It was 1829. The Russian-Turkish war approached an end. After the defeat of Turkey in the Navarino battle, the Ottoman fleet avoidped open battle with Russian sailors, spending most of the time in the Bosphorus, under the cover of the coastal batteries. On May 14, three Russian ship (Fregat "Standard", Briga "Orpheus" and "Mercury"), being in a dosor of 13 miles from the entrance to the Bosphorus, unexpectedly faced a Turkish squadron released into the sea. Forces were not equal. From the flagship ship "Standard" entered the order - to leave, choosing the optimal direction for better speed. It was necessary to urgently inform the command (the main forces of the Russian fleet were based in the Sizopol - Bulgaria) about the presence of the Turkish Fleet in the open sea. High-speaking "Standard" and "Orpheus" broke away from persecution. "Mercury", which has a lesser speed, almost never remained challenges. It seemed that the fate of the Brig, remaining one on one against the Turkish squadron, was predetermined ...
A little story
Mercury was built in Sevastopol shipyard and launched in May 1820. Leading the construction of the famous Ship Osinin. Material - Crimean oak. It was named after the Mercury boat, which became famous in the war of 1788-1790 with the Swedes. Brig was intended to protect the coast and conducting intelligence operations. The nose of the vessel decorated the figure of the rapid Roman god trading and travelers made by the belt. It was a two-dimensional sailing ship, armed with 18 carriconades (short-barreled tools of melee), there were also two portable guns of a larger range. The peculiarity of the ship was low sediment and the presence of cheerful - seven from each side. Rowing standing. The design features of the ports for onboard artillery and the holes for cheerful did not allow to row and shoot simultaneously. Brig had a good stability, but did not differ in high speed. The number of the crew for May 1829 was 115 people, of which there are only 5 officers with the commander.
The collision of the Russian brig with two Turkish linear ships, many times superior to it in firepower, ended with the fact that the Turks came out of the battle, and the Byrgy walked continued to swim. This story seemed so incredible that he overtook myths and legends. The most reliable source remains the report of the Commander of the Briga of the Kazar Admiral Gragu. This document served as the basis for the following descriptions of the Russian seafarers.
After the signal was received from the persecution, the Brig has changed the course, leaving two Turkish ships in the south of themselves. A 110-gun trunk (three closed decks with ports for guns) "Selimia" under the flag of Caputan Pasha (commander of the Turkish fleet) went to the russian ship at the Russian ship under the flasks of the junior flagship. 20 guns against 184! The best walkers of the Turkish fleet! The situation was hopeless. Kazarsky collected officers. The first gave the word younger in the rank - the guarantor Ivan Prokofiev. He suggested take the battle, and if it is impossible to close with one of the Turkish ships and blow up Brig. That of the officers who will remain alive by this time must shoot at the Cite Camera (powder warehouse), for which a gun was left on the spire. The rest of the officers supported the lieutenant. Kazarsky appealed to the sailors, and they assured him that they would remain correct debt and oath.
The ship commander gives orders - retain the oars, prepare for firing onboard guns. By overseas Brig, the Turks opened fire from feed guns. Soon "Selimie" made maneuver, trying to go on the right to give a longitudinal volley onto the on-board guns. "Mercury" dug out, forcing the enemy to use only the route (nose) guns. The moment came when the Turkish ships almost managed to take Brig to the "ticks", and they made two volunteers and shouts in Russian offered to pull the flag. Brig's sailors answered artillery and rifle fire. The kernels, incendiary shells, knaps, collapsed on Mercury. The latter are two cast iron kernels or semi-sided, bonded between themselves are applied to the output of rigging (cables, ropes that provide sail management). Brig continued to skillfully maneuver, Russian artilleryrs led fire on Turkish ships. They managed to kill the Water Stores (ropes, holding a bushprit - an oblique bar nominated from the nose to improve maneuverability) and damage the grottoes (horizontal rei high on the ship grotto) of one of them. "Selimie" lost his move and left the battle. The second ship continued to pursue, while another exact shot of Russian sailors did not interrupted the NOC-FOR-Mars-Rey (horizontal log, carrier sail on the front mast), the fall of which led to the cessation of chase ...
The Russian ship, see who lost all hope, left without the course of Turkish linear ships, managed to break away from persecution and return to the base. His losses - four dead, six wounded, 22 "holes" in the case and numerous damage to the rigging.
After 12 years, the bicotion of a memorable event will be celebrated. And all this time, people of various professions are trying to find an answer to this question. It was too fantastic looked out of the opposition. Among the reasons you can allocate the tactical skill of the team of Alexander Kazarsky, whose maneuvering "Mercury" deprived the Turks of the opportunity to take a position for applying a decisive strike, and, of course, high sweating, the brave of sailors and their determination to blow up Brig together with the Turks. The level of preparation and moral spirit The Turkish fleet at this moment was at a low level due to severe lesions to the sea. There were also suggestions that, perhaps, the Turks wanted not to drown the ship, but calmly sharing it, as in three days before the Russian frigate "Rafail". It was natural in the established atmosphere, and therefore they did not expect such courage from Russian sailors.
The act of the crew was assessed by merit. All officers were awarded orders, sailors award for the lower ranks - the signs of the distinction of a military order. Everyone was appointed lifelong pension. The officers were given the right to make an image of a gun into the family coat of arms, about whose appointment has already been said. Brig received a St. George flag. Nicholas I ordered my decree that from now on on the fleet there was always a ship "Mercury", similar to the legendary brig.
Brig's sailors became national heroes. The poems were made about the feat (Denis Davydov), the books (Trenev, Cherkashin) were written, films were shot. Famous artists embodied on their canvas various moments of battle. The most famous of them was Maristen Aivazovsky, to whose picture "Brig" Mercury ", attacked by two Turkish ships, " some researchers even presented "claims". The artist was reproached in the inaccuracy of the location of the Brig, clamped by Turkish ships. As it often happens (the assault on the Winter Palace, the uprising on the battleship "Potemkin"), the "Great Power of Art" leads to the fact that the event begins to interpret about artistic works ...
Two ship, two destinies
Through three days before the events described in a similar position, the newest Russian frigate "Rafail" turned out to be. The Russian ship lowered the flag and surrendered to the enemy. Commanded them Captain-Lieutenant of construction workers. Strange zigzags of fate ... Both commander - construction workers and Kazares were familiar, Kazarsky replaced Stroynikov at Mercury, both were awarded for courage shown in the current company. The officers competed with each other and even achieved recognition of one woman. One covered myself shame, the other became an example of courage for many generations.
The feat of the Russian sailors was that in the hopeless situation they made their choice - chose the death of a shameful captivity and thanks to the "spirit of the crew and the grace of God" (A.I. Kazarsky) came out of the battle. This is not for all - "Rafail" is confirmed. "Mercury" will forever remain a symbol of the valor and glory of the Russian fleet.