The Baltic Fleet (BF)'s birthday is considered in the day of the victory at the mouth of the Neva River on May 18 (7 to the old calendar), 1703. The rowing flotilla with the soldiers of the Transfiguration and Semenov regiments under the command of Peter (Pyotr) I won its first military victory, having captured in the mouth of the Neva River two Swedish military vessels – «Gedan» and «Astril’d». All the participants of that battle received special medals with the inscription «The unprecedented can be».
The first warships for the Baltic Fleet were built in the years of 1702-1703 at the mouth of the river Says’ near the lake of Ladoga and the river of Svir’. First squadron in the Baltic Sea was commanded by Vice Admiral Cornelis Cruys. The base of the Russian fleet in the Baltic Sea – Kronshlot (later Kronstadt) – was laid In 1703.
Throughout the whole history of the Baltic Fleet its seamen won many victories over invaders, who tried to oust the Russian state from the Baltic Sea coast. More than once they had to defend the interests of the country also in other maritime theaters.
Vyborg, Revel (Tallinn), Riga, Moonzund Islands, Helsingfors, Abo were taken during the Northern War (1700-1721) with assistance of the Russian fleet in the Baltic Sea, the victories were gained at sea at Gangut (1714), Ezel (1719), Grengam (1720).
Best representatives of the Baltic fleet made an invaluable contribution to the development of Russian naval weapons and naval art, domestic science and culture. They are practically all the great naval commanders, heroes of sea battles Admirals F.F. Ushakov and M.P. Lazarev, P.S. Nakhimov and V.A. Kornilov, S.O. Makarov and N.O. Essen. Discoverers of new lands V.I. Behring, F.F. Bellingshausen, G.I. Nevel’skoy, composer N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, writers A.P. Sobolev and SA Kolbas’yev, inventor of radio and radar location A.S . Popov, physicist B.S. Yacoby, collector of Russian words V.I. Dal', shipbuilder Academician A.N. Krylov proudly called themselves to be the seamen of the Baltic Fleet.
The Baltic Fleet’s ships plotted in all oceans and seas. They mastered the Far East and the Mediterranean Sea. Description of the northern coast of Russia, the first circumnavigation and life support of Russian America, discovery of Antarctica – the last of the continents – all these became possible due to the Baltic sailors.
In the world map there are 432 geographic discoveries that bear the names of 98 admirals and officers of the Baltic Fleet.
In the years World War I (1914-1918), killing more than 100 ships and auxiliary vessels of the enemy, the Baltic Fleet has won the battle against the German Navy for the Baltic Sea, despite the superiority in men of the latter.
During the Civil War and foreign military intervention (1918-1922) the Baltic Fleet seamen successfully defended the approaches to the then capital – Petrograd, fought at all land fronts.
On February 23, 1928 the Baltic Fleet was awarded the Order of Red Banner for special military and labor merits.
In the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) the Baltic Fleet was continuously commanded by Adm. V.F. Tributs. Under his leadership the Baltic Fleet seamen carried a heroic struggle against the Nazi invaders. They took an active part in the defence of Leningrad in 1941-1943, were proactive in the open sea, at the enemy communications, crushed coastal batteries, depots, arsenals of the enemy, sank its ships and transports with manpower and equipment. The resistance of defenders of Hanko, Moonzund, Leningrad is worldwide known. In land fronts more than 110 thousand seamen of the Baltic Fleet fought. On August 8, 1941 pilots of the 1st BF mine-torpedo regiment under Colonel Ye.N. Preobrazhensky as the first in the Great Patriotic War bombed Berlin. The BF forces landed 24 amphibious assaults, sunk 1205 warships, transports and auxiliary vessels, destroyed 2,418 enemy aircraft.
For military merits 23 formations, units and ships of the Baltic Fleet were given the title of the Guards, 78 were awarded medals, 11 received honorary titles, over 82 thousand seamen were marked with high state awards, 173 Baltic Fleet seamen were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, including four – twice. Nine seamen of the Baltic Fleet were forever inscribed in the lists of ships and units of the Baltic Fleet.
In 1946 the Baltic Fleet was divided into two Fleets – the 4th and 8th ones, in December 1955 the Fleet was rebuilt in the earlier structure.
On May 7, 1965 for outstanding merits for its country, mass heroism and courage in the fight against the Nazi invaders the Red Banner Baltic Fleet was awarded the second Order of Red Banner.
The successful development of new nuclear-missile weapons, military equipment in the Baltic Sea began from the beginning of 1950-s, the fleet was replenished with missile ships, jet aircraft, its fighting capabilities increased sharply. The Baltic Fleet began to fulfill the tasks of military service in the Northern Sea and the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Baltic Fleet’s seamen repeatedly demonstrated their high moral-and-psychological qualities and naval skills in exercises and manoeuvres, the largest of which were «Ocean» in 1970, «Brotherhood in Arms-80», «West-81», «West-99», «Combat Commonwealth-2001», «West-2009».
Currently, the Baltic Fleet has completed a new organizational-and-staffing building and incorporates various types of ships, submarines, naval aviation, forces and means of air defence (AD), land and coastal troops, bodies of operational, technical, logistical and moral-psychological support.
The Baltic seamen were the first, who in the Navy of Russia began to participate in the program «Partnership for Peace» of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in conjunction with the ships of naval forces of the NATO and the Baltic Sea countries, in 2000 they established military cooperation with the air defence of the Republic of Belarus, during which held successful launches of missiles of antiaircraft missile systems S-300.
In 2000-2010, the ships of the Fleet visited and entered more than 100 seaports in Europe, Asia, America and Africa, successfully participated in international exercises.
In 2009-2010, when performing tasks of combat service, the Baltic Fleet seamen were actively involved in ensuring the safety of navigation in the Gulf of Aden (frigate «Neusrashimyy»), made visits to ports of four foreign countries, together with seamen of other countries solved the tasks of struggling against piracy off the coast of Africa and securing safety of international navigation.
In the Baltic fleet planning by updating the ship's structure.
In 2010 the effective combat strength of the Fleet was supplemented with modern ships equipped with the latest weaponry and technical equipment – patrol craft «Yaroslav Mudry», corvette «Steregushchy» diesel submarine «Saint Petersburg».
In the short term, the Fleet will be entered with the serial corvettes «Soobrazitel’ny» and «Boyky». Corvettes of this project are designed to struggling against surface ships and submarines, as well as to support fire support for amphibious assault. These ships are able to effectively solve the tasks of anti-submarine and air defence.
In the sequel the combat strength of the Baltic Fleet will be updated by next series of corvettes, similar to «Steregushchy», of amphibious ships and boats. Modernization of ships existing now in the Fleet with establishing new systems and weapons aboard will also be continued.
The modern Baltic Fleet is many-service operational-strategic territorial association, which includes ship forces, naval aviation, air defence, coastal troops, joint means of operational, technical and logistical support.
Geography of the Fleet’s activities is currently vast. Ships and supply vessels of the BF solve tasks in the interests of ship groupings of the Russian Navy, safety of international navigation in the most remote areas of the World ocean.
The Baltic Fleet, as a Russian outpost in the Western region, ensures stability of the military-political situation and the national interests of the country. The Baltic Fleet’s seamen continue to confidently bear military service of their predecessors, who raised over the Naval St. Andrew's flag over the expanse of the Baltic Sea more than 300 years ago.