One Year of Russian Invasion: Some Thoughts On The Naval Front

A photo from the good days of Moskva. This image was taken in January 2016.

One year ago, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, the Ukrainian Navy was just adequate enough to protect its coast and the approaches to its important harbors. Since the partition of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet the Ukrainian Navy was the lesser of the two fleets. Compared to the Russian Black Sea Fleet it had fewer ships. The ships were old and not diverse enough to support a large range of maritime missions. Other than sending one warship to NATO missions in the Mediterranean, a few times the Ukrainian Navy was more or less confined to the Black Sea.

After the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, some of the ships and the sailors manning them simply choose to return to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, leaving the Ukrainian Fleet in a precarious situation. The Mosquito Fleet concept was designed by the Ukrainian Navy and aimed to rectify its weakness by investing in asymmetrical warfare through small boats with large punches. Ukraine’s efforts to use its own shipbuilding industry for warship production did not make important progress, forcing Ukraine to procure warships from abroad. The USA donated 4 Island-class large patrol boats. And Ukraine has procured one Milgem class corvette from Turkey with one as an option. However, these actions were not enough to boost the Ukrainian Navy at the start of the Russian Invasion in February 2022. The American-made boats were too small and lacked any effective armament, whereas the Turkish-made corvette was still under construction.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet was in much better shape at the start of the war. Since the invasion of Crimea Russia has invested in the Black Sea Fleet procuring 6 new frigates, 6 new patrol submarines, and 8 corvettes all capable of firing Kalibr, and long-range cruise missiles with land attack ability.

Furthermore, the Fleet was just reinforced with tank landing ships from other Fleets. The Slava class cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet with her long-range radars and 64 SA-N-6 Grumble (S-300F) missiles was able to provide a large air defense bubble. The Black Sea Fleet was able to efficiently protects its units and conduct attacks on Ukrainian targets and dominate the maritime front of the war from the start.

In the first few weeks of the invasion, the Russian Black Sea Fleet indeed did dominate the seas. The immediate occupation of snake Island in the western part of the Black Sea was done in a quick and efficient way. It enabled Russia to control the approaches to the main Ukrainian ports outside of the Azov Sea. The majority of the Ukrainian warships were out of action. They were either scuttled by their crew, seized by advancing Russian troops, or sunk in action. The Russian amphibious ships sailing off the Ukrainian coast pretending to make a landing, tied up land forces near the coast when they were urgently needed on other fronts. The Kalibr salvos from frigates, corvettes, or submarines destroyed important Ukrainian military targets or infrastructure.

For a few weeks in the Spring of 2022, the Russian Black Sea Fleet seemed to have total dominance over the Black Sea and was dictating the action upon the Ukrainian side. The Ukrainian Navy was largely absent in action and no civilian ship could enter or leave the Ukrainian ports, bringing seaborne foreign trade in Ukraine to a complete halt.

We now have the hindsight that this dominance was not as total as Russia wanted us to believe. The self-combustion of the Alligator class landing ship Saratov at the Berdiansk port when unloading ammunition and her consequent sinking was a clear sign that not all was well within the Black Sea Fleet. That incident showed that there were important shortcomings, omissions, or neglect in training, damage control, in safety procedures related to the handling of hazardous material.

The Black Sea Fleet leadership failed in in keeping the ships in a fully operational state -as turned out to be the case in the loss of Moskva. The crews received inadequate training in damage control or their equipment failed or not functioned. Even in the absence of a naval force, Ukraine was determined to break the Russian choke and push the Black Sea Fleet away from the Ukrainian coast by asymmetrical means. With the attack on the cruiser Moskva, Ukraine was able to take in the initiative from Russia.

The loss of the cruiser was a big blow for Russia, a big morale boost for Ukraine, and a big wake-up call for the West which was more or less convinced itself Russian A2/AD bubble was impenetrable. The sinking of Moskva stripped away the defensive umbrella over the ships supplying Snake Island. The Russians made efforts to reinforce the garrison on the island with additional air defense weapons however these were destroyed by Ukrainians when they were still in the landing craft. The Russians were not able to prevent Ukrainian armed forces from bombarding the island from the air and from the Ukrainian shores. In the end, Russia had to retreat from the island in the early Summer of 2022, ending the choke it had put on Ukraine.

