The Black Sea Fleet is today, in terms of geopolitical reality, somewhere in the days of Admiral Fyodor Ushakov. Unless he is at war with Turkey today. But with all the obvious unwillingness of Ankara to help its NATO partners in aggravating the situation, no one canceled the geopolitical confrontation with it. Because Turkey is a) a NATO member and b) a powerful regional power, which has its own deep, vital, indisputable interests here. Figuratively speaking, here she has bright red lines drawn. Very red. Fluorescent.
The rest is very reminiscent of the end of the 18th century. The fleet base is Sevastopol. Its foreground is the Crimea. To the north is the Wild Field, where wild dances take place, but the Serene Highness Prince Potemkin-Tavrichesky is not there. Therefore, Cape Tendra and the Kinburn Spit are again territories of conflicts, zones of potential victories for Russian weapons.
To the left, if on the map, – then part of Turkey and therefore hostile, and now part of NATO and therefore hostile shores of Wallachia and Bulgaria. That is, the island of Fidonisi, aka Serpentine, and the mouth of the Danube today are not only places of the former glory of the Black Sea Fleet, but also the possible glory of the future.
On the other side of the Black Sea it looks like again. Here, the waters of Georgia, which have no independent military significance, after their former prosperity are again in economic and vassal dependence on Turkey.
In general, the times of Ushakov are evident for the Black Sea Fleet. This means the challenges of the times of Fedor Fedorovich. Including his Mediterranean hike. Isn’t the time of the new glory of Ushakovskaya for the Russian Black Sea Fleet coming?
“We must maintain the glory of our uniform” …
It is clear that historical analogies are always lame. Similarity is not identity, and today they are broadcasting about the transformation of the Black Sea into a “NATO lake” overseas. And after them it is repeated even by the eternally beaten Wallachian warriors.
But the problem today is precisely that it is still a NATO bloc. Of course, the Romanians and other Bulgarians play in it the same role that saddened the Russian General Staff when it learned about Romania’s entry into the world war in 1916: “Romania’s performance on the side of the Entente is more difficult for Russia than a war with it.” However, NATO is not the Entente, and the Romanian soldiers against the background of the backbone of the US armed forces are like a ribbon on a codpiece: it is not clear what, but it means something. But the alliance itself is a supra-regional threat. And the Black Sea Fleet is still a regional force. Or?..
Here it is appropriate to quote the words spoken today by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolai Evmenov:
The Black Sea Fleet today is and will always be an effective instrument for containing any threats from sea areas, maintaining an atmosphere of stability and peace in the Black Sea region,
– and, after mentioning what will continue to equip the Black Sea Fleet in the near term, –
All these measures are being taken in order to effectively carry out tasks by the Black Sea people in their operational zone of responsibility, as well as to prevent even the slightest threats to Russia in the southern direction.
Here! The fact that the Black Sea Fleet forces “will continue to carry out missions as part of a permanent task force of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean” is already a detail of purely military-strategic planning. The main task of the Black Sea Fleet is to prevent threats to Russia from the southern direction. And in this sense, the fleet is of strategic importance. That is, even more than in the days of Fyodor Ushakov, when he was still an instrument of regional expansion.
The next point in the current role of the Black Sea Fleet is a logical consequence of its strategic task. He, of course, – by the way, again unlike the times of Ushakov – is a combat force, not independent, acting practically in isolation and with very conditional coordination with the ground forces, but part of the strategic forces of the southern direction. And in this capacity it is part of a complex system of interaction between various branches of the armed forces. And this is the strategic future of the Black Sea Fleet.
What are we talking about specifically?
A useless fleet in a small puddle?
Sadly but harshly frank, this fleet looks the least useful in the event of a major war. And in its current, replenishing composition, it is one and a half times weaker than even the Turkish one in this theater of operations. And the battle at sea is such a complicated thing, where even the Romanian rusty destroyers have to be taken into account. Even Ukrainian inflatable boats. So if the Americans introduce through the Straits a heel of their Arleigh Burke-class URO destroyers, each of which surpasses our most powerful theater-of-war cruiser Moskva, and a couple of Ticonderoga-class cruisers, the Black Sea Fleet will leave beautifully, taking as much enemy blood as possible. , but will inevitably go away.
That is why NATO ships constantly come here, probing the possibilities, including with regards to the potential of the Russian coastal defense.
In this sense, even the Baltic Fleet is in a better position. Although he is also locked in a puddle, he can make scorched earth even from Poland before he dies, and then who can he punish? Are the Bulgarians senseless? Unless the Turks have to bury the Straits, but for this the Black Sea Fleet’s available capabilities are definitely not enough, it will be necessary to connect the “strategists” with special ammunition of at least 300 kilotons.
