“OPERATION POLAR BEAR”

OPERATION Many historians of the Russian fleet passed the XIV century and goes straight from the campaigns of the Kievan princes to Byzantium if not Peter the Great, at least to the campaign of Ivan the terrible in 1552, Kazan. In fact, the shipbuilding and the movement of Russian troops on the ships never stopped, even during the Tartar yoke.

 
At the end of the XIII century in Russia was created a new type of ship — the eyelet. This name, according to some linguists, comes from drevnekeltskogo words “boat”, but more likely — on behalf of the polar bear — eyelet. By the way, is the name of the bear existed in Pomerania until the nineteenth century. An indirect argument in favor of the second version is that the Normans went on the seas in “sea wolves”.
 
Often the eyelet is decorated with the heads of bears. So, in the Novgorod epic in the description of the ship Nightingale Budimirovic said: “In fact it was the Falcon-ship two bears white overseas.”
 
For the first time about the eyelet mentioned in the chronicle of Eric in the episode relating to the year 1300, when the Swedish fleet under the command of Marshal Knutsson went into the river and burned several Novgorod eyelet.
 
In 1453 Moscow Prince Ivan traveled on such ships along the Volga river from the Elm mountains to Nizhny Novgorod. The last mention of the eyelet is contained in the Pskov Chronicles 1473. By the way, in Chronicles, they were considered larger vessels than the rook.
 
Typically the eyelet was built of pine. The keel was cut from a single tree trunk and was represented by a beam, which is superimposed on top of the wide Board that served as the basis for zones of the cladding. It was held together with the Kiel wooden rods (nails), the ends of which were rasklinivanie. Beams, forming the bow and stern of the ship, was made straight and installed vertically or with a slight outward tilt, the nose was above the stern. They were connected to the keel of the brackets (angle brackets for rigid connection of the elements of the vessel adjacent to each other at an angle) carved from a tree trunk with radiating angle thick branch. With the outer skin and the first frames stevne are held together with horizontal brackets, with the top at the same time serves as a support for the deck flooring, and the bottom was placed at the waterline or slightly above. Prugi (frames) consisted of “pieces” (component parts) thick branches of the natural deflection, the abrasion at the contact surfaces to the skin, with a slightly beveled edge on the opposite side. In the middle part of the vessel aprove consisted of three parts, and the extremities — of the two.
 
Sea eyelet (unlike the river) had a flat deck just for the bow and stern. The middle part of the ship (about a third of the length) remained open. Their capacity was 4 — 4,5 t On the inner lining rested six or eight benches for rowers. Thanks to shallow draft (about 0.5 m) and big ratio of length and width (5:1), the ship possessed relatively high swim speed. Both marine and river eyelet carried only removable mast, located in the Central part of the body, with one oblique or direct sail. Hinged rudders on the eyelet set, they replaced the feed steering oars.
 
River eyelet generally differed by its design from the sea, and not only in the presence of the deck. So, according to some historians, the eyelet of the river was a boat with a capacity of up to 30 people. The keel was broad and flat. The same curved bow and stern beams were connected to the keel with wooden pegs, or in a secret tongue. The corps was recruited from hewn planks. The first belt cover is attached to the keel the same nails, the rest was sewn between the willow rods mount steinam pins. Upper belt cover was thicker than the others by about half. Bent aprove mounted in a housing and nailed to the outer skin only with wooden pegs. The inner lining was not continuous: at the bottom of Elan were free Board, just above the cheekbones were the inner belt (thickness as outer skin), which relied benches for rowers, and the upper zone was at the level of the last external and attached to progam nails. The thickness of the inner and upper zones was equal with the corresponding outer. Plancher (wooden beams with sockets for rowlocks running along the side of the boat and covering the upper ends of the frames) was absent. In the gap between the casings inserted wedges-cochiti, which served as supports for the oars. Thickened last belt of outer and inner casings provide for a sufficient strength of the Board with possible Board or by dragging the eyelet through Perevoloka.
 