Less than a month later, as a direct result of Russia abandoning Snake Island, the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed, and Ukraine was able to export its grain to the whole world again. The naval front of the war is at a stalemate. While the Russian side has a clear superiority in numbers and capability it lacks the will and apparently the courage to bring the war back to Ukraine’s shores again. The Russian seems to be happy with the “fleet in being”.

On the other hand, Ukraine was able to create its own humble A2/AD bubble without a navy and break the Russian Fleet’s will to fight. But it lacks the very basic ability of any naval force to conduct any operations on high seas and has very limited means to bring the fighting to the Russian shores.

At the beginning of the invasion, the naval actions affected the fighting on land. Since last summer this seems to have reversed. The outcome of the fighting in the naval domain will be determined by the actions on land.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus in 2021 (Part 3)

USS Thomas Hudner an Arleigh Burke Flight III class destroyer became the second US Navy warship to enter the Black Sea. This is her first-ever Black Sea deployment.

The first ship from Eisenhower CSG to enter the Black Sea was the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Monterey. This is her first Black Sea deployment. Photo: Arkeonaval

Bulgarian minehunter BGS Tsibar, which joined the NATO taskforce SNMCMG-2 in the Black Sea sailed southbound with the rest of the group. Photo: Yörük Işık.

ESPS Tajo, the Spanish unit attached to SNMCMG-2 exited the Black Sea after taking part in Romanian exercise Poseidon 21 and visiting Odesa with the taskforce. Photo: Yörük Işık.

When ESPS Méndez Núñez transited northbound through Istanbul, she became the third Spanish ship and second Alvaro de Bazan class frigate deployed to the Black Sea

Russian Buyan-M class corvette Vyshniy Volochek finished her 4-month deployment to the Mediterranean and returned back To the Black Sea.

The Russian tug SB-739 returned alone from her long journey through the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean where she escorted Russian surface ships.

The outgoing flagship of NATO taskforce SNMG-2, ESPS Cristóbal Colón passed northbound through Istanbul. Photo: Arkeonaval

The Russian large landing ship Saratov started her third Mediterranean deployment in 2021. Photo: Ben Kendim

The list of the foreign warships that passed through the Istanbul Strait is here.

20 Iron Pots

…The small Turkish steamer Nusret succeeded in laying unnoticed a line of 26 mines lying in front of the known minefields of the Straits. This mine line was not laid across the barrier canal, as in minefields, but in length. This line, was constituted, in fact with the last reserve of dormant mines which the Turks had. Their total value probably does not exceed six or seven thousand pounds. In all of Europe in 1915, millions of tin and riveted men to a death fight, large offensives were killed or wounded. The wealth of nations flowed in the abyss. Four or five thousand warships sailed the seas. But these twenty iron pots surreptitiously placed by the steamer Nusrat were intended to give more complete and more decisive results, as to the length of the war and the future of the world than all the other forces combined…

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, La Revir de Paris, 1930 August.

20 Iron Pots

…The small Turkish steamer Nusret succeeded in laying unnoticed a line of 26 mines lying in front of the known minefields of the Straits. This mine line was not laid across the barrier canal, as in minefields, but in length. This line, was constituted, in fact with the last reserve of dormant mines which the Turks had. Their total value probably does not exceed six or seven thousand pounds. In all of Europe in 1915, millions of tin and riveted men to a death fight, large offensives were killed or wounded. The wealth of nations flowed in the abyss. Four or five thousand warships sailed the seas. But these twenty iron pots surreptitiously placed by the steamer Nusrat were intended to give more complete and more decisive results, as to the length of the war and the future of the world than all the other forces combined…

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, La Revir de Paris, 1930 August.

Turkish Anti-Ship Missiles Contract Signed

A test firing of Atmaca missile. Date unknown.

On 2nd November 2018, The Presidency of Defence Industries –former Undersecreteriat of Defence Industries- the main defense acquisition agency of Turkey announced that a contract for the serial production of Atmaca (Hawk) anti-ship missile was signed.

The contract was signed between PDI and Roketsan the leading company in the country for designing, developing and manufacturing rockets and missiles, as the main contractor. Aselsan the main defense electronics company is acting as sub-contractor and providing the RF seeker head and guidance section.

