Sunday, August 16, 2015

Russian Naval Aviation WWI

The Russians were actually one of the pioneering nations as far as naval aviation was concerned. Their seaplane carriers operated with great effect in the Black Sea, successfully interdicting Turkish coastal shipping (which impacted on the operational effectiveness of the fleet as this was the main supply route for coal).

The Russians had two converted ships as 'aviation carriers'.

They were;

Imperator Alexander I class Aviation Cruiser (Baltic Sea)

Almaz class Aviation Cruiser ( Black Sea)

Descriptions of these ships are in Conways 1865-1905.

The Russians taking a pioneering role in naval aviation. In fact, it has been said their tactical use of the seaplane carriers in WW1 resembled the later carrier task forces of WW2.

There were at least seven seaplane carriers in use by the Imperial Russian Navy from 1915 to 1918. These were:

Orlitsa (1915)
Imperator Alexander I (1916)
Imperator Nikolai I (1916)
Regele Carol I (1917)
Rumyniya (1917)
Dakia (1917)
Imperator Trajan (1917)

Orlitsa served in the Baltic and the others in the Black Sea. All were converted merchant vessels. The Orlitsa originally carried French FBA (Type B or C) seaplanes but was equipped with Grigorovitch M9 seaplanes in 1916 as were (apparently) the other carriers.

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