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It was only now that he was recognized and hailed by the sentries of the enemy. His torpedo struck the hull under the counter and exploded on contact. The Czarewitch, three quarters filled by the water column, backed as quickly as possible under a heavy small-arm fire from the monitor. The latter was settling by the stern, but so slowly that, after a lapse of ten minutes, Doubasoff ordered the launch Zenia to attack her. Lieutenant Chestakoff, who commanded this boat, struck her side and exploded his torpedo by hand. He found some difficulty in backing off, on account of the floating débris caused by the two explosions. Fortunately for him the Seïfi, which had only been able to fire two guns, was now sinking very rapidly: up to the time that she sank entirely her brave crew kept up their small-arm fire. The two other Turkish vessels having slipped their chains opened a well sustained fire from great guns and small arms. A ball having pierced the hull of one of the two Russian launches which had been held in reserve, it was found necessary to run her ashore, where the hole was rapidly plugged, when she followed the other launches. During this gallant exploit, which lasted barely a half hour, the Russians did not lose a man, por receive a wound.
VI. AFFAIR OFF SULINA, night of June 10th, 1877. On account of the sensation caused by the loss of the Seïfi the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman fleet, Hobart-Pacha, ordered the vessels under his conimand to observe the following precautions : 1st, during the night, to keep one watch under arms at quarters; 2d, to have the environs of the ships continually patrolled by launches under steam, or, in default of these, by pulling boats; 3d, to keep the vessels surrounded by obstacles capable of stopping torpedo boats. All these precautions were rigidly observed by the crews of the Turkish iron clad corvettes and a despatch boat at anchor off Sulina, during the night of June 10th, 1877. The obstacles which surrounded these vessels consisted of parallel ropes, similar to clothes gantlines. These were stretched between two boats securely anchored, and were floated by means of small buoys which were placed at intervals along the upper line so that it was held just below the surface of the water, the other lines being vertically under it. The Russians affirm that one of the Turkish vessels was under steam, but their adversaries make no mention of this fact. The iron clad corvette Idjalieh was anchored at the head of the squadron.
The Constantine left Odessa June 10th with three torpedo-boats hoisted to her davits and three others in tow. She stopped, the next night, five miles off Sulina. At half past one in the morning the torpedo boats, divided into two groups, headed for the harbor. In advance steamed the Tchesme commanded by Lieutenant Zatrarevni, chief of the expedition. She was provided with a diverging torpedo, and was followed by launches No.1 and No. 2, each fitted with spar torpedoes, and commanded by Lieutenants Poustchine and Rojdestvenski. The night was so dark that notwithstanding the precautions taken by the Turks the Russian boats came within one hundred nietres of their ships, without being perceived. Zatrareyni made a circle in order to work his diverging torpedo against the Idjalieh, but the towing conductor fouled in the screw of the Tchesme and she had to give up her share in the combat.
According to Commander Chardonneau's account, torpedo-boat No. 2 attacked the Idjalieh, whilst No. 1 pushed for another vessel : but all the information from Turkish sources agrees in designating the Idjalieh as also the object of Lieutenant Poustchine's attack; besides none of them state that any other vessel had to repulse the Russian attack. It is therefore almost certain that the Idjalieh was the sole antagonist of both torpedo boats. No. 2, going at full speed, pushed over the obstructions surrounding the Turkish vessel, and her torpedo exploded by contact; it is probable that it struck some object before reaching the hull of the Idjalieh, or was struck by a projectile which fired its primer, as the explosion caused no injury to the enemy's vessel. The Turks in their report do not even mention the fact. However the case may be, the column of water filled the forward compartment of No. 2, thus altering her line of flotation by reducing the draft of her after part, which permitted her to pass easily over the obstructions by reversing her engines. The Turks having opened a heavy great gun and small arm fire, No. 1 was at first, checked by the obstructions, but finally succeeded in pushing through the ropes. Lieut. Poustchine was prepared in person to fire the torpedo by hand if the automatic apparatus did not work, but the explosion took place unexpectedly before the spar touched the hull of the enemy's vessel, and the Idjalieh was only subjected to some slight injuries. It appears that the sailor whose duty it was to submerge the torpedo became demoralized by the enemy's fire and did not sink it below the surface of the water, in which position it was struck and exploded by a bullet. Lieut. Poustchine withdrew his boat, which had been so much injured that he was forced to abandon her. He and his crew of six men sustained themselves in the water by means of their life-belts, and at day light they were picked up by the Turkish boats.
The secoud group of Russian torpedo boats which had taken no part in the action, and the Tchesme and No. 2, rejoined the Constantine without the loss of a single man.
VII. DAY ATTACK NEAR ROUSTCHOUK, June 20th, 1877.-In order to close the navigation of the Danube to the Turks, the Russians had established, at several points, lines of fixed torpedoes. During the morning of June 20th six of their launches were engaged in establishing a line near Roustchouck, when the sudden appearance of a Turkish ironclad from that place caused them to take refuge in the sedge along the shore. The launch Choutka, commanded by Lieut. Skrydloff
, provided with a spar torpedo, now steamed out at full speed and struck the enemy's vessel abeam, in the face of a heavy fire. The torpedo did not explode, as the conductor had been cut by bullets in two places. The bow of the Choutka was pierced by a bullet or a canister ball, but the boat going at full speed managed to escape. Skrydloff and four of his companions were wounded.