Since its start, the Atmaca Project has always been shrouded by thick layers of secrecy. And this habit continues still. Neither the value of the contract nor the number of missiles to be procured was revealed. The scheduled commissioning date of the missiles was also not made public. The press release about however mentioned that the first missiles are to be installed on board of the TCG İstanbul. TCG İstanbul is a İ class frigate currently under construction in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

On 2nd October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident, two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ship’s bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because of the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits, general quarters were sounded and the firefighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand, the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

The extent of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reaching to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, then she would not have survived.

These two photos were taken after TGC Muavenet was towed to Gölcük Naval Base.

All the firefighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew.

They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergeant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defense of their country.

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry


An interesting but technical legal article about why the USA did not pay indemnities to the Turkish sailors

Bosphorus Naval News

And one video documentary about the incident:


Lest We Forget: The King Of The Sea

He was an admiral, naval hero, pirate, warrior and empire builder.

Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa died today in 1546, the year that Turkish annals simply recorded “The King of the Sea is dead”.

Yes, it is his personal pennant that is flying on the mast.

National Electronic Warfare Suite

A comparison between the new EW configuration on board TCG Fatih (left) and the old one.

The new electronic warfare suite on board of TCG Fatih has been accepted after rigorous testing according to Aselsan.

The system is made of the following units:

  • Electronic Support Measures
  • Decoy Launching System
  • Dedicated or Shared Multi-Function Consoles

The heart of the system is the CPU of the EW processing and its interface with the operator. Aselsan has developed and installed similar systems to Ada class corvettes and Bayraktar class landing ships. So they have a good knowledge of development and implementation of EW systems. The most important physical obstacle was the mast on with the ESM antennas were installed. On Ada and Bayraktar class ships, these antennas are integrated into the closed mast. There was no place or top weight problems. On TCG Fatih, however, the antennas had to be put on top of the thin part at the end of the main mast of the ship. Therefore Aselsan used the antenna solution they have developed for Ay class submarines. Since it was compact enough to fit on a pole on a submarine, so it was also good enough to be mounted on the mast.

According to Aselsan, tests have been conducted both for ECM / EW suit and for the decoy launching system before the system was accepted by Turkish Navy.

It is not clear at the moment if this EW suite will be back fitted to the other Yavuz class frigates or if this EW system is part of the mid-life modernization program of Barbaros class frigates.


Lest We Forget: Rauf Orbay

53 years ago today a naval officer passed away following a heart attack, suffered after 82 years of a turbulent life full of wars, political struggles and exiles. A life shaped by the sea. The full name of the marine registry is Huseyin Rauf, the son of Mehmet Muzaffer from Cibali.

His biography you will read below was originally written in Turkish by Uğur Esmer, a very fine history student and a naval enthusiasts. I have shortened and translated his text to English. Any syntax or grammer mistakes you will find are mine. If you want to read the original text please click here.

Rauf Orbay, born in 1881 as the son of Mehmet Muzaffer Pasha, the First Ferik (Admiral) anda member of the Ayan Parliament, continued his education at the Primary School in Cibali Primary School. The finished his studies in Tripoli after his father was appointed as a commodore to serve here. Later, in 1896, he returned to Istanbul to continue his family tradition and enrolled in Heybeliada Naval High School with the number 320.

On March 29, 1899, he was appointed as a lieutenant to the Selimiye frigate as an engineer for training. After this training, he was appointed as a navigation officer on to ship İdare-i Mahsusa Garp on 1 April 1899. On September 29, 1900, he was appointed as a navigation officer to the Mesudiye armored cruiser. On April 9, 1901, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. On April 23, 1904, he was promoted to captain. Being fluent in English and a successful officer, he has begun to stand out in international contacts and meetings.

Rauf Orbay was assigned to the armored vessel Mesudiye on 23 August 1904. During this duty he became interpreter for Buckham Pascha. He was in real life Ransford D. Buckham, a captain of one of whaleback steamers who commanded Mesudiye on her delivery voyage from USA to Istanbul. He decided to stay in Turkey, and was eventually promoted to Rear Admiral with the title of Pasha. He was a consultant in the Ottoman Navy and together with Rauf Orbay they made a trip to the shipyards in England and America. Both man created a close friendship was established between them over time.

