Not the Russian navy’s finest hour:
A Russian naval intelligence ship sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast on Thursday after colliding with a vessel carrying livestock and all 78 personnel on board the navy ship were evacuated, Turkish officials said.
The rescued crew members of the Russian ship Liman were in good health after the collision with the Togo-flagged Youzarsif H, Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmed Arslan said.
The incident took place in fog and low visibility 18 miles (29 km) from Kilyos village on the Black Sea coast just north of Istanbul.
A spokesman for Hammami Livestock which owns the Youzarsif H said there had been no loss of life on board the vessel. “It is considered a slight hit, for us,” he told Reuters in Lebanon, adding he had no information about the cause of the collision.
So, a lot of Russian surveillance equipment lost but no cows. I refer to this article as an excuse to cite my favorite story regarding the Russian navy: the Dogger Bank Incident.
The Dogger Bank incident (also known as the North Sea Incident, the Russian Outrage or the Incident of Hull) occurred on the night of 21/22 October 1904, when the Russian Baltic Fleet mistook a British trawler fleet from Kingston upon Hull in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea for an Imperial Japanese Navy force and fired on them. Russian warships also fired on each other in the chaos of the melée. Three British fishermen died and a number were wounded. One sailor and a priest aboard a Russian cruiser caught in the crossfire were also killed. The incident almost led to war between Britain and Russia.
Why the hell would the Russians think a British trawler in the North Sea was a Japanese warship? Because:
The Russian warships involved in the incident were en route to the Far East, to reinforce the 1st Pacific Squadron stationed at Port Arthur, and later Vladivostok, during the Russo-Japanese War. Because of the fleet’s alleged sightings of balloons and four enemy cruisers the day previously, coupled with “the possibility that the Japanese might surreptitiously have sent ships around the world to attack” them, the Russian admiral, Zinovy Rozhestvensky, called for increased vigilance, issuing an order that “no vessel of any sort must be allowed to get in among the fleet”, and to prepare to open fire upon any vessels failing to identify themselves. With ample reports about the presence of Japanese torpedo boats, submarines and minefields in the North Sea, and the general nervousness of the Russian sailors, 48 harmless fishing vessels were attacked by the Russians, thousands of miles away from enemy waters.
As military blunders go, this one is hard to beat. As The Times said the next day:
“It is almost inconceivable that any men calling themselves seamen, however frightened they might be, could spend twenty minutes bombarding a fleet of fishing boats without discovering the nature of their target.”
Hitting a boatload of cattle in fog off Turkey seems almost professional by comparison.