Stepan Makarov
Stepan Osipovich Makarov was a Ukrainian
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 - born Russian vice-admiral, a highly accomplished and decorated commander of the Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy
The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the February Revolution.-First Romanovs:Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein...

, an oceanographer, awarded by the Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Academy of Sciences
The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia and a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation as well as auxiliary scientific and social units like libraries, publishers and hospitals....

, and author of several books. Makarov also designed a small number of ships. The town of Shiritoru on Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 island, was renamed Makarov in 1946 in his honor.

Early life

Stepan Makarov was born in Nikolaev, now Mykolayiv, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 in a family of a fleet praporshchik
Praporshchik is a rank in the Russian military.-Imperial Russia:Praporshchik was originally a name of a junior commissioned officer rank in the military of the Russian Empire equivalent to ensign...

 (прапорщик по Адмиралтейству, an auxiliary officer). His family moved to Nikolayevsk na Amure
Nikolayevsk-on-Amur often romanized as Nikolayevsk-na-Amure, is a town and the administrative center of Nikolayevsky District of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia located on the Amur River close to its liman in the Pacific Ocean...

 in 1858 and Makarov attended school there. In 1863, he joined the Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy
The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the February Revolution.-First Romanovs:Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein...

 where he served as a cadet aboard a clipper of the Pacific Fleet. In 1866 he took part in the voyage of the corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

 Askold from Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 to Kronstadt
Kronstadt , also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt |crown]]" and Stadt for "city"); is a municipal town in Kronshtadtsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located on Kotlin Island, west of Saint Petersburg proper near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Population: It is also...

 via the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

. Makarov served with the Baltic Fleet between 1867 and 1876 serving as flag captain to Admiral Andrei Popov
Andrei Alexandrovich Popov
Andrei Alexandrovich Popov was an officer of the Imperial Russian Navy, who saw action during the Crimean War, and became a noted naval designer....

. He transferred to the Black Sea Fleet in 1876.

Russo-Turkish War

Makarov was highly decorated for his service as a captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 of the Russian torpedo boat tender
Ship's tender
A ship's tender, usually referred to as a tender, is a boat, or a larger ship used to service a ship, generally by transporting people and/or supplies to and from shore or another ship...

 Velikiy Knyaz Konstantin in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. He was one of the first to adopt the idea of torpedo boats and he himself went to action in torpedo boats. On January 16, 1877 he was first in the World to launch torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

es from a boat (which itself was launched from a tender) against a Ottoman Navy ship Intibah.

Oceanographic expeditions

Makarov directed two round-the-world oceanographic expeditions on the corvette Vityaz (1886–89 and 1894–96).

He proposed the World's first icebreaker
An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters. Although the term usually refers to ice-breaking ships, it may also refer to smaller vessels .For a ship to be considered an icebreaker, it requires three traits most...

, the Yermak
Icebreaker Yermak
Yermak was a Russian and later Soviet icebreaker, the first polar icebreaker in the world, having a strengthened hull shaped to ride over and crush pack ice....

, oversaw her construction, and commanded her on two Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 expeditions in 1899 and 1901.

Lake Baikal icebreakers

Makarov also designed two icebreaking steam ships to connect the Trans-Siberian Railway across Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

: the train ferry
Train ferry
A train ferry is a ship designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as...

  built in 1897 and passenger and package freight steamer built in about 1900, based upon his study of similar vessels on the American Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...


Armstrong Whitworth
Armstrong Whitworth
Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Headquartered in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Armstrong Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.-History:In 1847,...

 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, built the ships in kit form and sent them to Listvyanka on Lake Baikal for reassembly. Their boilers, engines and some other components were built in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

. Baikal had 15 boilers, four funnels, was 64 metres (210 ft) long and could carry 24 railway coaches and one locomotive on her middle deck. Angara is smaller, with two funnels.

Baikal was burnt out and destroyed in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. Angara survives, has been restored and is permanently moored at Irkutsk where she serves as offices and a museum.

Russo-Japanese War

After the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

's surprise attack at Port Arthur on 9 February 1904, Admiral Makarov was sent to command the Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy
The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the February Revolution.-First Romanovs:Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein...

's battle fleet stationed there on 24 February (some sources state March) of that year. His leadership differed greatly from any other Russian naval officer during this war, offering diversity, aggression, and an ability to "inspire confidence in his subordinates".

