From The Revolution To The Cold War: A History Of The Soviet Merchant Fleet From 1917 To 1950

The history of the Soviet Merchant Fleet during its first three decades is generally unknown outside the countries of the former Soviet Union and its role during World War II in particular seems undervalued in the West. While the more significant events have been well recorded, there are many other aspects of the Soviet merchant fleet’s history that have been less well covered outside the former Soviet Union. This book seeks to provide a detailed account of the Soviet merchant fleet in the World War II and, for purposes of context, the decades preceding and years following the war. To achieve this, the author has consulted primary Russian-language sources such as official maritime registers, histories of the Soviet merchant fleet, naval history, arctic exploration and the “Gulag fleet”. These data have been married to information from US Intelligence reports as well as histories of shipbuilders, the Spanish Civil War, Lend/Lease ships, convoys and various official histories of naval and maritime operations during 1941-1945. This 236-page, A4 case-bound book starts with consideration of the maritime geography of the Soviet Union before providing an outline history of the pre-Bolshevik Russian merchant fleet, the fleet during the civil war and its subsequent recovery from 1922. Thereafter there is detailed consideration of the expansion of the Soviet merchant fleet during 1928-1937 under the first and second five-year plans followed by the reversal of that expansion as the rumblings of approaching war grew ever louder. The Great Patriotic War (1941-45) is covered in chapters describing the retreat and chaos of the 1st year of the conflict, the turning points in the 2nd year, the Soviet Union on the offensive in the 3rd year and victory in the 4th year including the brief war against Japan. In each of these four chapters the author outlines the role of the Soviet merchant marine describing its successes, failures and losses. Two chapters are devoted to the post-war recovery and the re-birth of the fleet during 1945-1950. The book is completed by an outline fleet list of more than 800 ships and a comprehensive bibliography. The text is illustrated by 180 black & white photographs and 13 maps.

Authors: Martin J. Bollinger
ISBN: 978-0-9560769-4-6
Publication Date: March 2013
Member’s price: £15+p&p (£3.20 UK; £11.65 EU & Rest of the World)
Non-member’s price: £22.50+p&p (£3.20 UK; £11.65 EU & Rest of the World)

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