America's Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923

America's Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923

Robert Shenk

Named a "Notable Naval ebook of 2012" by means of Proceedings Magazine

In a high-tempo sequence of operations through the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and japanese Mediterranean, a small American fleet of destroyers and different naval vessels spoke back ably to a number of significant overseas crises together with the final days of the Russian Revolution and the 1920–1922 Turkish Nationalist Revolution. officials and males of the navy’s “four-piper” destroyers started through investigating situations at the floor in mainland Turkey correct after international conflict I, and through transporting American reduction groups to ports all through Turkey and Southern Russia to assist the tens of hundreds of thousands of orphans and refugees who had survived the wartime Armenian genocide.

Then the destroyers assisted within the ultimate evacuation of 150,000 White Russians from the Crimea to Constantinople (one of the ultimate acts of the Russian Revolution); coordinated the visits of the Hoover grain ships to ports in Southern Russia the place hundreds of thousands have been enduring a horrendous famine; witnessed and mentioned at the poor dolorosa of the Greeks of the Pontus zone of Turkey; and, in September of 1922, carried out the evacuation of millions of Greek and Armenian refugees from burning Smyrna. This latter occasion was once the cataclysmic end of the Turkish Nationalist Revolution, which had all started in early 1920.

After Smyrna, the destroyers escorted Greek steamers of their rescue of ethnic Christian civilians being expelled from the entire ports of Anatolian Turkey. because the end of a protracted warfare among Nationalist Turks and an invading Hellenic Greek military, those humans have been being pressured out in their ancestral houses by means of the Turks. occasionally American destroyers carried countless numbers of such refugees to pleasant ports all alone climate decks.

Upon the burning of Smyrna in September of 1922, Admiral Mark Bristol’s small fleet had grown to a few 26 naval vessels, so much of them destroyers, even though a few cruisers, naval fix vessels and provide ships additionally got here, and the battleships Arizona and Utah additionally seemed in short. It was once in the course of 1922 that the destroyer Bainbridge rescued 482 of 495 males, girls and kids from the burning French shipping Vinh Long within the Sea of Marmora. The destroyer entire this through the expedient of ramming the massive French send so the exploding ammunition couldn't proceed to strength the vessels aside. For this motion, Lieut. Commander W. Atlee Edwards used to be presented the Medal of Honor by way of the US, and the Legion of Honor by means of France.

Over 4 years, Admiral Bristol maintained a robust grip on American naval and diplomatic affairs during the sector. based on the American Embassy at Constantinople, Bristol additionally labored to extra American enterprise pursuits in Turkey, and tended to want Turks over Greeks and Armenians within the technique. Many american citizens have been confident that Bristol used to be biased on behalf of the Turks, and a pair of military captains risked their careers through talking out approximately approaching Turkish massacres that Bristol desired to hush up.

Several later-famous admirals observed accountability in Bristol’s small army, together with William Leahy, Thomas Kinkaid, Julian Wheeler, Tip Merrill, Japy Hepburn and Dan Gallery, whereas statesman Allen Dulles used to be considered one of Bristol’s key diplomats. every one of these males and many of the sailors, too, loved the remarkable nightlife of Constantinople that existed correct along all of the refugee heartbreak. while their tasks stored them at sea or along grain ships in Russia or moored on the spartan Black Sea ports, the american citizens stored their spirits up through racing ships’ boats, taking pictures online game, sightseeing, and (especially) through taking part in baseball. Captain Pratt Mannix even took benefit of his ship’s in short anchoring close to the Gallipoli battlefield to turn into the 1st American to swim the well-known Hellespont.

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