Upon his assumption of command in early 1904, Makarov greatly increased the activity in the Russian squadrons
Squadron (naval)
A squadron, or naval squadron, is a unit of 3-4 major warships, transport ships, submarines, or sometimes small craft that may be part of a larger task force or a fleet...

, as well as the general defense of Port Arthur. Until then the Russian fleet had generally done nothing but exist, as a fleet in being
Fleet in being
In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. Were the fleet to leave port and face the enemy, it might lose in battle and no longer influence the enemy's actions, but while it remains safely in port the enemy is forced to...

. Under Makarov's leadership, "Russian squadrons put to sea nearly every day, constantly on the move, and ensuring that it was never taken by surprise outside the protection of Port Arthur's" shore batteries.

Unlike his predecessors, Makorov sought engagements with the Japanese, and kept his vessels in an order of battle
Order of battle
In modern use, the order of battle is the identification, command structure, strength, and disposition of personnel, equipment, and units of an armed force participating in field operations. Various abbreviations are in use, including OOB, O/B, or OB, while ORBAT remains the most common in the...

 in the roadstead of Port Arthur. When Japanese cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

s bombarded Port Arthur from the Yellow Sea
Yellow Sea
The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden...

 in March, his cruisers returned fire with such intensity that the Japanese ships were forced to withdraw. That same month the Japanese Navy tried to seal the port's entrance by sinking old steam ships as blockship
A blockship is a ship deliberately sunk to prevent a river, channel, or canal from being used.It may either be sunk by a navy defending the waterway to prevent the ingress of attacking enemy forces, as in the case of HMS Hood at Portland Harbour; or it may be brought by enemy raiders and used to...

s in the harbor's channel. Russian cruisers assigned to protect the entrance pursued the escorting Japanese warships and quickly put them to flight.

On 13 April 1904 the Russian destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 Strasny returning from patrol, tried to re-enter the mouth of the Port Arthur but was intercepted by Japanese destroyers. A sea fight arose between the opposing destroyers, and when observed by Makarov he immediately sent the cruiser Bayan to assist the Strasny, while he led three battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

s, four cruisers, and a group of destroyers into the Yellow Sea to seek battle with the surrounding enemy warships.

The Japanese warships withdrew to nearly 15 miles out to sea, with Makarov in pursuit. With the arrival of enemy heavy units upon the scene, Makarov, now exceeding his gunfire support range from shore, turned about and headed back to Port Arthur; and the Japanese fleet did not pursue. As his flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

, the battleship Petropavlovsk
Russian battleship Petropavlovsk (1897)
The Petropavlovsk was the lead ship of the Petropavlovsk class of battleships built for the Imperial Russian Navy. During the Russo-Japanese War, Petropavlovsk was a flagship of the First Pacific Squadron, taking part in battles against the Imperial Japanese Navy. On March 31, 1904, the battleship...

, moved closer to the harbour's entrance, she detonated a Japanese mine
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

. Secondary explosions followed quickly in succession and Petropavlovsk sank, taking Admiral Makarov with her.


There are monuments to Makarov in his native Mykolayiv, Ukraine, and in Vladivostok, Russia. A number of ships have been named Admiral Makarov. An island in the Tsivolk group of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago
Nordenskiöld Archipelago
The Nordenskiöld Archipelago or Nordenskjold Archipelago is a very large and complex cluster of islands in the eastern region of the Kara Sea. Its eastern limit lies west of the Taymyr Peninsula....

 was named after him. National University of Shipbuilding
Admiral Makarov National University of Shipbuilding
Admiral Makarov National University of Shipbuilding is a university located in Mykolaiv. The University is named after the Russian admiral Stepan Makarov, who was born in the city.- External links :* * *...

 in Mykolaiv
Mykolaiv , also known as Nikolayev , is a city in southern Ukraine, administrative center of the Mykolaiv Oblast. Mykolaiv is the main ship building center of the Black Sea, and, arguably, the whole Eastern Europe.-Name of city:...

 (Nikolayev) and State Maritime Academy
Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy
Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy is a federal institution of higher professional education which trains professionals for civil and merchant fleet. It is located in St. Petersburg, Russia....

 in Saint Petersburg are named after him.

External links

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