It was very dangerous to go in such an environment, and the Turks, it seems, decided that on such a night no one would poke their nose into the port bay. Using the negligence of the enemy, the captains of the boats were able to bring their ships into the zone of guaranteed hitting the target.

In his report, Lieutenant Commander Makarov described what happened further: “The boats approached, without being seen, thirty or forty fathoms, launched their self-propelled mines at the same time. A strong explosion was heard … The ship lay down on the right side and quickly went to the bottom with most of its crew. “

As it turned out later, the sunken ship was the gunboat Intibah. It was a two-masted screw steamer, armed with two 100-mm cannons and a 57-caliber gun, with a crew of 35 people.

Thus, the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet carried out the first successful torpedo attack in the history of world military shipping. About a year earlier, the British tried to torpedo the Argentine ship, but they did not succeed: a self-propelled mine passed by.

Stepan Makarov temporarily became the star of the world press: a lot was written about the success of the Russians. In addition, he received a whole heap of congratulatory telegrams.

The mine boat “Chesma” against the background of the mine transport “Grand Duke Konstantin”. Photo:

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