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Soviet Passenger Ships, 1917-1977

Wilson, E. A.

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ISBN 10: 0905617045 / ISBN 13: 9780905617046
Published by World Ship Society, Kendal, UK, 1978
Used Condition: Very Good Soft cover
From Hanselled Books (Burntisland, FIFE, United Kingdom)

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P/B. 80 pages, condition is Very good. THE SOVIET FLEET - A BRIEF HISTORY. The Soviet Union possesses the largest fleet of passenger ships in the World today, and from the establishment of its mercantile marine in 1918, has managed a motley collection of vessels of various sizes from numerous sources. In February 1918 Lenin signed a decree nationalising all Russian shipping, and it was several ex Tsarist vessels which formed the nucleus of the Sovtorgflot - the Sovietsky Torgovaya Flot - literally translated as the Soviet Merchant Fleet. Formerly privately owned or Government ships were taken over in Russian ports, and others which had been taken to foreign ports by the pro Tsarist Whites were returned as the new regime gained International recognition. However, three Romanian ships which had served in the Russian Navy during World War I had to be returned to Romania by the Soviets. By the late 1920s most of the ex.Tsarist vessels must have been either demolished or unserviceable, and so the first Soviet built passenger ships were produced by the Severney and Baltika Yards at Leningrad in 1928. The first foreign built new buildings were ordered in this year, two ships from the Krupp yard at Kiel, Germany - sisterships to four built at the Baltika Yard. In 1935 one Dutch and one British liner were purchased, followed in 1937 by a British cableship which was converted for passenger use. As well as purchasing secondhand tonnage, orders for new vessels were given to Italy in 1937 and to the Netherlands in 1939. Soviet participation in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1940 resulted in two large liners and two smaller ones being sailed from Spain to the Black Sea, where they were either put to use of the Sovtorgflot or the Red Navy. The Soviet invasion of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1940 resulted in three coastal passengerships being added to the fleet at the expense of Estonia - as far as is known, neither Latvia nor Lithuania possessed any passengerships of note. The outbreak of war with Germany caused the loss of the new JOSIF STALIN to the enemy in 1941 - no doubt a particularly galling loss considering the name of the ship and the fact that the Germans intended to put their prize to their own use. The wartime losses of Soviet merchant ships were particularly high, though exactly what passengerships were lost due to enemy action is not known. In 1941 the United States transferred two ex German World War I liners to the U.S.S.R. to reinforce the fleet. It was the defeat of Germany, however, which provided the greatest impetus to the Sovtorgflot passenger fleet. Twelve large passengerships and several smaller ones were either seized from the Germans, received as Allied allocations of prizes, or salvaged from German waters at the end of the War, and most of the larger vessels are still in service today. Germany's allies of Finland and Romania did not escape having to compensate the U.S.S.R. for war damage from their own small mercantile fleets - six Finnish and three Romanian ships were handed over between 1944 and 1950, and a further two ships were taken from Japan as a result of the short-lived war status between that country and the U.S.S.R. In 1949 and the following year two Polish liners were transferred to the Sovtorgflot, and in 1952 two Italian coastal passengerships under construction at Genova were purchased. With the reconstruction of East German shipyards after World War II there became available a source of new tonnage for the Soviet merchant fleet, and it has been the Mathias Thesen Werft at Wismar which has provided the bulk of passenger tonnage by delivering nineteen ships of the MIKHAIL KALININ Class and five of the larger IVAN FRANKO Class. Another Communist state, Bulgaria, has produced a class of at least twelve coastal passengerships for the shorter sea routes of the Morflot. In 1961 the A. Bookseller Inventory # 052510

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Soviet Passenger Ships, 1917-1977

Publisher: World Ship Society, Kendal, UK

Publication Date: 1978

Binding: Pictorial Soft Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

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