River eyelet
 
River eyelet
 
River eyelet (on the top and in the nose of the sail and the mast is conventionally not shown):
 
1 — bow-beam; 2 — the keel; 3 — oruga; 4 — bench; 5 — Elan; 6 — socket for securing the mast; 7 — clamp; 8 tower; 9 — upper inner belt cover; 10 — lower inner belt cover; 11 — wedges-cochiti (oarlocks); 12 — feed beam; 13 — bow-stretch; 14 — sail; 15 — bar, 16 — namechina; 17 — lateral stretching; 18 rope mounting rails; 19 — control cords sail; 20 — rowing oar

 
River eyelet had a length of 12-14 meters, width about 2.5 m, draught 0,4—0,6 m and a height up to 1 m Capacity reached 4-4,5 tons of Shelters, neither in the nose nor in the rear it was not. Due to symmetrical formations fore and aft of the eyelet could, not turning, immediately move away from the coast that often had to do during raids.
 
When the wind put the mast-odnodnevka direct sail from the yardarm. To lift the top of the mast is supplied with nasakenai. Simple, without blocks, rigging was fastened over the bench, and forward and aft extensions on the respective ends.
 
The paddles are in contact with a shell covered with thick skin.
 
These vessels were used for military and commercial purposes. But the story of how they came warships Novgorod freemen — ushkuyniki hikes which began in the late XIII century. First their big campaign dates back to 1320 during the war of Lord Novgorod the Great against the Swedes. Squad bows Varfolomeyevich the eyelet on the sea was the Northern Dvina, was released in the White sea, and then into the Arctic ocean and devastated the region Finmarken, located between the southern shore of the Varanger Fjord and the city of tromsø. In 1323, having the same route, ushkuyniki attacked the neighboring Firmennom severomorskoy area Halogaland. These raids contributed to the war, and the Swedes concluded with Novgorod a compromise Orehovicki the world. However, in 1348 they again attacked the Republic of Novgorod. King Magnus deception took the castle Nut. In response the following year was followed by a sea trip pirates to the shores of the same province of Halogaland, which was taken heavily fortified castle Barkey.
 
Campaign of king Magnus was the last of the “Crusades” of the Swedish knights to the land of Veliky Novgorod. Then more than a hundred years in the North of Russia was not a serious military action. Ushkuyniki also turned their attention to the South-West, the Golden Horde. Yes, Yes, the Golden Horde, which was afraid of all the Russian princes and pay tribute, and the Orthodox Church announced its “God’s punishment” sent for the sins of the Russian people.
 
The Golden Horde was rich. A significant portion of the nomads became city dwellers. Hundreds of thousands of slaves from conquered countries, built a large city on the banks of the Volga and Kama rivers. Arab traveler Ibn Batuta who visited the Golden Horde in 1334, wrote that the town Barn is one of the most beautiful cities and it took almost all day to drive around it. A significant source of income of the khans was trade — merchants pay a toll to the Tatars in the amount of 3 to 5 percent of the value of the goods, and went down the Volga entire convoys from countries of the Middle East, India and China. One of the most profitable goods were considered slaves. And especially appreciated Russian slaves, which are constantly extracted Tatars during Russian raids on eemli.
 
The trade route along the Volga was the goose that lays the Golden eggs, so for the attack on the merchants was punished with the death penalty.
 
The first major campaign ushkuyniki made in 1360. With the fighting took place along the Volga to the mouth of the Kama, and then stormed the great Tatar city Zhukotin (dzhuketau near the modern city Chistopol). Capturing untold riches, they went back to the fire and started to “guzzle homespun coats”. But the Khan of the Golden Horde sent envoys to the Russian princes to demand the extradition of pirates. Get the wind up the princes (Suzdal, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov) secretly came to the city of Kostroma, with the help of its citizens seized the unsuspecting pirates and hastened to issue on violence Khan. Fear of the Tatars was eclipsed by the princes not only conscience, but also the mind. After all, such things ushkuyniki did. They took and burned Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma were robbed almost every time he sailed past. But these, so to speak, punitive measures are not distracted from their main task — the fight against the Horde.
 
In 1363, the ushkuyniki with Governor Alexander Abakanowicz and Stepan Lapai headed out to the river Ob. Here the army divided: one part went to fight down the Obi to the Arctic ocean (icy sea), and the other to walk along the upper reaches of the Ob river to the junction of the borders of the Golden Horde, Chagatai Ulus and China. The scale of their journey will not yield to travel Afanasy Nikitin and Marco Polo.
 
