Admiral’s sword and hand. What did Nakhimov go to to save Sevastopol

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 26. Capital evidence 29/06/2022

220 years ago, on July 5, 1802, in a purely land family of a second major and in a purely land area of ​​the Vyazemsky district of the Smolensk province, a boy was born, whose name is now strongly associated with  by sea.

Or rather, with marine rank. The old Arabic “al-miraal”, i.e. “Lord of the Seas”, who later became the familiar “Admiral”, tightly adhered to the name of this person: Admiral Nakhimov.

He received this title only a few months before his death. But if we recall the original meaning of the ancient word, then it turns out that Nakhimov corresponded to it almost all his life. And the case is not in the track record. In the history of our fleet there were commanders who accounted for much more beautiful operations and victories in sea battles. It is rather a matter of understanding the very essence of maritime service. Here he came close, and then and surpassed another famous Russian naval commander — Fyodor Ushakov. He, however, being a very religious person (for which he was later glorified as a “holy righteous warrior”), looked at the question from his bell tower: “A sailor, like a monk, must constantly pray and work !"

Serve Without Fear

Nakhimov, with similar results, had a completely different approach. One of contemporaries wrote: “He was a tireless worker. I firmly remember the then common voice that Pavel Stepanovich serves 24 hours a day. But what exactly did Nakhimov work on? Above the combat qualities of ships? Over their rigging? Partly yes. But the main thing was something else. He  in his own way understood the ancient military wisdom: «It does sword strike, but hand».

Yes, Pavel Stepanovich had the best “sword”; modernity. Battleships of the type “Twelve Apostles” at that time, in combat qualities, had no equal in the world. Battleships of the type «Brave» — on one of them, “Empress Maria”, during during the Battle of Sinop Nakhimov himself kept his flag — were the largest ships of the 84-gun rank in the entire history of the fleet. But what is this “sword” worth? without a hand?

“Hand” Nakhimov rightly believed people. And not so many officers as sailors, which was unexpected. In those times, the formula still dominated: “Here are three men for you, make one soldier out of them.” In "dressing" soldiers and sailors widely used gauntlets, i.e. sticks. Spotting 60 people out of a hundred was considered in the order of things. Nakhimov did not agree with such an approach: “Here is the real reason that nothing comes out on many courts” — some young bosses want to act out of fear alone. Fear is sometimes a good thing, yes agree that it is not a natural thing — several years to work recklessly for the sake of fear. The sailor is the main engine on a warship, and we are only the springs that act on he. The sailor controls the sails, he also points the guns at the enemy; the sailor will rush to board if necessary. The sailor will do everything if we, the bosses, are not selfish. It's time for us to stop considering ourselves landowners, and sailors as serfs!

A fatal victory

Nakhimov extinguished the potential resistance of his officers to such an approach in the bud, skillfully operating with the charter and authority. Everything is clear with   — according to the law, shaved into  soldiers or sailors due to  recruitment duty «loses all connection with the former estate and passes into the military estate». This was reinforced by the authority of the creator of the Russian fleet Peter the Great, who claimed: “Soldier is a common, famous name; the first general and the last private are called soldiers. And for clarity, it was also confirmed by personal example. There were stories among the sailors that for the sake of his team, the admiral would not spare his stomach. So, while still a midshipman, during a round-the-world voyage on the frigate “Cruiser” under the command of Mikhail Lazarev, Nakhimov rushed to rescue the gunner Davyd Egorov who had fallen overboard during a storm. Still, Nakhimov failed to save the gunner, but it was not through his own fault: witnesses claimed that at that moment Yegorov was attacked by a shark. However, here is an expensive initiative. The fact that the officer risked his life for the sailor was remembered firmly and for a long time.

This had far-reaching consequences. Among the high-profile military achievements of Nakhimov, the Sinop battle and the defense of Sevastopol are mentioned, which is fair. However, neither one nor the other could have ended in success without Nakhimov’s long, painstaking work on the very “hand” that actually saved Russia from the fate prepared for it in the Crimean War.

Reproduction of I. M. Pryanishnikov's painting “Admiral Nakhimov on the Sevastopol Bastion”. Photo: reproduction

From a purely military point of view, Sinop was a brilliant victory, on which Nakhimov himself was congratulated by Emperor Nicholas I: “By the destruction of the Turkish squadron at Sinop, you” adorned the annals of the Russian fleet with a new victory, which will forever remain memorable in “marine history.” However, Nakhimov himself, according to the memoirs of his contemporaries, did not share the emperor's enthusiasm: “Pavel Stepanovich did not like to talk about” the battle. Firstly, by congenital modesty, and secondly, because I thought — this naval victory will force the British to use every effort to destroy the combat Black Sea Fleet.

The Admiral looked into the water. It was the Sinop defeat that became the formal reason for declaring war on Russia by England and France. The war, about which the English newspaper The Times wrote: “The great political goals of this conflict will not be achieved until as long as Sevastopol and the Russian fleet exist.”

In principle, the British strategy could have worked. Moreover, it seemed to many that a little more — and victory! The cherished one will come true: “It would be good” to return Russia to the cultivation of inland lands, to drive the Muscovites deep into the forests and & nbsp; steppes! But Nakhimov got in the way of this strategy.

Save Sevastopol

He saved Sevastopol twice. For the first time, he managed to do it literally in a nutshell. Alexander Menshikov, the great-grandson of the favorite of Peter the Great, retreating after an unsuccessful battle at Alma, withdrew his entire army from Sevastopol, and entrusted the overall command of the city's defense to the elderly Lieutenant General Fyodor Moller, who was only suitable for parades and receptions. In fact, Menshikov surrendered Sevastopol to the enemy in advance, knowing full well that with such a commander, the city was doomed. But  here, at a meeting of the command staff, Nakhimov stood up and stated that he would obey only Admiral Kornilov.

In fact, it was a direct disobedience to the order. But Nakhimov knew what he was doing. It was his comrade and friend Vladimir Korniloveven before the war he created what is called "material support" defense. It was through his efforts that Sevastopol could procure 86,000 tons with its own funds. pounds of crackers and place in more than 92 thousand. quarters of bread. It was Kornilov who ensured the mobilization of the urban population: “At” his first call to “provide working people for the construction of fortifications, the whole of Sevastopol came to life and rose to” its feet. Not only soldiers and sailors were exhausted at works, but free artisans, petty bourgeois, shopkeepers, in a word, all free residents of the city, women and children…»

After the death of Kornilov, who was killed on the first day of the bombing, the defense of Sevastopol was headed by Nakhimov. And he saved the city for the second time. Contrary to popular belief, Sevastopol was not surrendered to the enemy. The Russians left only the southern part of the city. They stood on the Northern side until the very end of the war, which Nakhimov no longer found. He, forced to obey the order to  flood the fleet at the very beginning of the defense, was killed by a sniper's bullet two months before its end. But the crews of the sunken ships that came ashore became the backbone of the defense of Sevastopol. That hand"on which Nakhimov worked all his life.

The death of Nakhimov.  reproduction

Historical fact The first award in Russian history, which was established not for victory, but for defense, was the medal “For the Defense of Sevastopol”. The silver medal was awarded to all military personnel – participants in the defense, residents of the city who participated in the battle, as well as women who helped the military.

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