While they are in America, Bucknam Pasha and Rauf Orbay went to the White House, to meet with the President of the United States. When they entered the president’s office, they saw a man sitting on the table, shaking his feet and reading a document. Rauf Orbay thought this guy to be the president’s secretary. He asked Buckham Pascha, who this rude man was, who did not even lift his head. Buckham replies that the man sitting on the table was no one else but the President Theodore Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt gave Rauf Orbay a signed special permission document to examine the shipyards and submarine construction sites at the end of the day’s talks.

A young lieutenant named Chester Nimitz was assigned as a guide to Rauf Orbay during his visits to the submarine shipyard. They have found an opportunity for a short trip on a submarine. Unfortunately there was a problem with the submarine and they had to stay submerged 10 long hours before surfacing again.

In October 1906 he was assigned to the crew tasked to bring the armored vessel Asar-i Tevfik back from Germany after her repairs were completed.

In March 1907 he appointed as the commander torpedo cruiser, Peyk-i Şevket. With Peyk-i Şevket he took part in the operations to suppress the Sisam uprising. In the same year he also participated in the activities of the Movement Army, that came to Istanbul because subdue the March 31 Uprising. During his involvement with the Movement Army he met with Mustafa Kemal Bey (Atatürk) and İsmet Bey (İnönü). This acquaintance would shape his life in a profound way.

For Rauf Orbay the most important day in his life is May 5 1909, the day he was assigned as the commander of the cruiser Hamidiye. This was an important milestone and turning point in the history.

Hamidiye, a protected cruiser order to Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth & co, in Newcastle on 1900 and commissioned in Ottoman Navy in 1904 was one of the best warships built and served 40 years, well into the 20. Century.

Hamidiye had a displacement of 3600 tons. Her length was 128 meters and width 12 meters. Her main armament consisted two 152mm quick firing guns. The secondary armament had six 101mm, three 76mm and 4 57mm guns. Additionally she had two 533mm torpedo tubes. Her speed was up to 27 kts. She could bunker 710 tons coal.

The first mission of Rauf Orbay and Hamidiye was to help to suppress the rebellion in Albania.

In 1911 Hamidiye was selected to represent Ottoman Empire at the coronation ceremony of King George VI of England.

Upon the start of the Balkan War, Hamidiye deployed to the Black Sea with a fleet of eight ships. They shelled ports of Varna and Kavarna

The Greek Army started to occupy islands near Anatolia with the help of the Greek Navy. With the help of the battleship Averof, Greek Navy was effectively blockading Dardanelles.

Rauf Orbay thought to use his ship as a bait by sailing to Aegean and forcing Averof to follow him. Thus creating an opportunity for the Ottoman Navy to break the blockade. He explained his plan to Minister of Navy Çürüksulu Hasan Paşa and got the permission. The naval commander and his deputies assembled a warplane action plan and identified the neutral codes for the ship’s radio codes and the ship’s shelter. The call sign of the Hamidiye would be “Fox”.

On January 13, 1913, Hamidiye sailed to Kepez Bay and dropped the anchor. Rauf Orbay ordered to flammable materials such as diesel and sawdust on the deck and informed Ottoman Naval HQ in a clear radio transmission about the fire. Later that that night, hidden in the darkness Hamidiye sailed out of Dardanelles. The cruiser started her raid that would last 7 months and 23 days.

The first target of the raid was Ermoupoli port on Syros Island. When Hamidiye arrived, the auxiliary cruiser Macedonia as in port. Hamidiye open fire on Macedonia causing her to sink in shallow water. The Ottoman warship also shelled the gunpowder factory and the power plant. This raid created excitement and indignation but Greek Navy refused to take the bait. The battleship Averof stayed off Dardanelles and Hamidiye was pursued by other ships.

According to the original plan Hamidiye was turn to İzmir but Rauf Orbay decided to sail to Adriatic Sea and harass the Greek merchant ships there.

The ship’s engines were not producing the maximum power due to the bad quality of the coal aboard. It was decided to go to Beirut for coal supply. During the supply an unidentified warships was spotted on the horizon. Hamidiye had to stop refueling and leave the port immediately.