In 1366 the Novgorod boyars Osip varfolomeyevich, Vasily and Alexander Bakunovich raided caravans between Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. The Horde forces were again powerless in the ushkuyniki, and the Khan of the Golden Horde turned for help to his vassal the Prince of Moscow Dmitry Ivanovich (the future don). Dmitry sends threatening letter to Novgorod. And the boyars tricky answer, how is in Russia, evasion — “there were young people on the Volga without our words, but people (merchants) your not robbed, only beaten infidels”. According to the Novgorod, beat the infidels was a matter of life, and about his innocence nobles slukavil. In fact, with the ushkuyniki went the best of the governors of Novgorod. With arms and money helped them rich Novgorod merchants, and not free; returning, ushkuyniki generously shared the loot.
 
It should be noted that the ushkuiniks had superior weaponry, and they should not present a crowd of peasants in his coat but spears and axes. These were professional fighters, skillfully acted as on foot and on horseback. They had armor — most armor from the chopped sheet steel rings (Barany or botany), made and combined shells (bachtarzi), in which between the rings were intertwined with the steel plate. By the way, ushkuyniki not opposed to the warriors of Genghis Khan, who had not even shells, but Khan’s choicest troops in heavy protective equipment. Offensive weapons pirates consisted of the traditional set: spears, swords, swords; and the swords were favored. Of missile weapons were bows and crossbows as a portable and stationary, firing heavy bolts of steel bolts.
 
From 1360 to 1375 ushkuyniki made eight big hikes on the middle Volga, not counting the small raids. So, in 1374, the third time they took the city of Bolgar (near Kazan), then went down the river and took himself Shed — the capital of the Great Khan.
 
In 1375 the people of Novgorod on seventy eyelet under the authority of the Governor Procopius and Smolyaninov (apparently, the inhabitants of Smolensk) was near Kostroma. Moscow Governor Alexander Pleshcheyev with five thousand rati came out to meet them. The Prokop at hand was only fifteen hundred soldiers, but he divided them into two parts: one clashed with the Moscow army, and the other sent secretly to the woods in ambush. Blow an ambush to the rear of Pleshcheyev, and decided the case. Muscovites fled, and the winners once again took Kostroma. After resting there for a few weeks, ushkuyniki went down the Volga. By tradition, they inflicted “visit” in the city of Bolgar and Barn. And the rulers of Bolgar. taught by bitter experience, bought off a great tribute, but Khan’s capital Sarai was stormed and looted.
 
Panic covered the Tatars at one lead of the approach of pirates. The lack of serious resistance and the fabulous production turned the heads ushkuyniki. They moved further to the Caspian sea. When it came to the mouth of the Volga river, they were met Salgym Khan, who ruled haztorokanyu (Astrakhan), and immediately paid tribute requested by Prokop. Moreover, in honor of the ushkuyniki Khan gave a Grand feast. Drunken soldiers lost vigilance, and in the midst of the feast they rushed a crowd of armed Tatars. So died Prokop smolyanin their squad, only a few daredevils have returned to Russia. This is the biggest defeat of the pirates, but the details of the tragedy, rather, emphasize their strength than weakness. The Tatars did not even try to defeat the enemy in open battle. Historical was not the first, and another city, where the khans with a bow offered a tribute to their just left alone.
 
When you write about ushkuiniks, the impression that we are talking about a parallel history of Russia, the excellent and independent from that which is still taught in schools. In 1380 Khan Tokhtamysh burned Moscow, Vladimir Mozhaisk, and Dmitrov, and in 1383, the son of Dmitry Donskoy, Vasily (later Basil I) went to bow to the Horde with a great tribute. Pirates these cases were few and the craft they did not. In 1392, they again took Zhukotin and Kazan, in 1398— 1399 fought for the Northern Dvina. In 1409 hundred eyelet Cham went up, and 150 down the Volga.
 
Further, in the annals of the proceedings of the ushkuiniks lost. But it was due, rather, not with their disappearance, but with more rigid censorship of the Chronicles of the rulers of Moscow in XV — XVII centuries. It is unlikely that the ushkuiniks were sitting quietly at home in the course of ambitious strife, started by the children and grandchildren of Dmitry Donskoy in 1425-1450. But in 1478 Ivan III’s troops defeated Novgorod, and he ceased to be a great trading city.
 
Russian history, apparently, has received an official setting to forget the ushkuiniks, and it came down to “gathering lands,” the Moscow princes. It is curious, however, that the ushkuiniks still remember… in Kazan. A good example of this is the monograph of Alfred Khasanovich Khalikov “the Mongols, the Tatars. The Golden Horde and Bulgaria” (Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan, Kazan, 1994).
 
A. SHIROKORAD

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