- Book reviewer
- History - WW1, Book reviews, Non Commonwealth Navies
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1994 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Some years ago Commander (E) George Nekrasov, RAN gave a talk to the Naval Historical Society of Australia in Sydney on this topic. Subsequently he continued his research into the subject which has resulted in the publication of this book, which is long overdue.
Until the appearance of this work there has been a great gap in the history of the Russian Navy. For instance, Mairin Mitchell, in his `Maritime History of Russia’, published in 1949, gives scant mention of the Russian Imperial Navy during the Great War but expends two pages discussing the mutiny in the battleship POTEMKIN in 1903 and to other revolts and mutinies with little mention of the exploits of the Imperial Navy.
It is said that history is written by the victors and one suspects that the exploits of the Russian Imperial Navy 1914-1917 have been played down quite deliberately. Until this book the professional expertise and almost unbelievable experiences of officers and men of the Black Sea Fleet have been almost unknown to us.
With the best of goodwill we can only assume that after the revolution the Red Russians expunged any mention of the Imperial Navy’s exploits 1914-1917 from their history books, except perhaps, to glorify the revolutionary involvement of the sailors whom they revered for being in the forefront of the overthrow of the Old Order.
Since reading the book I have asked a number of retired naval officers what they know of the Russian Navy. In every case the answer has been that the Japanese beat them at Tushima and they have a large fleet of nuclear submarines.
This book goes a long way towards filling in this gap in naval history and is replete with historic photographs and drawings of the Black Sea ships.
George Nekrasov, being a Russian linguist has access to Russian research material and should be encouraged to write about the Baltic Fleet of the same period.
By George Nekrasov. Published by East European Monographs, Boulder. Distributed by Columbia University Press New York. ISBN 0-8803-240-9.