Rauf Orbay commanded his ship to Port Said. The Egyptian government being neutral during the Balkan Wars, said it would not be able to supply more than 150 tons of coal. Rauf Orbay decided to sail to the Red Sea. With this move Ottoman Naval HQ would gain time to find suitable grade coal to supply Hamidiye and transport it to a port in Eastern Mediterranean.

Rauf Orbay who had a good sence for diplomacy and politics visited the Khiedive of Egypt, asking for coal. The Khidive agreed but with the condition that the lading of coal should be done in a remote area as it was against the neutrality rules.

Hamidiye sailed to Jeddah arriving here on February 3. The ship then sailed to north and again passing through Suez Canal. On February 14, Hamidiye entered Grand Harbour of Malta saluting the Royal Navy ships with guns. Again showing his diplomacy skills Rauf Orbay extended the duration of his visit from 24 hours to 72 hours and loaded 450 tons of coal.

Greek Navy dispatched armored vessel Psara and destroyers Aetos, Lonchi, Aspis to protect the Adricatic coast and to intercept Hamidiye. While the Greek ships were searching for her Hamidiye arrived in Gaza.

Hamidiye spend some time in Eastern Mediterranean before Ottoman General Staff tasked the ship to carry gold and ammunition to the Ottoman army in Albania. Hamidiye set sail from Papadola (Babadil) with 50 tons of ammunition and 10.000 gold cargo on 8 March 1913.

Hamidiye was almost identical to Italian cruiser Drama. Therefore when passing the Otranto Straits between Greece and Italy the Italian Naval flag was ready to be hoisted, if necessary.

Hamidiye and Greek destroyer Lonchi sighted each other from the distance, but noting happened as the larger ship was mistaken as Averrof by the destroyer. On 12 March 1909 at 03.24, Hamidiye encountered Greek merchant ship Leros. The merchant ship was ordered to stop and her 20 strong crew was taken on board. As gun fire would create unnecessary attention Rauf Orbay decided to sink Leros by ramming.

Upon arriving Shingin, Albania, Hamidiye sighted Greek merchant ships and army troops inside the port. The cruiser started to shell the port from the outside creating a large kaos. Five out of the existing 7 ships were sunk the remaining damaged

The crew of Leros were put on a nearby island with a few days’ food, water, rifles and ammunition to defend themselves against the gangs on land. 

After exiting Adriatic, Hamdiye returned to the Eastern Mediterranean and remained there until the end of the hostilities. At the end of the campaign, Rauf Bey took his place in memories as a protagonist of Hamidiye.

The raid of Hamdiye failed to achieve its main goal to lure Averrof to follow her. Never the less this raid created distraction for the enemy and galvanized the Ottoman public opinion.

Rauf Orbay was choosen to be the commander of the first Ottoman dreadnought Sultan Osman-ı Evvel ordered from England. A few hours before the flag rising ceremony, UK decided to seize the ship because of the looming World War 1.

Rauf Orbay spend the World War 1 desk bound. In 1917 he went to Germany to visit Emperor Wilhelm along with the Naval Minister Cemal Pasha and the Undersecretary Vâsıf Bey.
When Rauf Bey, was presented to the German Emperor Wilhelm, the Emperor’s first words were: “I followed your raid on Hamidiye with a great interest. Our Emden wanted to imitate you, but unfortunately could not be succeeded, she sunk on the road”

In September same year he was promoted to Captain. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he attended the meeting in Copenhagen as the President of the Turkish Delegation. Later, he represented the Ottoman Empire as a naval delegate at the Brest Litovsk Peace Conference. At the end of the war, when the existing cabinet resigned he was chosen as Naval minister on the newly established Ahmet Izzet Pasha Cabinet, on 14 October 1918.

On 30 October, Rauf Orbay signed on behalf of the Ottoman government the armistice agreement on board of HMS Agamemnon at the port of Mondros.

One week later he resigned from the Navy but his resignation was not accepted. He finally resigned from the military on May 3 1919 ending a very successful and inspiring naval career.

Later in May, he joined Mustafa Kemal Pasha and others in Anatolia. He is one of the signatories of the declaration of Amasya. In January 1920 he returned to Istanbul to attend the Ottoman Parliament as the deputy of Sivas town. In March 1920 he was arrested by the occupying British Forces and send to exile to Malta.

