Astrakhan (66)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> Russian Navy >> Astrakhan (66)

Origin and History

In 1755, the Admiralty realized that 3rd rate ships built in Arkhangelsk according to the Shipbuilding Regulations had difficulties passing a nearby shallow bank. It was decided to reduce the depth of the 66-gun ships. Accordingly, the present ship, which was built by A. Sutherland (А. Сютерланд) at the Solombalskaya dockyard in Archangelsk followed slightly modified specifications: her depth being 6 inches lesser; her hull, 2 feet wider; her fore-mast, 1 feet taller; and her main-mast, 2 feet taller. The keel was laid down on May 7, 1755 (April 26 old style, abbreviated O.S. in this article). She was launched on May 23, 1756 (May 12 O.S.). She was attached to the Fleet of the Baltic Sea.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • in 1756: Captain D. Zveri (Д. Звери)
  • in 1757: Captain G. A. Spiridov (Г. А. Спиридов)
  • from 1758 and 1760: Captain M. Elizarov (М. Елизаров)
  • in 1761: Captain E. N. Iretzkiy (Е. Н. Ирецкий)

The ship was wrecked on the coast of Dagö Island (present-day Hiiumaa Island) on October 23 1761.

Service during the War

From June to September 1756, the ship made her first journey, sailing from Archangelsk to Kronshtadt.

In 1757, the ship was part of the squadron commanded by Admiral Z. D. Mishukov (З. Д. Мишуков) who left Kronshtadt on June 11 (May 31 O.S.) to blockade the Prussian coast. On June 15 (June 4 O.S.), the squadron anchored at Danzig. On August 19 (August 8 O.S.), the ship left Danzig under the flag of Admiral Mishukov, leading the squadron sailing for the Swedish coasts. On September 28 (September 17 O.S.), the ship arrived at Kronshtadt for winter.

On July 13 1758 (July 2 O.S.), the ship was part of a squadron who sailed from Kronshtadt. From July 20 to September 8 (July 9 to August 28 O.S.), she was part of Russo-Swedish fleet which blockaded the Øresund to prevent the British Navy from entering into the Baltic. On October 3 (September 22 O.S.), she arrived at Revel for winter.

From May to June 1759, the ship escorted cargo vessels transporting ammunition from Riga to Pillau. On July 26 (July 15 O.S.), near Eland Island, she joined a squadron who cruised along the Prussian coasts. On October 6 (September 25 O.S.), she came back to Revel.

On August 14 1760 (August 3 O.S.), the ship left Revel with the fleet and on August 26 (August 15 O.S.) arrived to take part in the Siege of Colberg. On August 29 (August 18 O.S.), as a part of the detachment of Counter-Admiral Mordvinov (Мордвинов), she bombarded the fortress. On September 21 (September 10 O.S.), she re-embarked troops on the coast near Colberg and then sailed away with the fleet, towing a galiot. On October 9 (September 28 O.S.), she arrived at Kronshtadt.

On June 24 1761 (June 13 O.S.), the ship left Kronshtadt as part of a squadron transporting troops for the Siege of Colberg. On June 26, she ran aground but the Archangel Uriil (66) came to her help and re-floated her. They then caught up with their squadron. On July 30 (July 19 O.S.), she landed troops at Cape Rügenwalde. On August 24 (August 13 O.S.), she arrived in front of Colberg. On August 26 (August 15 O.S.), the ship anchored near the coast and started bombardment of coastal fortifications. She was damaged by returning fire and moved away from the coast cutting her anchors. On September 4 and 5 (August 24 and 25 O.S.), she bombarded the fortress again. On October 9 (September 28 O.S.), she followed her squadron who sailed away from Colberg due to stormy weather. On October 13 (October 2 O.S.), during a severe storm, she separated from her squadron and anchored near Gotland Island. The storm did not cease and on October 17 (October 6 O.S.) the ship had to go further but due to strong waves the crew could not raise anchors and had to cut them. There were already 173 sick sailors aboard, few sails were torn. On October 21 (October 10 O.S.), the ship was pushed by the wind towards the coast of Dagö Island (present-day Hiiumaa Island). The crew let go the anchor but the ship continued to drift into the shallows, waves beat her to the shore. To save his crew, Captain Iretzkiy ordered to cut anchors and to let the ship enter into the shallows. All three masts broke when the keel hit the ground. Water began to pour into the ship through holes. On October 23, the wind died down and the crew managed to cross to the coast. The ship was completely wrecked.

Characteristics

Sketch of a typical 66-gun ship according to the Shipbuilding Regulations – Source: Collection of Roman Shlygin

The design of most Russian ships of the line of this period still adhered tightly to the Shipbuilding Regulations issued by Peter the Great in 1723.

Technical specifications
Guns 66
Lower gun deck 24 x 24-pdrs (Russian pounds)
Upper gun deck 26 x 12-pdrs (Russian pounds)
Quarterdeck and Forecastle 16 x 6-pdrs (Russian pounds)
Crew no information found
Length at gun deck 47.40 m (155' 6”)
Width 13.25 m (43' 6”)
Depth in Hold 5.30 m (17' 5”)
Displacement approx. 1,200 metric tons


References

Main Sources

Ministry of the Sea - Material for the History of the Russian Navy, vol 10, St. Petersburg, 1883 in a collection of 17 volumes published from 1865 to 1904

Veselago, Fedosey Fedorovich: List of Russian Naval Vessels from 1668 to 1869, St. Petersburg: Ministry of the Sea, 1872

Other Sources

Shirokorad, A. B.: 200 лет парусного флота (200 years of sailing fleet)

http://www.navy.su/

Acknowledgement

Roman Shlygin for the initial version of this article