VIII. DAY ATTACK NEAR NICOPOLI, June 23d, 1877.-A Turkish monitor, commanded by an English officer, came out of Nicopoli and steamed down the Danube. Two steam launches armed with spar torpedoes were on the look out for her, hidden behind a small island. They charged her at full speed. The monitor quickly lowered a net all around her, which was attached to the end of booms, on the extremity of which were torpedoes. She opened at the same time with a heavy great-gun and small-arm fire. One of the Russian boats, the Mina, had her conductor cut and received other injuries, which forced her to haul off. The other, the Choutka, commanded by Ensign Nitoff, vainly endeavored to reach the enemy's hull; stopped by the booins and nets, struck by a shell, almost driven on shore by the monitor, it was with great difficulty that she escaped; and, although the men were protected by sheet iron screens, four or five were wounded.
IX. AFFAIR AT SOUKOUM-KALE, night of August 23, 1877.-A casual reading of Commander Chardonneau's description of this fight led me to the belief that the Russian launches were armed with spartorpedoes, but a note inserted by Commander Chardonneau in the November number of the Revue Mar. et Col., as well as the report of Captain Markaroff, of the Constantine, and certain information from Turkish sources, go to prove that the Russians used diverging torpedoes against the Assar-i-Chef ket ou this occasion. The action was undoubtedly very close, as one of the boats was half filled with water, and another was nearly sunk while approaching the Turkish vessel.
Taking advantage of an eclipse, on the night of August 23d, the Constantine stopped six miles from Soukoum-Kale. Turkish ironclads often anchored off this place, but recently occupied by the Turks. The four torpedo-launches of the Constantine, commanded by Lieutenant Zatrarevni, got under way and waited for the moment of the eclipse, to enter the harbor of Soukoun. About two o'clock in the morning they made out a Turkish ironclad at the anchorage. This was the corvette, Assar-i-Chef ket, commanded by a gallant officer, who had served some time in the Euglish service. The lookout vas admirable on board this vessel ; several boats were ready to give the alarm and large fires were burning on shore, and illuminating the bay. The Russian launches were therefore quickly opened on by a sharp fire both from the Assar-i-Chefket and the shore batteries of Soukoum. Notwithstanding these drawbacks the Sinope and Navarino succeeded, if we credit the reports of the commanding officers, in exploding their torpedoes against the starboard side of the ironclad. The crew of a Turkish boat lying alongside of the Assar-i-Chefket became engaged for a few moments in a hand to hand fight, using their oars as weapons, with the crew of the Sinope. The Navarino was half filled by the column of water from her torpedo. The Russian launches, Tchesme and Mina, had headed for another vessel, but finding that it was a merchant brig they returned to the Assar-i-Chefket. The Mina exploded her torpedo against the starboard quarter of the ironclad. The Tchesme attempted the same manœuvre, but the rolling of the vessel, caused by the Mina's explosion, almost crushed her. The Russian boats rejoined the Constantine at full speed. This attempt, it is said, cost them only one wounded man. Such is the account of the combat off Soukoum from Russian
The Assar-i-Chafket was, however, little injured, for after a stay at Constantinople from August 31st to September 12th, she was again under way to cruise in the Adriatie. Her captain still further asserts that on the night of August 23d, only one of the torpedoes directed against him exploded, and that even that one was not in contact with his vessel.
X. SECOND AFFAIR OFF BATOUM, night of December 27, 1877. Towards teu o'clock at night, the Constantine stopped five miles from Batoum and lowered her boats. The night was very dark, a light rain was falling, and there was a very moderate swell. Lieutenant Zatrarev. ni, who had as usual command of the Russian boats, had considerable difficulty in finding his way in the darkness. At midnight he rounded
Batoum point and discovered two ironclads lying at single anchor, heads to seaward, sterns secured to the shore. No chains of obstructions or guard boats were visible. The launches Tchesme and Sinope had each a Whitehead torpedo, the former had her firing tube arranged fore and aft under her keel; the other had her's attached to a float which she towed. When at a distance of about sixty metres from the nearest Turkish iron clad, the two boats fired their torpedoes almost simultaneously : that of the Tchesme exploded abeam of the vessel ; its course could be easily traced in the sea ; that of the Sinope appeared to strike the stern of the vessel. The Turkish ships and batteries at last opening fire on the Russian boats they rejoined the Constantine at full speed, the Tchesme letting go her torpedo tube in order not to retard her movements. The Turkish vessel attacked received no serious damage. Commander Chardonneau thinks that the Tchesme's torpedo struck a rock and that the Sinope's failed to explode. It seems possible that the torpedoes were exploded by submarine obstructions.
XI. THIRD AFFAIR OFF BATOUM ; destruction of a Turkish ship during the night of January 25th, 1878--At half past eleven P. M., Captain Makaroff of the Constantine again stopped five miles from Batoum and lowered his launches. The boats were in command of
. Lieutenant Zatrarevni. The Tchesme and Sinope were armed with Whitehead torpedoes. The weather was thick, but at two in the morning the moon rose and allowed the Russians to see plainly the vessels at anchor off Batoum. One of these was an unarmored cruiser, of from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred tons, anchored in the mouth of the harbor. The Tchesme and Sinope headed for her, and at a distance of seventy-five metres abeam of her, fired their Whiteheads together. Both exploded, and in less than three minutes the Turkish ship disappeared. The Russian launches rejoined the Constantine in safety.
In order to draw useful inferences from the events of past wars, it is necessary to take into account the relative worth of the personnel and materiel engaged in each encounter. A victory of intelligently organized forces over barbarians without discipline and without efficient weapons proves nothing from a military point of view; a success owed, by the soldiers or sailors of a powerful nation, to the employment of perfected contrivances, against adversaries equally formidable, furnishes almost always examples worth studying. In regard to the subject in hand, it is certain, that, during the last two years of the