In November 1921 he was released and returned to Turkey. He proceeded his political career in Ankara. In November 1921 he was elected as Minister of Public Works. On July 13, 1922, Rauf Orbay was elected as the Prime Minister, becoming the first prime minister of the Grand National Assembly.

In 1924 Rauf Orbay was among the founders of Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Party, an important step on transition to a multi-party democratic regime. When the party was closed because of the Sheikh Said uprising, like many other members of the party, he chose to be an independent deputy in the parliament.

In 1926 Rauf Orbay who has been suffering from tropical malaria went to Austria to be treated in Bad-Gaschtein baths, After the treatment was over, he went to London to visit famous Turkish writer Mrs. Halide Edip Adıvar and her husband in London. During his stay in London, a plot to assassinate Mustafa Kemal was uncovered in İzmir. Rauf Orbay was accused to be among the conspirators and was tried in absentia. He was sentenced to 10 years of confinement in a fortress, deprivation of civil rights and the seizure of the goods.

Rauf Orbay never accepted his crimes but could not immediately return to Turkey because he did not have the ability to appeal. Rauf Orbay spent his days in England, India, China and Egypt. During his travels to India he gave lectures on Indian Revolutions and the Turkish Revolution in Delhi and other major cities.

His sentence was pardoned in 1933 with a general amnesty declared for tenth anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Rauf Orbay refused to return to Turkey as this move would mean to accept the pardoned accusations.

It was in 1939 and only after the ruling Republican People’s Party’s nominated him directly as a candidate for deputy of Kastamonu and officially declaring that he had not involved in the assassination plot in 1926 Rauf Orbay returned to his homeland.

Though he was elected as deputy from Kastamonu he remained uninvolved in politics and resign from his post when he was assigned as Turkish Ambassador to United Kingdom, in 1942.

Membership. He continued until March 9, 1944, when the London Embassy resigned.

One day as Ambassador in London, he left his house to attend a meeting, and he noticed a knob of his jacket was swinging. He entered into the first tailor shop he encountered on the street. The tailor behind the counter takes the jacket and then looks carefully at Rauf Orbay and asked, “You remember me, commander?”

The tailor in London turns out to be the captain of the Greek merchant ship Leros, Rauf Orbay had ordered to be sunk.

Rauf Orbay resigned from his post as Turkish Ambassador to United Kingdom in 1944.

Same year when we has visiting his nephew in USA, they rendezvous for a breakfast in a hotel. When in hotel Rauf Orbay notices an official car with an admiral’s pennant drive in. Red carpet is rolled out and a few Marines start to stay guard. An adjutant arrives at the table of Orbay’s and tells them that the admiral wishes to join them.  A few minutes later the admiral arrives and shakes hands saying “Welcome to USA, Admiral”. The american admiral is noone other than Chester Nimitz, whom Rauf Orbay had met when Nimitz was a Lieutenant. Rauf Orbay corrects him saying that he had never made to the rank of admiral and resigned as a captain.

Admiral Nimitz says “We have always followed you from the beginning. You are an admiral in our regard”.

Rauf Orbay spent the rest of his life away from the sea and politics.

He died at his home in Cihangir, İstanbul, 16. July 1964, Thursday at 13.20 from a heart attack. Due to his will, he is buried in Sahra-yı Cedit cemetery next to his father.

TCG Atılay Decommissioned


An Ay class submarine passing through Istanbul.

This is not a story you may find in Turkish naval circles online. According to Greek Defense and Foreign Policy website E-Amyna, Turkish Navy bid farewell to her oldest submarine TCG Atılay on 30 November 2016.

TCG Atılay was the first submarine build for Turkish Navy since the end of the Second World War. She was constructed build in Kiel by HDW shipyard and commissioned in Turkish Navy in March 1976. TCG Atılay was based on German Type 209 design one of the most successful submarine designs in post war  years.

Though there is no information about TCG Atılay‘s fate after being retired, Turkish Navy does not send its decommissioned submarines directly to breakers. Thus it is highly possible that she will remain as a floating charging platform for other submarines.

She may be even serve, as a test platform for the systems developed for the Milden (National Submarine) project as mentioned by E-Amyna.  Why not taking their word, when they can report on Turkish Navy better and faster than Turkish Navy itself.

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