In other words: to control the Black Sea and fight off any regional force in the maritime theater of operations on it – this is the Black Sea Fleet, together with its coastal defense. In the event of a global conflict, today he will not be able to fulfill the task of even his Soviet incarnation – to seize the Straits and enter the operational space of the Mediterranean Sea. Although, let’s be frank, even then such a task was impracticable, and most importantly – meaningless. What, globally and strategically, would give control over Middle-earth, even if it was possible? The same puddle, only the banks are wider.
No, quite a strategic tool
This means that the Black Sea Fleet, even in thinking, is time to be removed from the regional niche and transferred to the status of strategic instruments.
The fact is that with the current level of missile, electronic, space and small air weapons, even a single ship can serve as a striking force comparable to the squadron of the 1980s, technically – the height of the Cold War. This, for example, was fully demonstrated by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov’s circumnavigation of the world in 2019. With its complex of missile, artillery, radio-technical, optical weapons, with 16 cells for cruise tactical, anti-ship, anti-submarine missiles of the Caliber-NK and Onyx families, it was no coincidence that the ship was closely watched by a potential enemy. And it was not on it yet hypersonic “Zircons”. Which have been successfully tested on the “Gorshkov” so far.
And what does it mean? The approach to solving a completely strategic task is to move our borders away from our borders.
Yes, we have “Gorshkov” in the Northern Fleet. It is clear: where the outlet to the ocean is not blocked by straits or by the American-Japanese curtain, as in the Pacific Ocean. But the straits also cease to be a hindrance if some of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet are dispersed in the far ocean zone. Also, of course, the Soviet recipe, but then bases in exotic countries were needed precisely because of the need to operate squadrons in the World Ocean, and today only logistical support points are needed for individual ships. For such a boat will be loaded there, no one knows what for the enemy, will dissolve in the blue distance of the ocean – and then look where the cruise missile of unlimited flight range will hang in the air, where the Virginia will disappear without a trace that followed our peace-loving Borey-A, and where some “Gerald Ford” will blow “zircon” bubbles with all its planes on board.
Is it too leafy?
Proven by deeds!
No, for the Black Sea Fleet specifically, this is a picture with some excess, illustrative and simplified. But, firstly, the greater the threat it poses in the event of a strategic conflict in a limited Mediterranean area (in the Black Sea, it will burn everything along the perimeter of the coast). And secondly, all this is illustrative and fantastic … has already been demonstrated.
Let’s remember: just a month or two ago, Ukraine was on fire with a fighting spirit, flattering itself with the hope of capturing and punishing, finally, Donbass. Behind her, the NATO bloc puffed out its cheeks, and America grinned above it with fangs. And it no longer seemed illusory that the war was on the doorstep!
Actually, and not only it seemed – there was quite definite intelligence on this score.
And how did it end?
And the fact that the Black Sea Fleet went to the exercises. And the Caspian flotilla hurried to him. And in their combined composition there was not only the 30th division of surface ships with the same missile cruiser of Project 1164 “Moscow” or the newest frigates of Project 11356R of the “admiral” series, but also the 41st brigade of missile boats, including, in particular, small missile ships of the project 21631 “Buyan-M”, such as “Vyshny Volochyok”. Those that are of the “small bug, but smelly” type: a displacement of 850 tons, will not pass only along the rivers of the scale of Istra, but just from Cape Tendra it will reach London and can cover an area of damage of 800 thousand km².
And yes, how did it end? And the fact that not himself, not alone, but in conjunction with the ground forces of the 58th and 41st armies, 22nd corps, 7th, 76th and 98th airborne divisions, the Black Sea Fleet threw back to Ukraine the power of such a projection and such a thick strategic shadow that not only Kiev, but also Washington vibrated. And they retreated themselves and pulled up the leash on which Ukraine hangs from the States. And Shoigu’s command to end the “surprise check” in the United States was received not only with relief, but also with a keen desire to talk.
Back in March, US President Joe Biden bent his chest, saying how he would punish Russia, and today he is lying almost in Putin’s legs, and so and so issuing signals about the desire to meet. The miracle of the great god Manitu happened! – for the first time in the history of the pipeline, it was not Russian hackers who damaged something there, but no one knows who! And this time Joe Biden personally rehabilitated Petrov and Boshirov! And proactively.
Not Ushakov, of course. But there is something from his victories in this …